Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gorgeous books: A Week in Winter

Have you seen Maeve Binchy's posthumously published  novel, A Week in Winter? Forgive me for using the same push-button collage maker as in the last post, but it does have particularly lovely endpapers, deckled edges, and a painted author's pic:

I much prefer it to the UK version, with its libelous streaky pink:

Instead, the paintings' warm, romantic qualities conjure up a real Binchy feel. Bravo!

Monday, February 18, 2013

USBBY at Scholastic

I spent last Friday at the Scholastic Headquarters in New York, at my very first USBBY Board of Directors Meeting. Unfortunately, I missed Clifford's 50th birthday party by one day... but it was a terrific experience. The offices were dazzling. It was like the Google Teacher Academy experience its energizing, creative environment. The board itself was made of very informed and articulate people. Mitali Perkins, one of my very first twitter connections, presented on the power if social media. The whole day was stimulating. I wasn't able to contribute much to the proceedings, but everyone was very welcoming and I'm already having fun following up on a few projects.

In addition to business matters, we discussed:
If you're interested in international children's literature and cross-cultural understanding, USBBY is full of kindred spirits. Join this year for only $40, next year it will be $50. 

Elizabeth Wein (!!!), author of my very favorite book from 2012, will be the speaker at the USBBY event at ALA Annual, Saturday June 29th from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. I am super-jazzed for that.

New York was...New York. Heaving and noisy and dirty and fabulous and delicious. I saw a couple of shows, a couple of friends, came home just in time for our make-up weather day on what was supposed to be the President's Day holiday. i also read some incredible forthcoming books, but more on that later.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Post-YMA reading edition

I thought about doing The Hub Reading Challenge, but frankly I had read too many of the books involved already, and there weren't that many others there that appealed at this point.

But ALA Midwinter and the Youth Media Awards have directed my reading nonetheless. Because of my USBBY Board appointment, I've been paying more attention to books with international connections or in translation. I had read the Batchelder Honor book A Game for Swallows last year. Unlike Little White Duck, it didn't make it on to my favorites of the year, but it was a solid pick.

I actually ordered the Batchelder Prize Winner My Family For the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve from the YMA floor, it sounded that perfect. A ten year old Christian girl must leave Berlin on the kindertransport, and she lives with an Orthodox family in Finchley before bring evacuated to the countryside. It's a wonderfully hefty book. I'm not sure it's not just Literature rather than kidlit or YA. I'm curious to know how it was marketed abroad.

I read the Morris finalist After the Snow last weekend. It's offbeat. I usually love the post-apocalyptic stuff, especially after climate change, and this had some of the most imaginative language I've ever encountered. I definitely see why it won that...

But the best thing I've read since Midwinter has to be Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow. His writing has gotten more robust, and he's do scarily intelligent and incisive, it makes for the best sort of reading experience. I can't wait to recommend it.