Monday, May 31, 2010

Chris Farnsworth, author of "Blood Oath", helps show why author events are so great.

You never know what special things are going to happen at an author event. For instance, these early birds got to have a lovely chat with Chris.
The first ten folks got Blood Oath t-shirts.
Then there's hearing the author tell the story in his own words, sharing a unique inside view of each book and the writing process in general. No two writers ever say the same thing, and it's always interesting.
And of course there is the signed copy to add to your library or give as an extra special gift to someone.

You can find a calendar of all of our author events at

And definitely check out Chris's book:

Zach Barrows is an ambitious young White House staffer whose career takes an unexpected turn when he's partnered with Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the president. But Cade is no ordinary civil servant. Bound by a special blood oath, Cade has spent more than 140 years in service to the president, battling nightmares before they can break into the daylight world of the American dream.

Immediately Zach and Cade receive their first joint assignment: one that uncovers a shadowy government conspiracy and a plot to attack the Unites States with a gruesome new biological weapon. Zach soon learns that the world is far stranger, and far more dangerous, than he ever imagined . . . and that his partner is the least of his problems.

Jackie says:

"This is SUCH a clever book with memorable characters and lightening fast pacing. I'm halfway through and I had a hard time putting it down to tell you about it! There are HARD CORE monsters in this book--on both sides. There are reasons we are afraid of the dark--and Farnsworth is VERY good at showing them to us. I am sooooo happy that this is a planned series--he's contracted for 2 more books, coming out roughly every nine months, but he told us at the signing that he's already got plans through Book 10, and would happily go further than that if given the chance. The option has already been bought for a movie version of Blood Oath--I can't wait to see Cade (the President's vampire) come to "unlife" on the silver screen. Also, I recommend checking out the website for the series: for lots of cool extras."

TC Tidbits: Thinking to yourself: what can I do in June that's fun, smart, and brain-stimulating?

5th Annual Lighthouse Lit Fest June 4 to June 19, 2010

get more information

2010 Colorado Book Awards Finalists

The Colorado Book Awards recognize outstanding contributions by Colorado authors, editors, illustrators and photographers in multiple categories: anthology/collection, biography, children's literature, creative nonfiction, history, literary fiction, genre fiction (historical, romance, science fiction/fantasy, mystery/thriller) general nonfiction, juvenile literature, pictorial, poetry, and young adult literature.

Winners in all categories will be announced at the 19th annual Colorado Book Awards June 25 at 2 pm during the Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival the week of June 21-25, 2010 at the Doerr-Hosier Center in Aspen, Colorado.

And the finalists are....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Andrea P recommends....

For over thirty years Nell Brinkley's beautiful girls pirouetted, waltzed, Charlestoned, vamped and shimmied their way through the pages of William Randolph Hearst's newspapers, captivating the American public with their innocent sexuality. This sumptuously designed oversized hardcover collects Brinkley's breathtakingly spectacular, exquisitely colored full page art from 1913 to 1940. Here are her earliest silent movie serial-inspired adventure series, "Golden Eyes and Her Hero, Bill;" her almost too romantic series, "Betty and Billy and Their Love Through the Ages;" her snappy flapper comics from the 1920s; her 1937 pulp magazine-inspired "Heroines of Today." Included are photos of Nell, reproductions of her hitherto unpublished paintings, and an informative introduction by the book's editor, Trina Robbins. In 1907, at the tender age of 22, Nell Brinkley came to New York to draw for the Hearst syndicate. Within a year, she had become a household name. Flo Ziegfeld dressed his dancers as "Brinkley Girls," in the Ziegfeld Follies. Three popular songs were written about her. Women, aspiring to the masses of curly hair with which Nell adorned her fetching and idealized creations, could buy Nell Brinkley Hair Curlers for ten cents a card. Young girls cut out and saved her drawings, copied them, colored them, and pasted them in scrapbooks. The Brinkley Girls took over from the Gibson Girls.

Nell Brinkley widened her scope to include pen and ink depictions of working women. Brinkley used her fame to campaign for better working conditions and higher pay for women who had joined in the war effort, and who were suffering economic and social dislocation due to acting on their patriotism. Unlike most of her contemporaries, she drew women of different races and cultures. Except among a small group of avid collectors, she has been unjustly forgotten...until now. Nominated for two 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (Best Archival Collection/Project: Strips; Best Publication Design).

Andrea adds:
"She illustrated ( and often wrote) serials, one full elaborate page per issue, and for Randolf Hearst's newspapers from about 1910 through the 40's. THEY ARE FABULOUS!!! I like her protagonists better than the equally famous "Gilmore girls", they seem more self determined and adventurous (After her boyfriend enlists, "Golden Eyes" runs off with her pet collie to the European battlefields, and signs up as a nurse in order to find her beau again!). Also the Brinkley's hair rulz!!! Their wild curly manes totally trump the Gilmore's loose upsweep buns .
And a bonus- She grew up in Colorado before moving to Brooklyn to pursue her career."

Though the field of comic book studies has burgeoned in recent years, Latino characters and creators have received little attention. Putting the spotlight on this vibrant segment, Your Brain on Latino Comics illuminates the world of superheroes Firebird, Vibe, and the new Blue Beetle while also examining the effects on readers who are challenged to envision such worlds.

