Tag Archives: Children’s Literature

The Bronx is Up and the Central Children’s Room Seems to Be Falling Down

Last fall I read in my paper of record that the New York Public Library had sold the building housing the Central Children’s Room (the Donnell Library Center), that it would be razed, and that the new hotel would have a smaller branch. Ever since then many, many, many of us have wondered and worried about the fate of the glorious Central Children’s Room. Sadly, we are still in the dark, but increasingly anxious about what is planned.

I visited the original Central Children’s Room at the 42nd Street Library on a visit to New York as a child and remember the incredibly special and exciting atmosphere. That is still the case; it is a library serving child readers, adult readers, and scholars alike. Many a writer or illustrator has gone there to do research. I took a class of graduate students a few years ago and was beside myself as the highly informed staff pulled out treasure after treasure for us to study. I can only hope that this wonderful and special New York City library will be given a third home, one even better than its current one.

Any one with memories or more to share about this special place please go to this post of Fuse#8, a Central Children’s Room librarian by day, a blogger by night.

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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 (www.thencbla.org), 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: http://www.thencbla.org/ncblanews.html

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: www.ebay.com.
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.

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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.


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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.

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CLNE: The Opening Page

Children’s Literature New England is a unique and wonderful organization that held the most wonderful summer institutes for twenty years. I started attending in 1999, was a speaker in 2005, and a book discussion leader for the final institute in 2006. Now, for anyone who wants a taste of CLNE, I highly recommend their new venture as described in the following email sent out to previous attendees a few days ago.

Dear friends,

We are delighted to announce CLNE’s exciting new venture, a colloquy titled THE OPENING PAGE to be held May 8-11, 2008 at the Inn at Essex in spectacular Vermont. The colloquy will feature superb speakers, including M.T. Anderson, Susan Cooper, Sarah Ellis, Janice Harrington, Arthur A. Levine, Katherine Paterson, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Brian Selznick. The program builds on the solid work of two decades of CLNE summer institutes.

Visit our website http://www.clne.org for details and an online registration form. If you can attend, we recommend that you enroll quickly. Space is limited. We hope you can join us! We would appreciate it if you would forward news about the program to others who might be interested.

As we begin the new year, we remain grateful for the CLNE community. In that context we note the recent death of upstate New York school librarian and powerhouse enthusiast for books for the young, CLNE stalwart Micki Nevett. We also thank CLNE speaker and participant Monica Edinger for posting the eulogy for Micki on her blog, Educating Alice https://medinger.wordpress.com (see 12/20/08 posting for the eulogy). If you go to the 12/18/08 posting you can read or add to the many comments written in memory of Micki.

May we stay strong, stay brave, and may we see one another soon!

Cheers from the CLNE Board.



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Death, Taxes, and Children’s Books

Should children’s authors explore child death?” wonders Julia Eccleshare.

Just a few short years ago, while teen sex had long been OK-ed and drug use was creeping in “for authenticity”, death was cited as the last taboo. Now, death seems to positively stalk children’s books, with characters confronting the grave with sometimes alarming abandon.

You mean, sort of the way Katherine Patterson did quite a while ago in Bridge To Terabithia?


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Jon Scieszka: Stinkycheese Man, Trucktown Man, and now… NationalAmbassadorforKidsLit Man

Whoopie! This came in the ye olde email mailbox yesterday:

The Children’s Book Council (CBC) in association with the CBC Foundation, and the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book will announce the inaugural National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a children’s laureate for the United States, at a celebratory event hosted by the New York Public Library. Upon the announcement, the National Ambassador will reveal his/her platform to an audience that will include school children, who will have the opportunity to interview their new Ambassador.

Appointed for a two-year term, the National Ambassador post was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to literacy, education, and the development and betterment of children’s lives.

I’m not going ( as I need to stay home and continue my frantic Newbery rereading), but now I see (thanks to Susan Thomsen) that the beans have already been spilled at the New York Times and PW. And it is none other than that incredibly cool guy, Jon Scieszka. Great, great, great news! Congratulations, Jon!


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