Monday, June 30, 2008

Sam I Am

Pardon me while I brag. My sister welcomed Baby #2 early this morning. His name is Samuel but I've already taken to calling him Sam or Sammy - I haven't figured out yet which shortened version will suit him and probably won't until I meet him in August.

Big Brother was excited to meet him and couldn't get over how tiny his fingers and toes are. In a few weeks, when the new routine has kicked in and my nephew realizes that the baby is here to stay, I have a feeling he'll be thinking the same thoughts as the narrator in What's Going On? as he tries to figure out his new role and redefines his status as the first-born.

There are several books from the K/M list that I plan on sharing with him when I visit in August (besides the above title):
  • Little Brothers Are... This is a great book that covers a wide range of emotions (and adjectives) that celebrate the relationship between siblings.
  • And After That... This adorable, lift-the-flap book discusses before and after events, ending with the before baby family rituals and the new routines established when baby arrives.
  • Guji Guji I'm sure at some point, all brothers (and sisters) think about tossing their younger siblings to the crocodiles.
  • When I Was a Baby Narrated by a little boy (not much older than 3), this book from the Toddler Tales series talks about the memories big brother has of his days as the baby of the family.
  • Breasts Because every young person should learn about breastfeeding and the reason for their existence.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

ALA - Day One

The doors opened to the Exhibit Hall yesterday and librarians (all sporting lovely orange ALA tote bags) flew down the aisles to get the morning schwag at the back of the room.

I spent the day greeting people who I only get to see once a year - several of whom I had the pleasure of finally meeting for the first time and several others who I introduced Kane/Miller books to.

Here are the names of the people who I spoke with (off the top of my head):

Sylvia Vardell
(the first person to comment on our booth expansion and who was kind enough to offer me a great critique of the K/M newsletter and why she looks forward to reading it each week)

Laura Lutz (who is so adorable and had the cutest han
dbag that I forgot to ask her about)

Lisa von Drasek
(who I saw in Los Angeles during BEA and who will be in San Diego in just a few weeks)

Ken & Sylvia Marantz (who have been fans of Kane/Miller since day one)

Cindy Mitchell (who adored Singing to the Sun)

Cyndi Giorgis
(the lovely author of a fabulous new book which will feature art from Guji Guji)

Susanna Reich
(author of a beautiful book on Native American artist George Catlin)

Eve Bunting
(yes, the Eve Bunting - who signed a copy of Baby Shower for my sister who is in week 40 of her second pregnancy)

Muñoz Ryan (who my son and I met - along with Brian Selznick - at the San Diego airport back in March when our plane to Minneapolis was delayed)

Judy Freeman (putting together a blog especially for parents to help them navigate children's books)

I did meet and chat with dozens more who I apologize for not naming here (it's early, the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet).

Stay tuned for more highlights from the Exhibit Hall floor.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Magic Happens in Downtown Disney

Betsy Bird of SLJ's A Fuse #8 Production and Jen Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page, were kind enough to set aside time to join me last night for dinner during their visit to Anaheim for ALA.

We ate, drank, and helped Betsy create footage for her blog video in Downtown Disney. Our food came about five minutes after placing our order. Perhaps it was less than five minutes. Either way, it was suspiciously fast, like magic.

I do have a few regrets about the evening. One was that I didn't bring them a copy of Singing to the Sun (sorry, ladies - you'll have to pick one up at the booth). I also regret not bringing along a camera, although I suspect that if I Say Please, Betsy will arrange for the photo of the three of us to reach me. Another regret was that I didn't order a Sangria. They looked beautiful and were pretty tasty, from what I heard.

The discussion over dinner ranged from the Irish travelers that Betsy ran into to the six hour drive for Jen; the upcoming
ALA events, the interesting culture that surrounds Disneyland and of course, blogging and blogging for outside sources.

We shared our individual experiences about the power of reading and being able to enjoy this magic with the young people in our lives. This, perhaps, was the highlight of my night as I talked about my son and could feel the same motherly-type pride that both Jen and Betsy expressed while sharing stories about the little ones that they enjoy reading with.

It's always a pleasure for me to hit the road and meet with people familiar with children's literature and to get feedback, from a marketing point of view. I head to the Stanford Professional Publishing Course in less than two weeks so I am preparing for more networking with others in the field. For now, and over the next three days, I will continue to share the magic that surrounds ALA.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Good Question

I attended the ALSC pre-conference storytelling event last night, where I met many friendly, and humorous, librarians.

One woman asked me a very good question - one that I love answering but rarely have the opportunity to. She asked, "How long have you worked for Kane/Miller and what do you like about it?"

