Category: Children’s Books


“We had a room with some books but nobody ever went in there.” This is a quote from Alan Cohen, P.S. 69’s principal. Imagine being a student in NYC and not having access to a proper library? Many students in low income communities face this issue daily. Rooms that are dedicated to being libraries, are often  found bare and deserted due to low or no funding and lack of materials- mainly books. With the economy tumbling and still uncertain, many budgets for NYC public schools have put Libraries at the bottom of the list. It seems there just isn’t enough money to support a program that is so essential to students.

There may be hope! A foundation known as the Robin Hood Foundation is looking to change the direction and image of many poverty stricken NYC public schools. The foundation over the past nine years has been:

 “dedicated to fighting poverty in New York City, and the city’s schools administration have built, with the help of private donors, libraries in 62 schools in low-income neighborhoods.”

The Foundation has had such success that many of the libraries that have been built in these schools have been adorned by murals from famous artists. These libraries and pictures have transformed schools that once seemed headed in a one way direction with the students having no choice but to follow the same dooming direction.

Another example of this transformation is Public School 47, located in the Soundview section of the Bronx. The school is in need of space. So much so that the gym has been transformed into classrooms and administrative offices have been created from bathrooms. Yet with the help of the Robin Hood Foundation, the school now seems to have a promising future- thanks to the addition of the new library located on the second floor. The room is described as expanding in a somewhat magical way. Above all, the new library (home to roughly 7,000 books) is the first “proper” library that the school has had in many years. All thanks to the Robin Hood Foundation.

Please visit their site to learn more information about how their program works and how their efforts have helped to keep literature within the NYC public school system. Foundations such as this one and books such as A Very Smart Cat/ Una Gata Muy Inteligente, My Brain Won’t Float Away/ Mi Cerebro no Va a Salir Flotando, and A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) aim to improve and inspire reading among young students and children.

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We have written several blogs about the popular Kindle from Amazon and how it could potentially replace traditional books (as well as similar devices). We here at Editorial Campana, being a book publishing company and all, try to keep up with the latest literary technology and news. Recently we stumbled across a new program that may have Kindle beat. And it’s not the only one. This new program/device/technology is called eReader. It is part of the iPhone’s application store (it is also available for many other portable devices and computers). So how does it work?

Like Kindle, you go to the eReader website and search for a book that you would like to add to your iPhone. Once you do this, you can download the book (after buying it) and then add it to your “bookshelf.” You can do this all wirelessly or you can add the book to your computer to have a much larger screen. Kindle has a similar feature that allows you to upload a book wirelessly, but here’s the catch- you have to buy Kindle for $359! The iPhone and other cell phones are much cheaper. The application is free unless you buy the pro. Looks like eReader has you beat here Kindle.

picture-11This application for your iPhone comes with a lot of great features. You can go to any page very easily and save your progress in case you need to come back to your book later. The settings section allows you to change the font size and style, change the way the pages turn (to give it amore realistic feeling), and change the screen color (black/white or reverse). And just like with the iPhone you can change from portrait to landscape depending on what you like better.

Sounds like this free application does it all. It has a very easy user interface and if you go to the website, they say they are always working on updates to make the application even better. Probably the best feature is that since this is a wireless device, it works on the 3G network or any Wi-Fi network so that you can always access your bookshelf. The only downside may be getting the books. With the computer you just go to eReader.com and purchase the book that you want. After you have bought it you can use the iPhone to update your bookshelf with your new content. We haven’t figured out how to do this on the iPhone yet (aside from the quick link to the eReader site), so we are not so sure that you can do that. As long as you have access to a computer though, your bookshelf is your mobile library. The application also works with Fictionwise and manybooks.net. There is the ability to import books from other sites, but the featured ones are easy and convienent. 

Another downside that we found was that the books were pricey for digital content as oppose to Kindle editions. For example the new Dean Koontz book, “The Good Guy,” cost about $5 for the Kindle edition whereas the eReader edition cost about regular price (about $8). The eReader does provide a program that allows you to get a discount of 15%. This program is known as the eReader Rewards program. So although the books may cost more, if you are an avid book reader, earning points will be quick and you will se significant discounts shortly thereafter. 

