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Instead of giving you the same-old best-seller list of gift suggestions, I thought I'd make this year's post a little more personal and share which books my family will be giving/receiving. Maybe you'll find one of them to be a good gift for someone you know as well. :)
The Guinness World Records 2017 edition is for the boy child, but it always turns into a full-family gift as he reads aloud every. single. record. Mostly interesting for all, but beware this is not for the faint of heart; many of the bug and FOOD records can be quite disgusting!
The American Girl Guide is for the girl child because, like any fictional character, even the dolls have extensive back-stories. More history = deeper understanding = more imaginative and intelligent play!
Harry Potter #4 is for my husband, the most-behindest reader of all time. ;) We have a family rule that we can't watch a film until we've read the book and he REALLY wants to catch up to the rest of us with the movies, so now he can use the vacation week to crack this spine!
As for me, I have asked for - and hopefully not delusionally expect to recieve - The Bible as read by James Earl Jones. This tome of all tomes has been on my TBR list since really the beginning of days but its sheer size has kept it anchoring the bottom of the pile. But then, Totes Magotes!, I find a version that will be read to me by the greatest narrator* of all time?! It's the only item on my Santa list and I have been VERY good this year...
Be sure and let me know the best reads you give and receive this holiday season;
It felt like old times. There were midnight release parties. People dressed in costumes lining up for a new Harry Potter story. Many of us stayed up until the early hours of July 31st reading every line of the eighth Harry Potter story. While we have been gifted this sequel it may be our last Harry story. Since the release J.K. Rowling has said that this will be the end of Harry’s story which the Leaky Cauldron reported on recently. About the new excitement Ellie Berger, President Scholastic Trade stated,
“Eager fans of all ages gathered at midnight parties in bookstores and libraries to get their copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, bringing communities together to celebrate the magic of reading and the power of great storytelling.”
According to Entertainment Weekly Harry’s eighth story has sold over 2 million copies in 48 hours. These sales totals are for the United States as well as Canada and were released by Scholastic. Ellie Berger continued to discuss Cursed Child sales.
“It’s an incredible start and all the signs are indicating continued strong sales for this exciting release.”
While some fans are still sorting out their feelings toward this eighth story, one thing is for certain Harry still has the power to captivate his audience. To read more about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child sales visit ew.com.
Last Saturday, I went to the coolest, most magical party EVER. As my fellow Harry Potter super-fans know, the new Harry Potter book (for ages 12 and up) came out this weekend, and bookstores all over the world held midnight release parties. I went to the Strand Bookstore in New York City – with over 1,000 other Harry Potter fanatics!
The entire bookstore was packed with witches and wizards wearing their Hogwarts robes. I felt like I was hanging out in the Great Hall!
I played trivia games, drank Polyjuice Potion, and even took an elevator ride with Moaning Myrtle. My favorite part of the evening (besides getting the book, of course) was coloring pages from the Harry Potter Coloring Book in the Rare Books room. This place felt almost as magical as Hogwarts. Old books that Hermione would have loved filled the shelves, string lights hung above all the tables, and the Harry Potter movie soundtrack played in the background.
At around 11:30, it was time to line up at the checkout counter. Ten seconds before midnight, we all started counting down, and when it was officially July 31, everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to Harry. Within seconds, I had my copy of Cursed Child, and I started reading right when I got home.
I’m almost finished, and I have to stay, this book is as unpredictable as it is magical. I have no idea what’s going to happen next!
Have you started reading Cursed Child? What do you think? Let us know in the Comments!
A Flash Mob in New York City Celebrates a New Harry Potter Story by Adedayo Perkovich
In New York City, Harry Potter fans stopped traffic! More than 300 people streamed out of Scholastic’s headquarters onto Broadway, the street in front of the building. Scholastic employees and their children were part of a flash mob celebrating the July 31 publication of a new Harry Potter story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two.
Scholastic is the United States publisher of the best-selling Harry Potter series by British author J.K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of a wizard named Harry Potter and his classmates at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The eighth Harry Potter story is a script book based on a play that’s opening in London, England, on July 30. The play is by Jack Thorne and is based on an original story by Rowling, Thorne, and John Tiffany.
SHARING THE MAGIC
I had no idea what to expect as I entered Scholastic in the morning. Scholastic editors and artists whispered excitedly as they flooded down the escalator. The only word I caught was “Muggle.” In the auditorium, we were each given a copy of one of the original books in the series and a paddle announcing the publication of The Cursed Child.
