Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 1, 2013: Kids' Maximum Shelf: The Testing

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gotham: Beijing Bastard by Val Wang

St. Martin's: Undeniable by Bill Nye

Ballantine: The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward

Tantor Audio: Fog Island Mountains by Michelle Bailat-Jones

St. Martin's: The Art of Not Having It All by Melissa Kite

Bloomsbury: Unbored Games by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen

Berkley: Captivated By You by Sylvia Day

Algonquin: Descent by Tim Johnston

 

Quotation of the Day

Marketplace Fairness Act: 'Bad for Me. And I'm in Favor of It.'

"Sometimes bad news for you is good news for the social order. In those cases, it can be hard to be rational. (I know my first impulse in re. this bill was to be like, 'WE MUST DEFEAT THIS THING THAT WILL HARM MY COMPANY.') But ultimately I don't think that kind of selfishness makes for better governance. This bill is bad for me. And I'm in favor of it."

--Author John Green in his Tumblr post "When Things That Are Bad for You Are Good for the World."

Grove Atlantic: H Is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald

News

Pew Research Center Finds Parents Most Engaged with Libraries

The majority of parents, especially those with children below the age of 18, view libraries as an important resource for their children and are far more engaged with libraries than adults who do not have kids, Pew Research Center has found.

The findings, released today, come from a survey conducted last fall, in which Pew asked more than 2,200 people about their involvement with libraries. The survey and subsequent report are part of a larger initiative called the Internet & American Life Project.

"[Parents] are a special cohort because of their affection for libraries, their deep sense that libraries matter to their children, and their own use of libraries," commented Lee Rainie, the director of the Pew Internet Project. "They do more and they are eager for more library services of every kind."

The higher rate of involvement with libraries likely stems from the importance that parents place on reading in their children's lives, Pew also noted in its findings. Some 50% of parents with children under the age of 12 read to their children every day, and another 26% read to their children at least a few times per week. Generally speaking, the younger the children, the keener the parents are to read to them every day. Mothers especially are more likely than fathers to be involved with libraries and read more often with their children.

Kathryn Zickhur, a Pew Internet Project research analyst, commented: "Parents' ties to libraries are all the more striking because parents are more likely than other adults to have computers, internet access, smartphones, and tablet computers. The presence of this technology in their lives might make them less reliant on libraries... but the opposite is the case--the more technology they have, the more they're likely to take advantage of library services."

More information on the Pew Internet & American Life Project, including its library projects, can be found here. --Alex Mutter

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's: Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

BAM Closing Waco, Tex., Store

Books-A-Million will close its Central Texas Marketplace store in Waco June 1, the Tribune-Herald reported, adding that the 18,000-square-foot store, which "since 2005 has held a prominent place in the sprawling center, was not living up to the Alabama-based chain’s financial expectations, at least in recent years."

"We do routinely evaluate each one of our retail locations, and at this time we have chosen to close this location," said company spokeswoman Laura Collins.

Cambridge University Press: The Letters of Samuel Beckett Vol 3

David Fickling Leaving Random House for Indie Venture

David Fickling is leaving Random House, where he has been publisher of the David Fickling Books children's imprint, to set up as an independent publisher under the same name and in its existing Oxford office, publishing 25-30 books a year, the Bookseller reported. Simon Mason will join the new company as managing director.

Titles scheduled to be published at Random House's DFB imprint after Fickling's departure "will be published as DFB books by the RHCP fiction team headed by Annie Eaton and the picture book team led by Fiona Macmillan," the Bookseller wrote. The existing DFB backlist "will gradually move to one of the other imprints in the Random House children's division."

While noting that he "will miss colleagues hugely," Fickling explained why he wanted to make the move to indie: "I like publishing to be personal, and I want to keep at the level of making books. I'm 60, it's about legacy--the storyhouse going on, the editorial team continuing to go on publishing the best books they can find. It's also about sharing with authors, and partnerships. And it's about autonomy--publishers have to recognize great work when they see it; and when they see it, act and get it out there."

Tor: Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp

Self-Published Writers Sue Author Solutions

A federal class action lawsuit has been filed by three writers against Penguin Group and its self-publishing division Author Solutions, seeking "$5 million in punitive damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, California unfair competition law and New York general business law," Courthouse News Service reported.

The complaint states that "even while Defendant Author Solutions prominently markets itself on its website as '[t]he leading indie publishing company in the world,' authors often discover, once it is too late, that Author Solutions is not an 'indie publisher' at all. It is a printing service that fails to maintain even the most rudimentary standards of book publishing, profiting not for its authors but from them."