Exploring mainstream companies such as Marvel and DC as well as rising stars from other segments of the industry, Frederick Aldama provides a new reading of race, ethnicity, and the relatively new storytelling medium of comics themselves. Overview chapters cover the evolution of Latino influences in comics, innovations, and representations of women, demonstrating Latino transcendence of many mainstream techniques. The author then probes the rich and complex ways in which such artists affect the cognitive and emotional responses of readers as they imagine past, present, and future worlds.

Twenty-one interviews with Latino comic book and comic strip authors and artists, including Laura Molina, Frank Espinosa, and Rafael Navarro, complete the study, yielding captivating commentary on the current state of the trade, cultural perceptions, and the intentions of creative individuals who shape their readers in powerful ways.

And don't miss out on the many adventures of the boy reporter Tintin:

TC Tidbits: Wimpy Kid #5 Is On Its Way!!!

The cover is purple, the name has yet to be revealed, but author Jeff Kinney says, "To me, this book is the linchpin in the series, and I'm excited to be writing it."

Did you know that
--more than 32, 000, 000 Wimpy Kid books are in print in the United States?
--Wimpy Kid books havr been sold in more than 30 countries?

An interview with Allison Winn Scotch

Allison Winn Scotch is the New York Times best selling author of The Department of Lost and Found and Time of My Life. Her newest book, The One That I Want, will be released on June 1, just in time to launch your summer reading plans. She sits down with Between the Covers for a candid Q&A.

BTC: As a writer, you must have a million ideas percolating at any given moment. Describe the moment when you know you've got an idea that you can run with and turn it into a book.

A: This is a great - and difficult- question to answer. For me, I almost need to feel something visceral, something totally connected to the idea, and more importantly, to the main character, to know that I'm going to be able to build an entire world around her. Three hundred pages is
a long time to spend with your protagonist, so she- and her life - need to be complex and need to have the ability to expand as the book goes along. I've had a lot of quieter ideas that, to be honest, I just thought would bore me by page 200. So I'm usually drawn toward bigger ideas- time travel, flash-forwards, amnesia (for my next book) - that create big plot action but also allow me to still write these characters intimately and humanly.

BTC: You are known for encouraging and promoting rookie authors. Why is this important to you and what is the single best piece of advice you give aspiring authors?

A: Thanks! Yes, this is something that's really important to me partially because I remember how daunted I was when I first started out. And how much I wished there had been a resource- a kind, honest, supportive one- whom I could look to and aspire to. When I hear that my advice has tangibly helped a newbie writer, it's incredibly gratifying. As far as specific advice, I always say that aspiring authors need to listen to criticism and take their egos out of the equation. Too many folks- myself included- think that their early/first work is untouchable, when, in fact, it's far from it. The only way to improve is to figure out where your weaknesses are, and in order to do that, you need to be open to constructive advice. I can sincerely say that if I hadn't taken criticism early in my career, I never would have been published. Sometimes, you think you know what you're doing when, if fact, you have no idea.

BTC: You've developed quite a fan base with your first two novels. How does that change the way you approached writing your new book, The One That I Want, as opposed to your first book, The Department of Lost and Found?

A: The honest answer is that it made this book harder to write. This is the first book I've written where I was acutely aware of the fact that people were anticipating what would come out of me, and for a while, I felt fairly paralyzed by this pressure. Which sounds like a ridiculous thing to complain about, and I'm not complaining! Only that I really, really want to please my readers (AND myself), and I thus set really high expectations of this book. I kept pushing the bar higher and higher, and eventually-even now, to be honest- I had to just let go and accept that I very much hope that people love it as much as they did my previous books, and if they don't, that's okay too. I try to challenge myself each time I step up to the plate, and I'm content knowing that I did.

BTC: A lot of people have this idealistic vision of a writer's life, which may explain why so many people aspire to "become" writers. What is the reality?

A: The reality is that, but for a few fortunate writers, a group in which I am so, so, so grateful to be a part of, most authors will never earn enough money to quit their day jobs, and most books don't sell enough to garner much attention at all. Wow. Did that sound pessimistic? I don't mean it to be! If you follow my blog, you know that I am the eternal optimist who really hopes for the best for ALL writers. But that's not the reality. Most book advances are pitifully low (less than 10k, which, after your agent fee and taxes and three-way payout, is next to nothing), and most print runs are equally small. You'll be rejected literally hundreds of times before you get anywhere, and even once you've gotten there, you'll inevitably be met with disappointment: nearly every debut author I know has, after publication, experienced a real let down. NOW. Of course, there are a zillion WONDERFUL things about being a published author: the freedom, the creativity, the joy of connecting with readers, the thrill of seeing your book in stores, the ability to quit your day job (if you're lucky), and the flexibility all of these things afford you. I LOVE my job and my career. I cannot express how grateful I am to be in the position I'm in. But it is A LOT of hard, hard, hard work with miles of rejection and no guarantee of success. If success comes, then it's all the sweeter.