Instantly, I smiled. Actually, I think I beamed. I found it so intriguing that this woman actually wanted to know about my role and my experience with the company.

I'll sum it all up for those who haven't heard this before (Yes, this is the shortened version):

I've worked for Kane/Miller for seven years now, since March of 2001. I remember every detail of my career, especially the interview and requesting that I start after March 1st since I was flying home (St. Paul, MN) at the end of February to surprise my mom for her birthday.

I started working for K/M knowing little, if nothing, about children's publishing, even th
ough I grew up with books, spent several years of my youth (cumulatively, of course) in the library, inside a book - and fell in love with language and literature because of my early exposure to storytelling.

My mom taught me to read before I started kindergarten. We went to the library often for story time, quiet time, and now that I have a child of my own, I realize that we also went there so my mom could have some alone time.

Now, thanks to my mom, teachers and librarians who encouraged my love of reading, I now have a job that I absolutely love. It was simply meant to be.

Kane/Miller is a small, independent publishing company, founded by siblings who shared a love of language, children's literature, art, and the world - and what I love most about Kane/Miller is...Everything. From the atmosphere at our office to the books we publish; from the mission statement that hasn't changed in 25 years to the logo which has; I can't see myself working in any other industry or for any other company.

I was honored to be asked such a personal question and I think it's safe to say that my response - my strong emotional reaction - impressed upon my audience why Kane/Miller is so unique.

While no job is perfect, I would have to say mine is pretty close. I get to work with people who share a love of language, children's literature, art, and the world. Plus, now that I have a son, I am able to pass on that love, nourish it, and watch it grow.

I can't imagine anywhere else I would rather be.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ten Simple Rules for Librarians

Thanks to Joanne Ladewig (a.k.a. "Library Lady"), Library Media Tech from Garden Grove, California for this post:

In 1907, there was in the Long Beach public library, a “Guide for Female Librarians.” It stated ten simple rules for librarians to follow:

Do not get married.

Do not leave town without Library Board permission.

Do not keep company with men.

Be home between the hours of 8pm and 6am.

Do not smoke or imbibe.

Do not loiter around ice cream shops.

Do not dress in bright colors.

Do not dye you hair.

Do not wear any dress more than 2” above the ankle.

Do not get into any carriage with any man except your father or brother.”[1]

While this seems absurd to us now, it was the rules of the times.

[1] Card from Long Beach Public Library’s clippings file Public Library-1900’s

One hundred years later, I think it's fair to say that these rules are in need of a serious update. For those librarians who are reading this, please comment here about what you think are the top ten rules that all librarians (male or female) should follow.

Video Book Reviews

Stay tuned to the KaneMillerBooks channel at YouTube. There are now four new video teasers / book reviews that have been put together by local La Jolla students. They put together these videos all by themselves; they selected the titles they chose to discuss after reading through our Fall 2008 list, produced and edited the videos and have committed to doing more for us in the future.

If you're a teacher, have children of your own or know of a young reader that has the ability (and is willing) to provide audio or video book reviews, let us know. We're willing to send out FREE samples of our Fall 2008 titles (one per reader) to the first 25 people to respond. Summer reading assignments will never look the same again!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Kane/Miller has a few wordless (or nearly wordless) books on our list:


Yellow Umbrella

Next week - and from that point forward - we'll be participating in Wordless Wednesday by sharing delightful interior illustrations from our books.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wearing My Conference Shoes

In preparation for any conference Kane/Miller attends, there are certain things that we must always keep in mind.
ALSC posted several Conference Tips on their blog - meant for those attending sessions, workshops and yes, walking through the Exhibit Hall. Several of these tips also carry over to exhibitors (I've made comments - italicized - from this exhibitor's point-of-view):
*Take Snacks. And take them with you to the conference hall (Concession stand food is an exhibitor's only alternative). Pack small zip lock baggies of pretzels, M&Ms, whatever gets you through the day. You’ll save money and time – the food lines are always long! *More food tips: Vendors have food. Candy, especially. Stop and see their goods, chat with them, and then eat their chocolate. Watch for free food events in the exhibit hall (We'll have chocolate globes at ALA - unless they somehow get consumed between San Diego and Anaheim).

*Scope out the local restaurants. Every time you walk somewhere, keep an eye out for good food spots. There will be a lot of librarians competing for the eateries, so if you see a cool, off-the- beaten-track spot, jot it down. (We make reservations ahead of time to avoid such competition.)

*Spy Pad! Take a little notebook with you and keep it handy for jotting down.. restaurants, ideas, phone numbers, etc. Keep it handy, as well as a good pen. Put the address and phone number of your hotel in the spy pad, just in case you need it — taxi drivers do NOT always know where they should go (Very good tip. I also bring a book).

