It’s such fun to see our authors supporting other authors– what a generous and smart crew of talented folks writing books for children! An example: Ellen Oh, author of this winter’s fantasy YA-debut PROPHECY, interviews Soman Chainani, author of the just published middle grade debut, SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, on The Enchanted Inkpot today.
Both of these authors are the kind of accomplished, multi-talented people that make us feel a little inadequate (but in a good way, we swear!)– they’re total movers and shakers, and, you heard it here first, doing big things. Also, they both have terribly snazzy websites and gorgeous author photos!
A little bit more about each of their books…
PROPHECY, by Ellen Oh
She’s the demon slayer.
She’s the most feared girl in the whole Kingdom.
And now she’s on the run.
Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope…
Murdered kings, traitors, and a demon invasion sends Kira on the run with the young prince, who may be the true heir to the Dragon King’s throne, destined to reunite the seven kingdoms. But without the lost treasures, there will be nothing left to reunite. With only the guidance of a cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.
Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first in a three book series.
- Marie Lu, author of the LEGEND trilogy, raved of PROPHECY, “What an adventure! I fell in love with the lush, richly woven world of PROPHECY. Kira is truly a force to be reckoned with. When I finished my journey with her, all I wanted was more. Spectacular!”
- Watch the trailer for PROPHECY here.
THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, by Soman Chainani
The School for Good and Evil series unleashes a dazzling new fantasy world, one in which ordinary boys and girls are trained to be perfect heroes or perfect villains. Book One subverts the assumed roles of our indelible heroines, when witch-girl Agatha is “mistakenly” sent to the School for Good, and wannabe-princess Sophie to the School for Evil. As rivalries bloom and jealousy sets in, Agatha and Sophie discover that these fates may not be a mistake, after all…
- Gregory Maguire, author of WICKED, had this to say about THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL: “Invention in overdrive, indulging in a gnarly smackdown of folklore conventions, THE SCHOOL OF GOOD AND EVIL is a comedic education by a writer primed to shoot to the head of the class.”
- And Entertainment Weekly said this: “If I could bewitch you all to read it, I would.”
- Download the discussion guide here.
- And watch the AMAZING trailer here!
Fans of dark realistic fiction, this one’s for you . . . PRETTY GIRL 13, by Liz Coley, follows the story of a girl with multiple personalities who’s trying to piece together the mystery of her kidnapping and captivity. Liz Coley kindly offered to share with us some of the fascinating research and background information that went into writing a character with dissociative identity disorder.
From Liz Coley:
E Pluribus Unum: From Many, One
A Brief Introduction to Dissociative Identity Disorder
What is dissociation?
Most likely everyone has experienced the simplest level of dissociation, when part of your mind detaches and does its own thing, leaving no memory behind. You might drive for fifty miles without realizing the passage of scenery and time; daydream away an entire class; tune out all sounds in the room while you write an article about DID. Part of your mind is in touch with your environment on some level (you didn’t crash; there are some notes on your page; you responded automatically to a question from your boyfriend or girlfriend), but your thoughts are “elsewhere.” You don’t remember driving, writing, or speaking. That’s quite ordinary, but it gives a hint to the flexibility and mystery of our mental processing power.
What is identity?
Philosophers and psychologists can debate this question. I am neither, but I’ll suggest that at the simplest level, our identity is who we think we are; it is based on a stream of memories and consciousness that reboots every morning when we wake. My grandmother insisted she felt like exactly the same person on the inside as when she was a nine-year-old girl emigrating from Romania to the U.S. on a filthy ship with huge, black roaches; she was the same person who skipped school the day everyone’s hair was cut off to prevent lice. She was the same person who married three times, had one child, and worked as a bookkeeper in middle life. She was the same person who, in her sixties, crocheted ponchos, sewed pantsuits, and stitched together teddy bears for me. In her eighties, she disappeared down the rabbit hole of Alzheimer’s. Perhaps at that point, her sense of identity was lost to herself except in moments of lucidity, but we knew who she was because we had seen the continuity from the outside.
Imagine, though, holes and jumps in memory. Imagine feeling like you are a stranger in your own body. Imagine not knowing how you got here or why you own certain things. Imagine not having that sense of continuity of your own identity. Imagine waking up as a different person.
What exactly is dissociative identity disorder?
