The Illustrated Harry Potter



Recently, needing some comfort reading, I decided to revisit the Harry Potter books. I think I last did so when the final book came out, eight years ago. And I’m discovering them to be better than I remembered. That is, I had much loved the characters and plotting, but I’m finding them funnier and more solidly written than I remembered. (Someone pointed out to me that this was because the earlier books were more tightly edited as the author wasn’t so famous then.) And so it is perfect timing for me that the first of the new illustrated versions, illustrated by Jim Kay, is out today. You can get a taste over at the guardian site.  (Have to say, that Sorting Hat is a lot more colorful than the one in my mind —perhaps overly influenced by the one in the movies?)

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Who’s Alice

The panel I’m on tonight at Lincoln Center has altered a bit in a mind-blowing way. Now my fellow-panelists are:

David Del Tredici (composer), Liz Swados (creator of Broadway’s Alice at the Palace), Elizabeth Cerena (performer and managing driector of Then She Fell), Steve Massa (film historian and cast member of Eve le Galliane’s Alice in Wonderland), and Robert Sabuda (pop-up book artist). Lewis Carroll scholar and author, Charlie Lovett, will moderate.

Again, it is at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center at 6PM. Tickets (free) can be reserved here.

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There have been celebrations all year and all over the world for the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  This coming week is one of the biggies, Alice150, here in New York. While many of the events are sold-out, the following, are not:

At the Morgan Library — last week! (See my review of the show here.)

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center in Lincoln Center will present the free multimedia exhibition Alice Live! The exhibition will trace the history of Lewis Carroll’s beloved Alice stories in live performance from their first professional staging to the present day.

An Evening with David Del Tredici, Elizabeth Carena, Monica Edinger, and Robert Sabuda at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, Monday, October 5, 2015, 6PM.

SEPTEMBER 16-NOVEMBER 21, 2015 IN OUR GROUND FLOOR GALLERY: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a world-wide phenomenon! Published in 1865, it is one of the most quoted works of fiction in the world and there are 7,609 editions of the book that have been translated in 174 languages. The Grolier Club is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its publication with this groundbreaking exhibition, which represents the most extensive analysis ever done of one English-language novel rendered into so many languages.

In collaboration with New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections, 80WSE Gallery windows on Washington Square East presents an extension of Go Ask Alice: Alice, Wonderland and Popular Culture on display in the Mamdouha Bobst Gallery, Bobst Library.

‘Go Ask Alice’: Alice, Wonderland and Popular Culture, explores Alice parodies and ephemera for viewers of all ages, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the beloved children’s story by Lewis Carroll.

Chang Octagon Gallery (Columbia University)
September 8, 2015 through January 29, 2016

An exhibition mounted as part of Alice 150, and Commemorating the Lewis Carroll Centenary Celebrations held at Columbia in May of 1932, attended by Mrs. Alice Pleasance Hargreaves.

“Alice’s Adventures at Columbia,” Reception and Exhibition Viewing to Follow Talk

Dayna Nuhn, Founder, Lewis Carroll Society of Canada
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Butler Library (Columbia University), Room 203, 6 p.m.

October 6 The first day of the film screening series will consist of Alice in Wonderland (1903) and Alice in Wonderland (1933). The 1903 movie is the first Alice silent movie was written and codirected by Cecil Hepworth. The 1933 Alice film had a star studded cast and was directed by Norman McLeod.

Go behind-the-scenes and see what went into the making of the modern live-action Disney production of “Alice in Wonderland” (2010). With visual and motion effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, Alice’s adventures come to life in truly wondrous ways.

At Columbia University, October 6 and 7. Performer-writer and Lewis Carroll expert Andrew Sellon gives you a rare and truly revealing private audience with the fascinating Mr. Dodgson in a staged reading of an intimate solo play that dispels the myths and lets you hear from the author and Alice in their own frank, funny, and frabjous words. Shows are at 3:00 and 8:15 PM on Tuesday and 3:00 and 6:30 PM on Wednesday. The show is 75 minutes in duration. Attendees should be 16 years old and above.