BTC: We've heard authors describe a book release as "similar to giving birth." If this is true for The One That I Want, how would you rate the process?

A: That is it exactly. And I would rate this along the lines of having my third child. You know what's coming, you can anticipate the contractions and the pain and the havoc it's going to cause and the mess it's going to leave, but because you know what's coming, you're much calmer and feel much more in control. And of course, you know how sweet the day after is going to be when your little baby is out in the world, and you couldn't feel more proud.

BTC: Many readers of your books will find themselves questioning their own life choices in light of your protagonists' experiences. Was that your intent?

A: Yes, that's the intent exactly. I do the same thing as I'm writing. I like to take these women who maybe aren't living fully-fleshed out lives and examine how I can help them do that. And in the process of taking them on this journey, I go on it a bit myself. Where have I compromised myself when I shouldn't have? What can I do to steer myself back on the path I'd hoped for? I think we all, at one point or another, can lose our way a bit in life, and I do think the message of the books is that it's never too late to try to figure out how to right yourself. Not that I write them to be preachy! Pure enjoyment is also great too.

BTC: In your mind, who does The One That I Want speak to? When you picture someone curled up on the couch reading it, who do you see?

A: I really think it speaks to anyone who has ever had a complicated relationship with her family or who has ever given more of herself to people other than herself (hello, motherhood!) or really, just anyone who has struggled through a tough relationship with her spouse, sister, friend or parent. Which doesn't mean this book is dark and gloomy. There are a lot of really light aspects to it, so it might also be for anyone who really enjoyed their prom (a big plot line) or ever sung her heart out in the high school musical, which may or may not have been Grease. :)

This interview was conducted by Tiernan McKay, a Denver area freelance writer and book blogger and now guest blogger for BTC!

"Average Joe" recommends...

He may be shy, but he's very accomplished. "AJ" is a bookseller, computer guru and a teacher of many levels of classes from elementary ages through graduate level courses. He told us that he finds "The Manga Guide to..." series, put out by No Starch Press, to be very useful and engaging to his students. Here are a few examples on our shelves now:

Rin and Ami have been skipping molecular biology class all semester, and Professor Moro has had enough-he's sentencing them to summer school on his private island. But they're in store for a special lesson. Using Dr. Moro's virtual reality machine to travel inside the human body, they'll get a close-up look at the fascinating world of molecular biology.

Join them in The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology, and learn all about DNA, RNA, proteins, amino acids, and more. Along the way, you'll see chemical reactions first-hand and meet entertaining characters like Enzyme Man and Drinkzilla, who show how the liver metabolizes alcohol.

Together with Ami and Rin, you'll learn all about:

  • The organelles and proteins inside cells, and how they support cellular functions
  • The processes of transcription and translation, and your genes' role in synthesizing proteins
  • The pieces that make up our genetic code, like nucleotides, codons, introns, and exons
  • The processes of DNA replication, mitosis and cytokinesis
  • Genetic technology like transduction and cloning, and the role of molecular biology in medicine

Whether you need a molecular biology refresher or you're just fascinated by the science of life, The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology will give you a uniquely fun and informative introduction.

Think you can't have fun learning statistics? Think again.

The Manga Guide to Statistics will teach you everything you need to know about this essential discipline, while entertaining you at the same time. With its unique combination of Japanese-style comics called manga and serious educational content, the EduManga format is already a hit in Japan.

In The Manga Guide to Statistics, our heroine Rui is determined to learn about statistics to impress the dreamy Mr. Igarashi and begs her father for a tutor. Soon she's spending her Saturdays with geeky, bespectacled Mr. Yamamoto, who patiently teaches her all about the fundamentals of statistics: topics like data categorization, averages, graphing, and standard deviation.

After all her studying, Rui is confident in her knowledge of statistics, including complex concepts like probability, coefficients of correlation, hypothesis tests, and tests of independence. But is it enough to impress her dream guy? Or maybe there's someone better, right in front of her?

Reluctant statistics students of all ages will enjoy learning along with Rui in this charming, easy-to-read guide, which uses real-world examples like teen magazine quizzes, bowling games, test scores, and ramen noodle prices. Examples, exercises, and answer keys help you follow along and check your work. An appendix showing how to perform statistics calculations in Microsoft Excel makes it easy to put Rui's lessons into practice.

This EduManga book is a translation from a bestselling series in Japan, co-published with Ohmsha, Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan.

Rereko is just your average high-school girl from Electopia, the land of electricity, but she's totally failed her final electricity exam! Now she has to go to summer school on Earth. And this time, she has to pass

Luckily, her ever-patient tutor Hikaru is there to help. Join them in the pages of The Manga Guide to Electricity as Rereko examines everyday electrical devices like flashlights, heaters, and circuit breakers, and learns the meaning of abstract concepts like voltage, potential, current, resistance, conductivity, and electrostatic force.

The real-world examples that you'll find in The Manga Guide to Electricity will teach you:

  • What electricity is, how it works, how it's created, and how it can be used
  • The relationship between voltage, current, and resistance (Ohm's law)
  • Key electrical concepts like inductance and capacitance
  • How complicated components like transformers, semiconductors, diodes, and transistors work
  • How electricity produces heat and the relationship between current and magnetic fields

If thinking about how electricity works really fries your brain, let The Manga Guide to Electricity teach you all things electrical in a shockingly fun way.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jackie Urges You To Get "The Bucolic Plague"!

