Tag Archives: Children’s

One Pause Poetry

Hello all,






I recently became aware of the Michigan based One Pause Poetry. In honor of National Poetry Month or just for fun, I encourage you to check out their site. There you can stream audio clips, access writing prompts, and view a calendar of Ann Arbor area poetry readings. I suspect the children’s poetry section will be of the most interest to my readers.


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Filed under Klickitat Recommends, This Business of Writing

Jennifer Holm, Sarah Marwil Lamstein Children’s Literature Lecture, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)

Three time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer Holm is speaking at the University of Michigan Museum of Art a week from today. Admission is free.

Photo by Amy Martin Friedman

Sarah Marwil Lamstein Children’s Literature Lecture (University of Michigan English)
Time: March 29th, 5:10 PM
Location: UMMA Helmut Stern Auditorium

Jennifer Holm received a Newbery Honor for her first novel, Our Only May Amelia, which allowed her to eventually become a full-time writer. She is also the author of the Babymouse series, the Boston Jane series, Turtle in Paradise, Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf, and The Creek, among other titles.  Her books have been translated into several languages and The Seattle Children’s Theatre staged Our Only May Amelia in 2002.  She now splits her time between writing and taking care of her children, Will and Millie. Her husband, Jonathan Hamel, and she recently collaborated on a series called The Stink Files about a British international cat of mystery. They all live in Northern California with one slightly stinky cat named Princess Leia Organa.

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Some books I’m looking forward to reading in 2012 (updated)

As the title says, here’s list of books I’ve heard or read about that I look forward to reading in 2012. You’ll see they cover quite a range of genres, from children’s to adult, fantasy to literature, which is pretty typical for me, since my reading habits are all over the map. The books are arranged chronologically, by the month of their release date. The good thing about publishing this list almost one-fourth into the year (really?) is that several of the books are either released or will be soon! As a matter of fact, I just picked up The Girls of No Return and The Snow Child from the library.

All synopses and images courtesy of Goodreads and Powell’s (except for Grave Mercy, provided by publisher and NetGalley.)


The Flame Alphabet, Ben Marcus

Published: January 17th (Knopf)

Synopsis: “…a brilliant, mesmerizingly dark new novel in which the speech of children is killing their parents. At first it’s just Jews–then everyone. People are leaving their families to survive. Sam’s wife, Claire, is already stricken and near death. In a year or two, as she grows into adulthood, their daughter, Esther, too, will become a victim. Sam and Claire decide to leave Esther on her own, hoping a “cure” will miraculously appear. Sam’s car is waved off the road at a government-run laboratory where horrific tests are being conducted to create non-lethal speech. Throngs bang on the doors to be subject volunteers; they’re all carried out half-dead. When Sam realizes what’s going on, he makes a desperate escape, vowing that if he dies it will be with his family, the only refuge of sanity and love. Ben Marcus’s nightmarish vision is both completely alien and frighteningly familiar.”

Why I look forward to reading it: First, the synopsis intrigues me. Also, I’ve always meant to read something by Marcus, having heard good things.


The Girls of No Return, Erin Saldin

Published: February 1st (Scholastic)

Synopsis: “…a lacerating young adult debut about girls, knives, and redemption. The Alice Marshall School, set within a glorious 2-million acre wilderness area, is a place where teenage girls are sent to escape their histories and themselves. Lida Wallace has tried to negate herself in every way possible. At Alice Marshall, she meets Elsa Boone, Jules, and Gia Longchamps, whose glamour entrances the entire camp. As the girls prepare for a wilderness trek, Lida is both thrilled and terrified to be chosen as Gia’s friend. Everyone has their secrets – the “Things” they try to protect; and when those come out, the knives do as well.”

Why I look forward to reading it: A lot of people I trust have raved about this one. It’s also a nice break from the genres I’ve been reading lately.

Review from 60second Recap:

The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey

Published: February 1st (Reagan Arthur Books)

Synopsis: “Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart — he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone — but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.”

Why I look forward to reading it: The cover drew me in initially. It sounds like a good winter book that might help get me through the next eight months until Spring. (Okay, okay. It just feels that way.) The re-told fairytale aspect (from a Russian folktale, arguably some of the best folktales) intrigues me.

