06 Feb

Love from (and to) libraries and librarians

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Libraries and librarians have been sending some great news my way lately.

In the past few weeks, I’ve learned that The Day-Glo Brothers is a nominee for the 2011-2012 Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards Program sponsored by the Pennsylvania School Libraries Association, and that Shark Vs. Train has been named to three nifty lists:

  • The Chicago Public Library’s 2010 Best of the Best list
  • The Texas Library Association’s 2011 2×2 list
  • The Illinois School Library Media Association’s 2012 Monarch Award list
  • I just wish that libraries and librarians were on the receiving end of more good news lately. I wrote about this in my Bartography Express newsletter last weekend:

    We all love our libraries — even Shark and Train — but it’s never been more important that we take the time to say so. State and city and school district budgets this year include deep, shortsighted cuts for libraries and librarians and the services they provide. These are bad news for all of us and especially for the children in our society. If we want to be a better educated, better informed, better prepared people, none of us — not one — will come out ahead if these sorts of cuts go through.

    The Texas Library Association has provided this tool for emailing Gov. Perry and state senators and representatives to advocate on behalf of the institutions — and the people who make them run — that are such a vital part of our society, democracy and culture. If your state library association does the same, I urge you to take advantage of it.

    One bright spot for librarians, at least, is the new book by one of their own, Jeanette Larson. In her post-librarian career (though I really wonder if such a thing exists), Jeanette has written the lovely Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas, just published by Charlesbridge. It’s a beautiful book, and I hope you’ll all be able to find it on the shelves of your local library.

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    08 Jan

    Look, Mom — I’ve made it!

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    My mother is visiting this weekend. Coincidentally, a few friends let me know this week that they’ve seen Shark Vs. Train — with a little-bitty mug shot of me — in Scholastic’s “Favorite Authors and Illustrators” catalog:

    So, if you were wondering how old you have to be before you’re no longer excited about showing your mom the brand-new Scholastic catalog — I’m not sure, but it’s older than 39…

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    08 Dec

    More great news (and then some) for Shark Vs. Train

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    It’s a finalist for ReadKiddoRead’s first-ever Kiddo Awards…

    And one of the best books of the year, according to Parents magazine…

    And pretty well-liked by The Christian Science Monitor

    And among the year’s best children’s books according to Barnes & Noble and Austin’s own BookPeople.

    The latter’s complete list of favorite titles for the ages-0-to-8 crowd is:

    Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
    A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
    The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philip Lechermeier, illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer
    Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean
    Beautiful Oops by Barney Salzberg
    Art and Max by David Wiesner
    City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon Muth
    Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

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    21 Nov

    Shark Vs. Train gets listed — and listed, and listed again!

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    The great year-end news for Shark Vs. Train has kept right on coming. I’m pleased to announce that, in addition to the previously announced recognition by Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, SVT has been listed among the “Best Books of 2010″ by School Library Journal.

    My previous book, The Day-Glo Brothers, made all three of those lists last year, so I figured there must be a lot of overlap among them — if you’ve made one, you’ve made them all. But according to SLJ‘s Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog, only eight titles hold that distinction this year:

  • They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  • Shark Vs. Train, by Chris Barton and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
  • Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher
  • The War to End All Wars: World War I, by Russell Freedman
  • Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan and illustrated by Brian Floca
  • The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy), by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
  • Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors, by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • Wow. For me, that’s some humbling company to be in.

    But for you, wow! Your holiday list-making is pretty much complete now, isn’t it?

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    16 Nov

    Shark, Train, Abbott, Costello, and “plain-vanilla LEGOS”

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    Kirkus Reviews children’s editor Vicky Smith interviewed me at the Texas Book Festival last month about picture books (mine, and the future of the field according to The New York Times), my next book, and how my kids’ childhoods differ (or don’t) from my own…

    In related news reported by Chicken Spaghetti, Kirkus Goes List Crazy with its breakdowns of 2010’s best children’s and YA books. Shark Vs. Train made the cut, I’m delighted to say — in the category of Picture Books by Authors with Prominent Foreheads.

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    11 Nov

    Shark, Train and me in San Antonio this Saturday!

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    Join me (and/or tell your S.A. friends), won’t you?

