Posts tagged Abrams Books
Posts tagged Abrams Books
Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Margi Preus expertly weaves original fiction with myth and folktale to tell the story of Astri, a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America.
After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent “goatman” in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.
"Like dun silk shot thought with gold, Preus interweaves the mesmerizing tale of Astri’s treacherous and harrowing mid-nineteenth-century emigration to America with bewitching tales of magic. A fascinating author’s note only adds to the wonder."
—Booklist, starred review
“Norwegian history, fiction and folklore intertwine seamlessly in this lively, fantastical adventure and moving coming-of-age story.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Enthralling and unflinching, this historical tale resonates with mythical undertones that will linger with readers after the final page is turned.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Astri is like a girl out of a fairy tale, and the native folktales that Preus weaves through the narrative serve as guides, lessons, and inspiration for her.” --Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Several Norwegian folktales are seamlessly integrated into the fast-paced, lyrically narrated story, which features a protagonist as stalwart and fearless as any fairy-tale hero.” —The Horn Book Magazine, starred review
“It’s Astri’s voice, however, that is most appealing: her direct, no-nonsense narration has a sharp bite, yet it also reveals the vulnerable young girl who’s willing to continue to fight but is nonetheless exhausted by the weight of her struggle. The chapters have an episodic structure that makes this an ideal choice for readaloud or storytelling adaptations, while the mix of folklore, fact, and fantasy will please fans of Edith Patou’s East.” —The Bulletin of The Center for Children’s Books
“It’s amazing. Dark and resilient with a core theme that simply cannot be ignored … with folktales and beautifully written prose. With a deep sisterly bond, and a serious consideration of what is right and what is wrong and what is necessary in desperate circumstances. Slow to start, smart when it continues, and unlike anything you’ve ever really read before … Remarkable.” —Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal Fuse Eight blog.
Ages 10 to 14
My review: A middle-grade novelization of the life of Nakahama Manjiro, believed to be the first person from Japan to visit America in 1843. From humble beginnings, a set of circumstances leads a young boy into an unimaginable life and experience of a world unknown to his home culture. From Manjiro’s perspective, the story presents an interesting frame of reference for America at that time in history. Conversely, it is fascinating to learn about Japan in that same context. Elements of natural history, whaling, sailing, prejudice, politics, courage and determination make the life of this one man a valuable teaching moment. An epilogue, a historical note, an environmental note, and a glossary add to teachable components of this story. The reference to samurai in the title comes from Manjiro’s desire to be a samurai, an aspiration which he would never be allowed in Japan. But for strange twists and turns of his life, he indeed earns the rank of samurai for helping Japan overcome 250 years of isolation and enter into a relationship with America and the west.
Ages 10 to 14
My review: An accessible story of a lesser known aspect of World War II. A Norwegian boy finds himself serving as messenger, then spy for the resistance movement as his country struggles under Nazi occupation. When he is ultimately found out, he makes a harrowing escape to Sweden. An easy read, Shadow Mountain offers insight into a culture of teenagers grappling with the difficulties brought on by the challenges of occupation. Based on a true story, the book could serve as a gateway to other books of WWII for middle grade or early YA readers.
Kirkus TV interviews Jon about his new six book series from Abrams/Amulet Books: “Jon Scieszka is the funniest kid’s writer in America, hands down. He’s also one of the most respected. We talk to Scieszka about his new book Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, in which Frank Einstein, kid genius and inventor, is staying with his grandfather while his parents travel to Antarctica.”
Scieszka mixes science and silliness again to great effect.
Frank Einstein, kid genius and inventor, is staying with his grandfather while his parents travel to Antarctica. That’s just fine with Frank; he and his sidekick, Watson, have inventing to do, and Grampa Al’s fix-it shop is the perfect place to do science. Frank is hoping to win the Midville Science Prize because Grampa won when he was a kid…and because the prize money will let Frank save Grampa’s shop from the bill collectors. Frank’s attempt to build a SmartBot fails, but overnight, a spark ignites the brain he’s created for the bot, and the next morning he finds two very different robots in his workshop. Now he’s got Klink, a smart, self-assembled robot who can learn, and Klank, who’s really into hugging. Frank doesn’t feel right entering Klink and Klank in the contest since they assembled themselves, but together with Watson, the four of them can surely some up with something great. Only evil, rival child genius T. Edison stands in their way, and he’ll stop at nothing. Scieszka launches a six-book series with a likable protagonist and a good supporting cast. Science facts are slipped into the story on nearly every page, and Biggs’ two-color drawings are the C12H22O11 on the cookie.
