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The New Yorker Reviews Helen Garner’s Newest, Everywhere I Look

Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner collects essays and articles she’s written over the course of her long career. Offering a broad vision of a life long lived, the book follows her own established tradition of “savage honesty,” as The New Yorker calls it. Garner’s sparing and unflinching prose can cut deep, impressing upon the reader the pain of the moment. Her ability to convey the truth as she lived it startles at times, but in the surprise lays the enjoyment of her writing.

“‘Honesty’ is a word that, when thrown at journalism, unhelpfully describes both a baseline and a vaguer horizon, a legal minimum and an ethical summum. Too often, we precisely monitor the former and profligately praise the latter. In Helen Garner’s case, we should give due thanks for the former and precisely praise the latter. As a writer of nonfiction, Garner is scrupulous, painstaking, and detailed, with sharp eyes and ears. She is everywhere at once, watching and listening, a recording angel at life’s secular apocalypses—“a small grim figure with a notebook and a cold,” as she memorably describes herself. She has written with lucid anger about murder cases, about incidents of sexual harassment, about the experience of caring for a friend dying of cancer.” The New Yorker, December 12, 2016

Other praise for Everywhere I Look:

“Her unsentimental, but not heartless, accounts demonstrate her range and capacity for emotional accuracy in the face of difficulty. Garner uses her powers of observation to confront unpleasant truths. Her graceful prose will challenge readers to look at the world around them.”Library Journal, October 17, 2016

“On the page, Garner is uncommonly fierce, though this usually has the effect on me of making her seem all the more likable. I relish her fractious, contrarian streak – she wears it as a chef would a bloody apron – even as I worry about what it would be like to have to face it down.”The Guardian, October 11, 2016

“Garner can write about everything for every reader…Her tone throughout is one of considerable charm and approachability. Five minutes in Garner’s company, you feel, and you’d be telling her your deepest secrets.”Civilian Global, October 3, 2016

Helen Garner; Text Publishing Company; Trade Paper: 9781925355369, $16.95)

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Hot News for Cold Weather: A Fidel Castro Reading List

Fidel Castro died three weeks ago, and regardless of your opinion on this polarizing figure, it’s important to learn more about him. To that end, we at Consortium have compiled a list of readings on El Comandante to expose differing opinions on the Cold War leader. Take a gander and see what comes up:

Castro: A Graphic Novel, published soon after the Obama administration’s announcement to normalize relations with Cuba, Castro follows the revolutionary’s life through the perspective of a German journalist. Packed with vivid illustrations, the graphic novel does not present a skewed image of the divisive figure, but instead illuminates Castro’s varied personality traits. Taking the view that the leader was human, the reader sees all of it: the trade embargoes, the Bay of Pigs, and Castro’s interactions with everyday Cubans. Castro does not hide its namesake’s crackdowns, but instead showcases the leader’s faults and failings along with his successes. This graphic novel is a great place to start for the novice reader of Castro; what could be better than a biography with such beautiful illustrations?

Fidel Castro Reader is one of the first anthologies of Castro’s writings to be published in English since the Sixties. This reader is the perfect way to hear from El Comandante himself, giving the reader access to Fidel Castro’s speeches. It includes speeches from Fidel Castro, including his response to Che Guevara’s death, the 9/11 attacks, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even more, the Fidel Castro Reader comes with a timeline of the Cuban Revolution, a glossary, and many photos, grounding the text in the historical moment of Fidel Castro. No matter one’s opinion of the former leader, the Fidel Castro Reader provides the perfect opportunity for the reader to learn more about Castro’s own opinions, from the man himself. A new edition is incoming Spring 2017, so definitely check it out!

Psywar On Cuba: Declassified History of U.S. Anti-Castro Propaganda unveils newly declassified documents about the United States’ psychological warfare against Cuba throughout the Cold War. Perfect for the armchair historian or reader interested in propaganda, this book takes a different perspective than the previous two on Fidel Castro, expanding its scope to include the whole island-nation of Cuba. The C.I.A. and the U.S. Government collaborated on the decades-long campaign to discredit Fidel Castro, and Psywar on Cuba showcases their efforts to rumormonger. By compiling these documents into one volume, this book sheds new light on propaganda efforts by the United States and Fidel Castro himself.

