Saturday, August 20, 2005

Patrol: An American Soldier In Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Ann Grifalconi

Patrol: An American Soldier In Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Ann Grifalconi (HarperTrophy, 2002). A poetic, hearwrenching look at one soldier's mission. Emotionally evocative, sufficiently sophisticated, appropriately accessible. Illustrations are in collage. Ages 8-up; also a good picture book choice for middle grade and high school.

My Thoughts

I've received a number of requests of late for war/military related titles, so I thought I'd pull this one from the backlist.

The soldier depicted is African American. That's more of an observation, but there you have it.

The illustrator offers thanks to "all who brought this book into being and to all those who died in Vietnam."

I seem to be feeling unusually alliterative this morning.

Cynsational News & Links

Motivational Speakers and Authors: The Secret To Their Success by Francine Silverman, editor/publisher of Book Promotion Newsletter, a bi-weekly ezine for authors of all genres, and author of Book Marketing from A-Z (Infinity Publishing 2005), from Open Horizons.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Happy Feet by Richard Michelson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Happy Feet by Richard Michelson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Harcourt, 2005). A celebration of a father-son relationship and of the Savoy, told from the point of view of a young boy born the day "the earth's hottest, coolest, most magnificient, superdeluxe dancing palace" opened for the first time. Includes an author's note detailing more history of "Harlem's most famous dance club" as well as brief biographies of some of its most prominent figures. Ages 4-up.

My Thoughts

I instantly pick up any book illustrated by E.B. Lewis. His titles include When You Were Born by Dianna Hutts Aston and Faraway Home by Jane Kurtz.

In this market, it's a rare treat to see an African American father-son story, especially one with historical resonance.

Cynsational News & Links

Kristi Gerner: illustrator of more than 20 published children's books. Her latest book "It's Bedtime, Joshua!" can be purchased at Trafford. Many of her books, including a nursery rhyme series, were published by Seedling Publications and are available on the publisher's website. Kristi also has samples of her fashion illustration, graphic design, and web design on her Candleflame Designs Web site. She lives in College Station, Texas.

Letters to NBC: New Trends in Teen Fiction: Racy Reads: scroll for 2002 Newbery winner Linda Sue Park's response to the recent NBC coverage of YA literature.
by Karen Springen from Newsweek. Jane comments on her own work as well as that by J.K. Rowling and celebrity authors. Check out the related Blog Talk. See also Jane's thoughts on reader mail generated by this article.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Kansas SCBWI

Tuesday night I had the pleasure of speaking at the quarterly meeting of Kansas SCBWI. It was held in Prairie Village at a church on Nall, about 20 minutes from my mother's house. I spoke about the role of culture in crafting children's and YA characters.

What a charming group! My thanks to regional advisor Sue Ford. I met many great folks, including Lisa D. Harkrader, author of Airball: My Life In Briefs (Roaring Brook, 2005) and J.B. Cheaney, author of My Friend, The Enemy (Knopf, 2005), who graciously gave me a copy of her book to take home.

The downside of my trip is that I missed Brian Yansky's talk to Austin SCBWI members on "What Do Your Characters Want?" His YA novel, My Road Trip to the Pretty Girl Capital of the World (Cricket Books, 2003), was named the Texas Institute of Letters' Best Young Adult Novel. It was also a University of Texas Libraries Staff Pick for fall 2004.

Cynsational News & Links

Happy birthday to my very cute husband, author Greg Leitich Smith! He is 38 years old today! Surf over to his blog and wish him the best!

Congratulations to Kathi Appelt, whose memoir, My Father's Summers (Henry Holt, 2004), is a finalist for the PEN USA Award for Children's Literature.

Could you be the next J.K. Rowling?
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