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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: publishers weekly, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Charlie Hebdo updates: a year of covers and Publishers Weekly

OneYear1 Charlie Hebdo updates: a year of covers and Publishers WeeklyA few notes on Charlie Hebdo related matters, aside from the ongoing sorrow and tumult. Noah Berlatsky has a very fine analysis of the past year’s covers in terms of how much they mock religions and their satirical intent. Suffice to say that a lot of the satire goes right over non-French people’s heads. Of course satire that localized is easy to misinterpret or interpret according to local standards. It’s complicated.

Also, Publishers Weekly (disclosure: where I work as an editor) has made this week’s issue free to read and it includes a section of publishers showing support for free speech. In a statement the magazine said “Freedom of expression is core to our values and fundamental to the world of books. Whether publisher or author, bookstore or library, agency or citizen of the world: Nous Sommes Tous Charlie.”

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2. Top Book Editors Pick their Favorite Children's Books of 2014

With so many wonderful books published in 2014, it's hard to know where to begin in making reading choices. One easy way to discover amazing stories is to take a look at Publishers Weekly round-up of top children's book editors 2014 picks (only books not published by their own company). In this article you'll discover the books the editors wish they'd snagged before another publisher got to them first, how they learned about the books, and why they love them. Their favorites also include some older classics.
The picks include:  The Bunker Diary; The Iridescence of Birds; Grasshopper Jungle; El Deafo; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender; The Winner’s Curse; Half Bad; Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Brown Girl Dreaming; The Perks of Being a Wallflower; The Glassblower’s Children; Sideways Stories from Wayside School; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; The Storm Whale; The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making; Wild Rover No More; The Secret Garden; Egg & Spoon; and Grasshopper Jungle.

A few quotes from the piece:

David Levithan, Scholastic. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. "Grasshopper Jungle is a messy, repetitive, horny, ridiculous novel with a main character who will strain your sympathies about as far as they can go. And I love it for all of these qualities, and for the exuberance of its daring."

Nicholas During, New York Review Books. Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. "There’s something rather melancholy about the story in combination with Sendak’s illustrations, and, don’t ask why, I find it’s a bit of sadness that makes the best children’s books."

Brittany Pearlman, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater. "There’s a line in the book where the main character, Blue, reflects about herself and her four male companions (the Raven Boys): “We were all a little bit in love with each other”; and that’s exactly how I feel about every one of the characters. The magical realism and fantasy make the story truly enchanting, but it’s always grounded in character so that you feel completely immersed."

T.S. Ferguson, Harlequin Teen. Half Bad by Sally Green. "Half Bad by Sally Green has obvious comparisons to the world of Harry Potter, but the story unfolds in such a uniquely compelling way that I couldn’t put it down. I loved the themes of racism, genocide, and terrorism as viewed through a fantasy lens."

Liz Herzog, Scholastic. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. "When I brought the book home and read it, I loved the way Riggs had so artfully built a rich and engaging world all from a collection of found photos. It made me think about where stories come from, and how pictures can be a powerful jumping-off point for the imagination."

Megan Barlog, HarperCollins Children’s Books. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. "This book takes the best elements of fairytale romps like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz and transforms them into a tale of daring adventure."

Be sure to visit Publishers Weekly for the complete article.

What were your favorite books of 2014 for children?

Hope you enjoyed this post! To be notified of future updates, use the subscription options on the right side bar.

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3. ‘Maggie’ Earns Book of the Week Honors from BookWorks

NEW YORK, NY – The inspirational young adult novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon has been selected as the Book of the Week by the BookWorks Self-Publishers Association. “This is an amazingly wonderful surprise for Maggie!” said author Grant Overstake, … Continue reading

1 Comments on ‘Maggie’ Earns Book of the Week Honors from BookWorks, last added: 5/6/2014
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4. One Thing Stolen, the Florence novel, has a PW moment

So grateful to have ONE THING STOLEN included in this Spring 2015 Children's Sneak Previews from Publishers Weekly:

Chronicle channels the Force for Star Wars Short and Sweet: A New Hope by Jack and Holman Wang, a 12-word retelling; I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld, celebrating everyday moments of abundance; The Water and the Wild by Kathryn Elise Ormsbee, a fantasy debut featuring a portal in a bejeweled tree; One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart, about a girl who develops strange behaviors when she moves with her professor father to Italy for six months; and Vanishing Girl by Elena Dunkle and Clare B. Dunkle, a mother-daughter memoir featuring daughter Elena’s struggle with anorexia.

