Monday, March 29, 2010

Another 2K10 Debut

March was an awesome month for readers as this is the fourth fellow 2K10 author's debut. Judith Grave's skin must have goosepimples as her YA, UNDER MY SKIN comes out.

All her parents wanted was for Eryn to live a normal life...
Redgrave had its share of monsters before Eryn moved to town. Mauled pets, missing children. The Delacroix family is taking the blame, but Eryn knows the truth. Something stalks the night. Wade, the police chief's son and Redgrave High's resident hottie, warns her the Delacroix are dangerous. But then so is Eryn--in fact, she's lethal. But she can't help falling for one of the Delacroix boys, dark, brooding--human Alec. And then her world falls apart.

A normal life? Now that's the real fairytale.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Preview just in...

There are an estimated 122,356 libraries of all kinds in the United States today American Library Association

Elizabeth Bird, children's librarian at the Children's Center at 42nd Street of the New York Public Library and blogger @Fuse 8 Productions, just blogged about her preview session with Simon & Schuster where editors presented upcoming books to librarians. This is what Elizabeth had to say -
"Alexandra Penfold was up and talking about Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai when I came in. The book has a plot that has haunted me since the moment I heard about it, and the cover image too for that matter. In Kabul, Fadi lets go of his six-year-old sister's hand when they're climbing into the truck to take them away. He loses her when she drops her Barbie doll and goes back for it, effectively separating herself from her family. Now they're in America and she's still in Afghanistan. The cover image shows the moment right before the separation. It just kills me, and I haven't even read the book yet."

Photo: Just One More Book Blog

Monday, March 22, 2010

Future of Children's Books

Nielsen BookScan reported that sales of juvenile books were the strongest of any category in 2008, rising 6 percent from 2007. In 2009, Nielsen reported, sales held mostly even. By contrast, last year adult hardcover and mass market paperbacks both declined nearly 4 percent, and trade paperbacks fell 2 percent - Washington Post

I never like such encompassing titles of articles as The Future of Children's Books. Its sounds so penultimate, as if the writer had a crystal ball and was making definite predictions. But, the Washington Post, with the aforementioned title, does have some interesting revelations about combing technology and literature.

The fact that Jeff Kinney worked full-time for a decade designing popular kid-friendly Web games before writing his best-selling series, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, originally published online, was a revelation. The online, free online version regularly gets 70,000 hits a day. What this thankfull illustrates that teens and tweens on the internet, with access to content online, will still go out and buy his book. 28 million copes of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID are in print in the United States, according publisher Abrams.

So Publisher are now playing an expensive balancing game, getting kids to read books by offering companion Web sites that are graphic-rich and able to plunge young readers into the story. Along with the tale on the page, kids can dip into online videos and games, win prizes, create Internet identities and get into social networking.

Several publishers are getting into the fray Scholastic launched a 10-book international mystery series called THE 39 CLUES in the fall of 2008. Much of the action takes place online, however, where kids amass hundreds of collectible cards and compete for prizes. According to Scholastic, they have 760,000 registered users. Disney recently started an online book subscription Web site, Disney Digital Book, with hundreds of titles available, in hopes it will cast a spell over kids and their parents. You use a "magic pen" to turn each digital page.  Last fall, HarperCollins published a missing-girl mystery, THE AMANDA PROJECT with a major online social networking component. And Simon & Schuster is getting into the game this June with its multimedia venture SPACEHEADZ Written by Jon Scieszka, author of THE STINKY CHEESE MAN.

The question remains whether all these multimedia add-ons to the reading experience will pay off... we shall see.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hiding with Harry

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, dragon blood is revealed to be an effective oven cleaner (I just cleaned my oven and wished I had some)

I, like countless millions, loved the Harry Potter series and one of my favorite magical objects was his Cloak of Invisibility. The cloak had the power to shield the wearer from sight, and could not be worn out by time or spells. Invisibility cloaks are not a new concept and have appeared in literature since the days of Brothers Grimm. 

