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Top Books by State: California

Today we continue our Top Books by States series by talking a closer look at California. California is one of the most diverse states in the country, containing deserts, mountains, cities, beaches, and farmland all within its borders. It also serves as the heart of the American entertainment industry. California writers are just as diverse as their state. The books featured here are of a variety of genres, but what makes them some of the best and most representative of the state aren't just that their writers live in California, but that they all exemplify something of the beauty and spirit of the Golden State.

     
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Lawrence Block: Master of Crime

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

Renowned novelist Lawrence Block has been intriguing and mystifying readers since the 1960s with his beloved crime novels and short stories. Though he has been publishing almost constantly since the publication of his first novel, Grifter's Game, which was published in 1961, Block actually got his start writing in an unconventional way. Before becoming the legend of crime fiction that he is today, Block actually wrote erotic novels under a variety of pen names. He had some skill for writing and at nearly two hundred dollars per erotic story and upwards of fifty jobs a year, the job was fun and easy. Block credits this early experience with forging many of the writing skills that led him to break out into the genre of crime fiction.

     
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Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Nicolas Mordvinoff

Every year a book that represents the best that children's book illustrations have to offer is awarded the Caldecott Medal. The Caldecott Medal is considered one of the most prestigious awards that an American children's book can receive and illustrators awarded this honor are widely acknowledged to be the best in the business. Often times, the medal is an indicator of an already impressive career or a sign of great things to come from the illustrator. The Caldecott Medal often ensures continuous print for an awarded book, and good things for the illustrator's future work. Even so, sometimes the illustratordespite the impressive nature of their workdoes not necessarily achieve household name status. The 1952 winner of the Caldecott Medal, Nicholas Mordvinoff, is one such illustrator. Though he had great success within his field, providing beautiful art for dozens of books during his career, the majority of the books to which he contributed are no longer in print. Let's continue our Caldecott Medal Winning Illustrators Series by taking a closer look Mordvinoff, who has in recent years become one of the more obscure winners.

     
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Movie Tie-Ins: Sturges' and Tracy's Old Man and the Sea

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 5, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Awarded Books, Movie Tie-Ins

Ernest Hemingway (1889-1961) is universally considered one of the most important writers of the 20th century and certainly one of the most influential writers of the American literary canon. Hemingway's career stretched over three decades of war. He wrote travel journalism, seven novels, numerous novellas, short story collections, and works of nonfiction. His novels For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Sun Also Rises are considered to be some of the most important works of literature written in the English language.

Hemingway's style has served as an influence to generations of writers and has helped form the landscape of modern American literature. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature, two of the highest honors a writer can receive. His work has been adapted numerous times for both television and film. One of the most notable adaptations of a beloved Hemingway novel is the 1958 film adaptation of The Old Man and the Sea starring Spencer Tracy.

     
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A Lasting Mark: The Legacy of Virginia Hamilton

By Adrienne Rivera. Mar 12, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Awarded Books, Newbery Award

Esteemed children's book author Virginia Hamilton was born the youngest of five children in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1934 during the great depression. Her maternal grandfather came to the state on the Underground Railroad, and the family always prized the freedom to pursue education, creativity, and freedom. The encouragement she received in her home environment helped Virginia Hamilton graduate at the top of her class and receive a full scholarship to Antioch College. Hamilton later transferred to Ohio State University where she studied literature and creative writing, actively pursuing the field in which she would eventually succeed. During her lifetime, she won every major award for young people's literature for which she was eligible, and she has left a lasting mark as one of the most awarded writers of American children's literature. 

     
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The Important Life and Work of Ralph Ellison

By Adrienne Rivera. Mar 1, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting, Awarded Books

Born on March 1, 1914 in Oklahoma City and named after transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, American novelist and literary critic Ralph Ellison remains an important figure and influence in American literature and scholarship. But in spite of his numerous awards and the influence he has had on African American literature, Ellison almost pursued a different field entirely.

     
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Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Roger Duvoisin

By Adrienne Rivera. Feb 13, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Awarded Books

Every year, the Caldecott Medal is awarded by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association. The committee reviews children's books published throughout the year and select one book whose art exemplifies the best of American illustration. To be named winner of the Caldecott Medal is a massive achievement and often comes as a sign that the book is destined to be loved by generations of children. These distinguished books are sought after by both children and collectors. Continuing our ongoing Caldecott Medal Winning Illustrators Series, let's take a closer look at 1948 winner, Roger Duvoisin.

     
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And the Award Goes To: 2019 Caldecott and Newbery Winners

By Leah Dobrinska. Jan 28, 2019. 12:56 PM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Awarded Books, Newbery Award

Today is one of the most anticipated days of the year for children's book enthusiasts. This morning, the the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, announced the winners of the 2019 Caldecott Medal and Newbery Medal, among other children's literature awards. These coveted prizes go a long way in cementing their authors and illustrators as fixtures in the children's literary landscape. Their books will be found on our shelves and in libraries the world over for years to come. Without further ado, the winners of the 2019 Caldecott and Newbery medals are...

     
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Isabel Allende: The Interesting Life of a "Raging Feminist"

By Ellie Koczela. Jan 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Literature

“She sowed in my mind the idea that reality is not only what we see on the surface; it has a magical dimension as well and, if we so desire, it is legitimate to enhance it and color it to make our journey through life less trying.” ~Isabel Allende, Eva Luna

Isabel Allende once said she “didn’t want a happy life but an interesting one.” Raised in Peru, Chile, Lebanon, and Bolivia, and eventually forced into exile when her cousin, Salvador Allende, was deposed as President of Chile, it is safe to say that she is achieving her goal. 

     
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Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Leonard Weisgard

One of the finest achievements an illustrator of children's books can receive is the illustrious and much-lauded Caldecott Medal. Established in 1938 by the American Library Association, the award is given out as a means to find and honor the greatest contributions to the field of American children's book illustration. The Caldecott Medal is given annually to “the most distinguished American picture book for children,” whether that be for innovation in the field, incredible beauty, a unique sense of whimsy, or anything else that might cause the book to stand out to children. In 1948, this honor was given to Leonard Weisgard. Continuing our Caldecott Medal Winning Illustrator Series, let's explore the career of this talented and notable illustrator:

     
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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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