Fidel & Religion details a conversation between Fidel Castro and Frei Betto about Marxism, liberation theology, and the possibilities of religion. Castro attended elite Catholic schools for much of his pre-university education; this book gives the reader a glimpse into the leader’s thoughts on religion and its connection to his own professed ideology. The 23 hour dialogue between Betto and Castro will hopefully give the reader a thought-provoking glimpse at Castro’s mind and thoughts on the possibilities of liberation theology. This book differs from the more general overview of Castro by giving insight to the more specific relationship between religion and politics.

De Fidel Castro A La Integración Latinoamericana is a Spanish-language book, third in a trilogy of books giving a history of Latin America. This last book provides a history of Latin America covering Fidel Castro’s ascent to power, claiming this moment as a turning point in Latin American history. Prieto further goes on to argue that Latin American unity became more and more an achievable concept throughout the Cold War. De Fidel Castro presents the geographic and political context of Fidel Castro’s rise in power, bequeathing to the reader a better and more general sense of Latin America at this time. This book helps anyone hoping to learn more about the former leader understand his role beyond the relationship between Cuba and the United States.

Executive Action: 634 Ways to Kill Fidel Castro, written by the former head of Cuba’s counterintelligence programs, presents quite the vivid view of the United States’ attempts to assassinate the Cuban leader. Providing over four decades of insight, Executive Action gives a more personal view into the United States’ actions against Cuba. The plans by the CIA to assassinate Castro oscillate between the comic and the dramatic, but never straying from their intent. Executive Action works perfectly as a thrilling look inside the CIA’s function during the Cold War, especially as the United States sought to undermine Cuba.

Latinoamericanismo Vs Imperialismo argues against what Fidel Castro considers neoliberalism and neocolonialism in Latin America. Published in the original Spanish, this book selects key speeches over four decades. Castro argues for a “second independence movement,” where Latin America should unite against a new imperialism threatening to overtake it. The original Spanish gives the reader full access to Castro’s thoughts and arguments, allowing the reader to formulate their own thoughts in response. Latinoamericanismo Vs. Imperialismo provides a fresh perspective in the U.S.-Cuba relations landscape, as Castro challenges preconceived notions of imperialism and Latin American unity.

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The New York Times Book Review Features Rani Patel in Full Effect in the Latest in Realistic Fiction for Young Adults!



Rani Patel in Full Effect was recently reviewed in The New York Times Book Review! The YA novel follows heroine Rani Patel, a young 16-year-old Indian woman who loves to rap. After catching her father with a woman barely older than herself, Rani shaves her hair in an act of spiteful rebellion. One day, an older man named Mark comes to her parent’s store where Rani works; she goes along with him, a decision that ultimately leads her to spiral into a series of poorly thought-out decisions. Following Rani’s journey permits the reader to experience Rani’s painful and fruitful growth throughout the novel.

“Rani pours herself into rap, finding heroes like LL Cool J and Queen Latifah, inspirations for her own slam poems. She joins a hip-hop crew, rapping as MC Sutra. The novel is punctuated by her raps, which express ‘the large and in charge person / I want the world to see.’…Though suffering is at the core of this debut novel, it’s also about living through pain by harnessing what brings happiness. And the dip into ’90s nostalgia, not to mention the awesome Rani persevering and conquering as MC Sutra — but more important, as herself — makes reading [the book] well worth it.” –The New York Times, Nov. 11, 2016

Other praise for Rani Patel in Full Effect:

“A powerfully particular, 100 percent genuine character commands this gutsy debut.”—Kirkus Reviews, Oct. 11th, 2016

“Patel sets her powerful debut novel in 1991, filling it with bygone rap references and an electric verbal blend of Gujarati, slang, Hawaiian pidgin, and the rhymes Rani crafts. Patel compassionately portrays Rani’s entangled emotions, lack of self-confidence, and burgeoning sense of empowerment as she moves forward from trauma.”—Publishers Weekly, Aug. 1, 2016

“[Rani] seeks love and acceptance wherever she can find it, and through rap she is able to express her struggles and discover a community that embraces her unreservedly…Verdict: A strong, unique choice for YA collections.”—School Library Journal, Oct. 11, 2016

