Monthly Archives: April 2009
I am very appreciative when I receive the occasional invitation to meet an author here in New York City, but tend to leave the reporting of these events to others. Besides, being a classroom teacher I can only attend such events when my schedule allows and/or my administrators say yes and others cover for me. Then there was yesterday. I’m still starry-eyed about it and so feel I just must mention it here — tea with the legendary Ursula K. Le Guin. I first came across this icon in college when I read The Left-Hand of Darkness. Later I fell hard for the Earthsea books and more recently have enjoyed many others by her. While I think of her as a writer of science fiction for older people, when I mentioned that I’d be having tea with her some of my fourth graders’ faces lit up as they were fans of her Catwings books. I went thinking I’d just watch her from afar, certain she’d be too imperious to approach, but not so — I was encouraged to sit with her and she was a pleasure to meet. One thing I pass on— she loves to receive letters from students — check out her website for her address and encourage them to write her! My great thanks to those who made it possible for me to attend this special affair.
So this week there are only two matches at the BoB so we wanted to come up with something for the other days. At first we considered facebook updates, but since they’ve changed them the look isn’t as icon and so that wouldn’t have been much fun. So, instead, we did what we are doing — twitter! Yes, our contestents all twitter. Here are some of their tweets. Be sure to go to the BoB blog over the next few days to see more.
Thanks to bookwitch for alerting me to the shortlist for this year’s Carnegie. While I’d agree with her and Nicolette Jones at the Telegraph that it is very boy-oriented, even more so what strikes me is that it skews older in terms of readership. (Something I love about the Carnegie is that they have a shadowing process — kids read and review the shortlisted books. We wanted to this with the BoB, but didn’t have time to get it organized this year. Next year though — hopefully we can pull it off!)
So here’s the shortlist:
Kevin Brooks’ Black Rabbit Summer (which I must admit sounds a bit too darkly realistic for my taste).
Eoin Colfer’s Airman (which I also enjoyed tremendously — steampunk, Verne-ish, great fun indeed).
Siobhan Dowd’s Bog Child (admired and respected very much).
Keith Gray’s Ostrich Boys (haven’t read, but sounds interesting).
EA: Congratulations, Chains. You are off to Round 3 now!
C: I’m so excited! Tender was a fantastic opponent, I’ll say that. We are pretty different, but managed to fight it out fairly, I’d say. My great thanks to Judge Booth for deciding for me. I’m a bit nervous about going up against that BIG BOOK next week, but I’m in good shape and he may be surprised!
EA: It is going to be quite a match, I grant you that. Can’t wait to see it. I mean, you both are set in the same time period, but are otherwise so very different! Now Tender Morsels hope you aren’t feeling too tender after your defeat.
TM: It was tough. Chains was a worthy contender though. I’m not happy, understandably (and Margo is disappointed too as is only to be expected). But it is all in good fun, after all. A few nicks — nothing more.
EA: Go for a lovely long bath and a massage — both of you! And thank you so much for taking time to talk to me. Hope you and everyone else check out today’s match — another intense one between two remarkable books!
Sit Down, Shut Up, a new animated series set in a high school premiering tonight on Fox, has an interesting pedigree. According to this article, after seeing a copy of Knuffle Bunny in a bookstore, the show’s creator, Mitch Hurwitz brought Mo Willems into the project.
Hurwitz may or may not have been aware of Willems’ track record as an animation producer and scripter (The Off Beats, Sheep in the Big City, Codename: Kids Next Door) before moving onto a new career as a children’s book author and illustrator. Knuffle Bunny itself had been turned into a cartoon short using the same technique of drawn characters atop photographic backgrounds, but Willems’ sharp-edged character designs also caught Hurwitz’ eye.
“I got in touch with Mo, and he actually designed [SDSU‘s] characters. He has asked that the show not be represented as Mo Willems’ show, because he’s like the number one picture book guy and there’s a lot of inappropriate stuff for kids. There’s a lot of stuff that’s inappropriate I think even for Will Forte.”
These excerpts from the show give you an even better sense of Mo’s distinctive style. I have to say, despite Mo’s visual style and all those Arrested Development folk (loved that show), the bits I’ve seen so far are not wowing me, but hopefully the full show works better for me.