June 19, 2010

A Shout-Out for Planet Esme, and More

When I got my latest copy of the UC Berkeley e-mail newsletter, I was excited (as I always am, because I am a big nerd) to see that they've announced their latest summer reading list for incoming freshmen. It's been a tradition for a number of years--asking faculty and staff to recommend books along a particular theme--and this year's theme is Education Matters. And, in among titles such as The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Winning the Dust Bowl (by Carter Revard) was one Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year, by our own Esmé Raji Codell of Planet Esme. Score one for the kidlitosphere!

In other kidlitosphere news, Kayla Chronicles author Sherri Winston (whom we interviewed here for the Summer Blog Blast Tour last year) recently started her own blog at Bowlofsherris (a fabulous name)--so far there are reviews of When You Reach Me and The Magician's Elephant, plus useful information for aspiring writers. Go check it out!

Speaking of Rebecca Stead, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for 2010 were announced, and When You Reach Me got top billing for the Fiction and Poetry category. Another book I've been hearing a lot about, but haven't read yet--A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner--was the honor book for the same category. I was also pleased to see a graphic novel lauded as one of the non-fiction honor books--Smile by Raina Telgemeier. Here's hoping we continue to see worthy graphic novels getting mainstream attention!

Lastly, on the topic of graphic novels, an English-language GN publisher in India called Campfire is going to be releasing its first U.S. titles next month--they seem to publish mostly adaptations of classics, biographies, and mythology (all worthy subjects for graphic novels), but they've also got a small line of original publications. Their mission statement is "To entertain and educate young minds by creating unique illustrated books to recount stories of human values, to arouse curiosity in the world around us, and to inspire by tales of great deeds of unforgettable people."

Sounds good to me. In my opinion, titles like First Second's Zeus and Athena, and the various adaptations of Robin Hood and Beowulf and Poe and other classics, have been great for the graphic novel genre as a whole, in the sense of showing how easily they can be fit into an educational setting--and also helping to showcase the range of graphic literature. We'll see how the newer kids on the block compete...


Colleen said...

I read Esme's book a million years ago when it first came out (I was working at the indy bookstore in Fairbanks and the cover just jumped right out at me). I loved the book and was so impressed by what a decent writer (and thinker) Esme was. I was thrilled to see her continue her work with kids in such an unusual way through Planet Esme. I love that she is still being recognized for that excellent first book though.

Esme Raji Codell said...

Wow! Thanks for the shout out, so nice of you! I didn't know my book was included in the UC Berkeley booklist and I am so honored! Hope it inspires some readers to embark on their own adventures in education (I have another blog especially for new teachers, Hit the Ground Running, at http://educatingesme.blogspot.com).

a. fortis said...

I thought it was super cool to see you there on the list! :) If I ever decide to make a stab at teaching, I'll definitely be reading it.