Monday, May 11, 2009

What Katie wants to blog about this week -- or -- bits and bobs

I remember the days when we were just a wee little blog... (Let's face it, we're still a pretty wee blog.) Every week the "three little monkeys" (who were really just Bethany and I!) would agonize over our Friday post: "Should we post about this book? How about this toy? There's that event coming up... Is that enough? Is it too much?" And then we would blog uphill, in the snow, both ways.

Now with Rachel and Michelle -- blogging fiends, the both of them -- on the team, and more features to write and resources at our fingertips than ever before... Well, it seems like there's more blogging to do than there is time to do it. I could spend my whole week at the George just blogging and still not write about all the awesome stuff I want to tell you! The best blurbs for today:

We've been nominated as Nickelodeon "Parents' Pick" Best Boston Bookstore!
Woohoo! Please vote for us online before July 15th.

Judging for our annual Art and Writing Contest is almost over...
...and as soon as it's all done, we'll be posting the winning entries on the blog, alerting the winners through the mail, and generally making a well-deserved big fuss over them and their awesomeness. Since lots of you have asked when the winners will be announced, I know everyone's impatient to just know who won already! (Believe me, I am too!) In the meantime, I wanted to link to this incredible art show happening now in San Francisco, called Beyond the Page: Re-Illustrating Our Favorite Children's Books. Our art contest participants have done essentially the same thing these artists have done by illustrating a scene from their favorite story. Maybe someday you'll see a grown-up CG contest winner's work displayed at Gallery 1988!

Nation's first Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jon Scieszka reflects on the first half of his term at ShelfAwareness
Who doesn't love Jon Scieszka? And really, who can not belly-laugh at the image of Jon Scieszka reading his essay "Crossing Swords" (about sharing a bathroom with his five brothers) to President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, the Library of Congress, and members of the Cabinet?

Picture Book Don'ts at Blue Rose Girls
One of my favorite illustrators, Julie Vivas has, in addition to "safer" subjects like farm animals and grannies, depicted home birth, Alzheimer's disease, children in a concentration camp, and reincarnation, all in warm, fuzzy pastel watercolor. The gentle shapes and colors of her art seems to make these "off-limits" topics more approachable. You can imagine how happy I was to see a discussion of when and how to depict taboos in picture book illustrations broached by the writers and artists over at Blue Rose Girls. What do you think -- at what age do you draw the line (no pun intended) for certain topics? Are there things that are never okay to include in a picture book?

My heart was broken after finding out Neil Gaiman came to Harvard Square under cover of the night --
-- and didn't stop in to say hello! But then it was unbroken (at least a little) by the news of the Coraline musical. Now I'm imagining the Other Mother tap-dancing through a musical number on her creeptacular many-jointed bug legs. Although I doubt this fantasy is actually a part of the production, Coraline the musical must naturally be brilliant, witty, and bizarre -- just like all things Gaiman. ♥ When oh when will it come to Boston? (Alternatively, when can I get away to NYC for the weekend? Hmm...)

Speaking of ♥
My fantabulous fellow bloggette Rachel is such the blogging fiend (see above) that she's got her own epistolary review blog, Let(t)'er Rip. It's brilliant, witty (and yes, occasionally bizarre), so you can see why I love it! Let(t)'er Rip is not entirely children's book reviews, but it's clearly skewed in that direction -- and trust me, you'll enjoy Rachel's thoughtful comments on her lunch break reading whether the intended audience is the board book set or the board room set.

Speaking of reviews...
Twenty by Jenny is a great new resource for parents, teachers, librarians, and booksellers alike! Children's book publisher and reviewer Jenny Brown has compiled a list of twenty essential books for each of four age groups: birth to 3 (board books), 4 to 7 (picture books), 8 to 12 (chapter books), and teen (YA).

That's probably enough bits and/or bobs to exhaust us both for now!

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