Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last Chance to vote for Babymouse: Puppy Love in the Children's Choice Book Awards!

Just a reminder: Babymouse: Puppy Love has been chosen by kids as one of the finalists for the 2009 Children's Choice Book Awards.

This Sunday, May 3, is the last chance for kids to vote for the winners online. Babymouse: Puppy Love is up for the best book for 3rd and 4th grade.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

REMINDER: Babymouse Creator Matthew Holm at Portland's Bridge City Comics this Saturday!

Just a reminder: Come celebrate Free Comic Book Day with me at Bridge City Comics, 3725 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97227, between 10:30 AM and 12 noon this Saturday, May 2, 2009. Pick up some free comics (hence the name, "Free Comic Book Day"), buy some new ones, and get your copies of Babymouse signed by yours truly!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

REMINDER: Babymouse Creators Matthew and Jennifer Holm at LA Times Festival of Books THIS WEEKEND!

Jenni and I will be appearing live, on the Target Children's Stage at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (UCLA campus) on Sunday, April 26 from 10:35 - 10:55 AM. We're the second act of the morning, right after Yo Gabba Gabba!

(I have this bit of info: "Target’s stage will be located in the Children's Area North, Dickson Court South, adjacent to Schoenberg Hall.")

We'll also be doing two signings:

10:55 AM - 11:40 AM: Should be near the Target Children's Stage area

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: At The Mystery Bookstore's booth, Booth #411

See you there!

30 Years at Hicklebee's

PW ran a piece on San Jose, Calif., bookstore Hicklebee's 30th anniversary bash:

... Authors Paul Fleischman, Scott Mickelson, Jennifer Holm, Jill Wolfson, Wendelin Van Draanen, Bob Barner and Dave Keane all attended to sign books and greet fans. The veterans in the group raved about the support they’ve received over the years, and new authors marveled at how welcome they have felt. Fleischman was also complimentary of the store’s special place in the community: “There’s a feeling you get immediately when you walk in the door, that you’re not in a cookie-cutter bookstore. You know you’re in a place where folks know a lot and love children’s books. They are a devoted staff, from Valerie and Monica on down. They’ve fostered a community for families and anyone raising children—all roads lead to Hicklebee’s if you have children.”


Jenni, signing books and eating cake.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Brooks Free Library recommendation of Babymouse: The Musical

The Brooks Free Library of Harwich, Mass., posted a cute review of Babymouse: The Musical:

... All of the books in this series are charming, and this one is especially so. Anyone who is a fan of musicals will not help but be amused by the many references and spoofs of famous songs. From “Stupid Fractions” sung to the tune of “Summer Lovin’” from Grease to Annie’s Hard Knock Life changed to showcase the hard life of an understudy, the book rockets from one show to another with pizazz and flair. As always, Babymouse is her own unique self throughout it all.

I would recommend this book to fans of graphic novels (particularly girls, although I suspect that boys who can get past the bright pink cover might secretly enjoy them as well). Even if you’ve never read a graphic novel in your life, if you like musicals, then run out and get this, because it’s hilarious.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More numbers on the graphic novel market

Karen MacPherson (Scripps Howard News Service) has written another informative column on the kidlit world, "Children's Corner: Comics for new readers."

When Francoise Mouly's son, Dash, was a first-grader and struggling to learn to read, his teacher suggested he practice at home with books for beginning readers.

Mouly, however, was aghast at the lack of interesting stories and visual clues in most beginning-reader books.

"Those early readers nearly killed his love of reading," Mouly said in a recent telephone interview. "It was really a blow to what had been, until then, a bonding moment."
The focus is on Toon Books and the Spiegelman clan, but some of the background details are also quite interesting:
The most recent sales figures, compiled by ICv2, an industry trade group, show a 134 percent growth rate in graphic novels for kids from 2007-08. Graphic novels for kids accounted for only 3 percent of the $395 million 2008 graphic-novel market, but their share is expected to grow.
Keep on growing!

Vote for BABYMOUSE: PUPPY LOVE in the 2009 Children's Choice Book Awards!

