Children's Book Author
SUSANNA REICH
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Coming in 2015!
Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles


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Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles

Books

Coming in Summer 2015!

Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles
Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt
ISBN 978-0-8050-9458-9


The true story of how four ordinary boys growing up amid the rubble of postwar England became the bestselling band in history.

 

 

 


Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat

Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat
Illustrated by Amy Bates
Abrams Books for Young Readers, May 2012
ISBN 978-1419701771

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"Cozy." "Lyrical." "Playful." "Charming." - Publishers Weekly

A hilarious true story about the beloved chef's first cat, a Parisian who lapped up Child's leftovers but preferred mice. For cat-lovers, foodies, Julia Child fans, and everyone who loves a tasty picture book.

Book Trailer

Watch Susanna talk about Minette's Feast and her writing life.

Blog Tour

Minette's Feast blog tour!

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Read Susanna's tribute to Julia Child on PBS.org, reviews of Minette's Feast in the Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Zagat.com and Gourmet.com, and features on Alphabet Soup and in USA Today. Check out the photos.

Listen to Susanna read from Minette's Feast and hear an interview from On The Menu Radio.

Honors

  • CCBC Choices 2013 - Best Books of the Year

Kirkus Reviews, April 2012, Starred Review star
Reich lures children into the scrumptious Parisian world of the legendary chef Julia Child with the story of her mouse-loving cat, Minette. It's a funny thought: The now-famous American gourmet painstakingly prepares duck pâtés and cheese soufflés with the freshest French ingredients when all her cat really wants to eat is raw mouse: "How delightful the crunch of fresh-caught mouse, devoured on the living room rug!" Even if readers have never heard of Julia Child or the delightful interlude she and her husband Paul shared in Paris in the late 1940s, the joy of an enthusiastic food-lover in the kitchen is palpable: "She floured and flipped, pitted and plucked, rinsed and roasted, sizzled and skimmed." Bates' inventively composed kitchen- and marketscapes in warm watercolors and pencil capture this joy as well, as readers see the very-tall, very-cheerful cook in action. The atmospheric narrative is festive, fresh and festooned with quotations from Julia and Paul's letters, as well as from Child's memoir, My Life in France (2006). As revealed in the afterword, Minette Mimosa McWilliams Child was an actual adopted tortoiseshell cat, the first of many cats for the loving couple. A fine recipe for pleasure: Julia Child, the culinary arts, Paris and a lucky cat. Magnifique! (afterword, notes, sources, glossary and pronunciation guide, author's note) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

School Library Journal, June 2012, Starred Review star
Using quotations from source materials that include Child's autobiography and letters, Reich crafts the story of how the addition of the new family cat coincided with the woman's first steps toward her magnificent culinary career. As she visits the markets, begins classes at Le Cordon Bleu, and experiments with a new recipe, Minette is there at her heels. Sophisticated cat that she is, she is often shown in a svelte feline pose (even on a chair at the dinner table) except for a spread on which she pounces on a leftover bone. Besides the cat's antics, the text also describes the markets, cooking smells, and ambience of Paris so well that it is easy to see how Child was inspired to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Using a color palette similar to Toulouse-Lautrec's paintings, Bates's pencil and watercolor illustrations support this feast for the senses. - Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library

Booklist, June 2012, Starred Review star
"Minette Mimosa McWilliams Child was...perhaps the luckiest cat in all of Paris." Reich finds an easy and appealing way into the biography of Julia Child through a tortoiseshell cat who got to smell delicious smells and nibble exquisite stews (though mouse was always preferred). The book begins with Julia and husband Paul wandering arm in arm though Paris; huddled against a doorway is the yet-to-be-named Minette. And when she comes to live with the Childs (“A house without a cat is like life without sunshine”), the couple is charmed. Meanwhile, Julia is learning to cook, finding out how to tell a good potato from a bad one, and buying enough knives to “fill a pirate ship.” Finally, she is ready to make that one special dish—and Minette is ready to dig in. Bates’ illustrations work marvelously well with this charming conceit. The pen-and-watercolor pictures have the required retro look for the time and place but never lose sight of Minette, who is an important part of Julia’s cooking journey. Those who suppose that Minette was created for this book will find in the notes the sources for most of the cat-centered incidents, along with quotations.

Shelf Awareness, July 10, 2012, Starred Review star
Susanna Reich (Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso) tells the captivating story of the path to good food and a calling for Julia Child, through the eyes of her cat, Minette.

Amy Bates's (The Dog Who Belonged to No One) watercolor-and-pencil illustrations re-create post-World War II Paris, when Julia and her husband arrived from America for Paul Child's work with the U.S. Information Agency. Julia begins her quest to concoct good meals from the scrumptious ingredients at her disposal. Bates illustrates the city streets like scenery for a play, with fresh bread on exhibit in the windows of the boulanger and beef hanging on display in the boucherie. From Julia's pots and pans, Minette could detect "the delicious smells of mayonnaise, hollandaise, cassoulets, cheese soufflés, and duck pâtés." The cat might take the occasional nibble of cheese or a sip of milk, "But of course, mouse and bird were much preferred," as the book's refrain goes. One day, however, Julia rubs meat with salt and pepper, herbs and spices, and marinates it for three days. Even Minette cannot resist these leftovers.

