Monday, August 30, 2010

2011 Caldecott Predictions

Caldecott predictions already? But, Susan, it's only August.

Yes, I know. But 2010 has been such a fantastic year for picture books that I want to get my predictions in early, before everyone else starts making them. I've seen one beautiful, poignant, funny, wonderful book after another.

Where to start? Here are some of the ones that have stood out from the crowd for me.

There's the beautiful and touching City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Williams, with amazing watercolor illustrations by John Muth.

There's the funny and spunky Dotty by Erica Perl, illustrated by Julia Denos.

There's Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert with wonderful text and exuberant pictures by Andrea U'ren. (Don't write this one off as just another "how something is made" book.)

There's the endearing and deceptively simple How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills. (See my review here.)

But, I'm afraid that these books (along with a few others) are going to have to slug it out to see which ones get Caldecott honors.

Because this one blows them all away.

I can hear a question forming on your lips. It sounds something like this:

"David Wiesner?! AGAIN?!! Doesn't that man have enough awards??"

And I have a question for you in return.

"Have you read Art & Max?"

When you do, you'll see that this incomparable illustrator has topped both the competition and himself. Again. Talk about a genius. When a copy of this book finds it's way into your hands, savor it. Read each panel slowly. Spend some time with it. Take a look at this video.

And then, sit back, and wait for January 9, 2011 when we'll find out if Wiesner becomes the most decorated Caldecott Medalist in history.

Book overload

I've got books all over the house. In bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, on the floor, in bookcases... you name it. Books are everywhere.

Several months ago, I finally got things organized. All the books were on the shelves, neatly divided into categories. And everything was lovely and easy to find. It looked like this.

But then, I went to the ALA (American Library Association) Annual conference. And this year's convention happened to be local, so I got more books than usual. Well, that's kind of an understatement.

Here's a picture of the bellhop's cart when I checked out of the hotel. (Yes, I needed a hotel room... where else would I have stored all the books during the conference?) Keep in mind that every bag on the cart is full of books.

Between that minor influx of books, and the fact that I let my children read the books and take them off the shelves, my library went from that beautiful picture at the top of the post, to this.

After two months of work and several failed organizational methods, I've finally done it. Here's what it looks like now (in alphabetical order, no less.)

That's just the picture books, though (and this picture doesn't even show all of them). Let's not even talk about all the other books waiting to be shelved... or the other eight bookcases in the house.

Let's see how long I can keep it up this time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome back

If you're a regular reader of Wizards Wireless, you may have noticed the glaring lack of posts here for a long, long time. That's because I've been blogging over at Booklights for PBS Parents.

Sadly, Booklights is coming to a close. But while I'll miss writing over there, I'm also really excited about writing here again.

And for you comic strip fans, I've also started a new blog called Comic Strip Art.

Welcome back and stay tuned! I've got a stack of wonderful books I can't wait to write about.