Update, January 2013: Happy New Year!
2012 was a busy year with two illustrated books published, MORE and Malcolm at Midnight. 2013 looks to be just as busy, as I continue work on a fourth bat book (coming Spring, 2014), and develop ideas for a few other new stories. I probably wont be doing large book tours this summer—Ill be home, working—but already have several book festivals and conferences on the calendar for September through November, 2013. Hope to see you there!
Look for Malcolm at Midnight in stores near you!
• Malcolm at Midnight was buzzed at the BookExpo America conference June 6, 2012. See an archived video of the buzz here.
• See a trailer for W.H. Becks wonderfully-written middle-grade novel Malcolm at Midnight here.
• MORE has already been translated into Korean, Spanish and French.
• Bats at the Library won the 2010 Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award by the Kansas Reading Association. Thank you to all Kansans who voted for it!
• Bats at the Ballgame won the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Crystal Kite Award, for the New England Region. The Crystal Kite is a new annual award, selected by members in each of ten international regions of the SCBWI.
• Second starred review for BATS AT THE BALLGAME: Kirkus Reviews (August 15, 2010):
Previously Lies has given his bats nights at the library and the beach with great success. Now they play night baseball on a ballfield laid out under a circus tent with crowds of bat fans and vendors selling appropriate snacks like “mothdogs.” The game proceeds with swoops and slides and a win for the home team. The action is described in verse with the rhymes in easy, breezy aabb form for setup and denouement and heightened Casey at the Bat cadences and couplets for the game itself. Lies’s acrylic illustrations appear as full- and double-page spreads and scattered, unframed vignettes, and all are filled with copious detail depicting uniforms, regalia and play-by-play. The visual effect is quite stunning, with some fantastically disorienting upside-down spreads to reflect the fans hanging position, and much of the language is utterly delicious. A broad knowledge of baseball and its place in the American consciousness is assumed, as is an ability to roll with rather sophisticated vocabulary and phrasing. But as a read-aloud by a baseball fan, it’s sure to inspire a love of the game—and maybe of bats as well. (Picture book. 5-8)
• First review for BATS AT THE BALLGAME! A starred review in Publishers Weekly (July 22):
Baseball stadiums have an innate magic, never more so than in the hands of Lies, whose latest has the winged creatures gathering for an epic game, complete with beenuts and Cricket Jack, and an upside down audience. Smooth, unhurried rhymes illuminate a hidden world where bats, like humans, feel a magic shift,/ and ride the currents of the game/ as time is set adrift. Each gleaming page is thick with detail, from the bats' first arrival (We wing from dark to dazzling bright,/ startled by the stunning sight) to the final play. Fans of the other baseball bats will certainly enjoy these ones. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
• Heres a nice blog entry about the Riverside Public Library, the model for the building in Bats at the Library. Writer Jerry Peterson visited the library, and talked with Library Director Janice Fisher...
• The Japanese edition of Bats at the Beach has arrived, as well as the Brazilian, Korean and Spanish editions of Bats at the Library.
• Look for the Bats at the Beach plushie bat from Merrymakers Inc., in stores near you. They turned out really well. Its pretty neat to see your 2-D work turned into a high-quality 3-D stuffed animal!
• Many thanks to all of the independent bookseller friends who have supported the bat books so strongly, and who chose Bats at the Library as winner of the Indies Choice Book Award Best New Picture Book! Click on the ABA logo below for a full list of winners and honor books.
• The Bats at the Beach videobook was named a Notable at the American Library Association Annual Winter Conference on January 26th. Find out about it at Nutmeg Medias website.
• Bats at the Library was declared the #3 Best Picture Book of 2008 by Time / CNN.
• Bats at the Library was declared a good thing on the Martha Stewart Show on October 29, 2008!
Martha Stewart gave copies to her studio audience, showed some of the interior artwork and did a craft I created for the Bat to Basics Tour. You can see the video in the Martha Stewart Show archives here.
• Bats at the Library spent 12 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 2008.
• The second official launch event of Bats at the Library was held at the Riverside Public Library in Riverside, Illinois on October 10, 2008. Many thanks to Janice Fisher, and all of the library staff and volunteers who made the event so bat-tastic.
• The official launch of the book took place at the Duxbury Free Library in Duxbury, MA on September 28th, 2008. If you missed, it, you can find signed books at Once Upon a Time (St. George Street, Duxbury—right next to FarFars Ice Cream), and Westwinds Bookshop (on Depot Street, Duxbury). Many thanks to the Duxbury Free Library and the Friends of the Duxbury Free Library for hosting the event, and to all of the volunteers who helped out for their enthusiasm and their time!
• The first review for Bats at the Library was a starred review from Publishers Weekly (7/14/08):
Bats at the Library
Brian Lies. Houghton Mifflin, $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-618-99923-1
Liess (Bats at the Beach) much-lauded bats are back and the librarys got them—thanks to a window left open by an unsuspecting (or perhaps sympathetic) librarian. Although the young ones initially misbehave (they make photocopies of their bodies and turn the water fountain into a splash pool), Lies cuts them a little slack: “Its hard to settle down and read/ when life flits by at dizzy speed.” Story time settles everyone (upside-)down, and soon the furry creatures are “completely swallowed up” in books, giving Lies comic license to bat-tify the signature visuals from classics like Make Way For Ducklings; Pippi Longstocking; Goodnight, Moon and Peter Rabbit. As with its predecessor, this books richly detailed chiaroscuro paintings find considerable humor at the intersection where bat and human behavior meet. But the author/artist outdoes himself: the library-after-dark setting works a magic all its own, taking Lies and his audience to an intensely personal place. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)