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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: macmillan, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 98
1. Brendan Deneen on What Authors Can Do to Get Their Book Optioned for a Movie


Brendan Deneen knows a thing or two about getting a book made into a Hollywood film. He’s not only an author and former literary agent, Deneen is executive editor for Macmillan Entertainment, for which he shops TV and film rights for authors, whether the material is existing or created in house.

In the latest installment of Mediabisto’s So What Do You Do series, we talked to Deneen about the optioning process, why Hollywood so often relies on published bestsellers for content and the best way for an author to break into the movie business (no, you don’t have to be a big name like John Grisham, J.K. Rowling or Nicholas Sparks). Deneen also had plenty of advice to share with struggling authors:

Patience is key. I’m 41 and I wrote my first book when I was 18, and I sold my novel this year. It took me forever. And that doesn’t mean you have to not be putting yourself out there and working your ass off; it just means you may get rejected over and over again like I did when I was 18. It should be a badge of honor. It means you’re getting stuff out there. You need to be constantly writing. If you’re a screenwriter, you should be writing a new screenplay every three or four months. If you’re an author, honestly, you should have a new book every year if you’re serious about it — two years at the most.

To hear more from Deneen, including what he’d like his legacy to be, read: So What Do You Do, Brendan Deneen, Executive Editor Of MacMillan Entertainment?

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2. The Lost Planet - Guest Post with Author Rachel Searles

Hi, everyone! We have a special treat on the blog today. Rachel Searles, debut author of The Lost Planet is here with a guest post on invention and world-building. We are really excited to have Rachel on today. Don't forget that Rachel will also be a guest at the Pasadena Book Fest on April 26.

Take it away, Rachel!

On Invention and World-Building

When I talk to readers about the differences between fantasy and science fiction, I’m always quick to point out that while fantasy is based on mythology, magic, and all things make-believe, science fiction is based on elements that, while imaginary, are still largely possible within the laws of physics. This feeling of plausibility is one of the things that makes sci-fi so exciting to me, but as a writer it also means extra research to make sure that the details of my story adhere to the boundaries of reality. That said, it is fiction I’m writing, and at times I’ve stretched those boundaries to the furthest limits (and maybe a little beyond) for the sake of a good tale. I know I’ve done my job when the sci in my fi sounds believable enough that readers can’t tell the difference between what’s based in reality, and what I’ve completely made up.

Early in THE LOST PLANET, my main character Chase and his new friend, Parker, eat a meal produced by a food synthesizer in Parker’s autokitchen. Any Star Trek fan would recognize this machine as homage to the food replicators used on the Enterprise. The theory behind a food synthesizer is that the device grabs some subatomic particles, which exist in abundance throughout the universe, and rearranges them into molecules that are then arranged into the requested food. Sounds plausible, right? While I know that this kind of advanced technology is still far beyond our reach, during my research I was fascinated to learn that first-generation food synthesizers are already being tested, with the early prototypes expected to be put into use on the International Space Station as early as this year! Rather than arranging molecules, though, these devices run on the same principle as a 3D printer, using basic materials like proteins or sugars in a non-perishable powder form to build the food layer by layer. The best part is that these basic building powders can come from any number of unusual sources—after all, protein is protein, whether it comes from meat, legumes…or even insects. You can watch a video of the 3D food printer at work here, but in it you’ll see that “pizza” it makes isn’t exactly mouth-watering just yet. For that reason I decided to stick with the Star Trek-inspired version for my book.

Later in the book, in a diner on another planet, the boys enjoy a futuristic fast-food meal of soy-chitin-riboflavin patties, or “scrappies.” We currently consume soy by the ton, and riboflavin—aka vitamin B12—is an important and colorful part of our diet. But chitin, which you may recognize as the main component in the hard exoskeletons of insects, is used more commonly in the production of lipstick and other cosmetics, as well as surgical thread. It is edible, though, and in a chemically modified form has been used for things like edible films and as a thickener. And wouldn’t crisp insect shells work great as the crunchy filling in a delicious, savory scrappy?

One of the biggest advantages I have in writing an outer space setting is that my husband spent ten years designing, building, and launching rockets into orbit, so I can turn to him for help with the physics of space travel. In a scene where my heroes crash land on an uninhabited, mud-coated wasteland of a planet, he helped me to make sure the details of screaming into the atmosphere in a flimsy shuttle were as authentic as possible. But then I gave my characters their only chance to survive by having them climb up into the limbs of a vast jungle of pale, stalk-like plants. When the plants reject the climbers and send them pitching headfirst into the swamp, readers might think I based this on some sort of trigger mechanism like that of the Venus flytrap, where contact with sensory appendages on the plant cause a swift reaction. And this sure sounds plausible—but I didn’t actually research this at all while writing. I just needed to come up with a good way to try to drown my characters in a sea of mud. After all, sometimes it’s just about writing an exciting story.

Thanks, Rachel, for the fantastic guest post. Be sure to check out The Lost Planet

About the Author:

Rachel Searles grew up on the frigid shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she spent her childhood studying languages and plotting to travel around the world. She has lived abroad in Munich and Istanbul, working as a cook, a secretary, a teacher, and a reporter for the Turkish Daily News. She now lives in Los Angeles with her rocket scientist husband and two cats, and spends her free time cooking her way through the Internet and plotting more travel.

THE LOST PLANET, coming January 2014 from Feiwel and Friends, is her debut novel.

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3. Macmillan Bringing Minotaur Digital Books To Libraries

Library eBook readers might see more books from Macmillan this year as the company has opened a pilot program to bring Minotaur digital books to library patrons.

AppNewser has all the details:

Macmillan Publishers has partnered with OverDrive, a company that distributes digital books to more than 22,000 libraries, to make a collection of its eBooks available to libraries through a pilot program. As part of the pilot, libraries that have access to OverDrive will now have access to more than 1,200 titles from Macmillan’s Minotaur Books imprint. This includes pieces from authors Olen Steinhauser and Julia Spencer-Fleming. Macmillan is making one copy of each eBook available so that one copy can be check out at a time.

