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P.J. Lynch Wins Greenaway Medal
The 1998 Kate Greenaway Medal, given in the U.K. to the most distinguished illustrations in a children's picture book, has just been awarded to P.J. Lynch for When Jessie Came Across the Sea, written by Amy Hest (Candlewick). Lynch is also the recipient of the 1996 Greenaway Medal for his illustrations for The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, written by Susan Wojciechowski.
A Breath of Fresh Air
For her latest novel -- and her 50th book for children -- author Johanna Hurwitz takes a vacation of sorts. In Faraway Summer (Morrow, Apr.), 12-year-old Hadassah, a poor Russian girl living in a New York City tenement in the summer of 1910, takes a trip to the country courtesy of the Fresh Air Fund. For two weeks Hadassah escapes the sweltering heat of her family's crowded apartment and experiences life on a farm with a host family in Jericho, Vt.
Though the novel takes place nearly 90 years ago, Hurwitz learned first-hand how little the program had changed when she recently met with a group of children who had taken recent Fresh Air Fund trips and described experiences very similar to Hadassah's. The program matches urban children with families in towns from Virginia to Maine for a two-week summer vacation. In addition, the Fresh Air Fund also runs five summer camps in Fishkill, N.Y., for urban kids. Hurwitz said she first discovered the Fresh Air Fund while doing research on former Jericho, Vt., resident Wilson Alwyn Bentley, who had hosted children through the program at the turn of the century. For more information about the Fresh Air Fund, call (800) 367-0003.
Little Bill Lands on Nickelodeon
The Little Bill beginning-reader series by Bill Cosby (Scholastic/Cartwheel) has inspired a new animated program for preschoolers, which is currently being developed for Nickelodeon. The half-hour show will debut in fall 1999 and will air during Nick Jr., the network's daily block of preschool programming. Each episode will contain two stories about Little Bill, a five-year-old who is learning to understand the world around him.
The Little Bill books launched in fall 1997; the titles are illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood, and each book contains a note to parents from psychiatrist Alvin F. Poussaint. The series also received a substantial boost last fall when Oprah Winfrey named the first three titles -- The Meanest Thing to Say, The Best Way to Play and The Treasure Hunt -- as selections for her monthly book club, the first -- and only -- children's books to date she has chosen.
NPR Spotlights Konigsburg Title
E.L. Konigsburg's Newbery Award-winning The View from Saturday was the focus of National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation Book Club of the Air feature last month, marking the first time a children's title has been chosen for the program. The show's host, Ray Suarez, was joined by Patty Scales, director of library services at South Carolina Governor's School of the Arts and Humanities. Scales, who wrote the teachers' guide for The View from Saturday for the book's publisher, Atheneum, served as NPR's guest "book buddy" and, along with Suarez, led callers through an hour-long discussion of Konigsburg's story. For a transcript of the program, call 1-888-677-6397.
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