Saturday, May 31, 2008

Live from Los Angeles

Today marked the second day of this year's BEA annual event, held in Los Angeles. I met several new contacts during the past two days and have been introduced to great websites, bookstores and librarians who are just as eager to get quality books into the hands of readers as we are.

Every year, I come back from BEA feeling refreshed and excited about the future of international children's books and our role in bringing the children of the world closer together and it wouldn't be possible without the others in this growing industry:

Las Comadres is a nationally known Latina organization empowering women to be actively engaged in the growing Latino/Hispanic communities through on line and face to face networks. Their mission is to help connect and empower Latinas everywhere through community building/networking, culture, learning and technology.

Friday, May 30, 2008

To Fathers With Love

by Lisa Smith

In June of each year, we celebrate the wonderful Fathers and father figures in our lives! The modern celebration of Father’s Day has ancient roots, dating all the way back to the Babylonian period of history.

The earliest record of Father's Day was found in the ruins of ancient Babylon. A young boy named Elmesu carved a Father's Day message on a card made out of clay nearly 4,000 years ago. He wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life. The tradition was passed down from generation to generation and is currently celebrated in several countries throughout the world. In many countries, where the Catholic Church has had an important influence on the culture, Father's Day is celebrated on St. Joseph's Day (March 19) but in others, the date varies with the calendar year.

In the United States, we typically purchase greeting cards or small gifts for our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, etc. In other countries around the globe, they have unique and different ways to celebrate the Father’s Day tradition.

1. The UK and Australia: Breakfast meetings for fathers and families are held along with public games and activities that strengthen the father-family bond. These events include picnics with sports or games, fishing contests and hiking or running races.

2. Canada: Different colored roses are worn by families signifying the well-being of their fathers. A white Rose is worn if the father has passed away and a red Rose signifies father or grandfather in good health and vitality.

3. South Africa: Social and cultural societies host large community Father’s Day celebrations to stress the role of fathers in building a stronger society and in nurturing their children. They read stories and poems that have strong male characters.

4. Ireland: Families make donations in the name of their father or perform acts of community service that pay tribute to the important men in their lives.

This year in June, we can all look into some different ways to express thanks and gratitude for the fathers and father-figures in our lives. Whether we spend time strengthening our relationship by participating in an outdoor activity, performing some community service together or just sitting down to a meal together, we can all look to different cultures around the world to see that celebrating fathers is not just something we do here at home. It is an ancient and wonderful tradition that can be expanded upon to create some wonderful new memories and traditions of our own.

Lisa Smith has a BA in Psychology & is the Owner/CEO of Regionz Kidz, a multi-cultural infant & toddler clothing line featuring ethnically diverse characters and designs. She publishes a blog on her website that discusses cultural diversity & children & is a frequent guest blogger on other blogs and websites regarding parenting and children’s issues. You can contact Lisa directly at:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

See you in L.A., Baby!

We leave for Los Angeles on Thursday morning and will be in Booth 5129 over the weekend. Please stop by and say hello if you're one of the thousands walking the aisles. Oh, and in case you didn't already know, we'll be in the Children's Section.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Mark!

Today is Mark David's birthday. He's the author and illustrator of Crazy Cars, for Crazy Kids.

Mark David was born in Melbourne, Australia but grew up in Sydney. As a kid, he was forever making up machines in complex illustrations, mainly because it was fun, but also because his friends enjoyed them!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Kane/Miller Kidlit Drink Nite

Join us Thursday, May 29th at 7pm for the 2008 BEA Kane/Miller Kidlit Drink Nite.


11720 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604

Phone: 818 762 1833

On line review:

Buildings in Los Angeles tend to be faceless blocks from the outside, so don’t be disappointed to find that Firefly has no sign outside indicating where it is. It hasn’t stopped those in-the-know driving over the hills to Ventura for nights of fine dining and classy drinks. The bar is done up like a millionaire’s drawing room with antiques, oil paintings, leather couches, plush sofas and shelves of books - very Getty. The dining room is beyond this, an open-air patio serving Mediterranean type dishes to suit the al fresco setting, among them gorgeous grilled pancetta-wrapped shrimp, filet mignon and various cheeses. The wine and drinks served by stylish staff are just as tasty. Start off with an apple-tini, go on to California wine and by the time you’re on the brandy you’ll be gazing at the stars above you - or at the tables next to you. A classy tucked away gem.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Flat Stanley

If you are a teacher, parent or librarian, you are probably aware of who Flat Stanley is and what it means to be presented with the opportunity to share your part of the world with a flattened version of your child, or a child you know.