    By the way, in between the two events announced in the link above, I’ll also be presenting to the Southwest Texas SCBWI:

    November 13 – 1-3pm – Guest Author Event with author Chris Barton

    You Better Believe It: How The Day-Glo Brothers Survived All the Things I Didn’t Know

    Barnes & Noble at the San Pedro Crossing
    321 NW Loop 410 #104, San Antonio, TX 78216

    “I can tell you exactly where I got my idea from, how I knew that all those years of effort had been worthwhile, and what I learned about publishing, persistence, and fluorescence in the meantime.” – Chris Barton

    Chris Barton is the author of the American Library Association Sibert Honor-winning THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS (Charlesbridge, 2009; illustrated by Tony Persiani), the biography of the inventors of those daylight-fluorescent oranges, yellows, and greens you see every day. It was named one of the best children’s books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and The Washington Post.

    His second book is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller SHARK VS. TRAIN (Little, Brown; 2010; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld). It has received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal and is a Junior Library Guild selection.

    He will follow up these picture books with CAN I SEE YOUR I.D.? TRUE STORIES OF FALSE IDENTITIES, a young-adult collection of profiles of impostors and other masqueraders to be published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2011.

    For more information about Chris, his books, and his presentations to young readers and professional groups, visit him at http://www.chrisbarton.info.

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    07 Nov

    Let’s hear it for alphabetical order!

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    I’m always glad to hear from Susan at Chicken Spaghetti, but never more so than this afternoon when she sent me the news that Shark Vs. Train has been named by Publishers Weekly as one of the year’s best picture books.

    It shows up at the top of the list, but that’s just alphabetical-order-by-author’s-last-name at work. First, last, or in the middle, I’m delighted to be included on a list that features so many impressive titles. And it’s certainly nice to receive this vote of confidence for a book that I’ll be reading aloud to nine — count ‘em! — different audiences this coming week.

    Thanks to co-conspirator Tom Lichtenheld, and to Publishers Weekly for the honor, and to Susan for letting me know about it!

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    12 Oct

    A bit more about the Texas Book Festival

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    If you’re coming to the Texas Book Festival on Sunday but are already booked (har har) during my reading/signing between 11 a.m. and noon, I’ll also be signing books and giving away Shark Vs. Train posters at the Kirkus Reviews booth at 4 p.m.

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    11 Oct

    Shark Vs. Train vs. Zombies Vs. Unicorns vs. Dinosaur Vs. The Potty — all at the Texas Book Festival!

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    The Texas Book Festival is in Austin this coming Saturday and Sunday, October 16-17. Are you going to be there? Are you?

    I’ll be there, reading Shark Vs. Train at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Children’s Chapter Read Me a Story Tent. Afterwards, I’ll be signing copies of the book and (*free stuff alert*) giving away signed SVT posters left and right. In the meantime, here’s an interview that I did with festival sponsor Kirkus Reviews:

    It’s really just about the perfect picture-book text—it leaves lots of room for your illustrator to go to town with the visual foolishness. How closely did you work together?

    We worked together really closely. Tom was one of just a handful of illustrators that I thought would really get Shark and Train. Once my editor had a turn at my revised manuscript, Tom and I pretty much sequestered ourselves—online and over the phone and together in person one Sunday here in Austin—for a few months as we gave the story its shape. The main thing we had to figure out is just how Shark and Train came to be in this battle. We tried a really elaborate setup involving a piece of coal flying off a bridge and hitting Shark on the head, but finally we hit on the much simpler kids-in-a-toy-box device.

    What other children’s/YA authors will be there? Way more than I’ll possibly be able to see in action (for starters, I’ll miss Cinda Williams Chima, Carolyn Cohagan, Ingrid Law, and Brian Yansky, whose panel discussions happens at the same time as my reading). But if there were three or four of me, here are just some of the folks we’d be catching:

    David Wiesner
    Peter Brown
    Phillip Hoose
    Michael Buckley, John Gosselink, Josh Lewis, and Dr. Cuthbert Soup
    Naomi Mitchell Carrier, Jennifer Cervantes, Xavier Garza, and Ingrid Law
    Carolyn Cohagan, Lisa Railsback, and Sara Pennypacker
    Bob Shea
    Scott Westerfeld
    Meg Cabot
    Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black
    Laurie Halse Anderson, James Crowley, and Bethany Hegedus
    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    Matt de la Peña, Varian Johnson, April Lurie
    M.T. Anderson

    I’ll see you there, too, I hope!

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    09 Oct

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

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    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:

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