Babymouse: Puppy Love has been chosen by kids as one of the finalists for the 2009 Children's Choice Book Awards!

From now until May 3, kids can register their votes online for various categories, including best book for 3rd and 4th grade (of which, I humbly submit, Babymouse: Puppy Love is the finest choice). Winners will be announced May 12 in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week (May 11-17, 2009).

CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Comics killed the newspaper!

Actually, make that a LACK of comics killed the newspaper. At least, that's one SF Chronicle reader's hypothesis for why there are so few newspaper readers being created these days that papers are dropping like flies:

I've been reading with amusement some of the more absurd ideas coming from readers to save The Chron (i.e., charge more for a product for which demand is falling - brilliant!) and theories for the paper's demise, but I was struck by the recent letter from Richard J. Roberts, linking readership decline to the comics. And I suddenly remembered: I started reading the colorful Sunday comics as a child in the late '70s, moved up to the daily comics, then added the Sporting (actually) Green, graduated to Herb Caen, etc., finally enjoying the entire paper.

But what kid in their right mind would want to read the comics today? Stale, repetitive Garfield, predictable left-wing Doonesbury, politically correct, boring and predictable options (Candorville, Non Sequitur, Luann and Sally Forth) and, worst of all, the simply unfunny Mutts or Get Fuzzy. Oh, and a comic designed for old people: The Elderberries - that'll bring in the young readers!

Of the comics that actually are funny, two are reruns (Peanuts and For Better or for Worse). Unfortunately, the hilarious Fusco Brothers, Pearls Before Swine and Baby Blues probably won't attract younger readers. Really, the only ones kids might like are Zits and Lio, and possibly Blondie and Dennis the Menace.

The decline of Chron readership is definitely linked to the decline of the comics page! Bring back Family Circle!

OK, so he doesn't completely know what he's talking about. It's Family CIRCUS. Duh.

EDIT: Here's a link to that letter he mentioned by Richard J. Roberts.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Babymouse Creator Matthew Holm to Appear at Portland's Bridge City Comics on Free Comic Book Day

I was invited by my own local comic shop (... don't you have your own local comic shop? You don't? Shame on you...), Bridge City Comics on Mississippi Ave., in Portland, Ore., to come out for this year's Free Comic Book Day.

So, I will! Er, "I am." Whichever.

Come see me at Bridge City Comics, 3725 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97227, between 10:30 AM and 12 noon on Saturday, May 2, 2009. Pick up some free comics (hence the name, "Free Comic Book Day"), buy some new ones, and get your copies of Babymouse signed by yours truly!

Babymouse Creators Matthew and Jennifer Holm to Appear at LA Times Festival of Books

Jenni and I will be appearing live, on the Target Children's Stage at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (UCLA campus) on Sunday, April 26 from 10:35 - 10:55 AM. We're the second act of the morning, right after Yo Gabba Gabba!

(I have this bit of info: "Target’s stage will be located in the Children's Area North, Dickson Court South, adjacent to Schoenberg Hall.")

We'll also be doing two signings:

10:55 AM - 11:40 AM: Should be near the Target Children's Stage area

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: At The Mystery Bookstore's booth, Booth #411

See you there!

Woodside, Calif., Shout-Out

Just wanted to give a very belated thanks to Woodside Elementary in Woodside, Calif., for hosting me for a school visit back in February. I lost my voice just prior to the event (last year, I lost my voice AFTER their event), and they were good sports about it: the kids were very quiet during my morning art classes, and my loudmouth sister covered the speaking role in the afternoon library presentations (I just had to draw ad pantomime).

I also was given a rather handsome self-portrait of the three Shoch sisters, whose family was kind enough to invite me to their house during last year's visit:

Pennsylvania School Visits

I had a couple of great school visits in Pennsylvania this past week. First I was at Conemaugh Township Elementary near Johnstown, where my appearance had such an impact that we made the front page of the paper!

"Author Day exposes kids to story behind children’s novels"

They sent me home with a basket full of native goodies, including some gobs. Yum!

