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1. Jon Voight, Gemma Chan and Carmen Ejogo join ‘Fantastic Beasts’

The newest list of actors joining the set of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been announcedSelma actress Carmen Ejogo, Gemma Chan from Humans and Mission Impossible / Transformers actor Jon Voight.




They will be joining Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Dan Fogler and Samantha Morton on set, alongside director David Yates (director of the final four Harry Potter films).

Filming for Fantastic Beasts began in August 2015, following the 2014 announcement of the three-part film series. The film is set for release in November 2016.

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2. The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview: Leaky’s Q&A with Harry Potter Illustrator Jim Kay

Today, October 6, Bloomsbury is publishing the first illustrated edition of the Harry Potter books–Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is hitting shelves in stores near you. As a part of publication celebrations, illustrator Jim Kay agreed to participate in Q&A sessions with major Harry Potter news sites, calling it The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview. The Leaky Cauldron was honored with the opportunity to be apart of this event.

The Leaky staff came together to create and ask Kay four specific questions that we thought fans might like answered, and questions that Kay had not yet answered in previous interviews or Q&As. Jim Kay took the time, between drawing illustrations for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, to answer two of each site’s questions, and send never-before-seen images from Philosopher’s Stone. Please see the images and the interview below!


The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview


Were you influenced by previous Harry Potter illustrators/the films or did you veer away from both?(Alwaysjkrowling.com)

I’m a huge fan of both the books and the films. I thought the screen adaptations were a wonderful showcase of the best set design, product design, costume, casting, directing and acting their disciplines had to offer. I knew from the start that I’m competing to some degree with the hundreds of people involved in the visuals of the film. I remember watching the extras that come with the movie DVDs a few years back, and wondering how on earth you’d get to be lucky enough to work on the visuals for such a great project. To be offered the opportunity to design the whole world again from scratch was fantastic, but very daunting. I’d like to think that over the years lots of illustrators will have a crack at Potter, in the same way that Alice in Wonderland has seen generations of artists offer their own take on Lewis Carroll’s novel. I had to make it my version though, and so from the start I needed to set it apart from the films. I’ll be honest I’ve only seen a few illustrations from other Potter books, so that’s not been so much of a problem. I love Jonny Duddle’s covers, and everyone should see Andrew Davidson’s engravings – they are incredible!

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What was the most important detail for you to get right with your illustrations? (Magical Menagerie)

To try and stay faithful to the book. It’s very easy when you are scribbling away to start wandering off in different directions, so you must remind yourself to keep reading Jo’s text. Technically speaking though, I think composition is important –the way the movement and characters arrange themselves on the page – this dictates the feel of the book.

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What medium do you use to create your illustrations? (Snitchseeker)

I use anything that makes a mark –I am not fussy. So I don’t rely on expensive watercolour or paints, although I do occasionally use them – I like to mix them up with cheap house paint, or wax crayons. Sometimes in a local DIY store I’ll see those small tester pots of wall paint going cheap in a clear-out sale, and I’ll buy stacks of them, and experiment with painting in layers and sanding the paint back to get nice textures. The line is almost always pencil, 4B or darker, but the colour can be a mixture of any old paint, watercolour, acrylic, and oil. Diagon Alley was unusual in that I digitally coloured the whole illustration in order to preserve the pencil line drawing. I’d recommend experimenting; there is no right or wrong way to make an illustration, just do what works for you!

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Because each book is so rich in detail, what is your personal process when choosing specific images?(The Daily Snitcher)

I read the book, then read it again and again, making notes. You start off with lots of little ideas, and draw a tiny thumbnail illustration, about the size of a postage stamp, to remind you of the idea for an illustration you had while reading the book. I then start to draw them a little bigger, about postcard size, and show them to Bloomsbury. We then think about how many illustrations will appear in each chapter, and try to get the balance of the book right by moving pictures around, dropping or adding these rough drawings as we go. With Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury were great in that they let me try all sorts of things out, different styles, concepts. Some I didn’t think would get into the final book, but everyone was very open to new ideas. There was no definite plan with regards to how the book would look; we just experimented and let it evolve.


(McGonagall is from Telegraph’s photos)

Given the distinct split of younger vs. more mature readers of the series, how do you construct your illustrations so that they can appeal to both audiences at once? (Mugglenet)

The simple answer is I don’t try. I think only about the author and myself. You can’t please everyone, particularly when you know how many people have read the book. I don’t think good books are made by trying to appeal to a wide audience. You just try to do the best work you can in the time given, and respect the author’s work. Most illustrators are never happy with their own work. You always feel you want to try more combinations or alternative compositions. You are forever in search of that golden illustration that just ‘works’, but of course it’s impossible to achieve –there will always be another way of representing the text. Effectively you chase rainbows until you run out of time! You get a gut feeling if an image is working. I remember what I liked as a child (Richard Scarry books!). Detail and humour grabbed me as a nipper, and it’s the same now I’m in my forties.

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Did you base any characters or items in the book on real people or things? (Leaky Cauldron)

Lots of the book is based on real places, people and experiences. It helps to make the book personal to me, and therefore important. The main characters of the books are based on real people, partly for practical reasons, because I need to see how the pupils age over seven years. In Diagon Alley in particular, some of the shop names are personal to me. As a child we had a toad in the garden called Bufo (from the latin Bufo bufo), Noltie’s Botanical Novelties is named after a very clever friend of mine who works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. The shop called ‘Tut’s Nuts’ is a little joke from my days working at Kew Gardens; they had in their collections some seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamun, which were affectionately known as ‘Tut’s Nuts’. The imprisoned boy reaching for an apple in Brigg’s Brooms is from a drawing my friend did when we were about 9 years old –that’s thirty two years ago!

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Which character was the most difficult to draw? (Harry Potter’s Page)

Harry, without a doubt. Children are difficult to draw because you can’t use too many lines around the eyes and face, otherwise they look old. One misplaced pencil line can age a child by years, so you have to get it just right. Also Harry’s glasses are supposed to look repaired and bent out of shape, which I’ve found tricky to get right.

