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1. Pick of the Week for MELT and This Week’s Topic

tumblr_noz4h0tEdT1uur6hko1_1280

It’s Illustration Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Mariana Yatsuda Ikuta, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of PET. Thanks to everyone else for participating. We hope it was inspiring!

You can also see a gallery of all the other entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

MONSTER

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

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2. Pick of the Week for MELT and This Week’s Topic

tumblr_noz4h0tEdT1uur6hko1_1280

It’s Illustration Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Mariana Yatsuda Ikuta, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of PET. Thanks to everyone else for participating. We hope it was inspiring!

You can also see a gallery of all the other entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

MONSTER

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

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3. How Do Award Judges Feel About the Books They Were Unable to Honor?

Best YA and Middle-Grade novels selected by Pete Hautman. His latest book is Eden West, the story of a boy growing up in an isolated doomsday cult in Montana.

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4. What book will you take to the beach?

OnTheBeachIn my fantasy world, as I say in my introduction to the Horn Book’s annual summer reading recommendations. kids (and grownups) could read whatever they like while on their break. Wouldn’t that be GREAT? While I remember exhortations from teachers to read over the summer (not like I or probably you needed any encouragement) there were no lists and certainly no required reading. Those were the days.

I don’t yet have anything planned for my beach reading this year. I am not at all sure I will even see a beach, but in case I do, can anyone offer a recommendation?

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5. Best book bracketology

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. A fresh, clean bracket has names neatly penciled into open slots, representing optimism and promise for excitement. Meanwhile, the sweetness of the beginning is quickly thrown into tumult, as surprises abound and unpredicted losses become the talk of Twitter. The competition is fierce, and the stakes are high. Naturally, I’m talking about March Picture Book Madness!

I was scouring through my daily dose of teacher blogs (a heavily addicting recreational activity, though I highly recommend it) when I came across an article in one of my absolute favorites. The Nerdy Book Club (yes, that’s its real name) was advocating for countrywide participation in a March Madness book battle. Over 700 schools across the US were putting in their picks for top-seeded picture books, middle grade novels, or young adult fiction. The website would then generate a bracket, with classrooms everywhere participating in the “madness!” My class just had to get in on all the fun — what an exciting excuse to indulge into picture books, and providing a fun incentive for read-aloud time!

Worried that your school may not have the funds to take on this challenge? Have no fear! Our grade level team didn’t enter the actual pool. We decided to use the list of books selected on the website as guide, and see which ones we could find in our school library. For ones that we could not find, we simply supplemented with other incredible picture books that we found! I put on my artistic hat and created my own bracket out of a large piece of card stock.

Just as the March Madness basketball brackets stem from different regions, the picture book bracket had two distinct categories: books written prior to 2014, and books written throughout the 2014-2015 season. This created a wonderful opportunity for all of us to explore the latest in children’s literature, as well as revisiting some old favorites. Check out the picture below for our classroom picks (click to see it larger). I know we’re past March now, but the fervor is still in the air as we come to our top pick. I hope you’ll consider an activity like this next year as it really isn’t that maddening to organize!

 marchmadness_500x368

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6. Publisher Anita Eerdmans on Roger Is Reading a Book

roger is reading a bookIn our May/June 2015 issue, we asked publisher Anita Eerdmans about the bespectacled, bowtied — and strangely familiar-looking — protagonist of Roger Is Reading a Book. Read the review here.

Horn Book Editors: We’d like to know: Is that Roger our Roger?

Anita Eerdmans: Yes and no. In the original Dutch, the main character is called simply Neighbor (Buurman). One of our acquisitions team members objected to the impersonal nature of it and suggested we give Neighbor a name — maybe something alliterative with the title. Something like… “Roger.” Those of us who know Roger Sutton were immediately struck by the character’s uncanny likeness (bowtie and all). And so to our great delight, “Neighbor” became “Roger” (with thanks to the Belgian publisher, De Eenhoorn, who allowed the change).

From the May/June 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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7. My Writing and Reading Life: Heath McKenzie

Heath McKenzie | The Children’s Book Review | May 18, 2015 Heath McKenzie has illustrated numerous picture books and children’s book jackets. He lives with his wife and kids in Melbourne, Australia. Latest published book … My Rules For Being A Pretty Princess You wrote it because … …at the time, my wife and I were expecting our first […]

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8. Learning Patterns and Colors with Books

Learning patterns and colors with three kids books about color and patterns.

