03 Jan

Stretch your to-read list to its breaking point with 3 more sets of “Best of 2017” recommendations

In the past few weeks, A Fuse #8 Production, the Nerdy Book Club, and the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards have collectively created and shared more than fifty — that’s 50, five-zero — lists of recommendations of books published in 2017.

I was already looking forward to these lists for suggestions of what I might add to my pile of books I want to read. (Note: It’s no longer an actual, physical pile due to concerns about stability — the pile’s, and my own — but the digital list I now keep amounts to the same.)

Having Dazzle Ships included on some of those lists — Fuse’s Favorite Nonfiction Picture Books and American History Books for Kids, the Nonfiction Picture Book Nerdies, and the Cybils’ Elementary/Middle-Grade Nonfiction — only makes me appreciate all the more the effort and generosity involved in compiling and distributing them.

Whether your tastes (or the tastes of the young reader closest to you) run toward board books or speculative YA fiction, there’s something here for you in these lists. Don’t miss out on them. But hurry: Another year’s worth of great books started making their way out into the world this week.

09 Oct

Junior Library Guild would like to See Your I.D.!

Six months before its publication date, Can I See Your I.D.?, has gotten a big vote of confidence from Junior Library Guild, which as selected it as one of the books its members will receive next year. (Here’s a quick guide to how JLG works.)

That’s the week’s biggest news, but there’s been other good stuff as well:

Electronic versions of The Day-Glo Brothers are now available from Readeo and TumbleBooks as well as from Ripple Reader.

Speaking of The Day-Glo Brothers, Jill at Orange Marmalade included the book among her “list of five books about guys who wondered and discovered.”

Janelle at Brimful Curiosities has nominated Shark Vs. Train for the Cybils award for Fiction Picture Books. The nomination period closes this week — have you spoken up for your favorite books of 2010?

The book trailer for Shark Vs. Train is in the running for School Library Journal‘s first-ever Trailee Awards, and I sure would appreciate your vote. In case you haven’t seen the terrific job that Little, Brown did, here’s a look right now:

14 Feb

Sweet!

You can have your Valentine’s Day chocolates. For me, nothing today could be sweeter than the fact that the Cybils (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards) have given the 2009 prize for nonfiction picture books to The Day-Glo Brothers.

Well, actually, what makes this award sweeter still is seeing my friend Liz Scanlon‘s All the World right there above The Day-Glo Brothers on the list of this year’s winners. Congratulations to Liz and to our books’ illustrators, Marla Frazee and Tony Persiani, and to all of this year’s winners and finalists — and a huge “Thank you!” to all the Cybils panelists and judges. I hope you’re all savoring today and getting tomorrow off.

03 Jan

Starting 2010 in great company

New Year’s Day brought the announcement of the finalists for the 2009 Cybils (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards), and I’m beyond honored and delighted that The Day-Glo Brothers has made the shortlist for Non-Fiction Picture/Information Books.

The other finalists in this category are:

  • 14 Cows for America, by Carmen Agra Deedy
  • Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea, by Steve Jenkins
  • Faith, by Maya Ajmera, Magde Nakassis, and Cynthia Pon for the Global Fund for Children
  • Life-Size Zoo: From Tiny Rodents to Gigantic Elephants, An Actual Size Animal Encyclopedia, created by Teruyuki Komiya with photographs by Toyofumi Fukuda
  • Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History!, by Shana Corey
  • Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, by Brian Floca
  • Check out the Cybils site for more details about each of these nominees, and for the shortlists in these other categories:

  • Easy Readers & Short Chapter Books
  • Fantasy & Science Fiction (Middle Grade)
  • Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult)
  • Fiction Picture Books
  • Graphic Novels
  • Middle Grade Fiction
  • Non-Fiction Middle Grade/YA
  • Poetry
  • Young Adult Fiction
  • 11 Oct

    “It’s him!”

    When I showed up for my first school visit this past Wednesday, I don’t think I’d even shut my car door before I heard that holler of recognition. There was a class and their teacher sitting outside reading The Day-Glo Brothers, and my daylight-fluorescent green tie gave me away as the author. What a welcome! And what an omen for the great day that lay ahead.