My cousin's daughter - who is in the second grade - sent me a flattened version of herself and kindly asked me to share the sights of California with her (and her classmates). I was thrilled that she thought of me and even more excited to share with her the travel experiences that I was able to encounter on behalf of Kane/Miller.

I included photographs in the return shipment back to Armstrong Elementary from my recent trip to Dallas (TLA), Las Vegas (a personal adventure) and Atlanta (IRA).

The great thing about the Flat Stanley project is that it provides young people with the opportunity to learn about other parts of our world. I realized that this concept is not unlike the books Kane/Miller provides.

As a young reader, and even now, I love discovering new places and adventures while reading a book. Oftentimes I learn more about myself and the way others live in different parts of the world, or within our own country.

If you have a travel experience that you would like to share with Kane/Miller readers (especially if it ties in with a children's book), please do. We're always looking for more ways to invite young people to explore the world around them.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

USS Boxer Humanitarian Mission

A few weeks ago, my son's preschool sent out a notice about a humanitarian mission that one of the parents was participating in as part of his role with the US Navy.

My son chose over a dozen stuffed animals from his collection to donate and Kane/Miller provided Spanish language books from our Libros del Mundo series.

Photograph from

Dougal the Garbage Dump Bear

by Matt Dray

Just this week, emails have been circulating with stories about the mission and the ways in which these books (and hundreds of stuffed animals) are reaching children in South America
. This note was sent from Navy Dad, Jeremy, to his wife, who then shared it with the staff and family members from school:

You remember those donated books? Well 1 set was dropped off in Dental this afternoon and that is the PERRRFECT place to drop them off. Here's why:

They don't bring very young children on board for surgeries but a couple pre-teens do come on. I went there for a cleaning and noticed an 8 or 9-year-old girl sitting with one of our translators. I turned to the Dental Officer who is a buddy of mine and said, "Isn't she a little young to be here for surgery or dental work?" He said, "Yes, but when any adult comes in for surgery they have to bring an escort to help them home after the surgery. A few of them bring their older children as escorts. So while they are waiting in the Dental area for their friends/family’s surgeries to be done I always see if any of them need any teeth pulled or anything."

The girl was looking sort of bored so I remembered the donated Spanish kids books from Kane/Miller...I ran up to my stateroom and grabbed 1 of the 2 sets. I gave them to the enlisted translator and said, "Ask her if she likes to read and if she does tell her she can look through these books and take one or two." The translator asked her and she said, “Yes, she likes to read.”

While I was waiting I noticed the young girl going through them and she started reading one. When I came out afterwards I noticed she was gone and so was the book.

Kane/Miller loves being able to give back to the community when we can and we so enjoy hearing stories about how our books are used, and knowing that children around the world are now reading our editions - and translations - of some pretty wonderful books.

How has your school or family given back?

Happy Birthday Corrine!

Today is Corinne Albaut's birthday! She is the author of The Nights of the World.

After studying English and teaching in UK and France, Corinne began writing nursery rhymes and songs for children. She has published over thirty books for children as well as several for adults. Her books have been translated into many languages and published around the world.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Teaching Tolerance Tuesday

Read. Imagine. Talk. I'm stealing this "day" from them...Teaching Tolerance Tuesday was created by Jenny to help create dialogues and discussions about literature that will help readers challenge their ideas and beliefs about people different than of the basic ideas behind Kane/Miller.

Ziba Came on a Boat, written by Liz Lofthouse with illustrations by Robert Ingpen, should do just that - challenge the reader's ideas about those who flee from their homes, their lives and often times, other family members, to travel to a new land, a place unknown to them other than what has come known to them as a better way to live.

When I first read this book, I was unsure about its appeal. As a parent, I read it with my child in mind, not realizing that these types of dark, haunting stories are just as important to this generation's education as any other book might be. In fact, this book might be even more important for U.S. born children to understand, somewhat, where other children and new neighbors have come from.

I'm pleased that after reading Ziba a dozen more times, I have come to appreciate the beauty behind the illustrations by 1986 Hans Christian Andersen award-winner, Robert Ingpen, as well as the lyrical prose of Liz Lofthouse.

