Ban It. Pan It. But Don’t Ignore It.

As we wave farewell to Banned Book Week 2014,  and move into October--the season of the most widely banned holiday of them all, HALLOWEEN,

 I’d like to share what sounds like the start of a joke: I was sitting in the Candlewick Press booth one day when 2 librarians walked up . . .

 Not These Two--Children's Librarians! (Who Knew there was a TV Series?)

Not These Two--Children's Librarians! (Who Knew there was a TV Series?)

I smiled cheerily, and Vanna White-ish-ly motioned toward the picture book on display. 

“This is my newest book,” I gushed, “Isn’t it adorable!”

"Would you like to take a look at it?"

 “Feel free to take a few NO BITE pins,” I offered.

“A bookmark? Maybe a NO BITE sticker?”

 

 

 

 

The two librarians leaned in for a peek at the cover, then jumped back, shaking their heads.
No, no,” They told me.

“I’m sure it’s very nice,” one offered. “But . . . 

We don’t buy that kind of book.

The book was Vampire Baby, a picture book illustrated by Paul Meisel. The event TLA: Texas Library Association 2013 Annual Conference. 

These weren't the only librarians who hurried past and/or tisk-tisked disapprovingly at Vampire Baby. (I think a few may actually have made a special trip past the booth just so they could cast dispersion.) 

What were they afraid of? That adorable Tootie-Wootie was going to jump off the cover and bite them? That Vampirism was contagious? That children exposed to it might suddenly sprout fangs? Or maybe, horror of horrors, they might actually . . . like it???

While it sounds like a joke, it’s not a laughing matter.

Later, at the Texas Blue Bonnet Award Luncheon, after one table-mate actually squealed with delight when she learned Vampire Baby was mine!—my Rock Star Moment—I learned why Vampire Baby was shunned. That same librarian who had squealed, later apologized because while she would happily be buying copies for herself, her children, and her friends, she could not buy it for her school library. Why?

Turns out the word “Vampire” is taboo in many libraries—school and otherwise. And in school book fairs and clubs, such as Scholastic. So, rather than buying Vampire Baby, rather than reading it, rather than even looking inside, librarians at those institutions ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist. Sound familiar?

It took me back to a long ago Fourth of July Weekend when after sharing a jolly holiday with friends at a cabin they had rented on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake, we decided to book ourselves a cabin for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. The proprietress happily passed me a registration for to fill out, read as far as my name, then smiled politely as she declined my booking, saying “I’m sure you are very nice people, but you are not our kind of people.”  

Ironic, isn't it, that time of “Inclusivity” and “Celebrating Diversity” Vampire Baby, a teething story, a sibling story, a story of a brother learning to accept his sister’s “differences” and ultimately embrace and defend her, fangs and all, rather than being embraced or challenged,  is ignored.

Frankly, I don’t blame them.  If I were a children’s librarian, I’d probably do the same thing. (Although I’d like to think I wouldn't.) As delightful as Vampire Baby is—and it sooooo is—if  I knew adding it to my library’s picture book collection guaranteed me having to defend it, fill out more paperwork, perhaps pull it from the shelves anyway, I probably wouldn't buy it either. (The tots won’t know the difference. . . ) So much easier to ignore it and hope it goes away…

I wouldn’t be alone in this thinking, it seems. In a Google search of “Banned Picture Books,” the last picture book listed is And Tango Makes Three, published in 2005! 

Does this mean the last offensive to some faction picture book published was 9 years ago????

 Of course you can't compare   Vampire Baby   to   And Tango Makes Three . . . 

Of course you can't compare Vampire Baby to And Tango Makes Three . . . 


   . . . Not until you've read IT!

 . . . Not until you've read IT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s to Banned Books! And Banning Books!. Being banned is so much better than being ignored.

Do me a favor: Ban it if you must. Pan it if you will. But, first, READ IT! (Or at least listen.)