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4. Macmillan Settles with the DOJ Over Price Fixing Lawsuit

Macmillan has settled with the Department of Justice in the lawsuit over the agency model for selling digital books. All five major publishers sued by the DOJ have now settled, leaving Apple to battle the government in court.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York must approve the settlement, but it will end Macmillan’s role in the suit.

Antitrust Division chief of staff Jamillia Ferris offered this statement: “As a result of today’s settlement, Macmillan has agreed to immediately allow retailers to lower the prices consumers pay for Macmillan’s e-books … Just as consumers are already paying lower prices for the e-book versions of many of Hachette’s, HarperCollins’ and Simon & Schuster’s new releases and best sellers, we expect the prices of many of Macmillan’s e-books will also decline.”


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5. Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills - Review and Recipe

Thanks to Claudia Mills and FSG for inviting me to kick off the Zero Tolerance blog tour!
Make sure you check out Claudia's guest post and giveaway, too. 

Publication date: 18 June 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Category: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Keywords: School controversy, friendship, family, values, morality
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Source: Library; Netgalley


Seventh-grader Sierra Shepard has always been the perfect student, so when she sees that she accidentally brought her mother's lunch bag to school, including a paring knife, she immediately turns in the knife at the school office. Much to her surprise, her beloved principal places her in in-school suspension and sets a hearing for her expulsion, citing the school's ironclad no weapons policy. While there, Sierra spends time with Luke, a boy who's known as a troublemaker, and discovers that he's not the person she assumed he would be--and that the lines between good and bad aren't as clear as she once thought. Claudia Mills brings another compelling school story to life with Zero Tolerance.


I was initially drawn to read this by the great cover art by Vera Brosgol (author-illustrator of Anya's Ghost -- note, not all her artwork is SFW ;) Sierra's worried brows striking just the right gesture of uncertainty towards the green apple on top of her head, William Tell-style, with the subtle background behind her forming a target. The symbolism of the apple is so clever--not just its part in setting off the events in the book, but also the reference to apples for teachers, that iconic fruit for teacher's pets. I started this late one night and finished around 3 am, earning it the Stay up all night rating!

Careful plotting and great characters are what make this middle grade novel by Claudia Mills so compelling to read. The book centers not necessarily around the zero tolerance policy that Sierra unwittingly breaks, but around the idea that right and wrong aren't always clearly defined. For a goody-two-shoes like Sierra and the other good girls she hangs around with, everything seems black-and-white... until she gets suspended and put on a track towards expulsion.

Her perspective shaken off its axis, Sierra starts to see people differently: Mr. Besser, the school principal she had previously viewed with an almost worshipful eye; her lawyer dad, who might not be handling the situation in a completely above-board way; and her friends, especially a cute boy named Colin who sticks up for her, but maybe not for the reasons she wishes he would. Then there's the hyperactive Luke, perennially suspended but not exactly bad-to-the-bone. Sierra starts to make impulsive, spiteful decisions she will later regret. As the consequences start to pile up, she needs to re-balance her views of good and bad if she is ever going to be able to make things right again.

There are a couple of words used that might make this objectionable for parents (assuming it's assigned for school reading), however I think Sierra's attitude towards swearing and how it changes throughout the book is a great way to broach the topic with tweens and younger teens (who, lets face it, probably swear a lot more than their parents think they do). Counterbalance that analysis with the school's creed: RULES - RESPECT - RESPONSIBILITY - RELIABILITY, and you've got quite a lot to talk about. The author provides a discussion guide with activity ideas on her website. 

I think this would make a great family tv-movie. Nick Offerman would make a great Mr. Besser; Joel McHale and Alison Brie could play Sierra's dad and mom. I don't know of any young actresses that could really pull off the various emotions and attitudes that Sierra goes through, do you?

Lastly, Sierra's mom keeps trying to keep her spirits up. She's affectionate and loving, but most noticeably (as most good moms do) she keeps feeding Sierra comfort foods. As the book goes on and Sierra becomes more and more disgusted by her own actions, she develops aversions to particular foods. I can't say I blame her! If only she hadn't brought that knife to school by accident... So below, I've included some ideas for apple nachos--if you're a kid, have an adult help you with the chopping and heating parts. You can vary the amounts as you wish, but for a lot of the toppings just a tablespoon of each will do. Recipes for the sauces follow. I'll try to update this post with more photos when I can make the other variations. And please, remember to leave the knife at home!


Apple Nachos

"The Sweet Sierra"

An apple, any variety
A lemon
Assorted toppings

A knife
A cutting board
A mixing bowl
A serving plate (or a container with an air-tight lid if you're taking it to school)

Makes 1-2 servings

  1. Wash and dry an apple. You can peel the skin off if you want to, but I like to keep it on unless it's a variety that has a bitter or waxy skin. 
  2. With an adult's help, chop the apple into quarters. Carefully cut out the core with the stem and seeds, then slice each quarter into thinner slices. These are your "chips".
  3. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl.
  4. Toss the apple chips in the lemon juice and let them soak for a minute. This will stop them from turning brown right away. Drain and pat the apple chips dry with a paper towel.
  5. Arrange the slices on a plate and add your choice of toppings. You can drizzle the sauces on or put them on the side for dipping.
  6. Eat it right away, or take it to school with you.
Suggested Toppings:

The Sweet Sierra (pictured above)
the sweet and sour variation
Dulce de leche or caramel sauce + raisins + mini chocolate chips + shredded coconut

Media Circus
the nutty variation
Peanut butter sauce + raisins + chopped pecans + banana slices

The Principal Besser
the school lunch variation
Nacho cheese (yes, apples taste great with cheese!)
+ diced tomatoes, olives, and jalapeños (optional)

The Gerald Edward Shepard, Esquire
the fine dining variation
Extra-virgin olive oil + balsamic glaze or vinegar
+ pine nuts + crushed dried basil or oregano + parmesan cheese
(You can toss a little crushed garlic in there if you're really feeling brave)

The Cornflake
the French toast variation
Maple syrup + crumbled shredded wheat or other cereal + cinnamon sugar

The Angie Shepard
the tough cookie variation
Cookie butter sauce + slivered almonds + dried cranberries

The Comfort of Friends
the hot chocolate variation
Chocolate syrup + mini marshmallows + whipped cream*

*You're going to want to eat this right away, unless you for some reason have access to a refrigerator at school. You can also toast this combo after adding marshmallows but before adding the chocolate syrup and whipped cream!

