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17 posts from May 2011

May 31, 2011

Paper Dolls!


We don't have cool extra things very often, because mostly we spend our time publishing books.  But that means we are always happy when our authors do something neat!

From Jen Wang, author of Koko Be Good:

Koko loves to dress up! Help her and Faron mix and match their outfits for your desk. Each set comes with Koko and Faron dolls, doll bases, 14 different clothing items, and an envelope signed by the author.

I got to see these at TCAF, and they're adorable!  Buy a set here

May 30, 2011

SOOF 006 small rough

We don't do very-far-ahead previews often, because mostly we find it more useful to talk about things that are at least in the going-to-be-here-soon realm.  But I'm making an exception for Nate Powell, because:

1) Nate Powell is awesome.

2) He is having an art show which is now, so it would not be any use to tell you about it when his book is coming out (in January 2012).

So!  If you are in the improbable location of Bloomington, Indiana and desire to see some Nate Powell art, you should head over to The Owlery and there will be some there for you all the month of June.  There's an opening on the 3rd from 10pm - 1am, so you might stop by that as well. 

(Also, this book!  It's going to be very good.)

May 27, 2011

Limericks & Nazis


There once were three siblings who were at war

(Not with each other; something more hardcore)

The Nazis came in

Left them nothing to win

In the end, what were they fighting for?

(One of the ways this Sydney Taylor Honor winning trilogy about kids fighting Nazis is most interesting is that everything is ambiguous -- doing what is legally the right this is different from ethically the right thing, and different again from a number of conventions -- obeying your parents, listening to your teachers, etc.  Carla Jablonski and Leland Purvis do a very nice job of conveying that in-between state here.  This next volume of the trilogy comes out in June.)

May 25, 2011

The Publishing Industry II

(a hands-on practical guide to saving the publishing industry by yourself)


(from the US National Archives)

Sometimes we get sort-of disgruntled calls or e-mails from people who are frustrated to find that publishing does not seem to be going down any sort of tube anytime soon, and they therefore cannot single-handedly save us with the power of their minds.

To them, and all of the rest of you whose minds may be filled with the burning desire to do something, we offer some avenues to explore.

Buy Books. 

This is kind of the #1 thing; if you're concerned about the possibility of no more books ever being published again, you should try to buy some books once in a while.  Have a bookshelf in your house.  Put books on it as well as decorative statuary.  When you fill it up, buy another. 

Embrace the philosophy of books as gifts -- in perusing the shelves of your local chain or independent bookstore or the tubes of the internet, you should be able to find a book that is fun or silly or serious or very strange and therefore perfect for the person you need a gift for. 


You may not want to buy every single book you're curious about -- maybe you don't have the room in your house or the space in your budget.  You know what's great for that?  Libraries!  They are everywhere, and full of books.  You can ask the librarians about books they'd recommend for you, and request that they special-order books for you, either through inter-library loans or just buying them outright.  Those librarians!  So helpful.

If you are super-excited about your local library (as everyone should be!), there are ways you can level up in supporting it.  Take a moment to check in with your local librarian about things like book drives, summer reading programs, tutoring, and other outreach they can do.  Most libraries are glad to have competant and enthusiastic help in their mission of getting books into peoples' hands. 

Have Conversation.

Consider talking about books sometimes.  You know the #1 thing that convinces me I should read a new book?  When someone I know tells me I should.  So -- if you've read a book and you're excited about it or interested or have something to say, find someone and tell them about it. 

Pro Tip: you may do this 'talking about books' thing in person or online on book-related communities like GoodReads or LibraryThing.  Try it sometime. 

Pro Tip 2: conversation about books (depending on the book, but still, 99% of the time) makes for completely unobjectionable verbiage when in unfamiliar social situations; at the water cooler at work, when meeting new people, at parties, navigating family dynamics, and talking to small children.  All of those people may be interested in books!  Try out some conversation with them; if you get blank stares, fear not!  You can always change the subject to octopi or data processing. 

Ask People What You Can Do.

This is a bit of a complicated one, because people only think of it infrequently.  So: it turns out that there are many things that go on in the world that you may be completely unaware of, even if they are in your home town or state!  Crazy, right?  But: if you are on fire to do things, try asking people if there are things that are already going on that you could be a part of -- or things that should be going on that you could make happen.

Good people to ask include: friends, teachers, librarians, booksellers, authors, small children, museums, event spaces, and (sometimes) the internet.

Do Nice Things.

