Welcome to Buzz Worthy News where the stories are awesome and not at all well-written. Need your YA industry news? Never fear, Kate Copeseeley is here to give it to you straight.
In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: Miss Peregrine Movie photos, JK Rowling & Native American Appropriation, Game of Thrones season 6 trailer, To Kill a Mockingbird Mass Market Paperback edition cancelled, and more!
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two.
Miss Peregrine Photos Released
Well, we’ve been expecting this movie for a long time now, and while we don’t have a trailer yet, we at least have some fun and interesting pictures to stare at!
The movie [Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children] is based on Ransom Riggs’ hit 2011 novel, which was inspired, in part, by otherworldly vintage photographs (like the cover shot of a levitating girl) that the author collected at flea markets and included in the book.
And the perfect pairing for this book to movie was Tim Burton.
Burton said he, too, found inspiration in those images. “They’re quite compelling,” Burton says. “They remind me of old horror movies, or dreams.”
Green (with Butterfield and Georgia Pemberton) stars as the title character, a shape-shifter known as an ymbryne. She protects her charges (called peculiars) from hungry monsters known as hollows. “She’s like a scary Mary Poppins, and she can turn into a bird,” Burton says. Jake (Butterfield) finds an unlikely romance with Emma (Ella Purnell), who, in an earlier life, also had a special bond with Jake’s grandfather.
“Weird kids: It’s something that I’ve dealt with and been interested in for a while,” says Burton, who previously directed Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, among other films with youthful protagonists. “It’s a weird family.”
Look forward to it on September 30th!
Game of Thrones Season 6 Trailer
Let the spoilers begin. *sob*
George RR Martin Needs An Understudy
When George Martin (former producer for The Beatles) died last week, so many terrified George RR Martin fans took to the internets to mourn that the author felt he had to make a comment about it on his blog.
The novelist told his fans that he was “not dead yet”. “While it is strangely moving to realize that so many people around the world care so deeply about my life and death, I have to go with Mark Twain and insist that the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” he wrote, referring to the novelist’s comment to a reporter in 1897 following rumors that he had died.
You see, George? This is what happens when you have no backup plan. (Do you have a backup plan, like an author understudy?) When you die, if you haven’t finished your series, the international outcry will probably take over the internet for a whole week(that’s a long time in internet time). Please tell us you have a person lined up to work on it in the case of some horrible act of fate. Martin went on to say:
“As for me, I am still here, still writing, still editing, still going to movies and reading books, and I expect to hang around for quite a while yet, thank you very much. But thank you all for caring.”
American Girl Features Civil Rights Movement With New Character
Many girls across the states have enjoyed the American Girl books and have looked forward to each new story/doll addition. The latest is 10 year old Melody, an African American girl who lives in the 1960’s.
The series will feature three books targeted towards readers ages eight and up telling Melody’s story of growing up in Detroit while Motown grew in popularity and the civil rights movement was gaining traction throughout the country. Stephanie Spanos, an American Girl public relations executive, promises that the series “won’t shy away from sensitive issues” associated with that era, such as the church bombing in Birmingham, Ala. on September 15, 1963 that killed four African-American girls.
The first book, No Ordinary Sound, was released in February to coincide with Black History Month. The second book, Never Stop Singing, which continues Melody’s story, will be released in June, when the accompanying doll will go on sale. The third book, also released in June, is Music in My Heart: My Journey With Melody, a multiple-endings story in which a contemporary girl steps back in time to the 1960s, where she meets Rosa Parks and sings backup in a Motown recording studio. In a first for American Girl, there will be a guide for parents to discuss with their children both the issues raised in the series and issues today relating to discrimination. American Girl typically creates guides for educators supplementing the books, but not for parents until now. “We wanted parents to have conversation points to share with their kids,” explained Teri Robida, the American Girl editor in charge of the Melody project.
Oh my gosh this sounds so awesome!
