Monday, October 26, 2009

For your reading pleasure

I like meeting other children's book authors. It not only allows me to learn more about the business and craft of publishing, but it introduces me to new books.

When I met Heather Henson at Books by the Banks earlier this month, I was already familiar with her lovely picture book That Book Woman, which has won the Great Lakes Book Award, the Christopher Award, Parenting magazine best book selection and other accolades. It's illustrated by the incredible David Small and tells the story of the pack horse librarians who brought books to readers in the Appalachians in the 1930s and Cal, who "does not want to sit stoney-still reading some chicken scratch."

I'd also heard of, but hadn't read, Heather's new middle grade novel, Here's How I See It--Here's How It Is. I brought home a copy and finished it in just a few days. It's a very well-told story about a girl growing up in a family that runs a summer stock theater in the middle of nowhere, just as Heather herself did. Junebug dreams of being a leading lady someday, but for now she's having a hard time getting noticed -- even in her own family.

The book's strength is its portrayal of the range of emotions that Junebug experiences as she deals with her parents' separation, an older sister who actually gets to be on stage, a new intern who seems to be understudying her role as chief gofer and eventually an illness that threatens someone very dear to her.

I also love the sense of place in these books, especially since they feel like places I've known.

So if you're looking for gifts, or for something to read....