Less wacky (and more instructive) than Scieszka’s Spaceheadz series—but just as much fun. (Science fiction/humor. 8-12)
“Dear Frank Einstein,From the Abrams website:
Please invent time machine. Send your books back in time to me in 1978.
Also a levitating skateboard.
—Tom Angleberger, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
“In the final analysis, this buoyant, tongue-in-cheek celebration of the impulse to ‘keep asking questions and finding your own answers’ fires on all cylinders.” —Booklist, starred review
“I never thought science could be funny … until I read Frank Einstein. It will have kids laughing.” —Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid
An amazingly touching self portrait of a child coping with friendship, family and school after suddenly becoming deaf due to meningitis at age four. CeCe Bell is a normal kid who faces an extraordinary challenge adapting to a new environment of quiet, learning how to understand and communicate with her friends and family after her illness. Honest, intimate, poignant and funny, El Deafo is ultimately a joyous triumph of one’s girl’s determination to navigate her way through the various pitfalls inherent in childhood friendships, first crushes, teachers, classmates, parents and siblings while managing her hearing issues. Her phonic ear, the audio device which enables her to hear more acutely in school, gives her superpower hearing: the ability to hear her teacher wherever she is in the school building, thereby giving her a distinct advantage with her school friends when she reveals its attributes. As a graphic novel memoir, El Deafo is seamlessly engaging and surprisingly helpful, illustrating aspects of the life of a little girl dependent upon visual cues for connections with illustrated diagrams. The illustrations are loving and playful and are the genius behind the book. Cece’s double talent of writing and illustrating bring her childhood experiences to life in ways that every reader can identify. I enjoyed seeing it as much as reading it and as a reader, I was cheering her on along the way. A note from the author explains deafness and the deaf culture in more detail. Kudos, Cece Bell!
"Totally charming graphic autobiography gives much needed insight into a girl’s childhood growing up with hearing aids. Sweet, funny, awkward and heroic, the graphic format is perfect (you certainly couldn’t read it out loud!). There’s nothing like this out there, an instant classic." — Angie Smits, Southern Territory Associates
"Though billed as a kids’ graphic novel, this intelligent, emotional, funny, and—let’s face it—adorable memoir will appeal to readers of all ages. Cece Bell’s story of growing up hearing impaired while searching for a true friend will make you smile and tear up in places. This would be a great book to read and discuss with your kids." — Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
A bout of childhood meningitis left Bell (Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover) deaf at age four, and she was prescribed a Phonic Ear, with a receiver draped across her chest and a remote microphone her teachers wore. Her graphic memoir records both the indignities of being a deaf child in a hearing community (“IS. THAT. AAAY. HEAR-ING. AAAID?”) and its joys, as when she discovers that the microphone picks up every word her teacher says anywhere in the school. Bell’s earnest rabbit/human characters, her ability to capture her own sonic universe (“eh sounz lah yur unnah wawah!”), and her invention of an alter ego—the cape-wearing El Deafo, who gets her through stressful encounters (“How can El Deafo free herself from the shackles of this weekly humiliation?” she asks as her mother drags her to another excruciating sign language class)—all combine to make this a standout autobiography. Cece’s predilection for bursting into tears at the wrong time belies a gift for resilience that makes her someone readers will enjoy getting to know. Ages 8–12. — Publishers Weekly starred review, 7/7/2014.
A humorous and touching graphic memoir about finding friendship and growing up deaf.
When Cece is 4 years old, she becomes “severely to profoundly” deaf after contracting meningitis. Though she is fitted with a hearing aid and learns to read lips, it’s a challenging adjustment for her. After her family moves to a new town, Cece begins first grade at a school that doesn’t have separate classes for the deaf. Her nifty new hearing aid, the Phonic Ear, allows her to hear her teacher clearly, even when her teacher is in another part of the school. Cece’s new ability makes her feel like a superhero—just call her “El Deafo”—but the Phonic Ear is still hard to hide and uncomfortable to wear. Cece thinks, “Superheroes might be awesome, but they are also different. And being different feels a lot like being alone.” Bell (Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover, 2012) shares her childhood experiences of being hearing impaired with warmth and sensitivity, exploiting the graphic format to amplify such details as misheard speech. Her whimsical color illustrations (all the human characters have rabbit ears and faces), clear explanations and Cece’s often funny adventures help make the memoir accessible and entertaining. Readers will empathize with Cece as she tries to find friends who aren’t bossy or inconsiderate, and they’ll rejoice with her when she finally does.
