PRIDE in Our Publishers

June marks the celebrations of a number of events commemorating release from historic oppressions that come with the need to keep newfound respect alive. Juneteenth, for one, marks the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching African Americans whose slave holders failed to pass along the news when Abraham Lincoln first signed the law. Teens can download for free and to keep the  audiobook of W. E. B. DuBois’s classic The Souls of Black Folks through June 21 to hear about this period, as well as the period of Reconstruction, from the viewpoint of an African American Harvard scholar. This free audiobook, and another this week and two more each week through August 17, come courtesy of AudioFile Magazine. You can visit the program’s AudiobookSYNC site for full information.

BB_Baby's First WordsBarefoot Books celebrates inclusivity with Baby’s First Words, a board book that follows one busy baby and her two dads through a day full of exploration. Also available in Spanish as Mis primeras palabras, this title by Christiane Engel introduces younger audiences to a variety of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and phrases, giving a new spin to a classic first word book.

CP Clive and his Babies

Jessica Spanyol, author-illustrator of Child’s Play’s Clive series, offers early readers stories that gently challenge gender stereotypes. In these board books, Clive, a little boy with a big imagination, spends his days caring for his dolls, adding to his hat and bag collections, and pretending to be a librarian when his friends come over to play.

CP_Quiet

Child’s Play continues to sensitively handle gender with Quiet!, which pubs this fall. The picture book never designates a gender for its main character, a toddler who explores the range of sounds they hear as their day comes to an end. Auditory landmarks help all children to become familiar with daily routines, and can be particularly important to those who are blind or partially sighted. Inventive and inclusive, Quiet! is great for parents on the hunt for a picture book that doesn’t gender its protagonist.

TT_We Are Family

In We Are Family from Tiger Tales, sweet verse takes you through moments in the life of ten families, celebrating diversity through shared experiences. The families may look different—there is a single parent, a child in a wheelchair, a boy raised by his grandparents, two same-sex couples, and a variety of ethnic backgrounds represented—but through thick and thin, these families are all there for one another.

IM Nivis NamesHow Nivi Got Her Names is published by our friends at Inhabit Media and is a valuable exploration of traditional Inuit naming that also touches on Inuit custom adoption. Nivi, her mother Laura, her anaana (mother) Jesse, and their entire extended family are actual people; the picture book includes an introduction from Nivi’s birth mother Aviaq, and short biographies of the people for whom Nivi is named.

TH Real Sisters Pretend

In Tilbury House’s Real Sisters Pretend, written by Megan Dowd Lambert and illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, people often mistake Mia and Tayja as friends rather than sisters. Throughout this heartwarming picture book, Mia and Tayja spend the day playing make-believe and are comforted by the fact that adoption has made them and their two moms a “forever family,” and that they will always be sisters, even after playtime is over.

AL_Raven

Action Lab Entertainment offers readers another graphic novel adventure from the Princeless universe in Raven: The Pirate Princess, Book Three. After a violent confrontation on the Island of the Free Women, Raven and her crew are badly beaten, with one of their own near death. As Raven risks her life to find a legendary healer who may be able to save Ximena before it’s too late, her unspoken love for Ximena propels her onward.

oni_princess princess ever after

Princess Princess Ever After is all about girl power and flipping gender stereotypes on their head. From author-illustrator Katie O’Neill and Oni Press, this middle grade graphic novel follows princesses Sadie and Amira as they join forces to bring out the very best in one another and perhaps find a happily ever after together. Did we mention there are dancing trolls?

ONI_Tea Dragon Society

Also coming soon from Katie O’Neill and Oni is The Tea Dragon Society, a graphic novel about discovering the value in tradition and the strength in found families. A warm partnership between the two men who make up the Tea Dragon Society and a touch of flirting between protagonists Greta and Minette make this a great choice for readers looking for heartwarming, smile-inducing representation.

PJ Moon at Nine

Moon at Nine from Pajama Press tells the story of two girls who dare to dream of a life and future together. Stuck in a world that sees their love as a crime, Farrin and Sadira must keep their growing relationship a secret. Written by award-winning author Deborah Ellis, this novel is based on true events that took place in 1980s Iran.

