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Daniel Handler to Host 65th National Book Awards Ceremony

The National Book Foundation announced on Wednesday that Daniel Handler will emcee the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Handler, who was chair of the judging panel for the 2008 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature, is the first author of both adult and children’s books to emcee the awards.

BISG Ends Agreement to Produce AAP BookStats

On Monday, June 23, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) announced that it was not renewing its agreement with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to produce Volume 5 of BookStats in 2015 and would instead explore other options for conducting industry-wide research.

“We’re delighted to have had this partnership with AAP,” said BISG Executive Director Len Vlahos. “The work we’ve done together over the past several years has gone a long way to helping stakeholders in and out of publishing better understand our industry. But as happens with all projects, the lifecycle for BookStats has, in our view, run its course. We look forward to working with AAP on myriad other projects in the future, and we look forward to writing the next chapter of our own research efforts.”

The Online Data Dashboard for BookStats Volume 4 became available this week, and the printed report will publish in August.

Bay Area Book Festival to Launch in 2015

California’s first-ever Bay Area Book Festival is set for the weekend of June 6 – 7, 2015, and is expected to draw 150 authors from around the world to the East Bay area, according

“Other cities around the world have big public, weekend, free book festivals that cover all different kinds of writing,” said Cherilyn Parsons, the festival’s executive director. “But the Bay Area, strangely, despite being a literary mecca, doesn’t have one of these. So I thought, it’s time someone starts one.”

The Bay Area already hosts the popular Litquake festival, but Parsons said, unlike that event, the Bay Area Book Festival will be entirely walkable and will have a half-square-mile outdoor street fair with 100-plus literary exhibitors, a Cooking Stage, and a large Children’s Arena.

Parsons said she expects the festival to draw at least 100,000 attendees. Among the authors who planning to take part in the festival are Sherman Alexie, Cara Black, Roy Blount Jr., Michael Chabon, Vikram Chandra, Andre Dubus III, Neil Gaiman, Katie Hafner, Daniel Handler, Pico Iyer, Maxine Hong Kingston, Yiyun Li, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Michael Pollan, Robert Scheer, Lisa See, Robin Sloan, Susan Straight, Luis Alberto Urrea and Ayelet Waldman.

Pediatricians Adopt Policy to Encourage Reading Aloud to Infants

The American Academy of Pediatrics has adopted a new policy that encourages doctors to become strong advocates for reading aloud to infants beginning at birth.

The new policy recommends that doctors tell parents they should be “reading together as a daily fun family activity” from infancy. The New York Times noted that this is the first time the academy has officially weighed in on early literacy education.

Gaps in language development for children whose parent do not talk to them, as well as sing and read to them, emerge as early as 18 months, according to new research. Sixty percent of children from families with incomes at least 400 percent of the federal poverty threshold are read to daily from birth to five years of age, compared with around a third of children from families living below the poverty line.

There is also concern that reading aloud will fade with the growing use of digital devices. “The reality of today’s world is that we’re competing with portable digital media,” Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician in Orangeburg, New York, told the Times. “So you really want to arm parents with tools and rationale behind it about why it’s important to stick to the basics of things like books.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics hopes that by encouraging parents to read often early academic disparities between wealthier and low-income children as well as between racial groups will be reduced.