“Rani’s voice, oscillating from righteous anger to thrilling pride, swooning crushes, and heartbreaking insecurity, will resonate with many…Vivid, bold, and passionate.”—Booklist, Sep. 1, 2016

“Sixteen-year-old Rani Patel is always the odd one out: she’s the only Gujarati Indian girl on the tiny Hawaiian island of Moloka’i, where she moved when she was 12, and the only girl she knows who writes rap…Readers will find a kindred spirit in Rani through Sonia Patel’s skillful crafting of her internal battle…Rani’s deeply felt but uneven rhymes, combined with the book’s effortless inclusion of Gujarati and Hawaiian pidgin, create a distinct adolescent voice.”—Shelf Awareness, Oct. 14, 2016

Check out Rani today! Sonia Patel; Cinco Puntos Press; Trade Cloth: 9781941026496, $16.95; Trade Paper: 9781941026502, $11.95)

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CAT IN THE NIGHT in School Library Journal!

Madeleine Dunphy’s beautiful and educational book Cat in the Night (By Madeleine Dunphy; Illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet; 9780988330368; Web of Life Children’s Book; Trade Cloth, Picture Book; $16.95) has received a glowing review in School Library Journal! Cat in the Night follows Rusty the cat’s adventures through the night as his owner, a little girl named Gwen, is sleeping soundly back at home. Readers get to experience the nighttime through the eyes, ears, and nose of Rusty, and will learn even more with a “More About Cats” page in the back that explains more about feline senses.

“During his search, [Rusty] meets a skunk, raccoons, a mouse who turns into a midnight snack, and an opossum. Observant readers will delight in spotting the ‘intruder’ in a number of scenes, which builds suspense and anticipation. Brunet’s gorgeous, full-spread illustrations perfectly set the moonlit tone. The depictions of cats and other animals are realistic, with lots of details for readers to pore over and discover. The two felines finally meet, and the inevitable tussle ensues, with Rusty managing to successfully chase off the culprit. The sun is just coming up when we see Rusty making his way back home for a quick bite to eat before curling up in bed with Gwen again—the story satisfyingly comes full circle. This tale will speak to children’s imaginings of pets or toys having another life while they sleep. A quiet and suspenseful nighttime adventure that will appeal to cat lovers.” -School Library Journal

Other praise for Cat in the Night:

Cat in the Night is the real deal. This is a great little book.” —John Bradshaw, bestselling author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet

“Realistic illustrations created with acrylic, oil, and colored pencil capture the drama of Rusty’s nighttime adventures. His taffy-and-white fur jumps out against the dark shapes and shadows of the backyard, highlighting his activities. Double-page close-ups and unusual perspectives invite a cat’s-eye view. A ‘More About Cats’ page reinforces the textual and visual focus on feline senses. Intriguing peek into the secret life of cats.”-Kirkus

“Deftly written by Madeleine Dunphy and charmingly illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet, Cat in the Night is an impressively entertaining story about a little girl falls asleep just as her cat wakes up. Children ages 5 to 9 who have ever wondered what their cat does at night will experience the night-time world through the cat’s eyes, ears, nose, whiskers, and feet as he travels the neighborhood, meeting up with other denizens of the night. Thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ and wonderfully entertaining from first page to last, Cat in the Night is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.”-Midwest Book Review

“As Gwen sleeps soundly, her curious cat, Rusty, stalks the neighborhood using all of his feline senses to explore, in Madeleine Dunphy’s Cat in the Night. Bright stars and flashing eyes flicker across the deep blues and purples of Joshua S. Brunet’s nighttime illustrations, creating a hushed, peaceful tone for Rusty’s sniffing, slinking, stalking, and searching. Children are encouraged to look out for all the critters Rusty encounters on his way as well as instances of his heightened use of hearing, vision, touch, balance, and smell, all integral cat behavior, whether snuggling with a friendly little human or getting ready to pounce on a backyard predator.” (5/5 stars) -Foreword Reviews

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NCIBA Discovery Show in San Francisco

Image result for nciba discovery showWe will be representing at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Discovery Show on October 27th and 28th– two days packed with education, authors, rep picks, publisher exhibits, and camaraderie!