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Patrick Ness and the Doctor Who- Universe, a Match Made in Heaven

Being a big Doctor Who and Patrick Ness fan, learning yesterday that the latter will be writing a teen spin-off of the former was a most excellent birthday present for me.

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My Very Important Date (with SLJ and Alice)

Doing the research for my SLJ piece,  “Alice in Wonderland: A Very Important Date” was great fun.  That is, it involved finding out what would be coming out this year, what was still in print, and what was not, but still worth including. Having to bring down the list to a manageble number for this Alicephile was not, as you can imagine, easy.  Many favorites had to be left out.  The published article includes a brief prefatory essay on the book’s history and then an annotated list of recommended books, apps, and even a website for a wide variety of ages. Some are the very newest titles available while others are much older. I hope you all will take a look as even if you think you know all about Alice, you may be surprised!

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Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace

A Prayer for World Peace_Cov_Neutral_Layout 1

Yesterday on International World Peace Day I was invited to a small gathering to celebrate UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall’s forthcoming  A Prayer for World Peace and its gorgeous illustrations by the distinguished Iranian artist Feeroozeh Golmohammad. The publisher describes the book on their website thus:

● Jane Goodall is recognized the world over for her commitment to natural preservation, and for efforts to being peace to all parts of the world.

● A perfect book for generations of readers who are awakening to the suffering caused by human activities such as animal abuse, environmental degradation, and war.

● This is a prayer that appeals to all humankind, regardless of creed or background. It’s a truly universal message of hope.

Jane Goodall is a world-renowned naturalist who brings her passion and her quest for understanding between all the Earth’s creatures to the fore in this beautiful and affecting prayer for world peace. She asks us all to rise above our dogmas, to bring a spirit of generosity to the living world around us, to pray for justice and for those who are suffering. Illustrated with rich and colorful artwork, this is prayer that’s both personal and universal – one that will speak to people of all ages from all backgrounds. It is the kind of prayer we most need now.

A Prayer for World Peace is a gorgeous, extraordinarily moving book. One, indeed for all ages. The art is glowing, connecting with the Goodall’s passionate phrases to be indeed a call for world peace. And Jane Goodall. After a day of speeches at the UN she was exhausted, but still could not stop talking about peace, children, her Roots & Shoots initiative to make a difference, and so much more. On the fly, she ranged from everything going on the world from refugees in Europe to the dreadful effects of cows and methane gas to events in Burundi. I’ve read much about her, say Anita Silvey’s recent Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall, but this was the first time I can recall meeting her. Aside from being in complete and utter awe of Jane herself — she is a real life hero — I was incredibly moved that she had a small plush chimp there looking very much like her beloved Jubilee as described in Patrick O’Donnell’s charming picture book biography, Me…Jane.

I could not resist a few starstruck photos:




Thank you ipgbooks, Deborah Sloan, and mineditions for inviting me to this special experience.


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New Blog Alert

Today, a group of thoughtful white librarian allies launch the blog, Reading While White. Their mission statement:

We are White librarians organizing to confront racism in the field of children’s and young adult literature.  We are allies in the ongoing struggle for authenticity and visibility in books; for opportunities for people of color and First/Native Nations people in all aspects of the children’s and young adult book world; and for accountability among publishers, book creators, reviewers, librarians, teachers, and others.  We are learning, and hold ourselves responsible for understanding how our whiteness impacts our perspectives and our behavior.

We know that we lack the expertise that non-white have on marginalized racial experiences.  We resolve to listen and learn from people of color and First/Native Nations people willing to speak about those experiences.  We resolve to examine our own White racial experiences without expecting people of color and First/Native Nations people to educate us. As White people, we have the responsibility to change the balance of White privilege.

The first post will go live at 11 EST today. Meantime check out their FAQs and Resources for Further Research.  The history these six librarians (see their names below) have as allies and the timeliness of this makes me certain this is an important blog to follow.

The contributors are:


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