Credit: I first found this recipe on Allyson Kramer's blog.


Caramel sauce (based on Ree Drummond's ingredients)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp half and half, heavy whipping cream, or milk
1/2 Tbsp butter
Tiny pinch of salt
A few drops of vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together all the ingredients except the vanilla. When the sauce has melted and blended together (about 1 minute), stir in the vanilla. Turn off the heat and keep stirring all the while to help it cool down. When it is no longer very hot, pour over apple nachos.


Peanut butter sauce
2 Tbsp peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
1 Tbsp half and half, heavy whipping cream, or milk
1 Tbsp white or brown sugar
Tiny pinch of salt
1 tsp maple syrup or light corn syrup

In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together all the ingredients until well blended. Turn off the heat and keep stirring all the while to help it cool down. When it is no longer very hot, pour over apple nachos.


Cookie butter sauce
2 Tbsp cookie butter, regular or crunchy
1 Tbsp half and half, heavy whipping cream, or milk
1 Tbsp white or brown sugar
Tiny pinch of salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together all the ingredients until well blended. Turn off the heat and keep stirring all the while to help it cool down. When it is no longer very hot, pour over apple nachos.


I used a Granny Smith apple for The Sweet Sierra variation since it's a little tart -- it balances out all the sweet stuff and I thought this represented Sierra's character changes throughout the book. I used Gala apples for all the rest but you can use any kind you like or have available. I also used Mallow Bits for the hot chocolate variation, but use regular mini-marshmallows if you're going to toast it.

3 Comments on Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills - Review and Recipe, last added: 9/6/2013
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6. Review of the Day: Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

HermanRosie1 263x300 Review of the Day: Herman and Rosie by Gus GordonHerman and Rosie
By Gus Gordan
Roaring Brook (an imprint of Macmillan)
ISBN: 978-1596438569
Ages 3-7
On shelves now

New Yorkers are singularly single minded. It’s not enough that our city be rich, popular, and famous. We apparently are so neurotic that we need to see it EVERYWHERE. In movies, on television, and, of course, in books. Children’s books, however, get a bit of a pass in this regard. It doesn’t matter where you grow up, most kids get a bit of a thrill when they see their home city mentioned in a work of literature. Here in NYC, teachers go out of their way to find books about the city to read and study with their students. As a result of this, in my capacity as a children’s librarian I make a habit of keeping an eye peeled for any and all New York City related books for the kiddos. And as luck would have it, in the year 2013 I saw a plethora of Manhattan-based titles. Some were great. Some were jaw-droppingly awful. But one stood apart from the pack. Written by an Aussie, Herman and Rosie, author Gus Gordon has created the first picture book I’ve ever seen to successfully put its finger on the simultaneous beauty and soul-gutting loneliness of big city life. The fact that it just happens to be a fun story about an oboe-tooting croc and deer chanteuse is just icing on the cake.

Herman and Rosie are city creatures through and through. Herman is a croc with a penchant for hotdogs and yogurt and playing his oboe out the window of his 7th story home. In a nearby building, Rosie the deer likes pancakes and jazz records and singing in nightclubs, even if no one’s there to hear her. Neither one knows the other, so they continue their lonely little lives unaware of the potential soulmate nearby. One day Rosie catches a bit of Herman’s music and not long thereafter Herman manages to hear a snatch of a song sung by Rosie. They like what they hear but through a series of unfortunate events they never quite meet up. Then Herman gets fired from his job in sales and Rosie’s favorite jazz club goes belly up. Things look bad for our heroes, until a certain cheery day where it all turns around for them.

HermanRosie3 238x300 Review of the Day: Herman and Rosie by Gus GordonYou can know a city from afar but never quite replicate it in art. I do not know how many times Gus Gordon has visited NYC. I don’t know his background here or how often he’s visited over the course of his lifetime. All I know is he got Manhattan DOWN, man! Everything from the water towers and the rooftop landscapes to the very color of the subway lines is replicated in his pitch perfect illustrations. Maybe the medium has a lot to answer for. I love the map endpapers that identify not just where Herman and Rosie live, but also where you can find a great hot dog place. I like how the art is a mix of real postcards showcasing everything from Central Park (look at the Essex House!!) to the Rose Reading Room in the main branch of New York Public Library.

But the art is far more than simply a clever encapsulation of a location. It took several readings before I could see a lot of what Gordon was up to. Here’s an example: Take a look at the two-page spread where Herman is leaving his office for the last time with all his goods in a box, while on the opposite page Rosie trudges home from the closing club, her high heeled red shoes sitting forlornly in the basket of her bike. The two images take place at different times of the day, but if you look closely you’ll see that they’re the same street corner. Yet where Herman’s New York is filled with loud angry voices and sounds, Rosie’s is near silent, a black wash representing the oncoming night. Note too that while Herman’s mailbox was a mixed media photo, Rosie’s is painted in a black wash with some crayon scribbles. It’s a subtle difference, but I love how it sort of represents how objects become less real when the lights begin to dim. And the book is just FILLED with tiny, clever details. From the pictures and instructions that grace Herman’s cubicle at work to the fact that Rosie clearly washes her clothes at home (the clothesline the runs from her bike to the old-fashioned vacuum tube television was my first clue) to Herman’s bed in the living room, Gordon is constantly peppering his book with elements that give little insights into who these two characters really are.

And that right there is the the crux of the book. Time and time again Gordon returns to this idea of how lonely it can be to live in a busy place. The idea that you can be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people and feel as alone as if you were on a desert island is a tricky concept to convey to small fry. Herman’s whole personality, in a way, hinges on the fact that he’s terrible at his job as a telecaller because all he wants to do is talk to people on the phone, not sell them things. He longs for connection. Rosie, meanwhile, finds a certain level of connection through her singing gig. Once that gig leaves, her feelings of extreme loneliness echo Herman’s with the loss of his job. Their sole lifelines to the outside world have been severed against their wills. If this were a book for adults we’d undoubtedly also get a couple scenes of the various failed dates they fine themselves on (well, Rosie certainly… I’m not so sure that Herman’s the serial dater type). Kids understand loneliness. They get that. They’ll get this.