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What is your favourite scene you have illustrated? (Alwaysjkrowling.com)

That’s a difficult one. I’m fond of the ghosts. I paint them in reverse (almost like a photographic negative) and layer several paintings to make them translucent. I enjoyed Nearly Headless Nick. I really enjoyed illustrating the trolls too. Your favourite illustrations tend to be the ones that gave you the least amount of difficulties and I think Diagon Alley was nice for this reason. It was more like a brainstorming exercise, slowly working from left to right. My favourite character to illustrate is Hagrid – I love big things!

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Are there any hidden messages/items in your drawings for the Harry Potter series? (Magical Menagerie)

There are, but they are little things that relate to my life, so I’m not sure how much sense they’d make to other people. I like to include my dog in illustrations if I can (he’s in Diagon Alley). I also put a hare in my work, for good luck. There’s a hare in A Monster Calls, and in Harry Potter. My friends appear as models for the characters in book one, and some of their names too can be seen carved on a door, and on Diagon Alley. There are little references to later books too, such as on the wrought-iron sign of the Leaky Cauldron. I do it to keep things interesting for me while I’m drawing.

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How did you approach illustrating the Hogwarts Castle and grounds? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I really enjoyed doing this. You have to go through all seven books looking for mentions of the individual rooms, turrets, doors and walls of the castle, and make lots of notes. Then you check for mentions of its position, for example if you can see the sun set from a certain window, to find out which way the castle is facing. I then built a small model out of scrap card and Plasticine and tried lighting it from different directions. It was important to see how it would look in full light, or as a silhouette. Then it was a long process of designing the Great Hall, and individual towers. I have a huge number of drawings just experimenting with different doorways, roofs. Some early compositions were quite radical, then I hit upon the idea of trees growing under, through and over the whole castle, as if the castle had grown out of the landscape. This also gives me the opportunity to show trees growing through the inside of some rooms in future illustrations.

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What illustrations in the book are you most proud of? (Leaky Cauldron)

Usually it’s the ones that took the least amount of effort! It takes me so many attempts to get an illustration to work, that if one works on the second or third attempt, it’s a big relief. There is one illustration in the book that worked first time (a chapter opener of Hogwarts architecture, with birds nesting on the chimney pots). It kind of felt wrong that the illustration was done without agonising over it for days, it didn’t feel real somehow, so I’m proud of that one because it’s so rare that I get an image to work first time! The only other illustration that was relatively straightforward was the Sorting Hat. Illustrations that come a little easier tend to have a freshness about them, and I think those two feel a little bit looser than others in the book.


Which book do you think will be the most challenging one to illustrate? (Harry Potter’s Page)

At the minute it’s book two! I think book one I was full of adrenaline, driven by sheer terror! Book two I want to have a different feel, and that makes it challenging to start again and rethink the process.

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Is there a particular scene in the future Harry Potter books you’re excited to illustrate? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I’m really looking forward to painting Aragog in book two. I’m really fond of spiders – there are lots in my studio – so it’s great having reference close to hand! I’m hoping that by the Deathly Hallows we will be fully into a darker and more adult style of illustration, to reflect the perils facing Potter!

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How many illustrations did you initially do for the book, and how many of those appeared in the final edition? (Snitchseeker)

There are stacks of concept drawings that no one will ever see, such as the Hogwarts sketches, which I needed to do in order to get my head around the book. Then there are rough drawings, then rough drawings that are worked up a little more, and then it might take five or six attempts for each illustration to get it right.

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What house do you think you may have been placed in, aged 11, and would it be the same now? (Mugglenet)

I’d like to think it was Ravenclaw as a child. I was much more confident back then, and creative, plus they have an interesting house ghost in the form of the Grey Lady. These days I work hard and am loyal, so probably Hufflepuff.

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Illustrating aside, what is one thing that you love doing to express your creativity? (The Daily Snitcher)

It’s difficult to say because for the past 5 years I have worked on illustration seven days a week, every hour of the day. A few years back I started to write, and I really enjoyed that, it’s far more intimate than illustrating, and I love going over the same line and trying to hone it down to the core of what you are trying to express. My partner makes hats, and I’m very envious. It looks like wonderful fun. We have lots of designs for hats in sketchbooks. I really want to get some time to make some. I’ve always been slightly torn that I didn’t go into fashion, but my sewing is terrible. I used to play guitar a lot and write little bits of music, but that’s difficult now because my hand gets very stiff from drawing all day! The funny thing is, if I did ever get a day off, I’d just want to draw!

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This morning, J.K. Rowling invited all to check out the book and “see Harry Potter through Jim Kay’s extraordinary eyes,” and Pottermore also released their exclusive interview.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone–Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay, is now available from any book retailer near you (or online)! Happy reading and please let us know your impressions of the new version of the Harry Potter books–our favorite books!

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3. Build Your Library's Capacity to Engage Teens through Connected Learning

Want to offer more hands-on learning opportunities for and with the teens in your community?  3D Systems Corp., in partnership with YALSA, is giving away up to 250 3D printers to members of YALSA.  Learn more and apply online by Oct. 30th.  Are you not a YALSA/ALA member yet?  Membership starts at $60 per year.  Contact Letitia Smith at lsmith at ala dot org, or 312.280.4390, to get the best rate and to learn about paying in installments.  And don't forget to check out all of the great maker and connected learning resources on YALSA's wiki!

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4. LeakyCon! Tickets Available and Selling Fast!

LeakyCon 2016 has been announced and tickets went on sale over the weekend! Tickets are selling fast, but are still available. There are two types of tickets up for grabs–a general admissions ticket and a Marauder’s Pass ticket!

Marauder Pass — $450

The LeakyCon Marauder Pass is our VIP ticket. This pass includes preferred seating in our MainStage hall, three guaranteed autograph sessions, three guaranteed photobooth sessions, a dedicated Marauder Liaison, an exclusive registration gift bag, a commemorative poster, expedited on-site check-in, and many more magical surprises. The first fifty attendees to purchase the Marauder Pass will also receive an exclusive meet-and-greet with LeakyCon special guests!

Marauder Pass holders also receive everything included in a General Pass (listed below).
General Pass — $250

The LeakyCon General Pass is our standard ticket type type. This pass includes entrance to the opening and closing ceremonies, which are must-see bookends for our magical weekend. The General pass also includes access to a full weekend of exciting programming, Wizard Rock concerts, our Saturday evening ball, autograph and photobooth raffles, costume contests, podcasts, meetups, and the LeakyCon Marketplace (our Diagon Alley-inspired vendor hall).