B&N Donates Nooks to 'Get London Reading' Campaign

Barnes & Noble subsidiary Nook Media is teaming up with the London Evening Standard to support the Get London Reading campaign. B&N is donating 1,000 Nook e-reading devices to go to reading helpers trained by campaign partner Beanstalk, a national literacy charity whose volunteers will use the Nooks in schools with high levels of illiteracy to help children who have fallen behind in reading.
 
"Reading is a basic human right, without which a person is ill-equipped to function in society, let alone fulfill their potential," said David Cohen, the Evening Standard's campaigns editor. "Shocking levels of illiteracy in London's primary schools prompted the Evening Standard to act by trying to help children who had fallen behind with their reading and were in danger of never catching up."
 
Beanstalk CEO Sue Porto said she is looking forward "to seeing the impact the e-readers make in tackling illiteracy. In this digital age, where children have access to technology at ever younger ages, it's vitally important that we use every possible resource to help engage the children we are working with."

As part of its involvement with the Get London Reading program, B&N is offering a price break on its line of e-readers and tablets for a limited time, including the Nook Simple Touch for £29 (about US$45).

Obituary Note: David Poindexter, Founder of MacAdam/Cage

photo: Dorothy Carico Smith

Few people go into the book business thinking they will make a ton of money. Most say they stay in it because of the other people they know who who stay in it. On Monday, we lost one such person, whom many saw as a true champion of the printed word.

Just three months after being diagnosed with cancer, David Poindexter died in his sleep on Monday at the age of 59. In 1998, using the proceeds from a lucrative printing business, he founded MacAdam/Cage, a boutique publishing company dedicated to the discovery of new narrative voices. One of the company's debut books, the memoir Infidelity by Ann Pearlman, landed the author on Oprah's couch.

MacAdam/Cage was on its way, plucking manuscripts from the slush pile and courting booksellers to handsell its books. Those booksellers made bestsellers out of many MacAdam/Cage titles including Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Sleep Toward Heaven by Amanda Erye Ward. After just two years in business, MacAdam/Cage acquired MacMurray & Beck.

But the recession nearly sank MacAdam/Cage, which eventually climbed out of four years of financial trouble that included being sued by unpaid authors, disruptions in distribution and having to let go of most of its staff. But Poindexter was determined to not declare bankruptcy during what he referred to as "The Troubles."

Just last year, MacAdam/Cage announced that it had paid back 80% of its debt and had the financing to cover the rest and continue its publishing program after a hiatus of two seasons.

"He did see it through," said Sonny Brewer, who was named editor-in-chief last year. "We did three more catalogues together." Brewer pointed to the MacAdam/Cage backlist and list of authors whose careers it launched (Michelle Richmond, Craig Clevenger, Stephen Elliot, Jack Pendarvis, Joey Goebel and Joeseph Di Prisco) as David Poindexter's legacy.

At the time of his death, Poindexter was negotiating the sale of the company, plans that his family said will continue, although no details were announced.

David is survived by his wife, Emeigh Poindexter, and two children, William Macadam Poindexter and Elizabeth Cage Poindexter. A memorial service is being planned. --Bridget Kinsella

Notes

Image of the Day: Lit Camp


Litquake and the San Francisco Writers Grotto co-sponsored the inaugural Lit Camp writers' conference, held at the Maycamas Ranch just north of Calistoga, Calif., last month. More than 200 writers of fiction and nonfiction applied for the weekend-long event, and nine author jurors selected the 40 participants.

Authors on the faculty included Adam Johnson (just a week before he won the Pulitzer for The Orphan Master's Son), T.J. Stiles, Ethan Watters, Jane Ciabattari and Caroline Paul, along with Nicole Dewey, Little, Brown executive director of publicity; Amy Williams, agent at McCormick & Williams; Graywolf editorial director Ethan Nosowsky; and author Sam Barry, who did double duty as the bookseller from Book Passage. --Bridget Kinsella

Fireside Books Owner Answers '6 Simple Questions'

Author J.M. Tohline with bookseller Linda Parks.

Fireside Books, Forest City, N.C., was the featured guest for author J.M. Tohline's "6 Simple Questions" series. Noting that the bookshop "holds a special place in my emotional (not physical) heart" because it was the location where he launched his first book tour in 2011, Tohline first asked owner and "Master of Awesome at Fireside" Linda Parks which aspects of running an independent bookstore she most enjoyed.

