Sad Year for Children’s Authors

Publishers Weekly had an article in their Jan. 7 issue that honored the authors and publishing professionals that died in 2012. I was astounded at how many wonderful children’s authors died. I guess I remember them from my children’s childhood and my teaching career.  Do you have memories of any of these authors?

  • Jan Berenstain — Berenstain Bears series
  • Leo Dillion — Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears
  • Jean Craighead George — My Side of the Mountain
  • Margaret Mahy — The Changeover
  • Jean Merrill — Pushcart Wars
  • Else Holmelund Minarik — Little Bear series
  • Ellen Levine — Sea Baby
  • Maurice Sendak
  • Donald Sobol — Encyclopedia Brown series
  • Bill Wallace — Dog called Kitty

Other famous authors also died in 2012: Maeve Binchy, Gore Vidal, Reginald Hill, John Keegan, Harry Harrison, Nora Ephron, and Ray Bradbury.

Speaking of Ray Bradbury, his story, The Veldt, was read on NPR’s Selected Shorts this weekend.

Ebooks are Everywhere!

We held 2 workshops on using OverDrive (the SAILS eBook and downloadable audiobook vendor) in January. Both workshops filled up in a few days and we’ve continued to have people call to sign up. All the staff are familiar with the OverDrive interface and can help with Kindle issues. Those people who have Nooks, iPads and other eReader platforms can make an appointment with me to help with any questions.  I am making handouts to help with these platforms.

Interestingly enough, many of these eReaders are given as gifts and to people over 55. The backlight, the change of font size, and the ability to get books without leaving the house all make eReaders appealing as we get older.

Often people are trying new authors on their eReaders as they browse for titles. One staff member discovered Susanna Kearsley’s Winter Sea and liked it so much we’ve ordered the paperback edition.

Macmillan and their Minotaur imprint (a great publisher for mysteries) has just made a deal with OverDrive to allow its eBooks available. The hitch is that each book can be circulated for 24 months or 52 uses — whichever comes first. That’s not very much. Our copy of In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming has gone out 63 times over the last 10 years and there are 17 other copies in the system. We’ll see how this deal works.

The look of OverDrive is going to change for the better this month with the introduction of the Next Generation format. On the side there will be the format choice and books will supposedly download easier.  You can read about it at