Thursday, 19 December 2013

Wittgenstein, NTM and me or What happens when you Google yourself

A note before we begin: I don't normally Google myself. I have agents who do that for me. Or should that read 'parents'? Well, they know who they are.
Anyway, I've great hopes of updating my French website and I thought I should check on the etherweb if I'd missed any of my glorious recent publications. Yes, I could check my shelves, but Santa has taken over some of the house and the last thing I want to do is open Some Cupboards in front of Some People.
Googling yourself almost always brings up interesting results. You wouldn't believe the number of forthcoming publications I first heard of via web search (as opposed to being told by my publishers). It's the case, in particular, for stories that are given a new life in different compilations or as e-books. More rarely, and more annoyingly, it's Google (or Amazon) who gives me the heads up on the foreign editions of some of my titles. And then, there's the odd mention of my picture books in academia...
So, here goes:
First off, we have some intriguing worksheets and activities based around my one picture book that made it (so far) to the US, In Search of Happiness. The good folk at CrunchCrackleCreate have come up with tasks inspired by the books that come under the following headings: Empathise, Question, Innovate, Persist, Take Responsible Risks and Think Together. That looks to me like a very sound and promising program me.

Next we have this… On page 171 of Wittgenstein and Aesthetics: Perspectives and Debates ( edited by Alessandro Arbo, Michel LeDu, Sabine Plaud): 
"A true work of art requires a pure experience and requires exclusively an aesthetic interpretation. Any moral reflection is inappropriate. It is inappropriate to speak morally about The Straight Story - a movie by David Lynch - about Hamlet - a Shakespearian play, or about the youth book A la Recherche du Bonheur by Juliette Saumande and illustrated by Eric Puybaret, the songs of NTM, the TV series 24 or the whole of Céline's work. To evaluate these works of art from a moral (positive or negative) point of view is a mistake about their nature.

And then, on the NewSouth Books website… my first title to make it to Australia! It's, obviously, a rewrite of Oliver, with amazing illustration by Italian artist Daniela Volpari. Out in February down under!

Meanwhile, to celebrate the last few sleeps before 2014, the blog has gone all shiny. Hope you like it and see you all on the other side!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Forbidden Poem

I was reminded of this Tony Mitton poem by an Inis reviewer recently and I thought you'd like it too. As simple as that…

This poem is not for children.
Keep Out!

There is a big oak door
in front of this poem.
It’s locked.

And on the door is a notice
in big red letters.
It says: Any child who enters here
will never be the same again.

But what’s this?
A key in the keyhole.
And what’s more,
nobody’s about.

“Go on. Look,”
says a little voice
inside your head.
“Surely a poem
cannot strike you dead?”

You turn the key.
The door swings wide.
And then you witness
what’s inside.

And from that day
you’ll try in vain.
You’ll never be the same again.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Go get them!

As is the tradition, December calls for all sorts of reflexion, pondering and looking back. Yes, that's right, today I give you… my fave reads of the past year!

For the babas…
Faster! Faster! by Leslie Patricelli. In fact, pretty much anything by this amazing writer-illustrator whose pics are so warm, funny and inclusive that from 1 to 5-year-olds (and counting) are still fighting over them in our house.

For the budding artists (and their parents)...
I am an Artist! by Marta Altés. In fact, pretty much anything by this amazing writer-illustrator, etc. This is bold and bright and an inspiration for many a future famous artist. Don't worry about the mess, it'll pay off in the end.

For those who just like doing and being and liking...
The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard, because of the sunshine, the family legends and traditions, and the pancakes. (8+)

Let's Play!: Poems About Sports and Games from Around the World, a fantastic selection of poems about sports and games and fun, from cricket to scrabble, a gem.

After Iris by Natasha Farrant, because the attention to detail will make you think these people are real, and because the general craziness will make you want to go live with them. (10+)

The Sleepwalkers, by Viviane Schwartz, for a comic book with soul, humour and hand-made sock monkeys. (8/10+)

For those who can handle anything that's thrown at them, but had rather it was thrown at fictional characters instead...
The Last Minute by Eleanor Updale, a second by second account of the minute events taking place on a busy English street before a massive explosion destroys most of it. The massive cast is expertly brought to life and the realisation of dialogue (in one-second snippets) is impressive; I was in shock for days afterwards. (12+, YA)

Vivian versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle, where road-movie meets post-Apocalyptic speculation (quite literally), with plenty of interesting, refreshing, competent YA characters who do not hate the rest of the world and/or their parents (YA).
Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal, the tale of an uncommon boy, a daring girl, a well-intentioned, multi-lingual and slightly stuck-up ghost in a modern day American town that has its fair share of villains that seem to come straight out of some of the brothers Grimms' tales. (12+, YA)