Many sites recommending books for kids are created by librarians and non-profits. While these are great sites, they often recommend out-of-print books. This site is all about the great books that are available now! While I am not being paid for these recommendations, I would appreciate it if readers would purchase the books I recommend from local independent bookstores, or even B&N. Basically don't buy from the evil empire (A_A_O_), because if you do much of our literary knowledge will be lost.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Last weekend I had the joy of discovering myself in Portland, and no trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Powell's Book Store! It was my first time in Powell's, and it was beauty to my virgin eyes. I was impressed with their combination of new and used books, but I confess my interest was all in the used books as I can get any new book I want at Spellbinders. Still, there is nothing like browsing and holding books in your hands, comparing titles, prices, topics. Powell's, with it's multi-story full block of a bookstore, offers a browsing experience that no other store can compete with. The brick & mortar bookstores will not die, they just may become fewer and far between.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I don't believe The Book Thief was originally written for children. It is very complex, and the narration style (death narrates) is not only dark, but confusing at first. But the main character is a little girl, so it was published for children. I wonder if one of my favorite books, Lullabies for Little Criminals, would have done better if it was categorized as Y.A. instead of Adult Fiction. Like The Book Thief the main character is a little girl, and like The Book Thief it is not a happy book. But its writing style is actually less complex, though its emotions are completely raw. It has very adult themes of drugs and sex, but these themes are all over the Y.A. world! If you want a good wholesome book for your child, don't go into the Y.A. section! Ellen Hopkin's Crank & Burned have been some of our local Y.A. bestsellers. Lullabies for Little Criminals would fit right in! The thing is, although it is on our adult staff pick wall, with a tag in front of it discussing what a great book it is, we have only sold about five copies of Lullabies for Little Criminals in the last year and half. Most staff picks sell at least 10 copies a year. I think Lullabies for Little Criminals would have done better if it had been marketed to the teens.
In her essay Ms. Rabb has some great quotes by Sherman Alexie, author of a number of popular adult books, and the hugely popular The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Mr. Alexie says "I thought I’d been condescended to as an Indian — that was nothing compared to the condescension for writing Y.A." But he also admits “This book sold like crazy in a way my books never have before, and I’ve had a great career.” It is true, though his books are popular at Spellbinders, we don't usually sell more than three copies of any one of his adult titles in a year, but we have sold over 50 copies of his Y.A. novel - I've sold it to adults and kids.
I'm 32, but I still would much rather read the boxy red book with a skull and crossbones on the cover. It doesn't hurt that Eoin Colfer, of Artemis Fowl fame, has written the introduction. Each classic has an introduction written by a famous children's author of today; I have a habit of skipping introductions, but these might actually be interesting. I also prefer the price of the new book, an astonishing $4.99 compared to the older edition's $7.00. It is rare to see book prices go down these days.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
What is truly great about this book is not the pop-ups, which are lovely, but the information. The book is jammed packed with fairy folklore and tales; you have Ant Hill Fairies in Africa, as well as the common European Sprite. Someone did a great job compiling fairy history from multiple cultures!
If you are interested in pop-ups and art in working life, check out the blog for Sabuda & Reinhart Studios at: http://popupstudionyc.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Vampires are hot, and they will only get hotter this year as American Youth prepare for Twilight the movie to come out this December. For those living under a rock Twilight is the first book in the best-selling Vampire series by Stephenie Meyers. I still remember when I first started working at the bookstore two years ago, and some poor girl asked if we had the book Twilight that her friend was talking about. This was before the book hit the bestseller lists, and the girl didn't know the name of the author. All I was able to tell her is that there are over 700 books with the title Twilight. Of course now I would know EXACTLY what she was talking about. And I could also now tell her that the second book is New Moon, which has only recently been released in paperback. The third book is Eclipse, and the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, is due out in August. We are taking pre-orders at the store.
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