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5. Things That Make Me Happy

Publishers Weekly Children's Books Fall 2014

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6. You Can’t Pay for This

Well, actually you can. People buy reviews all the time – even Kirkus is happy to take money from indie authors to furnish them with a glowing review. Which makes this honest-to-God-they-really-like-me review from Publishers Weekly on Friday even more wonderful: Though first-time author Petersen’s story flits through time and space, it’s easy to follow, […]

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7. The New York Times Review of Small Damages (and a brief accounting of kindnesses)

Twelve books, twelve years, four genres, and seven publishing houses ago, there was a lovely small New York Times review of a book I'd written called Into the Tangle of Friendship

Between that day and this one, I have been buoyed by readers and friends, by an agent and editors, by good-hearted bloggers and students, and of course by family in this strange but essential writing dream.  I have written odd books (a river speaks in one, corporate America is transformed into a Wonderland in another), "small" books, books that might have been more than they were and books that reached more readers than I thought possible.  I have kept writing because I can't help it, because it is, as I have said before, medicinal, because even when I tried to stop, I didn't know how stopping worked.  What does a life look like without story making and sentence crafting, without reaching and metaphor?  I don't know.  I don't want to find out.

Over the past few weeks, extraordinary kindnesses have been shown toward Small Damages, a book that I had worked on for many, many years.  Kindness within Philomel, that big-hearted publishing phenom that has gifted me with the talents and deep hearts of my editor Tamra Tuller (do I love her? yes, I do), Michael Green (president and (also) writer of some of the best emails ever), Jessica Shoffel (publicist extraordinary—unbelievably smart and quick and precise and there), Julia Johnson (who told me once that she has a secret third eye), Jill Santopolo (that uber-bright cutie who forged the original link), a fantastically talented design and editorial team, and an amazingly generous sales team.  Kindness from interviewers like Abby Plesser and Dennis Abrams.  Kindness from magazine editors like Darcy Jacobs of Family Circle and Renee Fountain of Bella and the super nice people of the LA Times.  Kindness from friends and from bloggers, each of whom is so dear to me, so valued.  (In case you are wondering, the spectacular quilted cover of Small Damages above was created by blogger and friend, Wendy Robards of Caribousmom.)

That should be enough, truly, but a few days ago, something else happened.  The phone rang, and it was my agent, Amy Rennert.  Fortunately, I was sitting down, for Amy had called to read me Jen Doll's most amazing review of Small Damages—a review that appears in this weekend's New York Times.

We yearn, as writers, to be understood.  We yearn to be read with an open heart. We can't even believe our good fortune when this happens to us in the pages of the Times.  When we are read and assessed by one as intelligent and thoughtful as Jen Doll.

The Times.

I have always loved the Times.  Today I love Her even more than always and forever.

There are no words.

A final note:  I have been typing this blog post with fumbling fingers, and I'm quite sure that I have erred somewhere up there.  But my fumbling became a trembling when Jillian Canto

17 Comments on The New York Times Review of Small Damages (and a brief accounting of kindnesses), last added: 7/17/2012
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8. Publishers Weekly Interviews Andrew Rosenheim on FEAR ITSELF

Last week Andrew Rosenheim's new WWII political thriller FEAR ITSELF received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a "top-notch historical thriller" and an "intelligent page-turner." This week PW sat down with Rosenheim to talk about the background behind the book and to discuss the real life American history that inspired the story. While America Slept: PW Talks with Andrew

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9. Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment/Katrina Kenison: the video you must watch now

Katrina Kenison's name is, I'm sure, well known to you all.  As an editor she brought important books into the world and spent many years binding together each year's most essential works of short fiction in Best American Short Stories.  As a writer she has been inspired by her children, her neighbors, her urgent dreams of peaceful, meaningful living to craft books that have found countless readers—immediately upon publication and consistently throughout the years.  As a blogger she inspires and makes whole legions of seekers.  As a force for good she has been interviewed in the New York Times or written for the Huffington Post and other major news outlets.  As my long-time friend, she has listened, coaxed, assured, read, remembered, and, even while under all manner of personal pressure, written words that help me understand my own books better.  She is a letter writer and a prose poemer.  A practitioner of yoga and a cook.  She has a really adorable dog. And when the world shatters, as the world has lately shattered, Katrina is the companion and friend you turn to for binding wisdom.

