January 4, 2018
Wordplay is a new two-day book festival coming to Minnesota next year. The festival plans to bring more than 100 authors, including children’s writers, to the Twin Cities in May. Organizers envision a fresh approach to their celebration of words: offbeat events like yoga with the authors, and lots of parties. No participating authors have been announced yet.
Author Jacqueline Woodson has been named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. She will be officially inaugurated at the Library of Congress on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Her job as ambassador is to raise national awareness of “the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.” (from the Library of Congress web site.)
December 14, 2017
This August, author James Baldwin’s Little Man, Little Man, will be back on bookshelves. The book is the only children’s story ever written by the acclaimed novelist, essayist, playwright, and civil rights activist. Originally released in 1976, it went out of print quickly. Little Man, Little Man will be reissued by Duke University Press, complete with original illustrations. It also features a forward by Baldwin’s nephew, who was the inspiration for the story’s main character, T.J.
World Read Aloud Day is coming! Mark your calendars for February 1, 2018. The goal? Read out loud together, share our stories, and raise our voices in support of reading and writing as a basic human right. Use #WorldReadAloudDay to share and gather ideas for reading to your community.
October 18, 2017
#USVIPubFund is live and chock full of critiques, consultations, and ARC giveaways. What is it? An auction offered by publishing professionals, editors, agents, and authors, to provide hurricane disaster relief to the hard-hit US Virgin Islands. Auction proceeds go to the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands. The auction closes Thursday at 9pm Eastern on Thursday, October 19.
October 4, 2017
#PubforPR is the hurricane relief fundraiser spearheaded by authors, agents, and publishers to help Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. All funds raised by the online auction will go to the organizations Unidos por Puerto Rico and ConPRmetidos, both of which are on the island. More than 100 authors, agents, illustrators, and editors have offered services. Act now — the auction closes on October 5.
September 20, 2017
New York Comic Con in the library! On October 5, this major convention will partner with the New York Public Library to offer programming on comics and graphic novels for librarians and teachers. A sampling of the session includes this talk on creating stories with positive female characters: Girl Power Comics: Middle Grade Fiction for Girls and Boys,
August 30, 2017
Hurricane Harvey Book Club: A teacher from Katy, Texas started a Facebook group book club to help support and bring joy to children who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. So far the group has nearly 56,000 members. They’re also on Twitter: @HHarveyBookClub. The club is busy — they’ve also spearheaded a fundraising campaign to sell t-shirts. Proceeds go toward replacing books in Texas teachers’ classroom libraries destroyed by the floods. So far, they’ve raised nearly $15,000.
Literary community pitches in for Hurricane Harvey Relief: Kate Messner’s KidLitCares is pitching in with an auction to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, which is still dumping rain on flood-ravaged Texas and Louisiana. More than 200 authors, agents, and editors have donated services; all proceeds go to fund Red Cross relief efforts. The auction runs until September 7, 2017. NOTE: When you click on the link, be patient. The site has been overwhelmed and crashes; if you can’t get in, try again later. It’s worth it. Among the many donors: Chelsea Clinton.
August 25, 2017
Congratulations to MUF blogger Jonathan Rosen on his debut this month, NIGHT OF THE LIVING CUDDLE BUNNIES. Check out our interview with him here, and sign up with the Rafflecopter to get your own free copy of Jonathan’s book.
In case you missed it, in July the New Yorker published this retrospective on the 50th anniversary of FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF BASIL E. FRANKWEILER.
August 16, 2017
The American Library Association has released a statement condemning racism and the recent violence in Charlottesville. “The ALA supports voices of hope as such actions mirror the library community’s efforts to abolish bigotry and cultural invisibility,” said ALA President Jim Neal.
Teachers searching for help to start the conversation about Charlottesville with their students have a new resource: #CharlottesvilleCurriculum. Melinda Anderson, a contributing writer for The Atlantic who covers education and race, created the Twitter hashtag to share websites, videos, and other documents to use in class. One of the resources listed on the hashtag includes this book list from the National Network of State Teachers of the Year.
August 9, 2017
We have a winner for the Rafflecopter giveaway of the debut novel KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE!
Thanks, Jennifer B., and happy reading!
August 3, 2017
The popular MY WEIRD SCHOOL series by Dan Gutman also has fun games to go along. Enter this Rafflecopter for a chance to win a free copy! Giveaway ends on August 8.
MG Author Jason Reynolds, author of AS BRAVE AS YOU, will be the official spokesperson for Indies First. This is the national campaign that supports independent bookstores, and will bring together authors, readers, and publishers at events across the country. Indies First will be held on November 25.
June 28, 2017
Children’s Book Sales: Great news for readers and writers alike – books sales in children’s fiction are on the rise. Not by a lot, only 2% this month over this time last year, but we’ll take it as a sign people are reading. The larger increase is in nonfiction, by 9%. Leading the pack: Chelsea Clinton’s SHE PERSISTED, with over 13,000 copies sold.