Billy DiMichele, vice president of creative development at Scholastic, said that we were about to become a “Muggle Mob.” We would celebrate the upcoming release of The Cursed Child by doing a giant read-aloud in the middle of Broadway.
“This means that [we] can continue to share the magic with new generations of children,” DiMichele said.
Excitement continued to build as we rehearsed our movements and practiced reading aloud. Abram Chen, 10, said that he was thrilled “that there is going to be a new book to read.” Abram considers himself to be a Hufflepuff, his favorite house at Hogwarts.
As for editorial assistant Patrice Caldwell, she is “absolutely Slytherin,” she said. “It’s kind of cool to be here and imagine what it felt like when the first seven books came out,” Caldwell added. “This is a way to delve back into that world.”
After a few run-throughs, we calmly strolled outside with our paddles hidden inside our books, pretending to be tourists and typical passersby. Suddenly, music started playing and we rushed into our places in the middle of Broadway. (The street had been blocked off by the police for the event.) Then we read aloud from the Harry Potter books.
Our voices rose along with the music. Right on cue, we faced the Scholastic building and looked up. A giant, billowy banner began to drop, revealing the cover of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
We held up our paddles and cheered. Then we went into the crowd of observers and gave away copies of the original books to happy readers.
Lesley Little saw everything from the sidewalk. “This is fantastic,” she said. “I can’t wait to see the new play. I’m going to get to see it in London in September.” Suzanne Lewis, a Gryffindor, added, “This was a lot of fun. I could tell, even from blocks away, that something wonderful was happening.”
With the heavily anticipated and exciting launch of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ due to hit screens this November, Leaky was not only present at the San Diago Comic-Con event, but also lucky enough to get some behind the scenes action from our two representatives watching the live cast interviews unfold, from the Great Hall at Leavesden Studios in London!
Prior to the Live interviews commencing at Comic-Con, across the pond in London, we eagerly awaited the main event of the evening and took time to appreciate the Harry Potter Studios in all it’s glory! From famous sets to beautifully executed props with a magical aesthetic, the evening consisted of everything J.K. as we able to indulge in ultimate wizarding fan entertainment!
After a fantastic tour, fans were guided to a private screening, showing us the newly released trailer of ‘Fantastic Beasts’. Watch the trailer here! (If you havent’t seen it already–it’s amazing!)
Finally the Great Hall doors were opened, and along with some limited edition, ‘Newt Scamander’ wands gifted by Warner Bros, the audience was seated ready to go live with everyone at the SDCC exclusive event! The interaction with the cast was brilliant, with Ezra Miller and Dan Fogler receiving a particularly cheerful response from our London audience as they made the interview even more fun amongst their talented co-stars.
As a perfect round off to the already magical evening at the Warner Bros Studios, we were given a glimpse at the extraordinary 1920’s costumes used in the movie. The wizarding world felt very much present as fans took a good look at the very individual looks presented, but they definitely emitted something fresh and original to keep everyone on their toes for the latest Rowling installment!
Over in San Diego, Carianne and Tabitha met up with Warner Bros to take seats across from the Fantastic Beasts cast, as everyone prepared for a live Q&A with the cast of one of the most anticipated films of the year. Carianne, a proud Hufflepuff (just like Newt!) from San Diego, and Tabitha a proud Gryffindor, with a lot of Hufflepuff qualities mixed in, wrote about their experience at the events unfolding at SDCC 2016.
Carianne described what it was like behind the scenes, saying:
Being in the room in San Diego during the livestream was an incredible experience. The Fantastic Beasts group was so close to me that I couldn’t even fit them all in one picture! When they entered the room, the cast was buzzing with excitement over how well their Hall H presentation had gone (that room holds 6,500 people, so it’s a pretty big deal). Their energy was electrifying and contagious and an absolute joy to watch!
Then the host announced “2 minutes till live!” and the room suddenly became still and silent with anticipation. To lighten things up again, Ezra Miller started cracking jokes, such as giving us signals to follow during the live stream: He said if he tugged his ear we were supposed to laugh, and if he scratched his nose we were supposed to cheer! He was kidding, of course, but he got everyone laughing and really livened the room up again. He was such a riot! (Ezra also made a few hilarious quips after the Leavesden host said she wanted to “Take an Ezra Miller home,” but those might be the kind of things he would rather I did not share with the internet.)
After the livestream, they stood on the stage talking to each other for a few moments, looking just like a group of friends rather than co-movie-stars. It was clear that this cast really gets along well with each other. