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November 2005

Nasty & Magic in Japanese

Barry Yourgrau and Kelly Link team up for a literary event  in Cambridge, Mass., on Monday, October 24th. So, if the crisp fall airs puts you in the mood for some pre-Halloweenish fun,  head over to Porter Square Books at 7.   Yourgrau and Link will be reading from their latest books, NASTYbook and Magic for Beginners, respectively. Motoyuki Shibata will also read a few of Yourgrau's and Link's  stories in Japanese. The University of Tokyo professor is the Japanese translator for the two writers and many others.

That's it for the week, y'all. See you in a few days! Do take a look at the Chicken Spaghetti blog roll of Kid-Lit folks, who are listed on the right, underneath the monthly archives.

Native American Books

November is Native American Heritage Month; you can check out  the National Education Association's site for  books on the subject. Junior and I recently enjoyed Jingle Dancer, a picture book by Cynthia Leitich Smith, although Junior was disappointed to learn that boys cannot be jingle dancers. Chris at Bartography, however, reports that guys can be grass dancers. That'll work for Junior.

Speaking of the author Cynthia Leitich Smith, she has an awesome site, with plenty of reading recommendations there,  including an extensive list of kids' books with Native American themes.


The Illustrated Elements of Style

From the sound of this article in Newsday, Maira Kalman's new book (for adults) wins the quirky award today. After picking up Strunk and White's Elements of Style at a rummage sale a few years back, Kalman was inspired not only to illustrate the classic style & grammar guide but also to create an opera based on the book, which read like Gertrude Stein to her.

If happen to find yourself in New York on Wednesday, October 19, at 8, you can catch the operatic "Elements" at the New York Public Library (Fifth Ave. and 42nd St.).  The songs include "Hyphens" and "Be Obscure Clearly!" Nico Muhly composed the music.

A designer and painter in addition to her writing work, Kalman has written thirteen books for children, including the highly praised Fireboat (about September 11th, among other subjects).

Who knows what she'll do if she comes across Fowler's Modern English Usage at a flea market? A full-length ballet? A Super Bowl halftime show? The possibilities are endless.

Update, October 19th. The New York Times, who was scooped on the story by Newsday, reports on Maira Kalman's new book and song cycle.

Today's Papers, October 16

One-word extractions from the Sunday reviews.

"Brilliant." The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson. San Francisco Chronicle.

"Worthy." The Norton Anthology of Children's Literature: Traditions in English, edited by Jack Zipes.  L.A. Times.

"Pitch-perfect." Leonardo the Terrible Monster, by Mo Willems.Washington Post.

"Fast."  Flush, by Carl Hiaasen. Chicago Tribune.

"Thrilled." Ithaka, by Adèle Geras. Sunday Times.

"Delectable." The King in the Window, by Adam Gopnik. The Oregonian.

Civil Rights Heroine Displaced by Katrina

Ruby Bridges, one of the heroines of the Civil Rights movement, is now living in Jackson, Mississippi, as her home in New Orleans was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Bridges was one of the first African-American children to integrate New Orleans' then-segregated schools in 1960, and her pioneering role has been the subject of two children's books: The Story of Ruby Bridges, by Robert Coles, and Bridges's own autobiography, Through My Eyes. Norman Rockwell's famous painting of her shows a tiny girl walking into school escorted by federal marshals.

Bridges's life has not been an easy one, but her story still inspires. Read today's profile in Jackson's Clarion-Ledger. Bridges recently spoke at Spann Elementary School, my alma mater. Wish I could have been there.

Good Day Sunshine

Blue skies. Sun. White clouds. We have all of these today in our part of the deluged Northeast. Yesterday Junior asked me if it was going to rain for 40 days and 40 nights, but I think it stopped at 11. So, no ark necessary.

Junior came home from the school library this week with The Big Snow, by Virginia Lee Burton, which we do not have at home. Usually he selects a book that we already own. The librarian told me that all the younger kids do the same thing. That's so sweet, isn't it? They're reassured by the familiar.

Group Read: Each Little Bird That Sings

Since I own Each Little Bird That Sings but have not read it yet, why don't you, the Internet, read along with me? The children's novel is by Deborah Wiles and was just nominated for a National Book Award. This way, if I promise that I will have it read and that I will start talking about  it next Friday, I'll keep my word.

This idea was inspired by comments from the Book Moot and  Big A little a bloggers. Thank you.

So, on Friday, October 21st, expect a note here about Each Little Bird. Promise!