“Tree Lady” Wins Beatty, Sue Townsend Dies, New BayNews Posted

tree_ladyThe Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins selected for 2014 CLA Beatty Award: The Tree Lady, written by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry, has been selected by the California Library Association (CLA) to receive its prestigious Beatty Award. Hopkins’ and McElmurry’s vivid book tells the story of pioneer and activist, Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens.

Thank you, California librarians, for honoring The Tree Lady,” said Hopkins. “Your award is a grand tribute to Kate Sessions’ legacy and to the book artists who made Kate’s story into a fine work of art.” Jill McElmurry said, “Three generations of my family considered themselves Californians. As a Californian at heart, I’m proud and happy to receive this award.

Hopkins and McElmurry will be honored at the Beatty Award Luncheon on Saturday, November 7, 2014, during the CLA annual conference in Oakland, CA. “CLA is delighted to honor this lovely book that tells the story of a determined California scientist who followed her heart to make San Diego a more beautiful place,” said CLA President Deborah Doyle.

H. Joseph Hopkins (author) lives in Oregon, on a houseboat. Jill McElmurry (illustrator) lives with her husband, dog, and apple, peach, pear, and fig trees in New Mexico.

The John & Patricia Beatty Award honors the author of a distinguished book for children or young adults that best promotes an awareness of California and its people. The California Library Association provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and librarianship

2014 Beatty Committee members: Diane Bartlett, Chair (Stanislaus County Library), Odette Batis (Richmond Public Library), Roberta Boegel (Sacramento Public Library), Ashley Kagan (Palos Verdes Library District), Sarah Mae Harper (County of Los Angeles Public Library), Rene Hohls (Ventura County Office of Education), and Edwin Rodarte (Ontario City Library).

New ACL BayNews Posted: The April issue of BayNews (the newsletter for the Lawn boyAssociation of Children’s Librarians of Northern California) is now available on our website: www.bayviews.org/baynews.html . You will find information on reissues, news, read-alikes for Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen, and other stories.  Three new Storytime outlines have also been posted, continuing our topics for the upcoming 2014 summer reading themes “Paws to Read,” and “Fizz Boom Read!”  Thanks!

Secret DiatyAuthor Sue Townsend Dies: Author Sue Townsend, the creator of the “Adrian Mole” series of hilarious tween novels, has died at age 68. The British author wrote The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾, in 1982, followed by several sequels that took the quirky boy into manhood. Written in journal format, the series came before the “Bridget Jones” series by Helen Fielding, of diary novels that are often compared to Townsend’s work. Townsend also wrote plays, and her Adrian Mole character inspired a British television series. For more information, see: www.slj.com/2014/04/obituary/brit-ya-author-of-the-original-bridget-jones-series-series-passes-away-at-68/ or www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/arts/sue-townsend-creator-of-adrian-mole-books-dies-at-68.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140416&_r=0 .

2014 Teen Read Week: www.ala.org/teenread The Teen Read Week website is now Teen Readlive. With the launching of the site, online community members will have full access to a variety of resources to help them plan their Teen Read Week (TRW). Individuals who are not online community members yet are encouraged to join for free to gain full access to resources, perks, and monthly updates. Resources and incentives include downloadable theme logo, forums, grant information, publicity tools, posters and bookmarks, free webinars, and other resources. The theme this year is Turn Dreams into Reality @ your library and will be celebrated October 12-18, 2014. The national spokesperson for this year’s celebration is Australian actor Brenton Thwaites, who stars in the highly anticipated movie adaptation of the book, The Giver, set for release on August 15, 2014.


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Review of the Week

mr putterRylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter and Tabby Drop the Ball. Arthur Howard, Illus. Easy Reader.  Mr. Putter & Tabby Series. Harcourt, 2013. [44]p. $14.99. 978-0-15-205072-6, PB $5.99 978-0-54-434115-9. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 1-3.

Mr. Putter and his cat, Tabby, love to nap, but they wonder if perhaps they are napping too much. Deciding they need to participate in a sport, Mr. Putter contacts his good friend and neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, to see if she knows of a baseball team they could join. Hijinks follow when Mrs. Teaberry’s dog, Zeke, decides he is part of the team. Rylant’s subtle humor (“Hmm,” thought Mr. Putter in the outfield. “I could be taking a nap.”) pairs perfectly, as usual, with Howard’s whimsical illustrations done in pencil, watercolor, and gouache.

Kathy L. Haug, Retired

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Retro Reads: “Figgs & Phantoms” by Ellen Raskin

FiggsRaskin, Ellen. Figgs & Phantoms. Dutton, 1974. 176p. $16.99, ISBN 0525423672.