More information about the magical experience, celebrating the fandom, and more is available on tixr, where the tickets can be purchased!

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5. New Images from the Illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (or Sorcerer’s) Stone–and a Video about Illustrator Jim Kay’s Creative Process!

The release of the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone is nigh–in fact, it’s tomorrow (October 6th)! Four glorious new illustrations have been bestowed upon us ahead of the book’s release, thanks to an exclusive post made by EW. Steady yourselves:

There’s this striking illustration of the quidditch hoops, set against a backdrop of Hogwarts, with some very dramatic, Halloween-y colouring:



A drawing of Harry, presumably at platform 9 3/4:


along with this fascinating glimpse into the birth of Kay’s depiction of Harry:

“I was looking at all these photographs of evacuee children from the 1940s — in England, you’d call them ‘blitz kids’ — who have been taken away from their home during the blitz. They had sort of thick, scruffy hair, and round glasses, and looked sort of underfed and malnourished, from really tough East End parts of London as well. I wanted that real character coming through, some adversity. But also slightly fragile, because he’s thin, and he’s smaller than usual.”

Luckily, Kay spotted the perfect young model while riding the London Underground, and told the boy’s mother he’d like to photograph her son as a character to work from. The boy, Clay, is a stage performer, so he’s fantastically skilled at interpreting the spectrum of emotions Kay asks him to project.

This illustration and discussion of Dumbledore, which reveals that Kay has strewn easter eggs throughout his artwork (another thing to look forward to!):


“What I like about early portrait painting,” Kay says, “is that you have objects in them that are representative of that person. So the dried plant there is honesty — but on the honesty is also a little camouflaged praying mantis. It’s sort of saying, there is honesty with Dumbledore, but with a catch. There’s also a little bottle of dragon’s blood because he wrote a book on dragon’s blood. And knitting because, of course, he likes to knit.”

Dumbledore’s likeness has a special place in Kay’s heart: “He’s based on an amazing illustrator I know, who I absolutely idolize. He’s been an inspiration for years for me, so it’s a huge deal that he’s lent his face to Dumbledore.”

And his portrayal of the perilous wizard’s chess game:



And there’s yet another thing to marvel at: Pottermore has released a video of Kay discussing his creative process, along with a peek into his studio! Click here to watch it, or see it below!

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6. 2015 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium timeline

Roger Sutton and the Horn Book at Simmons editors panel. Photo: Shoshana Flax.

Roger Sutton and the Horn Book at Simmons editors panel. Photo: Shoshana Flax.

On Saturday, October 3rd, we held our fifth annual Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, with the theme “Transformations.” Miss the fun? We’ve compiled a timeline of the day’s highlights based on tweets by our staff and other attendees. See Friday’s ceremony timeline here.

9:07 am: Good morning! We’re ready for a full day of great discussion about good children’s books!

9:10 am: Cathie Mercier: It’s easy to read what we know and like, but how do we push ourselves to read outside ourselves, read “otherways”?

9:14 am: @jescaron: @RogerReads and Cathie Mercier open #HBAS15 with words of wisdom and “grounding”

9:15 am: @RogerReads introducing keynote speaker Susan Cooper

9:19 am: Susan: Transformation in nature is generally cyclical. What about change in our minds? Imagination doesn’t follow any rules

9:20 am: @jescaron: Susan: “Change is an integral part of stories — it is called plot.”

9:21 am: Susan: Can words spark an unpredictable change in the mind?

9:22 am: @ShoshanaFlax: SC clearly read the May @HornBook carefully #swoon

9:24 am: Susan discussing different types of book transformations: retellings, adaptations from other media, making books more accessible

9:26 am: Susan: Fantasy is metaphor… It takes you through the imagination to truth

9:27 am: @jescaron: “People who write fantasy have chosen transformation…finding the magic from the real”

9:30 am: A tumultuous year in Susan’s personal life had profound effects on her writing. “As with writers, so with readers” — we seek escape in words

9:31 am: Susan: When reading, your imagination lives in the book. Reading is creating experience from imagination

9:32 am: Susan: This experience of living in a book can change you

9:33 am: Susan: Letters from readers say, “I read your book, and my world changed a little,” even if readers can’t articulate exactly how

9:35 am: Susan: “The imagination of a reader instinctively takes what it needs from a book and creates a kind of life belt”

9:38 am: Susan: You realize which books had a profound effect on your childhood imagination only by looking back

9:40 am: Susan: An imagination that delights in books as a child grows up and is able to nurture a hunger for books in the next generation

9:43 am: Which books were transformative for Susan in childhood? The Box of Delights and The Midnight Folk by John Masefield

9:44 am: Susan: Nonfiction can be transformative too: “a story is a story”

10:02 am: Nonfiction winner Candace Fleming and editor Anne Schwartz on “Bringing History to the Page”

10:03 am: Candace echoing Jacqueline Woodson’s metaphor of writing as childbirth: you forget how miserable it is and then you’re ready to do it again

10:04 am: Candace writes in longhand on loose-leaf paper — the smell of the ink is reassuring, reminds her of what she’s accomplishing

10:05 am: @jescaron: The Family Romanov went from a light and fluffy book to its final state — transformation!

10:06 am: Anne: As an editor it’s very difficult to ask an author to start over; both author and editor have already invested a lot of work

10:08 am: Fascinating to see original drafts, notes, and editorial letters for what became The Family Romanov

10:11 am: Anne liked the format of text snippets and sidebars, creating a narrative like a tapestry

10:15 am: Anne asked questions Candace “never saw coming,” which made her think about her research and narrative in different ways

10:18 am: Candace: “Anne is the best editor because she questions everything–and that makes me a much better writer”

10:21 am: Going to Russia helped Candace really understand the disparity between the Romanovs and the peasants whose “backs the palaces were built on”

10:23 am: Candace: Stories of peasant lives in Imperial Russia and the Russian Revolution are extremely difficult to find

10:28 am: Candace: Writing good nonfiction requires finding the “vital idea” you want to communicate, not just the facts

10:51 am: An Amazon reviewer called Candace a “vile socialist” for her portrayal of the Romanovs. She’s proud :)

11:06 am: Judge Maeve Visser Knoth in conversation with #bghb15 honoree Jon Agee about It’s Only Stanley in “How Do I Make You Laugh, Too?”

