Monthly Archives: September 2010


Posted by | September 28, 2010 | 32 Comments


Travel and adventure are major themes in KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE.  In particular, for children, it can be both exciting and nerve-racking to travel to an unfamiliar place; comfort objects and familiar routines can make the transition so much easier.

We would love to make traveling as simple as we can for you (and your kids).  Which is why we’re giving away ten (10) KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE luggage tags!

So cute, right?  Leave us a comment and tell us where you’d like to go, anywhere in the world, were time and money no object.  We’ll select ten random winners (limit one luggage tag per winner) from all those comments received by 11:59 pm ET Friday, October 1st (US and Canada only please).

Good luck and always travel in good company!

Turning the Page with…Mo Willems!

Posted by | September 28, 2010 | No Comments

It’s KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE Day here at the pageturn, celebrating the publication of Mo Willems’ conclusion to a well-loved picture book series.

We recently had the chance to ask Mo our grueling, challenging questions aimed at getting to the heart of our authors and illustrators.  Here is what he had to say:

What time is your alarm clock set for?
Eastern Standard Time.

Favorite book from childhood?
The Peanuts Treasury.

If you weren’t an author/illustrator, what job would you like to have?

How many stamps are in your passport?
As many as possible.  My last one needed extra pages added, which was a thrill.

Favorite word?

What are you reading right now?
I’m between projects, so, as I always do, I’m re-reading the George and Martha books.

Finish this sentence: “I always smile when…”
“I always smile when I’m forced to,” growled the grotesque, gigantic, hairy beast to the frightened class photographer while suppressing his horrific frown which only would have exposed rows upon rows of sharp, pointy, dirty teeth that yesterday had feasted on a banquet so large and smelly and inappropriate he could not help but smiling a true, monstrous grin.

Funniest (or most interesting) question from a fan?
I love all my fan mail. Check it out at here and see if you can find a best one.  I can’t.

Thanks for answering our questions, Mo!

Haven’t had your fill of interviews with Mo Willems?  Check out some of these:

  • Discussing Charles Schulz’ Peanuts characters and more at Reading Rockets
  • An interview with the folks at BWI
  • I really liked this interview with Trap Door Sun
  • An interview at NPR, inspiring adults, not just kids, to draw

Knuffle Bunny Free Day!

Posted by | September 28, 2010 | 1 Comment

IT’S KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE DAY at the pageturn!

Mo Willems’ final chapter in this beloved picture book series is on sale TODAY!  Trixie, her parents and, of course, Knuffle Bunny go on a trip to Europe where, naturally, things don’t quite go as planned.

We have so many materials for you to share with the kids in your libraries and classrooms:

Download activities
Play the KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE Baggage Claim Game
Download the Event Kit
Visit Mo at!

A word of caution about KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE, though: read it with a box of Kleenex.  The end is bittersweet and touching…and perfect in every way.

Stay tuned here all day to hear directly from Mo and…maybe…just maybe…there could be a contest.  Stop by later!

Banned Books Week

Posted by | September 27, 2010 | No Comments

Happy Banned Books Week!

I argue it is a cause for celebration, as children’s literature enthusiasts come together to bring attention to those books that provoke, excite, and challenge us.  To stand up for readers’ rights.  To support and cheer authors who dare to write books that address important issues for children, teens, and adults.

Here are some Harper books challenged in 2009:

BABY BE-BOP by Francesca Lia Block

DEADLINE by Chris Crutcher (Banned Books Teaching Guide)

GEOGRAPHY CLUB by Brent Hartinger (an interview with the author and a reading guide)

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee (Reading Guide)

THE JOY OF GAY SEX by Charles Silverstein and Felice Picano


For more information about these 2009 challenges, check out ALA’s website.

Many of our titles appear on the Top 100 list as well – we’ve linked to teaching/reading guides, where available, to help you in discussing these titles with the kids in your classrooms and libraries:

For the complete list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009, check out ALA’s website.  Also, check out the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week Proclamation.

We support the freedom to read.

Poetry Friday: Autumn

Posted by | September 24, 2010 | No Comments

Yesterday marked the first day of autumn and you could almost hear the collective sigh across the country.  It’s my absolute favorite season, but I’ll let Douglas Florian’s poem tell you what I enjoy most about it:

by Douglas Florian

Apple picking
Frisbee flicking
Falling leaves
Bracing breeze
Flying kites
Cool crisp nights
Trick or treat
(Sweets to eat)
Pumpkin pies
Clear blue skies
Relay races
Football games —
I love that autumn has two names.

From Autumnblings
by Douglas Florian
Greenwillow Books, 2003

Download the activity guide.


