Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hard, cold figures on publishing

Over at Pub Rants, literary agent Kristin sums up her agency's stats for the year. Some of the numbers are cute ("number of Starbucks eggnog chai consumed in the last week: 6+"), some are good, solid figures to give people an idea of how publishing actually works ("new deals for previously published clients: 15"; "foreign rights deals done: 53"), but a lot are simply staggering:

15
books sold

6
number of new clients (Kristin & Sara combined)

38,000
estimated number of queries read and responded to (and yes, that is up from last year)

55
full manuscripts requested (down from last year)

So, once again, folks, do NOT get discouraged if you get a form rejection letter from the first agent you query!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Special BABYMOUSE Creators Comic at SUVUDU.COM

It's Kids' Graphic Novel Week at sci-fi site Suvudu.com, and Jenni and I created a special comic (using the handy little Mac app, Comic Life), that gives an inside look at our process of creating BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER.

Here's the first page (of four):

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER Reviewed at Sequential Tart

Over at comics web zine Sequential Tart, there is a lovely review of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER. Some excerpts:

Despite all the pink, Babymouse is not some prissy little girl. She dreams of adventures: quests, jousting, and dragon slaying. She may not like school or be good at everything, but she learns to use her imagination to make the best of things. And the art is wonderful. It has a childlike quality. It's always well done, but sometimes it's sketchier and sometimes more detailed. You can always tell what animals the characters are supposed to be (okay, I needed help with the jellyfish, but then I could see it).

...

It's a fun story that kids will love to read on their own, but it would also make a good bedtime story for parents to share with their kid. Even boys will like this adventure, so don't let the pink fool you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Guest Riker

I was so amused by the Guest Rikers over at Number One (a Commander Riker of the Day Tumblr site) that I had to send in one of my own. It's up now!



Go check them all out! Very funny for all of you closet Trekkies.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Adventures in online translating

Google News Alerts always brings interesting things my way. Lately it's been a spate of "How do I feed and care for a baby mouse?" newsgroup posts and cast listings for the Nutcracker (i.e., "... John Smith, Rat King; Jane Doe, Baby Mouse ..."). But I also got a crazy, translated-to-some-foreign-language-then-retranslated-to-English-stolen-blog-post of Monica Edinger's account of NCTE 2009:

This was the first convention that I 've been to since I got my Iphone and I travelled a trifle wild employing the camera for twirping intentions. For those not following me on chirrup what is incorrect with you? ( only kidding ) - here are those photos. By no intends a good overview of what I maked, but a couple of things withal.

So on Friday after the general session with Julie Andrews and her girl, I halted in to the jubilation for Lee Bennett Hopkins wads of playfulness to hear such distinguished poets as Jane Yolen, J Patrick Lewis, and Walter Dean Myers roast Lee. Sadly, I could n't rest for more of them as I desired to catch a graphical novel session happing across the hallway. I came in in clip to be component of a draw-off between Flatness Holm and Jarrett J Krosoczka. The thought was for Matte to force Dejeuner Lady and Jarrett to make Babymouse, each with an audience member training them. Goodly, I certainly ran right up to train Matte so he maked Tiffin Lady functioning in my NYC schoolroom.


Get it? "Matt" = "Matte" = ...
... Here Holds me training Lusterlessness ( with chair Joan Kindig in the background)


— Yours Truly, Lusterless in Portland

Friday, December 4, 2009

Looking for the Babymouse Books in Spanish/Español?

UPDATE March 8, 2010:

I've learned that the US distributor of the Spanish-language versions of BABYMOUSE is Lectorum.

Lectorum: Information for Libraries and Educators

Lectorum: Information for Booksellers

... and the link to each book's page at Lectorum.com is listed below.

You may, of course, still order from any of the other sources I've listed here. But Lectorum is set up for school and library purchasing, etc. (i.e., the sorts of things your administrators will be concerned about).


The translations are done by the folks at SerreS/RBA Libros (in Spain). Here are the details on each title thus far:

BABYMOUSE, REINA DEL UNIVERSO
(BABYMOUSE: QUEEN OF THE WORLD!) - ISBN 978-8498670479
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Powell's
Scholastic's Lectorum


BABYMOUSE, ¡ERES LA MEJOR!
(BABYMOUSE: OUR HERO) - ISBN 978-8498670486
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Powell's
Scholastic's Lectorum


BABYMOUSE, ESTRELLA DE ROCK
(BABYMOUSE: ROCK STAR) - ISBN 978-8498672503
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Powell's
Scholastic's Lectorum

From Booklist
Like the previous three graphic novels about Babymouse, this title resonates with the travails of school life—boring classes, uncomfortable bus rides, difficult classmates—which she contrasts with her fantasy of becoming a true legendary rock star. Despite a few Spanish-isms and a few Peninsular Spanish conjugations, Spanish speakers from the Americas will find Mendo’s Spanish translation as irresistible and lively as the rowdy, pink-toned illustrations. The sparsity of truly enticing graphic novels in Spanish for middle readers makes these titles a must acquisition for every library. Grades 3-6. --Isabel Schon


BABYMOUSE, ROMPECORAZONES
(BABYMOUSE: HEARTBREAKER) - ISBN 978-8498672497
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Powell's
Scholastic's Lectorum


The books are not all in stock and ready to ship at all of the above retailers. So be prepared to shop around. Good hunting! And good reading!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

End of the decade

Well, you know the end of this nameless decade (the "aughts"? The "oh-ohs"?) is approaching fast when you start seeing "Best ____ of the decade" lists.

BABYMOUSE: QUEEN OF THE WORLD just showed up on one librarian/mom blogger's Top-25 list:

Read it again, mom!

Best Chapter Books of the Decade

As promised, here is my list of the 25 best chapter books of 2000 - 2009. Warning: This is my list, you or your children may not like all of these books! Please read the descriptions and other reviews before you dive in. Middle grade books are more diverse and can contain scenes that would bother sensitive readers. With that said, ENJOY! And be sure to add your own favorites to the Comments section.

1. Babymouse: Queen of the World! by Jennifer L. Holm, 2005.
2. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, 2000.
3. Beyond the Deepwoods (The Edge Chronicles, Book 1) by Paul Stewart, 2004.
4. Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esmé Raji Codell, 2005.
5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, 2007
6. Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth Barshaw, 2007
7. Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan, 2009
8. Fashion Kitty by Charise Mericle Harper, 2005.
9. The field guide (Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1) by Tony DiTerlizzi, 2003
10. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, 2001.
11. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry, 2002.
12. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, 2008.
13. Hi! Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold, 2005.
14. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, 2003.
15. Into the Wild (Warriors, #1) by Erin Hunter, 2003.
16. Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye (Geronimo Stilton, Book 1) by Geronimo Stilton, 2004.
17. Lunch Walks Among Us (Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist) by Jim Benton, 2004
18. Magyk (Septimus Heap, #1) by Angie Sage, 2005.
19. Mercy Watson to the Rescue (Mercy Watson) by Kate DiCamillo, 2005
20. No more dead dogs by Gordon Korman, 2000.
21. Ruby Lu, brave and true by Lenore Look, 2004.
22. Savvy by Ingrid Law, 2008.
23. Seer of Shadows by Avi, 2008.
24. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, 2001.
25. When you reach me by Rebecca Stead, 2009.