*Swag…. Either take an extra bag to cart home all the freebies or be judicious in your picking up. Those free books and stickers get heavy. You can ship stuff home, too. Usually there is a handy postal service right at the conference center (Feel free to JUST SAY NO to an exhibitor who's handing you stuff - left and right - we'd rather see you turn it down than have you throw it away at the end of the day).

*Take a poster tube for all the cool posters you are going to bring home (We offer rolled posters for this reason).

*Take advantage of the free shuttles! Get the schedule down on the first day, and you’ll be set (See you there).

*Read your conference book and make a plan. Perhaps you’ll veer from the plan, but having one is half the battle. Jot down your daily schedule, including where the room is, in your Spy Pad. Then you can leave that heavy book in your room. (Don't walk and read. I've seen several near-miss accidents when people have walked through the Exhibit Hall while staring down at their Spy Pad! Plus, you may miss something fabulous!)

*Go to the workshops that sound fun. I always go to some that I think will be GOOD for me to attend, even though another sounds more fun. Do the fun thing at least once, whether it applies to your job or not. It will apply somehow. (Please remember to visit the vendors in the Exhibit Hall - we're lots of fun!)

*Sit in on Notable discussions. Check the schedule– you can see how committees work and get to hear lots of opinions. Good networking place, too! (Networking is key.)

*Wear your badge at all meetings and events, but take it off when you go out into the street. (Exhibitors will most likely take their badges off before stepping onto the Shuttle Bus. Save us a seat. We'll be standing all day.)

*Network, network, network. Introduce yourself, ask friends and colleagues to introduce you. Go to events that you get invited to, even if it is just for a quick hello. (Yes, yes, yes - talk to people in line - even when you're trying to get into the restroom!)

*Do something fun. Give yourself a treat and do something non-work related. (And invite me along!)

*Drink lots of water. Take your own water bottle. Remember, tap water is regulated, and is probably just as good as that $2 plastic bottle of H20 you don’t need to buy! (Where are the $2 bottles? I think they're closer to $3 these days!)

*Go to the ALSC meetings. Great place to network and to hear division news. (Kane/Miller will have a table at the networking reception Thursday night. Stop by and pick up a FREE book.)

*Check out the author signings at vendor tables (they’ll be listed in your conference book). Books are often cheaper at conference, and you can get them signed… never too early to shop for those holiday gifts! (Kane/Miller won't have authors present...or books for purchase. We will have chocolate!)

*Use the Internet Café to check your e-mails. Don’t take a laptop just for e-mail! You can do it on site, for free. (Kane/Miller will be blogging during ALA - laptop required.)

*Take comfy walking shoes. You are going to be walking a lot. (Exhibitors will be standing during the day. Most of us will not be wearing comfy shoes.)

*Dress in layers. It may be hot outside, but those conference rooms can be downright frigid. (Air-conditioning one day, heater going the next. This is the most important tip from this list.)

*Take at least one dressy outfit. You might get invited to something swank and you should be prepared. Dressy, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. (Exhibitors - don't forget to bring at least one comfortable outfit - you may actually have time to lounge - or work out - before bed).

*Have fun! Conference can be exhausting, but mostly it is very exciting and inspiring. Enjoy every minute! (Exhibitors will need a vacation after the long - always over a weekend - event - thank goodness for the 4th of July!)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Great Websites from ALSC

ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) is just one division of the American Library Association. They have their own blog, their own list serv (is this one word, or two?) and their own parties!

They also have a committee which suggests Great Websites for Kids and have recently made several additions to the list.

I personally enjoy this list as I share these sites with other parents I know who want their children to have a safe, fun and educational on line experience.

For the curious (like myself), you can read their selection criteria on line.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Take Your Dog to Work Day

Friday, June 20th is Take Your Dog to Work Day. If you work at home, you should take a day off and spend it outside with your canine companion. I won't tell your boss.

Kane/Miller does not have a staff dog (not since our previous office pet tried to attack the postman) but we do have the occasional visitor stopping by to say hello.

For those who don't already know, our publisher has a terrier - pictured here and inspired by - Coco from Happy Birthday Coco. If there's anyone who has a pet either named after a book character or who reminds you of one, please leave a comment with your pet's name and breed (and where the name came from).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Favorite Potty Training Books

Potty-training. What fond memories I have of that stage...

Parents magazine has put together a list of their 14 Favorite Potty Training Books - picture books to share with a child as well as books geared towards mom and dad. Guess which of our books made it to the list? Both Everyone Poops and I Want My Potty, of course.