Book Trailer:

No One Is Here Except All of Us, Ramona Ausubel

Release date: February 2nd (Riverhead)

Synopsis: “In 1939, the families in a remote Jewish village in Romania feel the war close in on them. Their tribe has moved and escaped for thousands of years- across oceans, deserts, and mountains-but now, it seems, there is nowhere else to go. Danger is imminent in every direction, yet the territory of imagination and belief is limitless. At the suggestion of an eleven-year-old girl and a mysterious stranger who has washed up on the riverbank, the villagers decide to reinvent the world: deny any relationship with the known and start over from scratch. Destiny is unwritten. Time and history are forgotten. Jobs, husbands, a child, are reassigned. And for years, there is boundless hope. But the real world continues to unfold alongside the imagined one, eventually overtaking it, and soon our narrator-the girl, grown into a young mother-must flee her village, move from one world to the next, to find her husband and save her children, and propel them toward a real and hopeful future. A beguiling, imaginative, inspiring story about the bigness of being alive as an individual, as a member of a tribe, and as a participant in history, No One Is Here Except All Of Us explores how we use storytelling to survive and shape our own truths. It marks the arrival of a major new literary talent.”

Why I look forward to reading it: I saw it on a “Books to Watch Out For” list back in January and it sounded like an interesting take on well mined subject matter (WWII, the Holocaust).

Interview with the author:


Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories, Megan Mayhew Bergman

Release date: March 6th (Scribner)

Synopsis: “Megan Mayhew Bergman’s twelve stories capture the surprising moments when the pull of our biology becomes evident, when love or fear collide with good sense, or when our attachment to an animal or wild place can’t be denied. In “Housewifely Arts,” a single mother and her son drive hours to track down an African Gray Parrot that can mimic her deceased mother’s voice. A population control activist faces the ultimate conflict between her loyalty to the environment and her maternal desire in “Yesterday’s Whales.” And in the title story, a lonely naturalist allows an attractive stranger to lead her and her aging father on a hunt for an elusive woodpecker.

As intelligent as they are moving, the stories in Birds of a Lesser Paradise are alive with emotion, wit, and insight into the impressive power that nature has over all of us.”

Why I look forward to reading it: A solid short story collection is a thing of beauty. This one has promise.

Book Trailer:


Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), Robin LaFevers

Release date: April 3rd (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Synopsis: “Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?”

Why I look forward to reading it: I’ve loved LaFevers ever since I read her Theodosia Throckmorton and Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. Friends with advance copies have backed up my assumption that the His Fair Assassin series will delight as well. I’m really excited to have an ARC, thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, and I plan to read it as soon as I clear my out-from-the-library shelf.

Book Trailer:

Boy and Bot, written by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

Release date: April 10th (Random House Children’s Books)

Synopsis: “One day, a boy and a robot meet in the woods. They play. They have fun.

But when Bot gets switched off, Boy thinks he’s sick. The usual remedies—applesauce, reading a story—don’t help, so Boy tucks the sick Bot in, then falls asleep.

Bot is worried when he powers on and finds his friend powered off. He takes Boy home with him and tries all his remedies: oil, reading an instruction manual. Nothing revives the malfunctioning Boy! Can the Inventor help fix him?

Using the perfect blend of sweetness and humor, this story of an adorable duo will win the hearts of the very youngest readers.”

Why I look forward to reading it: It looks adorable. Also excited about the possible 826michigan cross-overs.


The Last Princess, Galaxy Craze

Release date: May 8th (Poppy)

Synopsis: “Happily ever after is a thing of the past.

The year is 2090.

England is a barren land. Food is rationed. Oil has decimated the oceans. The people are restless.

A ruthless revolutionary enacts a plan to destroy the royal family, and in a moment, the king is dead. His heiress, Princess Mary, and her brother, Jamie, have been abducted, and no one knows their fate. Princess Eliza Windsor barely escapes, and finds herself scared and lost in London’s dangerous streets.

With a mind for revenge and the safe recovery of her siblings, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. There she is tempted by her first taste of independence — and true love. Ultimately she must summon her courage and fight to ensure that she does not become… The Last Princess.”

Why I look forward to reading it: Looks like a good adventure and an interesting mix of genres.

In Honor, Jessi Kirby

Release date: May 8th (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

Synopsis: “Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn–but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?”