Thanks! (And I'm ashamed to say that I've only read three-and-a-half of these books. But that's what happens when you're busy making the books!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tote that bag! Lift that book!

Jarrett has some pics of a nice tote bag that Random House and the folks at Perma-Bound teamed up to create. It features a bunch of nutty RH graphic novel characters, including LUNCH LADY and BABYMOUSE.



If you're a teacher that plans to be at the NCTE conference in Philly this week (where Jenni, Jarrett, and I will be talking Graphic Novels), you just might pick one up so you can haul your loot around!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Comic Books Are Good for Kids ... so says SCIENCE!

Always nice to see a headline like this:

Comic books are good for children's learning
Parents should not "look down" on comics as they are just as good for children as reading books, a new study claims.

I haven't seen the research itself, and of what it consisted--unfortunately, all articles about it just mention the conclusions, not how it was actually conducted. Hopefully, it's solid enough that people take notice!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A peek into how DC remastered the Watchmen

When you work with a program like Adobe Photoshop for hours and days and weeks and years, sometimes you have nightmares about it. But the sorts of horrible imaginings that make me break out into a cold sweat? They are other people's typical day at work.

To wit, (via Blog@Newsarama) the DC artists who had to remaster WATCHMEN for the recent super-spiffy Absolute Watchmen edition.



See all that shading? Well, it all has to go. Because DC's archives are all kept on old film (they no longer have the original art), scanning and reprinting that film can create hideous moiré patterns in all of the shaded areas.

So the artists had to go into EVERY SINGLE PANEL and erase--by hand--every trace of shading.

Here's what it looks like partway through, when the artist was just beginning to contemplate cleaning up the places where the shading ran into the actual ink lines (which, by the way, had to be preserved):



DC pre-press artist Corey Breen recalls:

It was so tedious at one point, one of the three artists working on it, had a nervous breakdown. She just stood up and started yelling, “I’m seeing dots in my dreams, I can’t take this anymore."


Think about that next time you pick up a graphic novel and say, "Oh, it's just a comic book..."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Matthew Holm at Portland COSTCO on Saturday, Nov. 7!

That's right, it's a big day for fans of supersized fun. (And, well, supersized packages of everything.) At 1pm this Saturday, November 7, I will be signing copies of the BABYMOUSE books at COSTCO in Portland, Ore.!

I still can hardly believe that our books are in Costco! See, I am, paradoxically, a big fan of both tiny little chains and Great Big Chains like Costco. I've been a member since the late '90s (the Costco in Long Island City was a like a little taste of the suburbs in the big city; who knew a store could be that large?! Our regular grocery store was only slightly larger than our apartment) with only a sad few years in the Hudson Valley, where, for reasons unknown, there were no Costcos. Sigh. But now, in Oregon, we have Costcos that also sell wine! Nothing better than picking up a bottle of Veuve (at a deep discount!) to go with your barrel of pretzel sticks. (Yes, we have done this.)

Anyhoo, come on out and see me! Get some BABYMOUSE books! Get an autograph! Get a gallon jar of mayonnaise or a 1000-ct bottle of ibuprofen!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Link round-up

No time for real writing, analysis, or any of that fancy stuff, so here are some HIGHLY USEFUL LINKS!

Betsy Bird's (Fuse#8) fabulous walk down memory lane at School Library Journal—the lane in question being Kid Lit Blogging Blvd. You forget just how far kid lit blogs have come, how they've outlived and outgrown the trendy fad of blogging that swept the interwebs several years back, and really established themselves as one of the more (dare I say "most"?) important places in our society where children's literature is being talked about.

On a more personal note, were it not for the kid lit blogging community, I would know hardly anyone in my own industry (outside of my editors ... and sister, of course) and would have exactly 3 friends in Portland. One of those being my dog. (No, that's not true. My dog hates me. Probably because I dressed her as a chicken for Halloween. See the hate in those eyes?)


Also from SLJ, Good Comics for Kids' Roundtable discussion about kids, libraries, and gatekeepers for age-appropriate content. Frank talk about a subject that has major impact but about which people don't normally give 2 seconds thought. (Aren't you glad librarians actually think about this stuff at length before they go to work?)


A rousing good recap of a Seattle Bookfest Graphic Novel Panel over at Comixology. The info. about the "vocabulary" of comics and the difficulty that adults who did not grow up reading comics may have in understanding this "foreign language" is particularly important for any would-be graphic novelists or educators out there.

It makes me think even more about the whole "comics in the classroom" thing, of which I'm a huge fan. I've always been gung-ho on the ability of comics to draw in struggling readers and to help all kids develop a habit of always reading something. But having heard the anecdotes in the linked post many times from adults in other settings, I think the importance of the literacy angle on comics may be nowhere near as important as the visual literacy angle.

And I don't toss that term around as a joke—we're living in an age in which information no longer flows neatly down a page in a single column, broken up by paragraph indents. I'm starting to become alarmed at the number of adults—who are superior readers, mind you—who are apparently visually illiterate or nearly so, lacking a grasp of the basics of visual composition and the presentation of information on a page or screen. Seriously—if grown-ups can't figure out which cartoon panel to read next, how in the world are they going to be able to navigate their way through a newspaper, a web page, a tax return form, or an election ballot?

Quick shout-out

Just a quick shout-out to Portland's own LK Madigan, who had a furious turnout for FLASH BURNOUT, her debut YA novel.


I'm in the middle of the crowd at her reading at Powell's (Cedar Hills) so you can't tell, but there were 50+ people there! Zoiks! (Honestly, I don't think I've ever had 50 people at a bookstore event.)

Lisa, in addition to being a fellow Portland Kid-Litter, was also the first person in Portland to invite me to do a school visit, which was awesome of her. Also awesome was the fact that, while we were out to lunch on the day of that school visit, her agent called her to say that FLASH BURNOUT, then just a manuscript, had sold! (See how it all ties together? That's called careful plotting, boys and girls...)

Catch-up time!

I've been traveling, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, resting up from a brush with a virus, and working like mad on the next BABYMOUSE book, so I haven't had a chance to blog in just about forever.

For starters, here are some snapshots from the fantastic school visit I had last Wednesday at Princess Anne Elementary in Virginia Beach:

A lovely display to welcome me. Check out the dragon reading DRAGONSLAYER! (It always pays to read up on the competition.)





A book or two for me to sign. (The feeling came back in my hand earlier today.)