By the late 1970s, psychiatrists had recognized about one hundred cases of what was then called multiple personality disorder (MPD), a condition in which the patients demonstrated different identity states with some degree of mutual amnesia. In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association formally recognized the condition, renamed dissociative identity disorder, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) among the personality disorders. The criteria for DID were (in layman’s terms): the presence in one person of two or more distinct identities that alternately take control of the person’s behavior, and an inability to remember events that cannot be accounted for by ordinary forgetfulness. Beyond that, the symptoms in the patient cannot be otherwise explained by substance abuse, a medical condition, or fantasy. (DSM-IV 300.14)
The number of diagnoses exploded through the 1980s, particularly in the United States, leading to controversy and debate over whether DID had been underreported or misdiagnosed in the past or whether it was a “fad” diagnosis projected by overenthusiastic therapists onto suggestible patients. Estimates of the prevalence range from one in ten thousand people in the general population to one in one hundred people in mental health treatment, but no firm numbers based on epidemiological studies are available. For a good recent discussion of the difficulty in counting cases, see “The Problem of Prevalence” by Karen Johnson.
Where does it come from?
DID is a human defense mechanism at the most basic level. It is widely believed to develop as a result of repeated childhood physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect in some individuals who have the capacity to compartmentalize their experience. One aspect of the person’s mind and memory absorbs the traumatic abuse events and then switches off, leaving the dominant personality in a state of amnesia about the terrible times. Increasingly complex reactions to trauma can splinter the personality into multiple coping states for different situations. This is called the traumagenic explanation.
The controversial counter-explanation is that under hypnosis, patients generate false memories of abuse or portray themselves as having multiple personalities to conform to a therapist’s prompting or expectations. This is called the iatrogenic explanation.
In favor of the traumagenic explanation is physical evidence that doesn’t rely on self-reporting. Scientists have been working for several years using PET scans, EEGs, and fMRIs to study the brains of people with a diagnosis of DID compared to neurotypical controls. These studies have been able to capture changes in brain structure and also document physiological changes during alter-switching. The research is ongoing. A multinational, multicenter project headed by Dr. A.A.T. Simone Reinders now coordinates much of this research into the imaging and psychobiology of DID.
How do different personalities coexist?
A gatekeeper or librarian or master controller seems to be a common executive function to monitor the switching between the personalities sharing a single mind. Sometimes the identities take it upon themselves to step aside or step forward. Some identities may be mutually aware, even listening in on each other’s encounters, while others are isolated and unaware. Each one, however, considers him- or herself a person with a personality, autobiographical history, tastes, and what is called “agency,” that is, the ability to make choices and initiate actions. Chronological age, sexual identity, and handedness can differ among personalities, as can allergies, abilities, and states of health. These independent personalities are referred to as alters.
This condition may persist for years into adulthood without the patient being aware of what’s happening. The first notice may be long periods of amnesia, finding oneself in a strange place or wearing strange clothes, or being told of unremembered events and behaviors. DID is often associated with other issues, such as substance abuse, depression, anxiety, or PTSD, which may be the initial reason for an individual seeking counseling.
While a person may develop alters as a defense mechanism to preserve the ability to function, ultimately the sharing of waking life between personalities with different memories and goals can create chaos and despair. That’s why the goal of treatment is to deal with the compartmentalized traumatic memories, desensitize the emerging dominant personality to the emotional content of them, and allow/convince the personalities to reintegrate. As the alters have their own sense of survival, reintegration can be extremely slow, complex, and even incomplete. Some patients consider their treatment successful when they attain a stable way of living with more than a single personality still inhabiting their mind. The alters may switch or share control depending on the skills and temperament needed at a given time. Fully integrated individuals comment on how “quiet” it is inside themselves when the competing, conferring alters fuse and think as one.
How can I find out more?
The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and the Sidran Institute offer much more detailed information, links to many resources, and lists of therapists who specialize in this area.
Poetry Month is in full swing, and we’ve got another great recommendation for you! Have you read Gail Carson Levine’s FORGIVE ME, I MEANT TO DO IT? It’s a collection of poems inspired by William Carlos Williams’s famous poem “This Is Just to Say,” and it is absolutely hilarious. Here’s a funny little sample for a Friday afternoon:
Next week we’re exhibiting at one of our very favorite conferences of the year (shh, don’t tell anybody!)– the Texas Library Association Annual Conference. If you’ll be there too, we’d love to meet you! We’re HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #2232, and we have so many fun things to give you! Galleys, discussion guides, reading kits, smiles, stories– you name it, we’ve got it.
We also have some very very stellar authors at panels and signing in the Author Signing Aisles. Check it out!