Do you already buy books and volunteer at your library and help out with your local book festival and do literacy outreach and your conversation is at least 50% composed of book-related objects?  We advise you to consider your life's balance and possibly take up a low-maintenance hobby like white-water kayaking.  (Though we understand that if you are at all connected with the publishing industry, re-balancing your life thusly may be less-than-feasible.)

But!  If you are still on-fire to help out with the cause of books, take a step back and think about what you read.  Is there an author whose works you particularly appreciate?  A publisher who you think does a great job with the books they put out?  Is there an illustrator whose work just blows your mind every time you see their new picture book or graphic novel?  Is there a book that changed your life?

Take the time to sit down and write those book-makers a letter.  Then send it to them. 

It'll make their day.

May 23, 2011

Fall 2011: Surprise! More Books


(from the Keene Public Library)

Surprising hopefully no one, we have still more graphic novels coming from First Second this fall.  Additional information on them to come later, when we are not in the two-week ramp-up to our first salvo of spring titles, but I wanted to say: a pdf of our catalog information is now online here!  So you can get an early look at what we're going to be being excited about come August. 

(As always: teachers, librarians, retailers, media: if you need information/books/author contacts etc., let me know: gina.gagliano@firstsecondbooks.com.)

May 20, 2011

Primordial Limericks


In the first days of the land that because the U.S.

There were things in the land that no one could guess.

Gods and giants -- mayhem

And people to fight them --

And then everything made quite a mess.

(Um, this book has a whole lot more poetry and grace than this limerick does.  Sorry, Joe and Will!)

May 19, 2011

NYPL Centennial

(now with legos, ice cream, and also comics)


(image ganked from here)

The New York Public Library is celebrating its centennial this year; congratulations to them!  Actually, to be more specific, they're celebrating this weekend.  And there are comics involved!  (And also much other cool stuff.)  Go check out their schedule

May 18, 2011

The Publishing Industry

(not dead today, but thanks for asking)


(from Cornell University Library's collection)

Because I live in New York and associate 50% - 75% exclusively with people involved in the publishing industry in some capacity, sometimes I forget that people outside my professional and social circles have less of an inside track on this doom&gloom the media is currently projecting on the book industry.  Luckily, I occasionally end up leaving New York for a dose of reality, and while at TCAF I was confronted with several people speaking of publishing in the hushed tones one typically only hears in a funeral parlor. 

Two cents from me about this whole situation: 

Publishing: we're in a time of change!  It's becoming easier to self-publish, to self-promote, to work with the internet to make cool things happen.  And: how neat is that?  More people are reading in different platforms, doing different things with storytelling to adapt to new ways information is being conveyed.  We are all for it. 

So: with many people jumping on the self-publishing bandwagon, how will readers figure out what books work for them?  How do they know something is worth their time and money? 

That question has a number of answers, but one of them is this.

Publishers are a quality-guarantee.  We stand behind every book we publish and say to our readers: we believe in this.  And we back up that guarantee by working with teachers and librarians and retailers and media and conventions and authors and illustrators and readers and all sorts of other kinds of people to make sure that every book is the best book possible and that it gets out to the most people possible. 

I work in publishing because I love books; I don't know anyone who works in this industry who doesn't.  And you know what all of these publishing people, teachers, librarians, retailers, authors, and illustrators work together to do?  Make good books and get them into the hands of the right people. 

If you took my job description and distilled it down into one sentence, it'd be that: putting books and people together.*  The way I do that has been changing, but we're adaptable -- we'll figure it out.  We learn new things every day. 

At the end of the day, you know what?  People still want good books.  And that's what we're here for. 


*I note that is an awesome job.  Because it is.  And also because I have been reading David Foster Wallace and boy, is that a good book, and also his footnotes are contagious. 

May 17, 2011

MECAF: This Weekend!


If you're going to be in Maine this weekend, don't miss MECAF, the Maine Comics Art Festival. 

Also: isn't Zack Giallongo's poster art lovely?  Watch this space; about this time next year we'll be starting to run previews of Zack's first book, forthcoming from First Second!

May 16, 2011

Bi-Monthly Give-Away: Refresh, Refresh

Give-aways: now there will be more than ever!


We're upping our give-away number to two a month so we can feature our lovely titles of past years.  To thematically match the other title we're giving away this month, Anya's Ghost, we're offering Refresh, Refresh -- one of our great teen graphic novels about war and parents and decisions about how you want to live your life.  It is excellent.

Win a copy here

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