While the rest of us wish we knew how to make book trailers that were far bigger and better than book trailers, Katrina has gone ahead and blazed a significantly different kind of path by making videos about books that also stand alone as life lessons.  Just look at this trailer for The Gift of an Ordinary Day.  More than 1.6 million other people already have.

This morning I am  proud and happy to share Katrina's newest work of video art, which, among other things, introduces her new book, due out in January, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment.

"Love," Katrina writes in its pages, "is the answer to your most urgent question: What am I really" here to do?"

"You have work to do," she urges.  "Begin it."

Katrina worked hard and for a long time on her new book.  She thought a lot about how to tell its story with audio and film.  She conceived of and posed for the book's cover.  I'm not the only one who believes Magical Journey will soar.  Here, for example, is Publishers Weekly:

In this intensely moving tribute to the importance of enjoying every moment of life, Kenison (The Gift of An Ordinary Day), former longtime series editor of The Best American Short Stories, tells a tale inspired by loss and confides what can be gained from it. After a dear friend dies from cancer and her two sons head off to boarding school and college, Kenison is forced to question what remains relevant in her life and how such an introspective examination might portend a change in priorities. Identifying a common and paralyzing fear (“I am so used to doubting my worthiness that the minute I decide to do something, I start convincing myself I’m not up to the job”), she turns to intensive yoga studies, where she learns that “the best antidote to anxiety about the future is to be present in the here and now,” and that finding contentment in what one is rather than what one thinks one should be is critical. Her journey will inspire tears and determination, and remind readers that anything, “done from the heart, changes the world in some small way for the better.” Agent: Steven Lewers. (Jan.)

1 Comments on Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment/Katrina Kenison: the video you must watch now, last added: 12/20/2012
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10. Caldecott - Past, Present, and Future


With all the Newbery and Caldecott talk and predictions out there I thought it would be nice to take a look at not only what may be the next winner, but what has won in the past. If you have a favorite title you are rooting for post it in a comment. I would love to hear about it! Next week I will post my favorite book of the year that I think is Caldecott deserving in every facet of picture book brilliance.



From Publishers Weekly, with great interviews of winners from the past 5 years.
The Call That Changes Everything- or Not.

From The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) a look at the past.

Newbery Honor and Medal Books, 1922- Present
Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present
2012 Newbery-Caldecott Awards Banquet

From Through the Studio door, an interesting look at what PW dubbed in 1963 "...a pointless and confusing story."
Before They Were Classics



For predictions for this years award winners check out:
A Fuse #8 Production
100 Scope Notes
The Horn Book- Calling Caldecott 
Country Bookshelf
Random Acts of Reading


75th Anniversary Logo by Brian Selznick

Mark your calendar for the Caldecott Medal 75th Anniversary!

The ALA will announce all the awards at 8 a.m. PT on Jan. 28 from the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The awards include the esteemed John Newbery Medal, Randolph Caldecott Medal, Coretta Scott King Book Awards and Michael L. Printz Award.

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) announced that John Rocco will participate in a Caldecott 75th Anniversary Facebook Forum at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Rocco won a Caldecott Honor in 2012 for his picture book Blackout.

Caldecott 75th Anniversary eBadgeWant to learn more about the logo 2008 Caldecott Medal winner Brian Selznick created especially for the 75th Anniversary celebration and the characters in it? Just click here.

And for a little more fun, read Brian's acceptance speech for The Invention of Hugo Cabret  here and watch the illustrated sequence that played on huge video screens during the speech here.


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11. Dreaming Up Children's Books: An Interview with Artist/Illustrator Joy Chu

Reblogged from UC San Diego Extension:

Click to visit the original post

"Sure, it's simple, writing for kids...just as simple as bringing them up." - Ursula K. LeGuin

We recently had a chat with children's book illustrator and instructor Joy Chu about her taste in children's literature and for some advice on entering the field. Joy is teaching our first online children's book illustration course in Winter 2013 (the class opens for enrollment in October)!

