Hello, Orlando!

ALA HaikuWe’re looking forward to seeing all our library friends later this week at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, in Orlando. Here’s an overview of what we’ll have to share with you, and an invitation to visit us at Booth 2239, where you know that, no matter who you are, we have smiles and good wishes to share with you.

The exhibits open on Friday, at 5:30. come join the festivities during this ribbon cutting reception! Our booth will be fully staffed all exhibit hours, which are are 9-5 on Saturday and Sunday, and 9-2 on Monday. Ellen, Jackson, and Claire Myrick, Along with Mary Burkey and Sharon Grover,will be on hand, with Francisca tweeting from various corners of the conference and booth events.

Oh, and booth events! We have in-booth signings scheduled throughout the weekend, booksignings adand staff will be participating in other exhibit happenings as well, including the Paizo
program in the Gaming Parlor, Saturday at 10:30, and a program focusing on diversity at 3 that afternoon.

Oh, and the books! We’ll be showing and talking about new titles from AMMO, Two Little Birds, Scotland’s Floris from Steiner, Flying Start, and Free Spirit Press; from Gannon& Wyatt, New Zealand’s Gecko Press, and Karadi Tales, Canada’s Pajama Press, Dutch publisher Lemniscaat; from No Starch Press, Phaidon, Tilbury House, and Tiger Tales. Then there are the audio publishers: L. A. Theatre Works, Live Oak Media, and Brilliance Audio, along with the Sound Learning literacy program from the Audio Publishers Association. Amazon imprints Thomas & Mercer, Lake Union, and Montlake Romance Authors, all for adults, and Two Lions, for kids, will also be at our fingertips–and could be at yours.

Follow us on Twitter @pubspotlight throughout the conference. Our first tip as you pack is to be sure to bring rain gear as showers and thunderstorms are predicted, right now, for every day of the conference.

And bring a smile and a hello! We know Orlando needs both right now and we always enjoy them ourselves and bet you do, too!

 

Rediscovering local history

Cathy Forde, who’s both popular with readers ages eight to twelve, and  with literary Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 4.37.54 AMcritics, may be best known in the US for Fat Boy Swim and The Drowning Pool. In 2001, she published Think Me Back, which I frankly can’t remember happening across here across the pond.

Instead of living a life of reader regrets, however, I’m delighted to discover The Blitz Next Door, which is a revision and republication of that 2001 title, wonderfully immediate and so gentle in its updating of details marking the present that I know it had to be Floris Books behind this 2015 Kelpies edition. Let me share it with you:

 

You can visit our Activities pages to find some discussion and engagement support for including this novel in book discussions and other programs.

Booktalk transcript

The Blitz Next Door, by Cathy Forde, for readers 8-12

Pete is far from thrilled to arrive in in Clydebank, Scotland, far away from home in London: he’s had to leave his best friends, his baby sister is cranky and colicky, his mother is depressed, and Dad seems way more interested in pleasing his new boss than making sure his family gets comfortable.

The house is nice, though: way bigger than their London flat, and Pete gets his own room. However, it’s not enough, apparently, that Pete’s sister is crying; on the other side of the wall in Pete’s new room, there’s another crying girl, too, only she talks as well, telling her mum that she really won’t get packed and ready to move. And sometimes she plays the recorder.

When Pete’s dad shows him the old air raid shelter in the garden, and tells Pete he can have it for his own den, Pete’s thrilled. Looking back at his new home, above the crater near the air raid shelter, however, he realizes that … there can’t be a girl next door because there is no next door. The bomb that made this crater 75 years ago demolished that house. So where is that weeping girl? And who is she?

Soon enough, Pete has a new friend, a neighborhood boy named Dunny who shares his passion for football. He seems to have another new friend as well. The girl in the house that isn’t there any longer next door appears in the air raid shelter, come to write in her journal, which Dunny himself found before Pete’s arrival in Clydebank, or to play with the boys’ football figurines when they aren’t around. But Pete sees her, and even talks with her.

