Monthly Archives: March 2011

Buzz Alert: PERFECT SQUARE by Michael Hall

Posted by | March 31, 2011 | No Comments

Who knew that a perfect square could be transformed into so many things?  In his stunning follow-up to last year’s MY HEART IS LIKE A ZOO, Michael Hall creates rivers, mountains, and parks out of a single square of paper.  The storytime possibilities are limitless: give kids a square of paper and scissors and see what they can create.  So often as a librarian, I would create elaborate artwork for the kids to do during storytime but, sometimes, all you need is a single piece of paper.

What’s buzzy about PERFECT SQUARE?  It has received FOUR STARRED REVIEWS!  Here’s what they’re saying:

“A smart lesson in thinking outside the box (or the square).” ~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Memorable for reading aloud and terrific for inspiring creative play with the simplest materials.”  ~ Booklist (starred review)

“As its week progresses, the narrative turn of events in the square’s world encourages page-turning to discover the results. What will the square do next? This is a not-to-be-missed adventure for all young readers.” ~ School Library Journal (starred review)

“Young readers will absorb the visual lessons effortlessly and with delight.”  ~ Kirkus (starred review)

Here are some more wonderful links for you:

PERFECT SQUARE (ISBN 9780061915130) is available now.

Diana Wynne Jones

Posted by | March 28, 2011 | 2 Comments

Many of  you have heard the sad news of Diana Wynne Jones’ passing by now.  Her long-time editor, Virginia Duncan, gave us the news via email and, with her permission, we’d like to share Virginia’s letter that also served as a lovely tribute to a remarkable and legendary writer:

I am very sorry to let you all know that Diana Wynne Jones died on Saturday after a long illness. I know that I speak for everyone at Greenwillow Books—both past and present—when I say that it was an extraordinary honor and privilege for this imprint to publish Diana Wynne Jones in the United States for more than thirty-five years.

Diana had a bad back (and a legendary travel jinx), and so she had not made the trip to the United States in recent years. I did, though, have the chance to meet her and spend time with her at her enchanted home in Bristol, and, along with Susan Hirschman, at a literary festival in Scotland. I remember we had dinner in a Scottish castle. It didn’t move, but the entire event was magical.

Diana had a robust and justly famous relationship with her American copyeditors. Just a few days ago she had sent in her very firm rejections and dismissals to the copyediting of her next, and last, Greenwillow book, EARWIG AND THE WITCH. We will publish EARWIG AND THE WITCH, with illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky, in February 2012.

For those of you who have not yet read Diana Wynne Jones, you are in for a treat. My favorite is HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE. Or DOGSBODY. Or any of the Chrestomanci books. In his tribute to Diana Wynne Jones on the Greenwillow blog last year, bookseller Peter Glassman offered an excellent introduction to Diana’s work. You can find that here:

Diana Wynne Jones is considered by many to be one of the greatest writers of fantasy for children ever. We will miss her.

POETRY FRIDAY: Shel Silverstein

Posted by | March 25, 2011 | 1 Comment

Everyone getting ready for Poetry Month in April?  What have you got planned?  If you’re looking for last-minute ideas, we have just made available a brand-new Shel Silverstein Poetry Month Event Kit online!  Check it out here.

And here’s the poem for today, just in time for spring – I think we’ve all been in this situation at one time or another:

by Shel Silverstein

He thought it was
The biggest puddle
He’d go splashing through.
Turns out it was the smallest lake
And the deepest, too.


Have a fantastic weekend!

New Series: The Genius Files by Dan Gutman

Posted by | March 24, 2011 | 8 Comments

You know Dan Gutman’s books, of course.  He’s the author of the wildly popular My Weird School series and its offshoots, as well as The Baseball Card Adventures series as well.  When I was a librarian, we couldn’t keep these series on the shelves so I was thrilled when I heard about…


It’s Dan’s new series and the first book is THE GENIUS FILES: MISSION UNSTOPPABLE, which is available now.  The second book in the series, THE GENIUS FILES: NEVER SAY GENIUS is on-sale in January 2012.  Check out the book trailer:

Booklist says that “thrill seekers and Gutman fans alike will welcome the opening installment of the Genius Files series.”  Here are some other links to check out:

  • Washington Post interview with Dan Gutman
  • Pink Me’s awesome review where she says, “I love books like this – a funny mystery appeals to just about everyone, and when that funny mystery is written with this kind of ease and confidence you feel like you’re putting those kids into good hands.”
  • Librarian Pirate says in her review that you’ll want this for your libraries.
  • Monica Edinger (Educating Alice) has her students doing blog reviews and this review says the book is “fun, weird, and original”.

New Voices: Bettina Restrepo

Posted by | March 23, 2011 | 1 Comment

When Nora’s father, Arturo leaves their home in Mexico to search for work in the United States, Nora stays back with her mother, Aurora and her grandmother. Nora struggles to make sense of her loss as the three women live in abject poverty in wait of Arturo’s return and a better day. When the letters and money stop coming, Nora decides that she and Aurora must go to Texas to find Arturo. After a harrowing and dehumanizing border crossing experience, Nora and Aurora find themselves all alone in a new place and not speaking the language. Befriending kind strangers in Texas, the two are offered employment after purchasing work papers, but their life in America is filled with challenges.

In her debut novel for teens, ILLEGAL, Bettina Restrepo shares a slice of the American experience that is compelling and harrowing, yet hopeful and uplifting.

In its starred review, Booklist said:

“The teen’s immediate first-person narrative will grab readers with its gritty specifics, honest anger and sorrow, and the small acts of kindness that occur throughout the harrowing journey.”