I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the Link to VAMPIRE BABY Author Read-Aloud

If you decide it's offensive, go ahead, BAN IT!  (I double-dog dare you...)

If you decide it’s worthwhile, and you’d like a chance to WIN FREE BOOKS FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR LIBRARY, enter the I Vant My Vampire Baby Contest. HERE’S HOW!

The views expressed here are strictly mine. The do not reflect those of Candlewick Press, Paul Meisel, Scholastic Bookfairs or Vampires other than Tootie.

Why? Why Did You Do This to Me?

To kickstart the I VANT MY VAMPIRE BABY GIVEAWAY I'm posting this unauthorized interview by Vampire Baby's victim/brother:

Here's what I want to know: Of all the baby sisters in the world, why did mine have to be a vampire baby? WHY? Tell the truth, Kelly Bennett aka Ms. Bigshot Author: are you vampire crazy? Or did you turn Tootie into a vampire baby just so you could cash in on the vampire craze?

KB: Of course! I totally wanted to cash in on the vampire craze! (And rake in Armored truck loads of cash)...Who wouldn't? BTW: I'm still waiting....

 Who knows: I could go Vampire--I have the fangs for it!

Who knows: I could go Vampire--I have the fangs for it!

As for vampire crazy: Maybe I would be a vampirepheliac. (I do love writing that word), if I could. But, there's one teeny problem with me going vampire: I have fainted at the sight of blood.

To be fair, it was my son Max's blood. He cut himself picking a piece of glass out of the grass. (Caution: don't play with glass.) Hey! At least I waited until the doctor was finished sewing the top of Max's thumb back in place before my eyes rolled. I remember saying, “I'm going….” The next thing I knew I was on the emergency room floor with my feet propped up on a chair and everyone staring down at me. That's not to say I might not turn vampire . . . I do have fangs.

VBB: Now that's SCARY! So, where did you get the idea for Vampire Baby?

KB: The title came first. It sprang from a workshop at Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA). Cynthia Leitich Smith was one of our workshop leaders. Her Tantalize series was hot, so she was the VCFA resident expert on all things Vampire. Someone in the group suggested that certain topics were off limits in picture books. Cynthia and I jumped on that foolish notion. 

“Such as?” we asked. That wonderfully-misinformed person looked at Cynthia and said, “What about, well . . . vampires.” And just like that (insert finger snap) I blurted out, “Vampire Baby!”

VBB: How long did it take you to write the story?

KB: About two years and 12 revisions.

VBB: Two years! But it doesn't have very many words? You must be a really slow writer. Why so long?

KB: The title, Vampire Baby, floated around in my head like a guilty secret, stirring and swirling, popping up every so often to remind me it was there for quite a while. But that's all it was, a title. I didn't have a story to go with it.

VBB: What were you waiting for?

KB: YOU! I had to figure out who I was writing about, and who I was writing for. The answer to both was you: an eight-year-old boy with sibling trouble.

VBB: So you invented Too-too-Tootie...

KB: Exactly! I was actually gathering material for a non-fiction book about teeth. A friend shared that unlike most babies, whose bottom teeth come in first, her canine teeth had come in first. That's when the story idea hit me.

VBB: Don't you mean “bit” me? Ha-ha! Canine means “dog.” Why couldn't Tootie have been a dog instead of a sister?

KB:You already have a dog. As I was saying... I actually wrote Vampire Baby with three people in mind: my Candlewick editor, Sarah, because she busted out laugh-snorting when she heard the title; my nephew, Devin; and his little sister, Grace, who has the best giggle.

VBB: How did you come up with the silly name, Tootie, anyway?

KB: It's from the movie Meet Me in St. Louis, starring Judy Garland. The littlest sister, played by Margaret O'Brien, was named Tootie. That name always made me laugh, and so it seemed perfect because you wouldn't expect a dangerous vampire baby to be named Tootie.

