One of America’s most treasured children’s book authors is celebrating her 95th birthday tomorrow: Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary! In addition to being her birthday, April 12 is also National Drop Everything and Read Day (D.E.A.R). D.E.A.R Day is about encouraging families to make a commitment to reading together on a regular basis. Ramona Quimby became the spokesperson for the program after it was featured in Ramona Quimby, Age 8, which is why it is celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday. All you have to do to participate is drop everything and read for 30 minutes of your day. (Well okay, if you twist my arm. . . )
The New Your Times has a great profile on Beverly Cleary. I love this bit from the article:
What ultimately drove her to write for children, she recalled, was a book she noticed when she had a job in a children’s bookstore in the 1940s. In it, a puppy said: “Bow-wow. I like the green grass.”
“No dog I had ever known could talk like that,” Cleary said. She wondered once again, as she frequently had while working as a children’s librarian, “What was the matter with authors?”
Dan Santat, illustrator extraordinaire (who allowed us into his studio for Creative Spaces last summer), has come up with a really cool idea that simultaneously helps promote his new book AND supports his local independent bookstore. For his graphic novel Sidekicks, publishing this summer by Arthur A. Levine Books, he is offering a Limited Edition set if you purchase through his website by June 1. Included in the set is a signed hardcover copy of the book, a mystery unpublished art print, and The Domesticated Four, a downloadable PDF that features 60 pages detailing the evolution of this graphic novel. Sounds pretty cool right? And the way all this will support an independent bookstore is that Dan will be buying the books himself from his local indie bookstore. Really, it sounds like a win/win/win scenario to me: the bookstore gets business from customers outside their normal circle (for example me, who lives in Colorado and would not normally be shopping in a Los Angeles independent bookstore), Dan gets a strengthened relationship with his local indie, and you and I get to support both artist and indie while receiving cool extra features we couldn’t otherwise get. If you’d like to learn more, go here to read more about Dan’s rationale in coming up with this idea or if you’re already on board go here to buy the Limited Edition Sidekicks set.
And a very LOUD happy book release to Deborah Underwood and Renata Liwska (two more brave individuals who shared their workspaces for Creative Spaces here and here)! You might know the duo from their bestselling 2010 picture book The Quiet Book. The follow up companion The Loud Book is now available for sale and to celebrate, Houghton Mufflin Harcourt is running a contest with the grand prize being a piece of original art by Renata Liwska. (Plus 25 runner-up prizes of signed copies of the book). You can go here to enter in the drawing. Deborah and Renata are not only celebrating their latest book release but also the news that The Quiet Book was recently named an E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor Book winner. It looks like they have another read-aloud crowd pleaser in The Loud Book, as evidenced by this baby (video and baby belong to “Everyday Reading” blogger Janssen):