When I read about it, I wanted to go out and get one for myself and now it looks like they may be within our grasp! Scientists have taken a small but important new step toward making it into reality. Researchers at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology were able to cloak a tiny bump in a layer of gold, preventing its detection at nearly visible infrared frequencies. The cloak is a structure of crystals with air spaces in between, sort of like a woodpile, that bends light, hiding the bump in the gold. In this case, the bump was tiny, a mere 0.00004 inch high and 0.0005 inch across, so that a magnifying lens was needed to see it.

In principle, the cloak design is completely scalable; there is no limit to it, a researcher stated. But, he added, developing a cloak to hide something takes a long time, so cloaking larger items with that technology is not really feasible. DARN. But I'll keep hoping.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another March Launch!

Fellow 2k10er Jacqueline Houtman's THE REINVENTION OF EDISON THOMAS has just been released.

Eddy Thomas copes with the noise and crowds of Drayton Middle School by reciting the periodic table of elements, memorizing Morse code, and jumping on the trampoline in the gym teacher’s office. His mind stores thousands of facts and the scientific names of animals and plants, but cannot decode the meaning of the expressions on faces or the definition of a friend. When the local school crossing guard is laid off, Eddy can’t stop thinking about the dangerous intersection and the possibility that someone could get hurt there. Marshalling his talents as a scientist and inventor, he builds a traffic – calming device out of his collection of old machines. Could Eddy’s invention help with more than just the safety situation?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Golden not Dark

Dark Ages -- a. The period in Europe from the fall of Rome in the fifth century a.d. to the restoration of relative political stability around the year 1000; the early part of the Middle Ages. b. The entire Middle Ages, especially when viewed as a troubled period marked by the loss of classical learning. No longer in use by historians -

The following clip has a few of my favorite things... history, a library and Sir Ben Kingsley. It also addresses what mainstream history has taught to be the Dark Ages -- it was for some, but for others it was quite Golden.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kids With Cameras

1.2 million prostituted children are believed to be currently enslaved throughout India, that's roughly the entire population of Dallas - Indian Government statistic, 2009

Born into Brothels is a documentary that follows the lives of several unforgettable children who live in the red light district of Calcutta, where their mothers are part of the over 10,000 women and girls who live and work as prostitutes. In the documentary, Zana Briski, a New York-based photographer, gives each of the children a camera and teaches them to look at the world with new eyes.

Her program, called Kids with Cameras was based on the belief that photography was an effective tool for igniting children's imagination and building self-esteem. The children's photographs were seen around the world and sold, allowing many to go to school and leave the brothels behind.
Kids with Cameras has supported the education of several children from the original photography workshop. One of the children completed his secondary schooling in Utah and is now studying film at NYU Tisch School for the Arts. Another arrived in the USA one year ago to finish her secondary schooling and expects to graduate from a private boarding school in 2011. Many of the other children are excelling in private schools in India.

I watched the documentary when it first came out in 2005 and it had a lasting impression on me -- how terrible and beautiful life could be for children trapped in situation beyond their control. It went onto to win a well deserved academy award that year. Kids with Cameras believes that education provides a way for children to leave the red-light district ad are currently raising funds to develop Hope House, a safe haven specifically for the children of prostitutes to provide an opportunity for them to learn, thrive and lead future generations.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SPLIT Launched!

Compatriot Class of 2K10er, Swati Avashti's debut YA, SPLIT released yesterday - Go grab a copy!

16-year-old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father's fist), $3.84, and a secret. It is about what happens after. After you've said enough, after you've run, after you've made the split - how do you begin to live again?

Monday, March 8, 2010

TAGGED Launched!

Fellow Class of 2k10 Author Mara Purnhagen's debut young adult novel, TAGGED (Harlequin Teen), just released. Go out and get your copy!

