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1. Etsy Shop Owner Creates a Kanye West-Themed Bible

Book of YeezusPeople throughout human history have invented a great number of deities from Zeus to Odin to Allah. One creative has decided to put a new spin on the book of Genesis by replacing every reference to the name God with that of controversial hip hop star Kanye West.

The Etsy shop owner behind “the Book of Yeezus” calls his “novelty coffee-table book” a “Bible for the New Age.” Each unit sells for $20.00.

Here’s more about the item: “In a sense, Kanye’s awesome and orchestrated spectacle is truly a religious experience. In a foreword, we explore our consumerist, quick-fix, and information-culture, and celebrate Kanye and the outsized significance he plays in our lives. All of this, bound in a black, hard-cover gold-leaf imprinted book.” (via The Hollywood Reporter)

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2. Everywhere dragons

…at least, everywhere in the March/April Magazine! These four new dragon-themed books are all reviewed in that issue, offering something for dragon fans of several different age groups. Consider them additions to our dragon-centric fantasy booklist.

florian_how to draw a dragonFor preschool- and primary-aged kids, there’s author/illustrator Douglas Florian’s How to Draw a Dragon (Simon/Beach Lane, April 2015). Less a how-to guide than a celebration of creativity — and dragons, of course — it gives both practical drawing advice (“Draw your dragon’s pointed spines / using lots of jagged lines”) and Florian’s patented poetic silliness (“Dragon fire has reds and yellows, / and it’s good to toast marshmallows”). Mixed-media collage art with a childlike sensibility rounds out this appealing book.

yep_dragon's guide to care and feeding of humansAuthor Laurence Yep knows his dragons. He hilariously revisits the topic in his latest book for intermediate readers, A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans (Crown, March 2015), cowritten with Joanne Ryder and illustrated by Mary GrandPré. Refined Miss Drake and her scrappy new pet Winnie are having a power struggle over Winnie’s training: Winnie (a human) seems to think she is the owner and Miss Drake (a dragon) is the pet. They continue to butt heads, but there are more important things at stake — a magical creature called a pemburu could destroy San Francisco unless the pair can stop it.

Two dragon-themed YA sequels appear in this issue:

Shadowhartman_shadow scale Scale (Random House, March 2015) is the sequel to Rachel Hartman’s 2013 BGHB Fiction Honor Book Seraphina. Seraphina and a fellow half-dragon (or ityasaari) named Abdo search for others like them. They hope that, together, the psychically talented ityasaari will be able to establish a dragon-proof psychic defense. In their travels, Seraphina and Abdo learn to their horror that malevolent half-dragon Jannoula is manipulating the minds of many ityasaari. Plenty of suspense and a thoughtfully developed dragon-centered world make this a captivating read.

johnston_prairie fireE. K. Johnston’s gripping Prairie Fire (Carolrhoda Lab, March 2015) picks up where The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim left off: Owen and his friend Siobhan have graduated from high school and enlisted in the Oil Watch, helping to defend carbon resources from dragons. However, life in the Oil Watch is not exactly what they anticipated: they are stationed at a remote and dangerous location, and burns Siobhan sustained in the first book compromise her abilities.

For even more dragon-themed YA, see this list.

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3. The Book Thief Voted Most Popular Book in Australia

Book Thief CoverWhat’s the most popular book in Australia?

According to the results of Dymocks Bookstore’s booklover’s 101 survey, that honor belongs to Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. More than 15,000 bibliophiles participated in this survey.

Here’s more from The New Daily: “This year 17 Australian books made the list, including AB Facey’s A Fortunate Life and Anh Do’s The Happiest Refugee…Ms Higgins said 35 books on the list have been made into successful films – including the recent Hollywood hit Fifty Shades of Grey.” We’ve linked to free samples of the top ten books below.

Free Samples of Australia’s Top 10 Favorite Books

01. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

02. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

03. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

04. Magician by Raymond Feist

05. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

06. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

07. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

08. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

09. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

10. The Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling

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4. Minions to Star in Comics & Graphic Novels

MinionsTitan Comics will publish several comic books and graphic novels starring the Minions.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, fans will get to read about the Minions’ crazy antics in “four comic book issues, two digest collections, two hardcover editions, and a paperback collection.” A summer launch is being planned for these books to coincide with the release of the highly anticipated Minions movie.

