Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pride and Prejudice Board Book for Babies...Really?

This is one of those stories that makes me think "really?" (think Seth Meyers from Saturday Night Live)

From Publishers Weekly

The first two titles in the new Baby Lit board book series from Gibbs Smith will introduce classic writers to the youngest readers – newborns to three-year-olds – with the publication of Little Miss Austen: Pride & Prejudice and Little Master Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet.

“Baby Lit was created in one of those ‘lightning strikes’ moments,” says Gibbs Smith creative director and series editor Suzanne Taylor. “We knew there was nothing like it available for the age group, and that the books would be a great introduction to perennial classics both for very small children and parents who might never have read the classics before.” The series has already surpassed sales expectations before their August release date, with advance orders in the gift and book market reaching nearly 12,000 copies. A second print run is in the works for both titles, which will retail for $9.99 and have 22 pages of color illustrations each.

Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Free Download of "White Cat" by Holly Black

Recently, I listened to White Cat by Holly Black on audio. As I began listening, I immediately recognized the performer -- Jesse Eisenberg from the recent Academy Award winning movie The Social Network. The book was very good and I thought Jesse Eisenberg's interpretation of the main character Cassel was dead on. However, I did think of Cassel as Jesse Eisenberg throughout the book.

Now, you download White Cat from Random House Audio free of charge. Just visit the Random House Audio website and sign up for the monthly newsletter here. Happy listening!

Jeff Bridges In 'The Giver'

From Huffpost Entertainment:

Jeff Bridges In 'The Giver': Oscar Winner To Adapt Classic Lois Lowry Novel

Experiencing a renaissance in a career that never really faded, Jeff Bridges is flexing his producing muscles to bring to the big screen a classic young adult novel.

Bridges, who won an Oscar in 2010 for his turn in "Crazy Heart" and was nominated for another lead gold statue for last year's "True Grit," has optioned for film the 1993 Lois Lowry novel, "The Giver," a moralist sci-fi story that won the Newberry Medal, the top honor in young adult fiction.

Set in a seemingly perfect society, without crime, poverty, hatred, divorce or war, the novel is described thusly on Lowry's official site:

"December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve year old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man -the man called only the Giver -he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world."

The Giver, it turns out, is the elderly man charged with keeping the institutional memory for the society, which actually stifles desire and subdues familial differences for the ordered good of society.

Bridges will take on the role of that wise elder, though he is his own second choice.

"I originally thought of the role of the Giver as a vehicle for my father, the late Lloyd Bridges," he told Variety, "however, at 61 years old I feel the time is right for me to do it."

The actor will star in another sci-fi film, though this one is decidedly more mature, as he takes on the role of an old, undead cop alongside Ryan Reynolds in "RIPD." In totally unrelated news, he'll also be releasing his first album, a country folk jaunt produced by T. Bone Burnett, on August 16th.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Florida State Sociologist Finds Largescale Male Bias in Children’s Books

From Women in Academia Report, June 16, 2011

New research led by Janice M. McCabe, a sociologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee, finds a large male bias in children’s books. The study, published in the journal Gender & Society, examined characters in 5,600 children’s books published between 1900 and 2000. The results showed that males are the central characters in 57 percent of the books while females are the lead characters in 31 percent of all books. Two out of every three animal characters in children’s books are male. A male character is included in the title of 36 percent of all children’s books whereas a female character is found in the title of 17 percent of all children’s titles.

Dr. McCabe concedes that the male/female ratio of main human characters has improved in books published for the first time in recent years. But children’s books published over the past century, including the Little Golden Books series, remain popular. Also, she notes that there is still a far larger number of male characters among animals in children’s books.

Professor McCabe stated that “The widespread pattern of under-representation of females that we find supports the belief that female characters are less important and interesting than male characters.”

Dr. McCabe is a graduate of Tulane University. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology at Indiana University.

Readers interested in reading the entire study can download the paper here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pottermore on NPR

From NPR: June 23, 2011

Starting this fall, for the first time, the Harry Potter novels will be available as e-books.
Since the series began its cultural ascent in the late 1990s, its fans — adults, children, and those who have grown up in the 14 years since the first novel was released — have created thousands of fan sites and more than 1 million fan fiction stories. This fall, that content will get an official counterpart.

According to an announcement by author J.K. Rowling, a new website called Pottermore, which will launch in October, will be the only place where digital versions of the series will be available.
Until now, the novels had been one of the digital publishing world's biggest holdouts. So what does this new website achieve? And why now? Some argue that Rowling and her publishers waited to offer e-books until they got as much as they could out of hardback and paperback sales. But Rod Henwood, CEO of Pottermore, says that it took two years to develop the site, and this is the year that e-books have really come into their own. They also wanted to time the launch to the end of the film series.

"Harry might have been perceived as dropping off," Henwood says.

Instead, excitement will now build for the site's launch in October. A competition will grant 1 million fans access before it opens to the public (in English, German, Spanish and French versions), and Henwood says the early users will have their own creativity put on display.

"We will learn from those users what they like, and what they don't like, and we will adapt and we will evolve the site," he says.

Read the rest of the story here.