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9. Five Family Favorites with Kim T. Griswell, Author of Rufus Goes to the Sea

My five kids are grown now (four boys and one girl), and most of them have children of their own. ... The list got longer and longer and soon it was tough to choose, but these five came out on top.

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10. Saaba Tahir, Author of An Ember in the Ashes | Speed Interview

Which five words best describe An Ember in the Ashes (Razorbill, April 2015), by Saaba Tahir? Adventurous, Brutal, Honest, Fast-Paced, Romance

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11. Book & Me | Comic #7

Book & Me #7 by Charise Mericle Harper

Previous | Next (May 14)

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12. National Parks: Top 10 Kids’ Books

For those of you planning to take your kids to a national park in 2015, here are some excellent books you need to take along for the ride.

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13. Ladybug Girl Series | Book Giveaway

Enter to win copies of Ladybug Girl, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, and Ladybug Girl at the Beach, by David Soman and Jacky Davis. Giveaway begins May 12, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends June 11, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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14. Book & Me | Comic #4

Book & Me #4 by Charise Mericle Harper

Previous | Next (May 11)

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15. Marcia Brown, 1918-2015

brown_stonesoupWe were saddened to hear about the death of author-illustrator Marcia Brown this week at the age of ninety-six. The winner of three Caldecott Medals — for Cinderella in 1955, Once a Mouse in 1962, and Shadow in 1983 — she was also recognized with a whopping six Caldecott Honors (including her indelible Stone Soup in 1948). She was awarded the Regina Medal in 1977 and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1992.

Writings by and about Brown frequently appeared in The Horn Book Magazine. Here is a sampling:

“Distinction in Picture Books” by Marcia Brown (1949)

1955 Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Marcia Brown

“My Goals as an Illustrator” by Marcia Brown (1967)

Letter, with illustration, from Marcia Brown to Bertha Mahony Miller (undated)

“Marcia Brown and Her Books” by Alice Dalgliesh (1955 Caldecott Medal profile)

“From Caldecott to Caldecott” by Helen Adams Masten (1962 Caldecott Medal profile)

“Marcia Brown” by Janet A. Loranger (1983 Caldecott Medal profile)

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16. Children’s Book Trends | May 2015

This month, The Children's Book Review's book trends indicate that you all enjoy perusing the best seller lists and book giveaways. We've got plenty for you, so, dig in!

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17. The Art of Writing About Villains

I’m not sure if there is an “art” to writing about villains, but I do find that to write convincing and three-dimensional villains, one must be sympathetic to their plight.

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18. Best Selling Kids Series | May 2015

This month's best selling kids series from The Children's Book Review's affiliate store remains the same, it's the wonderfully educational series The Adventures of Riley.

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19. Six Spins on Historical Fiction YA Novels

Young Adult novel writers are putting their spin on historical fiction, covering historical mysteries, contemporary historical reinterpretations, steampunk, historical romances, and more.

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20. Jack and Hazel

Jack-the-lad

Jack-the-lad

WHY I have to go to Chicago to see Jack Gantos when he lives only a mile away from my office is a question I’ll happily ignore to hear his Zena Sutherland Lecture at the Chicago Public Library tomorrow night. Join us if you can; otherwise you can read Jack’s speech in the Horn Book this fall. I’m also looking forward to brunch with Hazel Rochman, or, as Milton Meltzer once referred to her, “that damned Hazel Rochman,” the lady having incurred his ire for insisting, in a far-reaching and lastingly influential Booklist editorial, that nonfiction writers for the young cite their sources. Now it’s hard to imagine that they didn’t!

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21. Signs of springtime: construction

A late addition to our “signs of springtime” list: ’tis the season for construction!

construction

This is right near our office on The Fenway, but cranes are popping up like crocuses all over Boston.

Here are some recent construction books for preschool- and early primary-aged kids (particularly vehicle-obsessed ones!), recommended by The Horn Book Magazine.

building our houseJonathan Bean draws on his childhood memories to demonstrate the process of one family building its own house in his 2013 BGHB Picture Book Award–winning Building Our House. A little girl narrates the engaging and warm account; the steps are broken down into captions for half-page panels, while moments of greater import, such as setting the corners for the foundation, receive full- and double-page spreads. Family and friends make not just a house but a cozy home. (Farrar, 2013)

dotlich_what can a crane pick upWhat can a crane pick up? According to Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s What Can a Crane Pick Up?, anything and everything. Dotlich’s energetic, smoothly rhyming text is well matched with Lowery’s childlike mixed-media illustrations. The images of happy, friendly-looking machines (and animals, planets, and underpants) are irresistible; the playful hand-lettered verse is full of silly surprises. Mike Lowery’s subdued palette balances the wacky scenes of smiley cranes taking on the challenges. (Knopf, 2012)