11:07 am: Stanley, like all of Jon’s books, started as a doodle in a notebook. If one of Jon’s doodles makes him laugh, he tries to follow that idea and flesh it out

11:10 am: Jon: Writing a picture book is “like fishing” — you start with an idea and “see if you can bring this fish in”

11:13 am: Jon says developing the plot of his picture books comes from a series of “what if” questions

11:14 am: Jon discussing how page-turns work with punchlines

11:18 am: Jon: “Sometimes when you’re working on a picture book, it’s like the story is already there” and you’re excavating it

11:27 am: Lear’s limericks made a big impression on Jon. They were about grown-ups, but grown-ups who were doing ridiculous things

1:08 pm: Great breakout sessions all around! Now @RogerReads is going to moderate editor panel “It’s a Manuscript Until I Say It’s a Book” #HBAS15

1:13 pm: Each editor is sharing a story of the “editorial magic” that helped turn the author’s manuscript into a #BGHB15-winning book

1:19 pm: Editor Liz Bicknell: “Editing is a backstage job. I wear black and sit in the curtains.”

1:20 pm: @maryj59: Liz: “Every writer demands different things of an editor.”

1:25 pm: Rosemary Brosnan: As an editor, “I like to feel that if I’ve done my job well, no one knows I exist”

1:39 pm: Nancy Paulsen: Editing is about “finding the writing that sings to you” as an individual reader — it might not be for everybody

1:34 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Don’t be so rash

1:36 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Try to get a good picture of the marketplace

1:38 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Have confidence that you will eventually figure it out

1:39 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Don’t stay out so late 😉

1:40 pm: @ShoshanaFlax: @nancyrosep & @lizbicknell1 both cite editor’s role to stand in for readers

1:52 pm: Nancy: “We all have the same goal…to make the best book possible.” Rosemary: “Sometimes we have to remind the author of that!”

1:44 pm: @maryj59: Rosemary: “An idea is just an idea. It’s the execution that matters.”

2:06 pm: Gregory Maguire in conversation with #BGHB15 judge Jessica Tackett MacDonald about Egg & Spoon in “Bringing Baba Yaga Home”

2:10 pm: Gregory: A story can have any number of inspirations. It’s not a one-to-one ratio

2:16 pm: Gregory discovered different roles for Baba Yaga in Russian folktales: the scary witch, the kindly crone… “That made her human”

2:17 pm: Gregory: “I had to get out of Baba Yaga’s way… It sometimes felt like channeling the devil”

2:20 pm: A theme of Egg & Spoon is “What can we little ones do” in the face of problems? What we older ones can do is give little ones courage

2:21 pm: Gregory: “I don’t write [specifically] for adults or for kids. I write for people who like to read Gregory Maguire books”

2:23 pm: Gregory quoting Katherine Paterson: “The consolation of the imagination is not imaginary consolation”

2:17 pm: @deirdrea: Gregory on why he loves Baba Yaga: “What we look like and what people think we are is NOT who we are.”

2:26 pm: Gregory showing us inspirational objects — including a tiny Baba Yaga house — he kept on his desk while writing Egg & Spoon

2:30 pm: @RogerReads asks, Are today’s readers well-versed enough in fairy tales & folklore to know the references Gregory is asking them to engage with?

2:32 pm: Gregory Maguire: Maybe Egg & Spoon is a reader’s first introduction to Baba Yaga, but he hopes it won’t be their last introduction

2:37 pm: @RogerReads has nothing to do with the BGHB judges’ choices, but “the happiest news I got this year was the announcement that The Farmer and the Clown won BGHB Picture Book Award”

2:40 pm: Marla Frazee & editor Allyn Johnston discussing The Farmer and the Clown in “Do I Need Words with That?”

2:41 pm: Love seeing Marla and Allyn’s work spaces — and the real-life boys (their sons!) — from A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever!

2:46 pm: A Couple of Boys… started as an illustrated thank-you note from Marla, James, and Eamon to Allyn’s parents for the boys’ nature camp trip

2:54 pm: Original title: “A Couple of Boys Go to Nature Camp (Sort Of)”

3:02 pm: Whoa, neither Marla nor Allyn had done a wordless book before The Farmer and the Clown!

3:07 pm: Marla: Part of The Farmer and the Clown illustration process was soaking the art in the bathtub between pencil and color!

3:19 pm: Really interesting backstory for Marla’s upcoming book with Victoria Chang, Is Mommy?

3:26 pm: #BGHB15 committee chair Barbara Scotto speaking with Neal and Brendan Shusterman about Challenger Deep in “When Life Provides the Story”

3:30 pm: Barbara: Did writing Challenger Deep change the meaning of the experience of facing mental illness for Neal and Brendan?

3:32 pm: Neal’s own tumultuous emotions — deep depression followed by euphoria — during a hospitalization for a blood disorder contributed to the novel as well

3:34 pm: Brendan: Mental illness is something we need to talk about. It’s easy to feel that you’re alone

3:37 pm: It was important to Neal to show Caden’s strength in facing and managing his illness, despite fact that it will never go away entirely

3:38 pm: Brendan’s original art is all in color; helped him to express what he was feeling during an episode. There’s a huge volume not included in Challenger Deep

3:39 pm: Much of the narrative of Challenger Deep was inspired by Neal’s interpretations of Brendan’s art

3:42 pm: Neal: the changes made to the manuscript in the editing process were small but extremely precise

3:46 pm: Neal: “When I submitted this manuscript, I was terrified…I had no idea if it even worked…As a writer you always need to be on that edge”

3:50 pm:@RogerReads asks, What was it was like for Neal when his fictional story started to diverge from Brendan’s real experience?

3:51 pm: Neal: it was easiest to write the pieces that did diverge, challenging to dovetail the 2 so readers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference

3:56 pm: Neal: “I look back at my body of work, and I feel that I everything I have written helped me to write this book”

4:01 pm: Cathie Mercier of @SimmonsCollege wisely and wittily recapping our day. How does she do that?!

