Month: November 2014
The debut show, “StoryMakers,” is hosted by School Library Journal and Huffington Post contributor Rocco Staino. During each episode, Staino interviews kid lit creators; so far he’s chatted with Dan Yaccarino (author, illustrator …
Shop now here. Every year since 1919, an official poster celebrating Children’s Book Week has been created by a children’s literature icon. Over the last 95 storied years, masterpieces have …
SANTA MONICA, CA — Continuing the expansion of its global blockbuster Hunger Games franchise into new businesses, Lionsgate, a premier next generation global content leader, is teaming with Dutch media company Imagine Nation and U.S. …
“#Cyborgmonday is designed to promote pre-pub buzz for the fourth installment of the fairytale-themed Lunar Chronicles, due from Feiwel and Friends on January 27. The novel continues the saga of …
This piece from the “TL;DW” YouTube channel features a script and voice acting by Max Knoblauch and Bob Al-Greene. Al-Greene also provided the illustrations. Noah Sterling tackled the animation. (Mashable)
The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database Expands to Include Criteria, Past Recipients for Over 600 National & International Children’s Book Awards
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE New York, NY — November 11, 2014 – The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD) – providing reliable one-search access to information, awards, & reviews about Pre K-12 …
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Founded just two years ago, DOGObooks is already the preferred destination for middle school readers to discover and discuss books with their peers. Boasting over 125,000 book selections …
Since transitioning to writing fiction, Gaiman has reinvented himself time and again, straddling multiple genres and forms. His work, which ranges from short stories and poetry to screenplays, has gained …
‘Peter Rabbit’ Encourages Kids to Eat Healthy and Be Active through New Special Edition Book and Education Campaign
NEW YORK, NY – The globally beloved Peter Rabbit character will be featured in a new health and wellness initiative, Hop to Health, launching this fall. The new kid-targeted campaign …
Like many editors I have a predilection for order, efficiency, and systems. That’s the polite way of putting it. Significant others and family members have at times used descriptors such as anal retentive or obsessive. Point taken. Whatever your word choice, these qualities have served me well in my profession. But beneath these types of endearing quirks (again, the polite label) often lurks a root cause: anxiety.
I come by my anxiety in the most honest way possible—genetics. Go up the family tree a branch or two and you’ll find hospitalizations, shock therapy, alcoholism, panic attacks, and lots of list-making in really tiny handwriting. Fortunately, all that got watered down by the time my X chromosomes paired up, but I would still say that I was an anxious child. I clearly remember standing in my grandmother’s yard at the age of maybe four, pensively noting that life used to be so much easier. Ah, to be a world-weary preschooler.
Over time I learned effective coping techniques, and now my anxiety is simply a part of me that minimally affects my quality of life. But as a young child, I had no words for what I felt, and I had no basis for comparison. I had the sense that other people didn’t feel like I did, and that made me wonder whether something was wrong with me. Mostly I just had no idea what to do with my feelings and lived with a degree of discomfort on a daily basis. I compensated in other ways—I liked routine, I avoided risks and changes, and I became an overachiever and people-pleaser.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I also threw myself into reading, which provided respite from the uncomfortable physical sensations and mental chatter. I recall reading “The New Day” in Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever, in which Little Bear gets out of bed, washes his face, brushes his teeth, combs his hair, gets dressed, makes his bed, and eats breakfast. Each morning I carted the book around with me, following along with each activity in the exact same order, mentally checking off each picture when my task was done. As with many children, predictability made me feel safe and calmed me down. But perhaps I needed it more than most.
There really wasn’t that much awareness about childhood anxiety when I grew up in the 1970s, and I sometimes wonder what difference it might have made if I had been introduced to books that reflected my experience. I think I would have felt less alone, less of an oddball, and well, less anxious.
And so, for everyone out there who knows or loves a worrywart, here’s a baker’s dozen of picture books I wish I’d read as a child (with thanks to my generous Facebook friends for their suggestions).
The Big Test by Julie Danneberg (Charlesbridge): test anxiety
Disappearing Desmond by Anna Alter (Knopf): social phobia
Don’t Forget to Come Back by Robie Harris (Candlewick): separation anxiety
Edward: Unready for School by Rosemary Wells (Dial): school readiness
Felix and the Worrier by Rosemary Wells (Candlewick): general anxiety
Grin and Bear It by Leo Landry (Charlesbridge): performance anxiety
Ready for Anything by Keiko Kasza (Putnam): general anxiety
Scaredy Squirrel series by Mélanie Watt (Kids Can Press): general anxiety
Something Might Happen by Helen Lester (Houghton Mifflin): general anxiety/agoraphobia
A Tiger Called Thomas by Charlotte Zolotow (Hyperion): social phobia
Wallace’s Lists by Barbara Bottner and Gerald Kruglik (Katherine Tegen Books): obsessive compulsive disorder
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow): general anxiety
When Lions Roar by Robie Harris (Orchard): general anxiety
Yolanda Scott is editorial director at Charlesbridge, where she has edited nearly two hundred books since beginning her career in 1995. She is a co-founder of Children’s Books Boston, sits on the board of directors of the Children’s Book Council, and is a member of the CBC Diversity Committee. She lives near Boston.