Animators Didier Ah-koon and Renaud Collin will collaborate on these projects together. The first Minions comic title and the first digest collection will come out on June 17th. The Minions film hits theaters on July 10th. (via ComicBookResources.com)

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5. Knuffle Bunny Statue May Be Installed in Brooklyn

Knuffle BunnyThe Friends of Park Slope Library group hope to secure $250,000 to build an outdoor storytelling garden. If they are successful, they plan to install a statue of Knuffle Bunny.

This character appears in Mo Willems’ Caldecott Honor-winning picture book Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and the sequel Knuffle Bunny Too. In the past, Willems used to be a resident of this Brooklyn neighborhood.

Here’s more from DNAinfo.com: “The garden is one of several neighborhood upgrades that could receive funding through City Councilman Brad Lander’s participatory budgeting program, which kicks off April 14. Voters in Lander’s 39th District will choose their favorites from a list of 13 possible projects, and the top five vote-getters will split $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars from Lander’s discretionary budget. Now in its fourth year, the citizen-led budgeting initiative has paid for several local improvements that were dreamed up by residents, from new computers at libraries to bathroom renovations at elementary schools.” (via The Mo Willems Blog)

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6. BookRiot & The Harry Potter Alliance Team Up to Host a BYOB Book Drive

World Book Night UK 2015Earlier this year, the organizers behind the United States version of World Book Night announced its shut down. To retain some presence of this beloved event in this country, BookRiot and Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) will host a BYOB Book Drive.

In this case, BYOB stands for “bring your own, outrageous, outstanding, overflowing books.” Four meet-ups will take place on April 23rd (the same night as this year’s United Kingdom edition of World Book Night) in Chicago, Richmond, Washington, and New York City.

Here’s more from the announcement: “While we can’t provide multiple copies of favorite books to givers, we figure that if you’re anything like us you’ve got mountains of beloved books at home that you’re more than willing to share with others. So set aside some to donate, swap favorites and stories with fellow participants, and help the HPA’s Accio Books campaign reach this year’s goal of 60,000 books collected. With our powers combined!”

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7. YouTube Sensation Jenn McAllister Inks Deal With Scholastic

JennxpennYouTube sensation Jenn McAllister (also known as JennXPenn) has landed a deal with Scholastic for a book called Really Professional Internet Person.

According to the press release, the 18-year-old internet star’s title will be “a personal and funny guide to creating successful online content and handling the pressures of internet fame.” It will contain pictures, screenshots, social media posts, and biographical stories.

Vice president and publisher Debra Dorfman negotiated the terms of the agreement. A release date has been set for September 2015. Click here to watch McAllister’s video announcement about this project.

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8. What if Dr. Seuss Wrote a Story Set in a Chipotle?

buzzfeedCould you ever picture The Cat in The Hat eating tacos? How about The Lorax chowing down on a burrito?

Two members of the BuzzFeed staff, writer Jean-Luc Bouchard and artist Andrea Hickey, collaborated on a story called “Dr. Seuss Goes To Chipotle.” This Theodor Seuss Geisel-inspired piece was created “with heaps of love and respect for Dr. Seuss, as well as full-bellied appreciation for Chipotle.”

Here’s an excerpt: “I asked for one meat. And then?  Why, for two! Ignoring the digestive impact I would rue. And that’s how I made-up a bowl of half-sneetch and a just-as-big ladle serving of beast.”

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9. Melissa Rivers to Write a Collection of Joan River Stories

Book of JoanMelissa Rivers, a TV personality and daughter of the late Joan Rivers, has landed a deal with Crown Archetype.

People magazine reports that Melissa plans write a book entitled The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation. The publisher has scheduled a release date for May 5th.

Rivers posted a picture of the cover on her Facebook page. She also revealed that this project is “a collection of funny, poignant, and irreverent observations, thoughts, and tales about the woman who raised me.” (via TIME)

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10. How Does One Create Artful Book Sculptures?

What does it take to create a book sculpture? In a presentation delivered at TEDYouth 2014 (embedded above), artist Brian Dettmer talks about the creative process to transform old encyclopedias into modern art pieces.