I am soooooo in love with this book! Josh is an ex-drag queen and writer turned advertising maven, Brent is "Dr Brent" on The Martha Stewart Show. They've been together for almost 10 years and seem to thrive on the big city lifestyle despite their 700 square foot apartment--until they take a wrong turn on a drive and discover The Beekman Mansion. It's HUGE, 200 years old and in need of a whole lot of work--but they want it. Dreams of leisurely weekends away from the city as gentlemen farmers dance merrily in their heads, so they take the plunge. Then Josh sneaks in a caretaker for the place that just happens to have a herd of goats. And, well, if they have goats now, they might as well have chickens. And a cow. And a garden. And then a bigger garden--MUCH bigger. Then a handmade Christmas project became a full on artisan soap company, and Beekman 1802 began--and grew...and grew...and grew. This is a wonderful tale of two Type A personalities taking on the bucolic life big city style, with some bonus ghosts and legions of zombie flies thrown into the mix. It's equal parts inspiring and exhausting, but you can't help but fall in love with these guys and the small town who has come to embrace them. The good news is they have a "docu-series" coming out in June 2010 on Discovery Channel's Planet Green called "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" so the laughs won't have to stop when the book cover closes.


Watch the boys teach Martha Stewart how to milk a goat!

TC Staff Recommend Some of Their Favorite Graphic Novels

Mariana recommends Bill Willingham's Fables series:

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile.

Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society-within an exclusive luxury apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side-called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Bigby, Fabletown's sheriff, and a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to determine if the culprit is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

This Deluxe Edition collects the first two trade paperbacks of the series, issues 1-10, and Bill Willingham's prose story from Vol. 1, as well as character sketches.

AND Neil Gaiman's Sandman series:
The first of four beautifully designed slipcased volumes, "The Absolute Sandman," Vol. 1, collects issues 1-20 of "The Sandman" and features completely new coloring, approved by the author, on the first 18 issues, as well as a host of never-before-seen extra material.

Hank recommends the Dark Tower Graphic Novel series, based on Stephen King's books of the same name:

In a comic book personally overseen by Stephen King, Roland's past is revealed. Sumptuously drawn by Lee, adapted by Robin Furth, and scripted by "New York Times" bestseller Peter David, this series delves into Roland's origins. Includes books #1-#7.

Sarah C. recommends:

An exchange student who's really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says... These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations that Shaun Tan's many fans will love.

Chocolate or Vanilla? This simple choice is all it takes to get started with Meanwhile, the wildly inventive creation of comics mastermind Jason Shiga, of whom Scott McCloud said “Crazy + Genius = Shiga.” Jimmy, whose every move is under your control, finds himself in a mad scientist’s lab, where he’s given a choice between three amazing objects: a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000 (which is as ominous as it sounds). Down each of these paths there are puzzles, mysterious clues, and shocking revelations. It’s up to the reader to lead Jimmy to success or disaster.
Meanwhile is a wholly original story of invention, discovery, and saving the world, told through a system of tabs that take you forward, backward, upside down, and right side up again. Each read creates a new adventure!

When Roman Centurion Crismus Bonus finds out about Getafix’s magic potion, he kidnaps the druid to force him to reveal the recipe. So Asterix joins his friend in captivity and together they two plan to whip up a surprise with truly hair-raising effects.

Blending Comics and Education

Reading With Pictures was founded in 2009 by award-winning graphic novelist and nationally syndicated cartoonist Josh Elder in order to revolutionize the role of comics in education. The organization has since grown to comprise eight board members drawn from publishing and academia and more than 60 active volunteers from all over the world in various capacities.

Their mission statement reads:

Reading With Pictures is a nonprofit organization that advocates the use of comics in the classroom to promote literacy and improve educational outcomes for all students. We work with academics to cultivate groundbreaking research into the proper role of comics in education. We collaborate with cartoonists to produce exceptional graphic novel content for scholastic use. Most importantly, we partner with educators to develop a system of best practices for integrating comics into their curriculum. At Reading With Pictures, we get comics into schools and get schools into comics.

At Reading With Pictures, their believe that comics have the potential to be more engaging, more efficient and more effective educational tools than traditional classroom materials. "We believe it because we’ve experienced it in our own lives. Comics made us better students, better citizens and better people. Now we hope to share those experiences with pupils in every city, in every school and in every classroom."


•Partnering with Northwestern University and other academic institutions to oversee the largest and most comprehensive research study in U.S. history on the role of comics in education

•Building an interactive database of research papers, lesson plans and comic-centric curriculum

•Providing educational consultation services to schools and publishers

•Working with cartoonists to produce top-quality educational comics

•Helping universities design courses in the burgeoning field of Comics Studies

•Creating a Speakers Bureau to get cartoonists into schools and libraries

•Aggregating graphic novel reviews from various accredited sources and generating recommended reading lists for every age group and subject matter

Learn more about this organization here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Manga and More at the TC Newstands

Otaku USA is a thick, full-color magazine featuring comprehensive yet ultra-creative coverage of manga, anime, videogames and Japanese pop culture written from an American point of view. Published by Sovereign Media, the people who launched SCI FI, the official magazine of the Sci Fi channel, Otaku USA calls on Sovereign's knowledge of the passionate nich media marrketplace. Each issue of Otaku USA will be filled with coverage of the hottest new Manga, Anime releases, computer and board games, along with all the latest pop culture trnds and happenings right now in Japan.

