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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Scholastic, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Books to get (& avoid) from the We Need Diverse Books/Scholastic Reading Club collaboration

A few weeks ago, Scholastic and We Need Diverse Books announced a Special Edition of the Scholastic Reading Club program.

You know what I'm talking about, right? You remember your teacher handing out those book club flyers? You remember poring over the options, deciding which ones you'd get? And then the joy when they arrived!

I was on both ends of that program. As a kid, I got books that way, and as an elementary school teacher, my students got books that way, too.

Like anyone, Scholastic has an uneven track record in terms of the books they publish. Some are great, some are not.

When I saw the first page of the flyer for this collaboration between Scholastic and We Need Diverse Books, my first thought was "Oh no! Not Stone Fox!" That book has stereotypical imagery in it. The stoic Indian in it is violent, too, striking the white kid that is the main character. Even though it all comes out ok in the end, I don't recommend it. Stereotypes are just no good, for anyone.

I've finally gotten a chance to look over the entire flyer and am really glad to see Joseph Bruchac's Eagle Song is in there. I like that book a lot and recommend it. (The flyer also has Bruchac's story about the Trail of Tears, but I haven't read that one yet.)

Don't waste a dollar on Stone Fox. Spend three dollars instead, and get Eagle Song. Danny, the main character, is Mohawk. The setting is present day. His dad is a steelworker. They've moved to a city where Danny feels alone and is teased about his heritage. Like other Native families who find themselves in cities, they seek out a Native community, and find it at the American Indian Community House. Lot of good in this book! I highly recommend it. It was first published in in 1999 by Puffin Books.

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2. Taylor Swift Partners With Scholastic to Donate 25,000 Books

Taylor Swift (GalleyCat)Taylor Swift has formed a partnership with the Scholastic Possible Fund. The multi-Grammy Award winner (pictured, via) intends to show support for the Open a World of Possible initiative.

Swift will donate 25,000 books to 25 New York City-based schools. Each institution will receive 1,000 children’s books.

Greg Worrell, the president of Scholastic Education, gave this statement in the press release: “Scholastic is honored to join with Taylor Swift who continues to show a passion for literacy and a commitment to spreading the message of how influential books can be in a child’s life. Through this donation, we aim to encourage independent reading which inspires a love of learning and to ‘Open a World of Possible’ for more New York City students by making sure they have access to the very best children’s books.”

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3. Bloomsbury Announces Harry Potter Book Night 2016: “A Night of Spells”

Bloomsbury has announced the date and theme of it’s Harry Potter Book Night in 2016.


The first annual Harry Potter Book Night was held this past February, and saw over 10,500 parties organized in the UK, with the Twitter #HarryPotterBookNight trending for most of the day. When Harry Potter Book Night returns, Thursday, February 4th, 2016, even more excitement and more parties are expected. It will be bigger and better. Because of it’s success, international publishers have decided to join in and bring Harry Potter Book Night to fans all over the world.

Bloomsbury explains their choice in theme for Harry Potter Book Night 2016, saying:


Whether it is the disarming Expelliarmus or the dreaded Avada Kedavra, spells are at the very heart of all of the Harry Potter books, making them a perfect focus for the second Harry Potter Book Night.

With an updated event kit themed around spells and lots more exciting elements yet to be announced, once again fans of all ages will have the chance to celebrate J.K. Rowling’s wonderful novels – and pass the magic on to young readers who haven’t yet discovered these unforgettable books. 





To get the latest news on Harry Potter Book Night 2016, have access to kits, and more, visit the Harry Potter Book Night webpage. Those who registered for exclusive news letters last February should still be on the list to receive them. Mark your calendars, spread the word, get excited and get ready for HARRY POTTER BOOK NIGHT 2016: NIGHT OF SPELLS! (Capitalization 100% necessary.)


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4. Waddle! Waddle!

Waddle! Waddle! James Proimos. 2015. [November] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Yesterday was the best day ever! I met a spectacular dancer! He's my new best friend. But then I lost him.

Premise/plot: The narrator of Waddle! Waddle! is a penguin. He "found" a friend only to "lose" him. This new friend was a great dancer. The penguin tries to find him again, but, the two penguins he meets don't even know how to dance. One sings. One blows a horn. They prove themselves to be good friends in the end. Will he ever find his dancing friend?