Check out the full schedule of events here!

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Four Children’s Books for National Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a world-wide effort to unite communities and raise awareness about bullying prevention, and this year marks the 10th anniversary of this campaign! Here are four books that champion the message of kindness, inclusion, and acceptance that this month is trying to spread nationwide.

By Rana DiOrio; Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch; 9781939775092; Little Pickle Press; Trade Cloth, Picture Book; $17.95

“It’s encouraging to see a children’s book focused so specifically on the value of kindness, and one that gives so many definitions of what that term can mean… This is a charming book with a welcome perspective.” –Foreword Reviews

By Sara Cassidy; 9781554989058; Groundwood; Trade Cloth; $14.95

“Cassidy offers a brief, stellar option for readers looking for characters who refuse to bend to societal norms and instead follow their own instincts toward confidence and joy… A small, eloquent book with a powerful message.” –Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

By Stephanie Campisi; Illustrated by Shahar Kober; 9781938063671; Mighty Media Kids; Trade Cloth, Picture Book; $15.95

“A bright, multicultural twist on a classic tale. … Kober’s illustrations are characterized by delicious changes in perspective, and Campisi’s sly, humorous asides ensure that the message of identity is not heavy-handed … Quirky retellings often lean on clever titles alone, but this surpasses and delights.”—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

By Nikki Sheehan; 9781780749242; Oneworld Publications; Trade Paper; $10.99

“Though the third-person narrative largely focuses on Johnny’s thoughts and worries, Sheehan highlights moments involving other key characters, adding further depth in this insightful story about bereavement and bullying.”–Publishers Weekly

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Check out The Treasure of Barracuda!

The Treasure of Barracuda (By Llanos Martinez Campos; Illustrated by Julia Sarda; 9781939775146; Little Pickle Press; Trade Cloth; $15.95) is an enchanting romp about sailing through the seas with a band of rugged pirates… who don’t know how to read. This becomes a problem when they discover a book left by the infamous pirate Phineas Johnson Krane, and they have to decipher it in order to find Krane’s secret treasure. This is a fantastic adventure packed with plenty of pirates, danger, outlaws, and lessons about the treasure of reading.

Praise for The Treasure of Barracuda:

The Treasure of Barracuda mustn’t be missed. Brilliant in every way, this choice boasts a wild cast of colorful characters that seamlessly blend together in this suspenseful, hilarious, action-packed adventure novel that is a solid nod to the magic that happens when you read.” – The Times Herald

“A clever, laugh-out-loud pirate story unlike any I’ve read!” —Robin Bernheim, writer/producer of Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Nation Books is absolutely thrilled to announce that Ibram X. Kendi’s STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING has officially been named a Nonfiction Finalist for the 2016 National Book Awards!

Stamped from the Beginning is a history of how racist ideas are built, and how they are built to last. Understanding this history is essential if we want to have any hope of progress. This book will forever change the way we think about race.”—Touré, author of Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness

“Ibram Kendi is an important new voice in African American history.”—Peniel E. Joseph, author of Stokely and Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour

“Richly sourced and engaging, Ibram X. Kendi’s STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING is a highly accessible yet provocative study that seeks to complicate our understanding of racist ideas and the forces that produce them.”—Dr. Yohuru Williams, Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Fairfield University

“In his  ambitious, illuminating, and engaging book, Ibram X. Kendi  seamlessly assembles sources from Cotton Mather to Angela Davis; the Great Awakening to Black Lives Matter; the Birth of a Nation to Hip Hop culture, to show how not only race but racist ideas are at the center of American thought.”—Paula J. Giddings, EA Woodson Professor, Smith College, and author of Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching

 STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING is a tour de force of intellectual history that brilliantly illuminates the tragic history of racist ideas from slavery to Black Lives Matter.”—Peniel Joseph, author of Stokely and Waiting ’til the Midnight Hour


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Our Children’s Publishers Are Heading to the Movies

Publishers Weekly has highlighted Annick Press, Groundwood Books, and Owlkids Books in an article about Canadian children’s publishers extending their reach into television and movie adaptations in both Canada and the US!

