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>From Cape Cod to Christmas

>My mini-break at the Cape was lovely for all kinds of reasons, most notably the best ice cream I’ve had in a long time, at Four Seas in Centerville. I tried the chocolate, peppermint, peach and butter crunch–all sublime. Closes September 13th for the winter so hurry on down. Richard and I stayed just a block away at the Long Dell Inn, which went a long way in alleviating my suspicions of the term bed and breakfast. Nice bed, great breakfast, friendly innkeepers. Kept myself occupied each morning at the beach with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo while Richard one-upped me with Midnight’s Children.

Oh yes, work: the writers’ conference afforded me (and the attendees, I hope) a great six-hour discussion with Mary Lee Donovan, Debbie Kovacs, Alison Morris, Nancy Werlin and Martin Sandler about contemporary children’s publishing, from the nitty-gritty of getting an agent to larger questions about the future of the market. Everybody seemed to think that we were not seeing enough picture books (the form, Mary Lee suggested, most likely to survive as printed book) and perhaps too much YA. Nancy wisely advised the audience to cover its ears when we moaned about the current depressing economic situation–since you need to write the book you need to write anyway, she said, discouraging words can only harm.

And I finally got to meet Mitali Perkins. Yup, she’s tall.

Now the Christmas books are calling–I have to go write a review of Jim Murphy’s forthcoming Truce, about the sadly ephemeral Christmas peace on the Western Front in 1914, for our Holiday Books feature. Ho-ho-ho.

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. >I was very sorry that Jim and I had to race off before 6 on Tuesday morning (had to get to work on time). We missed the breakfast and saying good-bye.

    -Nancy W.

  2. Anonymous says:

    >too late to ask, I know, but still . . . could you identify the panel participants? I know Werlin is a writer, Donovan an editor – but are the others reviewers, publishers, librarians? all of them unknown to this novice and it's interesting to know the source of such freely offered opinions. In other words: who are the standard setters these days?

  3. Roger Sutton says:

    >Mary Lee Donovan is executive editor at Candlewick; Deborah Kovacs is editorial director of Walden Pond Press (HarperCollins imprint); Alison Morris is the children's-book buyer for the Booksmith in Wellesley, MA; Nancy Werlin is a YA novelist; Martin Sandler is an anuthor of many nonfiction books.

  4. Fran Hodgkins says:

    >Oooh, Four Seas! That's where we introduced my youngest to ice cream when she was just a baby. Now she's a total addict.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >thanks for the prompt and tactful identification of the panelists! Only a few years away and one loses touch with the powers that be! (I wasn't even aware that there was a Walden Pond imprint further sign of Harper dominance.

  6. fibercontent says:

    >I was on the Cape a few weeks ago–my sisters and mom live near Four Seas. I ate there four times in four days. All lemon crunch, all the time.


  7. terri.forehand says:

    >I have always wanted to go to the Cape, sounds fabulous. The news for new children's writers can be discouraging and may stop some from attaining their goals, but for others like myself, it is the process and the learning… that hope for reaching that goal… and simply the shear pleasure of writing that will keep me writing and submitting. Thanks for the insight.

  8. Anonymous says:

    >really, another WWI Christmas truce book? oh dear.

    Betty T

  9. Roger Sutton says:

    >Betty T, I know there are a few adult books about the truce, and some picture books that cast a fabular glow over the whole thing, but Murphy's book is really good. Context is everything.

  10. loveskidlit says:

    >Take comfort. Granted, MC is now a classic, but it's hardly one-upmanship if he has waited until the novel not only won the Booker, the Booker of Bookers 25, and the Booker of Bookers AGAIN to read it, now is it?!

  11. >I was a bit suspicious of B&Bs as well until several years ago, when traveling in Scotland by myself. I'd always wanted to go and got tired of trying to arrange to travel with friends. Staying at a B&B gave me people to talk to over breakfast (something I usually don't like when traveling, but when traveling abroad alone, it was so nice) and I met a lot of cool Scots that way–and came to find out that one of the B&Bs I stayed at in Drumlemble was built by an ancestor of mine 200 years ago!

    I love how trying to save a buck gave me one of the coolest historical experiences of my life (it was several miles out of the town I was visiting, but it was only 15 pounds a night, half the going rate for a hotel!).

    Never stayed in a Stateside B&B, but because of that experience I'm willing to try it out sometime. 🙂 Sounds like you had a fabulous time.

  12. Danny Errico says:

    >Sounds like a great conference. Do you also believe that eventually picture books will be the only printed books to survive?

  13. Roger Sutton says:

    >I think picture books will be the last to go, although by then our definition of such might be really different (broader).

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