A Fond Farewell
Center for Children's Books
|The Big Picture, a
regular Bulletin feature both on-line and off, is an in-depth
look at selected new titles and trends. See the
archive for selections from previous months.
The transition into a new academic year inevitably brings a few changes
here at the Bulletin as we say adieu to our outgoing graduate
assistants and welcome a host of new students. This year, however, is
particularly bittersweet as we wish a fond farewell to April Spisak,
Bulletin reviewer for six years now, and Claire Gross, our current
editorial assistant and also a reviewer.
April received her master's degree in Library and Information Science
from the University of Illinois, winning the 2002 Alice Lohrer Award
for Literature and Library Services. After serving as the youth
services librarian at Clark County Library in Ohio for several years,
April decided to return to GSLIS to pursue her doctoral degree. It was
around this time that she joined the Bulletin review staff and we have
had the great fortune to benefit from her insight, wit, and general
good humor ever since.
To the profound relief of several other reviewers, April has a keen
interest in fantasy and as such is often assigned the more lengthy
epics involving magic, dragons, etc. She easily tackles these seemingly
unwieldy tomes, often dubbing novels that fall short of the
four-hundred-page mark “slim.” Of her time at the Bulletin, April will
remember most the feeling of being connected to other folks who work
with books, children, and scholarship. “I loved the sharp comments over
Blue Ribbons discussions,” she says, “I am so proud looking at those
lists of the winners and seeing where the compromises happened, which
books were the universal hits, and even seeing the gaps that I still
regret (looking at you Half World
by Hiromi Goto).”
As a doctoral student, worker, and a parent, April has balanced the
requirements of her various hats
her work with an enviable degree of grace and aplomb. She will
be relocating for family reasons, but will continue to work on her
degree, focusing on her research interests that include graphic novels
and comics, series books, mass market publishing and bestsellers, and
celebrity publishing for children and young adults. Her presence at the
table is an irreplaceable one and we will miss not only her thoughtful
commentary in children’s literature but also her highly entertaining
tales of her recent adventures in motherhood. We have been lucky to
have her these past years and wish her nothing but the best as she
moves forward in her life.
Claire Gross joined the Bulletin
as our graduate assistant in the summer of 2010 while pursuing her
degree in library science. In her former life, she was an associate
editor at The Horn Book,
an experience that prepared her well for the duties at the Bulletin
desk. We have a constant influx of books here and we often have
hundreds in various stages of processing at one time. It is an
incredible amount to keep track and Claire has managed to make it look
like a breeze, tackling a complicated process with ease and efficiency.
She has not only become the keeper of all the inner workings of the Bulletin, but also began reviewing
for us, offering wonderfully astute and insightful critiques of
children’s and young adult novels.
Claire was recently accepted into the doctoral program here at GSLIS
and will be taking the coming months off (if you can call it that) to
focus on her studies and research. While we will be losing her services
as our graduate assistant, we are lucky enough that she has decided to
return to reviewing in the winter. We look forward to working with her
again and know that her contributions to the academic field of
children’s literature will be invaluable in the meantime.
-Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
the Bulletin Archives]
This page was last updated on August 1, 2011.