My Very, Very, Very Favorite Bookshelf

This blog post started out as an email to a friend: the wonderful Terri Schmitz, owner of The Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, MA, which was the first children’s bookstore I encountered, and it put me on a whole new career path. She and I were talking books last week (of course!) and I told her that I had a whole bookshelf in my room called “My Very, Very, Very Favorite Bookshelf.”

The “Very Very” thing started, when my brother-in-law Bob helped Laurina and I move one time. When packing, I had obsessively labeled all my book boxes with subjects, and there were 3 labeled Very Very Very Favorites, and a few more labeled Very Very Favorites–you get the idea. When his kids, my niece and nephew, would ask for a book of mine, he would say “Is it one of the VERY favorites or the VERY VERY favorites?”

So I took pictures of the top two shelves of VERY VERY VERY Favorites (because of course the bookshelf is catalogued in descending order) and sent them to Terri, and they are below in this blog post too.

Some of these are favorites not only because they are wonderful, but because they have personal meaning:

  • My old used-library copy of Gone Away Lake that Beth and Joe Krush signed and drew a pocketknife in (!)
  • My signed copies of Robert McCloskey’s Homer Price and Centerburg Tales that I purchased from Sheila Wilensky’s Oz bookshop in Maine
  • TWO copies of Missing May! One purchased by Lisa Dugan and myself at Terri’s bookshop,the year it won the Newbery Award, before we drove to Western Massachusetts, reading it aloud and crying the whole way. (The second copy was Laurina’s and it is SIGNED TO HER. How did she manage that?)
  • My childhood copy of Snow Treasure from the Scholastic Book Club (60 cents, paperback)
  • Eleanor Cameron’s A Spell Is Cast, which I’d never heard of before Terri told me about it, so I bought an out-of-print copy and loved it. Then when Laurina and I were falling in love, I found out that it was her childhood favorite—and gave it back to her.

I know Marie Kondo says we should only own 30 books, but she’s wrong. These will be with me until I depart the planet. Here are the photos, I turned them sideways so they were easier to read:

Our ALA Youth Media Award winners

Just finished watching the ALA Youth Media Awards and we are SO happy for everyone, but especially for these clients of ours:

Pat Mora will give the 2016 The May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture.

Pat Mora will give the 2016 May Hill Arbuthnot lecture

Live Oak Media won the Odyssey Award for H.O.R.S.E. A Game of Imagination and Baseball.

2015 Odyssey Award

Susan Kuklin won a Stonewall Honor Award for her book Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out.

Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin

Chesapeake & Hudson Publishers’ Representatives had many publishers honored this year.

The Highlights Foundation had multiple faculty authors and editors winning prizes.


Today’s the day!

Soon the press conference will begin and the world will learn the titles chosen for the most prestigious children’s and young adult book awards in the US. The Newbery and Caldecott provide lots of WOW! factor but there are many important awards given today along with those.

Usually I’d be sitting in a room along with hundreds of excited others in the children’s book community, amidst the buzz and smiles. But this year I’m home so Bobbie and I are having a little breakfast party. The cherry almond scones are fresh out of the oven, coffee and chai are on the table, and we’re signed into the live webcast in Chicago. We’re READY! We’re joining Elizabeth Bird for the SLJ Pre-Game show.


It’s time to visit with Anne-girl

Anne of Green GablesEvery October 1st, I have to go and read Anne of Green Gables again. Mostly because of this line:

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”

I didn’t meet Anne until I was 17 years old, when a friend said to me: “Read this. You’re just like her.”

And she was right. Hello again, kindred-spirit-of-mine!

One celebration we’d like to let go of

This week is Banned Books Week, and once again we are surprised and dismayed to see the lists of books that have been challenged and banned. We’d love to stop celebrating Banned Books Week – if only there were no more banned books!

The Huffington Post put together a great group of infographics in Banned Books by the Numbers, including “by state” as seen below.
Banned Book Week
In honor of the “celebration,” I’m re-reading Fat Kid Rules the World, by our friend and client, K.L. Going.

The Mighty Vera B. Williams

The absolute BEST part of working in the children’s book business is getting to meet so many of the creators we admire. This past weekend we had the immense pleasure of meeting, dining with and listening to Vera B. Williams. She was just so GREAT in every way: smart, funny, earnest, full of creative spirit. We wanted to follow her home like stray puppies, sit on her floor and just ADORE her for days on end.

We saw her at The Power of Picture Books, a workshop for teachers and writers that’s put on jointly by the Highlights Foundation and the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum. There’s another one coming up in October – Check it out here!

Laurina and Bobbie book-ending Vera B. Williams!

Laurina and Bobbie book-ending Vera B. Williams!