Monthly Archives: March 2010


Since my agent is on the panel I figured I’d give a shout-out for this interesting-sounding program (although I won’t be able to go myself being in the classroom at this time).

DATE: Tuesday, April 6, 2010  |  TIME: 8:30-9 AM (Registration); 9-10:30 AM (Panel)
LOCATION: Random House, Louis L’Amour Room (14th fl.), 1745 Broadway (at 55th Street),
New York City

Advances may be declining in other parts of the industry, but publishers continue to lay out out six figures and above for YA titles and series. And the market for teen books is white-hot in Hollywood, too. Our panel of agents and film scouts gives the inside scoop on where the market stands today, and where it might be heading in the months ahead.

Stephen Barbara is an agent with Foundry Literary + Media in New York City, where he represents a select list of writers for the adult and children’s trade markets. Among his clients are Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall), Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz (Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!), among others. He also represents the bloggers behind A Fuse #8 Production (Betsy Bird), Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (Julie Danielson), Collecting Children’s Books (Peter Sieruta), and Educating Alice (Monica Edinger). Stephen has previously worked at HarperCollins and as contracts director of the Donald Maass Agency.

Claire Lundberg has an extensive background in New York film and theater. She is currently the literary scout for MGM & United Artists. Before that she worked as director of development for Scott Rudin Productions, where she acquired A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, among others. She has also worked at Tribeca Films for Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro, and as a literary scout for both film companies and foreign publishers. Prior to her career as a film executive, Claire was a theater director, and holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. She is in the process of forming an independent film and foreign scouting agency.

Rebecca Sherman is a literary agent at Writers House, where she began her career in children’s/young adult publishing more than eight years ago. She represents authors of middle grade and young adult novels, as well as author/illustrators of graphic novels and picture books. Her client list includes Grace Lin (2010 Newbery Honor recipient for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon), Jarrett J. Krosoczka (author/illustrator of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, just optioned by Universal Studios with Amy Poehler attached to produce and star), Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney (author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book, Sit-In) and Matt Phelan (author/illustrator of The Storm in the Barn). Rebecca is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Moderated by: Rachel Deahl, news editor and deals columnist, PW, and
Diane Roback, children’s book editor, PW



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If You Are Going to ALA Annual…

Consider this. Looks incredible.

Drawn to Delight: How Picturebooks Work (and Play) Today
2010 ALSC Pre-Conference
Friday, June 25, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Washington, D.C.

Do you linger over the pages of striking picturebooks, wondering how to tap their full potential in programs for children? Attend the 2010 ALSC Pre-Conference, Drawn to Delight: How Picturebooks Work (and Play) Today, and learn to look beyond the surface stories. Explore technique and design with art directors, museum educators, and the award-winning illustrators Brian Selznick, Jerry Pinkney, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Javaka Steptoe, David Small, Yuyi Morales, Timothy Basil Ering, and Kadir Nelson—to name a few. Discover the innovative “whole book” storytime model, developed by Megan Lambert, Instructor of Children’s Literature at Simmons College, to help children derive meaning from everything picturebooks offer. Delve into the format’s relationship to graphic novels and the international and digital horizons. Studio demonstrations, hands-on opportunities, and original art door prizes will be part of the mix at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Join us!

Registration information is available by going to the American Library Association website: ( annual/registration/index.cfm)

The pre-conference code is: ALS1. Register soon to guarantee your spot!

(The advance fee for nonmembers — $280, ALA members–$249, ALSC members–$195, Student members, $180.)

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Philippa Stratton

I was delighted to learn from Franki at A Year of Reading that Philippa Stratton is to receive the NCTE Outstanding Educator in the English Language Arts Award.  I was very fortunate in the early days of Stenhouse Publishers (which Philippa founded) to work closely with her as she acquired and edited my professional book, Far Away and Long Ago: Young Historians in the Classroom. (At the time she was the only editor at Stenhouse, something that has changed quite a bit as they have grown.) Philippa was incredibly supportive throughout the writing, revising, and publication of this book and we have continued to stay in touch over the years.  Whenever I’m lucky enough to see her I am made incredibly happy as she was such an important person in my life.  Philippa is truly a brilliant, diplomatic, savvy, beautiful, and extraordinary person. This award is very much deserved and I plan to be there in person to see her accept it.  Well done, NCTE.  Congratulations, Philippa.