"I would have to say that my greatest joy comes from discovering new voices and being able to support their efforts," Parks replied. "Whether through the recommendations of other booksellers or the generosity of publishers, being one of the first to be able to experience new stories by new authors is a blessing. I truly can not count the number of 'unknowns' that I've been introduced to and found amazing talent that I could then recommend to my customers. It's truly a no-fail system. I have never sent a new author's book out the door with a customer who didn't come back and thank me. I recognize the importance of launching debuts and helping these talented individuals grow a fan-base in today's overwhelming supply of reading choices. It's very rewarding to be able to do that."

Promotions at Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins

In Simon & Schuster's Children's Publishing Division:

Nicole Russo has been promoted to deputy publicity director from associate director of publicity. She joined S&S in 2005 as a senior publicist.

Lydia Finn has been promoted to publicist from associate publicist. She joined S&S in 2010 as Nicole Russo's assistant and quickly moved up to associate publicist.

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Dana Trombley has been promoted to senior manager, digital marketing, at HarperCollins and will continue to focus on genre fiction, including Avon and Voyager, as well as oversee marketing of all digital-first titles in the Impulse lines.

Book Trailer of the Day: Bunker Hill

Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking).

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dallas Green in the Kilmeade & Friends Lineup

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Adrian Raine, author of The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime (Pantheon, $35, 9780307378842).

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Today on Dr. Oz: Sherri Shepherd, author of Plan D: How to Lose Weight and Beat Diabetes (Even If You Don't Have It) (It, $25.99, 9780062226242).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers (Scribner, $26.99, 9781439142004). As the show put it: "Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers is a novel with multiple voices, motorcycles, and swift zigzags between separate times and places. Kushner talks about her interest in exploring the relation (or lack thereof) between the New York art world and the Italian revolutionary underground of the 1970s, and what draws her to the boundless artifice of storytelling."

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Tomorrow on Kilmeade & Friends: Dallas Green, co-author of The Mouth That Roared: My Six Outspoken Decades in Baseball (Triumph Books, $26.95, 9781600788055).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Eric Greitens, author of The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL (Mariner, $15.95, 9780547750385).

Movies: Mr. Pip Trailer

The first trailer has been released for Mr. Pip, based on the novel by Lloyd Jones. Directed by Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia), the film takes place during the Papua New Guinean civil war and stars Hugh Laurie (House) "as a schoolteacher who bonds with young girl [Xzannjah Matsi] over their shared love for Charles Dickens's Great Expectations," the Film Stage reported. It is scheduled for international release in the fall.

Books & Authors

Awards: SCBWI Crystal Kites; Miles Franklin; Elizabeth Longford

The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators announced winners of the 2013 Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards for 15 regional divisions. The prizes are a regional complement to SCBWI's annual Golden Kite Awards. The Crystal Kites are chosen by other children's book writers and illustrators to recognize great books from the 70 SCBWI regions around the world. This year's Crystal Kite regional division winners are:

Africa: The Magyar Conspiracy by Neil Malherbe (Tafelberg Publishers)
Australia: Ten Tiny Things by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Kyle Hughes-Odgers (Fremantle Press)
California/Hawaii: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins Children's Books)
Southeast: Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood (Scholastic)
Mid-South: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (Scholastic)
Middle East/India/Asia: Samurai Awakening by Benjamin Martin (Tuttle)
Midwest: Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown (S&S Books for Young Readers)
Southwest: How to Baby Sit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan (Knopf/Random House Children's Books)
New England: See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles (Candlewick)
New York: Capture the Flag by Kate Messner (Scholastic)
Atlantic: BOY + BOT by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Knopf/Random House Children's Books)
Texas/Oklahoma: Chained by Lynne Kelly (FSG)
Americas: The Stamp Collector by Jennifer Lanthier (Fitzhenry and Whiteside)
U.K./Europe: Fifteen Days without a Head by Dave Cousins (Oxford University Press)
West: Pickle by Kim Baker, illustrated by Tim Probert (Roaring Brook Press)    

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The Trust Company announced finalists for the $60,000 Miles Franklin Literary Award, honoring a novel "of the highest literary merit and which must present Australian life in any of its phases." Five women, including debut novelists, will compete for the prize, with a winner named June 5. This year's shortlisted Miles Franklin titles are:

Floundering by Romy Ash
The Beloved by Annah Faulkner
Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser
The Mountain by Drusilla Modjeska
Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany

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Anne Somerset won the £5,000 (about US$7,748) Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography for her book Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion. She will be presented with the award June 13 in London. "Casting a wide scholarly net over the early eighteenth century, and deploying a large range of sources, it is also a psychologically subtle and surprisingly vivid portrait of a ruler who has hitherto remained obscure to her biographers," said chair of the judges Roy Foster. "A large gap in the historiography of the age has been filled with authority, insight and empathy, in a book that will stand the test of time."