HermanRosie2 Review of the Day: Herman and Rosie by Gus GordonThe book also plays on the natural inclination for a happy resolution, and the near misses when Herman almost meets Rosie and Rosie just barely misses Herman can be excruciating. You are fairly certain the two are made for one another (the natural tendencies of crocs to eat deer notwithstanding) so it can be particularly painful to see so many almost wases. This feeling is, admittedly, partly diluted by the fact that you’re not quite sure what will happen when the two DO meet. Are they going to fall in love? Well, not exactly. There may be a kind of child reader that hopes for that ending, but instead we’re given a conclusion where the two just learn to make beautiful music together, and in the course of that music happen to find financial success as well. This is New York, after all. Love’s great but a steady paycheck’s even better.

The truth of the matter is that Herman and Rosie could be set in L.A. or Minneapolis or Atlanta or even Sydney and I’d still love it as much as I do with its New York flavor, tone, and beat. It wouldn’t be exactly the same, but it’s the bones of the book that are strong. The setting is just a bonus, really. With original mixed media, a text that’s subtle and succinct, and a story that rings both true and original (for a picture book medium anyway), this is a city book, a true city book, to its core. Author Markus Zusak said the book was “Quirky, soulful and alive”. Can’t put it any better than that. What he said.

On shelves now.

Source: Final copy sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Professional Reviews:

Misc: If you want to see some alternate covers for this book, scroll to the bottom of this fun blog post.

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7. Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

Tomorrow's the day!

The trailer for On the Road to Mr. Mineo's 

will be revealed


Mr. Schu is giving away The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester and The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis


There will be some other cool stuff

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8. Coming Attractions: Winter 2013: Macmillan, and Friends


Macmillan Logo Converted Coming Attractions: Winter 2013: Macmillan, and Friendsbloomsbury Coming Attractions: Winter 2013: Macmillan, and Friends papercutz Coming Attractions: Winter 2013: Macmillan, and FriendsLogo Palgrave Macmillan Coming Attractions: Winter 2013: Macmillan, and Friendsfirst second books logo Coming Attractions: Winter 2013: Macmillan, and Friendsdq logo 200x220 Coming Attractions: Winter 2013: Macmillan, and Friends Coming Attractions: Winter 2013: Macmillan, and Friends
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9. Publishers to Pay $69M in eBook Pricing Settlement

55 attorney generals from different states, districts and U.S. territories have reached an agreement with HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster in the ongoing litigation over eBook pricing.

According to the terms of the deal, consumers who bought an eBook from any of the “Agency Five” publishers during April 1, 2010 until May 21, 2012 will receive compensation.

Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster will pay consumers who purchased eBooks from any of the five agencies accused of price fixing, including Macmillan and Penguin, who have yet to settle. Payments will begin 30 days after the settlement gets its final court approval.


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10. The Girl is Murder - Audiobook Review

Read by Rachel Botchan
Publication date: 19 July 2011 by Roaring Brook Press
ISBN 10/13: 1596436093 | 9781596436091

Keywords: World War II, Girl detective, friendship, mystery
Category: Young Adult Historical
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Source: Purchased from audible.com

It's the Fall of 1942 and Iris's world is rapidly changing. Her Pop is back from the war with a missing leg, limiting his ability to do the physically grueling part of his detective work. Iris is dying to help, especially when she discovers that one of Pop's cases involves a boy at her school. Now, instead of sitting at home watching Deanna Durbin movies, Iris is sneaking out of the house, double crossing her friends, and dancing at the Savoy till all hours of the night. There's certainly never a dull moment in the private eye business.

Alethea's review:

I'm not a Veronica Mars fan (as the marketing taglines for this series insist on singling out that demographic), but there's something about the spunky girl-detective novel that never fails to please me. I'll confess that I have fond memories of a hundred Nancy Drew novels, and am currently obsessed with vintage fashion, which might explain part of why I liked this book. Some of the credit definitely goes to the reader, Rachel Botchan. She really nails not just the New York accents but also the inflections from--has it really been that long?--seventy years ago. I think I would have enjoyed this less had I tried to read it myself.

I'm actually surprised this novel kept my interest, as the beginning of the novel felt really slow. Iris is coping with many changes--not just the typical girl-becoming-woman challenges we expect of a coming-of-age novel. She's transplanted from the posh part of town to the Lower East Side, hears whispers of disapproval and malicious gossip regarding her mother's suicide the year before, and is trying to form some sort of connection with her estranged and now disabled father. It's heavy stuff, lending gravity to the story, and I can't decide whether or not it saves the rest of the book from just being a plot-driven mess.

The main mystery involves the disappearance of a boy from Iris's new school. I really enjoyed the author's skill at portraying the secondary characters: Suze, queen bee of the charmingly named "Rainbow Gang", the high school's resident hooligans, and Pearl, the plump, quiet, and defensive schoolmate Iris struggles to befriend. There's no team of good girls versus the bad girls here: everyone seems to have some bad with the good, even Iris, who makes some really terrible decisions for occasionally noble reasons. Despite all the mistakes they make, I found the characters well-rounded and likable. 

The solution of the mystery did leave something to be desired. I wouldn't call this a traditional whodunit--you're better off reading the original (or even playing the games--they're really good!) if a murder is what you're after. You'll enjoy this more if you like reading about relationships, teen problems and comparing those of today to those of yesteryear, or World War II nostalgia. 

You can find the author online at www.kathrynmillerhaines.com and on Twitter @KathrynMHaines.

FTC disclosure: Only the Bookdepository.com link may generate revenue for this blog if you make a purchase by clicking the link. The other links in this post are not formatted with my affiliate IDs.

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11. Macmillan CEO: ‘We will be more than fine in the land of the giants’

Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote a letter to authors, illustrators and agents working with the publisher, pledging not to settle the price fixing lawsuit with the Department of Justice (as Penguin did this week).