Then the school's environmental club (rats ... I forget the exact name of the club; may have been a "Green" club or an "Eco" club) came up with these awesome ideas for a future BABYMOUSE title: BABYMOUSE GOES GREEN! Most of them involved Babymouse recycling and/or picking up litter. I pressed them on details of the plot, but they weren't sure. I suggested maybe Babymouse realizes how much waste all those paper cupcake wrappers are creating, and works to reduce her footprint! (But, at least they're biodegradable!)

Tons of ideas.


Here's a nice rendering of the cover.


My absolute favorite drawing of Babymouse.


The club members tearing around the library, trying to tell me which ideas were theirs.


They also got some nice goodie bags (in addition to getting out of class to come talk to me).


An awesome, jam-packed day, with lots of presentations, a pizza lunch combined with Q&A from some lucky kids, and even a surprise drop-in visit by one of the art classes from the middle school across the street! Thanks, everybody!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shout-outs for Jenni Holm's THE CREEK and MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF

If you aren't aware, my sister, Jenni, writes things besides BABYMOUSE. (Two of them even got shiny silver stickers on their covers.) But she also did a great book that Elicia Castaldi illustrated, called MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF. Elicia gives the skinny on how she created the book's intricate illustrations in this interview at the New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award committee's blog.



Also, author/illustrator Katie Davis (who, by the way, I didn't realize was such a cutie), included Jenni's YA thriller, THE CREEK in the Halloween edition of her regular book segment on WTNH TV:



A nice little shout out to BABYMOUSE, too. Thanks!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Get me some math!"

Funniest reaction to BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER ever, by young Iris:

... I'm telling you this book was made for my math-despising child[, Iris]. After devouring it, she threw it down and searched her entire bedroom for anything related to mathematics, exclaiming, "Mommy, I want to do math so bad now, but all I have is this book! I'm dying to do some math! Get me some math!"
50 CCs of Math! Stat!


UPDATE: Don't miss Iris's earlier fan art!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Whoa! Portland author Laini Taylor nominated for National Book Award!

Fellow Portland Kidlitter and notable pink-haired new mom Laini Taylor is one of the privilged few nominees for the National Book Award!

Her latest (well, Silksinger came out at the same time, so close enough) book, Lips Touch is one of the 5 finalists in the Young People's Literature category.



Way to go, Laini!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reading is sexy

That's what Wacky Mommy sez:

Highlights of This Year’s Wordstock, by Wacky Mommy
October 11th, 2009

... 6) Hearing Matthew Holm (of Babymouse! fame) speak. He writes them with his sister, Jennifer. More sexy siblings! One of the vendors had a button on that said, “Reading is sexy.” She is so right. Writing books is sexy, too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Superhero Facebook Updates

Even superheroes are now on Facebook. My favorite status update is from the Punisher:



Aww. Who knew he was such a cuddly guy?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Kids pick TWO Babymouse books for the 2009 Children's Choices List!

From Reading.org:

What Is the Children's Choices Project?

Each year 12,500 school children from different regions of the United States read newly published children's and young adults' trade books and vote for the ones they like best. These Children's Choices, selected from more than 500 titles, can be counted on as books children really enjoy reading. This list, a project of a joint committee supported by IRA and The Children's Book Council (CBC), is designed for use not only by teachers, librarians, administrators, and booksellers, but also by parents, grandparents, caregivers, and everyone who wishes to encourage young people to read for pleasure.


Both BABYMOUSE: PUPPY LOVE and BABYMOUSE: MONSTER MASH made the list this year!

Young Readers (Grades 3–4)

Babymouse #8: Puppy Love
Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm. New York: Random House Children's Books.

Babymouse has had her challenges with pets, but she is certain getting a dog will be different. Pet owners and other readers will laugh themselves silly with her rationalization and side comments about owning a pet. The graphic novel format in this book works well for beginning readers who are in transition to chapter books. The book naturally generates many pet stories, too. (Team 4)


Babymouse #9: Monster Mash
Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm. New York: Random House Children's Books.

This book, in the popular Babymouse series, takes place prior to and during Halloween. In this episode, Babymouse feels forced to give into some bullies who expect her to do as they tell her—a situation that many children find familiar. The graphic format of this book series is attractive to reluctant readers. It is a good book for discussing bully behavior and alternative ways of problem solving when faced with bad situations. (Team 4)


UPDATE: Here's a PDF of the whole list.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Awesomest Review Ever

Just saw the most awesome—or rather, awesomest—review of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER over at young Ysabela Golden's blog, Awesome Things:

The most ausomest book ever that contains math ever!

Baby Mouse Dragon slayer! Baby Mouse is a mouse (I'm betting you already figured that out.)... Walks on two legs, Has a thing for cupcakes, and is horrible at math. Which is tough because her teacher signed her up for the M-Athletes who are just about to compete in the math tournament to bring the "Golden Slide Rule" back from the "Owlgorithisoms" to it's right place in their school. How does all this fit in with Dragons? Baby Mouse has a thing for reading. And this book includes obvious references to some well known classic tales my favorite part in this story being an obvious reference when some fur coats and snow appear in her locker. Baby Mouse is a graphic novel series with a more books in it then I care to count. ...

This series made me laugh and ask my parents "This line doesn't mean anything does it? does it?! DOES IT?!!!" And trust me - this is as good as it gets.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Babymouse vs. Math!

A nice review of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER from a different angle than usual, via the blog Math Hombre:

... Babymouse is a math-hater, because she is bad at it. Her teacher, shockingly, starts her on her adventure by sending her to be a mathlete. While there is no math per se in the book, it is all about immersion and expectations by the Mathlete coach, and employment and approximation on Babymouse's part. And all with excellent connections and fantasies of our great fantasies, Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Potter. A homerun all around. My only unrequited wish - more actual math. All that for only $6 at Amazon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Babymouse's character

I came across a post by Joy Simpson of the Devon (UK??) Primary Strategy Literacy Team, "Using Graphica in Literacy."

I loved this:

... I decided to do a bit of reading of graphica. I chose BabyMouse - Puppy Love by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm as I was interested in those that were written with girls in mind, and Clan Apis by Jay Hosler....

BabyMouse is written in black and white with shades of pink used throughout.... A character study of BabyMouse would be interesting. Self-centred is my opinion but the clues to this are really quite subtle. I am hooked!

Yes, it's true. When you think carefully about her, Babymouse can come across as a bit self-centered.


(But then, what kid doesn't?)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tomie dePaola!

A lovely couple in Western Massachusetts with an unpronounceable name (no, that's wrong--it's easy to pronounce; just impossible to spell) has helped organize a birthday tribute to the fabulous Tomie dePaola, who has turned a quite respectable seventy-five years of age!!

The tribute web site, Three Kisses for Tomie (if you don't catch the reference, go read Strega Nona and come back), collects Tomie tribute art from a few all-stars of children's book art, plus me.