As more people are turning towards digital books, it looks like there are many more options now than just Kindle and the Sony device. We think it’s great that the iPhone has this application because aside from having to shell out more money and carry another device, the features are great and you will always have it with. Did we mention that the iPhone is much smaller than the Kindle?

Here is the tv ad that showed the world that the iPhone was launching into the digital reading device realm:

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Will talk to the public and present three copies of his book to the National Library, including a Special Edition courtesy of the First Lady of the US Virgin Islands.

 

New York resident, Caribbean author Mario Picayo will present his children’s book A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) and talk to the audience this Friday at 12:30 PM as part of the events celebrating the re-opening of the National Library. At 10 AM, during the opening ceremonies, Mr. Picayo will present three signed copies of the popular book to the library, including one copy of a Special Edition made exclusively for the United States Virgin Islands. The copy arrives courtesy of the First Lady of the US Virgin Islands, Cecile de Jongh as a gift to the children of Barbados. Mrs. De Jongh is a well-known literacy advocate. Several copies of A Caribbean Journey have also been purchased by the Library and will be available to its patrons and its many branches.

A Caribbean Journey from A to Y has been a commercial and critical success.  Dominican writer Silvio Torres-Saillant (An intellectual history of the Caribbean) wrote, “The images and the words combine to disrupt many of the visual and discursive stereotypes that often recur in representations of the Caribbean. I can think of no better book for children to begin the lifelong adventure of knowing the Caribbean”.  Glen “Kwabena” Davis, Director of the US Virgin IslandsEducation Department’s Culture Division, said “Mario Picayo’s A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is a book sure to motivate kids to read it over and over. The illustrations and the artistic appeal of the book make it really stand out among other children’s books.”          

Published at the end of 2007, The 64 page, hardcover, fully illustrated book has gather steam with each passing month, selling over 10,000 copies in December 2008 and becoming an Americas Award Commended Title. 

The back cover describes it as a “fun and educational journey through the Caribbean Islands, one letter at a time! From Aruba to Trinidad and from avocado to yam, the reader learns the names of many of the islands, plus fascinating facts about them.  A Caribbean astronaut? From which island? An island with over 300 rivers? Seals in our tropical waters?  And wait until you see what happened to the Z”.

Mr. Picayo is making his visit to Barbados onboard the Norwegian Gem as part of a multi-island presentation tour.  “He wants to introduce the book personally, to each Caribbean island where it is sold, or will be sold”, according to McKinley Matteson, Assistant Manager at Campanita Books, publisher of A Caribbean Journey.

On Wednesday Picayo will be visiting his old home, St Thomas, Virgin Islands to receive the Special Edition of the book destined for the National Library from the hands of First Lady de Jongh.  On Thursday he will visit Antigua,and make the book officially available on the island. Mario will also speak at the Island Academy, a private school, and by invitation of the Ministry of Education at a primary public school.  Later in the afternoon he will visit the Antigua Public Library to present copies of his book, and of other titles published by Editorial Campana to Ms. Dorothea Nelson, Chief Librarian.  

Meet the author, and take a first look at the Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) at 12:30 at the National Library Service’s new Independence Square Headquarters.

For further information please call the National Library Services at 246-435-3371 or visit www.Editorialcampana.com to read the full press release.

 

Campanita Books is happy to announce that A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) Sold over 10,000 copies in December, and was selected as a  2008 Americas Award Commended Title.
 What’s so Special about this ABC? Read the following selected Reviews and Comments:

“This very original alphabet book gives brief descriptions of many aspects of the geography, animal species and history of the Caribbean. Even though a reader might consider an alphabet book as appropriate only for beginner readers, this one has so much information and poetic language, that older, more mature children will benefit from the information conveyed. Colorful and detailed naïve illustrations accompany the text. The best part of the book is finding out what the Z means to the Caribbean”. (gr K-4)
— 2008 Americas Award Commended Title

