It's that time of year, when we start hunkering down with piles and piles of books (err, more so than usual), and start the Big Debate(s) of Kids Books Land: the awards announcements!
The National Book Foundation has announced its finalists for the 2010 National Book Awards. The young readers choices are as follows: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers, Dark Water by Laura McNeal, and Mockingbird by Kathyrn Erskine. I've heard some great reviews of these books, so I'm going to have to bump all these nominees to the top of my reading pile. I haven't felt as strongly about any 2010 books for NBA or Newbery Medals as I did for When You Reach Me last year, so I must expand my reading in the next few months! The Caldecott Medal is another story: I'm rooting for the gorgeous debut A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip and Erin Stead, with honors to David Wiesner's Art and Max and Beaver Is Lost by Elisha Cooper. My book club hasn't had its Mock Caldecott meeting yet, so we'll see if anyone convinces me to change my tune.
The debate about picture book continues on, and Curious George had a chance to contribute the the discussion! Yesterday, Karen Lotz, Publisher of Candlewick Press and Betsy Groban the VP and Publisher of the children's department of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and I had a discussion about the article and how we see picture books on The Emily Rooney Show on WGBH: The End of Picture Books?. I was in awe being alongside such incredibly smart, experienced and well-spoken women. I love that my job puts me in the path of talking to some of the big cheeses in the business - and we're all in agreement that kids books and kids themselves deserve more credit and attention. It was my first time on air (those headphones were too big for my head!), so please forgive my little camera shy moments. Before the fame could go to my head, I came back to the store and supervised a new staffer assembling a Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pirate Ship. All in a day's work at ye old Curious George shop.
Thanks to the kindly folks at WGBH who thought of us at Curious George and made us feel very welcome. It's pretty funny how such a negative article has given picture books so much attention: if not for this article, would so many people be talking about these books and young children's reading? I'm not complaining there.
Our book buyer, Donna, found this illustration in the October 10th New York Times...and put it on the back of our employee door. I still feel the way that last kid looks, when trying to read Finnegan's Wake.