Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Time to Pray by Maha Addasi illus. by Ned Gannon.
This is a late addition. Usually when I miss a book, I'll add it to next weeks new releases. However, the Holy month of Ramadan is being observed until September 9th. This picture book is about a young girl visitng her grandmother in a middle eastern city and learning the proper way to pray. The reason I know about this book and when Ramadan is celebrated is thanks to Jama Rattigan
Amazing Faces edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins I found about this one @ Literate Lives
Swing Cafe by Carl Norac - Amazon has the release date as Sept. 14th, it was listed as Sept 1st somewhere else. I decided to still include because it looks really good. And I have no qualms about listing it again the week of amazon's release date.
Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn
Roberto's Trip to the Top by John B. Patterson
Kindergarten Cat by J. Patrick Lewis
Invisible Girl by Mary Hanlon Stone - One of the characters, Amal is an Egyptian muslim. I know this thanks to Ms. Yingling
Not a Good Look by Nikki Carter
Monday, August 30, 2010
Hi, Erica. Congratulations on a great new picture book. I love the Julia Denos’ cover. There was something about it that said "pick me up and read me now." I did and was rewarded with a wonderfully different story.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover diversity amongst Ida's classmates. (Yet another reason to love Dotty).
Thanks so much. Diversity in the classroom was really important to me and Julia when we discussed how the book would look. I was particularly thrilled that she also made Ida’s beloved teacher, Ms. Raymond, such a stylish and savvy African-American woman.
It's nice to hear that you and Deno's made a conscious decision to embrace diversity. I noticed Ms. Raymond right away, since there aren't many teachers of color featured in picture books.
Tell us about Dotty?
Dotty is a big, cozy imaginary creature who tags along with her best friend, Ida. As the school year continues, kids begin to outgrow their imaginary friends. All except for Ida, whose friend Dotty has no intention of leaving.
Who came first Ida or Dotty?
Dotty came first because when I was little I had two imaginary friends named “Sahti” and “Dahti.” They were twins but they weren’t the same age (a detail that always made my parents smile). So “Dotty” definitely came from “Dahti.”
Sahti and Dahti are great names.
When Ida starts school, everyone has an imaginary friend. In a few months they all disappear except Dotty.
Dotty sees no reason to go – she loves being with Ida. Yet Ida feels conflicted… should she say goodbye to Dotty, even though she really doesn’t want to.
What did you want young listeners/readers to take away from Ida and Dotty's relationship?
I wanted to whisper to readers that imagination can – and should – be a part of your life that you don’t need to outgrow. I don’t know about you, but my imagination is still a great friend to me… it makes me smile, keeps me from getting bored, and takes me to all sorts of unexpected places.
Although Dotty is about imaginary friends, I also see it as a book about the pressures kids sometimes feel to give up "babyish" things, especially when they start school. I firmly believe that growing up doesn't have to mean letting go of all the things that comforted you when you were little. In fact, I still have my old dog-earred teddy in my office.
Ida feels some of that pressure when her classmates begin to tease her about Dotty. Ida's dilemma, to stay true to herself or listen to others is one of my favorite parts of this story.
How does a child hold onto the belief in imagination?
I think adults need to be role models in terms of imagination. Just as we show children by example how to be kind or how to be careful, it is important to show them how to be creative. For me, this often manifests itself in silliness. I make up rhymes and reinvent songs with new lyrics and encourage kids to do the same. Writing and drawing games like Mad Libs and making three-panel creatures encourage imagination as well. It’s part of my general outlook as well. My kids have gotten to the age where they claim they don’t believe in things like fairies any more. But I tell them I do and I always keep an eye out. Because if you’re not looking for them, you’ll never see them. So – just to humor me, you understand – they end up keeping an eye out, too.
Erica, your lovely text and Denos’ beautiful illustrations complement each other so well. Thanks for writing a story that makes me smile every time I look at it.
You’re so welcome! Thanks for having me over.
Erica and Dotty will be visiting a few more blogs this week. So pick a date at random and enjoy. That's what I plan on doing.
