Sunday, June 28, 2009

Coastside Books and Lafayette Library

I've always been a DIYer and when a good bookstore in our little town closed and another went up for sale, we pulled together all our resources and some future resources and decided to buy and run the store. So now I'm in the midst of owning a store and all that entails, promoting Maybelle, Bunny of the North which released April 1st and publishing Marjolein Varekamp's book, A Wonderful Week, which releases October 1st. Yeah it's a busy season in my life.

Coastside Books has been in Half Moon Bay for 30 years and we will be the third owners. Our oldest daughter will start kindergarten in the fall and our little one has one more year of preschool, so I'm jumping back into full-time work in September. Is it a bit risky? Probably, but life is short, the children are growing quickly. Soon enough there will be college to pay for and I don't need to be telling stories about the missed opportunities of my youthful days when I'm 80- God willing I'll ever be 80. Plus the bookstore business will dovetail nicely with our fledgling publishing projects and it all makes me happy and grateful.

Kim is also in the middle of big changes. Here she is, almost ready to deliver their third child in July and reading Maybelle, Bunny of the North to a group of children at the Layfayette Library's Storytime. I love that the book is available for circulation in libraries and Keith Patterson's endearing illustrations are reaching a wider audience. Kim and her family are moving to California a month after the baby is born. And she is working on illustrations for a book of stories that we plan to release in the spring. I'm not the only one juggling here : ))

Because of this juggling I'm behind on letting you all know about these links to Maybelle Reviews from fellow kidslit bloggers and a post at the Two Sister's Bakery in Homer, Alaska! Enjoy the weekend!!!

Menasha Library

(BTW this is an excellent resource for children's literature.) Children's Book Reviews

(By the wonderful children's writer, and also very busy, Lori Calabrese)

Two Sisters Bakes

(This is a fun blogspot with recipes, and what's on their ipod.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Moomins Take Over NYC

Our Trip to New York was Fabulous and I must report several Moomin sightings all over town. I've always found NYC to be way ahead with the trends and the book stores and toy stores must be well aware from PW that the Moomin books by Tove Jansson are being re-released for their 65th anniversary next year (by Square Fish, the Macmillan imprint) with new cover art by Taeeun Yoo. There will also be some new Pre-school Moomin books! I haven't read all of the original books and I can't wait to have them in our collection.

The Moomins were very popular throughout Europe and Japan in the 60's and 70's but their popularity didn't reach America. Our last night in the city was spent with a friend who grew up in Japan and I got to sleep on a Moomins pillow case! She told me that the Moomins are very big in Japan right now and that's where much of the adorable product spoons, bowls, plush dolls and candies are made these days.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Old Pirate of Central Park

We had a blast at the annual Hampton Blackbeard Festival this year. Especially little D! Unfortunately, his friend and little sister were afraid to get in this shot........

In a few days we will be headed to New York City for a family vacation and so, I thought I'd combine our vacation fun with this one great book: The Old Pirate of Central Park. Originally, I picked up this book because the illustrations looked like lionocuts and I was baffled by how the artist/author, Robert Priest managed to block in all the colors to perfection. After reading the copyright page I learned that his method was not linocut but airbrushed enamel on clayboard, amazing! Stencils and scratching? I may have to track down Mr. Priest for an interview and find out more.

The kids' choice for bedtime for the past 3 nights, it's the story of an old, retired pirate living in New York city. He builds a tiny replica vessel of his ship, The Laughing Dog, and sets it to sail on the model boat pond in Central Park. Then, along comes a retired queen with her ship, The S.S. Uppity Duchess, which took over the pond nearly sinking all the other ships and sailboats. A cannonball war ensues between the two and "Thus began the infamous Battle of Central Park." The cannonballs were flying and "people hid under tables and dogs broke free and ran wild after years of being cooped up in tiny apartments."

Finally a truce is called as both retirees need to go home to take their naps. Now these two "Old Retirates" become the best of friends and can be found sitting together on a bench beside the pond in Central Park. I will be on the lookout for them when we visit.
The Central Park Water Conservancy model boat pond was inspired by the model boat ponds of Paris. It was also the setting for E. B. White's famous boat race in Stuart Little.
So if you're in New York with your little pirates, be sure to drop by the sailboat pond located on the east side between 72-75th Street. It's free and so much fun!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Connecting the Dots

My apologies for not posting as frequently these last few months. Kim has been posting extra which is great and she always has fun books, insights and links to share. The girls and I have been reading some terrific picture books daily and I've been keeping a mental list. A very special book that hasn't hit the mainstream, and likely won't, is titled Me and My Bike by Ander.

The small press Heryin published the English edition translated from Japanese. Kudos to Heryin for making this title available to the US market through Independent Publishers Group. If you liked Pink by Nan Gregory, Me and My Bike has a similar theme. The story is about a boy and his family in a humble, suburban Japanese setting. The boy rides his grandfather's old, too-big, banged-up bicycle around town while dreaming of owning a new shiny, fast bike. When his best friend bought the bike he wanted, he found a way to ride it tandem until a little too much adventure sent them both into a pond. And when he was no longer allowed to ride his friend's bike, his mother said he could have a new bike if his grades improved. He studied extra hard and got straight A's but alas there was no money for a new bike. Realizing that his mom worked extra hard for the family, he made a decision that instead of a new bike he would get a new box of crayons and put a fresh coat of paint on his old bike and then he would have new crayons and a new bike!

Ander worked in an animation company that produced numerous children's films before creating this first book. It's funny and quirky and heartwarming. The dogs bark like "wang wang" instead of bow wow and the street signs are written in Japanese. We all get to do a bit of arm-chair travelling with this story. The true message, however, is about the boy's ingenuity and newly found maturity. Children under five will enjoy the illustrations but older children will have a more complete and deeper understanding of the boy's situation and actions. It's always interesting to think of childhood events that had great significance in our lives. Maybe the events themselves weren't extrordinary, but the way we viewed and reacted to those events were. Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar refers to it as connecting the dots. He said in his 2005 commencement address at Stanford that we can't necessarily connect the dots into the future but we can to the past. I've made some exciting decisions lately which I'll write about in an upcoming post, and I've included this inspirational video of Steve Jobs' address to the graduates. If you haven't yet seen it, or even if you have, it's well worth watching.