Judy Nelson, founder of Mrs. Nelson's, was interviewed by David Allen for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Click Here for the full article!
Guest blog entry from local author Amy Goldman Koss:
Every book, like every baby, comes to us differently. Sure, the basic mechanics, egg, sperm, character, plot are the same, but still. The traditional, courtship, (love, marriage,) process in publishing goes like this:
1. You think of an idea and write the best possible book you can.
That was pretty much how it went for my first four picture books and thirteen novels, except for one editor's mid-book retirement and one messy divorce.
But my newest baby, The Not So-Great-Depression, (in which the economy crashes, my mom goes broke, my sister's plans are ruined, my dad grows vegetables, and I do not get a hamster) followed a slightly different path to publication.
It all began on Bloody Thursday. That was the day the grim reaper of finances slashed through the publishing world, firing editors and assistants, closing whole imprints, canceling contracts and basically freaking out everyone in the business. The kid-lit-osphere reeled in circles shrieking in terror.
I sent Lauren, a woman I'd worked with at Roaring Brook Press, a sympathy e-mail saying I hoped she wasn't swept away in this grim blood bath. She wrote back that this mess, not just in publishing, but in every aspect of the economy was going to affect kids for a long time to come, and didn't I think there was a book in this?
But my husband disagreed. He said it didn't have to be a bit dull or mathy. He insisted that reversals of fortune, the abrupt and unexpected game change is the stuff of great literature. So although I'd never had a book idea handed to me from outside my own thoughts before, I wrote back to Lauren and said I'd give it a try.
Meanwhile, the assignment I gave my self was to make Jacki optimistic. I wanted her to be one of those cheerful kids who naturally look on the bright side of things without slithering into the annoyingly up-beat. My characters are usually neurotic, snaky and pessimistic so it was a huge challenge to fight my natural crabbiness, and let Jacki sparkle. Hard but fun. Jacki cracked me up repeatedly.
The book and I worked together for several happy months. There was a bit of a rush on this, though, because the publisher wanted it to pub while the economy was still failing so kids could read it while they or their friends and relatives were going through the same thing. It turned out, of course, sadly for all, that there was ultimately no rush as families are still losing their houses, and jobs at a hefty clip today. None the less, I got the first draft done in record time, and that's when I came upon the second break in the usual publishing pattern. The book didn't have an editor!
For a copy of Amy's latest and to learn how to meet her this weekend, click here or look below!
Blog Entry from Lauren --
Did you know that syngenesophobia is the fear of relatives? Everybody is afraid of something, be it family or something more conventional, like spiders- and fear is the topic of Gitty Daneshvari's two hilarious books, School of Fear and School of Fear: Class is Not Dismissed! The School of Fear series is perfect for any kid (and adult - I loved them too!) who enjoys a good adventure tempered with eccentric humor. We've had Gitty at the store once before and she is just as warm and funny as her books. If you come to this event you are sure to have a great time, or at least a memorable one - last year Gitty's purse accidentally dialed 911 on her cell phone, which brought the police to Mrs. Nelson's! Hopefully this year won't be quite as eventful :). This is a visit that shouldn't be missed!
Have you not heard about the amazing new book/science kit Potato Chip Science? Well, you're missing out. This kit, all packaged in a potato chip bag, includes enough materials to do all sorts of science projects. But don't take my word for it, check out the video here --
A blog entry from Andrea --
Occasionally I pick up details about this parent or that organization that has decided to challenge a particular book for a school or library. This makes me feel ill. I suspect at a gut level my reaction stems from the sense that no one has the right to determine what is appropriate for another person, especially in reading material. Censorship is something we as Americans do not promote or espouse.
I am not implying that anyone must be forced or have their child forced to read a book that against their familial or personal belief system. But American rights go both ways. These individuals do not have the right to force denial of a book to me or my child.
Yesterday I discovered that Wesley Scroggins posted this piece in his local paper. He goes from complaining about the district’s sex education program (last I checked, parents had to sign permission slips for sex ed) to describing the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson in pretty prurient terms. In fact by concentrating on less than three pages of the book--which he defines as “soft pornography”--he makes it clear that he read only those three pages, but not whether he actually read enough of the book to know what the story is truly about. This is a book about a young lady having the courage to speak about a horrible event, though she comes from a background that has not provided her with any support.
