Nanny and painter. Jackson Hole Community School, Jackson, WY, visual arts instructor.
Josette Frank Award, Children's Book Committee of the Bank Street College of Education, Stonewall honor book in literature, American Library Association Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table, and Lambda Literary Award finalist, all 2007, all for The Manny Files.
The Manny Files, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.
Christian Burch is a nanny and a painter. He has lived and worked in Jackson, Wyoming, since the mid-1990s. After several years in the city, Burch began working as a visual arts instructor at the Jackson Hole Community School.
Burch published his first novel, The Manny Files, in 2006. The book won multiple awards in 2007, the first of which was the Josette Frank Award from the Children's Book Committee of the Bank Street College of Education, an award formerly known as the Children's Book Award. Burch shared this award with Sara Pennypacker and her book Clementine. The second award Burch won that year was having The Manny Files named a Stonewall honor book in literature by the American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table. The novel was also a Lambda Literary Award finalist.
The novel introduces the Dalinger family, who has recently hired a male nanny, Matthew, preferring to call himself a "manny." Third-grader Keats is happy to have another male in the house and fourth-grader India and three-year-old Mirabelle enjoy his mannerisms. However, seventh-grader Lulu keeps a diary of everything the manny does around the house, including wearing costumes to see them off at the bus stop and making creative lunches. She is building up evidence to get him fired, the same as she had done for the previous nanny. When Lulu decides she has enough information to get him fired, she calls a mock trial, presenting her findings to her parents. Keats, who learned from Matthew to stand up for himself and not be so shy, defends his manny, impressing his parents and saving Matthew's job. Eventually he is able to win over Lulu in a compromise.
Belinda Williams, writing in KidsReads.com, commented: "With a colorful cast of characters, you never have a dull moment. I found myself laughing over and over again as the Manny's escapades got even bolder." Williams concluded by calling the book "an excellent piece of work and a job well done." Booklist contributor Cindy Welch found that "the story is both warm and funny." Welch noted that the quirky events that Manny and the kids get into "add both depth and delight to the family story." Linda L. Plevak, reviewing the book in the School Library Journal, said that "whether read for entertainment or for beginning a discussion on bullying, this book will find a wide audience." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews mentioned that the book's "biggest flaw" seemed to be an "obvious confusion" in the story line as to who the protagonist of the story actually is. Nevertheless, the contributor suggested readers "share this one with any fabulous adult friends you may have."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2006, Cindy Welch, review of The Manny Files, p. 80.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 2006, Deborah Stevenson, review of The Manny Files, p. 344.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2006, review of The Manny Files, p. 178.
Library Media Connection, November 1, 2006, Leslie Schoenherr, review of The Manny Files, p. 73.
School Library Journal, July, 2006, Linda L. Plevak, review of The Manny Files, p. 97.
Jackson Hole Writers Conference Web site,http://jacksonholewritersconference.com/ (April 10, 2008), author profile.
KidsReads.com,http://www.kidsreads.com/ (April 10, 2008), Belinda Williams, review of The Manny Files.