Get to know Bettina – this certainly isn’t the last you’ll be hearing of her!  You can meet her at the Texas Library Association conference next month: she’ll be on the “Crossing the Border: Migrant Stories” panel on Wednesday, April 13th from 10:15-11:50 am, and she’ll sign in the author aisles afterward from 12:30-1:30 pm.  Stop by to say hi!

Bettina is also on Facebookand Twitter, and make sure to check out her website for information on school visits,  discussion questions for ILLEGAL, and a list of events.

Texas Library Association Conference

Posted by | March 21, 2011 | 1 Comment

Around the office, we refer to this time of year as “Conference Season”.  You’ll see why – here’s the schedule:

April: Texas Library Association Conference
May: International Reading Association Conference
May: SLJ Day of Dialog/BEA
June: ALA Annual Conference

It’s crazy…but we also have lots of fun.  First up is TLA in Austin where we have a phenomenal line-up of authors signing with us:

Wednesday, April 13th
10:15 am – 11:00 am Pat Mora (author aisles)
10:15 am – 11:00 am Rafael Lopez (author aisles)
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Lauren Oliver (author aisles)
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Will Hobbs (author aisles)
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Bettina Restrepo (author aisles)
1:30 pm – 2:00 pm Crystal Allen (Harper booth 1823)
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm Sophie Jordan (Harper booth 1823)
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Tera Lynn Childs (Harper booth 1823)
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Suzanne Harper (Harper booth 1823)

Thursday, April 14th
9:00 am – 10:00 am Diane Stanley (author aisles)
11:30 am – 12:00 pm Jason Henderson (Harper booth 1823)
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm Jennifer Archer (Harper booth 1823)
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Kevin Henkes (author aisles)
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Don Tate and Audrey Vernick (Harper booth 1823)

And don’t miss JAMIE LEE CURTIS as the Keynote Speaker on Wednesday, April 13th at 9:00 am!

Aside from our outstanding authors, we’ll have galleys galore at our booth (#1823) and we hope you’ll stop by to say hi to Patty, Robin, and me!

See you in Texas!

~ Laura


Posted by | March 21, 2011 | No Comments

Congratulations to our SUMMER AND THE CITY giveaway winners:




And be sure to check out SUMMER AND THE CITY when it comes out on April 26, 2011!

Irish Authors: Kate Thompson

Posted by | March 17, 2011 | No Comments

St. Patrick’s Day is almost over – the parade outside our windows on Fifth Avenue has finally ended (no more bagpipes!) and we’re getting ready to go home to change out of our green clothing (okay, not really…our gray and black clothing).  And we’re all hoping to avoid really obnoxious drunkenness outside our office building on the way out the door.

But before the day is over, rather than talk about leprechauns or rainbows, I wanted to mention a lovely Irish author: Kate Thompson.  I love the biography she has on her website (here) where she talks about her childhood and her life today.  I especially love all the gorgeous Irish names.

Her books are lovely in every way and capture the feeling, the culture, the mood of Ireland: THE NEW POLICEMAN, THE LAST OF THE HIGH KINGS, and THE WHITE HORSE TRICK.  And of course there’s HIGHWAY ROBBERY and MOST WANTED.  They’re the perfect thing to pick up for a slightly more mature St. Patrick’s Day read and an unexpected inclusion in your holiday displays in the future.  Not to mention that Kate’s love of horses comes through her stories and they’re a good recommendation for horse lovers year-round.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you, Irish or not (and Irish wannabes, like myself)!  And hurray to another year’s reprieve from bagpipes outside our windows all day!

~ Laura


Posted by | March 16, 2011 | 13 Comments

THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell introduced the world to Carrie Bradshaw as a teenager, leading up to her move to New York City (wasn’t the end line of THE CARRIE DIARIES the most perfect thing?!).

Now there’s SUMMER AND THE CITY.  Carrie Bradshaw is loving NYC in the summer, especially since she’s taking her first real writing class.  But making it in the big city isn’t all glamour and gorgeousness, as Carrie soon discovers.

SUMMER AND THE CITY is the continuing story of Carrie Bradshaw, an icon of fashion and New York City.  On-sale April 26, 2011.

Can’t make it to New York this summer?  We have the next best thing: we’re giving away TWO gift packs containing an advanced readers copy of SUMMER AND THE CITY, a letter from Candace Bushnell, and a “I <Heart> NYC” t-shirt.  Tell us in the comments what you love about Carrie Bradshaw and/or New York City, and you’ll be entered to win one of the two prize packages.  Contest ends 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 20th.  Winners will be announced Monday, March 21st.


Posted by | March 14, 2011 | No Comments

Most everyone who works in libraries has a fond memory involving the bookmobile.  I never visited one as a child, but I worked on one as part of my first job in a children’s room…and I loved every second of it.  For some kids, it was their first exposure to a library at all and, for others, it was a novel way to enjoy the rights and privileges that they had already discovered at their local branch.

The memories of my time on the bookmobile came back to me fresh and fast when I read MISS DOROTHY AND HER BOOKMOBILE by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb.  It’s a lovely read that captures the history of the bookmobile in the U.S. and serves as another way to delight young kids about this library branch on wheels.

Did you know it’s National Bookmobile Day on April 13, 2011?  MISS DOROTHY AND HER BOOKMOBILE is a wonderful way to celebrate and remind us all that we can and should get creative with the services we offer to children and their families.  And don’t forget to “like” National Bookmobile Day @ Your Library on Facebook.  You can also read the Smithsonian’s recent article about bookmobiles, “Long Overdue, the Bookmobile is Back” by Jeff Greenwald.

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