“The author has just produced the first Paddington novel to be written in the bear’s own voice. Love From Paddington is a series of letters written to his aunt Lucy …
The company is partnering with Paramount on this project. Back in 2004, Paramount released a film based on this popular middle grade series; that movie featured Jim Carrey as the …
CBC Members only: $250 Discount E-mail us for the member-exclusive discount code to use when you register online. Expires: 12/1/14Register now! What it is: An exclusive executive-level event that will …
Some of the titles featured on the picture books list include Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen; My Teacher Is a …
“What I do is I spend about six months just writing jokes, and they’re disassociated with everything—they’re not even connected to one another. So what I do is come up …
Please tell us about the most recent diverse book you published.
While I was at Scholastic, I had the great pleasure of editing Edwidge Danticat’s first picture book, Eight Days: A Story of Haiti. It explored a young Haitian boy’s experience in the eight days following the devastating earthquake.
I also published the Jewel Society series, which features four best friends of varying backgrounds and academic interests. By working together and using their individual strengths, the girls solve a series of jewel heists in and around the Washington, DC area. A smart and sassy series for girls!
And here at FSG, I’ve just acquired a young middle-grade series starring two best friends, one of which is Latina. They live in a quirky neighborhood, inspired by The Mission District of San Francisco, where the townspeople are as diverse as the girls’ adventures, and where Spanish is spoken widely.
What is one factor holding you back from publishing more diverse books OR what’s the biggest challenge for publishing companies who want to feature more diverse titles?
There is nothing at Macmillan holding me back from publishing diverse books. As an editor committed to publishing more authors and illustrators of color, I’m always on the look-out for new talent. The Brown Bookshelf is a great place to go to learn about diversity in children’s literature and to get ideas about people I’d like to work with! In fact I wish there were more resources like it (websites or associations) that collected and featured diverse children’s book creators, especially those who are not yet published. And of course I rely on agents who are representing new talent with an eye toward diversity.
What is an example of a current bestselling diversity title?
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Penguin) is a New York Times Bestselling title.
I’m also excited about the buzz that the following books are getting in the marketplace and in the media:
- How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon (Holt/Macmillan)
- The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)
- The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and The Fight For Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook/Macmillan)
Who would you consider to be a diversity pioneer in children’s and/or young adult literature?
The editors at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic (Arthur Levine, Cheryl Klein, and Emily Clement) continue to impress me with their commitment to publishing books with a range of perspectives. The work they do with diverse authors and illustrators—as well as books originally published outside of the United States—is truly inspiring.
If you have an author who wants to write about characters outside of his/her own background, how do you generally handle that? Do you encourage your author to dive into research, or do you dissuade your author from venturing into what is unfamiliar to them?
I haven’t yet had this experience with one of my authors, but here’s what I generally suggest to writers who ask me the same questions at conferences.
- I imagine we would have a discussion about why he or she wants to write outside of their own experience. I think it’s important to be honest about your intentions in telling a certain kind of story, as it will no doubt affect the politics (intended or unintended) of your writing later on.
- If we agreed to move forward, I would encourage the author to research the subject matter (time, place, people) as well as consult with individuals who share a similar background to the characters in his/her work.
- Finally, as the editor, it would be my responsibility to review the writing on the page and assess how I think the work would serve the children reading it. I would also find a secondary reader or two (again with a similar background to the characters and story at hand) to give me their honest opinion of the book.
Tell us about your editing process. When you edit cross-culturally, how do you ensure that the book gets a culture with which you might not be as familiar “right”?
If I’m editing a book featuring a culture, heritage, or place that I feel unfamiliar with, I will definitely enlist the help of an expert or someone intimately experienced with the subject matter at hand. I do this most often with nonfiction titles, even if the author might be considered an expert in the field or has had an expert read over their work. I budget for this early on in the publishing process, and always prefer to have at least a second pair of eyes to help us.
If you could receive a manuscript about one culture or subculture that you don’t normally see, what would it be?
Native North Americans, for sure. I grew up loving (and studying) Sherman Alexie’s work; and I’m jealous of Cheryl Klein’s publication of If I Ever Get Out Of Here by Eric Gansworth. To name some specific groups, maybe the Florida Seminoles or the Aleutians from the islands of Alaska.
I would also love to see stories about and/or by people from the Caribbean and Cuba. Having grown up in Miami, Florida, I’m always drawn to communities rich with change at the hands of immigrants. Port cities or border towns can make for dynamic settings.
And lastly, I would love to work on books from or about South Africa. I lived and studied there for six months, and am always looking for characters or writers from that wonderfully diverse country.
Grace Elizabeth Kendall, Editor, Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers/Macmillan. She works on a wide range of material from picture books to young-adult novels, both fiction and nonfiction. Before joining FSG in the spring, Grace worked at Scholastic where she edited Hot Rod Hamster: Monster Truck Mania! by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord and New York Times Bestselling Illustrator Derek Anderson; A Bunny in the Ballet by debut author/illustrator Robert Beck; and the middle-grade series Jewel Society by Hope McLean. She also worked on Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by two-time National Book Award Nominee and MacArthur Fellow Edwidge Danticat and illustrated by Alix Delinois.
In an open letter, Staino says: “It would be great if you or your state organization would take the lead in nominating a possible Literary Landmark in your State. You …
Scholastic Announces First-of-Their-Kind Literacy Events to Help Schools Support Family and Community Engagement
NEW YORK, NY – Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today announced the release of Scholastic Literacy Events, comprehensive family engagement kits that educators can use to engage …