THURSDAY, APRIL 25TH:
11—12 Peter Lerangis
11—12 Chris Rylander
11—12:30 Jon Klassen
12—1 Bob Shea
1—2 Patrick Carman
1—2 Kelley Armstrong
2—3 Kiersten White
2—3 Melissa Marr
3—4 Tera Lynn Childs
3:30—4:30 Amy Krouse Rosenthal
FRIDAY, APRIL 26TH:
10:30—11:30 Seymour Simon
2—3 Jarrett Krosocszka
3—4 Jennifer Archer
We can’t wait! And none of us have ever been to Fort Worth before, so if you have any recommendations, let us know! See y’all soon.
We’re always sad to see a beloved series come to an end. But the seventh book in Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, FYRE, is a perfect sendoff for the characters we’ve come to know and love. Thank you to all of the librarians, teachers, and kids who have gotten lost in the Magyk of the series since it began in 2005!
Click on the jacket below to start reading FYRE, and say goodbye to Septimus, Marcia, Jenna, and the rest of the gang in whatever way you see fit.
Later this week we’re heading down to one of our very favorite states, Texas, with some star authors, to exhibit at the International Reading Association Annual Conference.
Will you be in San Antonio too? If so, come visit us at HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451! We’re going to be giving out oodles of galleys, teaching guides, bookmarks, and other materials– with lots aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Here’s where you can find our authors:
SATURDAY, April 20th
2:00–3:00PM, JANE O’CONNOR, Anderson’s Booth #1003
SUNDAY, April 21st
1:00–2:00PM, WALTER DEAN MYERS, HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451
1:00–2:00PM, JON SCIESZKA, Anderson’s Booth #1003
2:00–3:00PM, SEYMOUR SIMON, HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451
MONDAY, April 22nd
MO WILLEMS IRA Closing Keynote:
“A Hippopotamus Wouldn’t Fit on the Page and Other Reasons that Mo Willems Writes About Pigeons”
Convention Center Exhibit Hall D
Book signing immediately following
12:00–1:00PM, MICHAEL HALL, HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451
Come by our booth and say hello!
Around here we love April– springtime starts to peek around the corner, summer vacations don’t seem quite so far away, conference season kicks into gear, and last but certainly not least, it’s Poetry Month!
There are so many reasons to love poetry– it evokes emotions, feelings and sensations. The rhyme schemes, vocabulary, free verse– it’s all so rich and powerful. And when we think of poetry, novels in verse might not usually jump to the front of our minds. But one of our most acclaimed books last year was a novel in verse: INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN, by Thanhha Lai. While there were many (many!) reasons I loved this Newbery Honor-winning book, one of the things I loved most while reading was the beautiful, poignant, and at times hilariously funny language. And the coming-of-age immigration story that sticks to you like glue after reading doesn’t hurt either…
Enjoy and share this poem from INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN (now available in paperback!) and enjoy Poetry Month!
Ms. Bird, a seasoned librarian who has put on many a storytime event, has kindly shared with us some great ideas for hosting a dance party in your library, classroom, or store that will get everyone moving and grooving. We hope you’ll use this guide to throw your own Giant Dance Party for your little giants. And don’t forget to check out the book, which Kirkus Reviews called “Full of pep and verve and enthusiasm . . . Sheer joy.”
Many thanks to Betsy Bird, and happy dancing to everyone!
From Betsy Bird:
In GIANT DANCE PARTY, we see what happens when some furry blue big ’uns cut loose on the floor. Now here’s your chance to have your very own Giant Dance Party in the comfort of your own store, school, or library. When hosting any kind of a dance event, it is important to remember the four essential elements of any good party involving kids:
- Loud music
- Fabulous snacks
- Fun costumes
- Goofy adults
You’re responsible for the goofy adults. For all other items, here are some ideas for having a GIANT DANCE PARTY to beat all other giant dance parties.
Food: It Gotta Be Blue
Are you the kind of person who quails at the thought of providing delicious, healthy, and one-of-a-kind snacks at a party? Well, quail not. Kids love specialized foods, but what they like even more is filling their bellies. And since the giants in GIANT DANCE PARTY are as blue as the sky above, try serving treats of a similar hue. Here are some simple party ideas that can be fancied up if you’ve a yen to do so.
Blue ice pops—In GIANT DANCE PARTY, Lexy turns into the human equivalent of an ice pop whenever she’s called upon to dance. Consider making some ice pops of your own.
Blue juice—Time to get nice and cozy with the Kool-Aid man, yet again. Find your favorite blue version and make up a nice big pitcher.
