Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 31, 2013

Abrams: Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava Homa

Shadow Mountain:  The Seeking Serum (Potion Masters #3) by Frank L. Cole

Neal Porter Books: Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers by Matthew Cordell

Ballantine Books: The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

Sounds True: The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey by Jill Koziol, Liz Tenety, and Diana Spalding

Dafina Books: A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Scholastic Press: Mañanaland by Pam Munoz Ryan

Quotation of the Day

'Buying Local. It's Personal For Me'

"Buying local is not a political notion to me, it is very personal, very important. Buying local affects and changes my life in so many different ways. I love buying things from people who know me. A kind of friendship develops, a mutual relationship that is important. It is foolish to sell junk at high prices to people who will be back in a couple of days, people you know. It is easy to do that online, customer and seller will never meet.

"It is so important to me to walk into Battenkill Books and know Connie and Kate and Marilyn and Colleen. This morning, Connie alerted me to the fact that Dancing Dogs had sold out, was out of stock. I was able to alert my publisher. I don't think Amazon would really care....

"But the tragedy of technology is that for every thing it brings, it takes something away. Post offices are closing, mega-chains have pressured community hardware stores, bookstores are fighting for their niche in the world. I'm shopping local. I don't want to live a life of loneliness and disconnection even if it might be cheaper. Price is important, but it is not the only thing that is important."

--Author Jon Katz in a post headlined "Buying Local. It's Personal for Me"

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers:  Bloom (The Overthrow #1) by Kenneth Oppel


A Celebration of Milestones in Seattle

The ALA Midwinter conference in Seattle this past week was a celebration of milestones.

2013 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children. The Association of Library Service to Children kicks off a year-long celebration, including a logo specially designed by Brian Selznick, which integrates many characters from the Caldecott's legendary winners. A preconference to be held in partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago will start the ALA Annual Conference this summer in Chicago.

National Geographic, celebrating a 125-year anniversary, held a reception with Barbara Kerley for her book The World Is Waiting for You. Her text connects a child's experience of nature and his or her natural curiosity with the many vocations chronicled in the breathtaking photographs from the more than century-old archives of National Geographic. Kerley spoke about the importance of child-directed free time in feeding the imagination. "The thing about structured play is that someone else is in charge," she pointed out.

At the HarperCollins breakfast, librarian fans from across the nation wished the charmingly literal Amelia Bedelia, created by Peggy Parrish, a happy 50th birthday.

Algonquin heralds its 30th year of publishing and launched a brand new imprint aimed at young people, under editorial director Elise Howard. Here Kuo-Yu Liang, Diamond's v-p of sales & marketing; PubSpring's Sean Concannon; and rare books librarian Jessica Pigza celebrate at a party hosted by Algonquin and Shelf Awareness  at Seattle's Garage.

Random House gathered a half-dozen luminaries who've earned Newbery Medals and Honors to speak on a panel at the Seattle Public library to a packed auditorium: (l. to r.) Christopher Paul Curtis, Jennifer Holm, Kirby Larson, Nancy Pearl, Louis Sachar, Jerry Spinelli, Rebecca Stead and Clare Vanderpool.

Among the gems, both funny and deep: in answer to moderator Pearl's question, "What's different now that you've won the Newbery?" Holm responded, "Now you're homework." Her nine-year-old recently brought home Spinelli's Maniac Magee. Vanderpool expressed concern that her child received a "C" on a book report about her own Moon over Manifest. Stead explained that she eschews her computer for a pencil and notebook so that she's forced to "move forward." Spinelli finds it hard to read when he's writing because he tends to ape the author he's reading. "An artist needs to be invisible to himself," Spinelli said. However, Spinelli's reading of the history of the railroad dining car poses no threat in that respect. Louis Sachar agreed about being influenced to "write like the author I'm reading, so I want him to be good." Sachar's reading The Passage of Power, the fifth volume in Robert Caro's Lyndon B. Johnson biography. He noted that you need not have read the first four to enjoy it. Stead added that her "urge to write comes from reading." She's immersed in Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. Christopher Paul Curtis says he's on page 300 of The Autobiography of Mark Twain and has yet to make it past the introduction. He praised Twain's humor, which is never outdated. --Jennifer M. Brown

Kensington Publishing Corporation: 142 Ostriches by April Davila

Caldecott Winner Jon Klassen: Text and Pictures that "Lean Against Each Other"

On Monday at the ALA Midwinter conference in Seattle, Jon Klassen won the 2013 Caldecott Medal for This Is Not My Hat (Candlewick), the second book that he has both written and illustrated. He also received a Caldecott Honor citation for Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), a dual honor that was last accomplished by Leonard Weisgard in 1947.