VBB: I still don't get it. Having a baby sister is tough enough. Why turn Tootie into a biter?

 Ooops! Did I do that????

Ooops! Did I do that????

KB: Confession Time: some babies hit, some kick, some scream, some bite. To hear my family tell it, I did all of them! In my defense, they were all bigger and stronger and knew more words than I did. So I did what I had to do to get my point across. Biters are misunderstood: we're not bad, but we can be dangerous... And that's all the time we have. If I'm going to write more stories, I'd better get busy.

VBB: Wait! Just one more question, please? What's my name?

KB: That's for me to know and for you to find out in what I hope is the next adventure ofVampire Baby!

VBB: Thanks, Kelly... Uh oh! Here she comes...  

Youch Tootie! No Bite!

VAMPIRE BABY thrilled to be a finalist for the OKLAHOMA BOOK AWARD!!

VAMPIRE BABY is sharping her fangs--looking forward to sinking them into Oklahoma Center for the Book folks at the Oklahoma Book Awards on April 12th! What a thrill to be a finalist!

Thank you for honoring VAMPIRE BABY, illustrated by Paul Meisel (Candlewick Press).

2014 Oklahoma Book Award Finalist, Children/Young Adults

Vampire Baby—Kelly Bennett—Candlewick Press

The Year of the Turnip—Glenda Carlile—New Forums Press Inc.

The Dark Between—Sonia Gensler—Alfred A. Knopf

Nugget & Fang—Tammi Sauer—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

MOJO—Tim Tharp—Alfred A. Knopf

How I Became a Ghost—Tim Tingle—The RoadRunner Press

 

Design/Illustration

Chikasha Stories Volume Three: Shared Wisdom—illustrated by Jeannie Barbour—Chickasaw Press

The Impossible Dream: The Miracle of the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum—designed by Nathan Dunn—Oklahoma Heritage Association

Proudly Protecting Oklahoma: The 75th Anniversary of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol—designed by Skip McKinstry—Oklahoma Heritage Association

Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison—designed by Tony Roberts and Julie Rushing—University of Oklahoma Press

Devon—designed by Jenny Chan and Lisa Yelon with Jack Design, photography by Alan Karchmer and Joe C. Aker—The Images Publishing Group

 

Fiction

Kind of Kin—Rilla Askew—HarperCollins

A Map of Tulsa—Benjamin Lytal—Penguin Books

The Hanging of Samuel Ash—Sheldon Russell—Minotaur Books

Che Guevara’s Marijuana and Baseball Savings and Loan—Jack Shakely—Xlibris

The Southern Chapter of the Big Girl Panties Club—Lynda Stephenson—Outskirts Press

Sweet Dreams—Carla Stewart—Faith Words Press

Non-fiction

Banking in Oklahoma Before Statehood—Michael J. Hightower—University of Oklahoma Press

Came Men on Horses: The Conquistador Expeditions of Francisco Vazquez de Coronado and Don Juan de Onate—Stan Hoig—University Press of Oklahoma

Main Street Oklahoma: Stories of Twentieth-Century America—edited by Patricia Loughlin and Linda W. Reese—University of Oklahoma Press

Riding Out the Storm: 19th Century Chickasaw Governors, Their Lives and Intellectual Legacy—Phillip Carroll Morgan—Chickasaw Press

The Fifth and Final Name: Memoir of an American Churchill—Rhonda Noonan—Chumbolly Press

Trail Sisters: Freedwomen in Indian Territory, 1850–1890—Linda W. Reese—Texas Tech University Press

When the Wolf Came: The Civil War and the Indian Territory—Mary Jane Warde—University of Arkansas Press

Poetry

The White Bird—William Bernhardt—Balkan Press

Red Dirt Roads—Yvonne Carpenter, Nancy Goodwin, Catherine McCraw, Clynell Reinschmiedt, and Carol Waters—Haystack Press

Poetry Unbound—Beth Robinson and the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center Writers—CreateSpace

Black—Sarah Webb—Virtual Artists Collective

The Oklahoma Center for the Book, sponsor of the Oklahoma Book Award competition, is a non-profit, 501-c-3 organization located in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Established in 1986 as an outreach program of the Library of Congress, the Oklahoma Center was the fourth such state center formed. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors from across the state.