9/1 Alison’s Book Marks
9/2 A Patchwork of Books
9/3 Jean Little’s Library
9/4 Pragmatic Mom
9/7 Links to Literacy
9/8 The Book Bag Blog
9/9 The Hiding Spot
9/10 Bookmark, The First Book Blog
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Even so, I still wasn't sure if I wanted to take part. I love doing interviews but I've always stayed away from blog tours. Though I am starting to come around about how I feel about them I know authors need to promote their work and sometimes this is the best way to go about it.
My problem with blog tours is over saturation. Its turn off to see an author interviewed at several blogs in one weeks time, especially if the questions are standard, boring or both. Or when its obvious the blogger hasn't read the book. Or when the questions and answers are phoned in.
I said yes to, for three reasons. 1. I loved the book. 2. Even though I didn't know which other bloggers would be participating, I assumed there wouldn't be much overlap with mine. 3. I'd still be coming up with the questions.
It will post on Monday I really like how it turned out. It looks like any other interview. I don't know if I will take part in any more blog tours but I am very happy I said yes to this one.
Recently publishers weekly did an article on two upcoming children's titles about the earthquake in Haiti.
I finally joined NetGalley , now I can receive digital galleys. Since I don't have a kindle will have to read on my laptop. I think its a great idea for titles I am unsure about. The children's and young adult selection is small. Though there are a lot of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt titles available. Including the third book in the National Fludd, Beastologist series by R.L. LaFevers and A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.
I have Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston in my inbox. I won't open until I know I have a chance to read it. Once a galley is opened, you have a certain number of days to read it. That seems fair. Net galley is free, all you have to do is register. Publishers must approve your request.
Author Mitali Perkins had a book launch party for her YA novel Bamboo People. I think it would be difficult to listen to Perkins read this excerpt and not want to read the book. Someone will be reading Bamboo People soon and that someone is me.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Haly lives in a world that populated by two people the Libyrarians, those or love and cherish books and the Eradicant those who hate and fear books. Haly lives in Libyrinth among the Libyrarians She's a clerk for Libyrarian Selene. There are many clerks though Haly is the only one who can hear the books.
Haly can also hear private messages she's asked to deliver. That's how she discovers the Eradicants plan to destroy the Libyrinth. Haly sets off to stop the Eradicants. She's accompanied by her best friend Clauda, a servant, Selene and an imp named Nod.
I really like the fact that Haly and her friends got started on their journey early in the book. Planning and built up is nice but sometimes just going is as good and effective. Plus a quick start got me this sooner
"Beyond the chind of the monster, she saw two human-sized coils of tentacle and a smaller third one lurching ever more more rapidly toward the mouth. She didn't have much time. Clutching the hatchet, she ran across the forehead, leaped over the left eye, and planted her feet on the cheek. She lifted the cleaver up and swung it down on the tongue. It felt like chopping through tough muscle, like the stag she'd helped Clauda butcher once. A metallic shriek pierced the silence of the night and Haly gripped the cleaver thighter, chopping at the monster's tongue until at last she severed it."
Soon after the beginning, chapters alternate between Haly and Clauda. This worked very well for me, since I cared about both characters. Throughout the novel, passages of many books reveal themselves to Haly. They always fits the current situation. I appreciate the time and effort the author took in finding right book quotes to use.
I really enjoyed the Libyrinth. It a wonderful and easy book to lose myself in. Halfway through it I realized I should've listen to my gut and read it sooner. Its always a pleasure to read a YA fantasy book that features a teen of color. Ages 12 up.
Now I am really looking forward to the sequel, The Boy from Ilysies, due out Nov. 9
read an excerpt from Libyrinth
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I've read a lot of graphic novel this year. Enough to do a best of list, a first for me. Ghostopolis is amongst the best.
Frank Gallows works for the supernatural immigration task force. Hecapturea ghost who sneak back into the world of the living from the afterlife. Frank hasn't been doing such a great job recently. He's fired after accidentally sending Garth Hale, a living boy to the afterlife.
Garth is trapped inside an escaped skeleton horse, Frank sends back to the afterlife. I am always intrigued by an authors interpretation of the heaven or hell. Rumor is, this world for the non living was built by Joe, a mysterious Tuskagee Airman , with his bare hands so ghosts would have a place to live. There are seven kingdoms in the. The Specter, Wisp, Mummy, Goblin, Bone King, (the horse belongs to this kingdom), Zombie and Booeymen. Now things aren't so great in the afterlife. Vaugner rules by summoning bugs from bellow and pinning the kingdoms aganist each other.
