Category Archives: Blogs and bloggers
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!
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.
Getting ready for Poetry Month? We’ve got some brilliant activities for Jack Prelutsky and Carin Berger’s STARDINES SWIM HIGH ACROSS THE SKY, brought to you by picture book and flannelboard maven Storytime Katie. With Jack Prelutsky’s signature sense of humor and Carin Berger’s stunning collage, shadowbox, and diorama illustrations, this fantastic new poetry collection can be paired with SCRANIMALS and BEHOLD THE BOLD UMBRELLAPHANT or used on its own for a rollicking Poetry Month celebration.
Many thanks to Katie for these great activities, and happy (almost) Poetry Month to all!
From Storytime Katie:
In STARDINES SWIM HIGH ACROSS THE SKY, Jack Prelutsky and Carin Berger team up to create an unforgettable recording of sixteen brand-new species unseen by humans before! To celebrate this amazing new book from Greenwillow Books, readers are invited to try their hands at these activities.
1. Create Your Own Animal. In STARDINES, Jack Prelutsky creates animals by combining two words with at least one similar syllable. For example, a panda who plans becomes a planda. Plan + Panda = Planda. Try making your own animal! If you get stuck, you can try using two of the words in the following lists:
Panda: Fan, Land, Sand, Stand
Buffalo: Fluff, Muff, Stuff, Tough
Butterfly: Blue, Flew, Mutt, Nut
Make sure to write out the definition of your new animal. (For example, a Bluetterfly is a butterfly who only lands on blue flowers!)
2. I Spy. In Carin Berger’s collage illustrations, she includes a lot of details to demonstrate each animal’s environment and personality. Can you find all fifteen items listed below in the pictures throughout STARDINES?
Items to find: Apron, Broom, Cactus, Clock, Feather, Fork, Guitar, Mushroom, Pretzel, Red Shoes, Rocks, Sailboat, Spoon, Tuba, Umbrella
3. Collage Art. Make your own collage using a variety of paper, found objects, and creativity. You can use whatever can be glued down on a piece of paper, as long as you have permission to use it! Try using milk caps, cardboard boxes, and newspaper to make a truly Earth-friendly recycled craft.
4. Animal Discoveries. While the creatures in STARDINES may not be real, new animal species are discovered regularly in our world. Do some research about when your favorite animal was discovered and find out who was responsible for the discovery. Write a poem about how your favorite animal was discovered—be imaginative!
Based on a MAD Magazine blog of the same name, PLANET TAD is a seriously funny look inside the mind of twelve-year-old Tad, nerd extraordinaire. Capturing one full year in the life of Tad, this laugh-out-loud illustrated (by Doug Holgate) novel—written in a captivating blog format—will capture the hearts of everyone who reads it. One day at a time.
- “This book will make you laugh. If you’re not into that sort of thing, consider yourself warned.” –Stephen Colbert
- “Hilarious to anyone who ever went through, is currently in, might go to, or flunked out of middle school.” –Jon Stewart
And if those glowing endorsements are not enough to make you ask CAN I PLEASE GET MY HANDS ON THIS EXCITING BOOK?! (the answer is yes, it’s on sale now!), consider these words from Tim’s editor, Rosemary Brosnan:
I have a confession to make: For years I have raced to the mailbox to filch my son’s copy of MAD Magazine before he has a chance to read it. I’ve been reading MAD since I was twelve, and it’s an addiction I can’t give up. One of my favorite features has been the blog PLANET TAD by Tim Carvell, which has appeared in the magazine since 2006. Fresh and funny, its perfectly on-target voice and humor capture the life of a nerdy middle-school boy—his awkwardness with girls, the travails of living with a clever little sister, his funny takes on popular culture. The author, Tim Carvell, is the head writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has won five Emmy Awards writing for the show. It seemed natural for me to call Tim and ask him to write a PLANET TAD book. Perhaps then I could stop stealing my son’s copies of Mad.
When I met Tim, I found him to be extremely likable…and I thought perhaps he had been a little bit like Tad when he was a kid. How else would he have come up with this blog? Happily, Tim agreed to write a PLANET TAD book; he wrote about two-thirds new material, and we took the other third from the published MAD pieces. PLANET TAD is a hilarious look at a year in the life of twelve-year-old Tad, revealed in his own blog. It’s a year-in-the-life you’ll never forget, in which Tad takes a summer job wearing a hot dog costume, has an unwilling turn onstage in his little sister’s school play, learns a painful lesson about sunburn, attends an embarrassing Halloween party, and is ignored by every girl in his school.
I think this is the kind of book kids are going to pass around to one another. I would have hidden it inside Johnny Tremain myself. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Cory, a seventh grader, says:
“You will laugh your head off, and if you don’t you probably didn’t read or if you did you didn’t understand it.”
Return tomorrow when we Open The Book with Tim Carvell, and post a free excerpt of PLANET TAD. In the meantime, take a peek at the video trailer here!
This Wednesday, we plied our local librarian friends with coffee and treats to meet us very very very early in the morning to hear about our Fall 2012 titles, straight from the mouths of our truly masterful editors. Our attendees live-tweeted under the hashtag #harperfallpreview and it was really exciting for us to see those enthusiastic tweets roll in. Thanks, guys!
Everyone with their listening caps on.
Now, for some great This Meets That’s:
- “Dan Brown for 10 year olds” — THE SECRET PROPHECY, by Herbie Brennan.
- “Scott Westerfeld meets Lauren Oliver” — THE LOST GIRL, by Sangu Mandanna.
- “The Goonies meets The Walking Dead” — GRAVEDIGGERS: MOUNTAIN OF BONES, by Christopher Krovatin.
- “My So-Called Life meets Twilight” — DRAIN YOU, by M. Beth Bloom. (full disclosure… this one killed me!)