Teachers and librarians have embraced this book for its startling imagery and portrayal of a young girl from Afghanistan, fleeing from the gunfire and - although it is not known for sure - leaving her father behind.

Recently selected as a USBBY Outstanding International Book and a 2008 NCSS Notable Trade Book for Young People, Ziba Came on a Boat is sure to become a classroom textbook for discussions on immigration, diversity and of course, teaching tolerance.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Children's Book Week

The History of Children's Book Week

(from the Children's Book Council website)

"A great nation is a reading nation."

In a small library on a November afternoon in 1921, a stiff-lipped lady was busy with her scissors, shearing off the bottom third of Jessie Willcox Smith's poster for Children's Book Week. A poster showing books scattered in joyous abandon on the floor was more than she could bear to display!

Our attitude toward children and their enjoyment of books has undergone considerable change since that day. The creation and growth of Children's Book Week has both resulted from and influenced this transformation.

Since 1919, Children's Book Week has been celebrated nationally in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs, private homes-any place where there are children and books. Educators, librarians, booksellers, and families have celebrated children's books and the love of reading with storytelling, parties, author and illustrator appearances, and other book related events.

It all began with the idea that children's books can change lives. In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children's books. He proposed creating a Children's Book Week, which would be supported by all interested groups: publishers, booksellers, and librarians.

Mathiews enlisted two important allies: Frederic G. Melcher, the visionary editor of Publishers Weekly (the publishing industry trade journal), and Anne Carroll Moore, the Superintendent of Children's Works at the New York Public Library and a major figure in the library world. With the help of Melcher and Moore, in 1916 the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association cooperated with the Boy Scouts in sponsoring a Good Book Week.

At the 1919 ABA convention, the Association committed to the organization of an annual Children's Book Week. A few months later, the official approval of the American Library Association was also secured during its first Children's Librarians session.

In 1944, the newly-established Children's Book Council assumed responsibility for administering Children's Book Week. The CBC has developed materials and promoted and encouraged local celebrations of Book Week ever since. In addition, the CBC serves as a year-round promotion and information center about children's books and children's book publishing.

The need for Children's Book Week today is as essential as it was in 1919, and the task remains the realization of Frederic Melcher's fundamental declaration: "A great nation is a reading nation."

For a more complete history of Children's Book Week, please click here.

Don't miss the 25 Ideas for celebrating Children's Book Week!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mommy Dearest

Written by Lisa Smith

Moms deserve a special day all to themselves. Being a mom myself, I am probably biased, but…I believe that being a mother is the most difficult thing a woman can do & the accomplishment is something to be celebrated!

The origins of Mother’s Day have roots in the 1600s. Mothering Day as it was called in England, became an especially compassionate holiday toward the working class women. On the Sunday of Lent, servants and trade workers were allowed to travel back to their towns of origin to visit their families. Mothering Day also provided a one-day reprieve from the fasting and penance of Lent so that families across England could enjoy a sumptuous family feast — Mother was the guest of honor. Mothers were presented with cakes and flowers, as well as a visit from their beloved and distant children.

The modern day US celebration is very similar to the celebrations of the English so long ago. We shower our Mothers with flowers, greeting cards and gifts to thank them for their devotion and love. However, the Holiday is not specific to the United States and is celebrated all over the world in a number of different ways.

Argentina: During Día de la madre, young children gather their mothers together and read them poetry.

Japan: On haha no hi, families prepare traditional dishes that their mothers taught them to cook. The Japanese give their Mothers flowers (especially red carnations), scarves, handkerchiefs and handbags.

United Kingdom: The Mother’s day traditions include a gift of violet and the customary Simnel Cake, a glazed fruitcake inspired by a folk tale about a married couple, Simon and Nell. So the story goes, this pair could not decide bake or broil a cake. So in the end they did both. Thus Simnel Cake was born.

Finland: Mother’s Day is called aidipayiva and in the morning the family takes a walk, picks new flowers and makes a bouquet for their mother. A particular flower called the valkovuokko is favored. Mom is then presented with a decorated bouquet, while also being served breakfast in bed.

Sweden: Mother’s Day takes a charitable course; the Swedish Red Cross sells small plastic flowers leading up to the holiday, and the proceeds raised are given to poor mothers and their children.

This year to celebrate our wonderful Mothers in a new and different way, perhaps we can adopt a few of the unique customs that are celebrated around the world. Read a poem to your mom, bake a cake, serve her breakfast in bed, or make a charitable donation in her name. Take it from someone who knows, she will appreciate the originality and thought that is put into making Mother’s Day such a special and wonderful day of celebration!

