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>Scary Salmon, Saucy Swede

>Although I’ve written here or elsewhere that I don’t like to have children’s-book art hanging in my house (because it reminds me of work and because I don’t think much sequential-style illustration works on the wall) I was very pleased to acquire, at the ABC silent auction at BEA, a drawing by Jules Feiffer, of either a lion or a dog. It’s not that I can’t tell what the picture is; it’s that there were two drawings (both sketches Feiffer had done for a bookstore presentation) in the lot and I went in with Hyperion’s Brenda Bowen for the killer bid. Now we just have to decide who gets which.

The auction was fun, the dinner following was edible (barely–scary salmon), the speakers–Jerry Pinkney, Eoin Colfer–were bearable. Adding glamour to the evening was a tribute to Katherine Paterson on the occasion of her Astrid Lindgren award, positioned as a Nobel Prize for children’s literature by the Swede (I’m sorry, I don’t know his name) who introduced Paterson. I was a little taken aback by this gentleman’s gratuitous bragging–that’s how it sounded to me–of Sweden’s abstinence from armed conflict since the the Napoleonic Wars, but it played to the crowd. John McPhee’s La Place de la Concorde Suisse opened my eyes to the whole armed neutrality thing, and it isn’t pretty. Either.

I heard that the speakers at the children’s book breakfast the next day were, um, interesting, but I wasn’t there. Were you? Do tell.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >Now we have almost nothing else up on our walls. Runaway Bunny poster. (I don’t actually like the book much, just the art.) Homemade posters of the gorgeous art from Dragonsong and Dragonsinger. And my treasured cartooned-for-me poster of The Night I Followed the Dog.

    Nothing children’s book related in my office though, come to think of it…

  2. rindawriter says:

    >Wah! I want a sketch of Duck, I do, I do!

    Yes, “armed neutrality,” a creepy phrase, if you ask me…
    I have always secretly wondered about why it took so long for the official “outside” world to learn about what the Germans were doing to the Jews, though I’m not as knowledgeable in modern history as in the renaissance world. Germany, historically, was long a place where Jewish persecution went on uninhibited and even sanctioned by the status quo. So the seeds had long been germinating there and in other countries close by as well.

    I myself blame a lot of the silence on so many of the pastors of the churches in Germany and in countries close to it, staying silent on the matter, although there were the few, the rare, and the courageous pastors as well as many others, of course, who did speak out early and long–and many of whom died for those actions.

    We must never forget. We must never forget.

  3. KT Horning says:

    >I thought it was the Hans Christian Andersen Medal that was considered the Nobel Prize of children’s literature.

    As for Wahlqvist, if I were in his shoes, I’d have bragged about the fact that the award is funded by the state. We’re talking more than half a million U.S. dollars in prize money, too. That’s no small gesture in support of children’s literature and the arts. Brag away, Sweden!

  4. Roger Sutton says:

    >Thanks for the i.d., KT, that’s Peter Wahlqvist, Swedish cultural attache. The Lindgren is the most lucrative children’s-book prize, yes? Good for them (the Swedes).

  5. Kristen McLean says:

    >Hi Roger,

    Next year we will be serving alligator.

    I thought you might like to prepare yourself.



    Kristen McLean
    Executive Director
    The Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC)

  6. Anonymous says:

    >Well, I can say that the b’fast the next morning was appalling. Hundreds of people and two or three waiters roaming around with cold coffee, being harrangued on all sides by under-caffeined women. A dangerous place. “Breakfast” was ice cold, rock hard bread items and not even enough in the little baskets to feed all the people at the table. If I were the sponsors, I’d ask for my money back.

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