Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Mail, Glorious Mail! (Also known as bilingual, Walker, and Roaring Brook)

Received a postcard today from Salina Bookshelf, which is publishing in English/Navajo. They seem to have two picture books and four board books. I'm very interested in this...the publication of bilingual books in Native languages. It definitely gets across the idea that these are living languages, and language preservation is of course so important. Children's Book Press has been doing bilingual multicultural books for some time in a variety of languages, and I believe both Arte Publico and Cinco Puntos Press publish English/Spanish (as, by the way, does my publisher HarperCollins under the Rayo imprint). But Native/English books are rare.

Hmmmm..... Consider this a hint from Cyn to the universe.

By the way, if you're interested in small, multicultural presses, also surf by Lee and Low, which publishes a diversity of titles, and Polychrome Books, which has an Asian American emphasis and, by the way, was established by Greg's childhood neighbor.

At a time when multicultural picture books are fewer and fewer on the major publishers' lists, these smaller companies are stepping up to fill the gap.

On another note, today's mail (yes, I love mail; yes, I know this makes me an odd duck) brought the Roaring Brook and Walker catalogs.

Walker is a great company; they publish Anna Myers, an Oklahoma author whose books I've long admired. And on that note, I see her that Anna's TULSA BURNING is now available in paper.

The Walker catalog does a good job of promoting the backlist, which is unusual. That said, front list books that caught my eye include A WOMAN FOR PRESIDENT by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Jane Dyer (which came with a button that I'm now wearing--very effective promo item; timely title); LUCKY LEAF by Kevin O'Malley (a picture book with a psuedo-graphic-novel-esque appeal), JUNGLE GYM JITTERS by Chuck Richards (check out the debut illustrations on this one); and OUTSIDE AND INSIDE BATS by Sandra Markle (all Austinites love bats).

Roaring Brook is a a new fave. Do they have a Web site? I can't find one. For those of you not deeply embedded in the business, they were recently bought by the same people who own Henry Holt (German company; I forget what it's called). The seller was Millbrook as part of the bankruptcy I mentioned in a previus post. Despite all this financial trauma, RB is a tremendous innovator, the kind of publisher that gives me hope and inspires. They also have really cute catalogs--small and hip, just like the house.

Among my checked many requests are UNEXPECTED DEVELOPMENT by Marlene Perez; DEATH BY EGGPLANT by Susan Heyboer O'Keefe (middle grade; looks really hilarious), and A FAST AND BRUTAL WING by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson.

And finally I'm off to go take a bath and read my SCBWI July-August Bulletin. Hey, you have your definition of fun. I have my definition of fun.

Woo woo!

People on my mind today: Debbie Leland, Dianna Hutts Aston, Tanya Lee Stone. Also Jean Gralley has a new Web site.

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