for the Month: May 2012
Back in 2003 I was surprised and excited by the announcement of a title to be published by Stewart Tabori & Chang: Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die: Fly-Fishing Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations by Chris Santella. I fly fish. It’s my favorite recreational activity, and I’ve travelled around the country from west to east to enjoy the great fishing to be found from California to Montana, New Mexico to Wyoming, Vermont to Pennsylvania. Fifty places? Sign me up.
Four year-old me loved BABAR LEARNS TO COOK. I loved elephants dressed as people, I loved the tasty-looking stuffed mushrooms that they prepared for their party, I loved how big a family they had, I loved their human lady friend. I also loved the way my mother read the words, turned the pages, answered our questions. I connected with Babar and with books through this reading experience.
Thirty-ish years later, I still love BABAR. I love the staying power of the property, I love the classic family values of love and togetherness, and I am still dazzled by how well-dressed they are. That green suit? Enviable.
I’ve always felt that I missed out on a defining point in American history because I was too young. I have two older brothers who grew up in the heart of the sixties… went to Woodstock, hung out at Haight/Ashbury, dealt with draft numbers and the very real possibility of going to war overseas… the whole shebang. My experience was entirely different. The best analogy is music… the year before I entered high school, the album of the year was Neil Young’s Harvest… a true marker of the sixties, but I was too young to appreciate it. By the time I graduated from high school, the album of the year was Elton John’s greatest hits, then midway through college it was Saturday Night Fever, and the year I started working it was REO Speedwagon, which is about as far from the sixties as you can possibly get.
Anyway, I’ve always held a fascination with the culture, values and aspirations of the sixties. So, I picked up the graphic novel, Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson, to learn about Hunter S. Thompson’s life during those times. The book was fascinating, and gave me an appreciation for his experiences as part of that pivotal generation, and of course after that I wanted to dig deeper. I’ve now read his biography, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, and Strange Rumblings in Azatlan, with more to follow.
When I acquired the book I Brake for Yard Sales by Lara Spencer, I was excited to work on it for a few reasons.
1) Lara Spencer: I mean come on…she’s amazing. A glamorous tv host who goes yard sale-ing on the weekends?! She’s not afraid to get down and dirty and rummage through piles of whatever to find her prize.
2) I was excited to learn more about the art of bargaining and flea market shopping. I wanted to know where the hot spots were and what to say to the sellers to get the best price.
3) Incorporating the finds into my home once I purchased them. I was intimidated by the thought of reupholstering or painting furniture and making a mess of it.
While working with the lovely Lara I learned a lot of things and so I decided to put all my skills to the test while vacationing down here in Oak Island, North Carolina. I recruited my mother to help and we set off to find the best thrift stores in the area.
After a long week everyone was looking forward to our annual Spring Preview Party on Friday. This year, as so many of our co-workers have new babies, we decided to invite all the infants to attend as well.
Baseball is our national pastime. It’s hard to argue with that, no matter how popular other sports may be. There is something special about going to a ballpark, stepping out of a tunnel and seeing the beauty of the field before you. There’s something about that green diamond and outfield that is unbeatable. Something else that makes baseball special is access to ballplayers that is different from other sports as well. Fans have a chance to lean over the fence and get an autograph before the game or wait by the dressing room door to chat with their favorite players. Sometimes teams host open houses or fan days that provide even more access. Baseball fans feel connected to their favorite teams and players, and have since the earliest days of the game.
Did you know that May 7-13th is Children’s Book Week? This special week, which was first observed in 1919, is the national celebration of books and reading for youth and …
This book isn’t fun to read, and you probably won’t like it.
JUST KIDDING! Guess what? It’s Opposite Day.
Okay, momentarily snapping back to adulthood: I used to drive my parents INSANE with the declaration of Opposite Day, and I imagine my parents were not alone in their suffering. The concept of opposites is a prevalent theme in childhood, and therefore, it’s no surprise that it’s also an established theme in children’s publishing. It’s an especially important one in the realm of early childhood books, as a basic understanding of concepts such as this one is important for language development. (And the benefits of laying the foundation for Opposite Day are, of course, understood.) So, naturally we were thrilled when the opportunity arose to include an opposites book on the Abrams Appleseed list, especially because it involves a hippo in some very unexpected situations.
In January I heard that the US was making its first attempt to participate in World Book Night – an organized night that exists to promote reading around the world. The idea was simple: take 30 of the most popular novels out in publication today, and what I imagine to be thousands of volunteers who absolutely love reading, and then stalk, accost, chat up, and just plain engage people on the street who seem like they need a push in the direction of literature.
Monday, April 30th, was the last day of National Poetry Month and ABRAMS went out with a bang! Forty staff members gathered for a lunchtime Vino & Verse event—a celebration of both poetry and the creativity of our amazing staff. A wide variety of poetry was read aloud, including William Carlos Williams, Edna St. Vincent Millay, James Arlington Wright, and even an original poem from a staff member’s husband.