Cute Monkey Learns about Ramadan
Curious George has learned about a ton of holidays in the US including Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah. Now he’s on to Ramadan!
The book’s author, Hena Khan, told BuzzFeed she sees the book as a way for people to learn about Muslim traditions, but also as a way for Muslim children to see themselves represented in the books they read.
Khan noted that she wanted people to “realize Muslim-Americans are a part of the fabric of American society and are engaged at every level…. We embrace our American identity along with our Muslim identity.”
In addition, Khan took particular care to make sure the diversity of the Muslim American community was represented properly. She asked that the illustrations include people of different skin tones and both covered and non-covered women.
It’s Ramadan, Curious George will hit shelves on May 3rd.
Lambda Literary Award Finalists
It’s that time again! The Lammys are on the way, coming to you June 6.
The 28th Annual Lambda Literary Awards … have revealed the list of finalists for this year’s ceremony, rewarding excellence in LGBT literature.
From a record 933 submissions (up from 818 last year), a shortlist of finalists was announced on Tuesday, showcasing long-established and new LGBT publishers, as well as emerging publish-on-demand writers.
I was going to include the list of nominees here but it was like 3 pages long and if I do that Steph will kill me. So for the full list of nominees, please see my source link down below.
Harper Lee’s Estate To Cease Mass Market Paperback
I don’t know about you, but Harper Lee has had the most odd and alarming stories this year and this one almost hits that mark. In the wake of Harper Lee’s very recent death, her estate has contacted Hachette Book Group and told them it will no longer allow To Kill A Mockingbird as a mass-market paperback edition.
According to the email, which a number of booksellers in multiple states have confirmed that they received a variation of, no other publisher will be able to produce the edition either, meaning there will no longer be a mass-market version of To Kill a Mockingbird available in the United States. Mass-market paperbacks are smaller and significantly cheaper than trade paperbacks—sometimes called “airport books,” mass-market paperbacks are typically available in non-bookstore retail outlets, like airports and supermarkets. Another place people are likely to encounter mass-market paperbacks is in schools, where they are popular due to their low cost.
The email contains a discount code for the mass-market paperback effective Tuesday, March 1, one day after Lee’s will was sealed—Hachette has to liquidate its stock, since it will only be able to sell its edition for a limited amount of time, so it’s offering an additional discount for booksellers.
For Hachette, this could mean a significant loss of revenue and for HarperCollins, which published Go Set a Watchman and is now the only publisher that can claim Harper Lee as an author, it almost certainly means an increase in Lee-related revenue.
Of course, the book will still be available in any public library in the country, and used copies are available on Amazon for prices as low as 40 cents (plus shipping and handling). But the disappearance of the mass-market edition could have a significant impact on schools. The fact that To Kill a Mockingbird is both so accessible to young readers and so widely taught in America is crucial to its cultural importance. In 1988, the National Council of Teachers of English reported that To Kill a Mockingbird was taught in a whopping 74 percent of schools and that “Only Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Huckleberry Finn were assigned more often.”
Hachette is upfront about this possibility: a bullet point in the email reads, “The disappearance of the iconic mass-market edition is very disappointing to us, especially as we understand this could force a difficult situation for schools and teachers with tight budgets who cannot afford the larger, higher priced paperback edition that will remain in the market.”
What a shame, considering the healthy discussion this book brings about. Still, this might give rise for black authors to have their books featured in public schools (what a concept): Zora Neale Hurston, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, and Richard Wright (to name a few).
JK Rowling’s Appropriation Of Native American Culture
JK Rowling released four parts of a History of Magic In North America this week covering:
—The U.S. Hogwarts, Ilvermorny
—Skin-walkers, a Native American legend
—The Salem witch trials, a formative event for the country’s national magical identity
—Our Ministry of Magic, the Magical Congress of the United States of America
Unfortunately, the four part series on Pottermore is riddled with problems. In her zeal and haste to write these stories about native magical cultures in America, it seems Rowling has done very little research on the subject. (Disclaimer: I have yet to read her stories myself, but we HIGHLY recommend you check out Dr. Debbie Reese‘s post, which contain links to articles and Twitter discussions from various Native writers who have spoken out about this issue. We have included a few of those quotes below.)