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Zizou Corder’s Halo

I was a fan of Zizou Corder’s  Lion Boy series of a few years back and so was pleased to see a review of the mother-daughter duo’s (Lousia Young and Isabele Adomakoh Young) new book, Halo, today in the Guardian.  So what I want to know is — when is it going to be available in the US?

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Monster Mashups

This looks fun and, being nearby, may be something I attend.

A discussion of vampires, werewolves and Louisa May Alcott
moderated by Pulitzer Prize winner John Matteson
on May 6th at Symphony Space

Lynn Messina, coauthor of Little Vampire Women (HarperTeen), and Porter Grand, coauthor of Little Women and Werewolves (Random House), sit down with John Matteson, author of Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father (W.W. Norton), which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Biography on May 6 at 7:00 p.m. at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway at 95th Street).

The evening will be introduced by Ron Hogan, of, the well-known literary blog, which is presenting the event. The discussion will explore their mash-ups of Alcott’s classic, Little Women. Both authors will address the challenges they faced reworking the text. Alcott’s own work, published under various pseudonyms, included many sensational elements such as spies, murderers, drug addicts and mummies, and Matteson will explore whether inserting vampires and werewolves into the beloved story would be truly anathema to the author.

In writing Little Vampire Women, Messina insists that she was just following Alcott’s lead. Messina says, “I found the inspiration for the book in chapter eleven, when malaprop-prone Amy calls her Aunt March ‘a regular samphire.’ ‘She means vampire,’ corrects Jo. I was absolutely stunned to see the word vampire in Little Women. I knew vampires weren’t a modern creation, but it still surprised me to realize that they were mainstream enough in the 1860s that Louisa May would drop it into a book.”

Grand, on Little Women and Werewolves says, “Bronson Alcott, Louisa May’s father, was a staunch vegetarian who forbade his family to eat meat and preached ‘without a flesh diet, there would be no blood-shedding war.’ The family obliged Bronson in this, as in all things, but once Louisa May’s writing put her in a position of financial comfort, she ate a great deal of meat. It is quite fitting then, that carnivorous werewolves have been added to the very novel which had put her in the situation to eat all the meat she craved.”

John Matteson says, “With a teenage daughter in the house, I have been alternately intrigued and scandalized by the vampires-in-literature craze. But Louisa May Alcott herself loved writing thrilling tales, and I think it’s nice for people to know that Alcott fans can enjoy something more lurid and exciting than the proper folding of pocket handkerchiefs.”

The event will be held at Peter Norton Symphony Space’s Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater on May 6 at 7:00 p.m. Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway (at 95th Street). Tickets are $10 and available through

Lynn Messina is the author of four novels, including the best-selling Fashionistas, which has been translated into 15 languages and is in development as a feature film. She attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied English Literature. She lives in New York City.

Porter Grand, a Cleveland native, holds an AS in liberal arts, a Bachelors degree and a Doctoral in Theology. She has worked, among other jobs, as a waitress, bartender, carnival barker, go-go dancer, shampoo girl, welfare caseworker and Reference Librarian, and now writes daily in her Huntsburg, Ohio, farmhouse.

John Matteson is a Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York. He is author of Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father (W.W. Norton), which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. He is currently at work on a biography of Margaret Fuller, also to be published by Norton.

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Literary Lost

I’m a die-hard “Lost” fan and am fascinated by the books seen in various episodesAlice came up seasons back, but the most recent episode had, of all things, Watership Down.  Are they red herrings, these books, or will we find out when the series is over that they all are significant clues?


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Something Surprising

Thanks to Eric Carpenter I learned that a quote from this blog was used for the Australian edition of When You Reach Me.  Alice and I are very flattered.

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SLJ’s Battle of the Kids Books Everdeen Sisters Style

It started yesterday and heats up today.  We’ve a t-shirt giveaway and these two ladies have won theirs without question.  Thank you, Summer and Lauren, for coming back better than ever!

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Learning About Africa: Reality and Dafur

His fair-minded efforts to understand the motivations of the various actors involved ultimately lead him to challenge head-on the over-simplifications and distortions perpetuated by many Western journalists and Save Darfur campaigners.

Thoughtful review of Rob Crilly’s book Saving Darfur: Everyone’s Favourite African War.

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The Children’s Book Committee Bank Street College of Education

This committee selects and awards a stellar collection of books.  Their annual awards breakfast is this coming Thursday, March 18th and you are invited! Sadly, I won’t be there (teaching, you know), but some day I hope I can make it as they’ve an excellent list (and the college is literally around the corner from my home).

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