Read more… 532 more words

*  NOTE: The above is from an interview that was featured in UCSD Extension's Blog last fall, just before I began teaching the on-line version of my class, "Illustrating Books for Children"/Winter 2013 Quarter. — JC

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12. And So It Begins

Yesterday, my nutritionist mentioned that she could not believe we were already in mid November. Time can get away from us can’t it? I like what Zetta Elliott does every December. She creates an annual retrospective pulling information from her blog and FB posts which helps her see all she has accomplished during the previous year. Looking over what we post in blogs or journals, write about in emails or have taken photos of during the year is a much more powerful statement than the book that didn’t get finished (whether we were reading or writing it!), the project that never got started or the trip that got postponed yet again. Let’s look at what was there and see what was accomplished.

I had pretty much the same thoughts earlier this week when I read and commented on a blog post addressed to John Green and the lack of diversity in his books. I wrote a quick impulsive response, thought about it and wrote another one and still don’t think I said it quite right.

I don’t think John Green should have to include characters of color in his writings no more than I think Coe Booth or Malin Alegria should have to include Whites or Asians in theirs. Authors write best when they write what they know. If they know an all white or an all Latino world, then write that. I may wonder how a neighborhood that I know to be rich in diversity can be portrayed as being so very White, but I know people don’t all seek or have the same experience. I know there are Blacks and Latinos who live in monolithic worlds just are there are Whites who do so. The problem I have is that those white readers can easily find books that reflect how they perceive their world while black and Latino readers have a very hard time find books written by those who understand their world and can write about it. While it amazes me that people can continue to live lives that lack diversity with respect to the types of people they interact with, foods they eat or books they read, I have to accept that there are people who question why anyone would want any type of diversity in their lives. Sure, we could argue that books are the perfect arena to introduce people to different thoughts and ideas, there are readers who don’t want that. They read for other reasons than to explore the world around them.

Why do you read?

Publishers Weekly recently released it’s best of 2013. Looking at the list of children’s books, I am wow-ed by the wide variety of literature on the list. The list includes British fiction, GLBT teens, a character with dyslexia, a female action lead character in a graphic novel, 16th century Scandinavia and monsters in Victorian London. Books by or about people of color are the following.

Boxers and Saints by Gene Juen Yang; Lark Pien

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata

Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tonya Lee Stone

These books stand as markers of what was published in 2013. Do you think they’re the best?

Filed under: Me Being Me Tagged: diversity, John Green, Publishers Weekly, Zetta Elliott

1 Comments on And So It Begins, last added: 11/17/2013
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13. Friday Studio Links - BiG News


Last week my art "Time to Wish" that went to Italy won an honorable mention at the Bologna Children's Book Fair! The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators proudly presented a gallery of images from 34 of it's members as part of the 2014 SCBWI Bologna Showcase. At the fair one winner and 4 honorable mentions were announced for this BiG (Bologna Illustrators Gallery) award.

Time to Wish

I was in great company along with the winner Dorothea Rohner, and three other honorable mentions - Kris Sexton, Ingrid Kallick, and Tanja Wooten. Can you imagine having your artwork show up on the BiG screen at such an enormous event? It would have been amazing to be there, but since I wasn't, here's the next best thing. Check out the links and you can virtually be there too. Thank you everyone for the photos and videos!

In this link from an article in Publisher's Weekly, you can get an idea of just how big and exciting this event is!

The SCBWI Booth with Dueling Illustrators

The SCBWI Booth with the BiG Posters

And in case you haven't seen enough, here's a link to the Bologna Book Fair Photogallery with tons of very cool images.

And a fun video that shows the scope of how BiG the fair really was.

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14. talking about friends, talking about writing, talking and blogging, here we go

Writer, editor, mother, yoga-ist, friend—Katrina Kenison has been there, over and again, in my writing life. One of the first to read and write of my first book about reading and writing: Seeing Past Z: Nurturing the Imagination in a Fast-Forward World. One of the first to read and write of my second book about reading and writing: Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir (I had arrived, at long last, at the grave of my great-grandfather, Horace Kephart, in Bryson City, NC, when Katrina's note about Handling floated in—perfect timing, for Katrina had once found and sent to me as a gift a rare copy of one of Horace Kephart's books).  

Katrina has understood what few others haven't. She has written memoirs that I have loved and celebrated—Mitten Strings for God, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, Magical Journey. She edited, for many years, Best American Short Stories, and so she knows a thing or two about fiction, too. And her blog? Beloved.