Congratulations! How do you feel? Were you surprised?

Yes, all parts of it surprised me. I try to get my head around it. I forget and then I think, "Oh yeah, that thing happened."

Some people have called This Is Not My Hat a "sequel" or companion to I Want My Hat Back. But it explores a different mindset, doesn't it?

I Want My Hat Back is a bit broader. It wasn't just about the bear; it was about other characters. This Is Not My Hat is more of an exploration of a certain character. With a monologue, you can't help but get into the character. It was a lot of fun to explore what the little fish was doing, and give him a point of no return.

The two books have a very different palette, too, which sets very different moods. Do you decide on the palette first?

I think for the fish book, the palette came first, but there were a few story ideas before that where the palette was more neutral. The water wasn't black; it was dark teal. But the more I got into it, it simplified more and more, and black implied so much more. The water feels so much colder, and you wonder how deep down you are. All the graphic decisions after that became so much easier. The bubbles and the eyes show up better. Since the eyes are the only indicator of how the characters are feeling, they need to show up.

How do your stories evolve?

I've only written two, so it's hard to find a pattern so far. But for the second one, it's not so much a plot as it is a way that the text and pictures contrast. The little fish says, "He probably won't wake up for a long time," and the big fish's eye opens, and you have a book. That page is the idea for the book. It's the structure. Once you have that relationship between the pictures and the book, then you're off. Writing is so intimidating--so's illustrating I guess, but the two have to lean against each other. The more of a job you give each one, the less pressure you have on either one individually.

You work with ink and you also work digitally. Do you draw first, and then scan in the art?

For this book, I'd do a page of plants and hats and fish with an ink brush on paper, and scan them, and then you choose the ones you like and put your picture together digitally. They're like little cast members. The shapes are all done in black and white. You can get distracted by color. Ink looks smoother, and you don't mind seeing it printed on book paper. I've been liking photographing them more and more because they're softer; scanning makes it sharp.

Tell us about the crab.

The crab is a fun guy. I'm surprised by how evenly divided children are about him. Half of them think he was always a sellout, and half thinks, "No, he's scared."There are a lot of advantages to not narrating. You put the person in the situation, and then you can say, "What do you think about this guy?" When you ask kids about the little fish in this one, even if they're divided about the crab, they're less divided about what happened to the little fish. When you ask, "Do you think the little fish is okay?," there's always one or two hopeful kids.

When you spoke at the Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium this past fall, you talked about the illustration in Extra Yarn in which we see evidence of the robbers' theft of the yarn. Could you talk about how you worked that out?

You can't show certain things. With the rules we'd set up, I couldn't see a way to show three men in her room without scaring myself or anyone else. You choose the moment in time when you can imply the most. By showing the moment after, the ladders were still there and the light was on, which meant she'd discovered the theft, and the dog was chasing after them. You can do a lot by implication.

At SLJ's Day of Dialogue last summer, you spoke about how Maurice Sendak's books scared you as a child because you always felt as though there were something hiding in the bushes.

Sendak's books did scare me, and it was because--it's the same thing as the three robbers example. He'd established a tone where he seemed capable of putting creatures in the bushes. He was so truthful about things. He didn't ignore the fact that there were things hiding in the world. Most of the work of illustrating your own stuff is establishing what kids can expect in this specific story. Even if you don't do it, they're going to look for it if you imply that it could happen. Sendak's art felt so fraught with possibility, sometimes awful possibility. At the same time it was capable of everything else, too; there's a pretty moon up there, it's operatic and stagey. His books always looked to me like stage sets, and these big things were happening. He was in control of every part of the page. Even if everything on the edges is creeping through the bushes, he's going to lead us through it. That's how you deal as a kid anyway, you're being led around all the time. You crave the person leading you through it. --Jennifer M. Brown

KidsBuzz for the Week of 01.27.20

Harrison Named Scribner V-P, Editor-in-Chief

Colin Harrison has been promoted to v-p, editor-in-chief of Scribner, filling the position vacated by Nan Graham, who was named senior v-p and publisher for the division in December, Digital Book Wire reported. Harrison has been with Simon & Schuster for 11 years.

Graham noted that Harrison, a celebrated novelist himself, "has brought prestige and profitability to the house" and praised "his tact, talent and generosity as an editor. He honed his skill at attracting authors as the deputy editor of Harper's magazine, where he worked for a decade before his tenure at Scribner. His alliances with colleagues in all departments at Simon & Schuster, his eloquence, conviction and savvy when launching a book, his teacher's instincts, and his solidarity with our staff make him an ideal editor-in-chief for Scribner."

Disney-Hyperion: The Magical Yet by Angela Diterlizzi, Lorena Alvarez

Amazon to Open Three Fulfillment Centers in Texas

Amazon plans to open three new fulfillment centers in Texas, including a 1.2 million-square-foot site in Schertz and one million-square-foot site in Coppell to handle larger items, while the 1.1 million-square-foot site in Haslet will handle smaller items, including books.  

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said the state was pleased with Amazon's investment and thanked the online retailer "for working with us--making it possible to bring new jobs and revenue to the state of Texas."

"We look forward to putting more than 1,000 Texans to work at our new fulfillment centers in Schertz, Coppell and Haslet," said Mike Roth, Amazon's v-p of North American fulfillment. "We appreciate the state and local elected officials who have helped us make this exciting investment in the state of Texas."

Life Drawn: Little Josephine: Memory in Pieces by Valerie Villieu, illustrated by Raphael

Obituary Note: Anselm Hollo

Poet and translator Anselm Hollo, who was born in Finland but had lived in the U.S. since the mid-1960s, died Tuesday, Samizdat reported. He was 79. Coffee House Press founder and senior editor Allan Kornblum remembered Hollo in an essay posted on the publisher's blog. Coffee House published a number of Hollo's books, including Notes on the Possibilities & Attractions of Existence, Corvus and Guests of Space.

Johns Hopkins University Press: Detectives in the Shadows by Susanna Lee

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Notes on a Silencing: 
A Memoir
by Lacy Crawford

Lacy Crawford was 14 years old when she was sexually assaulted by two star athletes at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. In precise, lucid prose, the author examines herself and the forces outside her that converged to suppress her voice--until now. "I was riveted from the first page by Lacy Crawford's magnificent writing," says Asya Muchnick, v-p and executive editor at Little, Brown, "and by her searing story of how a powerful institution sought to silence and shame her rather than going after the young men who sexually assaulted her. Her memoir is the gripping account of what this silencing cost her, and of finally reclaiming her voice decades later." In gorgeous passages that balance chilling events, Crawford speaks of the paradox of privilege's advantages and its unspoken price of admission. --Jennifer M. Brown, senior editor, Shelf Awareness

(Little, Brown, $28 hardcover, 9780316491556, July 14, 2020)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported



Image of the Day: A Fishy Greeting

Fishmongers at Seattle's Pike Place Market had a special greeting for ALA attendees this past weekend.

The History Press: Wildsam Travel Guides by Various

Boston's Indies 'Keep the Love for Books Alive'

"To the book aficionado, there is nothing better than wandering around the shelves of a well-stocked bookstore," Boston University's Daily Free Press observed in its profile of some of the city's indie booksellers who "cater to this sort of browsing routine and keep the love for books alive."

"There aren't many [independent bookstores] left," said Dana Brigham, co-owner of the Brookline Booksmith. "What makes any of us stand out is that we each have our own personality, style selection (both physically and what we carry) and who we hire. Each one is quite unique."

Jeff Mayersohn, owner of Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, noted that his store "has character to it. If you walk into it, you know that we're about books. A lot of stores facing financial challenges have introduced non-book items and I have no problem with that. I think it's more important that the bookstore survives, and if they do it by selling things other than books, that's fine. We've chosen to take a different path where the book is still our main focus."

Used bookshops "have always been independent," said Kenneth Gloss, proprietor of the Brattle Book Shop. "What makes them stand out is what you have in stock."

