BEA: Books Everywhere! Awesome!

by Amy Kraft on May 27, 2010

Yesterday I kissed my baby and headed out to a grown-up day of looking at children’s books at BookExpo America. I began the day over ridiculously watered-down coffee at the Children’s Author Breakfast, featuring Cory Doctorow, Mitali Perkins, Richard Peck, and a scandal-ridden Sarah Ferguson (though, honestly, as royal scandals go, this one is pretty weak). Whereas last year’s breakfast was all fun and fantasy, this one was more serious and political. Cory Doctorow, great champion of Creative Commons on Boing Boing, talked emotionally about how under the Creative Commons license, people are translating his novel Little Brother into local languages in Iran and Burma and circulating the text underground.

Mitali Perkins, whose new book Bamboo People is set in Burma, reflected on books as windows into other worlds and as mirrors, full of things to with which to identify. She talked about how her books full of different cultures are able to find a mainstream audience because of this identification. Richard Peck based his new horror novel on a real-life car crash tragedy. I’ll have more on these authors as I read and review their new books.

Then I walked the floor and set about to meet some of my favorite authors. The first goodie I found was J. Otto Seibold’s Other Goose. I read about this book and set very high expectations for it, all of which were exceeded. This book is so gorgeous that the fine people in the Chronicle booth had to pry it out of my clenched fingers. Sadly, it’s not available until the fall.

How’s this for a power duo? Judith Viorst and Lane Smith have teamed up for the new book Lulu and the Brontosaurus. I stared reading the ARC to Olive this morning and she was in a fit of giggles by page 3. Lulu is a demanding little Veruca Salt type, who gets everything she wants from her parents, until they tell her that she can’t have a Brontosaurus as a pet. So, stubborn girl, she sets out to find her own Brontosaurus. The hilarious asides from the narrator along with Lane Smith’s always-fabulous illustrations make this one an extra treat. (Releases September 2010.)

I am a big Edward Gorey fan, and the Pomegranate Books booth was chock full of Gorey goodies. The best is The Utter Zoo: An Alphabet, full of fantastical creature and lovely, strange rhymes. This is one of those books that adults will enjoy having as much a kids. (Releases July 2010.)

I made sure to swing by the Candlewick booth for a copy of David Ezra Stein‘s latest, Interrupting Chicken. Papa tries to read Chicken bedtime stories, but Chicken keeps interrupting, creating his one quickie versions of classic stories. Chicken interrupted Little Red Riding Hood with a “Out jumped a little red chicken, and she said, ‘DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS!'” With the sweet humor and luscious illustrations, this is my favorite DES book yet. (Releases August 2010.)

The last book I knew I had to get my hands on is Volume One of the official Guys Read library, Funny Business, a collection of ten stories from the likes of Jon Scieszka, Kate DiCamillo, Adam Rex, and Jeff Kinney. If you don’t know about Guys Read, please, at once, go check it out. (Releases September 2010.)

Gah! So many great things to read. Where should I start?

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