Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lots of news: New Year's resolutions, new titles, a new Ch Lit ambassador, and a new Horn Book!

If the first week of January is any indication, we're in for a year of excitement -- and awesome reads!

To get 2010 started off right, pick up Eileen and Jerry Spinelli's Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself. Unlike any other daily calendar or "year of blah blah" book I've seen, Today I Will draws lessons from children's literature to help make the new year happy. Each day's features a quotation from a well-loved book, a meditation on the meaning of the quotation, and a promise to act -- in a large way or a subtle one -- on the lesson it illustrates. Some quotations correlate to the date, i.e. Anne Frank's "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart" on her birthday, June 12. All the entries are opportunities to take a moment from our hectic lives and really think about living. Today's is "Marty, don't you ever run away from a problem" from Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Shiloh. I have a copy myself, and while I'm (already) behind, I think Today I Will is a unique way to experience the year.

Our new titles shelves brimmeth over with great new arrivals. Staffer Hannah adores Henry in Love, a sweet new picture book about Henry's crush on a classmate who does exquisite cartwheels. Waiting for Winter, with illustrations in a warm orange and brown palette, tells the story of several furry friends eagerly anticipating the first snow. Be sure to pick up my latest favorite, All the World, written by Liz Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee. I want it to win the Caldecott this year, but it's an underdog to the critics' pick, Jerry Pinkney's The Lion and the Mouse. Luckily, with the ALA Midwinter Conference (in Boston!) happening in just over a week, we won't have to wait long to find out the winner! You can attend the ceremony at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center at 7:30 am on Monday, the 18th. If you're not a Boston resident, or not a morning person, never fear: you'll be able to watch it streaming online.

YA authors seem especially busy lately. For the Twilight fan, we've got Captivate, featuring tricksy pixies, along with Hush, Hush and Fallen, both starring fallen angels. (I predict fallen angels will be this year's vampires. Bloodsuckers are so 2009.) Mike Lupica's football drama, Million Year Throw, includes a cameo by the Patriots -- what more could you ask for? Michelle's excited about Carolyn Mackler's new novel Tangled, in which a tropical summer vacation irrevocably changes four friends.

In national children's lit news, Katherine Paterson has just been named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress. Paterson is the author of chapter books Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia (among many others). She'll serve a two-year term, during which she'll promote world-wide literacy for young people. Paterson is only the second National Ambassador; the first person ever to hold the position was one of our favorite funny guys, Jon Scieszka.

Last but certainly not least, The Horn Book, the children's lit magazine I hold so dear, has just launched with a new format! I'm looking forward to poring over lots of first-time columns and full color pages.

Can you believe all the good stuff happening in 2010? And it's just begun! To quote Neil Gaiman, literary love of my life (as I am wont to do, probably too often):
I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

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