Worthy of a superhero. — Kirkus starred review
"There isn’t a jot of doubt in my mind that CeCe Bell’s book is going to be vastly beloved by nearly every child that picks it up. Engaging and beautifully drawn, to say nothing of its strength and out-and-out facts, El Deafo is going to help set the standard for what a memoir for kids should be. Infinitely clever. Undeniably fun. Don’t miss it." Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal, A Fuse 8 Production Blog, August 21, 2014
@trkravtin Have you looked at p 40 of Jabba yet?— OrigamiYoda (@OrigamiYoda) August 28, 2013
@OrigamiYoda I read it all voraciously, but I must have missed it! *scurries off to look again*— Teresa Rolfe Kravtin (@trkravtin) August 28, 2013
@OrigamiYoda OMG!!!!!! I DID miss it. *happy dance* TY— Teresa Rolfe Kravtin (@trkravtin) August 28, 2013
— Teresa Rolfe Kravtin (@trkravtin)
@trkravtin me too! Hi!— OrigamiYoda (@OrigamiYoda)
@origamiyoda Woot!— Teresa Rolfe Kravtin (@trkravtin)
— Teresa Rolfe Kravtin (@trkravtin)
We were! Tom was on the row in front of mine which I realized when we were on the approach into NY. In baggage claim we chatted it up, and took a picture.
@trkravtin We may be on same plane… I’m headed there too!— OrigamiYoda (@OrigamiYoda)
ABRAMS Amulet Books will be publishing the new illustrated middle grade series by bestselling author Jon Scieszka. The news broke over the holiday week via Publishers Weekly and ran an exclusive in the 12/24 print magazine. The series will not be published until fall 2014.
Senior Vice President and Publisher Susan Van Metre and Editorial Director Charles Kochman at ABRAMS Amulet Books imprint beat out five other children’s publishers for the first six books in a new illustrated middle grade series by bestselling author Jon Scieszka, the nation’s first National Ambassador of Children’s literature. Titled Frank Einstein, Kid Scientist and illustrated by Brian Biggs, the series is about a budding scientist who battles an evil genius with the help of two well-meaning but imperfect robots that he invents. The first book will appear in fall 2014. Scieszka’s longtime agent Steven Malk at Writers House orchestrated the deal. Amulet Books plans an extensive marketing and publicity campaign for the launch.
Jon Scieszka always wanted to be a kid science genius. The closest he got was winning a green “Participant” ribbon at his fourth grade Science Fair and dressing up one Halloween as a bloody Albert Einstein. Scieszka studied pre-med in college. He taught elementary school, including second grade science, in New York City for ten years. For over twenty years, he has been a children’s book writer, and is the author of The True Story of 3 Little Pigs!, The Stinky Cheese Man, the Time Warp Trio series, Math Curse, Science Verse, the Trucktown series, the Spaceheadz series, and more. In 2008, Scieszka was named the nation’s first National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress and the Children’s Book Council. He is also the founder of the web-based literacy initiative for boys called Guys Read, and is the editor of the Guys Read Library of Great Reading series.
Founded by Harry N. Abrams in 1949, ABRAMS was the first company in the United States to specialize in the creation and distribution of art and illustrated books. Now a subsidiary of La Martinière Groupe, the company publishes visually stunning illustrated books in the areas of art, photography, cooking, interior and garden design, craft, architecture, entertainment, fashion, sports, pop culture, as well as children’s books and general interest titles. The company’s imprints include Abrams, Abrams ComicArts, Abrams Image, Abrams Books for Young Readers, Amulet Books, Abrams Appleseed, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, and STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books. Abrams also distributes books for The Vendome Press, Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate, Royal Academy of Arts, Booth-Clibborn Editions, Five Continents and others.
It’s that time of year again, when “Best Books” lists make the rounds. This past week, there was exciting news from the New York Times and Publisher’s Weekly in children’s books. Here are the notable books from the publishers I represent. Congratulations, all!