Kate Morgan is just as confused as the rest of her classmates when she arrives at Cleary High to find six life-size gorillas spray painted on the side of a building. Could the culprit be one of her friends or classmates? And is the kind-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to stay out of it, mostly because, as the police chief’s daughter, she's always accused of being a snitch. But when gorillas start appearing throughout the state, her investigative instincts kick in. Now Eli, Kate’s favorite co-worker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With her best friend, Lan, preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can’t stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all clues about the graffiti point to someone she knows...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Guten Tag Deutschland!

In Germany books on travel and the great outdoors are most popular, but they also win the prize for the driest bestseller. In eighth place is the country’s Civil Code - The Telegraph Newspaper

SHOOTING KABUL will be available in Germany soon! Simon & Schuster sold German rights to Verlagsgruppe Random House after the Frankfurt Book Fair, this past October.

Once an author sells their book to a publisher (let's assume an American one, since we're here), there is the chance that the book may be sold in other, 'foreign' territories'. This can either be done by the agent, if the US publisher only acquired North American rights (granting them to publish in North America) or the publisher, if they acquired world rights. The publisher can then go sell the book to foreign publishers. There are two kinds of foreign rights sales: those where the acquirer will translate the work into another language and second where the foreign publisher will provide marketing and distribution for an English title.

The next big fair is in Bologna, Italy where the publishers, editors, agents and others are getting together to network and chat up all things literary. I'd just like to be there to eat the gelato - another foreign right sales would be nice to!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Afghan Friends Network

Even though, student enrollment in Afghanistan increased 500% (from 900,000 to over 6.4 million) since 2002, still more than half of the school-age children are still out of school and majority of them are girls - School is Open

Yesterday I volunteered at a fundraising event for a wonderful organization called the Afghan Friends Network (AFN). We had wonderful Afghan food, an auction and guest speaker, author Tamim Ansary. AFN, founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2002, is a nonprofit that facilitates humanitarian, economic and educational collaborations between Americans and Afghans and delivers programs in two primary categories: education and cultural/community awareness. Their work is primarily focused in the province of Ghazni, the second largest province in Afghanistan located sixty miles southwest of Kabul.

At first they focused on women and girls, but their latest project focuses on boys. The President of AFN is a good friend and has been telling me about the wonderful work the organization does. And trully, after meeting the founder, other volunteers and supporters, I was impressed by their dedication and committment to improving the lives of children in Ghazni.

Monday, March 1, 2010

First Review, Oh my

The nerve wracking, gut wrenching day has arrived... my first review of SHOOTING KABUL...

Here is a snippet:

"The news recently has been full of war stories happening in Afghanistan. For many young people the part of the world is unfamiliar. Unfortunately stories out of this country will make headlines and news probably for many years to come. To fill in the gaps for young readers I would highly recommend SHOOTING KABUL by N.H. Senzai ... The particular importance of this book to me was in the blending of the coming of age of Fadi and the history of Afghanistan. At no time does the author ever interrupt the narrative to give the reader a history lesson. Instead history is brought out naturally as the characters talk, react to each other, and generally go about their daily living. Concerns over Osama, the Taliban, President Karzai all surface especially after the terror attack in New York and Washington...The story is captivating and will hold any readers’ interest." Full review is here.

The review was written by Frank Hodge, owner of Hodge-Podge Books in Albany, NY, a locally beloved and nationally recognized supporter of children’s literature. Over the years Frank has been awarded the Celebrate Literacy Award of the International Reading Association,The Friend to Reading Award by the New York State Reading Association; The Fellows Award of the New York State English Council, and his bookstore was nominated for the Bookseller of the Year Award presented by the American Booksellers Association.

Sadly, Hodge Podge Books closed this past year, after 27 years in operation -- a victim of tough economic times. But Frank is running the store on-line and reviewing books. Over the years Frank introduced his passion for books to generations of children and knew the authors of almost every book he was asked about, as in "knew them personally." He considers many of them good friends and he's brought them into local schools and introduced them, or their work to thousands of Capital Region kids, and continues to do so.