for the Month: March 2012
Pre-conceived notions of puzzle books? Mine were the worst. Ugh. So messy! So many pieces. So many cartoon characters! Too hard for little kids, too babyish for older kids! Puzzle books? No thank you.
And then…. Jessie Ford happened. Beautiful art? Seasonal animals? One puzzle piece per spread? Simple text with basic concepts? Appropriately young content and format?? Yes please.
Young-adult fiction changed my life. No wait! Keep reading. I think I know where you think I’m going with this. Young-adult-fiction-changed-my-life is a sentiment that one reads now and again, and it’s usually about someone who read this or that book as a teenager, and it gave them hope; inspiration; some new species of joy. But that wasn’t me. I was a triumphantly, relentlessly obnoxious teenager, and I had no patience for young-adult fiction. Reading-wise, I was mostly interested in trying to read The Hardest Possible Thing. Joyce. Dos Passos. Dostoevsky in the original Russian, which of course I do not speak. Mostly I was reading these in conspicuously public places, with what I thought at the time was a Frown Of Extreme Thoughtfulness but which I am now pretty sure was more of a Frown Of Maybe For Some Reason I Am Trying Really Hard To Poop My Pants Here At This Municipal Bus Stop.
Spring is in the air here in New York City! The trees are blooming, the flower boxes are making their way out onto the windowsills, and as the days get longer every park, square and sidewalk has been flooded with cosmopolitan canines from all over the 5 boroughs. So to celebrate the return of some of the cutest residents of our great city, I decided to give you guys a sneak peek into one of our Spring 2012 titles: The French Dog by Rachael Hale (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). Because if I have to be stuck inside while puppies abound all over Manhattan, at least I can look at pictures of dogs in France.
I had the pleasure of working with Phoebe Howard this past year on her book, Joy of Decorating: Southern Style with Mrs. Howard by Phoebe Howard (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2012). What I love most about Phoebe Howard (or Mrs. Howard as she prefers to be known) is not the way she does interior design, but the way she seized her dream of starting her own business after raising four children. Phoebe and her husband opened the first Mrs. Howard design store in Jacksonville, Florida and through clients at the store Phoebe quickly became one of the most sought after designers in the South. Her very first project was featured in a twelve-page spread in House Beautiful! So you can imagine I was so excited to edit this book and to work with someone whose work I had read so much about.
There are three days each year when I don’t regret having moved out of New York City: New Year’s Eve, Halloween, and St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not that I don’t like drunken fun. It’s that I don’t like too much drunken fun, shared with too many thousands of other drunk people. Call me a party-pooper.
But don’t dare call me anti-Irish. Among all the things Irish that I love, my third-favorite—after Irish people and Irish whiskey and just ahead of Irish music and certain poems by W. B. Yeats—is Irish stout.
A little over two years ago a small yellow package landed on my desk from Claudia Rueda containing a small and simple dummy book with the title of BLOW. ( We later changed the title to Huff & Puff ) What I discovered was a sweet, funny and interactive retelling of the Three Little Pigs story. The interactivity really caught my eye. The dummy allowed the reader to play the part of the big bad wolf. Three interior die-cut holes invite readers to huff, puff, and blow the pigs’ houses down! Resulting in a sad pig. This fractured fairy tale ends sweetly when, rather than blowing down the third pig’s brick home, the wolf/reader blows out the candles on a cake baked by the pigs!
One of my first marketing projects at ABRAMS is for the book PIE IT FORWARD: Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes & Other Pastries Reinvented, by Gesine Bullock-Prado. The nice news is that the very clever Claire Bamundo in publicity had already thought of the smart idea of making 3-14 (Pi Day) our PIE IT FORWARD Day, giving us a nice hook to launch the book. The rest fell into place quickly: ads and features on blogs like DesignSponge.com, TheKitchn.com, Geekmom.com, IamBaker.net, etc. Gesine was fully on board and pulled together beautiful videos. One features her showing everyone how to PIE IT FORWARD: baking a pie, wrapping it as a gift, and delivering it to a neighbor. The neighbor, in turn, rallies her children and together they do the same, baking and delivering another pie. The other video is an easy-to-follow Wild Blueberry Pie baking demo, which gave me the confidence to try my own hand at baking a blackberry-raspberry tart! I am a decent cook, but baking is far from my expertise.
At the end of February, I took a short trip to Boston for an opening at a pop-up gallery that my boyfriend and some friends are a part of. It was a short trip to Beantown, which included a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Ellsworth Kelly show just days before it came down. The show, a collection of 30 wood sculptures that Kelly made over the course of his career, was elegantly stunning. Most of the sculptures were massive, solid pieces in an array of woods from birch to zebra, which felt like paintings in their own right.
Today is Girl Scouts Birthday! One hundred years ago, on March 12, 2012, Juliette Gordon Low organized the first troop in the United States (called Girl Guides at the time) in Savannah, Georgia, with eighteengirls. Girls Scouts, Inc., was incorporated as a national organization in 1915, then reincorporated as Girl Scouts of the USA under a congressional chartersigned by President Truman on March 16, 1950. Today there are 3.2 million girl and adult members worldwide, including American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries.
ABRAMS recently published Girl Scouts: A Celebration of 100 Trailblazing Years by Betty Christiansen. Celebrating the unique sisterhood of Girl Scouts, the book includes never-before-published photographs, illustrations, and other memorabilia from Girl Scouts of the USA’s vast archives. The ABRAMS blog previously published an interview with Girl Scouts of the USA, which you can read here – and also click “Read More” for a selection of fascinating images from the anniversary book.
The launch party for Inspiration: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World by Crystal McCrary and with photographs by Lauri Lyons was this on Monday night at the ICP in NYC. I’ve been lucky enough to be party of this project from almost the beginning so it was with great joy that I attended the celebration. It was a long process to get this book to print – wrangling essays and photos shoots for 30 very busy women was quite the challenge, but to see the finished finally on book shelves makes it all worth it. At the beginning of this project I was familiar with many of the women on the list and enjoyed reading more about their childhood’s and their path to success—but it was reading and learning the stories of some of the less celebrity and known women that was truly fascinating to me.