To work on his projects, Dettmer keeps a supply of X-Acto knives, tweezers and surgical devices in his tool box. He makes it his mission to discover and develop new meanings for each book.

Here’s more from the TED blog: “Like a DJ, he remixes the knowledge found inside. Like an archeologist, he excavates the potential of their wisdom. He believes that the book will never die, but will and must adapt to hold its place in the new digital information age.”

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11. Filmmaker to Create a Dangerously Ever After Stop-Motion Film

Alba Garcia, a filmmaker and the director of Fantasiation studio, has launched a crowdfunding venture on Indiegogo. She hopes to raise $42,000 to create a stop-motion animated film based on the title, Dangerously Ever After.

Penguin Young Readers Group released the picture book, written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by Valeria Docampo, back in September 2012. We’ve embedded a video about the campaign above—what do you think?

Here’s more about the project: “We need money to print all the 3-D faces for all the characters of the film, get a camera rig for amazing cinematic movement, a new set of lights to illuminate the HUGE garden and castle set, plus pay our 19 phenomenal artists from all over the world. If we surpass the goal we will use the money to hire more animators, and post-production artists and to apply to even more festivals.”

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12. Reading rainbow? Not quite

Yo, Marsala, I’m happy for you, I’ma let you finish — but Eggplant is the real Color of the Year. At least according to this entire shelf of purple-jacketed books.

purple books

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13. Audible Releases a Free Audiobook of Classic Love Poems

What are your favorite love poems?

The Hobbit actor Richard Armitage serves as the narrator for the Classic Love Poems audiobook. BuzzFeed reports that this 22-minute long compilation features 15 different pieces written by William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and more.

The SoundCloud clip embedded above features Armitage performing a recitation of “I Carry Your Heart” by e. e. cummings. Follow this link to download the unabridged audiobook for free.

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14. How Would Hermione Granger Have Fared as the Chosen One?

What if Hermione Granger had been named The Chosen One? BuzzFeed has created a video (embedded above) called “If Hermione Were The Main Character In Harry Potter”—it has drawn more than 680,000 views on YouTube.

Many of the characters within the Harry Potter universe enjoy a fiercely loving loyal fan base including the sharp-tongued matriarch Molly Weasley, the surprisingly brave Neville Longbottom, and the greatly misunderstood Severus Snape. Who’s your favorite character from J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series?

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15. ‘A Cast of Kings’ Podcast: KICKSTARTER

Cast of Kings PodcastDavid Chen and Joanna Robinson have raised more than $1,900 on Kickstarter for the “A Cast of Kings” podcast. With the money, they will be able to continue producing a podcast to re-cap the forthcoming new episodes of the Game of Thrones HBO series.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “It’s only because of your generosity and support in the past that we’ve grown this podcast to the point where people are interested in sponsoring us on a large-scale level. We are eternally grateful to you, our listeners, for getting us here and look forward to an awesome season of Game of Thrones discussion ahead!”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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16. 29,000+ Harry Potter Fans Deem Severus Snape to be a Hero

Potions Master Severus Snape

BuzzFeed conducted a poll asking its readers to vote on this question: “Is Snape Actually A Hero?” More than 29,000 fans cast their votes as “yes.”

Arguably, the most enigmatic character in the Harry Potter universe is Professor Severus Snape. Many would actually describe him as an anti-hero.

What’s your opinion about the famed potions master? Click here to watch a fan-made video about the character’s life story.

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17. Rosie Revere, Engineer to Be Read in Space

Layout 1The Story Time from Space team (STFS) has selected Rosie Revere, Engineer for its next reading project.

This picture book was written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. Abrams Books for Young Readers released it back in September 2013.

School Library Journal reports that it was chosen because the author gifted a copy to an astronaut named Alvin Drew. He then shared the book with educator Patricia Tribe. STFS will make a video with a recitation of this story available on its website in the fall of 2015.

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18. Hilary Knight Stars in HBO Documentary

Eloise series illustrator Hilary Knight will star in an HBO documentary called It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise.

Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, two filmmakers who are best known for their work on the Girls TV show, served as executive producers for this project. Dunham also makes appearances in the actual film.