It seems to me that we would hope for our children to be able to speak out against things that are bad, wrong, immoral, or hurtful—for themselves or another person. For our children to be able to support their peers that do speak out seems like a fairly positive value as well.
I have met Ms. Anderson and I have read all of her books. Unlike pornography, this is not meant to excite or titillate. It should be gut-wrenching to read Speak, and it is. I have also met the kids, girls and boys, who wanted to hear Ms. Anderson speak because this book struck a nerve. I know counselors who share this book with those kids that need to find a voice. The ones who have been raped, abused, ignored, or hurt in some way that you pray to God they can get past. This book may help them heal and find a voice to say what needs to be said.
I don’t think we can improve our kids by ignoring the worst things that can happen to people. I think we need to provide our kids with strength and empathy. I bought Speak for my young daughter already. She may not be reading it any time soon, but she will read it. And for the future, I pray that your kids will get to read it as well.
Banned Book Week starts in six days. Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak has recently been challenged in a Springfield, Missouri newspaper. She speaks out against it on her own blog.
Publisher's Weekly talked with local illustrator-extraordinaire Marla Frazee about her hilarious new picture book Boss Baby.
Check out the interview, just click here.
Boss Baby --The rules of a house change once Boss Baby arrives. His every demand and whim must be met by his employees (aka his parents). He screams and wails, he's fussy and angry and must be waited on hand-and-foot. Frazee's charming tale of how parents' lives revolve around a new born is both hilarious and well-told. Her seemingly simple illustrations only add to the ridiculousness of Boss Baby in his pin-striped onesie. Ages 4-8 and anyone with a new baby in their lives!
Even as a kid, I noticed this: there is a dearth of female role models. I don't mean there aren't enough women to admire - hardly! But I just didn't hear much about them when I was younger. Jennifer Fosberry takes care of that with her wonderful new picture book My Name is Not Isabella. Isabella is a little girl who dreams big - she pretends to be Sally Ride, Annie Oakley (a personal favorite!), Rosie Parks, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Blackwell, and her own mother. After Isabella goes to bed and the story ends, there's a list of the women mentioned along with a brief profile, and a bibliography.
Jennifer Fosberry wrote a book that is fun and self-empowering and best of all, she's coming to Mrs. Nelson's! She'll be in the store Mon. Sept. 20th at 4:00 - you can come and listen to her speak, get copies of the book signed (I'm sure we all know at least one girl or guy who could use some heroes!) and ask questions.
I just hope she has another book in the works - and I plan to ask her!
Cassandra Clare's new series, The Infernal Devices, serves as a prequel to her hugely popular series, The Mortal Instruments. Here is a book trailer for the first book in the new series, Clockwork Angel.
I'm back! And with more awesome teen books that any adult can enjoy.
1. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
When I say this book is about monsters, I don't mean the cheesy creatures who inhabited the B-movies of yore. Rick Yancey's monsters are the things of nightmares. The book has a properly gothic setting: New England in the late 19th century where monsters haunt the bleak, Dickensian streets. I'm counting down the days until the sequel, The Curse of the Wendigo comes out!
2. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
This series should be illegal, it is so addictive! I raced through all 8 books in a matter of weeks. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I HAD to know who the deliciously malicious "A" was! Don't start this book unless you are prepared to get sucked in - enjoyably of course.
3. Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
Pretty Monsters is Kelly Link's first book for teens but, frankly, I didn't see any difference between it and her adult collections - Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners. The stories in all three books are amazing and fantastical. I'm not usually a big fantasy reader, but I found Link's books enchanting.
4. Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan
When I read the description of Accomplice I wasn't sure I would enjoy it - the main characters sounded so selfish! But Eireann Corrigan has done a very difficult thing and that is to make a character who is involved in a horrible thing sympathetic, even likeable. Like Finn, the reader gets caught up in Chloe's schemes. Accomplice was powerful, with a haunting twist at the end.
5. I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
John Wayne Cleaver is a lot like Dexter, from the TV show of the same name. (Awesome, awesome show!) John has what Dexter calls a "dark passenger": the desire to kill, to feel blood on his hands. John's able to stay in control - for now. But his evil thoughts get louder and louder every day. He doesn't want to be this way, he just is. I loved the sinister feel of this book and so will any Dexter fans. I can't wait for the sequel Mr. Monster!