Why I look forward to reading it: Someone compared the love interest to Tim Riggins. Say no more; I’m there! Also, books about road trips are always welcome.

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein

Credit: Goodreads

Release date: May 18th (Hyperion Books for Children)

Synopsis: “Oct. 11th, 1943–A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.”

Why I look forward to reading it: Everyone says it’s fantastic. And who doesn’t love a good spy story?


This Is Not a Test, Courtney Summers

Release date: June 19th (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Synopsis: “It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?”

Why I look forward to reading it: I’ve heard good things from people that’ve read advance copies. I’ve never been very into zombies but this sounds like an interesting treatment.


The Waiting Sky, Lara Zielin

Credit: Goodreads

Release date: August 2nd (Putnam Juvenile?)

Synopsis: “Seventeen-year-old Jane can’t quite face her mother’s alcoholism even though it sucks to spend all her time and energy keeping them afloat—making sure her mom gets to work, that the bills are paid when there’s money to pay them, and that no one knows her mom is so messed up. But when Jane’s mom drives drunk almost killing both them and Jane’s best friend, Jane can no longer deny her mom is spiraling out of control. Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left years ago to go to college. A summer away with him and his tornado chasing buddies may just provide the time and space she needs to figure out whether her life still includes her mother.”

Why I look forward to reading it: An interesting premise. Bonus: Zielin is a local author (she lives in Yspilanti, Michigan).


Drama, Raina Telgemeier

Credit: Goodreads

Release date: September 1st (Scholastic)

Synopsis: “Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s a terrible singer. Instead she’s the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier! Following the success of SMILE, Raina Telgemeier brings us another graphic novel featuring a diverse set of characters that humorously explores friendship, crushes, and all-around drama!”

Why I look forward to reading it: I loved Smile and, like so many others, look forward to seeing what Telgemeier has up her sleeve next.

The Diviners, Libba Bray

Credit: Goodreads

Release date: September 18th (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Synopsis: “Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.”

Why I look forward to reading it: Bray always writes fun books and this one sounds especially so! Hoping I can snag a copy at Annual.

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Wondering What To See & Do At ALA Midwinter?

With the annual American Libraries Association (ALA) Midwinter conference on the horizon (January 20–24th in Dallas), many first-time attendees are curious about what they should see and do while attending. ALA Midwinter is a quieter, more businessy conference than Annual (held in the summer) and therefore can be a little intimidating. But never fear, newbees. Pull up a chair. This seasoned veteran of (count it) one Midwinter conference is going to dispense some wisdom. Sadly, this is as close as I’ll get to Midwinter this year because I won’t be attending the 2012 conference. If we live through the Mayan apocalypse there’s always Seattle in 2013…

  • Acquaint yourself with the On-line Scheduler for it shall be your guide. While it’s fun to just browse, you might try searching for programs being put on by the divisions (i.e. Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)) you belong to or a topic of interest. Pay very close attention to whether a session is closed to the public or not (indicated by CLOSED after the session title). It’d be very embarrassing to burst in on the final Caldecott deliberations.
  • While it’s always a good idea to attend your official division committee meetings, don’t discount any social events your division is hosting. I met a lot of interesting people at the ALSC Speed Networking event last year (it wasn’t as scary as it sounds, I promise) and won a free on-line class in the raffle.* Can’t beat that. I’m sorry to inform you that the Dallas version appears to have been cancelled. But I’m sure there are other similar and also awesome opportunities. Seek them out.
    • UPDATE: I received an e-mail with information about these New Members Round Table (NMRT) events on Saturday, January 21 :
      • 8:00-10:00 am:  NMRT Conference Orientation, DCC – D173
      • 10:30 am-12:00 pm:  NMRT Executive Board Meeting, DCC – D163
      • 1:30-3:30 pm:  NMRT Membership, Networking, and Committee Interest Meeting, DCC – D226
      • 5:30-7:30 pm:  NMRT Midwinter Social, City Tavern (1402 Main St.)
  • Looking for a new job or hoping to switch careers? Take advantage of the ALA JobList Placement Center. It’s the place to get career advice, have your resume reviewed, attend a career focused discussion group, and potentially meet a future employer.
  • If your job entails collection development or you’re a fan of Betsy Bird’s Librarian Preview posts and Early Word, you might consider seeking out publisher presentations. It’s a great way to get the scoop on new books from your favorite houses. As a bonus, you’ll probably be gifted a few Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) to enjoy and share with your patrons. Unfortunately, many of these presentations are invite only. Your circumstances will determine if that’s a possibility for you. However, there are a few publisher presentations (e.g. Random House, Harper Collins) open to everyone attending the conference. Below is a schedule for some others (courtesy ALA):