My thoughts: Penguin doesn't recognize his own reflection. He is his own new friend with the amazing dance moves. I liked the repetition of this one: the waddle, waddle, belly slide. And the simplicity of the story worked for me in some ways. But I can't say I liked the illustrations. (Though it may just be the yellow eyes keeping me from liking it. I'm not sure.)

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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5. The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas. Clement Clarke Moore. Illustrated by David Ercolini. 2015. [September] 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

Premise/plot: A classic holiday poem has been published with new illustrations.

My thoughts: Love the original poem. I do. But do I love the poem paired with these new illustrations? I can't say that I do. The illustrations are certainly odd and unique. Very taste specific, I'd say! The illustrations are quite detailed, very, very busy. This family doesn't just decorate for Christmas. They DECORATE. For example, they hang ornaments on their lamp shades. For me, I thought it was a little too much. I didn't really like it. But other readers may enjoy it.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. J.K. Rowling and the New Children’s Book

In an interview with BBC Radio 2 to discuss Robert Galbraith’s Career of Evil, Rowling said, “I have written part of a children’s book that I really love so there will be another children’s book and I have ideas for other adult books…”  when asked if she would ever write as J.K. Rowling again.  Several sources, including Time and USA Today, have latched onto this statement.  However, this is not the first time that Rowling has mentioned the book.

Scholastic did an interview with J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter Reading Club in 2012.  In that discussion, Rowling said, “I think that the next thing that I publish is likely to be a book for children.”  Rowling then said that she knew “someone would seize on it and say, “She is definitely doing it!””

Here it is, three years later, and that is exactly what has happened.  Rowling also said in 2012, “So I try not to commit myself too much with my plans.”

Since that time, Rowling has been writing the Robert Galbraith books, a Harry Potter play, and the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts films.  It is no wonder then that she says in the BBC Radio 2 interview, “I’m not going to give you an absolute date [for a new book], because things are busy enough.”

Is this the “political fairytale” she talked about right after finishing Potter? Or have things changed in the last few years, as they most commonly do (an encyclopedia became Pottermore, and the story line of Cursed Child became the 8th Harry Potter). We are all anxious for another children’s book by J.K. Rowling, but we also know that just like the Cursed Child play, it will come when the moment is right.

To listen to the entire BBC Radio 2 interview, see here; to watch the Scholastic interview, see here.

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7. Scholastic to Offer Assistance to Syrian Refugees

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8. 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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9. Handful of Stars

Handful of Stars. Cynthia Lord. 2015. Scholastic. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I was not disappointed by Cynthia Lord's newest middle grade novel, A Handful of Stars. The book is set in Maine during the summer. Lily is a girl being raised by her grandparents; her best, best friend is a nearly-blind dog named Lucky. Lily hasn't been spending much time with her human best, best friend, Hannah, though. The girls may just be drifting apart, something that Lily thought was impossible at one time. But a chance meeting with Salma, a migrant worker in a blueberry barren, changes everything. Lily and Salma soon are inseparable, and, they seem to have a lot in common considering there "apparent" differences. (Differences that don't matter all that much when all is said and done.) Salma seems to understand perfectly the bond between Lily and Lucky, and, is eager to help Lily find a way to pay for the surgery that may give Lucky back her sight. Not every near-stranger will volunteer their time and talent every single day after a long day picking blueberries! Salma has her own way of seeing the world, and, Lily is used to seeing things only one way, her way. And Salma's presence in her life seems to be a great thing for Lily, and Lucky. But can Lily be such a blessing to Salma too? She just might!

This is a friendship-themed coming of age story that is more sweet than bitter.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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10. Are You My Mommy?

Board Book: Are You My Mommy? Joyce Wan. 2014 [December] Scholastic. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Mommy! Mommy! Where is my mommy? Are you my mommy? No, I'm a chicken and my baby is a...chick!

Premise/plot: A baby bunny goes in search of his (or her) mommy. The search takes place on the farm, of course, and the bunny will encounter several different animals before finally finding MOMMY.