4:03 pm: Cathie: “The writer lives two lives: the life lived, and the life unfolding on the page. The reader lives those dual lives too”

4:13 pm: Cathie: Who are the readers we leave behind? What are the topics we avoid due to discomfort? How can we transform literature itself?

4:14 pm: Cathie: Will we be able to transform ourselves to join young readers in the reading future?

4:15 pm: Thanks so much for a fantastic weekend at #BGHB15 and #HBAS15! See you next year!


More on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards and the following day’s Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, “Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers,” is coming soon! Follow us on Twitter for updates on all things Horn Book.

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7. Is Lavender Brown alive?

The question of Lavender’s death has been floating around since 2007, and recently Pottermore has added further fuel to the fire.

Forums everywhere (such as this one on Reddit, and this one on Goodreads) have no definitive conclusion, trying to take evidence from both the book and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 film.

Her ‘death’ scene in the book seems a little more vague:

“Two bodies fell from the balcony overhead. As they reached the ground a grey blur that Harry took for an animal sped four-legged across the hall to sink its teeth into one of the fallen. “NO!” shrieked Hermione, and with a deafening blast from her wand, Fenrir Greyback was thrown backward from the feebly stirring body of Lavender Brown.”

After falling from the balcony, Greyback is seen almost making a mid-fight snack out of Lavender, but Hermione throws him back, and Lavender is seen ‘feebly stirring’, which suggests that she could be alive.


Some seem to think the movie errs more toward the ‘dead’ side of the argument. Acknowledging that movies do not make better sources than books, most say that they make it pretty clear; Trelawney and the Patil twins are seen saying ‘She’s gone’ and covering a body, and the earlier suggestive shot of Lavender looking vacant (and dead) after Greyback attacks someone certainly makes it look like she’s dead.


Her Wiki page also looks bleak. It states that she was killed by Greyback in The Battle of Hogwarts, stating  Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey as a source.

Now Pottermore itself (and through it, potentially Jo herself) has entered the debate. In its recent update, Pottermore had stated Lavender as ‘presumed dead':

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 08.48.23

That’s already vague wording, but as if that wasn’t enough, Lavender Brown’s page on Pottermore recently updated again, removing all information about her death:

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 08.48.32

Hypable and Bustle have had the same discussions, and are none the wiser. Though J.K. Rowling has been closely involved in the production of the films and of Pottermore, we’ll need the words from Jo herself if we’re going to sort this once and for all.

It’s a close debate, so what do you think? Is Lavender alive?

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8. Happy Birthday Professor McGonagall

Today we celebrate Professor Minerva McGonagall’s 62nd birthday. Professor McGonagall now serves as the Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She succeeded the position from her good friend, Albus Dumbledore, after the position was held briefly by fellow colleague, Severus Snape. Previous to obtaining this elite position, Professor McGonagall taught Transfigurations and was the head of Gryffindor House.

After tragic incidents in her early life, and the loss of her dear husband, like many other characters (Harry included), Minerva found her home at Hogwarts. She deeply cared for her students and their well being. Ever loyal to her Quidditch team, she was known–on the rare occasion–to buy Gryffindor Quidditch players broomsticks.

She greatly assisted Harry Potter in the battle of Hogwarts, and fought for her school and her home. Minerva has shown great strength, great courage, fabulous teaching skills, and hidden under sharp wit, motherly love for her students.

Please join us in wishing Minerva McGonagall a very happy birthday!


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9. New Images from Jim Kay’s Illustrated “Philosopher’s Stone”

Telegraph Books has released new, exclusive images from Jim Kay–whose illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is set to be released October 6. These images–all 19!–can be seen on the Telegraph’s website, here. A couple of them–McGonagall and the Sorting Hat–can be seen below.



As it is October, the celebration of the anticipated release of the first illustrated Harry Potter book is in full swing. Please join us in the celebrations!

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10. Caio César, Brazilian Voice of Harry Potter, has Died at the Age of 27

We are sad to report that Caio César, the Brazilian voice of Harry Potter, has died at the age of 27. The news of César’s passing came to us via J.K. Rowling’s Tweet:


In addition to voicing Harry Potter, Caio César’s worked as the Brazilian voice of Daniel Radcliffe in December Boys and The Woman in Black. 

We, here at Leaky, express our condolences to the family and friends of Caio César. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who knew him.

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11. Royal Connaugh Park, a Harry Potter Filming Location, Goes Up for Sale

Royal Connaugh Park, a filming location used in Harry Potter films, is in the process of being turned into luxury apartments, The Independent reports. The location has been used in over 390 films and TV shows and the parts of the estate familiar from the Harry Potter films are the dining hall in its Victorian Gothic building, which served as the Hogwarts’ Great Hall,  and the tower, which was used as Dumbledore’s office.

According to Daily Mail, the Victorian Gothic Building used as the Great Hall in the first three films has stayed largely unchanged after the shooting of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and will be free for the buyers to be used at their leisure.

The development of the Park started in 2009 and according to Comer Homes, a restoration specialist, “There will eventually be 380 apartments and houses set in 100 acres of parkland with access to a fitness club and an underground swimming pool”.

The first 28 apartments are now on sale with a price ranging from £649,000 to £2.8 million.

In addition to Harry Potter, Royal Connaugh Park has been used for example in St. Trinians’sStarted for Ten and Children of Men.

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12. Rupert Grint Presents Pride of Britain Award

Sohana Collins is not your typical awards-show honoree, but two superstars are presenting her with an award this week– David Beckham and Rupert Grint.  Collins is the recipient of a 2015 Pride of Britain Award, a special honor sponsored by the Daily Mirror that celebrates the achievements of Britain’s unsung heroes.  The winners are “ordinary” people whose lives have made a positive impact on the nation.

Collins is receiving the Teenager of Courage Award for her inspiring battle with dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a frightening genetic skin disease where even the smallest scratch can become a blistering wound.  Sohanna writes that it feels like “painful burns that don’t heal.”  While the pain from her disease never ceases, Sohana doesn’t let it stop her.  At just 13 years old, she has already inspired a foundation, the Sohana Research Fund, to raise money to help others struggling with the same genetic disorder.

