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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

Illustration by Grace Lin

In honor of the Chinese New Year on January 31, I put together a Pinterest board of books.  You can view it here.

 
A New Year's Reunion by Yu Li Qiong, illustrated by Zhu Cheng Liang

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger


Folk singer Pete Seeger died yesterday at the age of 94.  I immediately thought of his song "The Foolish Frog" which he made into a picture book illustrated by Miloslav Jagr in 1973.  Weston Woods then made a video of it, which you can watch below.  Be forewarned, though, you'll have the song stuck in your head all day!

The Foolish Frog - Video Dailymotion

Monday, January 27, 2014

Multicultural Children's Book Day

It's Multicultural Children's Book Day!  Check out Reading is Fundamental's multicultural book lists here.

You can also view my Pinterest boards of  mixed race and Caribbean books, as well as Cinderella tales around the world.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pinterest

I have found Pinterest to be a great resource for many things, including children's lit.  I have a whole account to share categorized book recommendations, as well as illustrations that I love. 

Some boards I have include: Mixed Race/Multicultural, GLBT, Feminist Fairy Tales, Cinderella Around the World, Nature and Science, Books on Trauma, and holidays.  I hope that it can be a helpful resource for teachers and parents.

You can view my children's lit Pinterest here: http://www.pinterest.com/fortunateizzi/

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Selkie Girl

by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Warwick Hutton.  Published by Margaret K. Elderry in 1986.




Ever since I watched The Secret of Roan Inish as a young girl, I've been intrigued by the legend of selkies, or seal people.  Somehow I missed this book as a kid.  I really like the way Susan Cooper tells the story and Hutton's illustrations are light and lovely, too.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kids respond to white washing on book covers

Lee & Low (a wonderful publisher of multicultural children's books) has a very interesting blog post about how kids perceive white washing of book covers. 


Some reactions from the kids:
  • “It was sickening to look at all the stereotypes, the assumptions.”
  • “I think I was on the girls’ side of the bookshelf, but even so, that just shows that Barnes & Noble separates their books by gender.”
  • “I know that kids’ minds aren’t developed enough to understand these issues, but as they grow up, I hope they realize how serious this issue really is. People have the right to like any color they want and be anything they want to be.”
  • “Society is almost afraid of putting a dark-skinned or Asian character on the cover of a book. I feel like these are minor forms of segregation.”
  • “I didn’t see a book with a biracial main character . . . it is not fair in any way.”
  • “In the chapter book section, I saw that most of the books that had non-Caucasian characters didn’t have that character on the cover.
  • “On the covers, I saw thin, pretty girls. I didn’t see any overweight girls or anyone with acne. I think that these covers shape an idea of perfect in a girl’s mind, and make them want to be like that, even though everyone was born perfect.”

Read the full post here.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Animal Boogie

I received a free copy of The Animal Boogie from Barefoot Books, which is a great children's book publishing company with a focus on multicultural and diverse titles.  The reason I received it for free was because it was part of an information pack about how to be an Ambassador (affiliate marketer) for them.  It looks like a great opportunity, especially for people involved in schools or other children's areas. 

It was fun for me to discover that this book's text is a song by Fred Penner, whose show Penner's Place I grew up watching in the early 90s on Nickelodeon.  Below is a video of the intro.

 

 
Animal Boogie is a fun, brightly colored book illustrated by Debbie Harter. It also comes with a CD of an animated video of the book with Fred Penner singing along. There is also a version with the music but no vocals so that you can sing along karaoke-style.  I think kids would really enjoy this book.






Friday, January 10, 2014

How to write POC if you are white

There is a great article with advice for white writers who want to include characters of color in their work over at Media Diversified. 

They say that it boils down to: research, persistence, and consideration.  They also cite great examples of good and bad POC writing.

You can read the article here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Scholarships Available

The Children's Book Academy is offering merit scholarships for children's writers and illustrators of color and LGBTQ. 

For more information, visit their site here.
The Children's Book Academy is proud to offer merit scholarships for writers and illustrators of color and non-dominant sexual orientation (i.e. LGBQT) currently underrepresented in the children's publishing industry. - See more at: http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/yuyi-morales-scholarship-information.html

Monday, January 6, 2014

"This book stinks"


Marc Tyler Nobleman at Noblemania posted a series of videos of children's authors reading bad reviews of their own books.  It's pretty funny.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Weston Woods

When I think of my childhood, one of the first things that comes to mind are the Weston Woods videos I used to watch over and over.  

Here is a good description from Wikipedia:
"Weston Woods Studios was founded in 1953 by Morton Schindel in Weston, Connecticut, and named after the wooded area near his home. The company's first project was Andy and the Lion in 1954, and its first animated film was The Snowy Day in 1963. Starting in 1968, Weston Woods began a long collaboration with animator Gene Deitch and opened international offices in Henley-on-Thames, England, UK, in 1972; Canada in 1975; and Australia in 1977. In addition to making the films, the company also conducted interviews with the writers, illustrators, and makers of the films. The films appeared on children's television programs such as Captain Kangaroo and Eureeka's Castle. In the mid-1980s, the films were released on VHS under the Children's Circle titles, and Wood Knapp Video distributed these releases from 1988 to 1995.
Beginning in 1968, the company also made filmstrips and audio recordings synchronized to them, which became known as the Picture Book Parade. Many of these recordings were narrated by actor Owen Jordan and were different recordings from the films.
In 1996, the company was acquired by Scholastic Corporation. In 2012, the New Video Group gave home entertainment rights to the Scholastic franchise."

My mom had a mail subscription with Children's Circle so we still have a lot of the VHS tapes, for which I'm very thankful because the DVDs are now very expensive, as they are targeted to schools. 

If you are interested in learning more about Weston Woods, there was a great book published a few years ago called Imagination and Innovation: The Story of Weston Woods by John Cech.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

YA Tropes

 Author Shannon Hale wrote an interesting blog post about YA tropes.  It addresses how it's odd that a lot of people complain about how they're tired of seeing certain aspects of YA novels that are really rooted in what it means to be a teenager.  You can read the post here:

The Young Adult Tropes That Ate the World

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year

Happy New Year!

I just sent out my first picture book manuscript to publishers.  Wish me luck!