When Katrina asked if I might participate in the latest blog-a-thon (is that a word? I don't know), I said yes. Because another very dear friend, Patty Chang Anker (Some Nerve, a memoir about facing the things we fear), had asked me the same question a few weeks earlier, when I was deluged, I'm tagging her back here. Patty and I recently shared the most spectacular night in New York City, when both of our books were nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award. Check out her popular blog and find out what this former non-cyclist spent her weekend.

I have two other friends/writers/editors I'm eager to introduce in this very blog post. So I'll quickly move through the a-thon questions. Here we go:

What am I working on?

On April 1, Going Over, my Berlin 1983 novel, was released. I am working on — well, I'm working on surviving the angst/suspense/fear/release that goes along with the publication of each book. I'm getting better at this. I'm trusting fate more. I'm living with who I am, which is this sort of idiosyncratic YA writer whose YA books don't fall into easy categories, which is to say they aren't easily marketed, which is to say, I'm still just Beth Kephart, A Moonlight Writer if Ever There Was One. Real life, for me, is the boutique marketing communications business I run, the stories I write for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the reviews I write for Chicago Tribune, and, in the spring, the creative nonfiction class I teach at Penn. That class recently ended. I'm still sobbing. But I digress.

A few days ago, Publishers Weekly kindly announced my next two books. And so, cheatingly, I share that announcement here:

As reported in PW Children's Bookshelf, April 28, 2014:
Tamra Tuller at Chronicle has acquired two books by NBA-nominated author Beth Kephart. Set in Florence, Italy, One Thing Stolen follows Nadia Cara as she mysteriously begins to change. She's become a thief, she has secrets she can't tell, and when she tries to speak, the words seem far away.This Is the Story of You takes place in an island beach town in the aftermath of a super storm; Mira, a year-rounder stranded for weeks without power, hopes to return storm-tossed treasures to their rightful owners, and restore some sense of order to an unrecognizable world. Publication is scheduled for spring 2015 and spring 2016; Amy Rennert of the Amy Rennert Agency did the deal for world rights.
How does my work/writing differ from others in its genre?

So many ways to answer this question. But I'll be brief. What I write is Kephartian. Linguistically intense. Erupted from the heart. Framed by big questions of history and humanity. That works for some people. It doesn't work for others. And this is not to say (because that would be a lie) that others in my genre don't pursue the same humanity, history, and heart. Others do. In a minute you'll meet A.S. King. You'll see what I mean.

Why do I write what I do?

Because I can't help it. I know that sounds flippant, or something (would flippant be the right word?). But it's as honest as I can be. I write what I must write, what draws me to it urgently, what can't be suppressed, what wakes me up. It all comes from the gut, and then from a heck of a lot of research. I wish I had a plan. I just have instincts.

How does my writing process work?

I could write on and on and on (blog pages!) about all the times the process doesn't work. When it does work, I kiss the wing tips of some theoretical muse (or the nose of my tall wooden giraffe, which is my actual muse) and ask no questions. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. That's what I say. Then pray I'll get the ineffable good-luck process back some other day.

All righty, all righty, enough on me. Now I get to get back to my friends, A.S. King and Karen Rile, who are going to answer their own questions on their own blogs next week.

So let's start with A.S., who is also Amy, who is also (to me) King, who is also Dude. Or. Wait. Dude is what Amy calls me. What Amy calls us. Dude is the name of our extended family. Whatever it is, you know her. She is, perhaps, the most starred YA author working today. She has awards falling out of her overall pockets. John Green has called her a goddess, but Beth Kephart called her a goddess first, and in this case, Beth Kephart Rules. The Dust of 100 Dogs, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, Everyone Sees the Ants, Ask the Passengers, Reality Boy, the forthcoming Glory O'Brien's History of the Future. These are King books. This is the King legacy. You can read all about them here.

And you can read what I wrote about King on her most recent birthday here.

Then there's Karen Rile, aka editor of Cleaver Magazine, aka my dear friend at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches fiction and other things to loving students, while teaching how to be a teacher to moi. Cleaver has rocked the lit world, since it was founded not long ago. Below are the facts as Karen provides them. Here is what I had to say when Cleaver launched.

Cleaver Magazine shares “cutting-edge” artwork and literary work from a mix of established and emerging voices. We were founded in January 2013 and are currently preparing our 6th full-length issue, which will launch on June 11, 2014.