Check out all the book lists on their site which are put together in a lovely little slide show. I personally couldn't get past the ads bouncing on the screen, but for those of you who have more patience than I, head on over to see which of your favorites made it to the lists.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This Day in History - June 16

Courtesy of History:

On this day in 1884, the first roller coaster in America opens at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York. Known as a switchback railway, it was the brainchild of LaMarcus Thompson, traveled approximately six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride.
Mark David, author and illustrator of Crazy Cars created an original coaster of his own: The RollerRoadster.

The RollerRoadster turns a boring trip to the store into a hair-raising ride of twists, loops and gut-wrenching turns. Your friends will be so keen to get a ride home you'll be able to sell tickets! You'll wonder why all cars don't come equipped with a rollercoaster.
Also featured in this wacky collection of original state-of-the-art vehicles of the future, is the Velocitree, Chefrolet, Spiderwagon, and - my favorite - the Luxury Resortster.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

My mom is great at keeping me up to date with the parenting sites, blogs and articles that she comes across in her daily reads. This morning she sent a link to an article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press about daddy bloggers and the rise of stay-at-home dads and those who choose to write about their experiences and point of views of parenthood:

Collide and Converge
Dad Gone Mad
Tapirs Poop
Matt Logelin
Maya Reads
This Little Piggy Had Tofu
Team Trixie
Schuyler's Monster Blog
Jonathan Rundman
Looky Daddy

And don't forget to check out these great daddy blogs as well:

Dad's House
The Busy Dad Blog
Dorky Dad
Daddy in a Strange Land
From Here to Paternity
D is for Dad
Dad Thing
meta DAD
Discovering Dad
DIY Father
Try to Keep Up
Hey, Look What I Can Do
Makes Me Wanna Holler
A Man Among Mommies
I Have to Wipe His What?

These dads are all unique in their writing style and of course what they focus on. You'll find blogs written by single dads, stepfathers, new dads, stay-at-home dads, expectant fathers, dads who blog about raising their kids vegan or raising multi-racial children, from fathers who are also widows, and dads who blog about single life and dating. There's something here for everyone.

Happy Father's Day to all dad-types out there. Enjoy your special day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gained in Translation

The June issue of San Diego Magazine included a feature on Kane/Miller and our 24 years of publishing award-winning children's books from around the world.

We're pleased that despite our growth over the last two decades, little has changed.
Kids are exposed to different cultures through the books' plots (a South Korean girl celebrates the Lunar New Year in New Clothes for New Year's Day) or illustrations (the Japanese wood-block prints in Hannah Duck). But themes such as friendship, self-esteem and manners show that children everywhere are similar in many ways.
Kane/Miller has exciting things in store for our 25th anniversary, happening in 2009! Don't miss out on the great promotions, events and celebrations that will take place throughout the year.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Working Dad: An Unauthorized Guide to Parenting

I follow many blogs these days - about literature, parenting, education - you name it! One particular Daddy blogger, who writes for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, wrote a post this week that surprised me. Apparently, the internet is not a threat to children's reading habits:
The majority of kids, 62 percent, would rather read a book on paper than on the Internet, and even more, 68 percent, said they love or like reading books for fun.

Read more from the Working Dad...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mind Your Manners

I had a difficult morning with my son yesterday. He didn't want to cooperate and I was not in the mood to negotiate. He sat there in his pjs asking me to help him get his clothes on. I pointed out, impatiently, that he's been capable of putting his own clothes on for quite some time. He wasn't giving in and I was growing more impatient.

Finally, I lost the little patience I had left and insisted that he help me out by putting his clothes on so we could head out for the day and not be any more late than we were already. He burst into tears, mom guilt took over and I joined him on the couch where we sat quietly (except for the sniffling noise) until he was calm enough to explain why he was so upset.

"You made me sad because you didn't say please!"

I was speechless. Had I forgotten my manners simply because it was Monday and we were running late (and I hadn't made enough coffee)? I apologized to him, he said it was "a little OK and a lot not OK," and together, we got his clothes on, wiped away his tears and gathered our things to head out for the day.

My son is great at reminding me that it's more important to be nice and polite, than to be on time.
Picture books can also serve as a reminder of the many important things in life, and the Little Princess reminds me a lot of my son. They're both very vocal about their needs - which is a good thing.

In Say Please! by Tony Ross, the Little Princess reminds a Blue Beastie to use the magic words. Tony Ross has created quite a little character with the Little Princess, who also appears in Wash Your Hands!, I Don't Want to go to Bed!, I Want My Pacifier, I Want My Potty, and I Want My Tooth.

