Monthly Archives: October 2013

National Book Award Young People’s Literature Short List

It is great that the National Book Foundation has broaden aspects of their National Book Award. They are now including other knowledgeable book people besides writers on the juries and introduced a 10 book long list this year.  Yesterday the short lists were announced — five books from those original long lists. (Reminder: this is a very different award from the Newbery as only books submitted for a significant fee by the publishers are considered. There were under 300 of these submitted for the Young People’s award. More on the process here.)

I have to say I’m delighted with the Young People’s Literature shortlist, having read and enjoyed very much four of the five. Congratulations to all!


Kathi AppeltThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

I’ve been reading this one aloud to my 4th graders and we are having an absolutely grand time with it. Appelt is a storyteller for sure — her books just demand that you read them aloud. This one is especially fun and funny.  Just one thing— I want a sugar cane pie!

Cynthia KadohataThe Thing About Luck (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

This  feels like a slice of life story, a point in time, vividly evoked. Wonderful characters, setting, and set pieces. The last part was especially beautifully done.

Tom McNealFar Far Away (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)

I found this a unique read, sort of spooky, definitely creepy as it goes on. McNeal really knows how to make food sound really scrumptious and also various characters twinkly and fun until…they are not. It probably would have given me nightmares as a kid!

Meg RosoffPicture Me Gone (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Group USA)

Need to read this one!

Gene Luen YangBoxers & Saints (First Second/Macmillan)

Liked both of these tremendously. Really vivid portrayal of a difficult historical period, one that makes you think and feel.


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Reading and Signing Africa is My Home at Bank Street Book Store

I will be doing my first event for Africa is My Home this coming Sunday, October 20th, at 2:30,  at the Bank Street Book Store.  I’ve been to so many of these over the year, but never as the featured author! Maybe I’ll see some of you there?

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Help Jonathan Stroud Write a Halloween Story

This looks great fun:

Jonathan Stroud, author of the Bartimaeus trilogy, will be writing an exclusive interactive story for Halloween based on the intrepid ghost hunters from his latest book, Lockwood & Co – but he needs your help!

Go here to help out and see his progress.

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Poet Lee Bennett Hopkins Does Something Great for Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A world-renowned educator, poet, anthologist and advocate for poetry has arranged to give the Penn State University Libraries his 18,000-volume book collection and correspondence papers from his lifelong career in children’s literature. Lee Bennett Hopkins, a Guinness World Record holder as the most prolific anthologist of children’s poetry, has committed to give Penn State the collection, valued at approximately $3.25 million. The gift will provide Penn State with one of the most extensive and unique collections of children’s literature in the United States.

More about this gift and Lee’s amazing collection here.

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Latest List of Recommended Books To Read

This one comes from the UK, a list of “100 books to read before you’re 14” (also can be seen here) created by Booktrust for Children’s Book Week.  They write:

To celebrate Children’s Book Week 2013, we’ve announced our ultimate list of the 100 books to read before you’re 14 – and we’re inviting you to VOTE to help choose the nation’s favourite children’s books.

Details on how they selected the books here.

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Africa is My Home — Today’s the Day!

Today’s the publication day for Africa is My Home. Hurray!  And for those wanting to know more about it (including more primary source images, extensive bibliographies, source notes, teaching suggestions, reviews, and so forth) check out my page for the book.



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Terrific-Looking New Comic Book

And by comic book I mean a book full of old-fashioned comics, the sort from the Sunday papers.  This is Society is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy and the Dawn of the American Comic Strip 18915-1915the latest from the terrific publisher, Sunday Press Books.  This publisher’s books are productions of love — gorgeous and big as they feel strongly that you need to experience the comics in their original broadsheet style. The two I own, Little Nemo in Slumberland and Sammy Sneeze (the comic Winsor McCay did before Little Nemo) are huge and gorgeous, truly books as art.  Their website has a whole bunch of sample pages of the books— I urge you to check them out.  They are not only gorgeous art, but fascinating works of history.  (Thanks to Carol Rasco for the tip to this article about the book.)


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