Open Sesame

September 30, 2010

Or is it…open says me? I never knew.

Which ever it is, the window is now open for 28 Days Later submissions.

The Brown Bookshelf is still here four years later because of word-of-mouth. For those who visit regularly, we appreciate your spreading the word about submission time and then promoting 28 Days Later when February hits. Without that we’d be shouting into the wind.

So we need your help once again. For our regulars, you’ll notice we’ve cut the submission window down to a solid month. In years past it’s remained open until November. But what we’re finding is, we get a good run the first two weeks and then things really drop off.

I’m hoping we can get a good run going. I don’t care if it’s a week or for the entire month – I just want to see a good streak of books and authors submitted. It would be exciting to get a deeper candidate pool. But we all know, the pool is only as deep as the offerings. So if you haven’t already start digging and then throw those names in the ring.

We appreciate you!

SEEING is believing

September 29, 2010

Click here to see the video:

I love how technology has changed how authors and illustrators can promote their works. With this video, Shane W. Evans beaks way beyond the typical. Not quite sure if it’s a book trailer, but whatever it is, it’s certainly fun and memorable. Sing along!

Learn more about Shane at his website and blog.

Click here for more on Olu’s Dream.

(Note: Myself, I’m not so video-embed savvy. So you’ll have to click the link, wait a few seconds, then click the image on screen to launch the video.)

Giving Time

September 21, 2010

Every Sunday my pastor does her little routine…

“What time is it?” she says, a glint in her eye as she scans the church.

And the congregation responds, “It’s giving time.” And everyone knows that it’s time to dig deep into their pockets or checkbooks and prime themselves for the offering.

Well, it’s giving time here at the Brown Bookshelf. Or at least, almost. On September 30th the submission window opens for our 4th Annual 28 Days Later. And we want the regular visitors to our site to start shaking the literary tree for those gems that deserve to be recognized in February 2011.

You may have noticed that I’ve been out of the literary loop for a few months now – absent from BBS and many other writers circles. And not that I thought the landscape would change in the six months I’ve been gone, but while cruising the bookstore I’m not seeing any more variety from books featuring African Americans than I did a few years ago.

I can’t help but feel like our progress has been terribly slow. I’m not so jaded as to think there’s been none, but…I’m not doing any chair dancing here, in celebration of what progress has been made.

You all know I’m a YA-chick, so I look at the literary world through that lens and from that perspective I’m really displeased with the lack of broader offerings.

Kimani Tru is still holding it down, well. And for that, I’m grateful. But, I’m simply not seeing the breadth of diversity among other publishers that I’d thought we’d see by now.

I’m three years removed from my series debut and I thought my series would be the first of many. But I’ve no proof we’re any closer to that than when Kensington acquired me in ’06.

So, look…before I begin philosophizing, get your thinking caps on. The submissions window will open September 30th and will remain open until the end of October. We, here at the Brown Bookshelf, will continue to celebrate what’s out there as we advocate for an increase in the inventory. So we need your help.

So, let me hear it… What time is it?

Calling all unpublished authors of color

September 8, 2010

Click here for more info.


September 2, 2010

If I had time to report on all the books I’ve recently received, I’d only be kidding myself. Deadlines. My work is piled high. No time for reading, but I still want to mention a few books that have arrived in my mailbox:

We Could Be Brothers (Scholastic Press, 2010), by Derrick Barnes, for ages 12 to 14. Three boys on a collision course that intersect, and will change their lives forever.

The Cruisers (Scholastic Press, 2010), by Walter Dean Myers, ages 9 – 12. Four kids at a Gifted and Talented school in Harlem are given a charge while studying the Civil War  — negotiate a peace between the North and the South before the war breaks out. Through the use of an alternative school newspaper, the friends learn the power to keep peace using the written word, but they also learn how words can be used as weapons, too.

Rosa’s Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights, written by Jo S. Kittinger, illustrated by Steven Walker (Boyds Mills Press, 2010). To be honest, when I first received this book, I didn’t read it. I sat it aside, thinking, Hm. No disrespect, but we already know the Rosa Parks story because there are at least five-hundred-and-sixty-thousand-million picture books on this subject. Can we learn about someone else, too? But before posting this blog, I read the book, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s the wonderful story of Rosa Parks, yes. But this version is just as much about the bus where Rosa staged her protest. Bus #2857. Have you ever wondered if the the walls could talk what they would say? What stories they might behold? Think about it, Rosa’s bus, now on permanent display at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn Michigan, has seen a lot of history. Fascinating book with a unique point of view.

All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine (Tundra Books, 2010), written by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Bill Slavin. Elijah McCoy, the son of slaves, studied abroad. In Scotland, he learned all about how to design and build engines. But back home, for a Black man, all that learning didn’t mean a thing. Elijah took a job shoveling coal into a train’s firebox.

But that didn’t stop the inventor from doing what he did best — inventing! Elijah McCoy invented an oil cup that made train travel faster  because  the train didn’t have to be stopped to be oiled. And safer for those who had to oil it. The perfect story for your inventor in the making.

For the early reader, author Gwendolyn Hooks offers her PET CLUB stories (Stone Arch Books). Pets at the Party, The Noisy Night, Find the Cat, The Best Trick. The stories are easy to read (less than 300 words), and are designed to provide enjoyable reading while developing vocabulary and comprehension. Fun illustrations, too!

Well, that’s it for now.

My apologies for the quick post, which probably suffers from all types of gramatical and spelling issues — or other unfortunates — but again, I’m under the time crunch.