Lisa Smith has a BA in Psychology & is the Owner/CEO of Regionz Kidz, a multi-cultural infant & toddler clothing line featuring ethnically diverse characters and designs. She publishes a blog on her website that discusses cultural diversity & children & is a frequent guest blogger on other blogs and websites regarding parenting and children’s issues. She is also a monthly contributor to Educated Mommy Magazine.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Interview with Kane/Miller Publisher

Kira Lynn, Kane/Miller's Publisher, was interviewed recently for Cynsations, the blog written by author, educator, speaker, and of course, kidlit blogger, Cynthia Leitich Smith.

The questions she was asked:
What kind of young reader were you?

What inspired you to make children's literature your career focus?

How about publishing specifically?

How did you prepare for this career?

How did you break into the business?

How did you get from day one to your current position?

What makes Kane/Miller special? How is it different from other houses?

Would you please describe the list?

How are your books acquired?

Why is international/multicultural publishing important to you? To young readers?

In what ways does the house work with and/or reach out to teachers and librarians?

What new directions should we know about?

What new books are you especially excited about in 2008?

How have you seen publishing change for the better since you began your career? What are the new challenges?

What do you do outside your editorial/publishing life?

Is there anything you would like to add?
Her answers can be found here...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Home of the Braves

Atlanta is home to many wonderful and diverse Kane/Miller customers. We're pleased to share with you the following accounts that carry our books:

Richard's Variety

Charis: Books and More

Tall Tales Book Shop

2105 Lavista Road
Atlanta, GA 30329

Junkman's Daughter

Sprout: a children's store

It's a Baby

High Museum of Art

Kangaroo Pouch

56 E Andrews Dr NW

Atlanta, GA 30305

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Martinis & IMAX (What a brilliant idea!)

*If your store is in Atlanta and you carry Kane/Miller titles, please let us know! We certainly didn't mean to exclude anyone and want to highlight every place we can. Links to your website are greatly appreciated! Additional cities will be featured in future City Editions of the Kane/Miller newsletter and blog.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Live from Atlanta

Yesterday was the first day of the IRA conference. I met a young woman who claimed to be "obsessed" with Kane/Miller. In fact, she said she checks her SPAM folder on a regular basis to make sure our newsletter or correspondence didn't end up there, by mistake. She purchased a handful of titles and raved about the ones that she already owns. It was great to meet someone as devoted to Kane/Miller as I am.

I missed the afternoon workshop yesterday entitled Stories Ring the World: Engaging Learners with Great International Books. I heard about it from several people who visited our booth looking for the books that were mentioned during the workshop: Ziba Came on a Boat, New Clothes for New Year's Day and My Cat Copies Me.

Because I missed this important session, I made sure to hit two very relevant workshops today: In the morning, I went to the session on The Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, presented by Deanna Day, Ed Sullivan and Evelyn Freedman (of the Children's Literature Assembly - CLA). This afternoon - after the exhibit hall closed - I joined the session on Bringing Outstanding International Children's and Young Adult Literature to the Classroom. I was fortunate enough to finally meet Carolyn Angus and say hello to Elizabeth Poe (both on the USBBY committee). USBBY has a recently updated website with resources such as booklists, projects & awards, conferences and publications.

I learned that these professionals, as well as several others that I know, will be presenting at the upcoming World Congress, held in San Jose, Costa Rica. I'm hoping to join them there this summer since many of their sessions (see page 25 of the tentative schedule) cover diversity, multi-cultural and international literature).

More updates from IRA tomorrow...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sightseeing in Atlanta

We've been in Atlanta for less than 48 hours and already, we've either driven or walked past a few places that I would love to spend time in:

Georgia Aquarium
The World's Largest and Most Engaging Aquarium

Museum of Design Atlanta

Later this week, we'll be highlighting several of our customers in the Atlanta area. More cities will be featured in upcoming blog posts.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

International Reading Association

Kane/Miller arrived in Atlanta today for the 53rd Annual Convention hosted by the International Reading Association.

If you're in Atlanta this week for the convention, please stop by and say hello. We'll be in Booth 2357.

We'll be highlighting our recent releases from Spring 2008 as well as our recent award-winning titles: Ziba Came on a Boat, The Zoo, New Clothes for New Year's Day and My Cat Copies Me.