Posted by | September 23, 2010 | No Comments

You can imagine the excited buzz around our offices when we all received an email to let us know that, through December 31st, 2010, all Crumbs Bake Shops are selling custom PINKALICIOUS cupcakes!  You certainly don’t have to tell this crew twice.  Cupcakes! And on November 6th, Crumbs will give a free cupcake to anyone dressed as Pinkalicious or brings in a copy of the book or doll. Free cupcakes!

On one of those days when I’m reminded how fun my job is, I stopped by our local Crumbs (one block from the office) to buy some cupcakes.  So cute!

I stopped by Maria Modugno’s office to give her a cupcake – she’s the editor of the Pinkalicious series.

For more Pinkalicious goodies, visit the Parents and Teachers section of the Pinkalicious website.  You’ll find a curriculum guide and ideas for putting on your own Pinkalicious party.

Lunch with Charles Benoit

Posted by | September 22, 2010 | No Comments

I love the word raconteur.  It’s derivative from the French verb raconter – to relate, to recount – and it is defined as “a storyteller, especially a person noted for telling stories with skill and wit.”  And it is the exact word that comes to mind to describe Charles Benoit, author of the critically acclaimed young adult novel YOU:

Charles shares stories with our librarian friends

We recently hosted a lunch with local librarians so they could meet Charles…and you’ll never guess where the event took place: Benoit Restaurant!  Perfect, no?

Few of us could resist ordering the smoked pork butt!

As I mentioned earlier, Charles is a raconteur and entertained us throughout the course of the meal with stories from his childhood.  His mother was an influential, important part of his life – always with a cigarette in her hand – and he told us wonderful memories of growing up with her.  We were also lucky to hear the details of Charles’ writing process, as well as sharing with him our own interpretations of YOU‘s narrator.

Sitting around a table, eating delectable food, sharing stories, and laughing freely is my favorite way to spend time.

Librarian & Blogger Liz Burns gets her book signed

Thanks to Charles Benoit for joining us in New York, and thanks to all of YOU for embracing YOU, a stunning, riveting story about the choices we make every day.

Librarian Jack Martin holds a signed copy of YOU

Here is what others are saying about YOU:

“Disturbing content blends with skillful, fast-paced writing, adding a thriller spin to the novel’s vicious realism.” ~ Publishers Weekly

“Benoit creates a fully realized world where choices have impact and the consequences of both action and inaction can be severe.” ~ School Library Journal

“The voice is fresh and original, the prose simple, accessible and poetic. Think Cormier and Crutcher, think an edgier A SEPARATE PEACE or CATCHER IN THE RYE, and you’ll get the significance of Benoit’s debut.” ~ BookPage

International Day of Peace

Posted by | September 21, 2010 | No Comments

September 21st is International Day of Peace.  This celebration of world peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations as “a global call for ceasefire and non-violence”.  Did you do anything in your classrooms or libraries to celebrate?

This reminds me, of course, of Alice Walker‘s book WAR IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA with stunning artwork by Stefano Vitale.  I was at an ALA Annual conference in 2007, attending as a librarian, and I was blessed to see the original artwork for this book.  It was just breathtaking and it seemed that everyone who stood looking at it spoke in hushed tones; it had that sort of effect on people.

The United Nations General Assembly has also declared 2010 the International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding, encouraging yearlong conversations about the power of children to affect the future. They have also created a space for kids around the world to share their own “peace stories“, which would be a thoughtful and interesting project to accompany a reading of WAR IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA.

Enjoy this day!

What Happened on Fox Street

Posted by | September 20, 2010 | No Comments

I wouldn’t normally just list reviews as a blog post, but these just speak for themselves.  Here is what people are saying about Tricia Springstubb‘s remarkable middle-grade novel, WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET, which has received three starred reviews:

“What happened on Fox Street? Love, belief and caring.” ~ Kirkus (starred review)

“Springstubb does a lovely job of mixing character, plot, and purpose in a story that contains both hardscrabble realities and moments of magic realism […]  But it is her ability to render Mo’s tangle of emotions as her hopes and dreams collide with worries and fears that makes this so memorable.” ~ Booklist (starred review)

“Mo is a character readers will root for, as her imagination, stubbornness, dislike of surprises, and curiously fierce caution in crossing the street make her seem as intensely real to the reader as her fox is to Mo. What happened on Fox Street? Readers may find their own neighborhoods equally as wondrous after finding out.” ~ The Horn Book (starred review)

But wait!  There’s more!  Here are what bloggers and reviewers are saying about WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET:

And check out our supplemental materials to help with your programming and curricular needs:

Reading Guide
Podcast with Tricia Springstubb
Q&A with Tricia Springstubb

Have you read it yet?  Let us know what you think!


Posted by | September 17, 2010 | No Comments

Announcing the winners of the BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS bound manuscript giveaway:




Congratulations to our winners and please keep stopping by here for more giveaways, sneak peeks, and exciting information.

Have a fantastic weekend!

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