Monday, February 22, 2010
Guest Post: Ask Editor Alvina
My job as a children’s book editor
Hi all! I’m honored to be a guest blogger here. Justine has asked me to give you folks an idea of what the job of a children’s book editor entails. Warning: this is not going to be a short post. But I do hope it will be an informative one.
(click the link to continue reading.)
ASK EDITOR ALVINA
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
|Shawn Kelley. (click for larger version)|
February 09, 2010
CHARLTON — Storytime for infants and toddlers was held at the Charlton Public Library Thursday, Feb. 4. Kids enjoyed coloring and interactive stories with librarian Molly Johnson, above with a stuffed bear in her lap. The fun didn't stop there as children played outside the story room inside a plastic playhouse and enjoyed making paper lanterns as a cozy way to get out of the cold. Parents got in on the fun as well and took the opportunity to socialize with other parents.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Today I would like to highlight the work of three mixed-media artists who also work in the children's book realm:
Carin Berger, Lisa DeJohn, & Lorena Siminovich
Carin Berger I first discovered for her book The Little Yellow Leaf. Hardcover: 9780061452239, Greenwillow Books (Harper), $16.99
She incorporates many different papers in her illustrations, often using the design of the paper to enhance the illustration - for instance, ruled paper creates some lines of perspective on the horizontal plane, or variance in paper color adds texture to the trunk of a tree.
In Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant by Jack Prelutsky, she uses newsprint for the elephant's body, counting on the black words on white page to form the grey of the elephant's skin.
Hardcover: 9780060543174, Greenwillow Books (Harper), $16.99
All Mixed Up is even more abstract; you can flip through the book, choosing a different head, body, and legs to create your own character.
Hardcover: 9780811849661, Chronicle Books, $8.95
Don't miss Forever Friends, about the friendship and loyalty between a rabbit and a blue bird, coming this March 2010.
Hardcover: 9780061915284, Greenwillow Books (Harper), $16.99
Other Carin Berger-illustrated books are:
Not So True Stories & Unreasonable Rhymes
Hardcover: 9780811837736, Chronicle Books, $15.95
Trailblazers: Poems of Exploration by Bobbi Katz
Hardcover: 9780688165338, Greenwillow Books (Harper), $18.99
Hardcover: 9780061576669, Harper, $17.99
Lisa DeJohn was first introduced to me on the Chronicle Book list.
I love almost everything picture book or art-related on the Chronicle Book list; our tastes are usually very much aligned.
Lisa DeJohn's Alphabet Animals Flash Cards made me want more, more more, though this is, sadly, the only children-specific item that has been published.
9780811864657, Chronicle Books, $14.95
I've had friends buy these cards to use them as the border on the walls of their rooms, or made them into mobiles for babies' cribs.
Chronicle has also published a calendar and journal that has featured her collage work. Her website shows a lot of other work she's done, and is really worth checking out.
Lorena Siminovich I discovered just last year, when she and Sara Gillingham published their In My... series board books with Chronicle Books. (I warned you I loved that publisher.)
In My Nest, In My Den, In My Pond, and In My Tree all came out in 2009.
Board Books: 9780811865555, 9780811870535, 9780811865562, 9780811870528, $8.99 each
In My Meadow and In My Flower were just published in January 2010.
Board Books: 9780811873383, 9780811873390, $8.99 each
What I didn't realize until today was that Lorena Siminovich also has My Favorite Things ABC flash cards, similar to Lisa DeJohn's in their ability to be used as much for their artistic value than functional one.
Also, hooray!, two new board books are being published in March 2010 by Chronicle Books:
I Like Fruit and I Like Bugs are part of her "Petit Collage" series, which also features a baby book/memory box, notecards, and cloth journal.
Board Books: 9780763648039, 9780763648022, $6.99 each
I hope you enjoy their work as much as I have! - Rebecca
Friday, February 5, 2010
Peter, in particular, you will appreciate this.
But then, so will everyone else.
It is I, the non-alarmist, bringing you more alarming news from the front lines of the independent book-selling world. (To read the first "Bookselling in Crisis" post, go here.) Today I am here to report on the recent crisis concerning publishing representatives (hereafter referred to as "reps"). Reps are the biggest connection between booksellers and publishers. They come to our stores, get to know our store size, buying styles, customer demographics, and possible events. They send us advanced copies, and sometimes published copies of favorite books. They help us make author connections and help us with events. They listen to our advice, and our reviews. They celebrate with us when a favorite book wins an award. They help us straighten out ordering issues, remind us of old treasures, introduce us to new favorites, and generally provide a warm and friendly face to put with large (and small) publishers.
In short, my life as a bookseller is enriched by my interaction with my publisher reps.
And sadly, my publisher reps are being hit hard as the book industry struggles to right so many excess wrongs it's incurred over the years.
This is a letter to the publishing industry at large, written by the North Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association:
We are alarmed with what appears to be a trend in the sales division of publishers; the removal of field sales reps to independent bookstores. This draconian move against our bookselling segment will be responsible for the disappearance of book culture.
