Tuesday, December 6, 2011

EVERYTHING You Need to Know!

On The Same Page's
and special guest

Friday evening
December 9th
7 p.m.
Presser Hall
Agnes Scott College

Tickets: All tickets have been distributed.  If everyone who obtained a ticket shows up, every seat will be filled.  If you do not have a ticket but would still like to attend, you can come and get in line but we can not guarantee you a seat.  However, there is a considerable likelihood that some people with tickets will not be able to come to the event.  So if you're really, really interested, come early!

Seating: This event is, for those who have a ticket, first come, first seated.  Doors open at 6 p.m.  You must be seated by 6:50 p.m.  If you are not, we might be giving away your seat and you may not get in to the event.  Good News: We will not be using the overflow room.  If you have tickets for the overflow room, you will be admitted to Presser Hall.  As such, we will be treating blue tickets and beige (overflow room) tickets the same.  At 6:50 p.m., if there are empty seats, we will begin admitting people who do not have tickets.

The Event!!! The event will be in the format of an interview, with Mr. Marcus questioning Mr. Juster.  This will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Book Signing: Mr. Juster and Mr. Marcus will sign books following their presentation.  People wishing to get books signed will be called up by rows.  Mr. Juster will sign one book per family.  He will sign one additional book if that additional book is purchased from Little Shop of Stories for the event.

Books for Sale: We will be selling copies of the following at the event (all prices include sales tax):

The Phantom Tollbooth: the 50th Anniversary Edition, by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer ($25.68);
The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer, annotations by Leonard S. Marcus ($32.09);
The Phantom Tollbooth (paperback), by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer ($7.48);
Neville, by Norton Juster, illustrated by G. Brian Karas ($19.25);
The Dot & the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, by Norton Juster ($10.69);

Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way, by Leonard S. Marcus ($42.80);
Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy, compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus ($23.53);
The Wand in the World: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy, compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus, paperback edition ($16.04); and
Nursery Rhyme Comics, introduction by Leonard S. Marcus ($20.32).

Please note that we will have a limited number of copies of each of these titles for sale. Also, it is our hope that there will be a limited number of pre-signed copies of the first two books listed available for sale.  So buy early and buy often.

A Few Words About the 50th Anniversary Edition: First of all, it is beautifully bound.  It contains a brief introduction by Norton, an appreciation by Maurice Sendak (which was written for the book's 35th anniversary), and celebrations written by, among others, Jeanne Birdsall (see below), Michael Chabon, Suzanne Collins, Phillip Pullman, and Mo Willems.

A Few Words About the Annotated Edition: This contains a 31-page history of the book, written by Mr. Marcus, and including photographs.  The annotations by Leonard are engaging, informative, and often humorous.  It is fantastic.  I loved it!

Both of these editions are treasures.

A Few Words About Norton Juster (from a Random House web site):
Norton Juster is one of the most influential, and beloved children’s books authors of our time. Perhaps best known for his children’s classic, The Phantom Tollbooth, his writing has touched generations of young readers, sparking a love of literature in many of them. Reviews of the book have appeared in many national publications including The New Yorker, which hailed the book as “a classic”‘ and The New York Times, which said “Norton Juster’s amazing fantasy has something wonderful for anybody old enough to relish the allegorical wisdom of Alice in Wonderland and the pointed whimsy of The Wizard of Oz.” Norton has appeared at numerous schools, libraries, and conferences across the country, where he talks to students, educators, and parents about his life, his writing style, and much more. The year 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth and the media is already preparing to feature this renowned book and author in anniversary pieces. The Phantom Tollbooth has currently sold close to four million copies since its publication almost 50 years ago.

Born in June of 1929 in Brooklyn, New York, Norton Juster was an architect and planner, and is professor emeritus of design at Hampshire College. In addition to The Phantom Tollbooth, he has also penned a number of other highly acclaimed children’s books, including The Dot and the Line, which was made into an Academy Award-winning animated film, and the recent The Hello, Goodbye Window, illustrated by Chris Raschka, which was awarded a Caldecott Medal. The musical adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth, which was first introduced 15 years ago, continues to be performed in schools and theaters nationwide, and was recently produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, touring the country for eight months.

A father and a grandfather, Norton Juster resides in Amherst, MA with his wife.

A Few Words About Leonard Marcus (from Leonard's web site):
Leonard is a rare bird: a renowned historian and critic and one of the children's book world's liveliest writers and speakers.

His highly acclaimed books about children's literature and the authors and artists who create them include: Funny Business; Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way; Minders of Make-Believe; Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon; Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom; A Caldecott Celebration; Side by Side; Pass It Down; Storied City; and The Wand in the Word.