Can you believe that in a little more than a month, we’ll be at the ALA Annual meeting in Anaheim, California? Because we sure can’t (cue folders flying, frantic packing). But if you’ll be there too, please make sure to stop by, say hello, and grab galleys of the titles above. Booth #2558– see you there!
Truly, our cup is overflowing. Everyone here is beyond excited and incredibly proud of our award winning books and authors, announced this Monday at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. An astounding amount of work, love, patience, devotion, and hope goes into each book that’s published, and we’re honored to be part of the process that helps carry an author’s dream from their heart out into the world. Let us share our sincerest congratulations to all of our recognized authors and illustrators.
- INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN, by Thanhha Lai: John Newbery Honor
- HEART AND SOUL, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson: Coretta Scott King (Author) Award and (Illustrator) Honor
- THE GREAT MIGRATION, written by Eloise Greenfield, illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist: Coretta Scott King (Author) Honor
- PINK, by Lili Wilkinson: Stonewall Honor
- THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, by Rae Carson: William C. Morris Award Finalist
We have a ceremony of our own back in our booth after the awards announcements, wherein we do a little drumroll as we place the medal on each book. And behold, it is very good.
And for your browsing pleasure, a few links to past Page Turn posts on our winners:
A gorgeous book illustrated throughout by Kei Acedera, we are so excited to share LIESL & PO with you! Lauren Oliver proves she can right it all: young adult, dystopian, and now middle-grade.
We have materials to help you read LIESL & PO with the kids in your classrooms and libraries. Check out the website: download the discussion guide, ask Lauren a question, and hear Lauren talk about creating the story.
The reviews are lovely:
“With her third book, Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall; Delirium) creates another highly original world, this one for middle-grade readers. Oliver introduces orphans Liesl and Will, a touch of magic, some delectable coincidences, and friendship that stretches from the Living Side to the Other Side.” ~ Shelf Awareness
“Classic fairy tale elements weave throughout this spirited, old-fashioned adventure. Invigorating and hopeful, this novel testifies to the power of friendship and generosity to conquer greed and depression.” ~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A nice addition to libraries looking to add to their middle grade fantasy collections. It could also be a good read aloud, since I think it would have appeal to both genders – it doesn’t lean too ‘girl read’ or ‘guy read’.” ~ GreenBeanTeanQueen
Lastly, check out the gorgeous book trailer (and even download the lyrics to the accompanying song):
Banned Books Week goes on and today’s booktalk is GEOGRAPHY CLUB by Brent Hartinger. It was successfully banned for its homosexual content in Brent’s own hometown in 2005 – read Brent’s great post about it – and has continued to appear on the most challenged lists. In Brent’s blog post, he quotes a local parent who defended GEOGRAPHY CLUB at the time: “This is the most bogus thing I’ve heard of [...] It is about gay students. However, the most important part of the book is that it’s about bullying, outcasts, about tolerance [...] This is a really good book for any student to read.”
Generously contributing a booktalk today is the eloquent, often provocative, teacher, librarian, and blogger Jonathan Hunt (you can also visit him over at School Library Journal‘s blog Heavy Medal):
When is a Geography Club not a Geography Club? When it’s the front for a Gay-Straight Alliance, of course! Russel Middlebrook believes himself to be the only gay student at his high school, but when he makes an online connection with a job from his school, he begins to realize there may be others, too. Ultimately, seven students will come together to form the Geography Club, offering support to each other through thick and thin. Readers will fall in love with Russell – regardless of sexual orientation – because his voice just rings so true: funny, angsty, yet wise. There’s been an explosion of gay and lesbian young adult fiction in recent years, but this gem remains one of the very best.
Thanks so much, Jonathan! For more information, you can see this interview with Brent, check out Brent’s website (in particular, his information for LGBTQ kids is a wonderful resource), and follow Brent on Twitter.
A regular on the top banned and challenged books list, ANGUS, THONGS, AND FULL-FRONTAL SNOGGING by the fabulous Louise Rennison has a cult following (um, include me in that cult!). The book has been challenged for a multitude of reasons: age inappropriateness, profanity, and sexual content. It has also made the Top 100 list, which we can’t help but consider a distinction!
Today’s booktalk is by the uber-fabbity-fab Sarah Bean Thompson, librarian and blogger (GreenBeanTeenQueen). She’s also on the 2013 Printz committee! She’s a fan of Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson stories and contributed a booktalk that you can use all year long in your programming:
Join Georgia Nicolson and The Ace Gang for a fabbity fab adventure through the craziness of high school. Georgia is madly in love with the sex god, Robbie. Too bad Robbie has a girlfriend who happens to be the annoying wet Lindsey. Georgia knows that she could get Robbie to fall in love with her if only she had the chance. And if high school and love triangles weren’t bad enough, Georgia has to deal with her fat cat Angus who is always causing problems and her embarrassing three-year-old sister who is not as cute as everyone thinks. Georgia’s adventures are always full of laughs as her entries into her diary recount her attempts to survive school, boys, and big noses. Growing up is never easy, but at least Georgia Nicolson manages to make it fun.
Thanks, Sarah, for joining us! For additional info to support your programming and curriculum, check out the Georgia Nicolson reading guide. I’m also a bit of an evangelist for the Georgia Nicolson website so check that out for a glossary, the complete snogging scale, and quizzes.
Last but not least, I’ll leave you with the trailer for the the ANGUS, THONGS, AND FULL-FRONTAL SNOGGING trailer:
Eek! We forgot to post the winners of our EVERYTHING GOES: ON LAND giveaway contest yesterday as promised!
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOLLOWING WINNERS!
We’ll contact you shortly to get your mailing address and congrats!