Blue popcorn—It can be done! Combine butter, oil, salt, corn syrup, and blue food coloring in a big bowl. Next, microwave the mixture for 30–40 seconds, just until butter melts. Stir to combine, and then add the unpopped popcorn kernels and stir so that the kernels get completely covered with the syrup mixture. Spread them out evenly in the bottom of the bowl. Then just cover the bowl with a vented lid and microwave on high for 3–5 minutes, or until there are 1–2 seconds between pops. Instant blue popcorn awaits you!
Cupcakes—Consider blueberry cupcakes with blue frosting and M&Ms for a topper. Healthier alternatives can include blueberry muffins or just big bowls of blueberries.
Suggested Tunes for Little Monsters
The number one most important thing you need when you host a dance party? Dancing! Now that you’ve gotten them hepped up on sugar, it’s time to let those kiddos strut their signature dance moves on the floor. Trust your gut when it comes to great music. If it has a beat, the kids will be able to dance to it. Some recommended selections include:
“Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” by C&C Music Factory
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (Cindi Lauper’s version)
“Walk Like an Egyptian,” by The Bangles
“Hey Ya!” by OutKast
“La Bamba” (Los Lobos version)
“Twist and Shout” (the Beatles’ version)
The Kidz Bop albums—You may roll your eyes when you hear the oddly infantilized versions of the latest songs on the radio. But hey, if it comes down to the dirty real lyrics and the ones Kidz Bop comes up with, you may as well go for the safe and secure, if only to avoid the glares of irate parents.
Big on Costumes
Everyone has a different idea of what a giant looks like. In GIANT DANCE PARTY the giants are huge (as per usual), furry, and blue. But leave yourself open to a range of different giant interpretations. Here are some great giants in pop culture you might want to consider replicating:
The giants in GIANT DANCE PARTY—Furry-and-blue is the name of the game here. Don’t want to go all out with a hot and heavy costume? Consider going to Etsy and purchasing a pair of furry blue boot covers for the legs alone. They’re sure to gussy up any outfit.
The Jolly Green Giant—The nice thing about this guy is that he doesn’t require fur. Just a toga of green, maybe some green tights, and some makeup for the skin. Toss in a little green dye for the hair, and voila! Instant giant.
Hagrid from the Harry Potter series—This is for your future motorcycle tough guy. All you need is a ginormous beard and maybe an old bathrobe, and it’s Hagrid in the flesh.
Finn MacCoul—He’s the most famous giant in Ireland, so run to your local library to pick up some books on him (we recommend Finn MacCoul and His Fearless Wife, by Robert Byrd, or Fin M’Coul, by Tomie dePaola). Next, construct an outfit. You can go all out with a kilt or just find some plaid fabric to make an appropriate sash.
Your standard Fe Fi Fo Fum giant—Bad teeth, warts, raggedy clothes, and maybe a club for grinding men’s bones into bread. Extra points if you bring along your own beanstalk.
King Kong—Who says all giants have to be humans? Go ape by dressing up as everyone’s favorite Empire State Building ascender. Consider attaching a couple of paper airplanes here and there for the kids to swipe at for fun (and don’t forget to carry a Faye Wray-esque doll around, too!).
Most important of all, have fun! There’s no wrong way to throw a Giant Dance Party. Each one, like each giant, is unique in its very own way.
As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we wanted to be sure that you haven’t missed BRAVE GIRL: CLARA AND THE SHIRTWAIST MAKERS’ STRIKE OF 1909 by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
BRAVE GIRL tells the story of Clara Lemlich, a young immigrant girl who led the biggest strike of women workers in U.S. history. The book has received four (!) starred reviews and big praise in the New York Times Book Review, in which they say: “Many schoolchildren today learn about the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, but they don’t often learn about what precipitated the disaster. Markel’s sympathetic, fact-filled and moving story of a garment worker with gumption rounds out the lesson.” And we completely agree with their compliments for Melissa Sweet’s artwork: “With her distinctive mixed-media collages, she may have surpassed herself here. And with an inspiration like Lemlich — smart, ambitious, gutsy — it’s easy to see why.”
There are so many terrific topics, themes, and curricular tie-ins in this fantastic picture book. We created an educator guide aligned to the Common Core designed to help you start the discussion, available here.
And starting next week… April is Poetry Month!
We love listening to Chris Crutcher. He always has the most interesting things to say. Luckily his new novel, PERIOD 8, is full of things to talk about!
Watch Chris Crutcher discuss the truth and when to tell it, what it means to live a good life, and PERIOD 8. Make sure you stick around until the end for a special message to teachers and librarians!
Download the PERIOD 8 discussion guide and get talking . . .keep looking »