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Planting Seeds of Greatness

by Veronica Crisler, Myrick Marketing and Media Intern

Planting Seeds of Greatness, a month-long global campaign, encourages people to start thinking about the world around them and to use their talents to help build a better future for others. It’s a gentle push to help one another enact change on a global scale.

Sometimes promoting greatness in the lives of children happens through the simple act of handing them an outstanding book to read. Pajama Press, actively advocating social justice through their children’s books, brings to the table two heartwarming stories to plant seeds of greatness in the minds of young readers worldwide.

In a Cloud of Dust, written by Alma Fullerton and illustrated by Brian Deines, tells the story of Anna, a young girl growing up in Tanzania who is dedicated in her studies. 51PQMyrVm8L._SX449_BO1,204,203,200_Each day, Anna and her classmates are pressed to find enough time to complete their school day before having to walk miles home before the sun sets. When a man from the bicycle library visits the school yard, each child has the opportunity to rent a bike, except Anna, who is the very last in line. Though she has the longest distance to walk home, Anna remains cheerful and passes her knowledge of bicycles on to her friends.

This vividly portrayed and gracefully scripted story empowers children to become more aware of the circumstances of people around them, encouraging them to share knowledge and time without expecting anything in return. Anna’s story shows how one idea can help change a multitude of lives.

Be sure to take a look at our activity page here to expand on this book in programs and classes. Also, check out some of the organizations that donate and distribute bicycles in developing countries like Tanzania.


Elephant Journey
, written by Rob Laidlaw and illustrated by Brian Deines, is the touching story of three captive elephants living in the Toronto Zoo. When it’s clear that their health is suffering from the foreign living arrangements and climate, people across Canada and the US begin protesting the mistreatment of these quiet creatures. After two years of petitioning for the elephants to be transferred to the PAWS sanctuary, the City Council is able to make the correct arrangements.

A long, treacherous journey awaits the three gentle giants before their arrival in California. With the help and determination of kind and sensitive people, they safely make it to their new home: a vast 51NOov1-BJL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_sanctuary filled with lush foliage, warm weather, and plenty of space to roam.

Author Rob Laidlaw is the founder of Zoocheck, a wildlife protection charity that promotes and protects the interest and well-being of wild animals. Check out more books by Rob and Pajama Press promoting animal protection and care.

Everybody has seeds of greatness inside. When was the last time you shared a book encouraging those seeds to grow and flourish? We’d love to know!

 

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?

Catch up with Evie Brooks on her blog tour

MaroonedinManhattan_Softcover_Apr28.inddSheila Agnew’s delightful character, Evie Brooks, has been on a blog tour (with Sheila) this week. If you haven’t had a chance to meet Evie, you can catch up with her–and Sheila–at these three generous bloggers’ sites:

GeoLibrarian Heidi

Caught Read Handed’s Stefani interview

Roarbots hosting of Sheila Agnew on “Writing for Children”

Do you have a favorite author or illustrator you hope we can take on a blog tour of your favorite kids books blogs? Let us know!

The Power of Bicycles: In a Cloud of Dust

Pajama Press publishes In a Cloud of Dust today. Alma Fullerton’s story, with Brian Deines’ illustrations, takes young readers into a Tanzania where the village’s bicycle supply is truly a shared resource. They’re kept at the bicycle library, available for use on the honor system!

To celebrate this publication, we are pleased to be able to share the Reading Guide the publisher has developed to accompany it. It offers lots of good tips for discussion and research for grade school aged kids, including the websites for five different organizations dedicated to promoting bicycle availability. You’ll find the guide at the bottom of this post.

You’ll also find easy-to-follow directions from the publisher for just what young artists might want as an assist in creating new bikes (well, drawings of them) of their own!
InACloudOfDust_ReadingGuide 
InACloudOfDust_LearnToDrawABicycle

InACloudOfDust_ReadingGuide2

Oh the things we have for you!