Otaku USA also publishes 32 pages of the hottest manga previews and sample chapters from the top publishers, plus a full color, 2-sided oversize poster. Plus, every issue comes with an online entry code allowing you to access 2-3 full-length anime episodes, plus anime and game trailers, game demos, previews, and more! Each issue is over 150 pages, oversized at 9" x 10 7/8", glossy, big, brash, and colorful!

Heavy Metal has been known for it's high quality artwork since 1977. It should be noted that it is a magazine meant for adults, so there are graphic scenes portrayed within it at times. This month's issue features a full episode of Blondel and Brion's "The Epic of Gilgamesh: Uruk's Throne" as well as the work of Ben Otero, Dan Luvisi and more.

There is a line in this issue, curated, about, dedicated to David Choe, that sums up not only his artistic genius and style, not just his unparalleled energy and gift, and not just celebrity status has one of the most dynamic and sought after contemporary artists of his time: "Dave had turned hanging out with his friends into an art project." And that is why you, me, us, or anyone who has been a fan of David Choe has a story to tell, and lucky for everyone, we have over 170 pages of David Choe storytelling time in this May 2010 issue of Juxtapoz. Not only that, but we got Dave to give us 5 different covers to span the globe, so the quest is on to to find all 5 covers in a bookstore and webstore nearest you. Did we mention the free poster? There is one of those, too. Plus stories from Eric Nakumura of Giant Robot, PM Tenore of RVCA, Bobby Hundreds, FriendsWithYou, Mickey Avalon, Sasha Grey, Jason Jaworski, Harry Kim, Die Antwoord, and David Choe himself.

TC Tidbits: Harper Publishing Second Sarah Palin Book in Late Fall

Here is what their catalog has to say about the book, coming out in November, 2010 (though, of course, publication dates are always up for revision--we'll keep you in the know):

In the fall of 2009, with the publication of her #1 national bestselling memoir, Sarah Palin had the privilege of meeting thousands of everyday Americans on her extraordinary 35-city book tour. Inspired by these encounters, her new book, America By Heart, celebrates the enduring strengths and virtues that have made this country great.

Framed by her strong belief in the importance of family, faith, and patriotism, the book ranges widely over American history, culture, and current affairs, and reflects on the key values—both national and spiritual—that have been such a profound part of Governor Palin’s life and continue to inform her vision of America’s future. Written in her own refreshingly candid voice, America By Heart will included selections from classic and contemporary readings that have moved her—from the nation’s founding documents to great speeches, sermons, letters, literature and poetry, biography, and even some of her favorite songs and movies. Here, too, are portraits of some of the extraordinary men and women she admires and who embody her deep love of country, her strong rootedness in faith, and her profound love and appreciation of family. She will also draw from personal experience to amplify these timely (and timeless) themes—themes that are sure to inspire her numerous fans and readers all across the country.

The Hottest Graphic Novels of Summer 2010 has composed a mega-list of previews for this summer's reading pleasures. Categories are kids, tweens, teens, adult nonfiction and adult fiction. Get the lists here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Graphic Novel Spotlight: Wilson by Daniel Clowes


Meet Wilson, an opinionated middle-aged loner who loves his dog and quite possibly no one else. In an ongoing quest to find human connection, he badgers friend and stranger alike into a series of onesided conversations, punctuating his own lofty discursions with a brutally honest, self-negating sense of humor. After his father dies, Wilson, now irrevocably alone, sets out to find his ex-wife with the hope of rekindling their long-dead relationship, and discovers he has a teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption.Wilson eventually forces all three to reconnect as a family—a doomed mission that will surely, inevitably backfire.

In the first all-new graphic novel from one of the leading cartoonists of our time, Daniel Clowes creates a thoroughly engaging, complex, and fascinating portrait of the modern egoist—outspoken and oblivious to the world around him.Working in a single-page-gag format and drawing in a spectrumof styles, the cartoonist of GhostWorld, Ice Haven, and David Boring gives us his funniest and most deeply affecting novel to date.

Manga as a Gateway to Learning and Community

Last week the New York Times ran a very interesting article about the popularity of manga in the library system there, and the surprising consequences of that growing interest.

"They come from all over the ethnic patchwork of this neighborhood of modest-to-fancy brick houses and square green lawns: East Asian, South Asian, Caribbean, African-American, Jewish. (Only one speaks Japanese at home.) But at the library, they identify as otaku — Japanese slang for manga aficionados — and their divisions run purely along manga lines. Fans of shonen action manga challenge partisans of romantic shojo; experts debate the merits of series.... Readers pool their knowledge to puzzle out magic spells, ninja moves and warrior codes that dominate the manga universe."