He also noted that the company has no plans to merge like Penguin and Random House. Read his complete letter at Tor Books.


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12. Idol for YA Romance Writers: New Macmillan Imprint

In a recent PW announcement, Macmillan Children’s Books has announced the creation of a new YA Romance imprint. The switch? It will be a sort of American Idol for YA Romance Writers.

Romance writers, are you ready for this?
Crowdsourcing, or drawing on participation from the audience for decisions, will be the major focus of the new imprint. Audience will consider chapters and vote on their favorite. When a manuscript is finally chose, they’ll vote on book covers.

The editor’s role?

The imprint’s editors will not screen the submitted manuscripts, but will monitor the content to make sure that “nothing obscene happens” in the novels. Romance fans reading the manuscripts online will be able to provide comments and offer a rating, the highest of which is five hearts – or “swoon-worthy.”

The imprint will be under the leadership of the ever-innovative Jean Feiwel, senior v-p and publisher of Feiwel and Friends, Square Fish, and now Swoon Reads. She has collected wide support throughout Macmillan and this will be an imprint to watch.

Do you have a manuscript that is Swoon-Worthy?
Polish it up! Read the early offerings from SRYA and look for announcements of submission guidelines.

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13. Review of the Day: Pickle by Kim Baker

Pickle1 199x300 Review of the Day: Pickle by Kim BakerPickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School
By Kim Baker
Illustrated by Tim Probert
Roaring Brook Press (a division of Macmillan)
ISBN: 978-1-59643-765-4
Ages 9-12
On shelves now

When I was in college I took a course in journalism to fulfill an English credit. I had no real desire to report the news in any way, shape, or form so when the time came to write an article for the paper I had to find something that would be in my wheelhouse. Ultimately I decided to write a piece on the history of pranks at my alma mater. It was a fun piece to write and instilled in me not a love of reporting but rather a love of pranking and all it entails. A good prank, a true prank, does no harm aside from a minor inconvenience for the poor schmuck who has to clean it up. It does not destroy school property, causing only joy for those innocents who witness it. And pranks, the really good ones, are almost impossible to think up. Now it’s hard enough to think up a prank for a liberal arts college in eastern Indiana. Imagine how much more difficult it is to think up a whole roster of pranks for a fictional elementary school. That is the task Kim Baker gave herself and the end result is a book that I simply cannot keep on my library shelves. Kids eat this book up with a spoon.

What would you do if you found out your favorite pizza joint was getting rid of all the balls in their ball pit for free? If you’re Ben Diaz, the answer is simple. You make several trips with the balls to your elementary school, dump the lot in your classroom window, and then sit back and enjoy the show. It’s an auspicious beginning for an up-and-coming prankster, and once Ben gets a taste of the havoc (and admiration) his act garners, there’s no stopping him. Next thing you know he’s started a prank club with school funds. Okay… technically the school thinks that he’s started a pickle club, but that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Trouble is, once you’ve started something as silly as a prank club, it’s hard to know when you’ve crossed a line and gone a little too far.

Pickle2 274x300 Review of the Day: Pickle by Kim BakerThere’s been a lot of talk in the press and the general public about the fact that when it comes to Latino characters in children’s books you may as well be asking for the moon. They exist, but are so few and far between when compared to other ethnicities that one has a hard time figuring out who precisely is to blame. Pickle, I am pleased to report, stars a Hispanic kid who is featured on the cover front and center, no hiding his race or getting all namby pamby on who he is. And let me tell you now that the only thing rarer than a children’s book starring a Latino boy is finding a children’s book starring a Latino boy that’s hilarious and fun. The kind of book a kid would pick up willingly on their own in the first place. It’s like a little diamond on your bookshelf. A rara avis.

Now the key to any realistic school story, no matter how wacky, is likable characters. Not everyone in this book is someone you’d like to hang out with (personally I wouldn’t cry a tear if Bean took a long walk off a short pier) but for the most part you’re fond of these kids. Ben himself is a pretty swell guy. I don’t think anyone’s going to accuse Baker of failing to write a believable boy voice. Best of all, he’s a can do kind of kid. He takes charge. His solution to the pickle problem is well nigh short of inspired, and a nice example of a protagonist using their special skills to problem solve. And though the true antagonist of the book is the principal, it’s clear that his best friend Hector is a likable but lowly worm that serves as the emotional antagonist to our hero. You can’t help but like the fact that Hector is such a stoolie/squealer that he will not only confess crimes he and Ben have committed but crimes they NOT committed as well. There is no better way to get a reader on your side than to tap into their sense of injustice and unfairness. It is a pity that the only girls in the group are the only people incapable of really good pranks. Or, rather, one is incapable of coming up with a good prank and the other is perfectly good but goes rogue with it.

Pickle3 287x300 Review of the Day: Pickle by Kim BakerBaker distinguishes nicely between pranks that merely annoy and pranks that upset and destroy. Undoubtedly there will be adults out there that worry that by reading this book kids are going to immediately go out and start putting soap in their own school’s fountains/drinking fountains/what have you. Aside from the fact that most of the pranks in this book would be difficult to pull off (unless your kids have access to abandoned ball pits, I think you’re pretty safe) the book distinguishes nicely between those pranks that do good and those that do harm. I’m sure there are adults who believe that there is no “good” prank in the world. Those are the folks who should probably steer clear of this one.

Pranking requires a certain set of requisite skills. You need to be smart enough to figure out what the pranks should be and how to make them work. You need to have the guts to pull them off, regardless of the consequences. And you need to know when you’ve gone two far. Include only the first two requirements and leave off the third and you’ve got yourself one heckuva fun book like Pickle. Celebrating the kind of anarchy only pranking can truly inspire, this is one of those books for kids that are truly FOR kids. Gatekeepers need not apply. Show one to a kiddo and watch the fun begin.

On shelves now.

Source: Galley sent from author for review.

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  • The faux pickle related website that “Ben” created is pretty fun.  Hard not to love a site that promotes popsicles made out of pickle juice.  Mmm mmm!
  • Read an excerpt of the first chapter here.