The Huffington Post reports that this movie is “a portrait of Knight and his role in forming the origin story of a revered female protagonist.” The video embedded above features the full teaser trailer. A premiere date has been set for March 23rd.

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19. YouTubers Create the ‘Princess of Thrones’ Mash-Up Video

What happens when you cross the Game of Thrones HBO series with The Princess Bride film adaptation? Collaborators Shawn Kohne and Todd Spence have created a funny mash-up called “Princess of Thrones.”

The video embedded above has drawn more than 14,000 views on YouTube—what do you think? Click on these links to watch a Game of Thrones/House of Cards parody and a Game of Thrones meets Disney piece. (via BuzzFeed)

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20. A Game of Thrones Art Book is Featured on Kickstarter

Art director Grace Fong and her team hope to raise $18,500 for an art book called Draw ‘Em With the Pointy End. More than 100 artists contributed pieces inspired by George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire books and the Game of Thrones HBO series. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “This is a non-profit project. The campaign pays for printing 500 books and compensates the artists at a flat rate – but every dollar past our goal will be used to print even more! These additional copies will go towards non-profit organizations that benefit wolves and wildlife.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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21. Little City Books Launches Indiegogo Campaign

The owners of Little City Books have launched an indiegogo campaign. They hope to raise $22,000 through this crowdfunding venture to build a literary and cultural community space in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The video embedded above features the story of how a banker, a singer, and a literary agent came together as collaborators for this independent bookstore. Once this establishment has opened, the trio plans to host readings, parties, musical event, book club meetings, workshops, and author appearances.

Here’s more from the indiegogo page: “Indie bookstores are making a comeback. Print sales are up and stores are opening around the country. They operate on tiny margins, but after two years of research, we’re confident that we can run a great indie bookshop in Hoboken — with an enthusiastic landlord, frugal planning, and community support.”

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22. Harry Potter-Themed Parody of ‘Uptown Funk’ Song Goes Viral

Could you ever imagine Lord Voldemort as a pop star? A YouTuber who calls himself KFaceTV created a Harry Potter-themed parody of the song “Uptown Funk.”

The video embedded above features “Dark Lord Funk” performed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his band of Death Eaters; it has drawn more than 316,000 views. Click here to watch the original music video with the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ track.

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23. Video Features Economic Analysis of Game of Thrones

Is going after the Iron Throne actually worth it? The team at Business Insider has deemed the Seven Kingdoms to be “a terrible investment.”

The video embedded above features an economic analysis of Westeros and an explanation about the great debts this realm has accumulated. Perhaps if this report were relayed to Queen Regnant Cersei Lannister, she might lighten up a little bit—what do you think?

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24. Indiegogo Campaign Launched For a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Documentary

Producer Cody Meirick has launched a crowdfunding venture on Indiegogo. He hopes to raise $28,000.00 to shoot a documentary about Alvin Schartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

The film will explore several topics including gothic folklore, censorship, and Schartz’s process for creating this classic children’s book. We’ve embedded a video above that features more details about this movie.

Here’s more about the project: “This upcoming documentary will explore the history and background of one of the most controversial works of modern children’s literature: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In many American libraries of the ’80s and ’90s these books developed a growing interest from boys and girls who were taken in by the gothic tales, the whimsical tone, and the ghostly illustrations. Now the Scary Stories book series stands as the most challenged children’s book of the last 30 years and a testament to the power of something that is often taken for granted: a good scary story.” (via Nerdist.com)

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25. Oprah Winfrey Chooses Ruby For Book Club 2.0

RubyOprah Winfrey revealed her fourth Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection, Ruby by Cynthia Bond. According to The Associated Press, Winfrey revealed that she fell in love with the novel after reading the first sentence.

Published by Hogarth (a Penguin Random House imprint), the story follows “a worldly, beautiful black woman, Ruby Bell, and her struggle not to be destroyed by her home community of Liberty Township.” Bond was influenced by the work she has done in the past with at-risk-youth and a traumatic event in her family’s history.

The paperback edition was released today. Winfrey has interviewed Bond and the full conversation will appear in the March 2015 issue of magazine. Click here to view a video that features Winfrey’s announcement.

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