I also visited Spring Ridge Elementary, just outside of Reading, where we had a grand old time. I especially enjoyed giving the PM Kindergarten class a condensed version of my presentation (since they missed the morning presentation). They were a great audience.

I need to see if Ms. Kimmel, the librarian, has any photos of the kids' artwork. Many of the paintings are quite bold and graphic (I mean that in the artistic sense, not the lurid sense). Maybe she can send me some.

LibraryThing: What's Circulating?

I'm back in Portland after much traveling, so today is clean-up day.

Here is a link I meant to post back in February. Yeesh.

LibraryThing: What's hot in your school or children's library?

 

Teaching with Graphic Novels: Resources for Educators

I give a talk on this topic probably once a year. I've done it at TLA and at IRC, and just spoke again on the subject at the Nevada Reading Week Conference in Reno, NV. If you attended those talks, or even if you didn't, here are some links to help you out:


"Graphic Novels 101: FAQ" By Robin Brenner (From the March/April 2006 issue of The Horn Book Magazine) This lays out the basics of some terminology, as well as some myths about graphic novels/comics.

"Graphic Novels 101: Reading Lessons (PDF)" By Hollis Margaret Rudiger (From the March/April 2006 issue of The Horn Book Magazine) This PDF walks you through several nearly wordless comic-book pages to describe some aspects of the visual language (pacing, camera angles, which panel to read in which order, etc.) of comics.

Random House Graphic Novel Educators Guide (PDF) A guide from the publisher of BABYMOUSE, LUNCH LADY, KIT FEENY, and STONE RABBIT

Toon Books Art Spiegelman and Fran├žoise Mouly's (Maus and Little Lit) new kids' graphic novel imprint

Maryland Comic Book Initiative: Background

Maryland Comic Book Initiative: Sample Lesson Plans Two PDFs of sample lesson plans: one on reading comics, and one on creating comics

Diamond Comics Bookshelf The world's biggest comics distributor, Diamond, also has some excellent educational resources at their "Bookshelf" site, including basic definitions of comics terms, recommended reading lists, and links to many lesson plans.

Owly Lesson Plans Owly creator Andy Runton has created his own lesson plans for the popular series.

ComicsintheClassroom.net A truly impressive number of reviews of comics/graphic novels, plus links to even more lesson plans and articles about teaching with graphic novels

School Library Journal: "Graphic Novels Rule! The Latest and Greatest for Young Kids" By Michele Gorman (3/1/2008) I hope that all of you are signed up to School Library Journal's e-mail list, because they have regular coverage of comics and graphic novels, like this recent list of recommended titles.

School Library Journal: Overview of H.W. Wilson's Graphic Novels Core Collection Wilson's Graphic Novels Core Collection is a database for librarians that lists information about more than "2,000 recommended titles with descriptions, annotations, and cover art for some of the most popular graphic novels published. Through the WilsonWeb interface, subscribers can search the database by author, title, subject, genre, and grade level.... Annotations provide users with a brief description of the content, review excerpts, and any awards that the title has won. Ratings by age appropriateness within the entry are strictly applied..."

No Flying No Tights: Sidekicks Reviews of graphic novels for the pre-teen crowd

Flummery.com Many lesson plans and handouts

Comic Book Heroes. The lesson plans that accompany the Children's Museum of Indianapolis exhibit, Comic Book Heroes. Also, download the PDF of the lesson plans here.



Here are my updated PowerPoint slides, to help you out a bit further:





Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dancing Giant Birds. What?

Saw this little drive-by item in Publisher's Weekly:

Steve Geck of Greenwillow Books has acquired two picture books from Elizabeth Bird, librarian at the New York Public Library’s Children’s Center and Fuse #8 blogger for SLJ. The first, Giant Dance Party, tells of a six-year-old girl who gives dance lessons to a troupe of giants. The deal for North American rights, the first for Bird, was handled by Stephen Barbara at Foundry Literary + Media.


Welly welly well! Congrats, Betsy!