The mission of the Oklahoma Center for the Book is
to promote the work of Oklahoma authors,
to promote the literary heritage of the state, and
to encourage reading for pleasure by Oklahomans of all ages.

For more information about the Oklahoma Center for the Book or the Oklahoma Book Award program, contact Connie Armstrong, 200 N.E. 18th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73105; or call 1-800-522-8116 toll free, statewide; in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, call 522-3383.

Back to Oklahoma Book Award Page
Back to ODL Agency Services
Back to ODL Home Page

 

Vant to Vin? Vampire Baby=FREE BOOKS FOR YOUR LIBRARY

Transform your Story Hour Babies & Toddlers into “Vampire Babies” with a Silly Downloadable Costume! Snap Pictures of a “Vampire Baby” and Win Books for a Library!!  ---it's just that easy!   

   I Vant to Vin books for my favorite library: Transylvania Central 

I Vant to Vin books for my favorite library: Transylvania Central 

 from Candlewick Press, available from booksellers everywhere--even near you!

from Candlewick Press, available from booksellers everywhere--even near you!

 

The Story Hour Kit

To play with VAMPIRE BABY's theme of teething babies and toddlers secretly being vampires, the Story Hour Kit include six different sets of silly vampire lips to cut-out. The lips, placed on an included paper “lip stick”, can be easily held up in front of a baby, toddler, or child’s lips for a funny transformation.

Following the instructions on the “lip stick” your patrons, customers, and families can snap a picture and post it on Kelly Bennett Books Facebook page along with the name and location of their favorite library. 

VAMPIRE BABY pictures will be entered in a contest to win a collection of Kelly Bennett picture books for their favorite library. A winner will be drawn every 90 days from Halloween 2013-Halloween 2014. Keep snapping those Vampire Baby photos and enter to win often!

• Download Vampire Baby Story Hour Kit (PDF)      

 

 

      About VAMPIRE BABY:
It happens overnight: little sister Tootie goes from cuddly, ga-ga-googoo, I-want-my-ba-ba baby to…vampire baby. Now she’s sinking her pointy fangs into everything — furniture, toys, and especially her big brother. Mom insists that it’s just a phase, but Tootie’s brother knows better. Just look at her hairline!  With perfect comic timing, Kelly Bennett and Paul Meisel give a fresh slant to the new-baby story, proving that even monstrous little arrivals have a funny way of staking their siblings' affections.

Why wait? Download the Vampire Baby Story Hour Kit . . . if you dare!

Read! Play! Sing! Snap! and enter to win books for your library!

And the Winner is . . .

Three winners have been chosen in the I VANT MY VAMPIRE BABY CONTEST. Everyone who left a comment on the Vampire Baby book trailer was entered into the contest. Here are the lucky winners:

#1 Lori Ed Templeton

#2 Nate T

#3 djdoc122

 3 Autographed, 1st editions are winging their way to the lucky winners!

3 Autographed, 1st editions are winging their way to the lucky winners!

Send a reply via private message on Facebook via Kelly Bennett Books to claim your prize! Thank you to everyone who participated!

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!

I Vant My Vampire Baby contest may be over, but the party hasn't ended.

   Jean Book Nerd''s VAMPIRE BABY & SWAG GIVE-AWAY BLOG TOUR!  