Congratulations! Lots of great news from MUF authors. This month, Laurie J. Edwards w/a Rachel J. Good’s Book 3 in the Sisters & Friends Amish series, GIFT FROM ABOVE (YA/Adult) went on sale, as did Julie K. Rubini’s VIRGINIA HAMILTON: AMERICA’S STORYTELLER (Ohio University Press/Biographies for Young Readers). Next month, we get Beth McMullen’s MRS. SMITH’S SPY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS (S&S/Aladdin).
Indy Spotlight: Children’s Book World,Haverford PA
It’s always a pleasure to learn more about a thriving children’s bookstore, and today we’re talking with Hannah Schwarz of Children’s Book World in Haverford, Pennsylvania (www.childrensbookworld.net).
Sue Cowing for Mixed-Up Files: Let’s start right off with something amazing I read in a review of the store — that your booksellers are required to read every book that comes into Children’s Book World! True? That must say a lot about what your shop and your staff are all about.
Hannah Schwartz: We do have an amazing staff and they do read a ton. When we used to get a lot of F&G’s we all read them all. But now publishers don’t send as many, so we cannot read every book before it comes in. We don’t “require” our employees to read every book in the entire store but we do collectively cover many, many of the books. I would say that we strive to read every piece of fiction in the store and as much nonfiction as we can. Even for the biggest book readers there are only so many hours in the day! We do believe, however, that in order to fulfill the needs of our readers – young and old – we need to know what’s in the books – so we keep on reading.
MUF:Your shop has obviously weathered the recession and all the changes in the book industry and is going strong. What do you think is the secret to survival for an independent bookstore.
Hannah: SERVICE! Knowing our books, knowing our customers and making the perfect match is how we survive and thrive.
MUF: Suppose a ten-or eleven-year-old comes into your shop and asks you to help him find a good book. What happens next?
Hannah: We ask about A) interests (sports, fantasy, etc.) B) age/grade levels C) any favorite books they’ve read. Then we ask him or her to look over a few choices and give us feedback and we go from there – either suggesting others or selling the ones already chosen.
MUF: What are a few of your own favorite middle-grade titles, fiction or non-fiction?
Hannah: Wonder, Wonderstruck, Penderwicks (series), 7 Professors of the Far North, Sound Bender, Tangle of Knots, Steel Trapp, Black Duck, Pizza the Size of the Sun, Goose Girl, Crash, Who is…/Who Was… (series of biographies), and Eyewitness Books.
Hannah: Yes, especially on our “stage” area. We took a lot of care when planning the store to make it a comfortable and inviting space for people to browse, read and discuss. We want our customers to feel like part of a book community and share their love of literature with one another.
MUF: You have a good number of autographed children’s books at Children’s Book World. Does that include some by middle-graders’ favorite authors?
Hannah: Yes, we certainly do. We ask all of the authors who appear at our events to sign their books for stock. Some books we have recently added are by Brandon Sanderson, Jessica Day George, Jacqueline Davis, Lauren Myracle, Leslie Margolis, and Sarah Mlynowski.
MUF: You hold a number of author appearances and other events each month, both on site and out in the community. What have been some of your favorites? What’s coming up in June?
Hannah: I think our favorite types of events are when we have the opportunity to gather a bunch of authors and illustrators together to meet each other and our community. It is wonderful to see, for example, an author who admired another author meet for the first time in our store. We also enjoy bringing in first time authors and introducing them to the community as well as big draws such as J.K. Rowling who created lines around the corner and down the street. For our middle-grade customers we had a fun event recently called “Middle Grade Mania” where we brought together 4 middle-grade authors to serve on a few panels at two local schools and our store.
This June we are slated to have:
–Rachel Rene Russell author of the popular Dork Diaries will be in-store for a discussion and signing of her newest book in the series, Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker!
–Summer Reading Club – June-August This is a yearly program we run designed to give our customers a chance to read pre-published books and review them. At the end of the summer for each book reviewed, they are rewarded with credit to use for the purchase of books in the store.
–Also in June we will host picture book author Jen Sattler and YA author David Levithan.
MUF:If a family from out of town made a day-trip to Children’s Book World, would there be family friendly places nearby to get a snack or meal after book browsing? And if they could stay a little longer, are there other special places or activities in Haverford that families would enjoy?
Hannah: We have lot of places in walking distance or nearby for families to explore. For starters we are across the street from Haverford College which is a beautiful campus with a duck pond, walking trails, trees to climb and fields for playing. We also have a number of food options including a family friendly bagel shop and a soup, salad and sandwich place. We are also halfway between Ardmore, a suburban shopping mecca and Bryn Mawr which has a beautiful newly renovated library and independent shops lining the street, like the toy store Puns. Plus, Haverford is a suburb of Philadelphia which is chock full of amazing historical sights such as the Liberty Bell, the Constitution Center and Independence Hall as well as children’s museums such as the Please Touch Museum and the Franklin Institute.
MUF: Thank you, Hannah , for making time in your busy day to respond to these questions!
Readers, have you been to Children’s Book World, or would you like to visit? If so please let us know in a comment. And, wherever you are, do plan to visit a children’s bookstore near you this summer. Each one is a unique experience.
Sue Cowing lives in Honolulu and has to travel 2,000 miles to the nearest children’s bookstore! She is the author of the puppet-and-boy novel, You Will Call Me Drog (Carolrhoda Books, 2011; Usborne UK, 2012).