I first met Tomie in Dallas, Tex. I was there for a library conference, just a brief few days after my father's funeral. Needless to see, not the Best Time Ever. But I ran into Jarrett Krosoczka, who, having heard what happened, went out of his way to make me laugh and feel better, at least for the evening. And he brought me back to the hotel bar to sit and hang with Tomie de Paola, who carried on in his usual marvelous way, laughing and joking with his knowing, squinting little gnome-face. He told me scandalous rumors about other children's authors, and I forgot all about my troubles and, for the first time, felt like an insider, like I was actually a part of the children's book author/illustrator community.

It was pretty awesome. So I'll always be grateful to Jarrett, and to Tomie.

Go see the artwork!

Here's my contribution:




I also love "Arrangement in Grey and Black" (AKA "Whistler's Strega Nona") by Erin Eitter Kono:

Friday, September 11, 2009

The nicest fan letter ever ...

My sister received the following fan letter from a young Indian gentleman today:


My Dear Madam,

With due respect and humble submission, I beg to draw your kind attention that this is one of my countless attempts to reach you, and needless to say once again that I am an ardent admirer of yours. In fact, I am growing accustomed to your books.

But now, it seems to me that you have decided,not to reply my letters of deep admiration, as this is one of my countless attempts to reach you. Please tell me, is it good to break the heart, you are ruling?It's a pity! it's a pity! that I am still writing to you. In fact, you are my source of inspiration. That is why, I use to write to time and again despite your apathy towards me. Upon my words, you are absolutely unique and beyond compare. And you are my ideal of a perfect personality.

Therefore, I'll be grateful to you, if you please take the trouble of sending me your much awaited and cherished autographed photograph, for memento. Because when I'll grow too old to dream, I'll have this memento of yours, to remember. Please take a very good care of yourself.

With high regards

S.K.[name removed]


Sanjay Kumar [name removed]
[Address Removed]
Kolkata-700006
West Bengal
INDIA


Wow. Now THAT's how you write a fan letter!

So, here you go, Sanjay:







PS--Alas, we are not his only love.

Libri Dilectio reviews BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER

'brarian blogger Becky reviewed BABYMOUSE DRAGONSLAYER over at Libri Dilectio:

... I highly recommend this hilarious series, especially Dragonslayer! I LOVE BABYMOUSE! It's great that she's a cute girl mouse who loves pink hearts and cupcakes, but always imagines herself as the character having the adventures. She casts herself as the knight slaying the dragon, the detective solving the mystery, or the creepy monster, never the damsel in distress. She's probably too cool to hang with me, but I would definitely want to be her friend!


Oh, don't worry. Babymouse is definitely not too cool for anyone--I have it on good authority that she's a total dork.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Nut reviews BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER

A lovely review of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER by Melissa over at Book Nut:

Today, I took M across town to Barnes and Noble so she could spend a giftcard she got for her birthday. And while she was killing time figuring out which book to get (or how many), I searched out the newest Babymouse....

Say it with me, people: Babymouse totally rocks!

Babymouse's challenge this time: math.

She flunks a math test, and as retribution (or, rather, extra credit), she is forced to join the mathletes and participate in the upcoming Math Olympics in order to win the Golden Slide Rule. Can she do it? (Of course she can!)
Read the full review!

PW: "Patterson Signs 17-Book Deal with Hachette"

The story is not that James Patterson has just inked a 17-book deal (11 for adults, 6 for young readers—good on him; glad he's still so into the kids' market). But rather, that the deal "will keep him with publisher Hachette through 2012."

Just through 2012?? Good heavens. I'm working flat-out on four books this year; I can't imagine racing through 17 in a little over 2 years.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jen Robinson reviews BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER

Wow—a wonderful and rousing review of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER over at Jen Robinson's Book Page:

... I think this might be the best of the series so far. Certainly it's the most appealing so far for fantasy fans. That's because Babymouse: Dragonslayer is chock-full of references to fantasy sagas, old and new. Where else can you find:
  • A locker that's a portal to another world (complete with fur coats);
  • The Fellowship of the Slide Rule; and
  • A geometry problem involving the flight of a boy and a dragon?
Short answer: nowhere else. (There's also a wonderful Harry Potter reference, but I don't want to spoil it.) Babymouse: Dragonslayer is full to the brim with creativity and fun.

...There are swords. There are dragons. There are math problems. There are cupcakes. What more could anyone ask? Jenni Holm and Matt Holm are far, far from phoning it in with this series. Babymouse: Dragonslayer is my favorite yet. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Graphic Novels for Kids: the late-2009 edition

In an article on SLJ entitled, "Good & Plenty: It used to be hard to find good graphic novels for the K–4 crowd. My, how times have changed.", Peter Gutiérrez writes:

Just a couple of years ago, it was tough to find good graphic novels for the K–4 crowd. Sure, there were some standout selections, such as Andy Runton's Owly, Jimmy Gownley's Amelia Rules!, and Jennifer and Matt Holm's Babymouse, but they were lonely exceptions in a barren landscape. Things quickly changed when publishers realized that the same set that reads (and buys) picture books might also be drawn to graphic novels. Plus, what about the younger brothers and sisters of tween and teen manga readers or superhero fans? Weren't they also a potential new market for graphic novels?

These days, children's book and comics publishers offer tons of graphic novels for young readers. In fact, now there are probably too many choices, which, of course, is a nice problem to have.
He goes on to give a nice round-up of recent offerings that stand on their own (eschewing series, largely) and have been mostly overlooked. Certainly, a good Fall/Winter graphic novel reading list.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney Acquires Marvel Comics!

Wow! Disney went and bought out Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion.

In a blockbuster deal that brings together two of the biggest brands in American film, animation and comic books, the Walt Disney Co. has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in cash and stock. The sale now puts such classic characters as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Wall-E in the same entertainment stable as world famous superhero characters like Marvel’s Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Iron Man.

Indeed, Disney will take ownership of more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Disney CEO Robert Iger said the acquisition will allow Disney to “maximize value across multiple platforms and territories.”


Aside from the revolutionary possibilities across publishing, merchandising, TV cartoons, and the successful Marvel movies, I wonder what this means for the Marvel-character-themed rides at Disney's theme-park competitor, Universal Studios?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Amazon hosts contest to find new comic strip artists

I have mixed feelings about the Amazon.com/Andrews McMeel Publishing/UClick Universal "Comic Strip Superstar Contest."

Comic Strip SuperstarAre you the next Comic Strip Superstar? There's only one way to find out--enter an international search for the next popular comic strip artist, sponsored by Andrews McMeel Publishing and hosted by Amazon.com. The winner will receive a publishing contract from Andrews McMeel Publishing, a $5,000 advance from Universal Uclick, and a monthly stipend for the development of 20 comic strips that will be considered for syndication.

