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Adrienne Rivera
Adrienne Rivera received her MFA in fiction from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She currently lives in southern Indiana.

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Five Lesser-Known Books to Read This Christmas

Christmas is a time for traditions. From singing carols to hanging stockings, every family has their own way to celebrate the season. For many people, that includes reading their favorite Christmas stories, like A Christmas Carol or A Visit From St. Nicholas. This year, why not try something new? The following books are a somewhat less well known. Maybe your family's newest Christmas tradition is somewhere on this list.

     
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Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Maud and Miska Petersham

Part of what makes Caldecott-winning books so desirable for both children and collectors is that the illustrations accompanying the stories are at the highest level found in children's literature. Whether honoring traditions, putting a new spin on a method of illustration, or pushing the boundaries of what is commonly seen in books for children, Caldecott winning-illustrators represent the best of what books can be. Continuing our Caldecott-winning illustrators series, we look now at married writer and illustrator duo Maud and Miska Petersham, who are known in the industry for their skill and dedication to the craft that helped drive the direction of modern children's book illustration.

     
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Cornelia Funke: Fantasy for All Ages

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 10, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Children's Books, Movie Tie-Ins

German writer Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in Dorsten in what was formerly West Germany. She studied pedagogy at the University of Hamburg and after graduation, worked for three years as a social worker. She married book printer Rolf Frahme in 1979 and shortly after, left social work to briefly pursue illustration. However, she quickly turned to writing her own books, and her efforts have been supremely successful. Her first books, which in English were titled Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost and C.H.I.X., were published in 1993, and each were the the first book in a series for elementary-aged readers. She published her first novel, The Thief Lord, in 2000 and has gone on to write many successful novels for young adults, including Dragon Rider and the Inkheart trilogy, and most recently the MirrorWorld novel The Golden Yarn and picture book The Book No One Ever Read.

     
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David Macaulay's Books For All Age

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 2, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

David Macaulay's books and illustrations are as thought-provoking as they are whimsical. He first had his idea for a French gargoyle story, which became Cathedral: The Story of its Construction, in the early seventies. While the lovely gargoyle ladies of medieval France did not make the cut, he was left with a drawing of a cathedral. This inspired a trip to Europe for research and resulted in the aforementioned Cathedral: The Story of its Construction's publication in the spring of 1973. Macaulay was given the Caldecott Honor Award for his efforts. He had been an interior designer and a high school teacher before, but after receiving such a prestigious award, he devoted himself to teaching illustration at his alma mater, the Rhode Island Institute of Design, and to writing and illustrating.

     
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Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Elizabeth Orton Jones

By Adrienne Rivera. Nov 13, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Children's Books, Awarded Books

Each year, the Caldecott Medal is given to a children's book of exceptional quality that exhibits the highest level of artistic excellence. The illustrators given the award are known for their illustrations, whether it be for their beauty, humor, realism, innovation, or any other number of qualities. To be awarded a Caldecott medal is the highest honor an American children's book illustrator can receive. Continuing our Caldecott Medal Winning Book Series, we take a look at Elizabeth Orton Jones, an author who missed out on the award as a runner up in 1944, only to win the award the following year in 1945.

     
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Happy Birthday, Kay Thompson!

By Adrienne Rivera. Nov 9, 2018. 4:00 PM.

Topics: Children's Books

Kay Thompson is perhaps today best known for her work on the beloved children's book series Eloise and for her role in the equally famous film adaptation of the musical Funny Face. Both her literary, film, and music careers represent a bygone sort of old Hollywood glamour. From the music she arranged for MGM studios to her night club acts to the ritzy penthouse apartment that served as home to Eloise, Thompson's life and work serve as a glimpse into a exciting age of New York and Tinsel Town that now exists only in pop culture and memories. But it's the human heart of her work and the precocious spirit of Eloise that makes for an enduring classic. Today would have been Kay Thompson's 109th birthday, so let's take a look at the career of this Hollywood and children's literature icon.

     
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Caldecott-Winning Books Perfect For Fall

By Adrienne Rivera. Nov 2, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Children's Books

The Caldecott Medal is the most prestigious award for children's book illustration in America. Books awarded the medal are widely sought by libraries, children, and collectors alike. Though these books make for an excellent read any time of the year, we've picked out a few winners that are perfect to read during the fall. In some particular way, each of these books conjure up the feeling of autumn. Whether it be in their depiction of cool weather and changing leaves or by the way they evoke the feelings of the Thanksgiving season, these titles are perfect for this time of year. So curl up under a blanket with some hot apple cider, and check out our Caldecott recommendations for fall.

     
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Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Louis Slobodkin

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 25, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Children's Books

The Caldecott Medal has stood as a pinnacle of excellence and achievement in the field of book illustration for eighty-one years. Caldecott-winning books have long been sought after by teachers, parents, libraries, and collectors. Illustrators talented enough to be awarded the medal receive esteem from their contemporaries and often can rest assured that their work will be remembered. Not many awards can claim such wide recognition outside of the scope of their field, but the Caldecott Medal is truly well known and its importance is acknowledged even outside of the world of children's literature. Continuing our celebration of these incredible illustrators in our Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series, we look now at the seventh illustrator to be given the honor, writer and illustrator Louis Slobodkin who was awarded the medal in 1944 for his illustrations in James Thurber's Many Moons.

     
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Happy Birthday, Oscar Wilde!

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 16, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Drama

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 and today marks the 164th anniversary of his birth. The writer was schooled first in his native Dublin, then later at Oxford where he began to subscribe to the fledgling school of thought known as aestheticism, a philosophy he would adhere to for the rest of his life. He became a sort of aestheticism poster boy, writing in a variety of genres, from poetry and novels to plays and journalism. Wilde even spent some time lecturing in the United States on the subject as well as the tangentially-related topic of interior decorating, a turn which might seem odd at the outset but actually jives quite well with Wilde's notable, larger-than-life persona.

     
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Seven Women Authors Who Used Male Pseudonyms

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 9, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

It's no secret that writers often publish under pseudonyms. Sometimes it's to preserve a personal identity separate from their literary persona. Other times it is to create a distinct brand from one genre to another, like Nora Roberts publishing romance novels under one name and her murder mysteries as J.D. Robb. Stephen King did it when he released his novel under the name Richard Bachman to prove that his success wasn't a fluke and that he could succeed whether or not he used his famous name. Anne Rice has published under her own name, as A.N. Roquelaure, and as Anne Rampling after suffering some backlash over some of her early novels not being initially well received. Daniel Handler wrote his famous Series of Unfortunate Events as Lemony Snickett in order to insert the narrator as a character.

Historically, many women have chosen to use pseudonyms. Due to sexism in the publishing industry, they hoped that a male or gender neutral name could help them succeed in a male-dominated field and world. Some of the most important books in all of literature were written by women who felt they could not publish under their own names. The following seven women writers have each published work under a male or ambiguous name.

     
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How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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