Beth Gismondi

Posts tagged children's books

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Colbert Interviews Sendak, Hilarity Ensues

The Colbert Report aired a two-part interview with children’s book author, illustrator, and lovable curmudgeon Maurice Sendak last week. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the full interview below:


"Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak, Part 1" (via Colbert Nation)


"Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak, Part 2" (via Colbert Nation)

Amazing! That man is a national treasure.

Filed under Stephen Colbert Colbert Report Maurice Sendak children's book illustrator children's book author children's books


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2012 Caldecott and Newbery Winners

It is an exciting day for children’s book illustrators, writers, and enthusiasts everywhere: the Caldecott and Newbery Medal and Honor winners were announced today at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting.

Taking home the Caldecott Medal for children’s book illustration was Chris Raschka, for his wordless picture book, A Ball for Daisy.


A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka 
(Schwartz & Wade, image via The Horn Book)

Caldecott honors went to Patrick McDonnell (Me…Jane), John Rocco (Blackout), and Lane Smith (Grandpa Green). It is very interesting to note that all four illustrators also wrote the books for which they won. (This doesn’t happen every year.) I am especially excited for John Rocco, as I am a big fan of his work!


Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell 
(Little, Brown, image via The Horn Book)


Blackout by John Rocco 
(Hyperion, image via Kirkus Reviews)


Grandpa Green by Lane Smith 
(Roaring Brook Press, image via The Horn Book)

Read more …

Filed under Caldecott Newbery ALA American Library Association Chris Raschka Lane Smith John Rocco Patrick McDonnell Jack Gantos Thanhhai Lai Eugene Yelchin Children's books children's book illustration children's book author


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Amazon: Children’s Book Publisher?

Yesterday, Amazon announced that they will be acquiring a large list of titles from Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. Up until now, Amazon Publishing has been focusing primarily on adult titles. However, this deal implies a significant move into the children’s book genre: with this acquisition, Amazon will offer readers 450 picture book, middle grade, and young adult titles.

Amazon plans to digitize all of the new children’s titles for their customers. However, they have no immediate plans to hire a children’s book editor (perhaps that would be a good move in the long term…). Meanwhile, Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books will recenter their publishing program on the educational market and will begin to move away from trade publishing.

It will be interesting to see what this means for the children’s book industry and how publishers will react to new competition. My guess is that most publishers are not too thrilled with Amazon’s announcement.

Read more …

Filed under amazon children's books children's book publishing


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Why (Print) Children’s Books Are Here to Stay

If this New York Times article is to be believed, then children’s book (print) publishing is safe…for now. According to the article, many parents who choose the e-book format for their own reading still prefer to read paper books to their children. The parents quoted in the article explain that they like print children’s books because they: (1) give a child the tactile experience of turning pages, (2) allow the reading experience to take center stage, as opposed to a distracting gadget, and (3) are probably easier to clean than an iPad. Above all, sharing print books with children is viewed as a more intimate experience.

This almost makes up for the NYT's extremely pessimistic outlook on the children's book industry from last year. I know a lot of people (myself included) took issue with this alarmist article, mainly because it took a few ignorant quotes and ran with them. It was pretty easy to see that article’s main argument was based on very flimsy evidence.

Interestingly enough, one of the coauthors of today’s article was also the one who wrote last year’s article. What a difference a year makes!

Read today’s article here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/business/for-their-children-many-e-book-readers-insist-on-paper.html?_r=2

Filed under New York Times children's books children's book publishing e-books


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What’s in A Name?

Children’s book author and Blue Rose Girl Libby Koponen posted this writing tip on the BRG blog yesterday:

"Naming characters for me is either super-hard or super-easy, never in-between. Sometimes the name and the character come together; sometimes nothing seems right, or I doubt my choice.

This week I found a way to test the name. On Google image search now, you can type in the kind of image you’re looking for, so I tried the names I’d thought of for the character with ‘Face’ as the image type.

It was interesting (to me) to see often the names seemed to attract a TYPE… I just looked up lots to see if there really is anything to this idea. Maybe there isn’t and it’s just my imagination—but still, a character’s name matters—it gives the reader a mental image of that person.”

First of all, I think this is a great idea (yet another use for Google in children’s book research!).

Second, I do believe that there is some truth to the notion that names attract a type. I’m not sure if it’s the case for every single name out there, but I do think that certain names are associated with a certain kind of look or personality. In fact, I know that my parents, who were both elementary schoolteachers for 30-plus years, would agree with Libby’s theory. They taught thousands of students throughout their careers and obviously encountered the same names over and over again. As a result, a lot of names have connotations for them. This made it especially hard for our family to agree on names for our pets when I was growing up!

Finally, if this theory does hold water, then it does make a lot of sense to choose a name that reflects a character’s personality and described look. The name will immediately clue readers in to the character’s likely personality and look, even before any description is given. It is a signifier.

I am still pondering the following question, though: Have the media created these “name stereotypes,” which are then perpetuated when parents name their children, or have real life name/personality combinations informed fictional name choices? Which is the cause and which is the effect?

Filed under children's books Libby Koponen writing children's book writers