    I delivered a brand-new presentation — Me? Write Science? — to three groups of seventh-graders who had just begun their own writing projects for an upcoming science fair, and it was easily the highlight of my week. (The highlight of the highlight? Hearing my tie described as “beast.”) But there’s been other good stuff lately, too:

    The 2009 Teddy Award nominees have been announced by the Writers League of Texas. Congratulations to Dotti, Jenny, Kathi, and Xavier!

  • Cynthia Leitich Smith posted this IndieBound list of books by Austin authors and illustrators for young readers.
  • I heard from a friend that my recent SCBWI presentation on biography writing inspired her to get going on one of her own. I had hoped to have that effect on at least one person who was there, but you just never know.
  • The publication date for Shark Vs. Train has been moved up, from June 2010 to next April. In a business where things always seem to take longer and move more slowly than you hope and expect, this is especially nice.
  • I’ve seen several roundups of 2009 titles receiving multiple starred reviews, but this particularly well-organized post from The Librariest is my favorite.
  • Speaking of reviews, Colleen Mondor’s enthusiastic words about The Day-Glo Brothers at Eclectica made my jaw drop — and made me eager to get my hands on the other five nonfiction titles she recommends.
  • Finally, the Cybils are back! Those are the Childrens and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards, and they’re taking nominations in several categories through this Thursday.
  • 20 Dec

    What am I waiting for (12/07)?

    The shortlist of Cybils nonfiction picture book finalists, which I’ll help judge.

    Official word that publication of The Day-Glo Brothers is 12 months away, at which point I’ll start working in earnest on a full-fledged author website. (My wife, by the way, has been justifiably raving about this one.)

    An editor’s verdict on J.R.

    The posting of the complete schedule at the Texas Library Association conference.

    After the holidays, when I’ll try to convince some of my local author friends to let me tag along on their school visits.

    The right time to pick the brains of the librarians at the elementary school just down the street.

    The right time to try my hand at writing a “Cadenza” for Horn Book.

    The right time to pitch a children’s nonfiction panel for the 2008 Texas Book Festival.

    The right time…

    29 Nov

    Let the wild winnowing start!

    The Cybils nominations for the year’s best children’s and young adult books are closed. Now begins the fun (read: hard) work of narrowing each category’s list of vying titles down to five finalists.

    Below are the books that the nonfiction nominating panel will be chewing on through the end of the year; a smidgen of the price of purchases made through the links provided help keep the Cybils going. (Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect has the details on just what the nominating panel will be keeping in mind.)