fleming_bulldozer's big dayOn his “big day,” Bulldozer practically flies across the construction site; he can’t wait to invite all his friends to his party. He starts with Digger: “Guess what today is!” But everyone appears too preoccupied with work to guess the answer to Bulldozer’s question. Poor Bulldozer: “‘No games.’ He sniffed. ‘No friends. No party.’” Of course, there is a party; everyone has secretly been working on constructing a giant birthday cake, which Crane hoists up, candles blazing. Birthday surprises, cake, and construction vehicles — little bulldozers will lift their blades up high for Candace Fleming and and Eric Rohmann’s Bulldozer’s Big Day. (Atheneum, 2015)

harper_go go go stopCharise Mericle Harper’s quirky Go! Go! Go! Stop! stars two traffic lights and a fleet of construction vehicles. Little Green shouts “GO!”, and Bulldozer, Dump Truck, Mixer, and friends get to work. But without a way to not go, things threaten to spiral out of control. Then a red “stranger” rolls onto the site, and disaster is averted — eventually. Harper’s action-packed illustrations feature cheerful trucks in colorful cartoonlike scenes. Lively dialogue adds to the storytime fun. (Knopf, 3–6 years)

low_machines go to workIn Machines Go to Work by William Low, each of six small vignettes introduces one or two machines (e.g., TV news helicopter); pose a question (“Is there an accident ahead?”); and, through foldout flaps, offers a (reassuring) answer (“No, a family of ducks is crossing the road”). This design, along with terrific sound effects, encourages listeners to join in. Digital art brightly colors each page with slightly impressionistic tones. (Holt, 2009)

machines go to work in the cityMachinery-loving preschoolers are first introduced to a particular situation involving vehicles, from a garbage truck to a tower crane to an airplane in companion Machines Go to Work in the City. What happens next? Lift a flap (which provides an extended scene of the problem at hand) and find out. Just as they did in Machines Go to Work, Low’s painterly illustrations display the drama and excitement of a bustling cityscape.

meshon_tools ruleA diligent T-square rallies its fellow tools to get to work building a shed in Aaron Meshon’s Tools Rule! One helpful illustration shows the tools, strewn about the lawn, but with captionlike arrows to identify what’s what. Meshon’s lively text is full of tool-centric wordplay; a detailed note describes his process for creating the digitally colored mixed-media illustrations of smiley tools with a can-do attitude. (Atheneum, 2014)

demolitionIn Sally Sutton’s Demolition, a demolition crew tears down an old building, sorts scraps of material, and hauls the debris off to make room for a new construction project, revealed at the end to be a playground. The rhyming text, full of onomatopoeia and muscular action words, captures the excitement and energy of big trucks hard at work. Brian Lovelock’s meticulous illustrations give the job site a suitably dusty patina. (Candlewick, 2012)

sutton_constructionSutton and Lovelock offer a builder’s-eye view of a construction project with Demolition companion Construction. The rhyming text’s onomatopoeia and action verbs capture the site’s sounds; cleanly rendered illustrations feature heavy machinery, tools, and men and women hard at work. Listeners will enjoy guessing what the new building will be before the reveal: “The library’s here for everyone. / Ready… / STEADY… / READ!” (Candlewick, 2014)

 

sturges_construction kitties_300x300Four indisputably cute overall-clad kitties don hard hats and hop into colorful earthmovers to dig, move, push, and smooth dirt at a construction site in Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges’s Construction Kitties. Shari Halpern’s irresistible gouache illustrations do the heavy lifting here, channeling Byron Barton’s style (strong black lines, rich hues) but with more subtlety of color. With its bold images and straightforward text, this book would make a good storytime choice.

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22. Best Selling Picture Books | May 2015

This month our best selling picture book from our affiliate store remains the same. It's the gorgeously illustrated Sleep Like a Tiger, written by Mary Lougue and pictures by Pamela Zagarenski.

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23. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | May 2015

It's true TCBR readers are fans of Greek myths! That's why, this month, the National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology is The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book.

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24. Best New Stars Wars Books: May the 4th Be with You

The Children's Book Review strikes back with the return of the Star Wars book list. Grab your favorite little droid and treat them to a galactic read—the force is strong in these books.

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25. Best Selling Young Adult Books | May 2015

With so many strong novels on this list, a lot remains the same on our hand-picked list from the Best Selling Young Adult list.

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