Friday, October 12, 2007

Cybils: 2007 Fiction Picture Book Nominations

I'm faced with a different dilemma each day. This morning, I discovered that so far, one Kane/Miller picture book from 2007 has been nominated in the 2007 Cybils Fiction Picture Book category. The dilemma is now deciding which one picture book we've published this year that I would nominate if I could.

Anne-Marie of A Readable Feast has nominated Samsara Dog, a sophisticated picture book for older readers that discusses the idea of reincarnation. Both text and illustrations were created with care and both Helen Manos and Julie Vivas did an amazing job in this collaboration that touches on the Buddhist concepts of Samsara and Nirvana.
Samsara Dog lived many lives. Some of his lives were long. Some lasted only a few days. Dog never remembered them. He lived each life as it came, until he learned the most important lesson of all.

In one of his lives Dog lived on the street...Dog loved nobody. Dog trusted nobody. Dog lived for himself...
Samsara Dog lived many lives: with a biker gang, as a sniffer dog, was born very small and very sick, shared his next life with a street juggler, came back as a rescue dog, was welcomed into a big house with four girls who adored him, and finally, he found the boy.
When he was with the boy, Dog's heart skimmed like a song. He loved the boy more than he loved himself...Nothing was better than being with the boy.

Illustration from Samsara Dog,
written by Helen Manos and illustrated by Julie Vivas
(Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2007)

I can't possibly explain how touching this story truly is. Originally published in Australia by Working Title Press, Samsara Dog a book that one must first read, alone. There should be time set aside for reflection afterwards - and a chance to wipe away your tears before sharing this beautiful treasure with loved ones. And trust me, you will want to.

The great thing about working for such a small company is that each and every one of us has a say in the books that are published. We read them to ourselves, we read them to our children, we read them aloud to one another. And in the end, we only publish books that we are all 110% enthusiastic about. We brainstorm about who would buy it, how it would be used in a classroom / story time setting, and how we would market it to the adults who sell it to consumers (our bookseller friends who have the arduous task of choosing books for their store among the thousands that are available each season).

The difficulty I have then, is that I am equally connected to and could just as easily recommend any of the following for a nomination in the fiction category for this year: The Zoo by Suzy Lee (South Korea), New Clothes for New Year's Day by Hyun-Ju Bae (South Korea), The Story of Cherry the Pig by UtakoYamada (Japan), And What Comes After a Thousand? by Annette Bley (Germany), The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley by Colin Thompson and Amy Lissiat (Australia), and My Cat Copies Me by Yoon-duck Kwon (South Korea).

Illustration from And What Comes After a Thousand?
by Anette Bley

(Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2007)

I would not be able to choose between Could You? Would You? by Trudy White (Australia) and Who's Hiding? by Satoru Onishi (Japan) for the non-fiction picture book category nomination.

I realize that these are not all of the picture books we've published in 2007 but I know children's books. After all, I'm surrounded by the best books from around the world on a regular basis and several of the nominated books from the Cybils list sit on my son's bookshelves at home as I want to expose him to all types of books, but of course, only the best.

I can't imagine being on any committee where selecting only one or a few winners is the end result. It'd be like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. Therefore, I'm not going to select just one Kane/Miller title to nominate this year. I'll leave that up to the readers. After all, I'm going to be busy trying to narrow down which wonderful books from around the world we'll be publishing for the fall 2008 season.


amnichols said...

I was happy to nominate it! I've never had a children's book make me cry.

Single_M0M said...

We do have another - Fox - by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks that might cause a similar reaction. Very moving...