With the American Library Association’s Annual Conference rapidly approaching, followed by the annual conference for the International Literacy Association, we’re excited about all the new books we’ll have to show you!  We had a staff meeting yesterday, with Ellen doing her fabulous job of book talking us through the fun, the gorgeous, the thought-provoking, and the curious.

Among just a few of the treasures you’ll get to see, either at conference or on our Pinterest board for the conference (if you can’t attend in person) is Cheer-up Bird, from Lemniscaat USA, a fun–and yes, cheering–picture book by Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 12.57.42 PMEdward van de Vendel, with illustrations by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. The Schuberts will be the featured speakers at the USBBY event in San Francisco, during ALA.

Gecko Press is bringing out When Dad Showed Me the Universe, by Ulf Stark, with illustrations by Eva Eriksson, which is already collecting lots of review praise in its English language edition. Although its on sale date in the  US is September, here at PS We’re Reading, we’ve already created some activity suggestions for teachers and librarians who might want to get a jump on preparing for new books to share with young readers after summer.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 1.07.28 PMNo Starch Press, which is located in San Francisco and so can readily join us for ALA this year, is publishing an essential book for new secondary school and college students, Violet Blue’s The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy. We’re developing an educators guide to this title to help promote its importance to girls online everywhere and everyday.

Frederic Brremaud and Federico Bertolucci have created a magnificent wordless graphic novel Love: The Tiger, published by Magnetic Press and distributed through Diamond Comics. Publishers Weekly has already awarded it a starred review and you’ll see us developing materials to make sure this gets into the hands of readers of all ages.

Pajama Press has a new Princess Pistachio book, from  Marie Louise Gay. Princess Pistachio and the Pest is pulling in great reviews even as the eponymous princess heads into her own summer vacation. You’re going to be hearing more about that, and lots of other great new books for kids, very soon! Stay tuned!

 

Acclaim from USBBY

The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) released its annual list during the opening of the 2015 Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association. Among the books touted on the new list are several from our own publishers:

  • Gecko’s The Day My Father Became a Bush, written and illustrated by Joke Van Leeuwen
  • Pajama Press’ Graffiti Knight, by Karen Bass
  • Kids Can’s Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, by Chieri Uegaki and  illustrated by Qin Leng
  • Kids Can’s If…: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers, by David J. Smith, with illustrations by Steve Adams
  • Gecko’s My Heart Is Laughing, by Rose Lagercrantz and illustrated by Eva Eriksson
  • Lemniscaat’s Surprise, written and illustrated by Mies Van Hout
  • Inhabit Media’s Sweetest Kulu, by Celina Kalluk, with illustrations by Alexandria Neonakis

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ALA Midwinter Poster Science (and Art!)

by Ellen Myrick

You are walking down the exhibit aisles at ALA this weekend and your eye is caught by a colorful image. You find yourself with the age-old question asked by eye-candy loving librarians at some point in their conference career. Do I pick up that poster? And, even more important, do I get it home without crushing it beyond reclamation? Here’s a handy guide to help you prepare for that moment(s):

Evaluating Whether It’s Worth It?
  1. Is the image arresting? Is it attractive? Is it worthy of your wall? Do you have a place or person immediately in mind when you see it?
  2. Is it just marketing or does it have some redeeming value that extends beyond one season? For example, if there is text, is it text that supports your mission or is it just a book title?
  3. Could you use it as a reward for staff or summer reading?
  4. Would you laminate it? Frame it?
  5. If it’s promoting a book, is it a book your library would logically carry?
Can I Get It from Here to There?

Now that you’ve decided to keep it, you have to be able to get it home. Here are my time-tested techniques on poster preservation:

  1. Combine all of your posters into one roll with the largest on the bottom.
  2. Line up the top edges.
  3. Roll as tightly as possible.
  4. If your roll is especially long, use two rubber bands.
  5. Do not take posters wider than your suitcase is long unless you get a tube (always the best approach).
Time to Practice

I’m glad I was able to help. Now that is settled, here are some posters to help you practice your evaluation techniques. If you would like any of these, be sure to visit Publisher Spotlight at ALA Midwinter, Booth #4621.

Gecko poster tiny

image  image

P.S. We have rubber bands.