At the awards ceremony, Rupert Grint presented Sohana Collins with her award and a special witch’s broom, while David Beckham spoke of how wonderful it was to celebrate “such an amazing young lady.”

The 2015 Pride of Britain Awards will be broadcast October 1st at 8 pm BST on ITV.

To read more about Sohana Collins, see the Daily Mirror article, here; to support the Sohana Research Fund, donate here.


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13. NYCC ’15: EXCLUSIVE! All the panel listings in one place

    As in year’s past we are lucky to present to you a complete TEXT listing of the panels for this year’s New York Comic Con. Although ReedPop’s site has them all listed in various editable and serachable ways, it’s still impossible to see everything with all panelists listed in one go. So here […]

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14. WB Leavesden Studio Tour’s Dinner in the Great Hall

Warner Brother’s Leavesden Studio Tour is hosting a one-of-a-kind fan experience this Christmas: it’s first (promise of more in the future?) “Dinner in the Great Hall” event. On December 3, fans have the opportunity to eat in the iconic Great Hall set, just as their favorite actors did many times before them.

We all get excited about Christmas–Christmas decorations, music, presents, and more! Even more, we get excited about Christmas at Hogwarts–it somehow makes it even more magical. Even more exciting, for this grand dinner, the Great Hall will be decorated for the Christmas season. There will be Christmas music, and Christmas presents? Yes, dinner comes with a wand!

The dinner invitation extends to fans over the age of 18 only–do to the bar that will be provided for purchasing additional drinks. Dinner guests will be seated at tables of ten, and the event will take place from 6 pm to midnight. There will be music and dancing–a true Yule Ball experience! Warner Brother’s Leavesden Studio Tour describes the event:


Join us this Christmas for our first ‘Dinner in the Great Hall’ and experience something extra special as you’re greeted on arrival with welcome drinks and canapés, before dining in the iconic set that is the Great Hall.

The Hogwarts dining room will be dressed for the occasion with the original props used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, including flaming Christmas puddings and hams studded with cherries. A wand will be waiting for you at your table and you’ll enjoy the first two courses of a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings on the authentic set (vegetarian option also available).

  • Explore the Studio Tour, admiring sets such as the Gryffindor common room and the Weasley’s kitchen at The Burrrow, which will also be dressed as they were for winter scenes.
  • Enjoy a selection of three festive dessert bowls on Platform 9 ¾, alongside the original Hogwarts Express.
  • Drink Butterbeer in the backlot café and walk up the wizarding shopping street, Diagon Alley, before taking in the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model (covered in a layer of filmmaking snow especially for the festive season).
  • Finish the evening with music and dancing, with a bar provided for those who wish to purchase additional drinks.


5.40pm Catch the shuttle bus from Watford Junction train station (£2 return)

6.00pm Arrive at the Studio Tour for welcome drinks and canapés

6.30pm Enjoy the holding room and cinema experience

6.50pm Enter the original Great Hall set

7.00pm Take your seat with other excited Harry Potter fans as you enjoy a two-course Christmas dinner in the set that hosted Hogwarts’ famous feasts

8.45pm Explore the remainder of the Studio Tour and enjoy a selection of festive dessert bowls onPlatform 9 ¾ as well as a cup of Butterbeer in the backlot café

10.15pm Conclude the evening with music and dancing (a bar will be available for those who wish to purchase additional drinks)

Midnight Depart (shuttle buses will return to Watford Junction train station)



There is a link to book tickets on the site, after reading terms and conditions. Be quick–we are sure these tickets will be gone with a swish and a flick! For answers to common questions, visit the Studio Tour site, here.


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15. Week in Review, September 21st-25th

Week in Review

This week on hbook.com…

Remembering Dorothy Butler

We’re getting ready for next week’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony and Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium with BGHB Week:

Reviews of the Week:

Read Roger:

Calling Caldecott:

Lolly’s Classroom: Off to a fresh start

Events calendar

See overviews of previous weeks by clicking the tag week in review. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up-to-date on our articles!

The post Week in Review, September 21st-25th appeared first on The Horn Book.

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16. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week - September 25th

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between August 28 and September 4 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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17. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” to be TWO Plays!

Just minutes ago, J.K. Rowling quietly announced, by clanging her teaspoon against her mug of tea, on twitter, that the London production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would be made into two plays.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 5.20.32 PM

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 5.20.39 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-24 at 5.20.18 PM

The first part is simply that–the first part of the story of Cursed Child, not a prequel. Many can assume that the plays splitting into two parts will closely resemble the splitting of Deathly Hallows into two movies–the “epic nature” of the novel was too great to fit into a single films (God forbid they would have cut hunting Deathly Hallows from the Deathly Hallows movie for the more important over arching story of hunting Horcruxes).

Pottermore was able to have a few questions answered from the creators of the play:


Bafta-winning writer Jack Thorne was elated by the chance to delve deeper into the wizarding world.

‘Obviously I loved it when we decided to tell this story in two parts,’ Jack tells us, ‘because I got to spend more time with the characters and what an honour that has been.

‘It continues to be unbelievable and amazing that I’ve been given this extraordinary chance to bring Harry Potter to the stage. As a fan, who just devoured the books and the films, this couldn’t be more exciting for me.’

John Tiffany: 

I’ve never worked on anything quite like this before,’ he says. ‘Usually in theatre you’re adapting existing material or creating an entirely new play. With the Cursed Child we have been given the unique opportunity to explore some of the most cherished books and beloved characters ever written, yet work with J.K. Rowling to tell a story from that world that no one yet knows – it’s exhilarating.

‘It shares a scale and ambition with all the Harry Potter stories so in order to do this justice we have decided to present the play in two parts.’



The discovery that the story of Cursed Child would not fit into a single play came well into production of the show, due to hit the stage next year. We are sure more news of the play is to come as production continues. Stay tuned to Leaky (and Pottermore, I guess) for more news as it arrives.

