Tag Archive: book reviews


The Kindly Ones, written by  Jonathan Littell is generating a lot of hype. For starters it is a gamble for the publishers. Why? Mainly because of the books content. In short, the book is:

“fictionalized memoir of a remorseless former Nazi SS officer, who in addition to taking part in the mass extermination of the Jews, commits incest with his sister, sodomizes himself with a sausage and most likely kills his mother and stepfather.”

Did we also mention that the author has won two awards? The Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary award, as well as a prize from the Académie Française.

Now that the book has your attention, this might be the route the publishers are going- hoping that the content of the book will generate the hype that will yield strong sales. Already, others are comparing the book to War and Peace. Others are saying that if you have any taste at all, you will not only read this book, but you will find this book to be great. And 700,000 copies have already been sold in France [2006] under the title Les Bienveillantes.

All this helps support why the publisher has so much faith that this book will sell. They better hope so too! The publisher has spent a lot of time pushing the book and making sure that book stores across the nation are stocking up. Such publicity tactics included were  sending out about 4,000 60-page pamphlets to booksellers outlining the book’s track record in Europe and including an interview with Mr. Littell and translations of some of the rave reviews from France; numerous advanced galleys; and speaking to stores on a personal level.

It will be interesting to see how well the book will do. With all the hype surrounding the book so far, it is almost fact that the book will sell. How many copies is the real question and will the publisher be happy with the decision and the effort put into getting this book out to the mass public?  The fact that the book is associated with two presigious awards may do very little for boosting sales:

“That such a novel should win two of France’s top literary prizes is not only an example of the occasional perversity of French taste, but also a measure of how drastically literary attitudes toward the Holocaust have changed in the last few decades.”

There are a number of controversial books out there to be read. This is just one of many. Also if you are looking for a good read, remember that editorial campana has several interesting titles! Anybody who has read this book, please tell us your thoughts.

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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.

 

 

 

 

My Brain Won’t Float Away

Before I was a nanny, I worked with children with special needs.   One of my classes was the first autistic class to be mainstreamed in our school district.  What I took away from that experience was that children are basically more kind than cruel if they have information about being different.   When I read My Brain Won’t Float Away, I had to smile with the gentle humor the mother used to help her child understand her disability.  Children relate to blunt questions and quiet humor.  I think it helps them process their world better.  The reason we read to our children is to open up dialog whether it be about the monsters under the bed fears or dealing with emotions, it is our doorway to helping them to think out loud.   The book doesn’t talk down to children but rather lifts them up to a world they may know nothing about in simple words and story line.   I read extensively to all the children I mention and when I was given this book for an INA raffle, I admit, I read it first!   I knew if i didn’t win it in the raffle I would be online ordering it the next day!  Lucky for me, it was given to me as a Nanny of the Year present.  I will still have to order it as I know two children already who will love it.

A Caribbean Journey from A to Y

My speciality is as a traveling nanny so naturally this book with its bright colors caught my eye immediately.   I often judge books first by the illustrations as they are so important to jump starting a child’s desire to read a book.  The first thing I do is tell them the author and who drew the pictures.   A Caribbean Journey from A to Z was a delight to read as I have had many trips with children to the various islands.   Sometimes when I go to a new child they ask me where I have been and we look on the maps.  The map in this book is gorgeous and a wonderful page to use just by itself!   I love using fun books to teach children and this will definitely go into my nanny bag.  Our world is getting smaller and books that help define or arouse curiosity about a different culture are important.   This book would be the perfect jumping off place a children’s monthly theme in the playroom.  I was very curious as how they would use the letter Z and I thought the ending was just perfect!   You will have to read it yourself to see if you agree! 

 Donna Robinson, The Traveling Nanny & 2008 INA Nanny of the Year Recipient.

 

Did you know that google allows you to view a preview of the book? http://books.google.com/ sends you to a page (that uses googles famous search ability) where you can search for just about any book you can think of. If the book is part of the preview program, you can digitally preview the book. Previews come in the following forms: Full View (if the book is out of copyright), Limited Preview as in the case of Editorial Campana’s books, or Snippet View. The preview is limited to about 20-25 % percent of the book and google informs the viewer that all the content viewed is copyrighted. An article on Cnet noted that:

Click on the preview below to see how this program works.


So what does this mean for publishers and authors? A reader can now read parts from a book to decide whether they are interested in buying the whole book. This means that a book can get more exposure, which is often the hardest part about the publishing industry. At the same time, reading some of the book allows readers to make a better decision as to whether to buy the book or not. On the flip side however, by giving that much of the book away, many may decide that they have read enough of the book and there is no need to read the rest of the book or the pages that have been omitted from the preview.

 

In the end, does it just come down to the publisher’s/author’s choice? Click Here to read what other people have said about this digital preview program.

 

Good Site For Book Reviews

If you’re looking for a good website for reviews on books by, for, and about women, check out Story Circle Book Reviews: http://www.storycircle.org/BookReviews/newsite/index.shtml. Browse in over two dozen categories for your favorite (or not-yet-discovered favorite) fiction, non-fiction, or poetry book. They are calling themselves the largest women’s book review site on the Internet. They have a large and growing catalogue of books that have already been reviewed, and a growing presence on amazon.com.

But they can describe themselves better than I can. Their mission statement: “The Story Circle Network is dedicated to helping women share the stories of their lives and to raising public awareness of the importance of women’s personal histories. We carry out our mission through publications, a web site, classes, workshops, writing and reading circles, and woman-focused programs. Our activities empower women to tell their stories, discover their identities through their stories, and choose to be the authors of their own lives.”

So join their team of reviewers, see if you can get you can get your own book reviewed, or just drop by and find your next good read.

Alicia