“A Caribbean Journey from A to Y, written by Mario Picayo and illustrated by Earleen Greiswold, describes insular portions of the Caribbean region in a manner that truly teaches and delights the child reader for whom the book is intended. Told as an account of the letters of the alphabet, the verbal side of the story engagingly caters to the child’s curiosity offering invaluable information about the flora, the fauna, the landscape, and the human populations of the region. Picayo delivers historical details throughout with beautiful simplicity, as in the explanation of “what happened to Z,” which alerts readers to the slavery period and the presence of Africans in the cultures of the region. With equal command of well chosen details, Griswold’s visual side of the story of Caribbean Journey from A to Y depicts the rural, the urban, the past, the present, tradition, and change without resorting to binaries, while giving women their due at the center of life in the Caribbean and suggesting the region’s racial and cultural diversity. The images and the words combine to disrupt many of the visual and discursive stereotypes that often recur in representations of the Caribbean. I can think of no better book for children to begin the life-long adventure of knowing the Caribbean”.
–Silvio Torres-Saillant. Author of An Intellectual History of the Caribbean

“Mr. Picayo, from his personal experiences, has compiled a fascinating collection of historical and natural facts.
All young people in our islands and elsewhere, would gain immense knowledge and enjoyment from the lively narrative and brilliant illustrations. A Caribbean Journey should be on everyone’s reading list.”  
–Prof. Roy L. Schneider, M.D., Former Governor, United States Virgin Islands

“Mario Picayo’s A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is a book sure to motivate kids to read it over and over. The illustrations and the artistic appeal of the book make it really stand out among other children’s books.”
–Glenn “Kwabena” Davis, Director of the V.I. Education Dept’s Culture Division

“From a Caribbean perspective, this book is relevant to children living in the Caribbean and also to those children living outside the region. A Caribbean Journey is a must have in every library, and great learning tool in which a person of any age could pick up and learn a thing or two.”
–Myron Jackson, Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute

“ A simple search in the Internet will tell us that few ABC book about the Caribbean exists. Another, more complex search allows us to see that these kinds of texts usually are limited to the normal experiences of a traditional US or European child. A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z), published by Campanita Books is an alternative to bigger publishers that don’t yet know the market or tastes of Latino and West Indian families nor take them into account in their marketing. This book is a learning experience on many levels, in terms of text and illustrations. The simple name of an island is made into new and valuable information to add to children’s vocabulary when we discover that “St.” means saint and that there is a big island that an astronaut comes from. In the illustrations we see people of all colours and sizes, carrying out different activities that are particular to the Caribbean. These are today’s natives, past natives, tourists and dozens of starting points for lessons on history, science music and vocabulary. But a child isn’t given a book only because of the lessons we can get them to learn. A book is an object that activates the imagination and transports them to other worlds. For a nine year old child, like mine, a book has to provide just the right details to fire his desires and passion. It could be the birds or the iguanas, the flags, the volcanoes the indigenous people or the yachts. A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) has all of these and more. It’s written to entertain and educate and to leave us with more questions to answer. At the end, the Z surprises us with an invitation to make a leap across the Atlantic and continue the journey”.
–- Tanya Torres is a Puerto Rican artist, cultural activist and writer who lives in New York. In 2002 she was selected as one of the 50 Women of the Year by El Diario/La Prensa, New York’s oldest and most read Spanish language newspaper.

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A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) 
ISBN: 978‐0‐9725611‐8‐1 Format: Hardcover Price: $19.95 Number of pages: 64  
Available at your favorite bookseller,
including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

We just received this email from a very loyal fan (THANK YOU):

“Hi everyone,

A friend of mine just gave my little nieces a really good book and I want to recommend it to everybody as the perfect Holiday gift.  And, if you are from the Caribbean, or live in the Caribbean and have children, this book is a MUST.   I wish it had been around when I was growing up in St Thomas, Virgin Islands.

The name is A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (read and discover what happened to the Z).   It’s the best Caribbean children’sbook I hav e ever read.  It’s beautiful to look at with great drawings and the text is smart and funny, and teaches facts about the islands, but in a fun way.  The name of about every island is in it, the flags, a map, and it makes you feel good to be a Caribbean person. 

I am so pleased that this book is out, I bought five copies for some friends, and I am getting more for Christmas. You don’t even have to be a child to enjoy it. 

I can’t praise this book enough. Finally somebody wrote a children’s book for Caribbean children that will make them happy, will teach them and will make them proud of their heritage (read what the author did to the Z to understand what I mean), and it is a book of quality not some little flimsy paperback.  Hardcover, 64 pages in full color and it’s 19.95 (cheaper on Amazon.com). A bargain for such a nice book.