Garth must find a way back to the living. Vaugner is determined to stop him. Garth has some help, his grandfather, his new skelton horse friend (Skinny), Frank and his ex ghost girlfriend Claire Voyant.
When the story opens Garth and is mother are on there way to see a specialist. The doctor informs Garth's mom that her son as an incurable disease. Somehow TenNapel managed to make what should've been a sad moment very funny.
The main protagonist of this story (as well as its classification) was a toss up. Since Ghostopolis is considered a middle grade graphic novel, Garth is the main character. This is one of those stories where it really doesn't matter who gets top billing. TenNapel is skillfully attentive to all of this characters and storylines. Including Garth meeting his grandfather, Cecil in the after life. Frank's relationship with Claire. There is obviously something there and its fun watching it play out.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald by Roxane Orgill - illus. by Sean Qualls - my review
Floating on Mama's Song by Laura Lacamara - illus by Yuyi Morales - gracias La Bloga
Doggy Slippers by Jorge Lujan illus by Isol
Brontorina by James Howes - illus by Randy Cecil
They Called Themselves the kkk by Susan Campbell Bartoletti - This is one of the best children's non fiction books released this year. Its also one many adults will appreciate. Will review soon.
Come Fall by A.C.E Bauer - One of the main characters is of South Asian decent. I know this thanks to Charlotte's review
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala this YA novel features a diverse cast of characters. I know this thanks to author Mitali Perkins interview with the author.
Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill - This has a very nice blurb from Suzanne Collins on the back. Making it a great recommendation for readers who are looking for something new when they finish Mockingjay.*
Saving Sky by Diane Stanley - Can't believe I forgot to include this one. I love this cover and the excerpt.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I am seriously considering starting to write critical reviews. As it is now, if I don't like something I won't review it. I've always believed different opinions is a very good thing and necessary. I've avoided critical reviews because I don't want to be one of those bloggers who writes ugly critics. Part of the reasons my reviews work is because of the emotion behind them. Which is fine if I like the book. When its something I don't like, I need to learn how to detach myself from it. Stick to the points and write a review that doesn't reek of eye rolling.
This next part will be a little smoking gun -ish. Meaning no names will be given.
I am at a point now when I can tell the different between various publishers. Some I like more than others. I don't like everything any one house puts out ( that would be impossible). When I read a book I feel strongly about I will look to see who the publisher is.
On more then one occasion MG or YA books with kids of color published by one house have not worked for me. Its makes me question who is editing these stories. Some of them have been written by White authors but not all.
In the case of authors writing as outsiders, publishing houses should think really hard about letting another outsider edit the novel.
I don't know for sure when a story written by White authors with kids of color is edited by someone White but since there aren't that many editors of color in publishing, its an easy assumption to make.
Sometimes its the only conclusions I can come to, when an author writing as an outsider misses much of the culture and nuances of their character(s).
Last year when I asked debut* author Bobbie Pyron if I could look have a review copy of her YA novel The Ring, I jumped the gun a bit. Pyron was kind enough to send me it right off her printer. She was also very open to feedback.
In The Ring, 15 yr old Mardie starts boxing when life is not going as it should. Mardie's coach Kitty, has posters of the movies Million Dollar Baby and Girlfight hanging in the gym. When I finished the book, I wondered where was the poster of Laila Ali? There had to be one for two reasons. 1, Laila Ali is the most famous professional female boxer, 2. Kitty was Black.
If posters weren't mentioned I wouldn't have thought twice about it. However, if a Black female trainer is going to have posters in her gym, one of them is going to be of Laila Ali. When I mentioned this to the author she listened and added a Laila Ali poster
Now as a thanks to the author for letting me share that story, a quick break to plug her upcoming release. A Dog's Way Home will be released March 2011 . Blurbed by three Newbery winners who don't so all willy nilly, Pyron's middle grade novel is one to look out for.