Leonard was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York, where he attended the public schools. He holds degrees in history from Yale and poetry from the University of Iowa Graduate Writers' Workshop. In 2007, Leonard was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Bank Street College of Education. He and his wife, the picture-book artist Amy Schwartz, live with their son Jacob in Brooklyn, New York.  

I will be adding information to this blog post for the remainder of the week.  Keep coming back!

We're still holding your tickets, Mr. President.
Pick them up at your convenience.
However, please be aware that if you are not seated by 6:50 p.m.,
we may have to give away your seats.

Jeanne Birdsall is On The Same Page

(well, at least we're putting them On The Same Page)

about Little Shop of Stories being
On The Same Page

A special thanks to our partners who helped make all this happen:

Decatur Rotary Club

How On The Same Page Came Together

1. Determination - We at Little Shop of Stories had talked about doing a community-wide reading program for years.  Talking about it and doing are two different things.  But early this year Krista was determined that it would happen, and she made it happen.  Go Krista!

2. Selecting a Book - The Little Shop staff got together and came up with a wish list for our very first book selection.  Knowing that The Phantom Toolbooth would be celebrating its 50th anniversary, Diane easily convinced the rest of us to place this title at the top.

3. The Negotiations - An essential element of our program was to have the author visit us to talk about his/her book.  So we had to find out if Norton Juster would come to Decatur.  Krista spoke with Sarah, our Random House representative, and got her excited about the idea.  Sarah talked to her bosses and got them excited.  Diane and Dave went to New York to meet with very important people at Random House, the publisher of The Phantom Tollboth, and got them excited.  They talked to Norton Juster and got him excited.  The bottom line is that the negotiations were very exciting.  Getting Leonard Marcus, the author of the Annotated Edition, to come was a very exciting bonus.

4. The Name -  Lots of different possibilities were bandied about, but when Sunny came up with "On The Same Page" we all knew that she had nailed it.

5. The Logo - Rob, Little Shop bookseller extraordinaire and graphic artist with Mudhouse Design, came up with this.  We love it!

6. The Tollbooth - Marcy made it.  Everyone got excited! (Photo by Katie.)

7. The Boost - The Decatur Education Foundation wanted to be involved.  Yes!  The Decatur Rotary Club, as part of their literacy efforts, wanted to help and they really stepped up.  Yes!

8. The Announcement - We talked to the very important people at The Decatur Book Festival, and they got excited.  DBF agreed to co-sponsor the program, and helped us secure Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College for Norton's visit.  They also allowed us to make The Announcement on September 3rd on the Children's Stage at this year's AJC Decatur Book Festival.  So Krista got up on stage and made the big announcement and read from the book and kids acted out part of it and everyone got excited! (Photo by Ralph Ellis, Decatur-Avondale Estates Patch.)

8. Book Club Training - We wanted to work with existing book clubs (including several here at Little Shop), classrooms, libraries, and other groups (scouts, church groups, neighborhood groups) who might be interested in reading and discussing The Phantom Tollbooth.  We put together packets with discussion questions, bookmarks, a crossword puzzle, and other good things, and conducted a training session for discussion leaders.

9. The Proclamation - We were excited when the mayor of Decatur, Bill Floyd, issued a Proclamation declaring October 25th -- the official 50th anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth -- as the On The Same Page Day of Reading!


10. Reading - People read The Phantom Tollbooth!  Lots and lots of people.  Hundreds upon hundreds.  Maybe thousands!  Even big time famous authors like Jeff Kinney (with Sunny), Rick Riordan (with Diane), Carmen Deedy (inside the phantom tollbooth), and James Dashner (inside Little Shop)!!!

11. The Movie - We screened The Phantom Tollbooth (1970) at Decatur High School on October 27th.  The live action / animated film was directed by the incomparable Chuck Jones.  Hundreds of people came to see the movie!

12. Halloween - Some kids couldn't resist.  Only in Decatur would a kid get excited about dressing up as Milo or Tock!

13.  The Phantom Tollbooth Extravaganza - Little Shop was excited to host a discussion, debate, and spelling bee on November 17th.  Rhyme and Reason were there.  We made people eat their own words!

14. The Visit - Norton Juster is Coming!  Leonard Marcus is Coming!  It's almost Friday!  Can you tell we're excited?!

Think about this: according to Wikipedia, there were a total of 288,355 new titles and editions published in the United States in 2009.  Logically, about the same number of books must go out of print every year.  Very, very few books stand the test of time.  It is a truly remarkable achievement to write a book that is on the shelves of virtually every library and most every bookstore fifty years after its initial publication.

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