News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
Tomie dePaola, beloved and prolific author-illustrator of children’s books, died March 30, 2020, at the age of 85. The cause of death was “complications of surgery following a fall.” DePaola, or Tomie as his fans often called him, was perhaps best known for his Strega Nona series; the first book was awarded a Caldecott Honor.
Tomie dePaola was born in 1934 and grew up on the stories and tales his mother read him every night. Drawn to art from an early age, he earned his BFA from Pratt Institute in 1956, followed eventually by an MFA from California College of Arts and Crafts and a doctoral equivalency from Lone Mountain College. His first book as an illustrator was published in 1965, and his first as an author-illustrator came out in 1966. Strega Nona was published in 1975. In all, Tomie wrote and illustrated over 270 children’s books, which sold nearly 25 million copies worldwide. His most recent book, Quiet (2018), like many of his books, made the NYT bestseller list. His death is a loss to the children’s book community and to children and their parents everywhere.
- New Releases Struggle to Find an Audience (Publishers Weekly)
- Barnes & Noble Scales Back, closing over 500 stores and furloughing workers. (Publishers Weekly)
- Macmillan Lays Off Some Staff, Temporarily Cuts Some Salaries (Publishers Weekly)
- RWA announced the results of its 2020 Special Election to replace the Board, all of whom had resigned.
- Half Price Books Cuts Workforce By More Than 2,000 (Publishers Weekly)
- International Booker prize shortlist led by 28-year-old’s debut (The Guardian) The article discusses all six shortlisted books, but focuses most on Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s The Discomfort of Evening, translated by Michele Hutchison. (The International Booker Prize is shared by the author and translator.)
- Booksellers struggle with lack of new stock amid Covid-19 crisis in the UK (The Guardian)
- Also, here is Publisher’s Weekly‘s constantly-updated Covid-19 Impact Listing: Cancellations, Closings, Policy Changes, and More.
Worth Reading/Listening (not all book-related)
- https://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/linguists-hear-an-accent-begin/Internet Archive accused of using Covid-19 as ‘an excuse for piracy’. (The Guardian) The Internet Archive’s “National Emergency Library” includes many books that are still under copyright, by authors including J. K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King and Hilary Mantel. These books were scanned and uploaded without the authors’ or publishers’ permission. Authors around the world are speaking up against this violation of their copyrights. (Note: I included a link to the Internet Archive in an earlier News & Notes post. I have since removed it.)
- Thanks to Bookshop, There Is No Reason to Buy Books on Amazon Anymore (Inside Hook)
- How Bookshops are Helping with Isolation (BBC)
- Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Campus Is Closed, So College Students Are Rebuilding Their Schools in Minecraft (Pearse Anderson, The Verge) (The author is a senior at my alma mater.)
- 5 Science-Backed Reasons ‘Getting Lost in a Book’ is Good for You (Becoming Unbusy)
- Linguists Hear an Accent Begin when studying the accents of British scientists wintering in Antarctica. (Scientific American podcast)
Free Fiction Online
A number of authors and companies are offering free fiction to lift your spirits while you’re on lockdown.
- Free (and Legal) Science Fiction/Fantasy Reading is a long list compiled by author Jim C. Hines, and includes SFF magazines, short fiction, and sources for long fiction (like the Baen Free Library.)
Movies & Shows
- American Theatre has a list of videotaped live performances you can stream during the month of April. Many ask you to pay a small amount, or pay-what-you-can. I urge you to do so; a lot of these theaters are likely to go under if we don’t support them during the shutdown. (I’d like to put in a special plug for the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia; they do an amazing job of presenting Shakespeare and other early playwrights.)
- Adventures From Moominvalley is an animated show based on Tove Jansson’s charming Moomin series for children. The episodes are legally available on YouTube.
More Stay-At-Home Resources
- The British Library’s ‘Harry Potter: A History Of Magic’ Exhibit Available Online (Forbes) You can explore the exhibit via Google Arts & Culture, here.
- Free Dr. Seuss Printables (Read Brightly)
- These Artists Are Making Free Coloring Sheets For You To Enjoy (Book Riot) (Warning: not all are aimed at children.)
Cool, Fun, and Awesome
If you haven’t seen this British family’s social-distancing parody of “One Day More” from Les Miserables, you’re in for a treat. It’s witty and surprisingly well-executed. (I know the pandemic is serious, but laughter and humor can help many of us cope with the uncertainties of the situation.)