Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bookish holiday wish lists

revisiting Heidi and historical fiction comes back?


Here are two of the latest holiday book lists I've come across - helpful references for gift giving, and for a retrospective on what stood out in children's publishing over the last year: NY Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2010, and
Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Books of 2010. I'm going to add some of these recommendations to my reading list for 2011.

As for my current reading list: I just picked up a classic novel I haven't read since childhood, Johanna Spyri's Heidi.  First published in 1880, it's a huge contrast to the literature on the best of 2010 lists. I'll report back after I read it.

By coincidence, revisiting Heidi ties in with a recent post I read on another kid lit blog. After Scholastic released its 10 trends for YA children's books last week - Scholastic YA trends - Jess at Falling Leaflets continued the discussion with a prediction that historical fiction may be the new wave in YA books after the current dystopian craze. So by re-reading Heidi, perhaps I'm just making a trip back to the future.

16 comments:

Lee Rae said...

When I was very little I remember watching the movie Heidi starring Shirley Temple. I was a huge Shirley Temple fan way back then and watched all of her movies. Heidi will always be my favorite though. Amazingly I have never read the book. Maybe I will treat myself over the holidays and spend some time with Heidi and grandpa, and her friends Clara, the rich sickly girl, and Peter the goat-herd.

Pen and Ink said...

Doesn't Heidi live in the Alps? How about a contemporary Heidi who saves grampa and friends from the melting glaciers due to global warming while fighting Neo-Nazis and wondering if Peter has a thing for goats?

Sincerely,
Hiding Out

Lee Rae said...

Interesting and terrifying all at the same time. Especially the Peter-Goat thing.

Pen and Ink said...

Dear Lee,
Sometimes a goat is just a goat.
Sincerely,
Sheepless in Shorts

Megan Frances said...

Lee Rae, I borrowed the Heidi DVD with Shirley Temple from the library last week. I was struck by how melodramatic and disturbing the movie was on many levels. I don't remember seeing it as a little girl but I did have a beautiful edition of the book with lovely color plates. The Heidi research started because I was planning to illustrate a scene from Heidi for an SCBWI contest. Unfortunately, holiday madness interrupted. Anyway, now I've bought the book - I hope you read it too, and then we can compare notes.

As for Hiding Out/aka Sleepless - may I remind you the theme of this blog is children's literature. Heidi is the essence of innocence, and I doubt the story has crossover potential to another genre, although I admit the idea is somewhat intriguing.

Megan Frances said...

BTW, Lee Rae, I just heard from my brother Peter, that his new picture book, Quacky Baseball, comes out the end of February. (I got the earlier info from a Harper Collins Australia website, I think.) Anyway, you were right!

There may be a blog tour to help launch the book and I may host one day of the tour. I'll keep you posted...

Lee Rae said...

As a child I didn’t pick up on the melodramatic or disturbing bits of the story. I could order the movie through Netflix and watch it but I don’t know if I want to ruin the wonderful memories I have of it. I will check out the book from the library soon then we can compare notes!

Oh darn, now I have to wait 2 months for Quacky Baseball to come out. I guess that’s better than waiting till April. What is a blog tour?

Megan Frances said...

I think the classic Disney films tended to emphasize melodrama, Lee Rae. You're smart not to spoil your happy childhood memory of the movie.

The blog tour for Quacky Baseball should be fun. I've hosted a few blog tours to help launch other picture books. Usually, it's a week-long virtual tour on different kid lit blogs, featuring interviews with the writer, illustrator, editor, art director, etc. of the book being launched. These days publishers aren't investing as much in marketing - sending writers on actual book tours, etc. - so this is an alternative.

Justice Publishing Inc said...

Interesting. Yes, goat is just goat. ~JP

Pen and Ink said...

Pen & Ink would like to apologize for the inappropriate remarks about Capra aegagrus hircus written by contributor identified as "Sleepless In Shorts."

He doesn't get out much and believes he's the cat's meow when it comes to women. (We keep him around to fill our token male quota.)

Sincerely,
The Management

Lee Rae said...

Pen and Ink Management, I thought 'Sleepless in Shorts' remark was hilarious. Please do not put the kibosh on his twisted sense of humor. In fact the whole thing started with Hiding Out's remarks about Peter and his fondness for goats.

Lee Rae said...

Megan, does this mean you will be interviewing your brother again for the blog tour? That would be wonderful. I really enjoyed your previous interview with him when “Thereby Hangs a Tail” came out. That series of books are so very heartwarming, funny, and at times downright scary! Just like his Ingrid books, which I thoroughly loved so much.

Pen and Ink said...

Dear Lea Rea,
Thank you for your concern. While we at Pen & Ink do not condone improper use of Capra aegagrus hircus, as such comments could be misinterpreted by small children and wayward adults as our resident token male of Pen & Ink, we do promote wholesome fun and frolic.

Therefore, we shall allow "Sleepless In Shorts" to continue his humorous comments, but will send him to bed with no supper as a reminder of who is in charge.

Sincerely,
The Management

Megan Frances said...

Dear Justice Publishing

Thank you for jumping into the comment quagmire. Agreed, a goat by any other name would - oh never mind!

Dear Pen & Ink Management

No supper might be a little harsh. Perhaps Sleepless in Shorts could do without his chocolate chip cookies for dessert as a more gentle reprimand? And do, please, keep the comments flowing. I agree with Lee Rae. They are delightful, despite, or even because of, the questionable innuendo and entendre.

And Lee Rae, thank you. I'm so glad you liked my previous interview with Peter. I love all his books. I agree the Echo Falls series and Chet & Bernie series are funny, scary and heartwarming too. For the Quacky Baseball blog tour, I was thinking perhaps another blogger could interview Pete this time and maybe I could interview his editor or the art director at Harper Collins, or maybe the illustrator - TBD. I'll keep you posted!

Lee Rae said...

Megan, this blog tour is going to be fun! I’d like to know who the illustrator is and what it was like working with the author on Quacky Baseball. Letting another blogger interview Peter Abrahams is a good idea, even though you did a wonderful job of it earlier. I mean it must be kind of strange interviewing your own brother. At least it would be for me, to interview my brother, I mean. Although, he isn’t a writer or artist of any kind, so it would be very boring also. Sort of like this comment….

I feel Pen and Ink sneaking up behind me. Gotta go!

Megan Frances said...

Hi Lee Rae

Haha! It wasn't boring at all. But I agree. It will be fun to interview someone else involved in creating, Quacky Baseball. Frank Morrison's illustrations are wonderful. I've already seen the galley proofs...

And yes, I think Pen and Ink is on your tail.