Annick Press is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Paper Bag Princess—which has sold 12 million copies over the life of the book in various formats—is the publisher’s all-time bestselling title and continues ‘to pay the bills,’ says Rick Wilks, director of Annick. ‘So many people tell me that it was their favorite book as a child and now they are buying it again for their own children,’ Wilks says. ‘Even better, this year there has been renewed interested in turning it into an animated film or television series.’ More good news for Annick came earlier this year when it announced that it partnered with Pearson Canada to sell the publisher’s trade books in the education market.

Publishing for the ‘diversity market’ is increasingly important, Wilks says, with an emphasis on positive stories featuring indigenous characters. ‘We want to say, ‘Look around, there are amazing things happening,’’ Wilks says. ‘While it is always important to acknowledge the difficulty of history and of the residential schools and the hardship, it is also important to point out that there is kind of a creative renaissance happening. We want to look at the community’s struggles, but also its achievements, in an effort to change the conversation here.’

Sheila Barry, publisher of Groundwood Books, is also proud of her house’s breadth of diversity titles, which have also been marketed in a special catalogue called ‘Windows and Mirrors. ‘It’s a great tool for booksellers, libraries, and schools who want to add more diversity to what they can offer to customers,’ she says. ‘We have always had the books, and now—maybe it’s the election year—buyers, in the U.S. in particular, seem more courageous in what they are going to put in their general trade bookstore,’ she adds. For the fall, Groundwood has a book titled A Boy Named Queen, which is about the fact that children don’t need to be cognizant of gender identity.’This season and last season, more than half our books have been written or illustrated by nonwhite people,’ Barry says. ‘Diversity for us is like breathing.’

In other good news for Groundwood, The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis— Groundwood’s bestselling book of all time, with four million copies sold in 30 languages—is being turned into an animated film by Cartoon Saloon of Ireland and will be released in 2017.

Meanwhile, Owlkids is looking at offering titles for the young adult market that are ‘issue oriented but don’t always hit you over the head,’ says Karen Boersma. One example of these is The Art of the Possible, which as aimed at 10–14-year-olds and discusses politics in a positive light, and has sold 5,000 copies. Another is Why Do We Fight? by Niki Walker, which came with the subhead Conflict, War and Peace.

Boersma says that the YA nonfiction titles are most likely to sell internationally and get picked up for rights deals. ‘The Asian markets in particular are interested in these.'”

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The Island Gets a PW Star!

The Island by Olivia Levez (9781780748597; Oneworld; Trade Paper; $9.95) has received a STARRED review in Publishers Weekly!

“Levez’s debut captures the emotional journey of 16-year-old Frances Stanton, one of a plane full of British juvenile delinquents and camp staffers headed to a skills-based intervention on an Indonesian island. When the plane crashes, Frances reaches a deserted island with few supplies, where she struggles to find food, water, and shelter among sharks and poisonous plants. With a dog as her only companion, Frances faces painful memories of her family back home, including her ill mother, her half-brother, and her mother’s lecherous boyfriend. Through short chapters, Levez effortlessly balances Frances’s past, present, and imagined future, including vivid flashbacks of her home life and acts of retaliation against a well-meaning teacher. After a storm hits, Frances meets another survivor, Rufus, whose prescriptive habits cause friction. Their relationship moves from rocky to companionable, but when food runs low and Rufus lands in a dire situation, Frances must find a way off the island to save her newfound friend. Echoing O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins, Levez’s story will keep readers riveted as determined, hard-edged Frances fights to survive.”

Other great reviews for The Island:

“Readers will quickly see that conditions on the island are more physically dangerous than in Fran’s squalid apartment—but much less emotionally treacherous. Not all readers will embrace this novel’s haunting, open-ended conclusion, but those who do will find much to appreciate and discuss.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Readers will root for the characters’ survival…. A page-turner.” — School Library Journal

“It’s strong, raw, harsh and filled with the kind of uncut emotion that will leave you stunned and feeling it all. Extremely well detailed, Olivia Levez’s novel manages to capture the stages of survival; how modesty or proper food becomes a thing of the past when you don’t know if you’ll be alive to see the sun rise tomorrow… If you’re looking for haunting writing, then Olivia Levez’s book is one you should pick up.” — The Guardian

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