Monday, August 30, 2010

Elsie's Bird Blog Event Day One - Jane Yolen's 300th book!

JANE YOLEN, “THE HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN OF AMERICA,”
PUBLISHES 300TH BOOK THIS FALL
Award-winning, bestselling author Jane Yolen, whom Newsweek dubbed “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” is publishing her 300th book this fall.  Yolen’s books and stories have been honored with some of the publishing industry’s most distinguished awards, including a Caldecott Medal, a Caldecott Honor, two Nebula awards, the Jewish Book Award, and two Christopher Medals.  She’s received three body-of-work awards and six honorary doctorates.  Yet when she began her writing career as a journalist and poet, she could never have guessed that someday she'd be the author of 300 books for children, teens, and adults. 

Yolen marks the milestone with Elsie’s Bird (Philomel), a lyrical picture book illustrated by Caldecott Medalist David Small, about a motherless Boston girl who moves to the Nebraska prairie.  The author’s words also sing out in five other new books this fall:  Lost Boy: The Story of the Man Who Created Peter Pan (Dutton), a picture book biography of J.M. Barrie; Hush, Little Horsie (Random House), which tucks in the youngest picture book lovers with a lullaby of love; Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems (Candlewick), an anthology co-edited with Andrew Fusek Peters; The Barefoot Book of Dance Stories, written with Heidi E.Y. Stemple (Barefoot Books), featuring dance folktales from around the world and a story CD narrated by Juliet Stevenson; and How Do Dinosaurs Laugh Out Loud? (Cartwheel Books/Scholastic), a lift-the-flap book.

 “When I think of the actual number, it seems overwhelming,” says the versatile author.  “But I just love writing, and I can remember working on each book even when I cannot actually name them all without the aid of a list.  I never set out to write this many books.  It just happened.  And you should see the manuscripts I have not yet sold!  I have enough ideas to last me for the rest of my life.”

Yolen truly makes music with words in this fall’s ensemble of books.  Elsie’s Bird evokes a symphony of sound, from the gulls in Boston harbor to the sandhill cranes of the Nebraska grasslands, as it follows Elsie’s journey from grief and loneliness to acceptance.  The prairie feels empty and silent to Elsie, until the day her beloved canary escapes.  Chasing him into the tall grass, she discovers that the prairie sings a song of its own, different from the familiar sounds of Boston, but every bit as beautiful.  Small’s watercolors harmonize with Yolen’s moving words as Elsie’s sadness transforms into an appreciation of her new home.  Elizabeth Bird, writing for SchoolLibraryJournal.com, calls the book “a love song to the country.” 

1 comment:

Children books said...

Marya, Thank you for an absolutely beautiful review. I keep re-reading your line about the ending, how it is sometimes a combination of good things, and less than perfect things, just like real life