From the submissions, Universal Press Syndicate will narrow the entries down to 250 quarterfinalists. The quarterfinalists will then be narrowed down to 50 semifinalists by John Glynn and Lee Salem, seasoned Universal Press Syndicate editors. In the semifinal round, popular comic strip creators G.B. Trudeau (Doonesbury), Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), Scott Hilburn (The Argyle Sweater), and Mark Tatulli (Lió and Heart of the City) will choose 10 finalists and post feedback for each on Amazon.com. Amazon.com customers will then have the opportunity to view the finalists' submissions and vote for the grand prize winner.

Sounds great. I LOVE that people are still encouraging the art of the comic strip, which is what really got me into comics in the first place (more so than comic books). But the fine print does make me more uneasy.

8. PRIZES. One Grand Prize will be awarded consisting of the following:

A. A full publishing contract with Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC to market and distribute a collection of the Grand Prize Winner's comic strips or comic panels as a published book. Upon the full execution of the publishing contract (and delivery by Grand Prize Winner of a minimum of 200 comic strips or comic panels approved by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC editorial staff), Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC will pay the Grand Prize Winner US $5,000. The approximate retail value ("ARV") of the publishing contract is US $5,000 for the advance. This US $5,000 payment is an advance against the royalties to be earned by the Grand Prize Winner under the publishing contract. Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC will determine the royalty rates to be paid under the publishing contract, which will depend on the format in which the book is published. Publishing contract with Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC is not negotiable, and Grand Prize Winner must sign "as is" upon receipt of the executable contract as described in Section 9 below if he/she wishes to enter into the publishing contract being awarded.

B. A development contract with Universal Uclick to develop the Grand Prize winner’s comic strips or comic panels into a feature suitable for syndication. Universal Uclick will pay the Grand Prize Winner a monthly stipend of $300 for each month during the term that Grand Prize Winner submits 20 comics for feedback and evaluation by Universal Uclick. The maximum term of the development contract is 24 months, but it is cancelable by Universal Uclick prior to the stated maximum term in the event of a breach by the Grand Prize Winner, an election by Universal Uclick to discontinue development or an election by Universal Uclick to proceed with early launch of syndication. The ARV of the development contract is US $7,200 based on the maximum term of the stipend. Development contract with Universal Uclick is not negotiable, and Grand Prize Winner must sign "as is" upon receipt of the executable contract as described in Section 9 below if he/she wishes to enter into the development contract being awarded.

The Grand Prize Winner must also enter into a full "syndication" contract with Universal Uclick. The syndication contract is open for good faith negotiation, but if the Grand Prize Winner and Universal Uclick cannot timely come to terms on a syndication agreement, Universal Uclick retains the right to match any bona fide third party offer of syndication made to the Grand Prize Winner during the 24-month period following the start date of the development contract.

C. A "Feature" contract with Universal Uclick including distribution on GoComics.com desktop and mobile applications. The Grand Prize Winner’s comic strips or comic panels will appear on GoComics.com and will be advertised on the sites both web and mobile, featured in a daily email and promoted within mobile applications. Universal Uclick will determine the royalty rates to be paid under the Digital Rights Agreement. The agreement with Universal Uclick is not negotiable, and Grand Prize Winner must sign “as is” upon receipt of executable contract as described in Section 9 below if he/she wishes to enter into the publishing and syndication contracts being awarded.
Part B, to my mind, is quite good. Universal is willing to pay a minimal stipend (don't quit your day job, kiddos) during the development period—a 24-month stretch during which the creator will work out the kinks in his/her comic strip and try to satisfy Universal's editors that it's commercially viable—and will negotiate a syndication contract in good faith once they think you've got something.

Parts A and C are more troubling. Only a $5,000 advance on the book, and all terms of the contract are non-negotiable? The online feature is similarly non-negotiable?

I guess, really, this is comics school. If you're good enough to get syndicated (which would have to be very good in the current newspaper comics climate), you can probably do so through normal channels, and forget this contest. But if you're not quite good enough, you get two years of Universal Press Syndicate editors critiquing your work. And a book of some sort, for which you should be grateful.

Just make sure you get an agent to negotiate your second book contract.



EDITED TO ADD: The deadline is Saturday, September 12 to submit:
1. 10 daily comic strips
2. 2 Sunday comics
3. A title
4. A brief synopsis

BookMoot reviews BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER

BookMoot gives a lovely, rousing review of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER! Some highlights:

So, I'm looking at books in the children's section at Boulder Bookstore and I hear a snicker, then a cough of laughter, then that sort of sustained snort that morphs into a laughing guffaw. I looked over my shoulder and saw a boy, I would peg him at 5th grade, reading ... a Babymouse book. He was smiling as his eyes darted across the pages which were being turned eagerly.

... I completely identify with Babymouse's wail, "But I'm not good at math!" The dragon that Babymouse must slay is MATH.

... It is important to realize that just because we do not understand a subject or it is difficult does not mean we cannot get better at it with practice and stick-to-it-ness. The Holmes sibs never hit the reader over the head with "the lesson" or "moral of the story" though. They just tell a hilarious tale of an endearing and brave everymouse who is doing the best she can. I will NOT give away a single one of the extremely witty allusions because their appearances will delight the reader.

I *heart* Babymouse. I am Babymouse.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Babymouse: The Musical reviewed at Library Queue

Tricia over at Library Queue recently reviewed Babymouse: The Musical:

Reading these books is kind of like watching a Disney movie. My kids and I both enjoy them, but we are laughing at totally different parts. I loved the Narrator and references in this book to A Chorus Line, Grease, and Phantom of the Opera. My daughter doesn't really get that, but it doesn't matter to her. She loved the references to High School Musical and the situational comedy.

I love that Tricia describes herself as a "non-practicing librarian." Doctors get to say that ... why not the rest of us?

- Matt Holm, non-practicing magazine editor

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Interview with BABYMOUSE's creators at Graphic Novel Reporter

Jenni and I recently did an interview with Graphic Novel Reporter, which they published as "The Mouse Roars." Some highlights:

Did you read comics growing up?
Like crazy! We were more of a “strip” house, though. Major influences were Prince Valiant and Flash Gordon (our dad had the bound collected editions), Peanuts, B.C., Wizard of Id (courtesy of our eldest brother), and later Bloom County, and, of course, Calvin & Hobbes. Jenni had a brief Cathy phase, which she regrets, and Matt went through both a Ziggy and Garfield period.

Does any sibling rivalry ever rear its head?
Nah, because Jenni always gets her way (she’s older).

How did Babymouse come about?
Jenni was pretty unimpressed with most of the female characters that were in comics when she was a kid. So, we were both living in New York City and she had a bad day, and this image of an irritated little mouse popped into her head. She scribbled it onto a napkin and gave it to Matt. And—voila!—Babymouse was born. And then Matt promptly lost the napkin (way to go, dude).

You’re now on your eleventh Babymouse book. How long do you see the series continuing?
As long as Matt can keep drawing! When his hand falls off, it’ll be hard to keep up the same schedule.