From Native Appropriations:
There are a number of things that stand out and deeply concern me, but the response to my critiques on my twitter timeline is even worse. I’ll talk about that after I walk you through the text. Because, like with everything I critique, it’s not just the mascot/image/text/movie/fashion itself, it’s the response, how it’s used, and the impact. This has the perfect storm of all of those categories.
What happens when Rowling pulls this in, is we as Native people are now opened up to a barrage of questions about these beliefs and traditions (take a look at my twitter mentions if you don’t believe me)–but these are not things that need or should be discussed by outsiders. At all. I’m sorry if that seems “unfair,” but that’s how our cultures survive.
The other piece here is that Rowling is completely re-writing these traditions. Traditions that come from a particular context, place, understanding, and truth. These things are not “misunderstood wizards”. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
The response online today has been awful. My twitter mentions have been exploding non-stop all day, with the typical accusations of my oversensitivity and asking if I understand that Harry Potter is fictional, and more directed hate telling me my doctorate is being misused and I’m an idiot. In addition are the crew who “would love to know the real history” of these concepts (again, not for you to know), or are so grateful that JK Rowling is introducing them to these ideas for the first time. This is not the way to learn about or be introduced to contemporary and living Native cultures. Not at all.
Also worthy of note is that Rowling is known for responding directly to fan questions on twitter, and overall being accessible to her fan base. Despite thousands of tweets directed at her about these concerns, she has not addressed it at all. The silence is noted, and it’s deafening.
So basically, Rowling has written these stories with no feedback from the cultures she draws on (or if she has, we have no word of it as yet) and is marked in her continued silence. The above poster has such a great point that Rowling is VERY active on Twitter and the fact that she hasn’t replied to this is troubling.
There’s a number of ways Rowling could’ve made her Magical North America work without causing real harm to a lot of real people. That would be for her to have treated American peoples — all of us — with the same respect that she did European. Pretty sure she would never have dreamt of reducing all of Europe’s cultures to “European wizarding tradition”; instead she created Durmstrang and Beauxbatons and so on to capture the unique flavor of each of those cultures.
It would’ve taken some work for her to research Navajo stories and pick (or request) some elements from that tradition that weren’t stereotypical or sacred — and then for her to do it again with the Paiutes and again with the Iroquois and so on. But that is work she should’ve done — for the sake of her readers who live those traditions, if not for her own edification as a writer.
And how much more delightful could Magic in North America have been if she’d put an ancient, still-thriving Macchu Picchu magic school alongside a brash, newer New York school? How much richer could her history have been if she’d mentioned the ruins of a “lost” school at Cahokia, full of dangerous magical artifacts and the signs of mysterious, hasty abandonment? Or a New Orleanian school founded by Marie Laveau, that practiced real vodoun and was open/known to the locals as a temple — and in the old days as a safe place to plan slave rebellions, a la Congo Square? Or what if she’d mentioned that ancient Death Eater-ish wizards deliberately destroyed the magical school of Hawai’i — but native Hawai’ians are rebuilding it now as Liliuokalani Institute, better than before and open to all?
You can't just claim and take a living tradition of a marginalized people. That's straight up colonialism/appropriation @jk_rowling.
— Dr. Adrienne Keene (@NativeApprops) March 8, 2016
I wonder what Rowling was about only having one North American School of magic. North America is so freaking HUGE. Also, we are so incredibly diverse over here that I find it hard to believe there would be only one school. There would be like 20 and they would be as varied as you could imagine. This is a real travesty and I hope that Rowling makes an effort to rectify this.