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18. Audio Interview with Audiobook reader of “Career of Evil,” BBC1 Mini Series

J.K. Rowling retweeted an interesting interview this morning. It was a short question and answer segment with Robert Glenister–the voice of Cormoran Strike in J.K. Rowling’s good friend, Robert Galbraith’s novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and soon-to-be-released Career of Evil.

The interview was conducted by Mark Billingham, a well-known British mystery/thriller novelist. Billingham and Glenister discussed Cormoran Strike’s animated character, and how they were impressed by Galbraith’s “debut novel.” Glenister said he knew immediately he wanted to be the one to record the audio book for this mystery series upon reading Cuckoo’s Calling, before he knew who Galbraith was. The interview can be listened to here and below.

It has been known for a while that Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike series was in the works to be adapted into a TV series. It has recently been confirmed that BBC1 is taking on this endeavor, and production for the first part of the series (based on The Cuckoo’s Calling) will begin later this fall.

According to Radio Times, this TV series shares many similarities with the adaption of Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. J.K. Rowling will be an executive producer of this television production, as she was for Casual Vacancy. She has chosen to work with BBC, and the first part of the series, based on The Cuckoo’s Calling, will be written by Sarah Phelps who wrote the TV adaption of The Casual Vacancy.

The second part of the series, The Silkworm, will be adapted by Ben Richards, a TV writer most well known for Spooks. The third part of the series, which will be based on Career of Evil, has not been discussed. More will come to light after the novel is published this October.

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19. Harry Potter Memorabilia In Auction

This week, someone will own a piece of Harry Potter film history.  Prop Store, a source for movie collectibles, will be holding its world-wide live auction on Wednesday, September 23rd.  In August, Entertainment Weekly reported on the upcoming sale, and now, Moviefone and others have articles about it.  Nearly 500 items related to film production, including props and costumes for numerous franchises and cult classics, will be sold.  Three auction lots in the catalog this year are from the Harry Potter films.

The first item, #178, is a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie poster signed by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.  The auction catalog says, “This poster was acquired directly from a crew member who worked on location with the key cast members on the film.”


The second item, #179, is a Hogwarts acceptance envelope with its wax seal (that may or may not have a letter inside).  It is one of the many envelopes in the scene where a tornado of owls and post swirls through the Dursley’s house.

Made from marbled-effect paper, Harry’s address is printed in green on the front of the envelope with the Hogwarts crest printed on the reverse. This hero envelope features an actual red wax Hogwarts seal rather than the many printed envelopes that were also used in the scene. The envelope remains sealed with paper seemingly contained within,” says the auction catalog.


The third lot, #180, is two scarves given to crew members on the sets of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  They are both in Gryffindor house colors and have embroidered logos from the respective films.  The Goblet of Fire scarf is in a color-block similar to Harry’s Triwizard Tournament uniform.


Wednesday’s auction will include a live webcast, and bids will be accepted in person, online, and by phone.  Will someone finally get a Hogwarts acceptance letter?

To see the full catalog of items for sale, see here.

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20. Happy Birthday, Tom Felton!

Please join us in wishing Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) a very happy 28th birthday!



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21. J.K. Rowling Relaunches Pottermore!

This morning Pottermore announced that the Pottermore site has been relaunched. With this exciting news, the released a video/audio message from J.K. Rowling introducing the new site. She calls Pottermore her “little writing corner” and the right place to come if “you need a little more magic in your life.” This message can be seen below.

Pottermore updated their twitter header this morning.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 8.00.01 AM


If you do not have time to take a trip to Pottermore.com right now, here are a few screen shots of the site, with a little explanation:

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 8.07.58 AM


The Pottermore homepage is simply designed, with sparse wording and only three other groups of linked pages to access: Explore (top left corner), Read (middle homepage), and Menu (top right corner).

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.59.22 AM


Hitting “Explore” in the top left corner of the homepage simply opens up a search engine. The engine works much like Google, it starts guessing what you are looking for as you start typing.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.59.36 AM


Opening the “Menu” in the top right corner leads to a sparse, self- explanatory menu. “Writings by J.K. Rowling” takes one to a page where they can read additional information not found in character profiles, or in writings of events from the books, found in “Explore the Story.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 8.05.27 AM


Both of these sections highlight “Special Feature” articles. Today Pottermore is featuring “The Potter Family” in “Writings by J.K. Rowling,” which can be read here. Dolores Umbridge has been chosen as today’s feature in “Explore the Story,” which can be read here.

On the menu, “Feature” is a page dedicated to “Everything you never knew you wanted to know about the wizarding world, by the Pottermore team;” it includes articles such as “Romance in the Classrooms of Hogwarts,” “Designing Hogwarts Castle,” and “15 Times Harry Ruined the Dursleys’ Day.” The mashup of lists and articles makes this page like the Harry Potter Buzzfeed.

The newest page of the site, on the menu,  is the “News” link. This page contains articles on the latest news in the Harry Potter world–much like what we at The Leaky Cauldron and our friends at MuggleNet have been doing for years. Whatever official news is posted on the Pottermore page, we will be sure to share it with you. Today’s articles are mostly about the new Pottermore pages. However, there is one called “Fantastic Beasts Movie Roundup,” which can be read here, dedicated to “everything we know so far” (and believe me, we already know it–we’ll be on the look out for breaking news).

Overall the sites design is fairly simplistic. Exploring Hogwarts has been completely removed, and the Sorting Hat quiz is no where to be found. The site features new additions to the Harry Potter universe already, namely images created by Jim Kay for the illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books (the first one to hit shelves October 6).

This breaking news is as exciting as it is disappointing. Some of us never had the chance to complete exploring Hogwarts along the time line of books, and wish that option was still available to us from a different corner of the site. Perhaps the quizzes will one day return–with a promise of a Patronus Test from J.K. Rowling, and the only real Sorting Hat quiz ever created.

Please visit the site and share your reactions with us. Happy exploring.

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22. SCBWI Announces Work-In-Progress Winners

The SCBWI congratulates the winners of the 2015 Work-In-Progress Grants and Don Freeman Grants. There were over 1,500 entries this year with some fantastic submissions. The WIP Grants were given out in six catagories, and two Don Freeman Grants were awarded, one for a published illustrator and one for a pre-published illustrator. The SCBWI will propel the winning WIP manuscripts on the path to publication by exposing their work to hand-selected acquiring editors on a secure website for a period of time. This is an opportunity for the winners to gain exclusive access to some of the most sought after professionals in the business.