Reich's internal rhymes make the proceedings feel festive, while her overall prose conveys Julia's seriousness of purpose. The smooth flow of her narrative belies the impressive amount of research she undertook to relate actual conversations and events. Reich and Bates make it seem inevitable that Child would become the most famous cook in the United States and use her own culinary journey to lead other women along her path.

Discover: A delectable banquet that charts Julia Child's culinary progress through the eyes of her cat, Minette.—Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor

Horn Book
Between this book’s red-checked endpapers lies a delectable tale about Julia Child discovering her culinary calling in Paris. With Child’s own writings as the source for a baker’s dozen of apt quotes (“You are the butter to my bread,” says husband Paul), this is as truthful an account as could be hoped for—while still being told from the point of view of Paul and Julia’s cat, Minette. Reich has a storyteller’s instinct for entrancing incident and a poet’s gift for sound and sensory detail. Minette smells “mayonnaise, hollandaise, cassoulets, cheese soufflés, and duck pâtés”; Julia “baked and blanched, blended and boiled…floured and flipped, pitted and plucked.” Who knew cooking involved such a wealth of action verbs? Posing or pouncing, Minette is a vivacious presence in Bates’s pencil and watercolor art, an adored pet lucky enough to share the fruits of Julia’s labors. The roofs and markets of Paris and Julia’s busy kitchen all spring to life in a pleasing palette keyed to both fresh food and tortoiseshell cat: chocolate-brown, buttery-yellow, and coppery-red are nicely countered by soft blues and lettuce-green hues. Julia is shown with her characteristic heft and sensible shoes; when she’s with Paul, their mutual affection glows in every line. This book is a charmer to share aloud with young people who enjoy a well-paced story and with cat lovers and food lovers of any age. Notes and sources, an afterword summarizing Child’s life, a glossary, and author’s note are appended. Joanna Rudge Long


Painting the Wild Frontier

Painting the Wild Frontier: The Art and Adventures of George Catlin
Clarion Books, 2008
ISBN 978-0618714704

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"Without peer or parallel." - Kirkus Reviews
"Spectacular" - "Curriculum Connections," School Library Journal and Teaching Books.net
Click here for Discussion Guide and Activities

The 19th-century American artist George Catlin painted Indian tribes from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and created a sensation with his "Indian Gallery" of art and artifacts. He championed the rights of Native Americans in an era of prejudice and mistrust, and his iconic images helped shape our understanding of Native cultures and the American West.

This meticulously-researched biography recounts true tales of buffalo hunting, life and death encounters in the Amazon jungle, and more, making this book a page-turner for readers ages 10 and up. Painting the Wild Frontier features 100 illustrations, including many of Catlin's own paintings (some in full color), as well as archival prints and photographs. The book also includes a foreword by John Haworth (Cherokee), Director of the National Museum of the American Indian's George Gustav Heye Center.

Honors

  • Kirkus Reviews - Best YA Books of 2008
  • Booklist - Top Ten Arts Books for Youth
  • Association of Booksellers for Children - Best Books
  • Society of School Librarians International, Honor Book

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2008, Starred Review star
With graceful writing and fascinating artwork, this well-designed biography explores the work and adventures of George Catlin. Best known for his many paintings of American Indians, Catlin traveled extensively in the American West and South America in the mid-1800s. He lived rough and encountered many dangers, some life-threatening. His own writing proves a fertile source of lively stories and quotations: He described being attacked by a jaguar that he was hunting, possibly for its tail, which he recommended for its “deliciousness of flavor.” Reich places Catlin’s life in the context of art history and provides an overview of the Indian tribes he encountered and their plights. The complex portrait of Catlin is even-handed; he hoped to champion the cause of Indians but also partly exploited them to make his living. While he created a remarkable historical record, his family suffered financially and by his prolonged absences. An author’s note addresses the challenges of a white author’s writing about Indians and the reliability of Catlin’s writing. A handsome, well-documented volume. (timeline, endnotes, bibliography; map, index not seen) (Biography. 12 & up)

