Monthly Archives: February 2011

Buzz Alert: Inside Out and Back Again

Posted by | February 24, 2011 | 1 Comment

The school and library world is a-buzzing with accolades for Thanhha Lai’s debut novel INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN!  Check out these reviews…and the shiny stars that accompany them:

“In her not-too-be-missed debut, Lai evokes a distinct time and place and presents a complex, realistic heroine whom readers will recognize, even if they haven’t found themselves in a strange new country.” ~ Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An incisive portrait of human resilience.” ~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Based on Lai’s personal experience, this first novel captures a child-refugee’s struggle with rare honesty.” ~ Booklist (starred review)

“[…] the immediacy of the narrative will appeal to those who do not usually enjoy historical fiction.” ~ School Library Journal (starred review)

“Lai’s spare language captures the sensory disorientation of changing cultures as well as a refugee’s complex emotions and kaleidoscopic loyalties.” ~ The Horn Book

And here is what our teacher and librarian friends are saying:

INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN (ISBN 9780061962783) is on-sale now.

Melissa Marr’s Book Event, Wednesday, February 23rd

Posted by | February 22, 2011 | No Comments

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, 2/23, 5:00 PST/8:00 EST, Melissa Marr will be at Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego to celebrate the release of the fifth and final book in the Wicked Lovely series, DARKEST MERCY.

Even if you don’t live nearby (or you live nearby and didn’t score a ticket), you can watch the event by livestream here.  You can watch the event live and even send in your questions for Melissa.  Pretty cool, right?

It’s the wave of the future, don’t you think?  I can attend a book event in Seattle from my office in New York, send in my questions to the author, share the link with friends so they can attend…and it certainly is more cost effective for all.

What do you think this technology will mean for school and library visits in the future?  Have any of you out there tried livestreaming an author or illustrator visit?

Follow Melissa Marr on Twitter
“Like” the Wicked Lovely Facebook fan page

DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver

Posted by | February 17, 2011 | 1 Comment

In a future where love is considered a disease to be eradicated, Lena wonders if she’s missing anything by not feeling affection and emotional connection.  Then she meets Alex and Lena finds herself a victim of the illness.  Suspenseful, fast-moving, and soaring, DELIRIUM is 1984 meets ROMEO AND JULIET.

In its starred review, Kirkus says that Lauren Oliver’s prose is “artfully detailed” and – I love this part – “Lena’s gradual awakening is set against a convincing backdrop of totalitarian horror. Chilling epigraphs from the government’s rewritten histories begin each chapter, providing contextual propaganda so thorough that they’ve even reinterpreted the Bible to suit their message.  The abrupt ending leaves enough unanswered questions to set breathless readers up for volume two of this trilogy.”

Here are some reviews from teachers and librarians:

Kate’s Book Blog
Karin’s Book Nook
Confessions of a Bibiliovore
Miss Remmers’ Review

Lastly, check out this video where Lauren Oliver talks about the inspiration for the story:

Storytime Corner: Cats

Posted by | February 16, 2011 | 1 Comment

I know there are a lot of dog people out there and, don’t worry, we’ll come back another day and give them some love.  For today, though, we’re giving over the blog to the felines.

Need some cat books for preschool storytime?  Here are a few suggestions:

PETE THE CAT by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean

CAT SECRETS by Jef Czekaj (Become a Facebook fan!)

SPLAT THE CAT by Rob Scotton

Here are a few more book ideas:
CAT & MOUSE by Ian Schoenherr

Craft idea: Download this “Decorate Your Own Cupcake” sheet from IF YOU GIVE A CAT A CUPCAKE (by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond), print up however many copies you need, and then the kids can decorate it with glitter glue, yarn, sequins, and whatever other materials you have on hand.  You can also hand out this IF YOU GIVE A CAT A CUPCAKE storytime activities kit.

Video: You know how I love recommending Weston Woods videos to show in storytime so let me mention the SPLAT THE CAT video:

So cute, right?

Songs: I also like to recommend songs but I don’t have a lot of ideas for cat songs, except for “The Cat Came Back” and “The Siamese Cat Song” from The Lady and the Tramp.

Maybe change the words of “Doggie in the Window” to “kitten”?  And, of course, you could sing the PETE THE CAT song.  Any other ideas?

Turning the Page with…Alex Flinn

Posted by | February 15, 2011 | 1 Comment

Johnny is stuck repairing shoes in the Coral Reef Grand Hotel, longing for adventure and excitement.  Then he gets dragged on a quest for a frog prince and gets more danger and action than he bargained for.  In CLOAKED, Alex Flinn is back, doing what she does best: writing entertaining twists on both well- and lesser-known fairy tales.

Photo by J.A. Cabrera

We recently had the chance to ask Alex if she’d be up for answering some harmless questions and, after reassuring us that she wouldn’t enchant us with a spell, she agreed to sit in the hot seat:

What time is your alarm clock set for?
I never set an alarm clock.  I’m a naturally early riser and get up between 4 and 5:30 every day.

Favorite book from childhood?
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I read it over and over.  Years later, a children’s book critic told me she never understood how kids could like such a depressing book, but I didn’t see it that way.  I found Sarah’s spirit uplifting.

If you weren’t an author/illustrator, what job would you like to have?
Librarian.  I went to law school after college because I didn’t know what to do with my music degree.  I should have gotten an MLS.

How many stamps are in your passport?
Lifetime?  Five,  My current passport only has two from Canada, but one was to watch them film the movie of my book, Beastly, so that was cool.

Favorite word?
Nevermore.  Edgar Allan Poe really hit on something there.  The word conveys the perfect tone of mournful emptiness.