We are a web-based magazine. In our first year we received 60,000 unique visits and over 100,000 hits. To give an idea of our readership: over the past three months, we had visits from 119 countries, although about 80% of our readership is American. Our editors have deep ties to the Philadelphia community. We are an international magazine, but maintain a commitment to publish about 25-30% Philadelphia-based writers in each issue.

We publish poetry, short stories, essays, flash prose, visual art, and reviews of poetry books and other small press publications. We publish quarterly, in March, June, September, and December. In each issue we present several emerging writers and at least one emerging visual artist alongside established writers and artists. We see ourselves as facilitators and stewards of the literary and artistic work that we publish.

We are independent and self-funded and are grateful for support, in part, from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and Kelly Writers House.

I cede the stage....

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THE BERLIN BOXING CLUB, by award-winning author Robert Sharenow (My Mother the Cheerleader), has been given THREE STARRED REVIEWS!  Here is what everyone is raving about:

“Sharenow delivers a masterful historical novel that examines racism through the eyes of both children and real historical figures.” ~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A story with well-drawn, complex characters, gripping history, and intense emotion.” ~ School Library Journal (starred review)

“Readers will be drawn by the sports detail and by the close-up narrative of the daily oppression.” ~ Kirkus (starred review)

Robert Sharenow’s editor, the fabulous Kristin Rens, recently shared with us what it is about the story and Robert’s writing that drew her to the story when she first read it:

It’s hard to talk about just one thing that struck me about BERLIN BOXING CLUB, because when I read the first draft I was struck by something new on almost every page: there’s Rob’s writing, which is eloquent and moving; there’s the way he beautifully marries the political and social upheaval happening around Karl with the life-altering events that take place in his own family; and there’s Karl’s quest to find his own unique talents through boxing and art—a quest to which any teen can relate. Most of all, though, I was struck by the fact that Rob was writing about this place and time from a point of view that I hadn’t seen before: that of a teen boy whose heritage is Jewish, but because his parents haven’t raised him in the Jewish faith, he doesn’t consider himself Jewish. In fact, at the beginning of the story he identifies more with boys in the Hitler Youth than he does with his Jewish classmates. And his struggle to understand why he’s being bullied for a faith that he doesn’t really embrace as his own is absolutely heartrending.

Pick up THE BERLIN BOXING CLUB to see what the buzz is all about!  And check out the following links for more info:

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16. Turning the Page with…Robison Wells

You’ve been bounced around from foster home to foster home, and it’s becoming clear that no one cares where you end up next.  You’ve fallen between the cracks.  So imagine your luck when you discover that you’ve been accepted to an exclusive private boarding school where you might have a chance to make something of yourself.  Only…once you get to the school, you find out that there’s no leaving it.  There are no grown-ups…only classes taught by fellow students who have received the lessons from mysterious adults on the outside.  The students have formed their hierarchies so that you’re in or you’re out, and you’re constantly watching your back.  Nothing is quite what it seems.  What do you do?  Fall in line?  Try to escape?  Only…those who try to escape aren’t heard from again…

And this is the hang-on-to-the-seat-of-your-pants, twist-around-every-corner story that Robison Wells has written with VARIANT.  As Heather mentioned in her guest post yesterday, we – publishers, librarians, bloggers – read a lot of books  and we’ve become rather jaded.  But this one…this one is special.  You won’t see these twists coming.  In its starred review, Publishers Weekly says that “there are plenty of  ’didn’t see that coming’ moments and no shortage of action or violence. With its clever premise, quick pace, and easy-to-champion characters, Well’s story is a fast, gripping read with a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more.”

We recently put the get-to-know-him-now-because-he’s-about-to-skyrocket-to-the-stratosphere author of VARIANT, Robison Wells, in the hot seat –  well, since it’s summer, we actually put him in a hammock – and begged him to answer The Most Important Questions He’d Ever Answer.  Here’s what he had to say:

What time is your alarm clock set for?

I know this sounds terrible, but when I’m writing I wake up at 4:00am. I still have a fulltime job, and I find that I write much better before work than after. It took a while to get used to the early schedule, but now I like it quite a bit. Everything is quiet and calm, and I don’t have a million stressors running through my head. I can really focus.

Favorite book from childhood?

I guess that would depend on the era of childhood we’re talking about, but overall I’d probably say THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. I think I connected a lot with Milo, who was a little cynical and always bored. I was a smart kid and I was in advanced classes in elementary school, but I didn’t really like learning, or even reading. So, when the book starts with the main character saying “I can’t see the point in learning to solve useless problems, or subtracting turnips from turnips, or knowing where Ethiopia is or how to spell February”, I was immediately drawn in. And then the book was filled with clever wordplay that you would only get if you actua

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17. Take Two

For better or for worse, as parents, librarians, and teachers, we rely a lot on series to get reluctant readers to keep reading.  Heck, even very strong readers love the predictability and familiarity they have with characters and storylines they’ve encountered before.  To that end, there are some #2 books coming out in new series this fall and they just might be the perfect recommendation for the kids in your library or classroom (or home):

THE FAMILIARS #2: SECRETS OF THE CROWN by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson


MO WREN, LOST AND FOUND by Tricia Springstubb


What other series are your kids

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The day has come!  Shel Silverstein’s newest poetry collection, EVERY THING ON IT, is on sale today!

You can get a peek at the book by using our Browse Inside feature, and check out the downloadable activities.  The New York Times also wrote a lovely piece about Shel Silverstein as an unexpected “authority on education.”  And don’t forget to check out Shel’s poems on NPR’s Morning Edition (seriously, you haven’t lived until you hear Shel’s editor Toni Markiet read “Italian Food” out loud!).

The reviews are coming in and they positively glow about EVERY THING ON IT:

“This posthumous collection of Silverstein’s poems and illustrations is not only familiar in design, but chockfull of the whimsical humor, eccentric characters, childhood fantasies, and iconoclastic glee that his many fans adore.” ~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Like the boy holding the delightfully absurd hot dog with everything piled upon it, this collection offers a Silverstein smorgasbord that won’t linger on the library shelves.” ~ School Library Journal (starred review)

“Adults who grew up with Uncle Shelby will find themselves wiping their eyes by the time they get to the end of this collection; children new to the master will find themselves hooked.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

It’s a historic day, and we’re so excited to share it with you, readers.  And if you’d like to share memories and/or favorite poems by Shel Silverstein in the comments, please feel free – we’d love to hear it!

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19. What’s YA all about these days?

Publishers Weekly takes a look at the young adult market, in an article that begins:
The young adult market these days is a bit like a nephew you haven’t seen in years: transformed from a little darling into a hulking almost-grownup who is maybe even a little scary. Teen titles dominate publishers’ fall lists, and those books overwhelmingly feature menacing creatures, forbidden romances, and apocalyptic versions of this and future Earth. “Blood” is a common word in titles, as is “dark,” “death,” “deadly,” and even “darker still.”
Read the rest here, including speculation that vampires and fallen angels have finally bit the dust (or have they?) and that the tide of post-apocalyptic books hasn’t crested yet.

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20. New imprints for middle grade, YA launched

Who says traditional publishing is dead? Not one, but two new imprints for middle grade/young adult are launching.

Move Books will launch next fall, and will "focus on middle-grade fiction for boys, and the program may eventually expand to include picture books, chapter books, and nonfiction."

Publishers Weekly says: Since leaving Scholastic, Robinson has launched F1rst Pages, which offers online editorial services to aspiring authors; and has collaborated with editor Harold Underdown to start Kid's Book Revisions, an online service that guides authors through the revision process. And in the past several years, she has been substitute teaching, "to get a feel for the 8-12 age group of readers."

A key inspiration for starting up Move Books, Robinson explains, was her son Michael, now nine. "He struggled as a reader, and it was difficult to find books that would grab his attention, make him laugh, and make him want to read on his own," she notes. "He and his friends seem to be drawn more to nonfiction, and like a lot of boys, they tend to read for information more than for pleasure. I am hoping that the novels Move Books publishes will provide that pleasure, and will encourage boys to pick them up rather than turn to a video game."

Read more here.

And PW also reports that Algonquin Books is launching a young reader program, focusing on YA and middle grade fiction. Read more here.

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21. Most Popular Literary Tattoos

People love books. Some people show their love by recommending books to friends and family members, others start websites to share their love of stories to the world. There are also people out there who want to show their love for their favorite books daily, wherever they go, to whomever they meet. Publishers Weekly found the top five books that inspired the most tattoos. This is devotion.

5. Fight Club by Chuck Palaniuk

Fight club resonates with people who are anti-authority and Tyler Durden is their hero. This one tattoo is an iconic image because Tyler was, among other things, a soap maker.