How can that be? How can there be a house where there is no house, a girl who would have to now be an old woman, if she survived the bombing?

Pete’s story is vivid and studded with just enough historical facts to send readers scrambling to read more about the World War II bombing known as the Clydebank Blitz, on March 13, 1941, and other events that truly do echo into the 21st century. Pete and the girl, Beth, do have a connecting point in the present as well, and that allows them to bring her haunting of her old and ruined home to rest.

A note about the second edition: This story easily works 15 years after its original publication. Gentle editing to add such details as Pete’s preoccupied father as texting when he might better be conversing with his wife or his son make it feel very much of the moment. With this being the 75th anniversary of an event that killed over 500 Scottish civilians, damaged or destroyed about 12,000 houses, and left 35,000 homeless, yet still escaping much notice except locally even today, it offers a great opportunity to jumpstart studies of local history.

The Blitz Next Door, by Cathy Forde, is published by Kelpies, a Floris Books Imprint, 2015. Originally published 2001 as Think Me Back and available in paperback and e-book. It’s 172 pages.

Welcome to Boston and #alamw16

ALA Jan 2016 20x2 banner

We’re traveling to Boston today and looking forward to seeing all of you attending the American Library Association’s 2016 Midwinter meeting there!  You’ll find us at Booth 1917 in the Exhibits…and why would you want to find us? Because:

We’re bringing cool new picture books, comics, and books for older youth from a variety The_Boy_Who_Drew_Catsof quality publishers, including Pajama Press (Canada), Leminscaat (Netherlands), Gecko (New Zealand), Floris Books (Scotland), Karadi Tales (India), Udon Entertainment (Canada/Hong Kong), and, from the United States, Diamond, Tilbury House, Gannon & Wyatt, Namelos, No Starch, and Two Lions.

We’ve got audiobooks and audiobook programming information from Oasis, AudioFile Magazine, and the Audio Publishers Association’s literacy initiative, Sound Learning APA.

EMMA_SC_FRONT_Fin1We’re hosting signings by Rebecca Emberley, Bill Thomson, Licia Morelli and Jennifer E. Morris, and Susan Schwake.

We have a librarian staff who know books, audiobooks, and kids.

Plus, we are a lot of fun and generous, too…hmm, prizes anyone?

A special book to share this Christmas

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.06.00 PMOne of our wonderful publishers has a holiday book we hope you’ll find time to share next weekend.  And to make that easier for you, Jessica has designed some activities to go along with reading and looking at the wonderful illustrations in Tom’s Christmas Fish, from Floris Books.

Set in Prague, this is a story combining both the sweetness of the season with the very real bittersweet need to recreate holiday rituals when we lose family members. This is a book to read again and again, and although it’s a Christmas story, neither the season nor the specific cultural system is necessary to appreciate how Tom and his grandfather celebrate together what they once they celebrated with others.

Talking Traditions … and Noteworthy Children’s Holiday Books

Midwinter holidays offer children’s book authors, illustrators, and publishers many opportunities to share wonderful traditions from around the world. This year, KidLitTV shared a dozen or so new and traditionally favorite stories in their first Holiday Special (which, host Rocco Staino promises, will itself become a tradition). First up was Floris Books’ delightful new The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits (author Ulf Stark, illustrator Eva Eriksson; translated by Susan Beard), itself a smorgasbord of traditions to discover and repeat.

 

First, what’s a tomte? Floris Publishing is Scottish. But, the tomte is…Swedish. Tomtes, Floris explains in their own blog, are akin to little gnomes and make their homes in the woods and in Scandinavian mythology.

Yuletide traditions are abundant in both Scandinavian and British cultures. One such tradition that has made its way into many North American homes is that of the Advent calendar. And, in a nod to that anticipatory time-keeping, this picture book is told in 25 short chapters. Now there’s another tradition in the making: a chapter a night from December 1.

 

Thanks  Floris, for sharing this delightful holiday story, and thank you Luann Toth (managing Editor of School Library Journal  Reviews), for sharing it with KidLitTV fans!