Booklist, June 1, 2008, Starred Review star
Reich's own words (“As a white person writing about American Indians, I have tried to be respectful...but, like George, I cannot completely erase my cultural biases, no matter how hard I try,”) reflect the dominant theme of her handsome biography of nineteenth-century painter George Catlin, famous for his portraits of Native American life. Underlying the lucid, detailed discussion of the artist, which is illustrated with beautiful archival prints and photographs of his work, are the whites’ conflicting views of Indian peoples, then and now - especially the image of the “noble savage.” Quoting extensively from Catlin’s letters and notes, Reich shows how he was driven to paint authentic cultural rituals and individuals, to champion the Indians’cause, and to record their rich, vanishing way of life in all its diversity. At the same time, she never denies that Catlin exploited his subjects, exhibiting the “primitives,” in the U.S. and abroad. There are long captions with the paintings, and the extensive back matter includes thorough chapter notes, a bibliography, and a time line. A great introduction to Catlin’s work as well as an excellent title to use in social studies, history, and art classes. - Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal, August 1, 2008, Starred Review star
"Using primary sources, including Catlin's own diaries and letters, Reich helps readers understand the importance of the artist's work and to see him as a man in his own time. The personal documents expose both selfless and selfish sides of his character. At times, he was sensitive to the Native peoples and their cultures, but he also used them for his own gain. Readers also see the artist as a neglectful family man and less-than-successful businessman; however, above all, Catlin is seen as an adventurer. Many of his paintings illustrate the text and add to a sense of excitement. A few of the larger reproductions are in color, giving a clearer view of the artist's palette and style. Other period works are also included. All are well captioned with additional identification and information that ties in to the text. Quotations are carefully documented in chapter footnotes. The author's note explains her choice of terminology and spelling as well as her efforts to avoid cultural bias in writing this book. This is an excellent choice for libraries looking for good biographies, either for reports or pleasure reading." - Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH


Penelope Bailey Takes the Stage

Penelope Bailey Takes the Stage
Marshall Cavendish, 2006
ISBN 978-0761452874

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Penelope Bailey wants to be an actress, but it is 1889, and acting is not an acceptable profession for a proper young lady. In this historical novel for kids ages 9 and up, Penelope is left with her strait-laced aunt in San Francisco, who does everything in her power to thwart the girl's ambitions. When Penelope is befriended by a mysterious young woman -- a character based on the famous dancer Isadora Duncan -- readers find out just how far she is willing to go to follow her dream.

Honors

  • American Library Association Teens Top Ten nominee
  • Scripps Howard News Service Best Books of 2006
  • Flamingnet.com Top Choice Award

Jose!  Born to Dance

José! Born to Dance: The Story of José Limón
Illustrated by Raúl Colón
Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, 2005
ISBN 978-0689865763

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José! Born to Dance Reader's Theater script published in Library Sparks April issue! Read the Meet the Author feature.

This picture book biography for kids ages 5-8 was eight years in the making and features spectacular art by the award-winning illustrator Raúl Colón, and a lyrical, poetic text. Here's what the reviewers are saying:

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2005, Starred Review star
"This first introduction for children to renowned dancer and choreographer José Limón pairs equally soaring text and visuals. Born 'kicking like a roped steer,' young Limon moved with his family from Mexico to California during the Mexican Revolution, made his way to New York during the '20s, and after searching for an artistic vocation, found his life's work in the modern art dance of Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, creating 'dances sweet as birdsong-- TRILLIA-WEET!/ Hot as the desert sun-- Si! Si / Sad as broken dreams-- O, sonador.' Focusing mainly on Limon's childhood, Colon takes him from cradle to curtain call in a series of portraits that captures his strength and grace perfectly. Reich's narrative neatly draws together both his search for a medium of artistic expression that was right for him (he was talented in music and visual arts, too), and the influence of early incidents, sights and even sounds on his mature style. She closes with a triple 'BRAVO!' that readers will certainly echo, plus an extended biographical note and a select list of resources in several media. An inspiring tribute to a major figure in the arts, featuring some of Colon's most moving, powerful work yet."

ALA Booklist, August 2005, Starred Review star
"This picture-book biography tells the story of young Jose Limon, who became a legendary figure [in] the history of American dance. Reich punctuates the scenes of Jose's childhood in Mexico with sensory details, especially sounds: the 'TRILLIA-WEET! TRILLIA-WEET!' of his grandmother's canary singing, the clicking heels of flamenco dancers, the cries of "Ole! Ole! Ole!' at the bullfight, and his Mama's bedtime lullaby; 'SORA-SORA-SO, SORA-SO.' Later, Reich shows how the rhythmic sounds from Limon's childhood became inspirations for movements expressed in his dance. When civil war in Mexico leads to fighting in the streets of their town, Jose's family flees to the U. S. In elementary school, laughter at his poor English fires his determination to succeed. As an adult, he moves to New York City, discovers his passion for dance, and works hard to become a dancer and choreographer. Sensitively written and beautifully illustrated, this picture book offers a soaring portrayal of achievement, Colon's distinctive watercolor and colored pencil artwork includes many strong compositions that are fundamentally narrative, yet emotionally resonant and often memorable. An expressive, stately tribute."

Awards and Honors

  • Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award
  • International Latino Book Award
  • Booklist Top Ten Arts Books for Youth
  • New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year

Clara Schumann:  Piano Virtuoso

Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso
Clarion Books, 1999
ISBN 978-0395891193

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This award-winning biography of the 19th century musician and composer, for readers ages 8 and up, is now available in both hardcover and paperback.

Awards and Honors

  • National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Honor Book
  • ALA Notable
  • ALA Best Book for Young Adults
  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
  • New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age
  • Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year
  • CCBC Choices
  • VOYA Nonfiction Honor List
  • Washington Irving Children's Choice Honor Book
  • CBC/NCSST Notable Social Studies Trade Book
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