You will agree with me when you see it.  I bought it at  Amazon.com  [can also be bought through Editorial Campana] but I wish every island bookstore had it.  We got to spread the word because this book should be known and should be in our libraries and schools.”

 A Caribbean Journey from A to Y 
(Read and discover what happened to the Z)
By Mario Picayo 

Find more great titles available from Editorial Campana

For most, the holiday season has passed. We are now looking to what 2009 will bring. In the last post, we looked at how the economy was impacting the book world, both traditional and digital. 

In the following article though, it seems as though the economy may not be impacting book sales as we thought. 

What’s undermining the book industry is not the absence of casual readers but the changing habits of devoted readers.

Readers are changing, just as the world is. Although we are in a recession and sales in books have decreased, the Internet is to blame a little bit. People use the Internet to buy books as we all know. Books bought online tend to be cheaper, especially with many stores now offering free shipping aside from incredible discounts. The Internet has also become a great resource to look for books (especially if one is looking to find anew author or genre) and a great way to sell books once they have lost their value or are taking up space on much needed shelves.

What is hurting the author and publisher the most are individuals known as “resellers.” 

Some [resellers] list them for as little as a penny, although most aim for at least a buck. This growing market is achieving an aggregate mass that is starting to prove problematic for publishers, new bookstores and secondhand bookstores.

In this new method of selling books, the individual selling the book makes the money. The author and the publisher see…NOTHING. Many of the books that are sold are cheap, as in 1 cent cheap. Why would someone buy a book for $19.95 new when they could get it for almost nothing. Many of the books online that are sold look brand new or have very little wear and tear. 

Although many might suggest that these individuals are taking well deserved income away from hard working authors and publishers, others might argue that resellers are somewhat like Ebay and similar online markets that allow you to sell your old and unwanted goods. The fact that all the proceeds go to the individual who sold the book might seem unfair. Maybe, as this trend picks up someone will find a way to use these online markets to help the author and the publisher.

As the new year approaches and as New Year’s Resolutions are being made, should we be rethinking the way we buy books? 

One consequence has been to change the calculations involved in buying a book. Given the price, do I really want to read this? Now it’s become both an economic and a moral issue? How much do I want to pay, and where do I want that money to go? To my local community via a bookstore? To the publisher? To the author?

Another interesting article: Booksellers and Publishers Nervous as Holiday Season Approaches

View the original article quoted: Bargain Hunting for Books, and Feeling Sheepish About It

Dec. 10, 2008- Thousands of copies of Campanita Book’s A Caribbean Journey from A to Y(read and discover what happened to the Z) were distributed to the children of the United States Virgin Islands this week by the First Lady of the Territory, Cecile de Jongh, by Santa Claus himself, and by many helping elves.

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The gift is extra special because A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) was turned into a Special Edition just for this event!!!

 

The preface by de Jongh reads:
It is my great honor as First Lady of the United States Virgin Islands to join Mario Picayo and his many readers worldwide in celebrating the proud cultures of the Caribbean. A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is a wonderful expression of the diversity of the Caribbean peoples and their lifestyles. It takes us on a journey through the islands of the region and shares important and interesting facts about each location.

As you turn the pages, you will discover the many special places, foods, and experiences of the Caribbean. Truly a treasure all on its own, this delightful book is a journey to places near and far that we can all enjoy. It is a reminder of our shared ancestry and celebrates the similarities and differences of each of the islands and their people. Perhaps what we learn the most from this wonderful book is that we are all God’s children, each of us brothers and sisters in paradise.

As a Virgin Islander and as a passionate advocate for children and literacy, I am proud to join you on this educational journey through the Caribbean. Enjoy!

 

Go to EditorialCampana.com to read the press release. You can also go to The St.Thomas Source to read the article in it’s original format, written by Molly Morris.

There is still time to give one of Campanita’s books (or all of them) as a Holiday present!!!

Remember the book, “Goodnight Moon?” Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd in 1947, this book has become a bedtime classic for parents and children alike. It seems that the book has grown up… now known as “Goodnight Bush.” Or has it?

Actually, this new book is somewhat of a parody on the 1947 classic. Sure they share the same cover color scheme, and you may notice that there is similar language. After that though, the books prove to be two different pieces of literature. Clever tactic though to get people interested in this book isn’t it? “ I thought it was brilliant,” said Mr. Shandler (Little, Brown editor in chief), whose company also published the parody “Yiddish With Dick and Jane.”