Babymouse: DRAGONSLAYER book release fans!

Nance over at the blog Wash Your Hands Afterwards recounts her daughter's very first day-of-book-release-book-purchase:

... Princess Sparkley enjoys these Babymouse graphic novels by Jennifer and Matthew Holm. For her birthday, one of her grandma's sent her a check. She decided to order this t-shirt she's wearing below from Cafe Press and buy the newest Babymouse book (since she'd already read the rest). We had to wait until today to get the book because today was it's release date. And Borders didn't have it. But it turned out they did. There was no party at midnight last night. No lines of hyperactive little girls. It wasn't on disply as a new release. They checked the store inventory and saw that yes, they were supposed to have it, so they went in back and found it for us. Nothing exciting, but she got her book.

When we arrived home Jed congratulated her on getting her first book on its release date. Can you tell we're bookworms over here? She's already read it. Probably twice.





Whew! Now THAT's an adventure in book-buying!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's D-Day ... DRAGONSLAYER Day!


Yes, Babymouse fans, our intrepid heroine's 11th adventure--BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER--is now on sale!

To kick off the debut celebration, we have an exclusive interview over at Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog.

(I like that we are described as "brother-and-sister troublemakers.")

The interview is part of a series Cynthia is doing with various authors on "Craft, Career & Cheer." Check them all out!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Babymouse: DRAGONSLAYER reviewed at Becky's Book Reviews

Here's a kidlit blogger I haven't run across before: Becky's Book Reviews. (Which is crazy, because her reviews go back quite a long ways!)

She just reviewed BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER:

...You wouldn't think joining a mathlete team and training for the math olympics would be the jumpstart into a great fantasy adventure, but then again you may not be familiar with Babymouse. She can imagine just about anything!

Do I have a favorite part of this one? ... I think I knew we were made for each other when she opens up her locker--(a locker she has a love/hate relationship with by the way which brings me back to my own school days, but that's a whole other story) and finds herself in Narnia.

Also check out her review of BABYMOUSE: THE MUSICAL.


And remember: ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT until the debut of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER reviewed by The Horn Book

Yes, BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER got a lovely review from The Horn Book:

The intrepid Babymouse returns to slay the dragon of math phobia when she is strong-armed into joining the mathlete team in Babymouse: Dragonslayer. Readers will be drawn into the graphic novel format as author Jennifer Holm and illustrator Matthew Holm humorously interweave reality with Babymouse’s epic (and pink-tinged) fantasies. This time the message is a valuable one, too, as Babymouse learns that “just because you’re not good at something, it doesn’t mean you have to be terrible at it, either.” (8–12 years)

Only 12 more days until BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER is released!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stand tall, Heroes!


Here's an awesome BABYMOUSE: OUR HERO statue created by one young fan!

I love love LOVE the boots. So awesome. And did you see how huge this statue is? That's a 5.5-inch tall copy of OUR HERO in the background!

Her mom writes the blog UnCooked Art, and is an artist and Live-food chef! Always glad to get the attention of a foodie family!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

G.I. Joe

Why can't the G.I. Joe movie be like this?


Certainly a better list of stars than the movie!

And why do I like things when they are so preposterous yet taken so deadly serious? I'm looking at you, Dr. Horrible.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Team Babymouse at the Providence Bridge Pedal in Portland

My wife, Cyndi, and I biked the full 11-bridge ride of the Providence Bridge Pedal in Portland yesterday. That amounted to 47+ miles, including getting to and from the start and finish lines. Yow! We joined 18,000 cyclists, each of whom followed one of three courses with varying numbers of bridges.

(I'm surprised we're not that sore today. Sheer exhaustion was the real culprit on the ride. It was fascinating--and tiring--to see your body do the actual calories-in-calories-out equation. The difference made by one banana or half a peanut butter sandwich was amazing. As was seeing the exact minute when that energy had been used up.)

At any rate, we decided to put on our BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER armor for the ride. Check it out!





BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER--debuting August 25!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Babymouse party ideas

We know there have been Babymouse parties before at libraries, and that folks have made special Babymouse cupcakes. But if you're wracking your brain for tips for YOUR next Babymouse-a-licious party, take heart:

I just came across a cute post at Peppers and Pollywogs about "Babymouse Party Ideas" (especially slumber party ideas). Check it out!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor's comic book intervention


We learn from this ABC News interview with Sonia Sotomayor's brother, Juan, that the Judge loved Archie comics as a kid:

SHIPMAN: Juan confirms that it was Mrs. Sotomayor who encouraged them both to excel and dream, filling the house with barely affordable encyclopedias. And, yes, Nancy Drew. But young Sonia had a less-than-serious side.

SOTOMAYOR: She loved comic books. And she loved reading Archie, and Casper and Richie Rich.

Leave it to folks like Pat Buchanan (thanks, Fuse) and the New York Times' David Brooks to spin this as a negative:
But as a child, Sotomayor clearly benefited from an extended family that drove her to succeed. After her father’s death, her paternal aunts and grandmother convened an emergency meeting with her mother. They had noticed that Sotomayor was devoted to Archie, Casper and Richie Rich comic books, and they were afraid these comics were distracting her from her studies.

Where's A&E when you need them? We've got an intervention a-brewing! For goodness' sake, somebody GET THOSE COMIC BOOKS AWAY FROM THAT KID!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wonder Woman and the Maltese Cupcake

You remember those Hostess ads in the back of comic books, don't you? The ones with Thor bashing people with his hammer to stop them from stealing Twinkies and the like?

Well, Gone and Forgotten has a classic, incomprehensible one featuring Wonder Woman and the search for the Maltese Cupcake.

Highlights:

• Is she trying to stop crime, recover a stolen artifact, or just helping an antiques collector source a particular item? Wonder Woman, personal shopper?

• An arch-villain tricks her into coming to a bad part of town, corners her, and then—tells her to promise to stop looking for the cupcake.

DC's finest hour!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kate Beaton, YA writer

Someone at the publishing houses: Please hire Kate Beaton to write a YA series.

Mystery-Solving Teens!

 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Green Arrow getting involved with the Iranian Election?

We all knew Oliver Queen was a closet commie, but who knew he was concerned with Iranian politics?

(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Bridget Zinn Success!

How did the Bridget Zinn online and live auctions do?

Well, we raised some $16,000.00 for the lovely gal! Thank you all for helping out!





(PS—Someone's daughter is going to have her name in a Babymouse book...)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bridget Zinn LIVE Silent Auction at Portland's Lucky Lab TOMORROW!

The day is finally here, kids: Tomorrow, Friday, May 29, 2009, from 6:30 pm to 9 pm, we will be holding a live Silent Auction to benefit the fabulous and effervescent Bridget Zinn at the Lucky Lab Brewery on SE Hawthorne right here in Portland, Ore.