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14. Review of the Day: The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman

BoyLovedMath 241x300 Review of the Day: The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah HeiligmanThe Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős
By Deborah Heiligman
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Roaring Brook (an imprint of Macmillan)
ISBN: 978-1-59643-307-6
Ages 6 and up
On shelves June 25th

Make a beeline for your local library’s children’s biography section and learn firsthand the shocking truth about picture book bios of mathematical geniuses. Apparently there was only one and his name was Einstein. End of story. The world as we know it is not overflowing with picture book encapsulations of the lives of Sir Isaac Newton or Archimedes (though admittedly you could probably drum up a Leonardo da Vinci book or two if you were keen to try). But when it comes to folks alive in the 20th century, Einstein is the beginning and the end of the story. You might be so foolish as to think there was a good reason for that fact. Maybe all the other mathematicians were dull. I mean, Einstein was a pretty interesting fella, what with his world-shattering theories and crazed mane. And true, the wild-haired physicist was fascinating in his own right, but if we’re talking out-and-out interesting people, few can compare with the patron saint of contemporary mathematics, Paul Erdős. Prior to reading this book I would have doubted a person could conceivably make an engaging biography chock full to overflowing with mathematical concepts. Now I can only stare in amazement at a story that could conceivably make a kid wonder about how neat everything from Euler’s map of Konigsburg to the Szekeres Snark is. This is one bio you do NOT want to miss. A stunner from start to finish.

For you see, there once was a boy who loved math. His name was Paul and he lived in Budapest, Hungary in 1913. As a child, Paul adored numbers, and theorems, and patterns, and tricky ideas like prime numbers. As he got older he grew to be the kind of guy who wanted to do math all the time! Paul was a great guy and a genius and folks loved having him over, but he was utterly incapable of taking care of himself. Fortunately, he didn’t have to. Folks would take care of Paul and in exchange he would bring mathematicians together. The result of these meetings was great strides in number theory, combinatorics, the probabilistic method, set theory, and more! Until the end of this days (when he died in a math meeting) Paul loved what he did and he loved the people he worked with. “Numbers and people were his best friends. Paul Erdős had no problem with that.”

There are two kinds of picture book biographies in this world. The first attempts to select just a single moment or personality quirk from a person’s life, letting it stand in as an example of the whole. Good examples of this kind of book might include Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell about the childhood of Jane Goodall or Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President And the Country by Kathleen Krull. It’s hard to pinpoint the perfect way to convey any subject, but it can sometimes be even harder to tell an entire life in the span of a mere 40 pages or so. Still, that tends to be the second and more common kind of picture book biography out there. Generally speaking they don’t tend to be terribly interesting. Just a series of rote facts, incapable of making it clear to a kind why a person mattered aside from the standard “because I said so” defense. The Boy Who Loved Math is different because it really takes the nature of biography seriously. If the purpose of a bio is to make it clear that a person was important, how important was a guy who loved math puzzles? Well, consider what the story can do. In a scant number of pages author Deborah Heiligman gives us an entire life synthesized down to just a couple key moments, giving the man’s life form and function and purpose, all while remaining lighthearted and fun to read. Who does that?

Did you know that there are kids out there who like math? I mean, reeeeeeally like math? The kinds that beg their parents for math problems to solve? They exist (heck, Ms. Heiligman gave birth to one) and for those kids this book will come like a present from on high. Because not only does the author highlight a fellow who took his passion for numbers and turned it into a fulfilling and fun life, but thanks to illustrator LeUyen Pham the illustrations are overflowing with math equations and puzzles and problems, just waiting to be interpreted and dissected. I have followed the career of Ms. Pham for many years. There is no book that she touches that she does not improve with her unique style. Whether it’s zeroing in on a child’s neuroses in Alvin Ho or bringing lush life to a work of poetry as in A Stick Is an Excellent Thing, Pham’s art can run the gamut from perfect interstitial pen-and-inks to lush watercolor paints. I say that, but I have never, but ever, seen anything like what she’s done in The Boy Who Loved Math.

It would not be overstating the matter to call this book Pham’s masterpiece. The common story behind its creation is that there was some difficulty finding the perfect artist for it because whosoever put pen to paper here would have to be comfortable on some level with incorporating math into the art. Many is the artist who would shy away from that demand. Not Ms. Pham. She takes to the medium like a duck to water, seemingly effortlessly weaving equations, charts, diagrams, numbers, and theorems into pictures that also have to complement the story, feature the faces of real people, capture a sense of time (often through clothing) and place (often through architecture), and hardest of all, be fun to look at.

But that’s just for starters. The final product is MUCH more complex. I’m not entirely certain what the medium is at work here but if I had to guess I’d go with watercolors. Whatever it is, Pham’s design on each page layout is extraordinary. Sometimes she’ll do a full page, border to border, chock full of illustrations of a single moment. That might pair with a page of interstitial scenes, giving a feel to Paul’s life. Or consider the page where you see a group of diners at a restaurant, their worlds carefully separated into dotted squares (a hat tip to one of Paul’s puzzles) while Paul sits in his very own dotted pentagon. It’s these little touches that make it clear that Paul isn’t like other folks. All this culminates in Pham’s remarkable Erdős number graph, where she outdoes herself showing how Paul intersected with the great mathematicians of the day. Absolutely stunning.

Both Heiligman and Pham take a great deal of care to tell this tale as honestly as possible. The extensive “Note From the Author” and “Note From the Illustrator” sections in the back are an eye-opening glimpse into what it takes to present a person honestly to a child audience. In Pham’s notes she concedes when she had to illustrate without a guide at hand. For example, Paul’s babysitter (“the dreaded Faulein”) had to be conjured from scratch. She is the rare exception, however. Almost every face in this book is a real person, and it’s remarkable to look and see Pham’s page by page notes on who each one is.