Saturday, January 21, Dallas Convention Center – Ballroom C1

  • 8:00am – 9:00am – Amulet Books, and imprint of ABRAMS
    Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, Celebrates Spring 2012 with special guest Lauren Myracle, author of Shine, Margi Preus, author of 2011 Newbery Honor winner Heart of a Samurai, and Michael Buckley, bestselling author of The Sisters Grimm and NERDS series.
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm – Sterling 
    Chris Vaccari, Director, Library Marketing will talk about the best and brightest books from Sterling’s Spring 2012 Adult, Children’s and Teen lists.  We will have ARC’s available and a book raffle prize, too
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm – Macmillan Library Marketing Director Talia Sherer 
    Talia Sherer will discuss her favorite forthcoming Spring and Fall 2012 titles from adult publishers St. Martin’s Press, Griffin, Minotaur Books, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Henry Holt & Co., Picador, Tor/Forge, and Macmillan Audio.  Advance copies, finished books, and goofy commentary await all attendees!

    • 11:00:  Sterling Children’s & Teen Books
    • 11:15:  St. Martin’s Griffin Teen
    • 11:30:  Sterling Adult
    • 11:45:  Macmillan Adult
  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm – Scotting Bowditch, School and Library Marketing Director for Penguin Young Readers
  • Penguin Young Readers is thrilled to share upcoming titles for Spring and Summer 2012.
  • 4:30pm – 5:30pm – A Dark and Delectable Feast of Tor’s Upcoming Releases – with Refreshments!  
  • Publisher Kathleen Doherty and Senior Editor Susan Chang will present highlights from the Starscape and Tor Teen  Winter 2012 list along with hot new releases for Spring 2012. Attendees will partake of advance reading copies, finished books, and delicious “Weenies” snacks!

Sunday, January 22, Dallas Convention Center – Ballroom C1

  • 8:00am – 9:00am – Abrams Books for Young Readers
    Abrams Books for Young Readers Celebrates Our Spring 2012 List and the Spring 2012 launch of Abrams Appleseed, a new imprint for readers ages 0-5. Join us for book giveaways and more!
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm – Hachette Book Group and Perseus Books Group Sprint Titles
    Find out what spring books we are excited about at Perseus, and I’ll even share some of the behind the scenes secrets why! Also, get a sneak peek into the Spring titles from Hachette Book Group, there are lots to look forward to!
  • 4:30pm – 5:30pm – Bloomsbury/Walker and Kingfisher Books for Young Readers Bloomsbury and Walker Books for Young Readers and Kingfisher Books will present their upcoming Spring 2012 titles, including picture books, middle grade and teen fiction, and a variety of nonfiction for ages 4 to 14. Come join us! Cookies will be served.
  • Visit your favorite publishing houses’ booths. (Lists of Children’s, Young Adult, Graphic Novels/Comics, and Mystery publishers attending.) This was one of my favorite experiences at Midwinter last year. It’s a great alternative if a publisher didn’t host a preview or you weren’t able to attend. Make sure you actually talk to the staff. If you just grab ARCs and dash, you’re certain to miss out on some great conversations and maybe even some hidden gems. Tell the staff your interests so they can focus on titles in which you’d be the most interested. My favorite booth last year was Candlewick’s. The representative I spoke with was excellent. But, as Mr. Burton says, don’t take my word for it, get out there and see what you can see!
  • See if your favorite bloggers, scholars, authors, fellow librarians, or other people of interest are attending and seek them out. I know “networking” can sometimes seem like a dirty word but talking with like-minded folks is one of the best things about attending professional conferences. I for one am glad I was able to meet my life twin IRL last year. UPDATE: If you’re a YA enthusiast and blogger, you might consider checking out Great ALA Midwinter YA Blogger Meetup (hosted by Kelly at Stacked.)
  • If you’re interested in children’s literature, you probably know that the Youth Media Awards (Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Geisel, Printz) are a must attend. However, I’d also recommend sitting in on ALSC’s Notable Children’s Books and YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults.