Field sales reps are a crucial part of our business. Each regional independent booksellers association and Publishers Weekly honors an outstanding field rep each year. We can’t think of another publisher position that gets this recognition. We devote countless hours at conferences refining the sales rep/bookseller relationship. They are that crucial to us.
Restricting field reps to large stores will give publishers a skewed view of what is a very diverse world --independent bookselling. Sales reps take the time to know our stores, what our customers like, and what is on our shelves. They are the industry worker-bees, travelling the region, taking ideas and trends and pollinating other stores. We learn about other stores from them, what others are reading and loving; what is selling; marketing tips; event ideas; what the publisher is doing; and what authors have books coming out in the next season. They make fans for authors out of our frontline booksellers. They cut through the catalogs to make sure we carry what we’ll be able to sell, and their endorsements are why we buy what we might have ignored.
These reasons are why cuts in field sales reps devastate us. Have you really thought about what this stricture will mean to you? Fewer books sales. Without a doubt, we are not ordering as much through telemarketing. We are definitely not focusing on your backlist through tele-sales, and we definitely miss titles from the frontlist. We also don’t buy as much direct, which makes independent bookselling a less profitable business. The vicious cycle is that we buy less because we don’t have sales reps, and then you devalue our business because we aren’t buying as much as we used to.
We understand the corporate need to save money. There are more efficacious and less exclusionary ways to cut your budgets. You know what they are because independent bookstores have been telling you what they are for years. Cut multiple ARC mailings. Do away with promotional gimmicks that go from mailbox to garbage can. Consider publishing fewer titles, fewer hard covers, fewer copies. Take a hard look at celebrity advances.
We exist to sell your books, those unique and hard to place titles, not just the established authors. Field sales reps are the tools we need to do that for you. As much as you would like to think a tele-salesperson is doing the same job, you are sadly mistaken. A field sales rep is far more than a person filling in an order form.
Don’t cut our lifeline to your books.
The NAIBA Board of Directors
Joe Drabyak, Chester County Book Company, West Chester, PA
Lucy Kogler, Talking Leaves Inc., Buffalo, NY
Betty Bennett, Sparta Books, Sparta, NJ
Harvey Finkel, Clinton Bookshop, Clinton, NJ
Pat Kutz, Lift Bridge Book Shop, Brockport, NY
Mark LaFramboise, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC
Margot Sage-EL, Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ
Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
Susan L. Weis, breathe books, Baltimore, MD
They say it more eloquently than I ever could. Please, help us by supporting your local independent bookstores. Increased sales means a publisher might think twice about cutting a rep for our area. Thank you for taking the time to read about our plight.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
By Rachel Deahl -- Publishers Weekly, 2/4/2010 1:25:00 PM
|Libba Bray. |
Photo: Cheryl Levine.
In The Diviners, a supernatural fantasy series set in Manhattan during the 1920s, Bray follows a teen heroine she says is reminiscent of two of the era's most famous literary women—Zelda Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker. Bray, who admitted to having always been fascinated by the Jazz Age, said she's looking forward "to offering readers a wild new ride full of dames and dapper dons, jazz babies and Prohibition-defying parties, conspiracy and prophecy—and all manner of things that go bump in the neon-drenched night.”
Bray, who found wide critical acclaim with last year's Going Bovine—a dark comedy about a teenager who goes on a trippy (and possibly hallucinatory) cross-country jaunt with a dwarf, after being diagnosed with mad cow disease—released her first standalone novel, A Great and Terrible Beauty, in 2003. That book performed well with readers and reviewers alike and went on to become the first title in Bray's Victorian fantasy series featuring protagonist Gemma Doyle; according to LBBYR, the trilogy has sold more than 1.25 million copies.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Here's an article I received today from the Macmillan Kids e-newsletter. Thought you all might find it interesting. It's about reimagining/retelling fairy tales for the YA audience.
Enjoy! - Rebecca
Fairy Tales for a New Generation
Old news, right? And yet, like mushrooms in a fairy ring, fairy tale-influenced novels for teens are popping up all over. What compels authors and readers to revisit stories they already know?
A shared familiarity allows writers to play with their readers' expectations. You remember what happened to Rapunzel? Well, what if the author changes the setting, reverses key details, or combines characters from different tales? Voila! Like magic, old stories are new again.
With such a treasure trove of material to draw from, how's an author to choose? The stories that interest me have elements that annoy or perplex. Questions, I've learned, are the surest clue that a tale could turn into a novel. The story that inspired my first book, The Swan Maiden, is usually told from the male protagonist's point of view. I wondered what the girl in question might say about her own journey. Forthcoming Toads and Diamonds sprang from a pet peeve: Why is the oldest sister in fairy tales always the bad one? Furthermore, why don't stepsisters ever get along? What if a fairy's mismatched gifts turned out to be equally important? How and where would such a scenario be plausible? To answer my own questions, I had to write the book.
How does it end? Now, that would be telling.
New to the genre? Here's a trio of fairy tale-inspired novels to enjoy:
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
The Wager by Donna Jo Napoli