Whew. That's a long sentence. With plenty of bolding.

Come out! Bid on amazing stuff, like limo service in a vintage Packard! (Sweet.) Or a special VIP Winery Tour and Tasting at Rex Hill Winery during harvest this year! Or a mixed case of yummy wine from the same!

And, don't forget that you can still buy raffle tickets to win a chance at a FREE AUTHOR VISIT for your school or library from either myself, Emily Whitman, or Rosanne Parry (your choice). Remember: The more tickets you buy, the better your odds of winning. It's basic probability. So buy lots, and ensure your victory for a few paltry pennies!

(And let me be frank, here—this sort of author visit generally costs upwards of $1000, minimum. What's a few raffle tickets compared to that price? Weren't you just complaining the other day about your school's budegt cuts? You know you were. Here's a great way to get a fantastic deal on a real, live author visit, without touching that budget money.)

And did I mention Bridget? She's planning to be there, cute haircut and all. And did I mention why we're going to all of this trouble? Because of the mathematics of paying for cancer treatments, even with health insurance. For example:

One anti-nausea medicated patch: $1300.
One painkiller: $400.

Think about that: 5 days of not vomiting might cost the same as your monthly mortgage. Yeek.

But to get back to the good things, let's sum up:

  • Great stuff that CAN BE YOURS, if the Price Is Right
  • Cute haircut
  • Mingling with a boatload of Children's and YA writers, illustrators, and librarians
  • Maybe some extra freebies to lucky attendees!
  • Did I mention the fact that it's being held at a Brew pub? Mmm, beer. Foamy.
  • SEE YOU TOMORROW NIGHT!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bridget Zinn Auction: Overlooked Gems #6

The response to our appeal to help librarian and YA author Bridget Zinn has been truly outstanding. But there are still a few gems on the auction block that have not received the attention they deserve! I'll be spotlighting a few in the run-up to the auction's completion on May 30.

Overlooked Gem #6:



imageDB

Steven Gould has donated a signed first edition of his book, Wildside. Described as an homage to a young Heinlein’s young adult fiction by Amazon.com. This is a great stor about parallel worlds and ecological concerns.

Steven will personalize the book for the winning bidder

Value: $75

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

At Author Visits, always be prepared...

... even for tornadoes!

Babymouse in Tornado (or is that "Tomato"?) Season


On a dark and stormy night a week and a half ago, children and parents gathered in a spacious room at the Champaign Public Library, giddy with excitement over meeting beloved author Jennifer Holm, co-creator (along with her brother Matt Holm) of the Babymouse graphic novels for children. While the rest of Chambana took shelter from tornadoes in basements and bathtubs, Jennifer regaled us with tales from her childhood, growing up with four brothers and no sisters in the 1970's (I can relate!). She engaged the kids in the audience with Babymouse drawing contests, a Babymouse song, a phone call to her brother (during which he was put on speaker/microphone), a photo tour of a "typical" (Babymouse's favorite sarcastic expression) day in the author's life, and book signing. It was a fantastic introduction to an author's talk for Molly--and me!

Bridget Zinn Auction: Overlooked Gems #5

The response to our appeal to help librarian and YA author Bridget Zinn has been truly outstanding. But there are still a few gems on the auction block that have not received the attention they deserve! I'll be spotlighting a few in the run-up to the auction's completion on May 30.

Overlooked Gem #5:


Pat will sign these books to the winning bidder

sundSun Dance at Turtle Rock: _When bi-racial Cody visits his estranged white grandfather in the Allegheny foothills he discovers adventure, some prejudice and the bond that exists beyond superficial differences. Easy read for 8-12. A NewYork public library “best” book.

cassCassandra Robbins, Esq. _ — Romance. 12-adult. Bi-racial Cass, a teenager, adopted at birth by a white family, has to figure out who she is before she can choose between an African-American and white boy. A NewYork public library “best book.”

GUIGC cover shotGrowing Up Italian in God’s Country: Stories From the Wilds of Pennsylvania_ details the struggles and triumphs of the author’s immigrant family from 1890 to 1950 in rural Potter County, Pa. where both grandfathers and a maternal great-grandfather took part in the logging boom.

don't Kiss Me Goodbye!Don’t Kiss Me Goodbye! I’m Going With You is a collection of amusingnewspaper columns on rearing children plus sections on family recipes and previously published fiction. A companion to Growing Up Italian in God’s Country.

Value: $50

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bridget Zinn Auction: Overlooked Gems #4

The response to our appeal to help librarian and YA author Bridget Zinn has been truly outstanding. But there are still a few gems on the auction block that have not received the attention they deserve! I'll be spotlighting a few in the run-up to the auction's completion on May 30.

Overlooked Gem #4:


David Macinnis Gills donated his recently released audiobook, Soul Enchilada, narrated by Michelle Carmen.

35725490

“Girl meets boy at a car wash.
“Dog,” she says.
“Dude,” he says.
And probably this would have been a sweet teen romance. . . .
If Beals hadn’t been sitting next to her in the car.
If Beals hadn’t been a supernatural repo man looking to repossess her car.
And to possess her.

David Macinnis Gill delivers the whole enchilada. With a side of soul”…from David Macinnis Gills website.

Value: $25

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bridget Zinn Auction: Overlooked Gems #3

The response to our appeal to help librarian and YA author Bridget Zinn has been truly outstanding. But there are still a few gems on the auction block that have not received the attention they deserve! I'll be spotlighting a few in the run-up to the auction's completion on May 30.

Overlooked Gem #3:


Something for everyone in this book basket. Thank you to e.E. Charlton-Trujillo for donating these fabulous books.
imageDBprize
Prizefighter En Mi Casa
e.E. Charlton-Trujillo (author)
Random House 2006
Edition: Hardback, 1st Edition, Signed
Website: http://www.bigdreamswrite.com

Twelve-year-old Chula Sanchez isn’t thin, isn’t beautiful, and because she’s Mexican, isn’t popular in her south Texas town. And now that a car accident has left her father paralyzed and her plagued with seizures, she is poor. But Chula’s father is determined to pull his family out of debt. He sends for El Jefe—the most revered prizefighter in Mexico. Chula’s father hopes that with steel-pipe arms and fists like pit bulls, El Jefe will win the local illegal boxing matches and bring home much-needed money. But El Jefe—a man who many see as a monster—only brings confusion to a home that is already filled with problems. And now Chula must decide for herself whether good and bad can reside in one person and whether you can have strength in your heart when your fists have none.