Author-Bookseller to Publish Author Obsession Novel with Author-Publisher

"If you think a stack of books on your bedside table is mocking you, try working in a bookstore," said Jaime Clarke, author and co-owner of Newtonville Books in Newton, Mass. To him, the one disadvantage of being both an author and a bookseller is knowing that he can't possibly read all the interesting books he comes across.

Clarke, who co-owns the store with his wife, Mary Cotton, will have his second novel, Vernon Downs, published in April 2014 by Roundabout Press. Vernon Downs is the story of an aspiring writer named Charlie Martens, whose adoration of and obsession with fictitious author Vernon Downs gradually becomes dangerous after Martens's fiancée leaves him. Roundabout Press, meanwhile, is owned by author Dan Pope, who also happens to be a longtime customer of Newtonville Books.

"I'm a fan of his work," explained Clarke in an e-mail interview. "So when I learned he'd started a new press, I sent him Vernon Downs."

Roundabout Press is using a pre-order system similar to many crowdfunding platforms. Readers pay up front for the book, and the money from those orders goes toward covering Roundabout's operating costs as well as the cost of printing the book. Clarke will see no royalties until orders for Vernon Downs reach a target amount. As the founding editor of a literary magazine, Clarke was sympathetic to the costs and difficulties associated with publishing, and so "readily agreed to the idea of pre-selling the book to help the publisher publish it."

To emphasize the theme of the novel, every pre-order of Vernon Downs comes with a copy of an essay Clarke wrote called "B.E.E. & ME," about his past obsession with the author Bret Easton Ellis (on which Vernon Downs is loosely based). The essay's title is itself an allusion to Nicholson Baker's book U&I, about his idolization of and obsession with John Updike.

As for Clarke's favorite part of being an author and a bookseller, he said, it's meeting readers and, especially, other authors. --Alex Mutter

Book Brahmin: Paul Pope

The author-illustrator behind The One Trick Rip-Off, Batman Year 100 and Heavy Liquid makes his children's book debut with a graphic novel about a boy whose father, a warrior god, leaves him with a few key tools in a world full of monsters: Battling Boy (First Second/Macmillan, coming in October 2013).





Book Review

Children's Review: Bully

Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, $16.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 3-7, 9781596436305 , July 16, 2013)

Two-time Caldecott Honor artist Laura Vaccaro Seeger digs deeply into the emotional lives of youngest children with an honest picture book that acknowledges cruelty's vicious cycle.

A large gray bull yells "GO AWAY!" at a smaller brown bull. Bold black type and all capital letters in a speech balloon indicate the gray bull's ferocity, while the brown bull's woeful eyes and posture of retreat betray his hurt feelings. That's the lead-in to the title page. The brown bull hangs his head as the word Bully blares across the title page in red letters that take up nearly half the page. The book begins when a rabbit, hen and turtle stand together as the rabbit asks, "Wanna play?" With a turn of the page, the brown bull has grown in size, his eyebrows draw together, and he yells, "NO!" The rabbit scampers off, and the hen's and turtle's eyes grow wide in surprise. He scares them off, too, page by page, one at a time: "CHICKEN!" "SLOW POKE!"

Seeger, who seems to invent an artistic approach with nearly every book (Green; First the Egg), adopts a completely new style for this examination of the dynamics of bullying. Closer in style to What If? and her Dog and Bear books, Bully features characters in a thick black outline and solid colors to keep the focus on the animals' body language and facial expressions. An oatmeal-colored background with the look of handmade paper provides texture to the barnyard setting without distracting from the main action. A ghosted gray split-rail fence provides the gauge for the brown bull's growing physique and also underscores the sense of the animals being literally penned in by the bull's energy.

Each time the brown bull makes fun of the farm creatures ("BUZZ OFF!" he yells at a bee; "YOU STINK!" he says to the skunk), he puffs up ever larger, until only his front hooves and snout may be seen. But when a goat calls his bluff ("BULLY!"), children will recognize the reappearance of the expression the brown bull wore at the beginning. His ego deflates. He apologizes to the rabbit, hen and turtle. The turtle, who'd been poised to retreat, turns around. The constraining fence now reveals an opening, and the three head off together--the brown bull at the right size.

Seeger both acknowledges that bullying can start early in childhood, but also shows that a little kindness can go a long way to reverse its effects. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: A two-time Caldecott Honor artist exposes the cycle of cruelty that bullying sets in motion in this insightful picture book for youngest children.

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