Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Debby Dahl Edwardson's MY NAME IS NOT EASY is a finalist for the National Book Award!

A hearty congratulations to Debby Dahl Edwardson! Today (October 12, 2011), her outstanding My Name is Not Easy was named as a finalist for the National Book Award! Here's a book trailer about her book:

 In addition to the page at the NBA site, take a look at Debby's website. I'll add blog posts and news articles about the book as I find them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maurice Sendak's BUMBLE-ARDY

From the children's lit community to the Wall Street Journal, people are talking about Maurice Sendak's new book, Bumble-Ardy. Some readers like it, while others do not. Sendak first introduced the main character on a clip on Sesame Street years ago. In the clip, Bumble-Ardy is a nine year old boy has a birthday party at his house.

In the book, Sendak changes Bumble-Ardy into a pig, and when the pigs come to his house, it is by an invitation from Bumble-Ardy in which he says they must come in costume.

A few days ago, friend and colleague Thomas Crisp wrote to let me know that Sendak's illustrations in Bumble-Ardy include a character whose costume is of the playing-Indian type. Here's a close up:

That is from the first time we see that character.  Many things to comment on, but let's stick with the costumes. Below is the full two-page spread when we first see the pigs in costume.

Help me figure out who or what they are! (I apologize for the overlap of the photo into the right column... If you want to see an even larger image, click on the photo. It should open just the photo in a new page.) Some of the pigs are wearing masks that cover their pig face; others do not wear masks. To varying degrees, they are just plain ridiculous.

If you've got some ideas and time to share them, write to me by using the "Contact AICL" button in the tool bar above, the comment box below, or by email.

 From left to right:

 1.  Clown, no mask
 2.  Kind of reminds me of Groucho Marx, but no mustache. He is holding a balloon.
 3.  Wearing a skirt and an orange sweater, but that mask?!
 4.  Disheveled man with a cigar
 5.  Lost pig (holding sign), no mask
 6.  Rich lady (mask) and little pig (no mask)
 7.  Pirate
 8.  Pig-in-a-blanket
 9.  Like #3, I can't figure this one out. Wearing a dress but what is up with that mask?
10. Tiara and eye mask... (being ridden by #9)
11.  Indian
12.  Bearded policeman, no mask. What does that beard signify?
13.  Court jester, no mask

Once I get a better idea of who the characters are dressed as, we can go on to do some analysis of the costuming.

By the way, Sendek is an old-hand, so to speak, at stereotyping American Indians. Remember his alphabet book, Alligator's All Around? The "Imitating Indians" page? The book was first published in 1962 by Harper and Row as one of four books packaged as "The Nutshell Library."

On the I page, we see two alligators who, the text tells us, are "Imitating Indians." There are many problems with the page. First, imagine what the response would be if the alligators were imitating a different racial or ethnic group! Second, most readers of AICL know that the word "Indian" obscures the diversity that exists across the over 500 American Indian Nations in the U.S. today.  Third, the page suggests that Indians wear multi-colored feathered headdresses, and carry tomahawks and smoke peace pipes. And of course, they do that and everything else with stern or stoic expressions. And, let's not forget that they raise an arm to say "how" (cuz that's how Indians say hello... NOT).

Sadly for us all, Sendak is still giving us stereotyped Indians.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Great news! Richard Van Camp's THE LESSER BLESSED in production

Last week, auditions were held for parts in Richard Van Camp's outstanding novel, The Lesser Blessed.

This movie is one to keep an eye on...  Here's the website: The Lesser Blessed.