Heiligman’s author’s note speaks less to what she included and more to what she had to leave out. She doesn’t mention the fact that Paul was addicted to amphetamines and honestly that sort of detail wouldn’t have served the story much at all. Similarly I had no problem with Paul’s father’s absence. Heiligman mentions in her note what the man went through and why his absences would make Paul’s mother the “central person in his life emotionally”. The book never denies his existence, it just focuses on Paul’s mother as a guiding force that was perhaps in some way responsible for the man’s more quirky qualities. The only part of the book that I would have changed wasn’t what Heiligman left out but what she put in. At one point the story is in the midst of telling some of Paul’s more peculiar acts as a guest (stabbing tomato juice cartons with knives, waking friends up at 4 a.m. to talk math, etc.). Then, out of the blue, we see a very brief mention of Paul getting caught by the police when he tried to look at a radio tower. That section is almost immediately forgotten when the text jumps back to Paul and his hosts, asking why they put up with his oddities. I can see why placing Paul in the midst of the Red Scare puts the tale into context, but I might argue that there’s no real reason to include it. Though the Note for the Author at the end mentions that because of this act he wasn’t allowed back in the States for a decade, it doesn’t have a real bearing on the thrust of the book. As they say in the biz, it comes right out.

I have mentioned that this book is a boon for the math-lovers of the world, but what about the kids who couldn’t care diddly over squat about mathy malarkey? Well, as far as I’m concerned the whole reason this book works is because it’s fun. A little bit silly too, come to that. Even if a kid couldn’t care less about prime numbers, there’s interest to be had in watching someone else get excited about them. We don’t read biographies of people exactly like ourselves all the time, because what would be the point of that? Part of the reason biographies even exist is to grant us glimpses into the lives of the folks we would otherwise never have the chance to meet. Your kid may never become a mathematician, but with the book they can at least hang out with one.

One problem teachers have when they teach math is that they cannot come up with a way to make it clear that for some people mathematics is a game. A wonderful game full of surprises and puzzles and queries. What The Boy Who Loved Math does so well is to not only show how much fun math can be on your own, it makes it clear that the contribution Paul Erdős gave to the world above and beyond his own genius was that he encouraged people to work together to solve their problems. Heiligman’s biography isn’t simply the rote facts about a man’s life. It places that life in context, gives meaning to what he did, and makes it clear that above and beyond his eccentricities (which admittedly make for wonderful picture book bio fare) this was a guy who made the world a better place through mathematics. What’s more, he lived his life exactly the way he wanted to. How many of us can say as much? So applause for Heiligman and Pham for not only presenting a little known life for all the world to see, but for giving that life such a magnificent package as this book. A must purchase.

On shelves June 25th

Source: Advanced readers galley sent from publisher for review.

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15. Review of the Day: Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

By Laura Vaccaro Seeger
A Neal Porter Book – Roaring Brook (an imprint of Macmillan)
ISBN: 978-1-59643-397-7
Ages 4-8
On shelves March 27th

Sometimes you just want to show a kid a beautiful picture book. Sometimes you also want that book to be recent. That’s the tricky part. Not that there aren’t pretty little picture books churned out of publishing houses every day. Of course there are. But when you want something that distinguishes itself and draws attention without sparkles or glitter the search can be a little fraught. We children’s librarians sit and wait for true beauty to fall into our laps. The last time I saw it happen was Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse. Now I’m seeing it again with Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s Green. I mean just look at that cover. I vacillate between wanting to smear those thick paints with my hands and wanting to lick it to see if it tastes like green frosting. If my weirdness is any kind of a litmus test, kids will definitely get a visceral reaction when they flip through the pages. I know we’re talking colors here but if I were to capture this book in a single word then there’s only one that would do: Delicious.

Open the book and the first pictures you see are of a woodland scene. Two leaves hang off a nearby tree as the text reads “forest green”. Turn the page and those leaves, cut into the paper itself, flip over to two fishies swimming in the deep blue sea. A tortoise swims lazily by, bubbles rising from its head (“sea green”). Another page and the holes of the bubbles are turned over to become the raised bumps on a lime. And so it goes with each new hole or cut connecting one kind of green to another. We see khaki greens, wacky greens, slow greens and glow greens until at last Seeger fills the page with boxes filled with different kinds of green. This is followed by a stop sign and the words “never green” against an autumn background. On the next page it is winter and “no green” followed by an image of a boy planting something. The final spread shows a man and his daughter gazing at a tree. The description: “forever green”. You bet.

Can a color be political? Absolutely. In a given election season you’ll see red vs. blue, after all. In children’s books colors would historically be associated with races or countries (hence the flare up around titles like Two Reds). Green occupies a hazy middle ground here. We all know about the Green Party or green activism. However, it’s not as if you’ll find many parents forbidding their children to read this book because it pushes a pro-environment agenda. Seeger is subtler than that. Yes, her book does end with humans planting and admiring trees, but thanks to her literary restraint the message isn’t thwapping you over the head with a tire iron. She could have turned her “no green” two-page spread into some barren landfill-esque wasteland. Instead we see a snow scene. This is followed by the only silent two pages i

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16. Stephen Morrison Named Picador Publisher

Penguin Books associate publisher Stephen Morrison will serve as the new publisher at Macmillan’s Picador Books. He starts on April 30th.

Henry Holt publisher Stephen Rubin and FSG publisher Jonathan Galassi welcomed the new editor in a memo: “Stephen brings exactly the right combination of enthusiasm, fortitude, resourcefulness and experience to grow Picador into a dynamic division committed to publishing a wide range of paperback reprints, paperback originals , hardcover works of fiction and nonfiction and digital-only publications.  Stephen’s mandate is to make Picador one of the industry’s most undaunted, aggressive marketing machines, culling books from all of Macmillan’s divisions, including St. Martins, FSG and Holt.”

Picador publisher Frances Coady departed last month in a company restructuring. Previously, Morrison served as executive editor at Bloomsbury, a senior editor at Penguin and a senior scout at Maria B. Campbell Associates.

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17. Coming Attractions: Fall 2012: Macmillan!!


stimpy glee Coming Attractions: Fall 2012: Macmillan!!Earlier this week, you may have heard the dogs barking in your neighborhood.  Perhaps all of the car alarms went off simultaneously.  Perhaps you were listening to the radio, and a strange squeeling noise was heard.  Perhaps a bit of dust was dislodged from the ceiling tiles over your cubicle, creating a small rain of particles.

