Bookspotting: Sarah is reading We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ever wonder what Penguin Random House employees are reading? We’re a bunch of professionally bookish people, so you can always count on us to have a book on hand… or thirty piled on our desks. Our Bookspotting feature shows off the range of readers behind the scenes at Penguin Random House.   sarahc copy Sarah, in web design, is reading We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Show us what you’re reading by using the #bookspotting hashtag!  

Bookspotting: Maria is reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Ever wonder what Penguin Random House employees are reading? We’re a bunch of professionally bookish people, so you can always count on us to have a book on hand… or thirty piled on our desks. Our Bookspotting feature shows off the range of readers behind the scenes at Penguin Random House.   Maria Spano Maria, Managing Editor at Crown Publishing, is reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Show us what you’re reading by using the #bookspotting hashtag!  
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Publisher Nancy Paulsen on Her Career and Own Penguin Young Readers Imprint

Nancy Paulsen, president and publisher of her eponymous Penguin Young Readers imprint, shares personal insights into her outstanding career in book publishing, her bestselling, award-winning authors – Jacqueline Woodson, Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Maira Kalman, among them – as well as new books and authors she is looking forward to publishing in the coming year. What initially attracted you to the world of book publishing and the editor/publisher role in particular? Like most people in publishing, it was the love of books. I was an avid reader as a child and loved how reading transported me to new places and allowed me to understand how it felt to stand in someone else’s shoes. When I brought my résumé to Viking Penguin (as it was called back then), the job opening was in Children’s Editorial. I saw so many favorite books on the shelves when I walked into the offices—Madeline, The Snowy Day, Pippi Longstocking, The Outsiders—that I knew I had arrived at my new home. From then on I wanted to work with authors and artists and help them make books forever. Adobe Photoshop PDF What have been some of your most rewarding achievements over the course of your career as a publisher? Right from the beginning I wanted to publish books that made kids feel good and that made all kinds of kids feel represented. One of my early books at Viking was a picture book called I Like Me! by Nancy Carlson, about a confident pig, and I adored its message. When I became the publisher of Putnam in the mid-1990s, I signed up Jacqueline Woodson because I loved her extraordinary, lyrical voice, and I was thrilled when so many of her books won major awards. Her most recent picture book with E. B. Lewis, Each Kindness, won the Jane Addams Peace Prize and shows kids in such a stunning way that actions have consequences. Maira Kalman’s picture books have also been thrilling to publish, as her viewpoint is so unique and eye-opening. It’s exciting that I get to work on both picture books and novels that speak to so many kids and make a difference in their lives. When you started your own imprint, how did you envision what your emphasis would be as well as the breadth of your authors and character of your lists? From the start I planned to focus on diverse and distinctive voices and books that offered kids hope, because life can be so hard. Having Jacqueline Woodson’s stunning memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, win the National Book Award and become a huge bestseller has been so gratifying to us both, as we’ve worked together for twenty years and it was a fabulous culmination of all the things we’ve dreamed about happening. When I published Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s first book, One for the Murphys, about a foster child and everyday heroes, the word of mouth among kids was incredible and propelled the book onto state award lists all over the country. Lynda’s new book, Fish in a Tree is a bestseller that is being read in classrooms all over the world, and it’s a beautifully told story that reminds us not to judge people by their learning styles (“Great minds don’t think alike!”) and shows how a good teacher makes such a difference in a child’s life.   What have been some of the most satisfying aspects of having your own imprint and what excites you most about its future? It is super-satisfying to work with people who amaze me with their talents. On the picture book side, I get to work with some industry greats like the inimitable Tomie dePaola, and to also discover new talent like Lori Nichols and Eliza Wheeler. And on the fiction side I am thrilled that I have lots more coming from Jacqueline Woodson and Lynda Mullaly Hunt. I also have novels from Brenda Woods, Aisha Saeed, and Padma Venkatraman—all who are powerful diverse voices. It is so rewarding when fabulous books reach readers and excite them and help expand their worldview, and it’s magical when a book becomes a child’s favorite. That’s what excites me about the future—more books and more stories to be told and the ability to connect with kids in such a meaningful way. Learn more about Nancy Paulsen Books here, and find a new book to share with the child in your life! 

Congratulations to the National Book Award Winners and Finalists!

