Welcome to the Bookshelf Detective, a site packed with tricks and tips for readers and writers of children's literature. Thank you for visiting!
Kim Tomsic

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Caldecott Medal winner and Honor Books 2013

The 2013 Caldecott Medal winner This Is Not My Hat, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, published by Candlewick Press.
“In this darkly humorous tale, a tiny fish knows it’s wrong to steal a hat. It fits him just right. But the big fish wants his hat back. Klassen’s controlled palette, opposing narratives and subtle cues compel readers to follow the fish and imagine the consequence."“With minute changes in eyes and the slightest displacement of seagrass, Klassen’s masterful illustrations tell the story the narrator doesn’t know,” Caldecott Chair Sandra Imdieke said.”
Creepy Carrots!, illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
"Jasper the rabbit loves carrots until he notices they are everywhere. He is convinced they’re coming for him! Pronounced shadows, black borders and shaded edges enhance this ever so slightly sinister tale with a distinctly cinematic feel. This is one serving of carrots children will eagerly devour."
available at Boulder Book Store on historic Pearl Street!
Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
"A selfish archduke threatens to halt a little girl's transformation of a colorless town and steal her box of magical yarn.  Klassen's innovative digital technique results in shifts of color that signal character change and critical turns of plot -all done with just the right stitches of humor."

Green, illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press
"In this original concept book, Seeger engages all the senses with her fresh approach to the multiple meanings of “green.” Using thickly-layered acrylics, word pairings and cleverly placed die cuts, she invites readers to pause, pay attention and wonder."

One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group
“Energetic line and dizzying perspective combine for a rollicking tale of Father, Elliot and a highly improbable pet (or two). Buzzeo’s text, brimming with sly wordplay, earns its perfect counterpoint in Small’s ink, watercolor and pencil illustrations with chilly details and visual jokes that invite many repeated readings.”
(available at Book Passage, The Bay Are's Liveliest Bookstore! or at an independent bookstore near you)

Sleep Like a Tiger, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue and published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
“Surrounded with dreamlike images of crowns, ornate patterns and repeated visual motifs, her parents coax her into bed. Using mixed media artwork on wood enhanced with computer illustrations, this is a whimsical story with universal appeal.”

(available at Tattered Cover Books, Colorado's beautiful independent bookstores)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013 Newbery Winners Announced by American Library Association


2013 NEWBERY WINNER:  What's as beautiful as Charlotte’s Web and as sweet as George and Martha (with writing for middle-grade readers)? It's Katherine Applegate's  THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN and it’s also the latest Newbery Winner as announced by the American Library Association this week.  
Ivan's tale is not told in third-person spider, or first-person hippo; readers get the pleasure of enjoying the story straight from the source--first person gorilla.  Meet Ivan, a charming gorilla whose story will make you laugh and cry.  Ivan is a Silverback gorilla, and if you've ever watched National Geographic, you know that Silverbacks are protectors.  Unfortunately Ivan has spent over thirty years starring in a circus mall’s cheap production. There are no other gorillas to protect. But his Silverback nature comes out when a baby elephant moves into the cage next door, and Ivan is compelled to find a way to save her from a bleak future.

This is definitely a book I will gift over and over again. It’s a story I can’t get out of my head, and the fact that there is a real-life Ivan, makes it all the more magical.     

Support Independent Book Sellers:
(pick up a copy at Oblong Books in the Hudson Valley, Tattered Cover in Denver, CO, Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, CO or Book Passage in San Francisco, CA)

Honor book include:

SPLENDORS AND GLOOM  Candlewick; 1 edition (August 28, 2012) by Laura Amy Schlitz

“Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings hersorcery to a Victorian gothic thriller — an enthralling, darkly comic tale thatwould do Dickens proud.

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants. 
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. 
As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.” 

BOMB (Roaring Brook Press 9/2012) by Steve Sheinkin
"Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’sMost Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, published by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.
Balancing intersecting threads of scientific discovery, political intrigue and military strategy, “Bomb” is a riveting historical nonfiction drama. Sheinkin’s engaging narrative explores the complex series of events that led to the creation of the ultimate weapon and introduces many memorable personalities involved in the pursuit." 