Did I miss anything? Please chime in with your suggestions in the comments.

* I used it to take K. T. Horning’s excellent The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future.


Filed under Field Trip, Professional Practice, Youth Literature in the Wild

Programming Idea: Winter Book Bundles (Tualatin (OR) Library)

I’m currently in Oregon, spending time with my parents over the holidays. I liked this teen programming idea from their local library (the lovely remodeled Tualatin Public Library in Washington County) and wanted to share it with you.

The Tualatin librarians grouped books together in threes by theme (What’s in a name? Old books with a new twist; sports; fantasy) and attached a tag with space for the books’ titles and a starred rating. Teens who return a completed tag are eligible for prizes.

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Isn’t that a fun idea? A nice scaled back version of the traditional summer reading program that still takes advantage of the “free time” encountered during the winter break to stimulate interest in the library (and maybe in a new genre of books). I imagine this format could be used for picture books and books for younger children too (with the expectation that the parents would help with the evaluation).

Happy holidays everyone.

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What Do You Believe? (Contains Santa Spoilers)


Last week, as I was helping facilitate a workshop at 826michigan, a young girl looked me dead in the eye and, as if she were doing me a favor, told me, “Santa Claus doesn’t exist!”

Realizing I was in a room full of 8 – 11 year olds*, I knew I had exactly five seconds to not crush a child’s dreams. So I pulled out my best confused face and said, “Noooooo! Where did you hear that? I have never heard that before.

“It’s true!” she said.

“Huh,” I replied. Seeing she wasn’t buying my lame attempt at extending her childhood innocence, I continued: “Hey, did you read that on the Internet? Because you can’t trust everything you read on the Internet, you know.”

The girl stared at me for a moment and I could tell I almost had her. Just as I was imagining rounding the podium to accept an Oscar for Best Performance While Lying to A Child, the spell was broken and she said, “No. He isn’t real,” and returned to her craft project.

Well, I tried.

Bonus parenting tip from my mother: Whenever I’d ask if Santa was real as a child, my mother never answered me. Without fail she’d turn Socratic and ask, “What do you believe, Julie?” It was so frustrating! And yet, it was also very effective. After all, she wasn’t technically lying.


*Who, yes, were probably already jaded about the whole Santa thing, thanks to the playground bullies of the world but I wasn’t going to test that theory and ruin Christmas forever.

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Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary: Children’s Books and Graphic Arts (University of Chicago)

Stumbled across a really neat exhibit currently up at the University of Chicago’s Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, through the end of the year (December 30th). If you’re in the area, I suggest you take a look! Press release, take it away!

Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary: Children’s Books and Graphic Arts
Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery
1100 E. 57th Street, Chicago, Illinois
August 22, 2011—December 30, 2011
Mon.-Fri., 9:00 a.m.­-4:45 p.m.
Sat: 9:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m. when University of Chicago classes are in session.

The Soviet Union was a world in pictures. Its creation in the wake of the Russian revolutions of February­–March and October–November 1917 was facilitated by a vibrant image culture based largely on new media technologies. Its periodic re-makings ­– during Stalin’s Great Leap Forward (1928–1932), World War II (1941–1945, the Thaw (1956–1964), Perestroika (1987­–1991) – were all accompanied by new media revolutions.

Two of the most striking manifestations of Soviet image culture were the children’s book and the poster. Both of these forms testify to the alliance between experimental aesthetics and radical socialist ideology that held tenuously from the 1917 revolutions to the mid-1930s—and did so much to shape a distinctly Soviet civilization. The children’s books and posters in “Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary plot the development of this new image culture alongside the formation of new social and cultural identities, from the beginning of Stalin’s Great Breakthrough in 1928 to the reconstruction and regrouping that followed World War II.

“Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary,” drawn entirely from the collections of the University of Chicago Library, was created by the collaborative efforts of eight graduate students, one former undergraduate and two faculty members at the University of Chicago. Led by Professor Robert Bird, the participants, representing a range of academic disciplines, from history to art history and Russian literature discuss topics such as “The Collective,” “The Individual,” “Transportation,” “Do It Yourself,” and “Military Preparedness,” and individuals including Aleksandr Deineka and Vladimir Mayakovsky.

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