4. The Little Prince by Antoine  de Saint-Exupery

The watercolor images inspire many tattoos but also the appreciation of the world’s beauty and wonder. This tattoo is of the prince himself.

3. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This book reminds us of our childhoods and we grow up so fast, that maybe it’s a symbol of who we were as children: wild, carefree and full of imagination. This is tattoo is of Max in his iconic wolf outfit.

2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

There are a lot of tattoos of Alice in Wonderland out there. There are quotes, images and the cast of characters are depicted frequently: Alice, The Mad Hatter and especially the Cheshire Cat. Here is a depiction of the tree, the cheshire cat and a few other characters.

1. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnetgut

This classic novel of war and time travel resonates with people in the mantra “So It Goes,” which represents the owner’s coping with worry or loss. Here is a tattoo of the mantra on someone’s wrist, which is where people usually get the tattoo, oddly enough.

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22. rgz Newsflash: Wynne Jones and Rock the Drop in PW

In the awesome effort to remember and celebrate Diana Wynne Jones, folks are posting favorite lines from her works at #dwj2012. You can use Tumblr to share photos and further remembrances This is all the heartfelt brainstorm of Virginia Duncan and Sharyn November. Rock on, ladies! We heart you as well!

On April 19th, PW had this to say, which included a Rock the Drop recap:

In another instance of fortuitous timing, the Wynne Jones tribute’s April 12 launch coincided with this year’s Support Teen Lit Day, which followers of the Readergirlz blog and others celebrated by taking part in “Rock the Drop,” the guerilla-style book distribution scheme in which YA fans leave copies of favorite books in public spaces for readers to pick up and enjoy.

Diana Wynne Jones books were used in the recent "Rock the Drop" campaign on Support Teen Lit Day.
Judging from the #rockthedrop Twitter postings, quite a few of Wynne Jones’s books found their way into new hands. Greenwillow’s Duncan shared the account of one Rock-the-Dropper: Lois Adams, the copyeditor and proofreader for many of Wynne Jones’s books in the U.S. “I walked up to a public atrium on 56th Street with Enchanted Glass,” Adams said, “and as I walked in I saw an 11-year-old girl with her dad, eating an ice-cream cone. I told her that I was part of a daylong book giveaway project, and that I had to photograph the book first but then she could have it. She watched me taking the pictures, and when I walked away she headed right over to

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23. THE FOREVER MARRIAGE by Ann Bauer Arrives

We have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Ann Bauer's upcoming novel THE FOREVER MARRIAGE in our office.  The compelling and irreverent story about an unfaithful widow coming to terms with the death of a husband she never really loved sparked stellar early reviews, and has media and bloggers clamoring to get their hands on a copy. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly has said, "With

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24. A Star from Publishers Weekly for SMALL DAMAGES

The beautiful, wise, wonderful, and ever-dear Tamra Tuller just called with the news.  SMALL DAMAGES has received a star from Publishers Weekly.
When you have a house this fantastic behind you, when  you have a Tamra Tuller in your corner, you desperately don't want to let anyone down.
I am breathing easier.  Thank you, Publishers Weekly
Small Damages
As Kenzie’s senior year of high school begins, her beloved father dies suddenly. Her mother’s coping mechanisms—pack his things, start a business, join Match .com—push Kenzie closer to her friend Kevin, and by spring, she’s pregnant. Kenzie’s mother’s response (which feels more 1896 than 1996, when the story is set) is to arrange for Kenzie to move to a bull farm in southern Spain, where she’ll work until the baby is born and given up for adoption. The wrinkle in this soulless plan is that Kenzie is conflicted; her story is written as a tender, honest letter to her unborn child. Kenzie arrives in Spain sullen and resentful—she’s chopping onions with Estela, the farm’s cook, while her friends are at the Jersey Shore—and the distance brings her predicament into sharp relief. Estela is a better mother than her biological one; Esteban, the teen in charge of horses, a more standup guy than Yale-bound Kevin. This beautifully written “summer of transformation” story will have readers feeling as torn about Kenzie’s choice as she is. Ages 14–up. Agent: Amy Rennert, the Amy Rennert Agency. (July)

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25. The Small Damages Book Trailer

... featuring the words of authors I love, the kindness of bloggers, my photographs of southern Spain, and my husband's deliberately rough Spanish guitar, for that is the kind of guitar my gypsy characters play.

It would mean so much to me if you shared this trailer with others.

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