What book characters do your children or students remind you of and why?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stanford...Here I Come

View my page on Stanford Professional Publishing Course Network

A World of Characters: From Antonella to Ziba

UPDATE (June 18): I received an email from someone asking for clarification about the contest rules.

There is one name listed for each separate character. There are some names listed twice (Sebastian, Paul, Lisa) due to the fact that these are characters - from separate books - with the same name. I neglected to point out that there is one character listed who appears in more than one book within the same series. I apologize for the confusion and will select the winner according to the number of correct books listed for each character found on the alphabetical list.

Thanks to the Children's Literature Book Club, I've been looking at the characters of our books in a whole new way. Here's my version of our alphabetical list of guys, gals and critters great and small:


Apollo / Apolo





Eddie / Eduardo



Guji Guji



Jack Russell









Madame Coco



















And, because we haven't put together a contest lately, the person who provides the most correct number of book titles that each character belongs to will win a FREE set of our fall titles. I'll give you a hint for the fall titles that haven't been released yet:

Thorfinn is from Singing to the Sun
Yoon is from Something for School
Growl ... The Story of Growl
George... The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness
Snake & Lizard from... (you guessed it) Snake and Lizard
Wombat & Fox... (yep) Wombat & Fox
Perfect and Pip from...The Wicket Chronicles (Books 1 & 2: Ely Plot and Fen Gold)

Readers have until August 1, 2008 to respond. Winners will be notified via email and in the K/M weekly newsletter, scheduled to be sent out on August 6, 2008.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Golf, Dinosaurs and Traffic

The U.S. Open began here in La Jolla today. Apparently, the traffic was supposed to cause a major disruption to residents and those of us who work in the area. This morning was unusually quiet on the roads, especially for a Monday.

My son and I played golf last night. Granted, we were playing with a plastic golf set, and he's still learning the rules of the game but, we had a lot of fun.

He's especially interested in dinosaurs these days, so I made sure to pull out the copy of Could a Tyrannosaurus Play Table Tennis? from his bookshelf before bed. I turned to the page with the Gallimimus playing golf which led to giggles and him explaining to me, as he read me the additional pages, that dinosaurs weren't quite equipped to play golf, or any other sports and activities mentioned in the book.

Kane/Miller recently sent copies of the above title, by Andrew Plant, along with Dinosaurs, by
Bénédicte Guettier to the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center. They put together an art contest - Dino Art 2008 - and celebrated their four-year anniversary (or birthday) this last weekend.

I was pleased to not only learn about the great resources the center provides, but to also discover a wonderful new destination when traveling through Colorado.
If you're in the area, I encourage you to check it out, if you haven't already.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Books to Share with Dad

With Father's Day nearly a week away, I wanted to share with our readers the great father figures found in some of our children's books:

I Lost My Dad!

The Key to My Heart

On My Way to Buy Eggs

My Father's Shop

You Be Me, I'll Be You

Happy Father's Day to all of our readers, whether you're a Dad, Grandpa, Father or Daddy-to-be, enjoy this special day!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Guji Guji Honored

The International Latino Book Awards awarded our Spanish edition of Guji Guji second place in the Best Children's Picture Book category.

Chih-Yuan Chen wrote Guji Guji as well as On My Way to Buy Eggs. Both titles are available in Spanish as part of our Libros del mundo series in paperback editions.

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Zealand Book Award

Our first book from New Zealand, published originally by Gecko Press, has recently been honored with the New Zealand Post Best Children's Book of the Year award!

Congratulations to author Joy Cowley and illustrator Gavin Bishop for this great recognition. A collection of short stories about an unlikely pair, Snake and Lizard is a laugh-out-loud, sophisticated edition of tales (and tails) of friendship and life in the desert.

Snake and Lizard have much different tastes - especially when it comes to mealtime. In the story entitled, "Surprise," Lizard finds an egg "in the dust, smooth, white, and round as the moon," an egg which he feels is just perfect for Snake. He "carefully fitted his jaws around the egg and carried it back across the desert" to surprise his dear friend.

Hours later, when Snake finally arrives, Lizard is delighted to share his discovery with her and sends Snake down into the tunnel, where her surprise awaits.

Moments later, Snake shoots out of the hole, "hissing and shaking."

"The egg had hatched. No chicken had come out of it! There in Snake's bed, making a noise like a firecracker, was a very angry young rattlesnake."

After angry words between the two friends, Snake asks Lizard how he plans to get the rattlesnake's nearly bedtime.

" 'Don't look at me in that tone of voice!' snaps Lizard. 'You know all about snakes. It's your cousin. Go and talk to it!' "

Humorous, delightful and simply charming, these two characters are highly developed, spectacularly entertaining and completely memorable.