October 25th Friday
- Review & Spotlight Me, My Shelf and I
- Tens List & Spotlight I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

October 26th Saturday
- Review & Spotlight Two-Tall-Tales
- Music Playlist & Spotlight Best Books

October 27th Sunday
- Review & Spotlight Racing to Read
This or That & Spotlight Sassy Book Lover

October 28th Monday
- Review & Spotlight Mary’s Cup of Tea
- Favorite Things & Spotlight A Dream Within a Dream

October 29th Tuesday
- Guest Post & Spotlight Paranormal Book Club
- Review & Spotlight Word to Dreams

October 30th Wednesday
- Spotlight Book Suburbia

October 31st Thursday
- Interview Jean Book Nerd 

  . . . AND a WHOLE YEAR MORE !!!!

  Vampire Baby: Silly Story Hour “Masks” & Chance to Win Books        

  Click on the Activitie's tab to download the Story Hour Kit & Contest Details

Click on the Activitie's tab to download the Story Hour Kit & Contest Details

Reader Engagement Project:

Transform your Story Hour Babies & Toddlers into “Vampire Babies” with a Silly Downloadable Costume!

Snap Pictures of a “Vampire Baby” and Win Books for a Library!

HERE'S THE 9-1-1 from Curious City! 

  

Vampire Baby Halloween Reveal

So I lied...  

But this is the truth: There are 3 brand spanking new--autographed--copies of VAMPIRE BABY waiting to be won and as of this posting only 30 people entered the I VANT MY VAMPIRE BABY contest.   Here are the Contest Details

Translation: Chances of winning are super good. . .

It's Halloween. Go for it. Take a Chance. You could win a treat! 

But first . . .  

 Groceries Anyone? 

Groceries Anyone? 

We like Halloween!
 We dress up. We Trick or Treat. We like it so much that one year, we had Halloween in July.

 The Fondren's of Oz

The Fondren's of Oz

 My BFF Valerie and I in High School. Thinking back, our costumes reflect our personalities, even back then. Valerie always was the nice one . . .  

My BFF Valerie and I in High School. Thinking back, our costumes reflect our personalities, even back then. Valerie always was the nice one . . .  

From 6th grade on, my BFF Valerie and I took Halloween seriously. We'd start a couple of months before creating costumes. We always took her baby brother Sean with us, so we'd create his costume, too. One year we were a pair of dice--Sean was the Joker.

 

We were trick-or-treating along in our huge dice boxes when a couple of pranksters pushed us over and sent us flailing ala Scout in her ham costume.

Believe you, me, if I'd been fast enough, I would have happily sunk my teeth into those no-good-nicks...

 Lexi & Ryan Score! 

Lexi & Ryan Score! 

 My grandson Bennett is holding with tradition.   Here's Vampire Baby!

My grandson Bennett is holding with tradition. Here's Vampire Baby!

 HAPPY HALLOWEENING!!!!!

TRICK OR TREAT
— VAMPIRE BABY

#16 Vampire Baby's Movie Playlist for Halloween

Vampire Baby’s Movie Play List

Okay, so Vampire Baby isn’t old enough to have watched many movies. Nor would she be allowed to at her age—no matter how hard she bit. (For that matter, neither would her big brother.) But, when Vampire Baby is old enough to watch movies on Halloween these will definitely be on her list.*

Archie and the Riverdale Vampires (1999) Archie gets a supernatural makeover in these episodes from the Archie's Weird Mysteries TV series.

archie-vampire-vhs.jpg

Bite the Bullet (1979) A group of ex-rough riders, an ex-prostitute and a gunfighter enter a horse race in the desert.

Bite of the Living Dead (2011) World-renowned herpetologist Joe Slowinski is bitten by a juvenile krait while on expedition in Burma. Rani has also been bitten by a krait in a rural Indian village

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) A teenage girl learns that she is her generation's destined battler of vampires.

Buffy_The_Vampire_Slayer_Movie.jpg


Count Duckula, TV Series (1988-1993) The misadventures of a vegetarian vampire duck and his servants.

duckula.jpg
Let Me In  (2010)  A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.