This strategy may not be as smart as one would think. For example, as the article states, the parody, “Yiddish With Dick and Jane,” brought about questions and a lawsuit regarding trademark and copyright infringement. This parody-based book became quite popular and has even landed a space on youtube:

The author of this new book, “Goodnight Bush,” is hoping that the “fair use”  doctrine, will keep controversy at bay.

The publisher of “Goodnight Bush” is counting on the fair use doctrine, which allows limited amounts of copyrighted material to be used without permission. “Parody as fair use is a developing area of the law,” said Pamela Golinski, an entertainment lawyer in New York, “and as a result, whether a given parody merits the shield of the fair use doctrine is a complex question.”

Does it seem right that to some extent, some material may be reproduced to create a different version- thus creating a new book? It would seem hard to believe that a children’s classic bedtime story could be turned into a piece of literature with characters such as Osama bin Laden and George Bush filling the pages. Although such copyright and trademark questions have arisen before, we should be asking ourselves at what point do we use clever marketing strategies to promote books. Does “Goodnight Bush” cross the line? Should clearly adult books be allowed to parody children’s books?

Revisiting one of our posts dated April 14, 2008, we talked about our books going digital and a new device known as “the Kindle.” Since then we’ve wondered how popular this cousin to the iPod would do? Some stated that they would continue to read traditional books, while others noted that this device was more practical and space saving. So what has become of the Kindle?

An article posted on June 2nd discussed how an electronic device (a.k.a kindle) had stirred some questions at a recent book fair. Although it was a BOOK fair, Kindle got most of the attention:

Electronic/digital books have been around since 1968. They became popular when authors such as Stephen King started to dive into this area (with his book Riding the Bullet). So why now are publishers and bookstores concerned about books being turned into digital format? “Much of the expected growth in electronic books can be tied to the Kindle.” Furthermore, publishers are saying that they are seeing a dramatic increase in sales from digital books- many publishers have now doubled their digital selection and sales (in total) are reaching past $1 million. 

As Kindle increases to grow in popularity (and similar devices such as Sony’s Reader Digital Book so will digital books. Although it may take a while before digital books become the norm, it seems safe to say that we are getting a glimpse of the future. Digital seems to be the new standard. Is this good or bad? 

Editorial Campana has several titles that are in Kindle format– seeing as this new technology will one day revolutionize the literary world, getting a head start seems like a good idea.

Full Article

The Very Smart Cat continues to work on her book (with help from Mario Picayo). She has been busy going around Catskill asking local businesses to advertise. She has had roughly 18 businesses decide to advertise (so far). This project, inspired by Mario’s daughter, Cristina Friedman-PIcayo, gives a more realistic feeling. As you will discover when you read this funny piece of children’s literature, there are three pages dedicated to classifieds (one ad that even puts the Very Smart Cat up for adoption- free!).

Besides making the book realistic, the concept behind this project is as follows: “The “ads” will be a permanent part of the book, so your “ad” will be seen locally, nationally and internationally for years to come!” Mario, his wife Carla, and Cristina went to local businesses in the Catskill area and asked if they would be interested in being a part of Catskill literary history by having an “ad” in the newest children’s book from Campanita Books titled A Very Smart Cat/ Una gata muy inteligente. The outcome was what we hoped. 

Mario is currently working with illustrator Yolanda V. Fondura to have the businesses ad’s inserted into the classifieds. When you read the book and see these ads, it will be as though you were looking at a real classified section. People will see that the very smart cat is is based on real life, They can even visit the businesses that are advertised in the book. This is where the book becomes interactive.

Besides the book being based on a real cat, that was rescued by animal lover Cristina and besides the fact that the farm is real, people will have the ability to visit many of the stores that the cat and Cristina have visited. Some of the stores that have decided to advertise in the book are located in Woodstock and Saugerties, NY. That is how successful this project was.

We’ll keep you updated (we are currently working on promoting the well being of cats around the nation with this book). June is national Adopt a Cat month. This book hopes to make people more aware of cats, the need to respect them, and to have fun while reading a wonderful book.

Just how real does the picture from the book look like the actual farm, Willow Bark Farms?

And don’t forget about the Very Smart Cat…