That was me.

Generally, my squeels of joy are at the lower, Stimpson J. Cat, level.  Sometimes, I might bounce up and down in my chair if I see something really cool.  This week, I saw something so utterly cool and unexpected that my squeel went hypersonic.

Now, regular readers know I’ve seen a lot of cool stuff in my 40+ years on this planet.  I love seeking out the strange and cool and unusual, and love sharing it with others.  So, what, pray tell, could be so amazingly awesome to cause an uninhibited and automatic reflex that shakes window panes?

Let me enumerate them.

  1. There’s a Pipi Longstocking book I haven’t read.
  2. It’s been out of print for thirty years.
  3. It’s a collection of Pippi Longstocking comics.
  4. The comics were drawn by the same artist who illustrated the prose novels.
  5. It’s a full-color hardcover from Drawn+Quarterly.

Pippi Longstocking has been translated into 64 languages.  Astrid Lindgren is one of those superheroes of literature, and pretty awesome!

  • The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award pays out about $750,000 dollars (SEK 5,000,000) annualy to notable children’s writers, illustrators, and promoters of children’s literature.
  • She was the second recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
  • She will appear on the soon-to-be-redesigned 20 Kroner banknote.
  • She has her own amusement park, based on her books.
  • In 1978, the Russians named a minor asteriod after her.  When announced, she is said to have declared “From now on you can address me [as] Asteroid Lindgren”.
  • The first Swedish microsatellite was named for her, and the scientific instruments were named after her characters.

Here’s the info from the Macmillan catalog:

9781770460997 Coming Attractions: Fall 2012: Macmillan!! Pippi Moves In

Astrid Lindgren, Ingrid Vang Nyman
On Sale Date: November 13, 2012, Ship Date: October 25, 2012
56 pages
Full-Color Illustrations Throughout
Hardback / With dust jacket
9781770460997, 1770460993
Author Bio: Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002) was the creator of one of S

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18. Macmillan CEO Made Agency Model Decision on Exercise Bike

Macmillan CEO John Sargent has released a public letter addressed to “authors, illustrators and agents,” sharing the moment he decided to join the agency model in 2010–setting prices for eBooks across different retailers.

Check it out: “I am Macmillan’s CEO and I made the decision to move Macmillan to the agency model. After days of thought and worry, I made the decision on January 22nd, 2010 a little after 4:00 AM, on an exercise bike in my basement. It remains the loneliest decision I have ever made, and I see no reason to go back on it now. Other publishers have chosen to settle. That is their decision to make. We have decided to fight this in court.”

The moment will play a crucial role in court soon as the Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers, alleging that they colluded together to set eBook prices. Sargent disputed these claims in his long letter. We’ve reprinted the entire letter below…



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19. DOJ Sues Apple & Publishers Over eBook Prices

Multiple reports have surfaced that the Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers for allegedly colluding to set eBook prices. We will update as the story evolves this morning.

Bloomberg had the first complete report: “The U.S. filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Corp., Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster in New York district court, claiming collusion over eBook pricing.”

The Wall Street Journal added: “A settlement involving some of the publishers is expected to be filed Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.” Digital Book World has a letter from Macmillan CEO John Sargent:”Other publishers have chosen to settle. That is their decision to make. We have decided to fight this in court.”

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20. Macmillan CEO Made Agency Model Decision on Exercise Bike

Macmillan CEO John Sargent has released a public letter addressed to “authors, illustrators and agents,” sharing the moment he decided to join the agency model in 2010–setting prices for eBooks across different retailers.

Check it out: “I am Macmillan’s CEO and I made the decision to move Macmillan to the agency model. After days of thought and worry, I made the decision on January 22nd, 2010 a little after 4:00 AM, on an exercise bike in my basement. It remains the loneliest decision I have ever made, and I see no reason to go back on it now. Other publishers have chosen to settle. That is their decision to make. We have decided to fight this in court.”

The moment will play a crucial role in court soon as the Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers, alleging that they colluded together to set eBook prices. Sargent disputed these claims in his long letter. We’ve reprinted the entire letter below…



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21. DOJ Sues Apple & Publishers Over eBook Prices

Multiple reports have surfaced that the Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers for allegedly colluding to set eBook prices. We will update as the story evolves this morning.

Bloomberg had the first complete report: “The U.S. filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Corp., Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster in New York district court, claiming collusion over eBook pricing.”

The Wall Street Journal added: “A settlement involving some of the publishers is expected to be filed Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.” Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote a public letter about the case. Read the whole letter here: “Other publishers have chosen to settle. That is their decision to make. We have decided to fight this in court.”

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22. On the Road to Mr. Mineo's

 Macmillan's Fall 2012 Catalog



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23. Youth Media And Marketing Movers & Shakers

Today we bring you another installment of Youth Media Movers and Shakers. We’ve culled through industry publications looking for the recent executive placements we think you should know about. If you have executive news that you want us to... Read the rest of this post

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24. Hidden - Review

Publication date: 10 May 2011 by Farrar Straus & Giroux
ISBN 10/13: 0446574473 | 9780446574471
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Category: Young Adult Verse Novel
Keywords: Kidnapping, friendship, forgiveness, compassion, camp
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased from Vroman's Bookstore

From the jacket copy:

When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra's father steals a minivan. He doesn't know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too.

Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth—that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories that they’ve hidden for so long. Told from alternating viewpoints, this novel-in-poems reveals the complexities of memory and the strength of a friendship that can overcome pain.

Alethea's Review:

I once had a parent tell me that she did not want her daughter (14 at the time) reading verse novels as they were "too short" and "too easy". I tried to tell her they are just different--that the form of the novel does tend towards brevity, but that extracting meaning from verse is sometimes a more difficult skill for kids to pick up. The parent was adamant, and I felt bad for her child--she'd be missing out on some great stories just because they were told in poetry format, or would at least until she is able to choose her own reading material. I hope that girl gets to read Hidden
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25. Trailer Reveal

Only two more days until....

the world premiere of the trailer for
On the Road to Mr. Mineo's


and some other cool stuff

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