Infinity and Me from Carolrhoda Books Wins Prestigious New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Infinity and Me, written by Kate Hosford, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska, and published in 2012 by Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group—has been named one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2012. Celebrating its 60th anniversary, The New York Times Best Illustrated awards are selected by a panel of judges from among the several thousand children’s books published this year. The annual special Children’s Book section will run in the November 11 Sunday Times Book Review.
In Infinity and Me author Kate Hosford and illustrator Gabi Swiatkowska explore the concept of infinity through the eyes of a little girl who can’t help feeling small when she peers up at the night sky. She begins to wonder about infinity. Is infinity a number that grows forever? Is it an endless racetrack? Could infinity be in an ice cream cone? The little girl soon finds that the ways to think about this big idea may just be … infinite.
“When Kate Hosford sent me the odd little picture-book dummy she’d made with her friend Gabi Swiatkowska, I was immediately smitten,” said Andrew Karre, editorial director of Carolrhoda Books. “It was an unusual way for a new project to come across my desk, but we’re ecstatic about the results and this award is a great confirmation. Kate, Gabi, editor Anna Cavallo, and designer Zach Marell did an outstanding job of realizing the potential of that odd little dummy.”
“I’ve been a long standing fan of Gabi’s unique artwork and I was excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with her on Infinity and Me,” said Zach Marell, creative director of Lerner Publishing Group. “Gabi’s distinct style and beautiful paintings were the perfect pairing for this special story.”
“We knew that this was a special book from the moment we saw the proposal,” said Adam Lerner, Lerner Publishing Group president and publisher. “We are thrilled that The New York Times fell in love with Infinity and Me as much as we did, and we are honored to win such a distinguished award.”
For more information about Infinity and Me, including a downloadable discussion guide and bookmark, visit www.lernerbooks.com or contact Lindsay Matvick, senior publicist, Lerner Publishing Group.
About Carolrhoda Books
Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, creates high-quality fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Founded in 1959, Lerner Publishing Group is one of the nation’s largest independent children’s book publishers and currently has thirteen imprints and divisions. For more information, visit www.lernerbooks.com or call 800-328-4929.
" … absolutely gorgeous. Gabi Swiatkowska’s illustrations are vivid and mesmerizing. Caldecott short lists will shift for sure with this release. Ladder this one with Math Curse, but keep it separate for its focus on grandmothers and their special brand of love; and in Transcendentalism units for discussions regarding how we find ourselves in the moment within an ever-changing universe.”
It’s testament to Klassen’s skills as a writer and an artist that a book with the exact plot of his previous one—hat is stolen, hat is sought, hat is retrieved at costs unknown—offers a reading that’s entirely different but just as delicious. This time, rather than focus on the victim, Klassen peeks into the giddy mind of a thief who thinks he’s gotten away with it.This Is Not My Hat
Like Klassen’s very funny and much-praised I Want My Hat Back, this story involves a hat theft; this time, Klassen ups the ante by having the thief narrate. It’s a small gray fish who has stolen a tiny bowler hat from a much larger fish (“It was too small for him anyway,” the little fish sniffs. “It fits me just right”). Klassen excels at using pictures to tell the parts of the story his unreliable narrators omit or evade. “There is someone who saw me already,” admits the little fish, about a goggle-eyed crab. “But he said he wouldn’t tell anyone which way I went. So I am not worried about that.” The spread tells another story; the crab betrays the small fish in a heartbeat, pointing to its hiding place, “where the plants are big and tall and close together.” Readers hope for the best, but after the big fish darts in, only one of them emerges, sporting the hat. It’s no surprise that the dominant color of the spreads is black. Tough times call for tough picture books. Ages 4–8.
Koertge wreaks bloody havoc through fairy tales from Rumpelstiltskin to Rapunzel, finding often unpleasant truths where no one thought to look. Dezsö’s cut-paper illustrations are no less sharp-edged, and these 23 giddy, grisly, and unexpected retellings take some very old stories in very new directions.Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses
With sardonic wit and a decidedly contemporary sensibility, Koertge (Shakespeare Bats Cleanup) retells 23 classic fairy tales in free verse, written from the perspectives of iconic characters like Little Red Riding Hood, as well as maligned or minor figures such as the Mole from Thumbelina and Cinderella’s stepsisters. For the princess from the Princess and the Pea, hypersensitivity isn’t all that great (“A puppy licked me and I’ve still got a scar”), and the Little Match Girl appears in a poem with the rhythm of a rap song (“She’s selling CDs on the corner,/ fifty cents to any stoner,/ any homeboy with a boner”). Several stories trade happily ever after for disappointment and discontent, as with the danger-addicted queen in Rumpelstiltskin, or with Rapunzel, who is left with a moody prince instead of the attentive witch who locked her in. Dezsö’s cut-paper Scherenschnitte-style silhouettes nod toward Hans Christian Andersen’s own papercuts—if Andersen were creating a storyboard for the Saw franchise. From Bluebeard’s beheaded wives to a bloody dismemberment in “The Robber Bridegroom,” there are gruesome surprises throughout. A fiendishly clever and darkly funny collection. Ages 14–up.