My thoughts: I like this one. I don't love, love, love it. But I like it. There is just something charming about Wan's illustrations. I like the die-cuts on the pages which provide some clues for little ones.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. Peek-a-Boo Farm

Board Book: Peek-a-Boo Farm. Joyce Wan. 2015. Scholastic. 14 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: With a curly tail, I am pink and short. I play in the mud and go, "Oink, oink, snort." Guess who? Peek-a-boo! Pig

Premise/plot: Peek-a-Boo Farm is a board book for parents and caregivers to share with little ones. It is a companion book to Peek-a-Boo Zoo which I reviewed earlier in the year. Each spread reveals a riddle for little ones to solve. Can they guess--based on the rhyming clues--which animal is playing peek-a-boo? Flaps reveal the answer.

My thoughts: My favorite Joyce Wan title remains You Are My Cupcake. That title is probably my most favorite board book ever.  But Peek-a-Boo Farm is probably my second favorite title. I do enjoy her unique style of illustration. And the riddles are fun. Another title you might enjoy sharing with the little ones in your life: Pig-a-Boo! A Farmyard Peekaboo Book.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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12. Studio Press and Scholastic to Publish a Harry Potter Coloring Book

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13. The Best Friend Battle (2015)

Best Friend Battle. Lindsay Eyre. Illustrated by Charles Santoso. 2015. Scholastic. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]

It was a quick read. Was it a good quick read? For the most part, yes. Though I admit I'm not the target audience for this one. Sylvie, the heroine, is having a hard time sharing her best friend, Miranda, with others. With a few boys, to be exact. And one of the boys she just can't stand. His name is Georgie. And she thinks he's awful. But her friend, Miranda, well, she's friendly with him. She even cheers him on at baseball when he's on the opposing team to Sylvie. How could she, thinks Sylvie!!! Or, perhaps, how DARE she?!?!

When the novel opens, Miranda's birthday is fast approaching, and Sylvie is quite DESPERATE. How can she prove that she is all the best friend Miranda needs, and, that there is no room for Georgie too?! Well, Sylvie's methods are a bit extreme. And the book does get a bit dramatic, more over-the-top comedy than serious drama. And some of this drama is due to Sylvie's twin brothers getting involved in the friendship war...

This one is enjoyable. I liked it.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Counting Dogs

Board Book: Counting Dogs (StoryBox Book). Eric Barclay. 2015. Scholastic. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: One squirrel. Two kangaroos. Three turtles.

Premise/plot: It is a counting book. Various animals are counted.

My thoughts: But is it one dog counting? Or all ten?! It looks like just one dog gets to go on a counting adventure! Or perhaps they take turns being the one dog that gets to count? Regardless the dog in question I would say is definitely curious. But not always depicted as happy and carefree. Sometimes the expression on his face looks doubtful, worried, unsure, alarmed, or even unhappy. (For example, when he's balancing on one leg like a flamingo over the water. He doesn't look happy. And is it a coincidence that the next page has him IN the water counting fish?)

Overall, I was disappointed with this one. Why? Well. The cover looks fun, joyful, inviting. And the story itself, well, it doesn't match that spirit. The front cover, the back cover, the first page, the last page--there is something appealing and joyous about the illustrations. It looks promising. Like it would be a really fun, can't-miss book.

Also: This one says 3 and up.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Elissa Tomasetti Moves to Scholastic

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16. Kids Talk About the Impact of Reading

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17. Best New Kids Stories | November 2015

Hot New Releases & Popular Kids Stories It's important to keep up on the hot new releases and popular kids' books as we enter the gift giving season!

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18. Scholastic and We Need Diverse Books to Unveil a Diversity-Themed Book Club Flyer

We Need Diverse BooksThe Scholastic Reading Club and the We Need Diverse Books organization have established a new partnership.

The two collaborators have created a special book club flyer with over 75 books that star diverse protagonists and feature diverse storylines. During the holiday season, this flyer will be distributed to more than 100,000 classrooms and 2.5 million students.

Here’s more from the press release: “The collection showcases a wide variety of titles highlighting important themes about race and ethnicity, multiculturalism, different religions, LGBTQ stories, individuals with disabilities and more. The range of titles and the diversity of the authors will resonate with the widely diverse population of young readers served by Scholastic Reading Club through schools nationwide and help them understand and appreciate people, cultures and experiences different from their own. Additional titles beyond those featured in the flyers will be available online at Scholastic.com/ReadingClub.”