THREE TIMES LUCKY (Dial May 2012) by Sheila Turnage

"A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime 

Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Eye Candy from Molly Idle

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle offers a beautiful way to introduce your child to the art and dance of friendship.  Due out from Chronicle Books in February, this wordless book is gorgeous enough to decorate the walls of a princess's bedroom. I wouldn't be surprised if Land of Nod or Pottery Barn Kids wanted to offer Flora decor in the future.  But for now, Flora and the Flamingo is pure eye candy as well as the celebration of building friendships.

  • ISBN-13: 9781452110066
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 2/7/2013
  • Pages: 44
Book trailer:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thirteen Reasons to Continue Pursuing Your Dreams

Lucky elephant can be purchased here
Have you spent years chasing the dream of seeing your book published?  2013 is NOT the year to give up; it's the year to rev up!

If you've tried to hook an agent or an editor without traction, don't take this as a sign to close shop and give up.  Instead take it as an invitation to try things in a different manner.

PART ONE: ideas on how you can get out the rut that has left you without a book deal;
PART TWO: thirteen motivational quotes on determination.

Consider adding the following to your arsenal of ideas:
  • Join or start a critiquing group. You can start slow and join one of the many online critiquing groups, or you can take out an ad in a trade publication; 
  • Attend a writer's conference.  The SCBWI offers local and international conferences for children's book writers. Mystery writers can enjoy a conference offered by MWA,  and Romance writers as well as many other genre specific writers can experience a great event through Writer's Digest annual conference;
  • Participate in schmoozes.  Many writer's organizations offer free monthly or quarterly schmoozes.  Topics include: creating compelling characters; writing query letters; first pages; etc.;
  • Read more books in your genre.  If you want to write books for middle grade readers, read more books in that genre;  
  • Ask your local librarian what needs are not being fulfilled; 
  • Read a current craft book;
  • Attend a workshop; 
  • Visit professional help sites like Dryden Books or The Purple Crayon to possibly engage in one of their service offerings; 
  • Participate in a webinar.  Travel is expensive, whereas a webinar is an event in which you can participate from the comfort of your living room.  Google "writer's webinars" to find current listings;
  • Subscribe to a trade magazine to keep your creativity juices pumping;
  • Get business savvy and read blogs as well as Do's and Don't's Lists. There are a lot of blogs on how to write a query letter.  Make sure your query letter follows guidelines. Make sure your manuscript is professionally formatted and ensure your word count is appropriate for the genre (i.e. I doubt a publisher would consider a 3000 word picture book when the word count limit is generally 500-1000 words max);
  • Participate in events to keep ideas fresh. For example you can visit Julie Hedlund's blog and learn how to participate in her 12x12 event for picture book writers.  Here you will receive critiques and attention from some of the top agents in the industry;
  • Participate in online chat groups centered around your writing interest. Twitter offers great forums like #kidlitchat , #yalitchat and #indiechat. You simply set up a Twitter account, and enter #kidlitchat in the search to see when the chat groups meets (the kid lit group meets on Tuesday evenings at 6pm Pacific Time and 9 PM Eastern Standard Time);
  • Read books in your genre
  • Don't give up. I can't believe that a dream would be placed in your heart if you were not meant to pursue it, so read the "perseverance" quotes below and stay motivated. This is your year!   
Participate in Julie Hedlund's event 12x12!!!

1.    Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. - Newt Gingrich

2.    Others can stop you temporarily - you are the only one who can do it permanently. - Zig Ziglar

3.   Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

4.      The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination.
- Tommy Lasorda

5.      The difference in winning and losing is most often not quitting. - Walt Disney

6.      The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. - C C Scott

7.      Constant dripping hollows out a stone. - Lucretius

8.      It's hard to beat a person that never gives up. - Babe Ruth

9.      The train to success usually runs on the track of determination. - Poh Yu Khing 

10.  If you have the will to win, you have achieved half your success; if you do not, you have achieved half your failure. - David Ambrose

11.    You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. - Margaret Thatcher

12.  You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction. - George Lorimer

13. J.K. Rowling had twelve rejections, but she persevered…it’s when she tried her thirteenth  publishing house that she got her yes!

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