“At a breakneck pace, the protagonist faces challenges from homework to hiding her brother from the police, and, through it all, shines as she listens to and learns from each person, especially the mythic and troubled El Jefe. Searching for strength and courage in others, Chula finds them in herself.” (School Library Journal)

“When the book begins you’re vaguely aware that a horrible thing occurred sometime in the past and it’s created a hole in the family structure. Then, with a meticulousness Tennessee Williams or Arthur Miller would been proud of, the true tale comes to light, tying together the past and the present.” (E.R. Bird, Newberry Judge 2007)

Accolades:
The Delacorte Dell Yearling Award for First Middle Grade Novel 2004
The Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award 2006
Flamingnet Top Choice Award 2006
National Council for the Social Studies Notable Book 2007
New York Public Library List for Teens 2007

________________________________________________________________________

imageDBfeels
Feels Like Home

e.E. Charlton-Trujillo (author)
Random House 2007
Edition: Hardback, 1st Edition, Signed
Website: http://www.bigdreamswrite.com

Publishers Weekly (2007)
For fans of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, here’s a story that is as cinematic as the book it emulates. Full of grit and poetry for the rebel with a romantic heart, Charlton-Trujillo’s (Prizefighter en Mi Casa)throwback novel packs an emotional punch to the gut without overdoing it. The book opens in Three Rivers, Tex., population 4,043, as Michelle (Mickey) Owens witnesses her alcoholic father’s funeral. Michelle’s father was abusive, which led her mother to abandon them and her golden boy-turned-bad older brother, Danny, who ran off when Mickey was 13, after the accident that killed his best friend Roland. Now Danny has returned to pick up the pieces after six years, and the embittered Mickey, who has been marked an outcast by association, must decide if she’s able to forgive him for leaving and come to terms with what happened to Roland. Mickey’s internal battles feel honest, and it’s easy to empathize with the litany of emotions she trudges through, though outwardly she acts headstrong and sullen. Charlton-Trujillo has created a roster of multidimensional characters; readers will hold their breath with each interactions-especially the romantic scenes between Mickey and her crush, Ricky, and her banter with her Latina best friend, Christina. Even if teens are unable to relate to the specifics of Mickey’s situation, they will surely be taken by the story’s winning mix of tragedy, romance and chemistry. Ages 12-up.

Accolades:
Texas Lonestar Nominee 2008
New York Public Library List for Teens 2008
Lee & Low Books Inc. (2008)
Edition: Hardback, 1st Edition, Signed

__________________________________________________________________

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No Mush Today

Sally Derby (author)
Nicole Tadgell (illustrations)

Children’s Literature
Nonie has had it with her family—a squalling baby brother and mush for breakfast again. It is just too much. She goes next door to live with Grandma. Grandma listens when Nonie is talking, and she does not serve mush! Her wise grandmother just nods and takes her hand as they walk to church together. Nonie stays solemn and does not smile when Daddy passes the collection plate, but perks up when she hears about the church picnic that afternoon. After eating, Grandma just wants to rest her bones on a bench, but Daddy is ready for a boat ride and time on the swings. By the end of the afternoon, Nonie knows where she belongs. She goes home where her smiling momma and her baby brother greet her. Softly colored pastel illustrations depict a loving African-American family. This book would be a good choice for sharing with children experiencing the arrival of new siblings in their families.

Accolade:
Best Children’s Books of the Year:
Bank Street College of Education

_______________________________________________________________________

imageDBmm
Maggie’s Monkeys

Linda Sanders-Wells (author)
Abby Carter (illustrations)
Candlewick (2009)
Edition: Hardback, 1st Edition, Signed

A family of monkeys has moved into the refrigerator! At least, that’s what Maggie says. Of course, no one else can see them, but that doesn’t stop Mom and Dad from playing along, even going out of their way to accommodate the invisible visitors. An extra bowl of pudding at the table? A DO NOT DISTURB sign on the fridge? What’s a rustrated, reality obsessed brother to do? Readers will hoot with laughter at this warm, witty, wildly imaginative story of sibling love and loyalty.

“This splendidly crafted tale of imagination and family love may start discussions about what is real, what is not, and the power of persuasion.” (School Library Journal, 2009)

Accolade:
Junior Library Guild Selection 2009

Value: $100

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bridget Zinn Auction: Overlooked Gems #2

The response to our appeal to help librarian and YA author Bridget Zinn has been truly outstanding. But there are still a few gems on the auction block that have not received the attention they deserve! I'll be spotlighting a few in the run-up to the auction's completion on May 30.

Overlooked Gem #2:


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Dr. Kathy Reilly Fallon is donating a signed first edition hard copy
of “Heavenly Skies & Lullabies~Illustrated Song Book & CD”.

This is a lovely children’s song book and CD, accompanied by soothing and celestial illustrations. The book opens up to 11 enchanting lullabies, along with lyrics and music engravings for piano and guitar. Children blessings’ & prayers’ are integrated into each heart-warming illustration to set the tone for the lullabies.

Review From Publishers Weekly

Children’s Audio/Video Notes

by Staff — Publishers Weekly, 3/12/2007

Heavenly Skies & Lullabies features physician Kathy Reilly Fallon and restaurateur Frank Pellegrino wearing their performers’ hats and lending their voices to spare arrangements of 11 soothing lullabies for this book-and-CD package. All net proceeds from the project will go to World Vision, a Christian relief organization, specifically for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. The illustrated book contains a foreword by Father Gerard Critch of the Diocese of Venice, Fla., and also includes a number of brief, child-friendly prayers as well as music and lyrics for each selection. Among the favorite lullabies on the recording are “Golden Slumbers,” “Hush Little Baby,” “Toora, Loora, Loora” and “Gaelic Cradle Song.”

2006 Dragon Pencil Award Winner

Gold Medal for Illustration

Awarded for superior illustration

1st Annual Moonbeam Children’s Book Award

Heavenly Skies & Lullabies Won a Gold Medal for Best Illustrations by Becky Kelly and a

Bronze Medal for Best Children’s Book with Music.

2007 Independent Publisher Book Award

Bronze Medal Children’s Interactive Children’s Book

Value: $30

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bridget Zinn Auction: Overlooked Gems #1

The response to our appeal to help librarian and YA author Bridget Zinn has been truly outstanding. But there are still a few gems on the auction block that have not received the attention they deserve! I'll be spotlighting a few in the run-up to the auction's completion on May 30.

Overlooked Gem #1:

Susan Berger has donated the following books and service:

Jamie’s Dream by Susan J Berger and Christopher Corbin, Illustrated (beautifully) by Kim Sponaugle

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Jamie had the best dream last night. Now he wants to buy it for his mom. Jamie is having a great day. He has French toast for breakfast, gets a gold star in spelling, wishes on a puffball, meets a unicorn, finds DreamsRUs and buys his mom a dream. Suggested age 4-7

Earthquake By Susan J Berger. Illustrated by Eugene Ruble Published April 2009. Honorable mention in the Green Book Festival

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The purpose of the book is to give a simple explanation of an earthquake. What causes them? Can we predict them? How do we prepare for them? What to do during an earthquake. What happens after a big earthquake? The book has lots of factoids and great emergency lists. Suggested age 6-10

I will be happy to do a critique for the first 20 pages of your manuscript.

Value: $100.00