Not only is it creating a community, it's motivating others to pursue manga-inspired educational paths. "At least half a dozen Queens teenagers have seriously studied Japanese after getting interested in manga — some making sure to choose colleges that teach it, others using library books like Japanese in Mangaland and Japanese the Manga Way. said Christian Zabriskie, who as youth librarian at the Queens Library’s central branch in Jamaica drew up to 40 students to its weekly manga club meetings. One young woman discovered a love of languages and now studies Russian in college, Mr. Zabriskie said...manga is for these teenagers what punk rock, New Wave, and Dungeons and Dragons were for his generation: a world of specialized knowledge that excludes adults and opens a private creative space for young people.

“This kind of secret, hidden knowledge gives them a power and an empowerment,” he said. “It’s this generation’s esoterica.”

But, he said, unlike other teenage rituals like graffiti or, at the extremes, gang membership, manga fandom increasingly happens at one of the safest places around — the library.

“Rather than seeking out things that may be harmful, having your secret coding be foreign literature that you read in the library is pretty great.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TC Tidbits: Mark Twain Will Break 100 Years of Silence This Fall!

After keeping us waiting for a century, Mark Twain will finally reveal all

The great American writer left instructions not to publish his autobiography until 100 years after his death, which is now

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles (published on The Independent)

Exactly a century after rumours of his death turned out to be entirely accurate, one of Mark Twain's dying wishes is at last coming true: an extensive, outspoken and revelatory autobiography which he devoted the last decade of his life to writing is finally going to be published.

read the entire article

Kate's Updates: Previews of Harper Debuts

Kate says: "I think this lovely little cultural history has some real appeal. It starts with a great cover that invites you pick up the book and learn more. What you learn is new look at the history of immigrant groups coming thought New York by way of their food traditions."

In 97 Orchard, Jane Ziegelman explores the culinary life that was the heart and soul of New York's Lower East Side around the turn of the twentieth century—a city within a city, where Germans, Irish, Italians, and Eastern European Jews attempted to forge a new life. Through the experiences of five families, all of them residents of 97 Orchard Street, she takes readers on a vivid and unforgettable tour, from impossibly cramped tenement apartments down dimly lit stairwells where children played and neighbors socialized, beyond the front stoops where immigrant housewives found respite and company, and out into the hubbub of the dirty, teeming streets.

Ziegelman shows how immigrant cooks brought their ingenuity to the daily task of feeding their families, preserving traditions from home but always ready to improvise. While health officials worried that pushcarts were unsanitary and that pickles made immigrants too excitable to be good citizens, a culinary revolution was taking place in the streets of what had been culturally an English city. Along the East River, German immigrants founded breweries, dispensing their beloved lager in the dozens of beer gardens that opened along the Bowery. Russian Jews opened tea parlors serving blintzes and strudel next door to Romanian nightclubs that specialized in goose pastrami. On the streets, Italian peddlers hawked the cheese-and-tomato pies known as pizzarelli, while Jews sold knishes and squares of halvah. Gradually, as Americans began to explore the immigrant ghetto, they uncovered the array of comestible enticements of their foreign-born neighbors. 97 Orchard charts this exciting process of discovery as it lays bare the roots of our collective culinary heritage.

This book comes out in June. Pre-order here.

Graphic Novel Spotlight: Prime Baby

From the pages of the New York Times and the pen of Printz Award winner Gene Luen Yang comes a tale of math, aliens, and new siblings.

Thaddeus doesn’t like his new sister (she’s not that smart— and she gets all the attention). He likes her even less when he discovers that she’s an inter-dimensional conduit for peace-loving aliens (who are totally lame—all they want to do is knit socks for the homeless and have sing-a-longs!). But what’s even worse is that no one will believe him about any of this! How is he ever going manage to grow up to become the President of Earth?

First serialized in the New York Times Magazine, Prime Baby is a laugh-out-loud look at sibling rivalry.

The Publisher's Weekly review:
Anyone who’s experienced sibling rivalry--or anyone with a keen sense of humor--can enjoy this wittily pleasing graphic novel from the author of the National Book Awards finalist American Born Chinese. This slim volume centers around precocious youngster Thaddeus K. Fong, who gets it into his mind that his attention-stealing baby sister, Maddie, is actually an alien, and is bewildered when adults and his schoolmates don’t jump aboard his theory, even after he makes what he thinks is a conclusive video and puts it on YouTube. As Thaddeus tries to get people to take his theories seriously, he ends up making an even more incredible discov-ery about Maddie. His and the other characters’ antics are always amusing, but the ending and overall emo-tional tone is kindhearted, and it should come as no surprise that Thaddeus finds that Maddie is not so bad after all. The art has clear but not overly detailed characters and all the panels set up in neat, colored boxes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TC Tidbits: Does Age Matter in Publishing? 16 Year Old Author Offers Her Answer

Steph Bowe, a 16 year old Australian author whose book, Girl Saves Boy, will be released in the United States in 2011, weighs in on the matter.

