I was recently skimming the New York Times, as I am wont to do, and stumbled across this post: “What Is ‘Normal’ Eating?” The poster rightly points out that eating normal means different things to different people. Whenever our office goes out for a company lunch, a certain subset of the office gets large portions of red meat with a starchy accompaniment; others of us order whatever has no meat but lots of cheese; others go in for the simple, healthy options. Each of us is getting a dressed-up version of our normal.
A few nights ago I was having dinner with a friend who doesn’t work in publishing, and I was talking about how I think librarians are really great and I’m always impressed by the thoughtful ways in which they grapple with some truly tough issues.
“Er…like what?” he asked.
So I gave him this example from the NY Times about the Brooklyn Public Library’s recent decision to basically quarantine Tintin au Congo, a 70-year-old picture book with some pretty racist cartoons:
Click for a larger image. If you can’t read it, it says (grammar and capitalization intact): “was just thinking. my sister does -alot- of reading, and spends like $1000 a year on just books alone. most of them she reads once and never looks at again. is there some kind of like…video rental store but for books? would make things alot cheaper, plus once one person has read one the next person could get enjoyment from it etc.”
The theme of the week is back to school. When we acquired, Armando and the Blue Tarp School in 2006, it was one of those moments when you are simply in awe of certain individuals and the good work they do in the world.
It’s Back to School week on the blog and we’re talking about W. Nikola-Lisa’s My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone!, which is giving me all sorts of flashbacks to that last day of school when you got your report card and on the bottom, all hidden away by the signature lines and stuff, were a few words that would pretty much define your quality of life for the next year: the name of your next teacher.
We’re starting up a new feature on the blog: A Book a Day. The third week of every month, we’ll pick a theme, and each day (Monday-Friday) one of us will talk about one of our books that fits into the theme.
It seems fitting that we should start a brand-new feature on a brand-new blog by talking about the beginning of the school year. Each new year, new school, new class is a new beginning, building on where you’ve been but taking you someplace different. Take, for instance, Augusta Savage. Ceramics and sculpture were always a part of her life; from a very young age, she made little clay figures out of the clay she found in her back yard. Her father didn’t approve and money was tight, so she practiced her art quietly as she grew up, got married, had a daughter, and was widowed. It wasn’t until she was twenty-seven that she went to art school and became a professional artist.
Our books are pondered, nurtured, and meticulously edited. Call us old school, but we take the time to really edit books. Several people’s opinions are solicited. We have found this collaborative effort results in books that stand the test of time and are appreciated by readers for many years after publication.
2. Celebrate Unsung Heroes:
While we certainly recognize the contributions of legends like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Gandhi, we also think it is important to acknowledge the contributions of lesser-known heroes. We have published books about Anna May Wong, Paul Robeson, Peg Leg Bates, and John Lewis, to name just a few, and we will continue to tell the stories of courageous people whose lives and actions deserve recognition.