November 2007 Archives

It Only Happens Twice a Year: "The Wakame Gatherers" Arrives

It's here! It's here! My advance copies of The Wakame Gatherers arrived, and they are as brilliantly gorgeous as I expected.

I am thrilled and excited about this beautiful book. Here's the synopsis:

Nanami has two grandmothers: Baachan, who lives with her family in Japan, and Gram, who lives in Maine. When Gram visits Japan for the first time, Baachan takes her and Nanami on a trip to the seaside to gather Wakame, a long, curvy seaweed that floats near the shore.

While the three assemble their equipment and ride the streetcar to the beach, Baachan explains how Wakame and other seaweeds are used in Japan. Gram shares stories about how seaweeds are used in Maine, and Nanami translates for them both.

By the end of the day, Nanami's two grandmothers discover that they have much in common despite being from countries that fought in the war they both remember vividly. Now, looking out across the beach at the surfers, dog walkers, and seaweed gatherers, they share an appreciation of this precious peace.
It's lovely, lovely. Both the story and the illustrations. I'm so excited it's here. The real shipment will arrive in mid-November, around Thanksgiving. So if you pre-order yours now, it will ship then. Go! Order this book!

Walter and Wakame Tomorrow at The Storyteller Bookstore

Every year, Walter Mayes, one of the authors of Valerie and Walter's Best Books for Children and best known in some circles as "Walter the Giant Storyteller," gives a talk about his children's book picks for the year. If you are involved at all with children's books in the Northern California Bay Area, you will recognize Walter's huge frame, bright red hair, and bushy beard. (And if you were at Hicklebee's bookstore on the night of the final Harry Potter release, you would have recognized him as Hagrid.)

Walter will be giving his "Best Books of 2007" talk tomorrow night at The Storyteller, an incredible children's bookstore in Lafayette, California. Right in my backyard, as a matter of fact. And I just found out today that one of his picks will be The Wakame Gatherers by Holly Thompson and Kazumi Wilds! Woohoo!

If you're in the area, you should definitely consider stopping by. Walter is a great speaker, and he will surely excite you about all the great books that came out this year.

Walter's Best Books of 2007!
The Storyteller Bookstore
30 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette CA 94549
Thursday, November 8, 7:00-9:00 pm
$10 fee. Reservations required. Call 925-284-3480

For parents and teachers, this evening full of giveaways and great advice is a yearly favorite. Walter will be covering ages 0-12. (Watch for another night of great book for ages 12-18 in the spring.) The Storyteller finds itself overwhelmed by posters and other giveaways, so we hope you'll come down for this event and take away great armfuls.

Books That Give

I'm on a little pre-Thanksgiving vacation in Las Vegas at the moment, but I wanted to share a link to this nice essay at Paper Tigers that reminds us to be thankful and highlights books that keep on giving-- where the publisher donates some or all of the profits to a worthy cause. It's a great little list to keep in mind as Thanksgiving comes and goes, and holiday gifts need to be bought.

Best of all? Our very own Selvakumar Knew Better, by Virginia Kroll and illustrated by Xiaojun Li, is one of the featured books. A percentage of proceeds from this book goes to Give2Asia's Tsunami Recovery Fund.
One of my all-time favorite books as a child was Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. I remember Mary learning how to skip rope in the crisp Yorkshire air and finding the key and then the door to the walled off garden. I remember how in the beginning Mary was Contrary and ugly and how she threw tantrums, the most fabulous one in response to her spoiled cousin Colin's own tantrum. I remember crotchety old Ben Weatherstaff and charming Dickon with all his animal friends. I remember how the digging in the garden basically saved the health of Mary and Colin, and the reuniting of Colin with his father. But I forgot about India. Since I'm writing a literary analysis on The Secret Garden as a postcolonial text, I was surprised to find mentions of India or some mention of Indian culture in almost every single chapter.

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Blog Contributors

Renee Ting is the President and Publisher of Shen's Books. She is the author of The Prince's Diary and the blog, Renee's Book of the Day.

Emily Jiang is a writer of children's and YA literature. She also blogs at TLeaf Readings.

Shen’s Books is a publisher of multicultural children’s literature that emphasizes cultural diversity and tolerance, with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia.

Through books, we can share a world a stories, building greater understanding and tolerance within our increasingly diverse communities as well as throughout our continuously shrinking globe.


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