    A Horse in the House and Other Strange but True Animal Stories
    Written by Gail Ablow; illustrated by Kathy Osborn
    Candlewick
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    A Little Peace
    Written by Barbara Kerley
    National Geographic
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    A Seed is Sleepy
    Written by Dianna Hutts Aston; illustrated by Sylvia Long
    Chronicle
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    ABC Safari
    Written and illustrated by Karen Lee
    Sylvan Dell
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Anne Hutchinson’s Way
    Written by Jeannine Atkins; illustrated by Michael Dooling
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Apples
    Written by Jacqueline Farmer; illustrated by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes
    Charlesbridge
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Artful Reading
    Written and illustrated by Bob Raczka
    Millbrook Press
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Ballerina Dreams
    Written by Lauren Thompson; illustrated by James Estrin
    Feiwel & Friends
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Bugs Up Close
    Written by Diane Swanson; illustrated by Paul Davidson
    Kids Can Press
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Campy: The Story of Roy Campanella
    Written by David A. Adler; illustrated by Gordon James
    Viking
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Capoeira: Game! Dance! Martial Art!
    Written and illustrated by George Ancona
    Lee & Low
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male
    Written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy
    Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    D is for Drinking Gourd: an African American Alphabet
    Written by Nancy I. Sanders; illustrated by E.B. Lewis
    Sleeping Bear Press
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Different Like Coco
    Written and illustrated by Elizabeth Matthews
    Candlewick
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Dogs and Cats
    Written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
    Houghton Mifflin
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Dolley Madison Saves George Washington
    Written and illustrated by Don Brown
    Houghton Mifflin
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    First the Egg
    by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
    Roaring Brook
    Buy from Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire
    Written by Roxane Orgill; illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
    Candlewick
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Guess What is Growing Inside this Egg
    Written and illustrated by Mia Posada
    Millbrook
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Hiromi’s Hands
    Written and illustrated by Lynne Barasch
    Lee & Low
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    In My Backyard
    Written by Valarie Giogas; illustrated by Katherine Zecca
    Sylvan Dell
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Let’s Go!: The Story of Getting from There to Here
    Written by Lizann Flatt; illustrated by Scot Ritchie
    Maple Tree Press
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Lightship
    Written and illustrated by Brian Floca
    Atheneum / Richard Jackson Books
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Living Color
    Written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
    Houghton Mifflin
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer
    Written by Bill Wise; illustrated by Bill Farnsworth
    Lee & Low
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt
    Written by Judith St. George; illustrated by Britt Spencer
    Philomel
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Martha Ann’s Quilt for Queen Victoria
    Written by Kyra E. Hicks; illustrated by Lee Edward Fodi
    Brown Books Publishing Group
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Mary Cassatt: Impressionist Painter
    Written by Lois V. Harris
    Pelican
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    May I Pet Your Dog?: The How-to Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids)
    Written by Stephanie Calmenson; illustrated by Jan Ormerod
    Clarion
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    My Name Is Gabito/Mi Llamo Gabito: The Life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez/La Vida De Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Written by Monica Brown; illustrated by Raul Colon
    Luna Rising
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Nothing but Trouble: the story of Althea Gibson
    Written by Sue Stauffacher; illustrated by Greg Couch
    Knopf
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Ocean Seasons
    Written by Ron Hirschi; illustrated by Kirsten Carlson
    Sylvan Dell
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II
    Written and illustrated by Lita Judge
    Hyperion
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Rough, Tough Charley
    Written by Verla Kay; illustrated by Alan Gustavson
    Tricycle Press
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Sawdust and Spangles: the Amazing Life of W.C. Coup
    Written by Ralph Covert and G. Riley Mills; illustrated by Giselle Potter
    Abrams
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Strong Man: the story of Charles Atlas
    Written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy
    Knopf
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku
    Written by Ellie Crowe; illustrated by Richard Waldrep
    Lee & Low
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    The Book of Time Outs: a Mostly True History of the World’s Biggest Troublemakers
    Written and illustrated byDeb Lucke
    Simon & Schuster
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Turtle Summer: a Journal for My Daughter
    Written by Mary Alice Monroe; illustrated by Barbara J. Bergwerf
    Sylvan Dell
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Vulture View
    Written by April Pulley Sayre; illustrated by Steve Jenkins
    Henry Holt
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    We
    Written by Alice Schertle; illustrated by Kenneth Addison
    Lee & Low
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Where in the Wild?: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed … and Revealed
    Written by David Schwartz and Yael Schy; illustrated by Dwight Kuhn
    Tricycle Press
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Who Put the B in the Ballyhoo
    Written and illustrated by Carlyn Beccia
    Houghton Mifflin
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Wired
    Written by Anastasia Suen; illustrated by Paul Carrick
    Charlesbridge
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    Young Pele: Soccer’s First Star
    Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James Ransome
    Schwartz & Wade
    Buy From Amazon | Buy from BookSense (your local independent)

    [Updated 12/5, thanks to the tip from Tricia in the comments.]

    01 Oct

    Re-Cybilized

    I hope you’ve had time to Take a Ride on the Reading Railroad, this month’s kidlitosphere carnival over at Charlotte’s Library. Good stuff there, and I’m delighted to have a post of mine included.

    Speaking of children’s literature-related metaphorical modes of transportation, I’m back on the Cybils bus. Last year I organized the nonfiction picture book category, but I figured that the impending publication of my first book would get in the way of my participating in 2007. Well, publication is still impending, but not quite as quickly as originally planned, so there’s a big Cybils-shaped hole in my schedule next January that I’ll gladly fill by serving as one of the judges, along with:

    We’ll be picking the winner from the shortlist handed to us by the nominating panel, which includes:

    • Andrea (Just One More Book!!)
    • Emily (Whimsy Books)
    • Fiona (Books and ‘Rocks)
    • Jennifer (Kiddosphere)
    • Category organizer Eisha (Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast)

    Then there’s your role, which begins tomorrow, when you start nominating titles in all categories — but especially non-fiction picture books, which you dig just as much as I do, right?