Congratulations to my publishers' ALA Award Winners!

Watch this: The Twelve-Fingered Boy book trailer (Carolrhoda LAB / Lerner)

One of my favorite dark, scary, fascinating YA reads on the Spring 2013 lists has a really great book trailer up. I read the ARC of The Twelve-Fingered Boy on the plane home from a sales conference trip and I ended up online, while still in the air, asking the editor how soon I could have the manuscript to the sequel. It's that good.

The Twelve-Fingered Boy
by John Hornor Jacobs
Carolrhoda LAB / Lerner | 9780761390077 | $17.95 | Feb 2013

Book trailer: No Crystal Stair (Carolrhoda LAB / Lerner)

I previously wrote about No Crystal Stair, the stellar documentary novel of Lewis Michaux, Harlem bookseller and fixture of the civil rights struggle, in a prepublication preview.

Since it was published in January, it's gotten starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and the Horn Book. AND in June it won the 2012 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Fiction.

Now check out the great book trailer that Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner has put together.

"You can't walk straight on a crooked line. You do you'll break your leg. How can you walk straight in a crooked system?"


No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller
by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Carolrhoda LAB / Lerner | 9780761361695 | $17.95 | Jan 2012

More, elsewhere:

PW article about No Crystal Stair

Lerner's page for No Crystal Stair

Looking at Fall 2012: Little White Duck: A Childhood in China (Lerner/Graphic Universe)

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China
story by Na Liu & Andrés Vera Martínez
illustrated by Andrés Vera Martínez
Lerner / Graphic Universe | 9780761381150 | $9.95 | Oct 2012

It seems like every season there's a book on the Lerner list that sneaks up on me and is either utterly charming (see the Monkey With A Tool Belt series) or is completely, mind-blowingly revelatory (see No Crystal Stair).  In the case of this fall's Little White Duck, we seem to be in the middle ground, right in the sweet spot between charming storytelling and pretty remarkable personal memoir. This graphic memoir is based directly on the memories of author Na Liu, one of two sisters growing up in China in the mid to late 1970s.

In later life, she immigrated to the United States and married cartoonist Andres Very Martinez, who encouraged her to tell her life's story, which he has illustrated with real verve.

It's already received a starred review from Kirkus, and I expect we'll see more. Kirkus calls Little White Duck, “a striking glimpse into Chinese girlhood during the 1970s and ’80s.”  Click through to the Lerner / Graphic Universe blog post about the starred review, and you can see some interior pages.  Here's a bit more from the Lerner blog post:

Based on the early life of the book’s author Na Liu—now a doctor of hematology and oncology—and illustrated by her husband–Andrés Vera Marténez—an award winning artist and graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of Visual Arts—this page-turner is described by Kirkus as “beautifully drawn and quietly evocative”. The book explores, in eight stories, author Na Liu’s—nicknamed Da Qin (Big Piano) and her younger sister Xiao Qin’s (little piano) childhood in Wuhan, one of the nation’s largest cities, right along the Yangtze. Different aspects of China’s history are weaved into the book—from the “Four Pest Campaign”, a time in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the country fought back against the ravages of rats, flies, mosquitoes, and cockroaches—to the observance of the Chinese New Year—Na’s favorite holiday—a time of national pride and great celebration.

This is already one of my favorite books for the fall. 

Spring 2012 Preview: No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

“Lewis Michaux's House of Common Sense and Home of Proper Propaganda,” 1964. (Courtesy of Bettmann / CORBIS)

Above, a photo from the Bettmann/CORBIS Archive.

No Crystal Stair: A Novel in Documents, Based on the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller
by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Carolrhoda LAB / Lerner | 9780761361695 | $17.95 | Feb 2012 

I read a book today that's coming out from Carolrhoda LAB/Lerner next February - a YA novel told in the form of an oral history - about Lewis Michaux, founder of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem.  The book is written by his great-niece, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

Michaux's was the first (the first!) bookstore specifically selling books by and for African-Americans. He had a sign up over the storefront that proclaimed it "The House of Common Sense and the Home of Proper Propaganda". 

The National Memorial African Bookstore was in the middle of everything and everyone from the Harlem Renaissance up through the Civil Rights struggle and into the Seventies: Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Eldridge Cleaver, Nikki Giovanni and more. Thousands and thousands of regular bookstore customers' lives were enriched by the presence of such a passionate, intelligent bookstore owner in their midst.

Although Michaux's bookstore is no longer open – it closed in 1975 after a faceoff with the State of New York over the state's redevelopment of the blocks surrounding the store's original building and a brief tenure in a second location blocks away – Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and R. Gregory Christie have brought it back to life in these pages, accompanied by dozens of historical photographs.

Booksellers, bloggers and reviewers can obtain an advance copy now through NetGalley.