Let the Right One In (2008)  Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl who turns out to be a vampire.

The Little Vampire (2000)

A lonely boy becomes best friends with a vampire.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

A nerdish florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands to be fed.

Love Bite (2012) School is over and summer has begun in the dead-end seaside town of Rainmouth. While Jamie's friends seem to be happy working in the local pie factory by day and looking for sex by night,

Love at First Bite (1979) Vampire spoof has Count Dracula moving to New York to find his Bride, after being forced to move out of his Transylvanian castle.

love at first bite.jpg

Man Bites Dog (1992) In this dark satire, a film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routines. But complications set in when the film crew loses their abjectness and begin lending a hand.

Once Bitten (1985) A vampire Countess needs to drink the blood of a virgin in order to keep her eternal beauty.

Bunnicula, the Vampire Rabbit, Cartoon (1982) Bunnicula the Vampire Rabbit is a supernatural rabbit whose weakness for draining vegetables of their juices. 

Bunnicula.jpg

Reality Bites  (1994) Generation X Graduates face life after college with a filmmaker looking for work and love in Houston.

The Bite (1989) After a guy is bitten on the hand by a radioactive snake, his hand changes into a lethal snake head, which attacks everyone he comes into contact with

Some Dogs Bite (2010) It's a Crime to Steal a Baby! But What if it's Your Brother

 

More Suggestions, anyone?

*Disclaimer: Movie descriptions are cut-n-pasted from the internet. The list is not, and should, not, in any way, be consider recommendations. Watch at your own discretion.

LAST CHANCE!    

Enter the "I Vant My Vampire Baby" Book Trailer Contest--is NOW!!! 

Here's how: View the Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett book trailer on Youtube. Leave a comment. You're entered to win you're very own authographed copy of the book. It's that easy!    Here are the Contest Details

#15 Should Charlie be Confessing?

If YouTube would have been around way back when, my brother, Joey, might have been the brother hollering "Youch!" in a clip the way Big Brother Harry does in the infamous "Charlie Bit My Finger" YouTube video.   

 Harry and Charlie in the infamous clip. From the looks of it, Charlie does not apear to be a Vampire Baby (Although his canines are in shadow.)

Harry and Charlie in the infamous clip. From the looks of it, Charlie does not apear to be a Vampire Baby (Although his canines are in shadow.)

 Me, a family friend named "Bambi's" baby, and Joe. And no, I did not bite this baby...although it looks as though Joe may be nursing a sore finger.

Me, a family friend named "Bambi's" baby, and Joe. And no, I did not bite this baby...although it looks as though Joe may be nursing a sore finger.

We have a sick fasination with biting, and the fear of being bitten. Why else would Vampire/Dracula themes be so popular? 

The "Charlie Bit my Finger" clip, which as of an Oct. 17, 2013 article, is close to logging half-a-billion views, is proof. The brothers, according to the article, say the attention they garnered from the clip, coupled with the idea that "Charlie bit my finger like a rabid opossum, but Dad kept on filming because he thought it was awesome" has marred the brothers--maybe irreparably. Fortunately, money shouldn't be an issue if they decide to seek help. 

An article in the Daily Mail states that this and other "Harry and Charlie" YouTube videos have earned their family more than 100,000 pounds in advertising payments. 

  How Much Did They Pay You Per Bite, Bela?

How Much Did They Pay You Per Bite, Bela?

 Here's a photo of the brothers now.   " Open up, Charlie! Show us your fangs!!!!"

Here's a photo of the brothers now. "Open up, Charlie! Show us your fangs!!!!"


HURRY! Enter the "I Vant My Vampire Baby" Book Trailer Contest, NOW!  

Here's how: View the Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett book trailer on Youtube. Leave a comment. You're entered to win you're very own authographed copy of the book. It's that easy! 

Midnight Halloween the contest closes. Winner will be announced Nov. 1st.