Posts Tagged 'The New York Times'

The New York Times (.com)

There are many things I could be blogging about right now. In fact I seem to have spent the last month collecting things to blog about but lacking the time to do it. I’m experiencing a bit of bloggers guilt, as I haven’t yet posted about book week, Brisbane Writers Festival, my new project, the two Brave Squish Rabbit launches or any of the amazing schools I’ve visited recently … and I will get to all those things (I promise). But I’ve had a little news that kind of cuts through the normal scheduling.

While I may occasionally whinge (a little) about the intrusiveness of the blooming digital age, on Thursday I decided I quite liked it. Because a little bird (possibly a tweet) popped up from a New York Times editor with the following:

Click through and you’ll find a lovely article she wrote for NYTimes.com called ‘Be Brave, Little One’, where she reviews Brave Squish Rabbit (as well as another Australian picture book that sounds fascinating – check it out). With the approach of Halloween, she is celebrating books that “pay tribute to those little ones who manage to be braver than you might expect”. She gets right to the heart of the two stories, and she writes this about Brave Squish Rabbit:

The story Battersby tells is deceptively simple, but it conveys valuable ideas — for instance, that distraction, companionship and resourcefulness can help us to combat fearfulness. And acting brave even when you don’t feel brave makes a difference too.

They also include this spread as the feature image:

I’m thrilled they enjoyed my little rabbit, and Squish has been doing a happy dance (called a binky) ever since we read the article. Pamela also did a beautiful print review in the New York Times of Squish’s first story in their Sunday Book Review last year.

Now, as promised, I’ll be back next post with some book launch photos…

Coping with Bad Reviews (or not)

It was going to happen eventually. You send your first book baby out into the big old world and not everyone will coo over it. I knew it was something I had to prepare for, but in the last few months I have been spoilt with lovely reviews and with reviewers who have clearly connected with my style and fallen for my little bunny.

Then the other day it happened. I got my first negative review. Intellectually I knew it was inevitable, but emotionally it’s never easy.

That said, it was far from a really nasty one. If the review was a crocodile it was at least smiling at me (although that made the teeth easier to see). There were some little positives in amongst it, but there were certainly a couple of statements that were bluntly discouraging. When you first read it you’re hyper-aware that it’s out there for the whole world to see. There’s no hiding from it. So here’s my incredibly serious, no at all tongue-in-cheek guide to how I coped with it…

  1. Give yourself a day: on this day you have permission to feel however you want. Cry, stomp, rant, rage, walk in circles, eat a continent of chocolate, talk to the birds and abandon all plans to do intelligent worthwhile things. I have done all of the above in the past, although this occasion just called for a quiet day and a long walk
  2. Rally the forces: Re-read your good reviews – your favourite ones that made you feel all shiny and proud. Especially those where the reviewer loved all the things the negative review seemed to dislike. Even more so the ones that directly contradict the bad review (take that, bad review!)
  3. Argue with your dog: sit your dog down and tell him all about the bad review. Defend every negative point with awesome counter-arguments. Discuss your artistic intent. Wax lyrical about everything the reviewer missed or overlooked. You’ll find your dog a very understanding ear (and know that when he brings you the tennis ball he’s saying he understands your pain)
  4. Indulge your inner storyteller: look at the reviewer’s name and imagine their backstory and why they might have written such a review. Maybe they’re a disgruntled writer and are jealous of your success. Maybe they have a deeply ingrained fear of rabbits (childhood trauma perhaps?). Maybe they’re the Guinness World Record holder for tallest person and can’t in any way relate to being little. Maybe they just didn’t like the book (hold on – scrap that last one. Too realistic and it won’t make you feel better at all)
  5. Read other authors’ bad reviews: oh this sounds nasty doesn’t it? But it works a treat. Look up your all time favourite books on Goodreads and read their one star reviews. Puts everything into perspective. If there are people in the world who loathe The Book Thief, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, then I can cope with people not liking my bunny. Everyone is different (and clearly some are weird – who doesn’t like Mo Willems?!)

For more ideas, hop on over to Michael Gerard Bauer’s blog. He’s far braver than I am … he even quoted his bad review.

Anyone have any other ideas to share?

The New York Times

It’s a wonderful yet hectic time of year, right in the middle of book week and literary festival season. I’ve just returned from several days of school workshops in Townsville with some amazing kids, and am heading off for more in Toowoomba (which I’m visiting for the second time in less than two weeks). Meanwhile, Squish has been hopping off on his own, and has made himself known in one way I’m quite excited about.

There’s something a little surreal about having your first book out in another country and not yet in your own. Something about it that makes it not quite real. It’s a little like experiencing it through another’s eyes, as I’m being told about it but not seeing it for myself. But that doesn’t stop the excitement of it all. To be honest, I haven’t stopped grinning since my publisher wrote to me to say that Squish Rabbit had been reviewed in the New York Times.

… Squish demands to be noticed, and he certainly deserves the attention. Seamlessly told in barely-­there text and deceptively simple ink and collage pictures, “Squish Rabbit” is bound to win children’s hearts.

To read the full article, click on the image below (to see a bigger version) or hop on over to their website.


About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

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