The Bulletin
of the Center for Children's Books

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  A Fond Farewell

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
brilliantly, handling 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


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This page was last updated on August 1, 2011.