Ellen Raskin is best known for her Newbery Medal winning mystery The Westing Game, but her lesser known novel Figgs & Phantoms is just as much fun. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Newbery Honor book Figgs & Phantoms, which is a great reason to revisit this comic fantasy.
The story focuses on young Mona, daughter of used car salesman Newt Newton and former vaudevillian Sissie Figg, making Mona a Figg-Newton. Her extended Figg family members are the supporting characters in the story, which doesn’t feature any other children as dominant characters. Everyone has a funny name (including several townspeople), which adds a comic note.
The most sympathetic character is Mona’s uncle Flo, who is her closest friend. Both love books, and halfway through the story something tragic happens, and Mona goes in pursuit of Capri, where she thinks her uncle has gone.
Overall, the tone of the story and quirky characters will bring to mind the books by Lemony Snicket, combining humorous asides with tragedy, and a slightly morbid tone. Fans of Snicket’s work will certainly enjoy Figgs & Phantoms.
There are ink drawings here and there throughout the book drawn by the author; I was unaware Raskin was also an artist until I read she did the original cover for L’Engle’s Newbery Medal science fiction classic A Wrinkle In Time (1962).
The customer reviews on Amazon.com were very positive, almost universal in mentioning that this book was a little “odd,” and “not for every child. Other common descriptors include “bizarre,” “strange,” and even “psychedelic.” Looking at it with contemporary eyes, there will be many parents who will object to things in the books. For example, there is a brief discussion of the “n” word – but the word is spelled out, referring to a book by Joseph Conrad. There is also a brief mention of pornography, but both incidents seem very truthful and are not meant to evoke ire or controversy.
Raskin died when she was only 56, in 1984, which is sad for readers who enjoy her Raskinunusual style. Her final book was The Westing Game (1978), which is still quite popular. Seek out Figgs & Phantoms – in many ways, contemporary readers may be able to relate to it more than readers did 40 years ago. The tone of her writing is similar to Snicket (as already mentioned) as well as the films of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, so the audience is definitely out there.
Penny Peck,  San Jose State Univ., SLIS

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Review of the Week

bedtime-monstersSchneider, Josh. Bedtime Monsters.  Josh Schneider, Illus.  Picture Book.  Clarion, 2013.  [32]p. $16.99.  978-0-544-00270-8.  OUTSTANDING.  GRADES PRE-2.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award-winner Schneider has created the perfect book for any child who is terrified of monsters hiding under the bed. Four monsters all collect on Arnold’s bed one by one: “’Was that a winged fargle?’ whimpered the horrible tooth gnasher. Arnold and the terrible toe biter scooted over.” Illustrations rendered in watercolor, pen, ink and colored pencil portray expressive faces and pitiful looking monsters. Clever use of outlines over illustrations depict what Arnold, the protagonist, imagines things to be. As it turns out, all the monsters originated from Arnold’s overactive imagination, turning ordinary objects in his bedroom into creatures of fright. A highly imaginative tale that children will want to hear again and again.

Dayni Kuo, Oakland PL

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ACL Meeting Friday, April 11, 2014, Bay Area Storytelling Fest May 17-18

BayViewsACL Meeting Friday, April 11, 2014:  Just a quick reminder for our Bay Area members!  Please join us for our ACL Meeting on Friday, April 11, 2014, from 9am-1pm at the Oakland Main Library.   We will have our usual Book Reviewing and a discussion of Distinguished Books. Miriam is going to lead a session on storytime ideas – so please bring a fingerplay,  stretch, theme, song, gimmick, craft, especially good combo of titles, etc. that you’d like to share with the group.  For more information, see: www.bayviews.org/calendar.html#meetings.

Bay Area StorytellingBay Area Storytelling Festival:  The 28th Annual Bay Area Storytelling Festival is scheduled for May 17-18, 2014, at the Craneway Pavillion on the Richmond Shoreline. This year’s Festival features Reverend Robert B. Jones, Sr. who will demonstrate how much traditional American songs and stories can teach us about ourselves. Storytelling humorist Ed Stivender has been called “the Robin Williams of storytelling.” Award-winning storyteller Motoko captivates audiences as she exquisitely blends ancient Japanese lore and original tales with traditional music and eloquent physical characterization. More information (including schedule and ticket prices) at: www.bayareastorytelling.org

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LaTronica Named Nat’l Book Award Judge, McLimans and Townsend Obituaries, 2013 ACL Distinguished List

LatronicaStarr LaTronica Named National Book Award Judge: Starr LaTronica has been named a judge for the Young People’s Literature panel for the 2014 National Book Awards. LaTronica is currently the president of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. For many years, she was a member of the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California.

ACL 2013 Distinguished Books now available online: The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California compiles a yearly list of Distinguished Books for youth. The 2013 list, with annotations, is now available online at: bayviews.org/2013distinguishedlist.pdf.

TownsendJohn Rowe Townsend Dies: Author John Rose Townsend died at age 91 on March 24, 2014. The British author wrote 36 books, including several novels for older children and teens, depicting a more working class setting than most children’s books. His first book, Gumble’s Yard (1961) influenced the publishing industry to offer more books about different types of childhoods, including those from rough surroundings. He also wrote books about children’s literature. For more information, see: www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/02/john-rowe-townsend.

David McLimans Dies: Illustrator David McLimans has died at age 66 at his home in McLimansWisconsin, on March 20, 2014. He wrote three children’s books, including the Caldecott Honor book Gone Wild (Walker, 2006), as well as Gone Fishing (2008) and Big Turtle (2011). For more information see: host.madison.com/news/local/obituaries/mclimans-david/article_12a80940-1d6d-5b3c-aeb2-c3547b0acc5c.html.



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Review of the Week

Upside downLamana, Julie T. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere. Chronicle, 2014. 320p. $16.99. 978-1-4521-2456-8. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-8.

Armani Curtis is living in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward as her tenth birthday and Hurricane Katrina approach at the same time. Her family does not realize the problem, and it is too late. They are unable to evacuate in time, and the family experiences the full brunt and horror of the storm and its aftermath. Lamana’s very realistic and heart-wrenching writing presents well-developed characters, setting, and a story which could go any direction—especially if the reader is unfamiliar with the devastating effects of the 2005 disaster. Multiple family members are lost, people are separated, and the very real fear Armani experiences stays in the reader’s memory long after the story ends. This complex and realistic account of the tragedy will inspire questions and, possibly, the fear that it could happen to any reader. Review based on an ARC.

Joshua Rees, Daly City PL

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