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19. Scholastic Education Hires Three New Executives

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20. New Images from the Illustrated Edition of “Harry Potter”

The U.S and UK illustrated editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone are hitting the shelves on October 6th, 2015. In January 2015, Scholastic and Bloomsbury released the first images from the book illustrated by British artist Jim Kay. Now, just a couple of weeks before the release of the book, Buzzfeed has released two new illustrations, one of them being a sketch of Harry Potter’s character.


According to Bloomsbury, the full-color illustrated edition of Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone is filled with “rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic”. Rowling herself has endorsed the book, saying:

“Seeing Jim Kay’s illustrations moved me profoundly. I love his interpretation of Harry Potter’s world, and I feel honoured and grateful that he has lent his talent to it.”

Buzzfeed has also released an exclusive video in which Kay talks about his artistic process and creation of his illustrations. To see that video and all of the illustrations released so far, visit the Buzzfeed article from here.  More information can also be found from the Bloomsbury website.

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21. Did You Read: Under Dogs by Markus Zusak

How wonderful to have three books in one collection: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl, by Markus Zusak. Thanks much, Scholastic! (And Arthur A. Levine for bringing the set together in hardback originally!) These books were written prior to The Book Thief and stand strongly. In my mind I've sequestered Markus' beautiful, poetic language to The Book Thief, thinking it fit the tone of that lifework so well. However, reading of the Wolfe brothers, I'm reminded it is Markus' voice which blooms with metaphors across his entire body of work. For me, it creates a sympathy, an understanding, a care for Cameron, the youngest brother making his way through his Australian adolescence.

From crazy schemes, to searches for identity, to family and friend relationships, Ruben and Cameron's exploits entertain and touch the heart with resonating honesty and truth. This is one to look for rgz, if you missed it go by. You have to get to know these brothers. Raise the boyfriend bar.

Under Dogs
By Markus Zusak
Scholastic, paperback, 2013

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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22. I Love My Dinosaur

Board Book: I Love My Dinosaur. Caroline Jayne Church. 2015. Scholastic. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Hi! I'm Patrick, and I love my dinosaur! 
So here's my little dino.
He's green with tiny teeth.
Scaly on his top side
And bumpy underneath.

Premise/plot: Readers meet a boy, Patrick, who loves his dinosaur. Through rhyme, he shares just why he loves his dinosaur so much.

My thoughts: Caroline Jayne Church's board books are best for young toddlers. The art is cute and precious-y. Some readers find that type of art irresistible. Others not so much. But you always know what to expect from Caroline Jayne Church.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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23. Mark of The Thief (2015)

Mark of The Thief. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2015. Scholastic. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Did I enjoy Jennifer A. Nielsen's Mark of the Thief? Yes!!! Very much. What should YOU know before picking it up? Well, it's a FANTASY novel set in Ancient Rome. Sound appealing? I think so! Here's how it starts:
In Rome, nothing mattered more than the gods, and nothing mattered less than its slaves. Only a fool of a slave would ever challenge the gods' power. I was beginning to look like that fool.
 Mark of the Thief is narrated by a slave, Nic, who through a series of events find himself in ever-increasing danger. It starts with him refusing to obey Sal's orders to go into a newly discovered tunnel/cave within the mine. He's not the first slave Sal's ordered there. The first died. The second, well, he came back clearly insane. Nic's escape attempt doesn't quite go as planned, it's best not to overhear EVIL, SECRET plans and be seen...But Nic is lucky in many ways when he does finally venture into the depths of the earth....

I would definitely recommend this one. Nic's character was great. And Nic meets a lot of interesting characters, including one he's not quite sure about at any given time: a young woman named Aurelia.

Betrayal, Secrets, Mystery and Suspense. Magic. ACTION. Just a few reasons why you might find this one difficult to put down!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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24. Dustin Nguyen & Derek Friedolfs to Illustrate Young Justice League for Scholastic in “DC Comics: Secret Hero Society”

You first heard about it from us a few weeks back— a secret project being produced by Eisner-nominated Lil’ Gotham co-writers Dustin Nguyen and Derek Friedolfs in partnership with all-ages book publisher Scholastic and DC Comics.  Finally, we have the official announcement. The first of three illustrated novels licensed by Scholastic, Secret Hero Society: The Study Hall of […]

4 Comments on Dustin Nguyen & Derek Friedolfs to Illustrate Young Justice League for Scholastic in “DC Comics: Secret Hero Society”, last added: 9/21/2015
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25. Scholastic Reports $191.2M in Revenues in Q1 2016

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