Learn more about Steph

Graphic Novel Spotlight: A Home for Mr. Easter

You will love this crazy energetic book by a refreshing new talent! Tesana has never really fit into anything before but her daydreams. But when making an attempt to connect to her peers by joining in a pep rally planning committee she suddenly discovers a little white rabbit that lays brightly colored eggs. Realizing that she may have found the real life Easter bunny, Tesana embarks on an epic quest in an effort to get him back to his natural habitat and into safe hands. However as she progresses on her fanciful journey she gains more and more undesired attention until the quest becomes an increasingly madcap race to stay ahead of greedy pursuers and find a safe place for her new friend, wherever that place may be. It's Tesana against the world!

The Publisher's Weekly review:
Halfway between Precious and The Incredible Hulk, obese urban teen Tesana is the unlikely hero of this de-lightful debut book from Allen, a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Tesana is enraged to discover that a rabbit she believes to be the real Easter Bunny is being held captive at her high school. Tesana’s subsequent rampage lays waste to the pep rally committee and gets her expelled from school--again. Her at-tempt to return the rabbit to its homeland sends Tesana on a quest from ghetto to forest, pursued by a pet store owner, scientists, animal rights activists, a magician, and her own terrifying mother. A Lenny Small for our times, Tesana means well, but she isn’t the brightest bulb in the box. Fortunately, she gets to pet the rab-bit. Allen’s unrefined black and white line art is similar to Nate Powell’s, but her subject matter is refresh-ingly light. The characters rush through a very satisfying one volume adventure that hits all the right notes and leaves no threads unresolved, like a well-written screenplay. Mr. Easter signals Allen as a new artist to follow.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wendy's Window--Offering Glimpses of What's Coming from Simon and Schuster

Coming to our shelves in June, 2010:


For John Lennon, a young, idealistic zombie guitarist with dreams of global domination, Liverpool seems the ideal place to form a band that could take over the world. In an inspired act, Lennon kills and reanimates local rocker Paul McCartney, kicking off an unstoppable partnership. With the addition of newly zombified guitarist George Harrison and drummer/Seventh Level Ninja Lord Ringo Starr, the Beatles soon cut a swath of bloody good music and bloody violent mayhem across Europe, America, and the entire planet.

In this searing oral history, discover how the Fab Four climbed to the Toppermost of the Poppermost while stealing the hearts, ears, and brains of smitten teenage girls. Learn the tale behind a spiritual journey that resulted in the dismemberment of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Marvel at the seemingly indestructible quartet’s survival of a fierce attack by Eighth Level Ninja Lord Yoko Ono. And find out how the boys escaped eternal death at the hands of England’s greatest zombie hunter, Mick Jagger.

Through all this, one mystery remains: Can the Beatles sublimate their hunger for gray matter, remain on top of the charts, and stay together for all eternity? After all, three of the Fab Four are zombies, and zombies live forever. . . .

How did author Alan Goldsher come to write this book?

"The whole postmodern zombie craze -- which, to me, started with Shaun of the Dead and reached critical mass with Pride & Prejudice & Zombies -- seemed like a hoot, and I wanted in. I didn't know jack about Victorian literature, but I knew a a thing or three about the Beatles. And even though there will be cries of bandwagon jumping, the genesis of the book was fairly organic: I've always loved horror (Stephen King was one of the first "grown-up" writers I ever read), and I'm a Beatles nerd. It was a match made in heaven...or maybe in hell. Bwah hah hah hah hah hah!!!

Pre-order your copy today!

Graphic Novel Spotlight: Dong Xoai by Joe Kubert

This original graphic novel tells the harrowing story of a detachment of Special Forces soldiers on a simple recon mission into the village of DONG XOAI that turned suddenly deadly. It has the unique perspective of being in the very early days of the Vietnam War and Kubert is basing the story on extensive information gathered from the surviving members of the unit. It will cover not only the action of the event but the details of deployment and build-up that lead to the deadly encounter for these young American G.I.s.

The Publisher's Weekly review:

In 1967, Joe Kubert illustrated a Veterans' Day series run by a newspaper syndicate and included a dramatic rendering of an episode from the battle of Dong Xoai in which two members of a Special Forces team helped one of their wounded comrades to safety. Years later, the wounded man, Col. Bill Stokes, contacted Kubert about the drawing, and the conversations that followed inspired Kubert inspired to create an original graphic novel about the harrowing battle. In 1965, a Special Forces “A-Team" was lifted into a remote Montagnard village near the Cambodian border. Its original mission was strictly advisory, but a change of plans relocated the team to Dong Xoai, a crucial point the Vietcong needed for control of the region. In the middle of a torrential downpour, a massive force of Vietcong launched an attack on the A-Team and its contingent of poorly trained South Vietnamese soldiers. Kubert tells the story of the assault, with waves upon waves of black-clad guerrillas storming the barbed wire, in clipped, docudrama fashion (he based this lightly fictionalized account on heavy research and interviews, and the attention to detail shows). While Kubert's dialogue can slip into clenched-jaw heroics, his epic but personal treatment of one incredible but little-remembered battle is in the running as one of the greatest war comics ever made.