Young Adult Fiction: Twisted by Erin Stewart

In a futuristic world, sixteen-year-old Rose discovers that her genetic code was switched at birth, and must decide whether her own free will or her DNA will define who she is.


Nonfiction: Tomboy: The Daring Life of Blanche Stuart Scott by Donna Janell Bowman

Follow the adventurous life of the first female pilot, making history on wheels and on wings.


Multicultural Fiction or Nonfiction: Walking on a Tightrope by Suma Subramaniam

After losing her family in the South Asian tsunami, eleven-year-old Mayili is imprisoned by child traffickers and must use her tightrope walking skills to escape.


Picture Book Text: Toad in the Road by Peggy Archer

Come along with Toad on his whimsical adventure with its rhythmic, infectious (rollicking) language, sure to delight young children.


Middle Grade Fiction: Chasing Gold by Beth Cahn

In 1911 a young boy must contend with the stereotypes of Chinese immigrants after the California Gold Rush.


Chapter Books/Early Fiction: Haunted Key Mystery: Help! I’m Haunted

by Lorrie-Ann Melnick

In this swashbuckling mystery, Kat, her newfound cat, Tuna, and her frenemy Rebecca must rid themselves of a ghost thief.


Don Freeman Illustration Grant:


Published Award: Jacob Grant

Pre-published Award: Corinna Luyken


See Jacob’s illustrations: www.jacobgerms.tumblr.com

See Corinna’s illustrations: www.corinnaluyken.com


The winners of the Don Freeman Grant will each receive $1,000 to further their understanding, training, and work in the picture book genre. 


About the Work-In-Progress Grants

The SCBWI Work-In-Progress (WIP) Grants assist children’s book writers and illustrators in the completion of a specific project currently not under contract. For more information, visit www.scbwi.org/awards/grants/work-in-progress-grants/.

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23. ‘Invisibility Cloaks’ to become a reality?

A new microscopic invisibility cloak has been created!

This venture in science builds on previous cloaking experiments from 2006, 2012 and 2013. According to the source in Science (which you will need a subscription or institutional access to view), the new tested device is made of an extremely thin layer of rectangular light-scattering antennae blocks (like a microscopic skin), which adapts the shape of the object and hides it from detection with visible light by bouncing light off of the object like a mirror, rendering it ‘invisible’!

Scientists claim that this technology could be developed for military purposes to hide vehicles, aircraft or soldiers. However, at the moment the device is only available on a microscopic 3D scale.

From the International Business Times:

‘The test is the first time that a 3D object with bumps and dents has been hidden from visible light, said Xiang Zhang, director of the Materials Sciences Division of the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in a press release. He added that the ultra-thin cloak looks like a coat, which is easy to design and implement, that could potentially be developed for hiding larger objects.

However, Zhang said that the technology would take five to 10 years to be practical to use. The device uses metamaterials, different from natural materials, which can bend or curve the reflection of light by following the structure of the object being cloaked rather than its chemical composition.

“The fact that we can make a curved surface appear flat also means that we can make it look like anything else. We also can make a flat surface appear curved,” said Xingjie Ni, the study’s lead author and a professor of electrical engineering at the Penn State University.

Zhang also reportedly stated that this new device – unlike previous ventures – could be used to cloak people when developed further.

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24. Manager of ‘Harry Potter’ video games to head digital skills academy

Harvey Wheaton – former chief of the ‘Harry Potter‘ video games – is now CEO of a new digital skills academy in Scotland, Codeclan.

He managed Electronic Arts’ Harry Potter games, has coached software development teams worldwide, and also helped launch SuperMassive Games.

Holyrood reports on Wheaton’s enthusiasm for CodeClan and the values it stands for:

“CodeClan embodies everything that I care about – technology, education, start-ups and Scotland – so I am delighted to be joining the team,” he said.

“Just now, the digital sector in Scotland is experiencing unprecedented growth, with the emergence of international brands like Skyscanner and FanDuel and ambitious start-ups launching every week. But if we don’t do something to bridge the digital skills gap in Scotland soon then the extraordinary growth we are seeing will be under threat.

“CodeClan offers practical help, a real solution to this problem, and it is a privilege to be part of this exciting venture.”

Wheaton will be launching CodeClan next month in Edinburgh. Join us in congratulating him on his new venture!

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25. App of the Week: Apple News

apple news
Title: Apple News
Cost: Free with iOS update
Platform: iOS 9

Think RSS is dead? Maybe it's really just hiding. Like Flipboard, the Apple News app delivered as part of the iOS 9 update earlier this month focuses on the very thing missing from earlier feedreaders: the aesthetic.


As part of the roll-out, Apple is offering development tools in the form of Apple News Format to inspire digital journalists to embed videos, animations, and photo galleries specifically for this application. And the channels of well-designed sites are especially attractive within this interface.


As with RSS readers, when you first launch Apple News, you can select from among legacy and online media outlets to add to your feed. You can follow particular sites (they become your "favorites") or browse by subject ("explore"), and search for breaking stories by keyword. The "channels" appear to be vetted through the application rather than simply allowing someone to pull in any site with a feed (like this blog).


Apple News is unapologetic about helping you construct a filter bubble, asserting that the more you read, the better the news will get at understanding your interests, since they will personalize the stories delivered to your screen based on your behavior. You can speed up the process  by assigning heart icons, a mechanism that prompts Apple to recommend stories its considers similar. Conceptually related stories with applicable keywords are found at the bottom of many articles.


The other mechanisms built into News are familiar from other iOS apps. You can bookmark stories for later offline reading,share stories via connected social media channels, and, if you use Apple News on multiple devices, you can sync your preferences via iCloud.

When Apple News was announced, some pundits theorized the de-coupling of editorial and advertising content would be complete. But while some metered and paywalled sources exist within the Apple News channels, many require logins for full access. With Apple scrambling to differentiate good advertising from bad advertising and pulling ad blocking apps, the evolving news landscape remains interesting.

Have a suggestion for an App of the Week? Let us know. And don't forget to check our App of the Week archive for more great tools.

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