Tempest in Teapot Alert

Just after winning a Children's Book Council of Australia award for The Silver Donkey, Sonya Hartnett told Brisbane's Courier-Mail, "A lot of the Australian stuff out there is crap, it's rubbish." Not surprisingly, some other Oz authors do not agree. Read Alert, the blog for youth literature at the State Library of Victoria, sums up the row, and even if such squabbles don't interest you, do take a look at the cool blog. Scroll down when you get there.

Book Biz Up North

If you're a Canadian in the book business, you're in Toronto this weekend, eh? The city hosts BookExpo Canada June 24-27 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. One of the featured speakers at the Children's Author Lunch is Jacqueline Wilson, the U.K.'s new children's laureate.

The U.S.  lit bloggers blogged BookExpo America, which took place in New York a few weeks ago, like crazy. If you know anyone who's blogging BEC, do list 'em in the Comment section or send me an e-mail at c_spaghetti[at]yahoo[dot]com. (Replace the bracketed information with the real thing.)

Howdy, Readers

Greetings, everyone,  and welcome to Chicken Spaghetti. I'm glad that you have arrived.  Thank you, Beatrice, Maud NewtonCreate-Relate, and Web del Sol's  House of Blogs for sending a jolly crowd  my way.   I do hope you enjoy yourselves. And if you've Yahoo'd for chicken spaghetti recipes, well, do  stay around anyway and pick up some ideas for the next kids' book that you and/or your child  might want to read.

"Little Black Sambo" Is Japanese Best Seller

A reissue of Little Black Sambo is on the best seller list in Japan. No, it isn't Sam and the Tigers, in which Julius Lester reclaims (and retells) the story in a picture book beautifully illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. The old one, by Helen Bannerman. Remember the New Yorker newbreak category "There will always be an England"? I'm starting to think, "There will always be a Japan."

Bruce Wallace, of the L.A. Times, reports from Tokyo. (Read his  story here.)

In April, Zuiunsha, a small Tokyo publisher specializing in reprints, bet that there was still a market for a book that had charmed generations of Japanese youngsters who, as adults, were unable to find the book to read to their own children.

The market proved him right. Zuiunsha reportedly has sold 95,000 copies in two months since bringing out "Chibikuro Sambo." Despite being a child's read at a thin 16 pages, "Sambo" sits among the top five adult fiction bestsellers at major Tokyo book chains.                     

A reminder:  Bannerman's  Story of Little Black Sambo is still in print here in our country, too.  So,  even though it isn't a best seller,  none of us Yanks can get too smug. I highly recommend Julius Lester's Sam and the Tigers as an alternative.

Welcome, Readers

Welcome to Chicken Spaghetti! Here’s a bit about the origins of the blog.

 January 2005 marked my entry into the 21st century; I finally gave up the dial-up modem and upgraded to cable. Hello. I discovered some terrific, intelligent literary sites, like maudnewton.com, Beatrice, and About Last Night, which covers theater, art, jazz, and other arts, as well. The blogs seemed to talk to each other, and I enjoyed the conversation so much that I started hunting around for ones about children’s books, a current interest. I didn’t really find any that piqued my curiosity.

There are some funny mommy blogs,  such as Suburban Bliss (and some unsettling ones, too), and though they inspired me with their humor, I knew that these blogs’ confessional natures were best left to the mama bloggers. After seeing how well Moorishgirl’s niche works, and after reading the fabulous, I-can’t-recommend-it-enough Read Aloud Handbook, by Jim Trelease, I decided to try it myself: a blog about books for children.  Chicken Spaghetti is written  for adults: aunts, uncles, friends, parents, teachers, librarians, anyone interested in kids' books.  I talked to Michael Neff (who hosts Global City Review’s site over at Web del Sol, among many other endeavors) about my idea, and he provided great encouragement.

As for the name, it’s kid-friendly, and at one time I’d considered devoting a blog to that delicious blobby casserole. Better sense prevailed, thank goodness. (But don’t think I’m above printing a recipe.) My background is in publishing, and I read a lot of books with my son, who is of kindergarten age. Think Richard Scarry’s Busy Busy Town and Curious George.

And, so, here is Chicken Spaghetti, which is still very much of a work in progress.