Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Micki Nevett Literature Scholarship

I feel certain that Micki would have been satisfied with our Newbery selections. Certainly her spirit was very much with us as we made our decisions. Now, on behalf of her friends and colleagues, I’m pleased to announce The Micki Nevett Literature Scholarship.

The Micki Nevett Literature Scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior from Guilderland High School. All contributions are welcome! Checks should be made payable to the Guilderland Central School District Memorial Fund with Micki’s name in the memo portion and mailed to Guilderland Central School District, 6076 State Farm Road, Guilderland, NY 12084.


Leave a comment

Filed under Other

Scholastic Audiobook/NCBLA Book Basket Auction

Scholastic Audiobooks has donated 10 new audiobooks, including Gregory Maguire’s New York Times Best Seller What-the-Dickens! for an online auction to benefit The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (, a 501C3 not-for-profit that advocates and educates on behalf of literacy, literature, libraries and the arts. This audiobook collection includes The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; Main Street #1 by Ann Martin; Stoneheart by Charlie Fletcher; and Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

In addition, the NCBLA Board has donated many personally autographed audiobooks and books to this collection including works by M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Susan Cooper, Nikki Grimes, Patricia MacLachlan, Gregory Maguire, and Katherine Paterson. The retail value of this book basket exceeds $1,000. For a detailed list of books and audiobooks, go to:

The auction will begin on January 31, 2008 and run until February 9. 2008. To find the online auction, on or after January 31 go to:
In the search window, top left, paste in the title of the auction: Signed Wicked! +Unique Collection Autographed New Books and click, Search.
If you like you can also select the category: Books.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Thoughts on Newbery: Lisa von Drasek’s View

The winner of the 2008 John Newbery Award went to Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz and illustrated by Robert Byrd. Again, to say I was surprised is an understatement. I had read this book a while ago, enjoying its unique format: theatrical monologues interspersed with factual information about the Middle Ages. I remember thinking that it was a real gift for teachers, helping fill a real gap in the literature for children. The author, a school librarian clearly has in-depth understanding of her subject and her audience. There is nothing like this on my shelves. A few prescient bloggers proclaimed its excellence, but most writers asserted that a book this extraordinary could never win. Once more, the committee showed them!

From Lisa von Drasek’s (librarian extraordinaire at the Bank Street School for Children) Barnes & Noble Review article, “Children’s Books: The Envelope Please!

Leave a comment

Filed under Newbery

Attolia, Attolia, Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner is a wonder. Her three books to date about Gen and his world are absolute favorites of mine. And if I’d been on Newbery last year The King of Attolia would have been at the top of my list of nominees. Whether I would have figured out how to convince the skeptics on the committee that the apparent narrative gaps were intentional or not, I don’t know. But the book is brilliant. Megan Whalen Turner is brilliant. Gen is brilliant. Attolia is brilliant.

And so is Cheryl Klein for recognizing all that brilliance!
Brooklyn Arden: Brooklyn Arden Rave: The Attolia Books by Megan Whalen Turner


Filed under Other

How shall we tell the children?

“Writing about the Holocaust for the next generation is as important as it is difficult,” writes Nicolette Jones in her Telegraph piece,  “How shall we tell the children?.”

Most of the books mentioned in the piece seem for older children (e.g. The Book Thief that was published as adult title in Australia) and I’m kind of okay with most of them. However, I’ve yet to be convinced that this is a topic that younger children (e.g. 4th grade and under) need to know about. I’m the child of Holocaust survivors, by the way; read this post of mine if you want to know more of my opinions on this: The Holocaust and Young Children.


Filed under History

A Costa Chair Considers

Of course I can’t get enough of what others have to say about award judging. Here’s Joanna Trollope, about to judge the Costas:

Joanna Trollope: And the readers lived happily ever after – Telegraph

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Advance Reader Copies

I came back from my Newbery experiences to find an email from one of my former students asking me if I’d gotten an ARC for the forthcoming Percy Jackson book and if not could I please, please, please get one. Wanting to be sure of the title before making my request, yesterday I went to Rick Riordan’s blog where I discovered that there are no ARCS for The Battle of the Labyrinth. In “Raiders of the Lost ARCs” Rick gives some very good reasons why he doesn’t like them. He writes, “What bothers me is giving away the story before it is time.” Do read his post as he has some very solid reasons to be bothered by the ARC business (although I do hope he won’t go all legal if word gets out before May 6th about The Battle of the Labyrinth as happened this past July with …um…another…book).

But it isn’t just authors who are ambivalent about ARCs. I have an editor friend who detests them. She will send me one and then warn me repeatedly that it isn’t the final book. She worries that committees and reviewers will base their opinions on the ARC, still very much a work-in-progress, rather than the finished book. I understand completely because these are indeed often quite different and it often does seem unfair to overly pass judgement on the former. On the other hand, I have other editor and marketing friends who happily give them to me, eager to see what I think.

This post was prompted by Bookwitch on Proofs. She writes of the excitement of getting those advanced copies and I totally agree with her. While most of my fellow Newberys (they called us that at the photo-op Monday AM and I loved it!) used our few hours off Saturday afternoon to rest or reread I charged over to the exhibits to snap up a few. And with the buzz building before the official pub date it is hard not to want to get your hands on a hot item.

While I didn’t start this blog to review books, I do enjoy mentioning books I like, especially those that might otherwise get overlooked. So far I’ve commented about one book that I received and read as an ARC and will, no doubt, reference others now that I’m again free to do so. But there is another reason I debate doing so; I hate to frustrate people. There have been occasions when I read a rave review of a book not out for months and I did feel very frustrated having to wait. So I do my best to excite and not frustrate when mentioning forthcoming books.

But some ARCs are truly special. Last June I was first in line at BEA to get a signed ARC of Elijah of Buxton. The inscription? “To Monica, This is the 1st one I’ve signed! Christopher Paul Curtis.” Serendipity? Fate? Kismet? Whatever, I think I will bring it along to ALA in June where I suspect I may meet up with Mr. Curtis again.


Filed under Fantasy Worlds

Thoughts on Newbery: Child’s play

Laura Amy Schlitz readily admits that, as a child, “I loved to pretend I was somebody else and I loved to perform.” Her sense of drama eventually led her to create Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, a series of monologues that were honored last week with the 2008 Newbery Medal as the year’s best children’s book. Read the rest at Child’s play —

Leave a comment

Filed under Newbery

Thoughts on Newbery: A Late-Blooming Talent in Full Flower

Lord Randolph Churchill once summarized the career of Benjamin Disraeli in one line: “Failure, failure, failure, partial success, renewed failure, ultimate and complete victory.” The parallel is not exact and might sound a little cruel, but it nicely encapsulates the career, so far, of the fabulously talented children’s book author Laura Amy Schlitz, who this past week won the 2008 Newbery Medal for most distinguished contribution to children’s literature. Read more at A Late-Blooming Talent in Full Flower –


Filed under Newbery

The 2007 Cuffies

Every year Publishers Weekly asks booksellers around the country for their favorites of the year resulting in their “Off the Cuff” or “Cuffies” awards. This year’s are here: The 2007 Cuffies.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other