Read an interview with the artist

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Celebrate 100 Years of Margaret Wise Brown

Few writers have been as attuned to the concerns and emotions of childhood as Margaret Wise Brown (1910–1952). A graduate of Hollins College and the progressive Bank Street College of Education, she combined her literary aspirations with the study of child development. Her unique ability to see the world through a child's eyes is unequaled. Her many classic books continue to delight millions of young listeners and readers year after year.

A few of her many, much beloved books:

In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. "Goodnight room, goodnight moon." And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room--to the picture of the three little bears sitting in chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one--he says goodnight.

In this classic of modern children's literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day.

Clement Hurd redrew some of his pictures for this new edition of the profoundly comforting story of a bunny’s imaginary game of hide-and-seek and the lovingly steadfast mother who finds him every time.

The Little Fur Family tells the story of a little fur child's day in the woods. The day ends when his big fur parents tuck him in bed "all soft and warm," and sing him to sleep with a lovely bedtime song.

Cuddle up to a classic with this timeless story! Garth William's soft illustrations join Margaret Wise Brown's rhythmic text to create a gentle lullaby. Bound in imitation fur, Little Fur Family is sure to comfort and delight.

The important thing about The Important Book -- is that you let your child tell you what is important about the sun and the moon and the wind and the rain and a bug and a bee and a chair and a table and a pencil and a bear and a rainbow and a cat (if he wants to). For the important thing about The Important Book is that the book goes on long after it is closed.What is most important about many familiar things -- like rain and wind, apples and daisies -- is suggested in rhythmic words and vivid pictures.

Seven Stunning Houses in One Great Book

For Arthur Andersson and Chris Wise, the fundamental elements that give buildings meaning are found in nature. Imbuing day-to-day activities with poetry and awe, their designs address both pragmatic needs and the psychological yearning for refuge and contemplation, centering and escape, joy and comfort. Their work is best experienced through the senses. Tactility, expressed through an eloquence of craft, the use of textured materials, and the logical design of structural systems, gives their buildings a rightness within the landscape. In their hands, daylight becomes a building material. Small wall apertures, three-sided dormers, clerestories, and other details grab, bend, and thread sunlight from one end of their houses to the other. Full of light and atmosphere, the houses are the physical embodiment of the great Charles Moore's influential tenet that architecture is about enhancing a sense of place.

Natural Houses presents seven of the Austin, Texas-based firm's exquisitely crafted projects. Precise and cool, with forms often derived from the American vernacular of barns and cottages, these are painstakingly crafted houses made from regionally appropriate and aesthetically timeless materials. Natural Houses presents a range of sites and residences—from a small cabin in the woods to a multibuilding camp. Sited on a cliff, the House Above Lake Austin uses terraces to descend its steeply hilly site. The building's simple materials celebrate the site and climate not by drawing attention to themselves, but by blending in. The stone foundation is similarly tied to the natural stone of the mountain. Smooth plaster walls above the stone foundation appear to have been chiseled from the rock itself. In a deceptively simple boathouse the walls fold down to become impromptu diving platforms.

Exceptional photography captures the light and atmosphere of each project setting and illustrates how the firm rigorously expresses the design concept through detailing and construction. An introduction by Rick Sundberg of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects and essays by Jen Renzi and Frederick Steiner chart the firm's evolution and influences.

2010 Pura Belpre Award Winners

The Pura Belpre Award honors a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Lation cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

Rafael Lopez won the 2010 Illustrator award for his work on Book Fiesta.

Take a ride in a long submarine or fly away in a hot air balloon. Whatever you do, just be sure to bring your favorite book! Rafael López's colorful illustrations perfectly complement Pat Mora's lilting text in this delightful celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los libros; Children's Day/Book Day. Toon! Toon!

Honor Books for the 2010 Illustration Category are:

David Diaz for his illustrations in Diego: Bigger Than Life written by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, a picture-book biography in free verse of one of the 20th century's greatest artists. Bernier-Grand was also an Honor recipient in the Author category for this same book.

Yuyi Morales for his illustrations in My Abuelita, written by Tony Johnson.

Abuelita’s hair is the color of salt. Her face is as crinkled as a dried chile. She booms out words as wild as blossoms blooming. She stuffs her carcacha—her jalopy—with all the things she needs: a plumed snake, a castle, a skeleton, and more. Her grandson knows he has the most amazing grandmother ever—with a very important job. What does Abuelita do? With her booming voice and wonderful props, Abuelita is a storyteller. Next to being a grandmother, that may be the most important job of all. Sprinkled with Spanish and infused with love, My Abuelita is a glorious celebration of family, imagination, and the power of story.

John Parra for his illustrations in Pat Mora's book Gracias Thanks.

In a series of poetic sentences, a young boy celebrates some of the everyday things for which he is thankful.

Julia Alvarez, the author of Return to Sender, won the 2010 Author Award.

After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

Georgina Lazara won Honors for her book, Federico Garcia Lorca. Both a rhyming picture book and an accessible, illustrated biography, this dynamic tale recreates the early experiences of world-famous Spanish poet Federico Garca Lorca. Every child can relate to, and be inspired by, his story. Colorful and amusing illustrations engage readers, and include details from Federico's actual home.