At the New Yorker, tetchy old fogey and mediocre former film critic David Denby has published a lament about how few teens are reading books these days. He has one great overheard line—a student saying “Books smell like old people”; and a few careful caveats (“It’s very likely that teen-agers, attached to screens of one sort or another, read more words than they ever have in the past”); but mostly he is describing a decline of western civilization via smartphone. “If teachers can make books important to kids … those kids may turn off the screens,” he wraps up, making clear his real issue here: a favored primacy of one form of technology (ink on paper) over another (e-ink or pixels on screens).… [more]
There have been some great posts this week about the diverse books movement. Jacqueline Woodson’s 1998 article in the Horn Book, titled Who Can Tell My Story has been revived. Ellen Oh’s salient post Dear White Writer takes on diverse books and white privilege. There are numerous other articles and posts I could point you to; the discussion about diverse books is wide, intense, difficult, eye-opening, enraging, encouraging, and exciting.
In the last year, as the conversation about diverse books has picked up steam, a noticeable shift has taken place in my query box. It’s a shift that happens each time the trends change in publishing. Paranormal gave way to dystopian, which gave way to horror, which gave way to contemporary, which has recently given way to…diverse books?
The We Need Diverse Books campaign … [more]
It’s a cornucopia of cover reveals at Upstart Crow this week!
Today, we are thrilled to share the cover for Amy Allgeyer’s riveting debut novel, DIG TOO DEEP (Albert Whitman, April 2016). The good folks at YA Books Central did the official reveal yesterday, and you can hop over there to enter to win a free advance reading copy.
It’s not just that Liberty Briscoe feels like an outsider in Ebbotsville, Kentucky. She expected it wouldn’t be easy to move from the city to her granny’s place for her last year of high school. Still, Liberty can’t shake the feeling that something’s not quite right. Everyone says the water’s safe, yet nobody drinks it. When Granny becomes sick, like so many others in town, Liberty starts to wonder about the water, the people who
Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life.
She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties and, with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.
Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvy. A million years ago, he was Liz’s best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.
Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing
[Winners in boldface, but it was a particularly strong field of nominees this year.]
Karen E. Bender, Refund
Angela Flournoy, The Turner House
Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies
Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles
Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Sally Mann, Hold Still
Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus
Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran
Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light
Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn
Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus
Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things
Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine
YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE
Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish
Laura Ruby, Bone Gap
Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and … [more]
Unlike a lot of people in the publishing industry, I regularly review the books I read on Goodreads, and it has sometimes gotten me into trouble. I’ve been a Goodreads member since shortly after it was founded, and I have a lot of friends there whose opinions I follow. And who follow me. Some people in publishing feel no one in our industry should be on Goodreads at all; one editor noted that he won’t buy books from people who have given a negative review to one of his books. Others see it as a betrayal of our small community, that we should all be cheerleaders all the time, and to ever be otherwise is to be an Enemy of Books.
Well, I think that’s a lot of malarky, as Joe Biden might say. Goodreads … [more]
We are so very excited for today’s cover reveal! THE SWEETEST THING by Christina Mandelski is a fantastic contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and cake, and it’s soon to be re-released on Amazon with this gorgeous new package and some yummy bonus materials.
When it comes to cake, Sheridan Wells is a true artist. She’s happiest working in the back of her family’s bakery, dreaming of the day her mom will come home. But when her dad makes an announcement that threatens to change their lives, Sheridan launches a desperate plan to find her mother before it’s too late. Add to that a school art project that she can’t seem to start, a moody best friend and the fact that she may or may not have been asked out by the cutest boy in
I’m so thrilled to wish Jessixa Bagley a very happy pub day for her debut book, BOATS FOR PAPA. I met Jessixa at SCBWI NY in 2013; that was the first conference I attended with my agent hat on after nearly ten years on the other side of the desk at Simon & Schuster. Jessixa came to my session, politely introduced herself and struck up a conversation. She was a runner-up in the Illustrator Showcase and submitted a dummy called Drift to me after the conference. I opened it and was immediately drawn into the world of Buckley, a young beaver who creates increasingly intricate boats to send to his absent and much missed Papa. And she made me cry. Tears-streaming-down-my-face cry. I sold the book to the brilliant and wonderful Neal Porter. Neal, … [more]