This remarkable fictionalized account of the life of Nelson’s great-uncle, Harlem bookseller Lewis Michaux, offers powerful evidence of the change that one person can bring about in ways small and large. The voices of Harlem residents, bookstore visitors, and others form a chorus in tribute to Michaux and his influence, joined by abundant artwork, photography, and research.No Crystal Stair
Nelson and Christie, the team behind Bad News for Outlaws, blend photographs, original artwork, and archival materials with fictionalized first-person narratives to tell the story of Nelson’s great-uncle, Lewis Michaux, who opened a Harlem bookstore that served as a meeting place and symbol of black empowerment for 35 years. Tracing Lewis’s roots to a childhood filled with questioning and rebellion, Nelson alternates between Lewis’s voice and those of his parents, brothers, and others—characters who, like Lewis, spring to life on page. After rejecting a life in service of the church, Lewis leaves Virginia for Harlem, where in 1939 he opens the National Memorial African Bookstore, “by and about black people,” earning the nickname “the Professor.” The narrative expands to include the voices of Harlem business owners, residents, and store visitors over the decades, their stories and perspectives revealing how one man’s vision helped galvanize his community. Nelson and Christie deliver an engrossing blend of history, art, and storytelling in this deeply moving tribute to a singular individual. Final art not all seen by PW. Ages 12–18.
In this remarkable autobiography, Close gives readers a breathtakingly intimate window into the mind and thought process of an artist. His portraits are reproduced beautifully throughout; in tandem with Close’s no-holds-barred narrative, it’s an inspirational piece of work for anyone with an interest in or passion for art.Chuck Close: Face Book
This substantive autobiography concentrates on the evolution of painter Close’s massive portraits. In interview form, with children’s questions written atop the pages (“How do you make your pictures look so real?”), Close describes his work with candor and insight (“Inspiration is for amateurs. Artists just show up and get to work”). He explains how he coped first with a global learning deficit (“I still add and subtract by using the spots on dominos”), then with a collapsed artery in adulthood that left him a quadriplegic (“I had to figure out some way to be able to get back to work and make some money”). Yet it’s clear that he considers these setbacks of little significance compared to the shaping of his identity as an artist and the excitement of creating paintings. The high quality printing and lush colors of the reproductions make it easy for readers to share that excitement. A nifty mix-and-match section lets readers compare the methods used in 14 of the artist’s self-portraits, but Close’s examination of his own work provides more than enough gratification on its own. Ages 8–12.
In an ambitious and important work, Rappaport shares stories (some never before told) of real-life defiance, offering a heroic alternative to narratives that only portray Jews as helpless victims of Nazi genocide. Instead, she presents stories of dangerous and brave acts of resistance that speak to the human will to survive in the face of hatred and genocide.Beyond Courage
In a thoroughly researched project far more ambitious and expansive than her acclaimed picture-book nonfiction, Rappaport (Lady Liberty: A Biography) has assembled more than 20 stories of Jewish resistance to the Holocaust, some never before told. From all corners of Nazi-occupied Europe, these harrowing accounts are heart-wrenching and hopeful as they pay tribute to the brave thousands who defied their oppressors in ways large and small. In one, 12-year-old Mordechai Shlayan sneaks explosives in his violin case and blows up a hotel where German officers are dining. In another, 22-year-old Marianne Cohn is caught smuggling children into Switzerland; she turns down an offer to escape to remain with some of the imprisoned children and is executed soon after. Introductions preceding each of the book’s five sections provide historical context; numerous photographs are sometimes graphic and often painfully poignant. Also included are maps, a pronunciation guide, bibliography, source notes, and index. These true stories, while at times hard to stomach, honor the incredible human spirit in the face of unimaginable suffering and torment. Ages 10–up.