The 2015 National Book Award winners were announced last evening. Today we celebrate the winners and the finalists, all of whom wrote groundbreaking, touching, beautiful books. Adam Johnson, author of Fortune Smiles, a collection of stories, won the prize for Fiction. National Book Foundation: In the process of writing your book, what did you discover, what, if anything, surprised you? adam Johnson: Because I research a lot, the surprising joy of discovery is always central to my writing. I love to fashion entire worlds in my stories—these I try to adorn with details gleaned from the real world and the emotions of life lived. In researching the title story, for example, I was both troubled and inspired to hear North Korean defectors describe the regime-sponsored crimes they had to participate in. It wasn’t until I’d delivered hundreds of UPS packages in the Louisiana heat that I knew where my character in “Hurricanes Anonymous” would sleep that night. And it’s not until you descend to the lower levels of a Stasi prison that you begin to understand what must exist at the heart of a story like “George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine.” Start reading an excerpt here. Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me, won the prize for Nonfiction. coates National Book Foundation: In the process of writing your book, what did you discover, what, if anything, surprised you? Coates: I discovered how hard it was to make the abstract into the something visceral. My goal was to take numbers and stats and make people feel them with actual stories. It was to take scholarship and make it literature. Start reading an excerpt of the book here. See Coates read in a video here. Robin Coste Lewis, author of Voyage of the Sable Venus, won the prize for Poetry.  robin “Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem, “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a riveting narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present—titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art. Bracketed by Lewis’s autobiographical poems, “Voyage” is a tender and shocking study of the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, as it juxtaposes our names for things with what we actually see and know” – National Book Foundation  Be sure to check out the winning books below, and discover your next award-winning read!  

Bookspotting: Suzie is reading Neuromancer by William Gibson

Ever wonder what Penguin Random House employees are reading? We’re a bunch of professionally bookish people, so you can always count on us to have a book on hand… or thirty piled on our desks. Our Bookspotting feature shows off the range of readers behind the scenes at Penguin Random House.   suzie Suzie, VP & Director in the Consumer Marketing group , is reading Neuromancer by William Gibson. Show us what you’re reading by using the #bookspotting hashtag!  
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A letter from CEO Markus Dohle about #GiveaBook

Today, in honor of this year’s #Giveabook campaign, we’d like to share a letter from Markus Dohle, the CEO of Penguin Random House. Here he writes to all Penguin Random House employees about the initiative. We encourage you all to provide books to kids in need by using the #Giveabook hashtag on Twitter.  “As Penguin Random House, we have so many great opportunities in front of us: to provide a platform for a diversity of voices, to nurture a culture of reading in each of the regions where we publish our books, and to further strengthen the publishing ecosystem around the world. With these opportunities also comes an important responsibility. Each of you plays an essential role in helping us live up to that responsibility through the work you and your colleagues do every day. And many of you go beyond that to find innovative ways for us to fulfill the larger purpose we have as book publishers to nourish a universal passion for reading and give our authors the readership they deserve. Markus I am particularly excited about our successful #GiveaBook campaign, which debuted to such great results in 2014. This Sales Department initiative is returning this holiday season beginning today, Monday, November 16. For every use of the #GiveaBook hashtag on Facebook and Twitter through Thursday, December 24, Penguin Random House will donate one book to the literacy charity First Book, up to 35,000 times. Last year, we far surpassed our initial goal of 25,000, and we provided an equal number of books for children in need. With all of us getting behind this great cause once again, I know that this year we can inform even more people about the power of reading and get books into the hands of even more young readers. GiveaBookWhaleLogo How fantastic it is to work at a place with the potential to make such an impact on the world. In addition to the passion you bring to everything you do, creative innovations like this campaign are what enable us to be more than just a book publishing company; we can also be a force for cultural good. #GiveaBook is just one of the ways in which we do this, and it’s one of the many reasons I am so proud to be a part of Penguin Random House. Markus Dohle For more information about the #GiveaBook campaign, visit www.giveabook.us

Bookspotting: Molly is reading The Martian by Andy Weir

Ever wonder what Penguin Random House employees are reading? We’re a bunch of professionally bookish people, so you can always count on us to have a book on hand… or thirty piled on our desks. Our Bookspotting feature shows off the range of readers behind the scenes at Penguin Random House.   molly Molly, intern in the consumer marketing group, is reading The Martian by Andy Weir. Show us what you’re reading by using the #bookspotting hashtag!  

Bookspotting: Sarah is reading It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

Ever wonder what Penguin Random House employees are reading? We’re a bunch of professionally bookish people, so you can always count on us to have a book on hand… or thirty piled on our desks. Our Bookspotting feature shows off the range of readers behind the scenes at Penguin Random House.   sarah Sarah, in web design, is reading It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell Show us what you’re reading by using the #bookspotting hashtag!