Project H

(Day one was/is 1st May 2017, even if I did not post this page up)
I found out about the 200th anniversary of HarperCollins sometime last year, and started to bug our distributor about doing something this year for it. Bookstores love anniversaries — because there are anniversary editions, and special covers, and possibly nice bookish stuff to giveaway. So, we met in early March to discuss the plans the bookstore had … and by that time, there were several ideas already on both sides.

Before that, I had been reading the then latest copy Hornbook, where there was a piece about Kevin Henkes’ Egg. At the meeting, we started talking about the usual suspects etc, etc … and I was not so impressed by the fact that the only thing worth promoting was Dr Seuss. Yes, yes, it is a good series and selling well too – did we need to give it another push? But, it would be nice since the publisher did have the collaterals for a nice window display.

Perhaps out of sheer bull-headness, and I am always likely to put my foot where my mouth is … I asked why we could not do a picture book exhibition? After all, Harper has so many classic picturebooks, on both sides of the Atlantic — Sendak, Kerr, Crockett, Krauss … Our rep gave me a strange look, and said someone would have to curate it. Of course, I was going to offer up my good friend D, but realised that she would not be free to do it. Here was a perfectly lovely opportunity and idea, and going to waste — hence, I reluctantly agreed I’d curate (while inwardly cringing). It’s not that I dislike selecting books for a promo, but I’d like that I did not have to also think about the theme, and actually curate. (sigh, sigh, sigh)

But since I did put myself up for this. I’m taking the plunge.

At this point, my list is a vague idea, but possibly these titles:
– Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
– Mog or The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Judith Kerr
– Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson
– Egg, Kevin Henkes
– A Hole is to Dig, Ruth Krauss & Maurice Sendak
– Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
– Lost and Found, Oliver Jeffers

So I decided to randomly pick up a book to find some ideas and look for a direction — this book which I’m still reading (in Day 4), is The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. I’ve also started reading the giant of a book, The Comics Journal #302, which has a huge piece on Sendak.

Elsewhere, I googled and discovered the Lost and Found short animation while trying to decide which Jeffers book, it should be.

It was a holiday, so I went through my books at home to see if I could find anything I would like to read pertaining to Project H.

At this point, my list:
– I’m playing with the idea of choosing 3 books from a list of picturebook artists. A first, a popular one and a latest. For example, Sendak would be A Hole To Dig, Where The Wild Things Are and Bumble-ardy. I hit a snag because most first books might be out of print.
– So, it remains – Sendak, Kerr, Johnson, Henkes, Krauss, Joseph Kuefler (Beyond the Pond), one of the Bear (Minarik) books, Goodnight Moon, something by Charlotte Zolotow (probably William’s Doll), Jeffers.

DAY FOUR: (4th May 2017)
I was reading Places to Be by Mac Barnett and Renata Liwska, and realised that it was a B+B book, and of course, so was Extra Yarn by Barnett and Klassen (currently my favourite team because of Triangle). And, at the side, reading an old issue of the Hornbook (Nov/Dec 2011) which had the Zena Sutherland Lecture by Mo Willems. Mo Willems did do an unusual book for Harper (again B+B) called That Is Not a Good Idea! which is reminiscent of silent movies.

My list now:
– Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
– The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Judith Kerr
– Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson
– Egg, Kevin Henkes
– The Carrot Seed, Ruth Krauss & Crockett Johnson
– Lost and Found, Oliver Jeffers,
– Extra Yarn, Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
– Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown & Clement Hurd
– Beyond the Pond, Joseph Kuefler
– William’s Doll, Charlotte Zolotow & William Pene du Bois
– That is Not A Good Idea, Mo Willems
– Bread and Jam for Frances, Russell Hoban & Lillian Hoban

Note: A Special House and many William Steig titles were out of print.

DAY SIXTEEN: (16th May 2017)
If Mo Willems wrote about how he tries not to try too hard, and leave as much as possible of this pictures or words to the interpretation of the reader, Crescent Dragonwagon speaks of visual subtexts and how books can be reinterpreted for a new generatio in the latest Horn Book. So, yes, I need a Charlotte Zolotow book in my list.

We occasionally get these top 100 children’s books of the century or some sort, and when I look at them, I wonder if it’s to confirm that I stock these, or I own them, or if it was a good list. But what I also did find is that since we do not actually live in the UK or US, we are limited by many things but also have the opportunity to see things differently. Have you noticed how some books never make it to said lists because the author is only a bestselling one in the UK, or vice versa?

I think I need to have a theme. I won’t look at the list again, yet.