Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When the Newsletter Goes Out, The Blog Runs Late. On Kids Recs, Upcoming Store and Library Events Find Waldo Local.

Our email newsletter has a circulation of over 9000, compared to the blog distribution of about 450, but even though I archive the newsletters, I think they are harder to pick up on search engines. Our email newsletter has become pretty much an event calendar. Early features I did on things like book clubs and gift items have been pushed out by what becomes effectively 10 pages of newsletter for about two weeks of events. I do always start out with some new books, either staff recs from booksellers or a variation on my Tuesday blog post where I feature new titles, with some asides.

Because we tend to not do do many kids' events in summer, I decided to make the reviews all young adult fiction. If you do not get our email newsletter, you can of course read it here, but I thought it would also be a good idea to list the reviews.

After Iris, by Natasha Farrant (Dial)
Blue records her family's crazy and chaotic life with a video camera and a written diary full of witty observations that will make you laugh out loud. Her parents travel often for work so they hire Zoran, a graduate student who only knows how to cook sausage, to watch over Blue, her two sisters, Jasmine and Flora, and her brother, Twig, who are all curious, rambunctious, and hilarious. In the midst of this, Blue dearly misses her twin sister who died and tries to survive middle school. After Iris is a refreshing addition to middle grade fiction and perfect for fans of Three Times Lucky.
--Hannah Johnson-Breimeier

Twerp, Mark Goldblatt (Random House)
Julian Twerski opts for writing a journal of his sixth grade year instead of a report on Shakespeare. His stories are filled with humor and heart, and reminded me of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. But what's missing is the incident that got him and his friends suspended for a week from school, one that got the "slow" kid on their block injured. What's the real story behind what happened? That's what both Julian's teacher and I wanted to know. Based on the author's own experiences growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp sparkles with crisp true-to-life dialogue that perfectly captures the awkward antics of adolescent boys.
--Pam Stilp

We already featured Jason's review for The Rithmatist in a previous post. Twerp was featured, but not with Pam's recommendation. After Iris was never before featured.

Though the july schedule is a bit kid-thin after Joelle Charbonneau, we do have plenty of kids' events this fall however. Some, like Brandon Sanderson (Friday, October 4, 7 pm) and David Wiesner (Friday, October 11, 4 pm) will definitely be at the bookstore, while Ellen Hopkins will be at the Milwaukee public Library Loos Room (Saturday, September 21, 2 pm). while others are on the fence. I've send an email to our library contacts to see if there are authors they'd like to host. They come back with their best guess of how well they would do and what they could do to market the event. If nobody wants the event, I'll likely schedule in the bookstore. Sometimes publishers use the evening time to transport their author to the next city; in those cases, there might not be a public event component.

We do have some children's programming this summer, however, most notably the Find Waldo Local promotion which is in full swing. Several us have talked to participating retailers, and they've been almost shockingly enthusiastic. One fellow said to me that he hasn't had a promotion this successful in years, and some of the other things he's participated in have been quite expensive. We know that a lot of folks participating are in Local First Milwaukee, but the hope is that other retailers that had success with this will both join Local First Milwaukee and perhaps get more active in their neighborhood merchant groups.

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