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Children’s Books

Random House to Publish ‘Frozen’ Chapter Books

frozenRandom House Children’s Books has plans to release a new chapter book series based on the Disney phenomenon Frozen.

The stories will pick up where the movie left off and follow Anna and Elsa on further adventures. Christopher Angelilli, Vice President, Editor-in-Chief, Director of License Publishing, Random House Children’s Books, is heading up the new series.  Author Erica David will write the books. Random House Associate Editor Christy Webster will edit the titles. 

The first two books in the series Anna & Elsa #1: All Hail the Queen and Anna & Elsa #2: Memory and Magic are slated for publication in January. In total, the publisher has plans to do four books next year and three or four more books a year going forward.

The Legacy of Ursula Nordstrom

9780064462358You probably enjoyed Charlotte’s Web or Harriet the Spy at one point in your life. But do you know who edited those great kid’s books?

After covering the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Summer Conference last weekend, I caught up with the New York Public Library’s Youth Materials Collections Specialist Betsy Bird and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blogger Julie Danielson, co-authors of the brand new book, Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature (co-written with Peter Sieruta).

Q: Could you tell us more about the life and work of the great children’s book editor Ursula Nordstrom? What are some of the books you recommend from this great editor?

Betsy Bird: ”Ursula’s list begins to resemble nothing so much as a Who’s Who in children’s literature after a while. She had this crazy sense of humor that went well with her ability to spot potential children’s literature talent.

I mean, seriously, who would have looked at Shel Silverstein‘s rather explicit cartoons in Playboy and thought ‘There’s the man that children everywhere will love!?’”

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Editors Share Secrets for Aspiring Authors

scwbi304Hundreds of writers gathered at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Summer Conference in Los Angeles last weekend.

The annual “Editor’s Panel” featured a star-studded collection of editors, including Dutton Children’s Books publisher Julie Strauss-Gabel–she’s worked with Ally Condie, John Green and John Grisham, among many others. Strauss-Gabel snapped that photograph of her view from stage during the panel. GalleyCat was there, gathering advice for aspiring writers…

1. You need to send the manuscript to the right editor. Strauss-Gabel explained: “I’m very attentive to fit both the imprint and if it is a good manuscript for me. We mean it when we say ‘this is not the right manuscript for me.’ I know another editor could bring something to that manuscript that I couldn’t.” She advised writers to read an editor’s body of work and understand what kind of books they love.

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‘Frozen’ Screenwriter Jennifer Lee to Pen Script For ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Movie

A Wrinkle in TimeJennifer Lee, the co-director and screenwriter of Disney’s hit film Frozen, has signed on to pen the script for a film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Longtime Hollywood veteran Jim Whitaker will serve as a producer. At the moment, no director has been hired to oversee this project.

Here’s more from Variety: “Published in 1962, Wrinkle in Time was one of Lee’s favorite novels as a child, and she impressed Disney executives with her take on the project, which emphasizes a strong female-driven narrative and creatively approaches the science fiction and world-building elements of the book.” Who would you cast as Meg Murry? (via Time)

Should You Quit Your Day Job?

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Many writers dream of quitting their day job to work full-time as an author. Author Tracy Barrett is one of the rare writers who managed to take this momentous step.

Barrett (pictured, via) taught Italian at Vanderbilt University for 28 years, but decided to leave her day job and write full time in 2012. At the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Summer Conference in Los Angeles last weekend, she shared lessons for writers considering the same step.

“Leaving your job is like having a baby, you can’t wait for the perfect time,” she explained. “The time is never perfect.” She had tried to balance her busy writing life with teaching, but discovered “I only had a certain amount of creative juice, it burned up the spark.”

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Should Smoking be Banned in Children’s Books?

UnknownIn Julia Donaldson‘s latest children’s book The Scarecrow’s Wedding, the villain is a scarecrow named Reginald Rake and he smokes cigars.

The book is aimed at toddlers and a number of parents have complained about this story line in Amazon reviews. “Why on earth would a children’s book contain even the idea of smoking! Disgusting!,” complained one reviewer.

“Even though it makes the point that smoking is a bad idea, it makes me really uncomfortable to see any depiction of it in a children’s book,” wrote another.

“It feels like Julia is trying to get across an anti-smoking message (really? Do two year olds need this?!) but it just comes off as inappropriate and out of place,” said another. “Now my three year old is asking for cigars and a ‘smoke puffer’.”

Donaldson defended the story, pointing out the context of the behavior. “Reginald Rake is a villain who smokes a cigar and it is made clear that smoking is bad for you,” she told The Guardian.

Artist Creates ‘Little Golden Books’-Style Covers Inspired By ‘Game of Thrones’

Storytime FlyerIllustrator Joey Spiotto designed a series of Little Golden Books-style covers inspired by some of the most beloved pop culture properties.

SlashFilm.com reports that Spiotto drew inspiration from Game of ThronesBreaking BadA Clockwork Orange, and more for this project. According to Spiotto’s Facebook announcement, Gallery 1988 East will host an art show to display 50 of his pieces. ”Storytime: A Little Gallery Show“ will run from August 1st to August 16th.

Children’s books fans went crazy when a similarly-themed art show turned up last year at the “Little Golden Tales” exhibit. Artist Matt Reedy was inspired by manga for his “Little Golden Books” art series. Which adult stories, video shows, TV shows, or movies would you want to see as a Little Golden Book?

Unconventional Fairy Tale Collection Featured On Kickstarter

Raymond Friesen hopes to raise $9,986 on Kickstarter for a short story collection called Fairy Tales I Just Made Up. The funds will be used to cover the cost of printing.

Friesen’s take on fairy tales feature a bunch of crazy characters including dinosaurs, robots, aliens, and more. He hired a team of artists to create the illustrations. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“I like to write stuff. Silly stuff. To amuse myself, as well as anyone else who’s paying attention. I’ve made hundreds of dozens of people giggle. And now I’ve written a children’s book anthology, featuring a bunch of crazy versions of familiar stories.”

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Science Fiction Picture Books for the Youngest Readers

Cosmo_and_the_Robot__Brian_Pinkney__9780688159412__Amazon_com__Books Science fiction books supercharged my imagination as a kid. Everything from Star Wars storybooks to Ray Bradbury radio adaptations to The Black Hole – Read Along Book and Record inspired my childhood attempts at telling stories.

I want my 4-year-old daughter to have the same kind of experience, so I turned to the brilliant Goodreads “Science Fiction Picture Books List” for inspiration. It was created by Amanda R. Von Der Lohe who studied children’s literature at Hollins University—writing a scholarly paper about science fiction picture books.

I caught up with Von Der Lohe recently, and she had a simple message for GalleyCat readers: “Authors, illustrators and publishers, please please please please please include more girls in science fiction picture books. Parents, read science fiction with your daughters.”

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Quentin Blake Opens the ‘House of Illustration’

House of IllustrationFamed artist Quentin Blake has opened the “House of Illustration” in London.

The gallery’s inaugural art show, “Inside Stories,” showcases Blake’s work. Many of the pieces on display can be found in books written by beloved children’s books writer Roald Dahl.

According to the gallery website, “the exhibition brings together first roughs and storyboards, many never shown before, with finished art work to demonstrate how ideas evolved, often in close collaboration with the authors.” Follow this link to view a photo album. (via The Independent)

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