I shared that story, to hopefully convey on a very very tiny scale how easy it is for small details to be missed, depending on who is doing the reading. Who we are is the biggest influenced on how we see a story. Editors are no different. An editor working from an outsiders perspective might have a difficult time making suggestions to improve a novel, simply because they can't see what's missing. When the author and editor are both outsiders this can be a problem. Its as if there's no checks and balances. This is the case with this one particular house. I've pretty much given up on books featuring kids of color written by White authors.
I haven't had much luck with the authors of color, this house publishes either. I don't know what's going on here. I can only make guesses. Maybe their standards are lower for authors of color. Maybe , White editors fear they don't know enough about the characters or their world to make suggestions. I will continue to read the authors of color this house publishes and hope for the best. However,I don't care who wrote the book or how diverse it is, if the writing isn't there, its not there.
*I've only contacted one other author directly to ask for an arc. Kekla Magoon for The Rock and the River I know asking authors for arcs is a tad uncouth. But one story featured a female boxer the other the Black Panthers, so I am not sorry I did it.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Carmen Learns English by Judy Cox illus. by Angela Dominquez
Let Me Help/Quiero Ayduar by Alma Flor Alda illus. by Angela Dominquez
Drum City by Thea Guidone illus. by Vanessa Newton
Oprah: The Little Speaker by Carole Boston Weatherford illus. by London Ladd
Frederick Douglass by David A. Adler - I have Edi to thank for this one.
Miss You, Mina (Candy Apple) by Denene Millner
Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez - The paperback release. My review
Nerds: M is for Mama's Boy by Michael Buckley
Amigas #2 Lights Camera, Qunice by Veronica Chambers
Please feel free to let me know of any new or upcoming releases that feature kids of color in the comment box.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
When I picked up Crystal, I didn't know Myers was known for his male protagonist or that he was the first YA author to be awarded the Printz for Monster. At the time I was simply in search of a good story. I was attracted to the Black girl on the cover of Crystal and I got exactly what I wanted. A few months later I read Monster and wow. It's an amazing book. After Monster, Walter Dean Myers became a go to author for me. I would highly recommend him to customers and I always looked forward to his next book.
For a long time Myers has been an answer to two YA questions. "Where are all the books for boys?" and "Where are all the books featuring Black boys?"
Its inevitable that someone will say "Walter Dean Myers", and that's how it should be. Myers has written some great books with Black male protagonist. As good as Myers books have been in the past, it was never right for him to be the only Black male author recognized for writing Black male protagonist.
I never questioned this when I liked what Myers wrote though I should have. Now, since the last few Myers novels haven't been good, its all I can think about. The last one I really liked was Dope Sick.
I will always love Monster, Fallen Angels, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Crystal and many other titles by Myers. I like to give authors I love the benefit of the doubt and second chances. "That so -so book was a bad fluke. The next one will be better." Its been difficult but I had to accept what was in front of me for what it was, Myers novels have lost the magic.
I loved Charles R Smith's YA novel Chameleon . Its one of the best coming of age stories I've read in awhile.. I got very lucky and stumbled upon it. There was no buzz around it, which is a shame My review, Edi's , Jodie's and Ari's
Author Derrick Barnes has a YA novel coming out in November called We Could Be Brothers I am a fan of Barnes work. I am looking forward to reading We Could Be Brothers. I have my fingers crossed that it doesn't have a quiet release like Chameleon.
Its time other Black male YA authors who write Black male protagonist are recognized and praised for the work they do. One author should not be expected to pen the voices of many.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey illus. Floyd Cooper. A review @ Literate Lives
My Havana: Memories of a Cuban Boyhood by Rosemary Wells and Secundino Fernandez
Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes. My review
The Wonder of Charlie Anne by Kimberly Newton Fusco
A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes
The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee Ari's review @ Reading in Color
Plus by Veronica Chambers I got this cover from powells. There's a different one at amazon I like the powells cover a lot more.
White Crane by Sandy Fussell
Keena Ford and the Field Trip Mix up by Melissa Thomson. My review. The next book, in this series Keena Ford and the Secret Journal Mix up will be released Sept. 16
Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda. My review. The next book in this series Dark Goddess comes out Jan 25. Though if you can't wait ( I would completely understand) it is available in the UK.