Martyn Beeny Joining University of Nebraska Press

Effective February 4, Martyn Beeny is joining the University of Nebraska Press as marketing manager and will be responsible for marketing and sales for the book division, including the Bison Books and Jewish Publication Society imprints. He has been marketing director and associate editor at the South Dakota State Historical Society Press since 2005.

Book Trailer of the Day: Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group

Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group by Ian Svenonius (Akashic Books), a satirical how-to guide for aspiring rock stars by the lead singer for the Nation of Ulysses and the Make-Up. Two nights ago, 100 people showed up to see him at WORD in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: George Saunders on KCRW's Bookworm

Today on KCRW's Bookworm: George Saunders, author of Tenth of December (Random House, $26, 9780812993806). As the show put it: "George Saunders, author most recently of the highly praised collection Tenth of December, is a writer whose compact short stories find the bottom of the American heap and then see how much lower we can go--and still survive. Saunders reflects on writing, 'infinitely' revising, and how he finds the voices for his luminous but smudged characters."


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Andy Carvin, author of Distant Witness (CUNY Journalism Press, $20, 9781939293022).


Tomorrow on Katie!: Goldie Hawn, author of 10 Mindful Minutes: Giving Our Children--and Ourselves--the Social and Emotional Skills to Reduce Stress and Anxiety for Healthier, Happy Lives (Perigee, $14, 9780399537721).


Tomorrow on ABC's 20/20: Sachi Parker, author of Lucky Me: My Life with--and Without--My Mom, Shirley MacLaine (Gotham, $27, 9781592407880).

This Weekend on Book TV: Jared Diamond

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, February 2
12 p.m. BookTV visits Santa Fe, N.M., to interview several of the city's authors and tour its literary sites, including Collected Works Bookstore. (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m.)

7 p.m. Jared Diamond presents his book The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? (Viking, $36, 9780670024810). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)  

8 p.m. Former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle talks about his book The U.S. Senate: : Fundamentals of American Government (Thomas Dunne, $19.99, 9781250011220).

9 p.m. Gen. Stanley McChrystal (Ret.) discusses his book My Share of the Task: A Memoir (Portfolio, $29.95, 9781591844754). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. The Pew Research Center's D'Vera Cohn interviews Jonathan Last, author of What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster (Encounter Books, $23.99, 9781594036415). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Taylor Branch presents his book The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (S&S, $26, 9781451678970). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:30 a.m.)

Sunday, February 3
12:30 a.m. At an event hosted by at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Ariz., Cita Stelzer discusses her book Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table (Pegasus, $26.95, 9781605984018). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:30 p.m.)

12 p.m. In Depth. Randall Robinson, founder and president emeritus of TransAfrica and author of five books, including Makeda (OpenLens, $15.95, 9781617750229), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or submitting questions to or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

3 p.m. David Goldhill presents his book Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father--and How We Can Fix It (Knopf, $25.95, 9780307961549). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 5:

Deadly Stakes: A Novel by J.A. Jance (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781451628685) is the latest Ali Reynolds mystery.

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill and Lisa Pulitzer (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062248473) tells the story of Scientology leader David Miscavige's niece.

Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets by Jim Rogers (Crown Business, $26, 9780307986078) gives investing anecdotes from a Wall Street insider.

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23, 9780547858241), inspired by Flannery O'Connor and Robert Lowell, follows the friendship of two budding artists.

Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science by Christoph Irmscher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35, 9780547577678) chronicles the work of a scientist who emigrated from Switzerland and helped launch science as we know it.

A Cold and Lonely Place: A Novel by Sara J. Henry (Crown, $24, 9780307718419) finds a freelance writer discovering an ice-encased body.

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin (Harvard Business Review Press, $27, 9781422187395) explores corporate strategy.

Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs by Ted Kerasote (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780547236261) explores canine care and longevity.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Colour of Milk: A Novel by Nell Leyshon (Ecco, $21.99, 9780062245823). "Heartbreaking, breathtaking, and very human, The Colour of Milk reads less like historical fiction and more like a memoir. Mary is a hardworking but willful farm girl in rural England until her abusive father 'sells' her to the local vicar as a servant. Her new position brings her opportunities for education and wider knowledge than she ever had before, but there are consequences. This gripping story of power, family, and self-determination will pull you right in and stay with you for a long time." --Caitlin Caulfield, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister: A Novel by Jeff Backhaus (Algonquin, $23.95, 9781616201371). "Thomas Tessler is 'hikikomori,' secluded, isolated, and depressed, a father so filled with guilt and shame he feels his only option is to lock himself in his bedroom and avoid all human contact. Thomas's wife, Silke, forced to communicate with her husband through a locked door, is desperate to save her marriage. She enlists the services of Megumi, a Japanese 'rental sister.' Her job is to break through Thomas's wall of isolation. Backhaus does a wonderful job of exploring how these three defeated people reach out to one another and begin the work of healing." --Beverly Bartczak, the Fine Print, Lakeside, Ohio

From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant: A Novel by Alex Gilvarry (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143123064). "This is a bold book. It is bold in its style, its thesis, and its story. While Gilvarry's narrative and characters are big and playful, the underlying dilemmas are deadly serious: What happens to those falsely accused or mistakenly detained when the remedies of the American criminal justice system are unavailable to them? How does one prove one's innocence when the system is set up to prove one's guilt? Gilvarry skillfully navigates the space between black comedy and farce without delivering a polemic and instead gives us a novel that is delightful without being light." --Catherine Weller, Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, Utah

For Ages 5 to 9
The Critter Club: Amy and the Missing Puppy by Callie Barkley, illustrated by Marsha Riti (Little Simon, $4.99, 9781442457690). "During spring break, Amy is worried about being lonely because all her friends have big plans, and all she is going to do is help her mother at the veterinary clinic and read her new Nancy Drew mystery. Things get exciting fast, however, when Mrs. Sullivan, the intimidating rich lady who lives in the mansion at the end of town, brings her puppy, Rufus, into the clinic and then comes back later that night in tears because Rufus has run away. Suddenly, Amy has a real mystery to solve! Big print, great illustrations, and a story that is clear and easy to follow make this a very good chapter book for young readers." --Julie A. Baker, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: House of Earth

House of Earth by Woody Guthrie (Infinitum Nihil/Harper, $25.99 hardcover, 9780062248398, February 5, 2013)

Woody Guthrie's posthumously published novel, House of Earth, is about the connection of the people to the land and the inherent injustice of private property, themes at the heart of his best known song, "This Land Is Your Land" (which, in a way, is also his least familiar song: few people know more than the first verse).

Tike Hamlin has never had much, but then he falls "about as low and lousy as he can get... ending up being just another [share]cropper." Worse yet, he's dragging his beloved Ella Mae with him. Together they find themselves tethered to a hardscrabble piece of Texas land they can never own, trapped in a one-room shack that leaks flies and dust and wind. There is still love and laughter, of course, but the daily grind against indignity and despair takes its toll. The one ray of light is their dream to build a house of earth.

Experiencing firsthand the devastating dust storms that ravaged the Texas plains in the 1930s, Guthrie sought a more secure shelter for the people there and found, in the ancient adobe structures of New Mexico, inspiration for a better way of life--and for his only novel. It's impossible to avoid the obvious comparison to Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath: in theme, ethos and character, the two books are kissing cousins; in terms of style, however, they are a breed apart. Told in the unmistakable vernacular of Woody, at once earthy and erudite, House of Earth is less a novel than an extended prose poem interrupted by healthy smatterings of folksy dialogue. Tike and Ella Mae are figures torn from the pages of James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, but rather than leaving us on the outside to stare back at his characters' stark gazes, Guthrie gains us entry into their world.

And this is why poets and troubadours will always trump politicians. Being of the people, their message embraces everyman, speaks truth to power at campfires and picket lines and emboldens the meek to inherit their birthright. House of Earth is about that eternal struggle. As an old woman in New Mexico said to Guthrie, "The world is made of adobe." And, as he replied, "So is man." --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: Johnny Depp and Doug Brinkley launch a new publishing imprint with a powerful tale of poverty and poetry on the upper plains of Texas from one of America's greatest folksingers.

KidsBuzz: Roaring Brook Press: The Prettiest by Brigit Young
KidsBuzz: Sleeping Bear Press: The Voice That Won the Vote: How One Woman's Words Made History by Elisa Boxer, illustrated by Vivien Mildenberger
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