Wednesday, January 28, 2009

...a little Barnum in your bones

I'm pondering authors' and illustrators' use of video and book trailers today because of this very interesting essay, "See the Web Site, Buy the Book," by J. Courtney Sullivan in NYTimes. It is about book trailers/videos and the focus on having a web presence in book publishing today.

“When you’re writing a book, you’re certainly not sitting there thinking, ‘And wait till they see the Web site!’ ” Larsen said. “But it does offer a great opportunity to experiment with delivering character and narrative across different mediums.”

Kenneth Oppel's website was one of the first I recall to use elaborate mini videos about his books. I remember the first time I saw the Airborn site it took my breath away. Can't wait for the next Matt Cruse book, Starclimber.

Dav Pilkey offers a raft of rather terrifying music videos on his site in English and Japanese including: Super Diaper Baby Country Shuffle, Calling Captain Underpants!, and Go Poopypants!
The "documentary" about the making of the videos, Behind The Waistband explains the origin of the videos.

Newly minted Newbery winner, Neil Gaiman, reads The Graveyard Book, via video, in its entirety, on his Mr. Bobo's Remarkable Mouse Circus website. Authors are not always the best presenters of their work but that is not the case here. Gaiman's reading is pitch perfect (which is probably why he reads the story in the audiobook version too. )

Meg Cabot has a YouTube video presence to promote her books. I think her interpretation of literary and movie classics using her Madame Alexander and Barbie dolls are my favorites.

John Green's heroic Brotherhood 2.0 project spawned the entire Nerdfighters movement via VlogBrothers. Thinking of John Green, reminds me of Maureen Johnson's very funny videos.

With websites to watch, blogs to maintain and now video projects, it is a wonder that authors get any writing gets done at all.

What are some other children's / YA authors using video to publicize their work and interact with readers?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today Show Watch

Woo Hoo!

The Today Show gave the annual Newbery/Caldecott winners interview to Al Roker!
Good job Al!

I can't wait to read both of these. Listening to Gaiman talk about The Graveyard Book reminds me of Eva Ibbotson's "ghost" books.

ALA READ Posters

The fun thing about the ALA Awards is I end up browsing the ALA READ posters and bookmarks too.

Wowzers, there are some new ones (new to me.)

I predict "Marley" will have a poster next year!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Newbery Winner

I can never ever predict the ALA award winners but I love the swirl of publicity and buzz they generate.

Neil Gaiman's reaction to his Newbery win for THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (without the swearing à la Twitter) is hilarious!

Love his description of librarians and "suchlike" as "great, wise and good people."

NonFiction Monday: Extreme Animals

Dewey: 590

Extreme animals: the toughest creatures on Earth by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Neal Layton, 2006

Extreme makeovers, extreme sports, extreme heat, extreme music: the word extreme conjures up images of rocketing skateboarders or freerunning athletes. Nicola Davies shares a sense of wonder and fascination with the living organisms that thrive and survive in seemingly inhospitable environments, dubbing them, extreme animals.

Tiny bacteria, camels, penguins, frogs and polar bears are just some of the living things that make a who's who list of these animals. Davies describes "how" they do it. She details the penguin's internal heating system and illustrator, Neal Layton, provides a drawing of how it works. Reptiles store water, camels have an internal brain cooler. Star fish and sponges can survive being cut apart. Extreme temperatures and extreme ocean depth would crush some creatures but others have adapted to these environments.

Neal Layton's drawings and cartoons illustrate and clarify the subject. His irreverent humor underscores the information. According to Davies, a sponge can be whirled in a blender and reassemble itself. Layton shows us a scientist quaffing a drink from the blender while a horrified co-worker murmers, "That's not a smoothie."

Other cartoon character offer commentary as a polar bear holds a sign, "Live Naked" or a camel gasps "hot" or "cold" as the day/night cycle. Even the index and glossary are embellished with small drawings which clarify and illustrate ideas and terms. The hardy tardigrade holds a sign, "Tardigrades Rule OK!"

If you've ever wondered why polar bears and penguins don't turn into popsicles, this book is for you.
I found it utterly irresistible!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Today Show Interview: Jeff Kinney

Today Show: Al's Book Club
Al Roker actually does a good job in these book club interviews. Maybe this year they will give him the Newbery/Caldecott interviews?

Camera pans the children in the "club" reading the book in the teaser shots leading up to the segment.

Gotta love the kid who is holding the book upside down (on purpose) and checking out the camera to see if he is "on."

Stuff I did not know: Kinney began writing Diary for a Wimpy Kid as a book for adults. Got the "good news/bad news" call--they were taking the book BUT as a kids' series.
Interesting what is considered the "bad news."

Kinney: Writing and illustrating is a tough process.
Kinney: Can take 5 hours to write one joke
The process: It is all hard/drawing and writing
A good portrayal of how he remembers his own childhood.
He is happy when the writing is over. The illustrations come easier then.

Good questions from the kids. Do they give the them the questions to ask the authors? No one has asked "where do you get your ideas from?" which is usually the first or second question kids ask.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid website

I know that Kinney's books are the most requested books at the circulation desks where I work and one copy per library is not enough.

Perpetual question: "Do you have any Diary of a Wimpy Kid books?" "Well, what about on the shelving cart?"

Overheard in line at mega-bookstore while perusing gift cards: "Hey there's Diary of a Wimpy Kid [giftcard] ... can I get that one?"


Ah yes, the Today Show continues the "Ann Curry tradition" of getting the author's name WRONG --

From the Today Show website:
Kids read ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’
Jan. 16: Greg Heffley, author of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” talks to TODAY’s Al Roker and the kids of his book club about the young adult book series.
I guess "Greg Heffley," the character IS the fictional author...are they being funny?
Professional journalists at work here.
Sad, so sad.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tiara Auction

Mia Thermopolis is the top bidder in the Tiara Auction to benefit the NYPL.

Oh my, I want this one, no--this one, no--this one, no--this one

Actress Julianne Moore, Chris Van Allsburg, Marc Brown, Vera Wang, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Judy Blume and Nicole Miller are just some of the folks who have contributed.

Must check to see if there is any post wedding $$ available.

Thanks to Meg Cabot for the link.