What are you reading right now?
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for my book club.  I’m enjoying it because I’ve always liked letter narrations.

Finish this sentence: “I always smile when…”
. . . I see my cat acting silly, which is often.

Funniest (or most interesting) question from a fan?
When people ask if I’m rich, I think that’s funny.

Thanks, Alex, for hanging out with us!  And, readers, click here to read an excerpt of CLOAKED and click here to download our teachers’ guide.

Alex Flinn
ISBN 9780060874223
On-sale Now

And don’t forget about the movie BEASTLY, based on Alex’s book by the same name, coming out this summer on July 30th.  Click here to check out an awesome trailer for the movie!

BEASTLY Movie Tie-In Edition
Alex Flinn
ISBN 9780061963285
Paperback on-sale Now

Black History Month

Posted by | February 9, 2011 | 2 Comments

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute

My daughter’s 4th grade class is celebrating Black History Month in the most wonderful way by creating a version of Kente cloth.  While it’s traditionally made with silk and cotton interweaving threads, her class used pens, paints, and colored pencils to create theirs.

Kente cloth is believed to have originated from the Akan people in West Africa*.  The designs are traditionally bright, geometric, and bold.  Additionally, the colors and shapes are usually symbolic of historic events, family trees, the seasons, and proverbs.  (The Smithsonian Institute has wonderful information online about their “Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity” exhibition)

Making Kente cloths in your library is just one of many ideas to celebrate Black History Month.  Texas Library Club has a wonderful list of books, songs, and activities – including a way of making Kente cloths by weaving strips of paper together.

We’d also love to recommend these books for your Black History Month displays:

And you can also download our Black History Month Classroom Kit.

What are you doing at your library to celebrate Black History Month?  We’d love to hear your ideas (or even photos of any displays you’ve created)!

* As a former librarian, I have to share this disclaimer: I got my information from Wikipedia.

Congratulations to our tweetstakes winners!

Posted by | February 7, 2011 | No Comments

Congratulations to the winners of our WHEN I GROW UP signed book tweetstakes:


You’ll be receiving a copy of WHEN I GROW UP signed by Al Yankovic himself!


Valentine’s Day Activities

Posted by | February 7, 2011 | 2 Comments

The fantastic folks at Reading Rockets have teamed up with one of our awesome authors, Laura Elliott (A STRING OF HEARTS, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger), to put together an amazing Valentine’s Day resource.  Check it out here.

There are writing prompts, an e-card, a craft, poetry activities and a lot more.  But my personal favorite is the acrostic poem idea, using words like Mom, Friend, and Love.  So, as a Valentine’s Day gift to all of you, I’m going to write you an acrostic poem:


What sorts of activities are you doing for Valentine’s Day in your library or classroom?

Win a signed copy of Weird Al Yankovic’s When I Grow Up!

Posted by | February 4, 2011 | 3 Comments

Tweet for a chance to win a signed copy of Weird Al Yankovic’s new picture book, When I Grow Up!

Just answer this question: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Here’s how to enter!

1. Follow @thepageturn on Twitter (so we can DM you if you win)!

2. Fill in the blank! Click here to tweet the following message, or copy and paste the whole thing into your Twitter status update:

    I wanted to grow up to be ________. See Weird Al’s new picture book: #whenigrowupweird

The details!

    The sweepstakes is open today from 10 AM to 7 PM eastern time.
    We’ll randomly pick 3 winners to receive the signed books!
    Tweet all you like, but only one entry per person will be counted.
    Sorry international fans, this is open to U.S. residents only.

For all the other rules and details, click here.

Get to know @AlYankovic and be sure to check out When I Grow Up, in stores now!

Al Yankovic’s Favorite Teacher

Posted by | February 2, 2011 | 5 Comments


I was fortunate enough to have a handful of teachers during my years as a student that excited and inspired me, but I think my favorite was Mr. Walker (not his real name—his real name was Mr. Harsh…actually, I should probably just refer to him as Mr. Harsh from here on).

Mr. Harsh was my 8th grade drafting teacher, and he was extremely well-liked—and it wasn’t just because his class was preceded by the electric shop class helmed by the hot-tempered and borderline-cruel Mr. Anderson, who made everybody else’s class seem like nirvana by comparison. No, Mr. Harsh was a truly gifted teacher. His joy of teaching was palpable. He was funny, brilliant and engaging; he really took the time to interact with his students.

Even though the curriculum probably only mandated that he give students a working familiarity with T-squares and 30-degree angles, he came up with projects and assignments that stimulated the imaginations of every kid in his class—whether it was figuring out how to draw a pattern that would fold up into a giant 3-D castle, or designing one’s ultimate bachelor pad (I still have the floor plan today). On the last day of school, I gave Mr. Harsh a portrait that I had drawn of him using only drafting tools—he seemed genuinely touched.

It was mostly my enthusiasm for Mr. Harsh’s drafting class that led me to the decision (at age 12) to become an architect. I was serious about it—I attended the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and got my degree in architecture. For better or worse, though, my career path took a different trajectory after graduation.

I haven’t seen Mr. Harsh since the early 70’s. From what I understand, he is still actively involved in the school system. A couple years ago, on my request, Mr. Harsh was interviewed for a televised biography show that was being produced about me. I watched the footage—he was still his same funny, uplifting, energetic self, but to my disappointment, he had no actual memory of me ever being in his class.

It’s okay, Mr. Harsh.  I remember you.

by Al Yankovic, illustrated by Wes Hargis
IBSN 9780061926914
Available Now

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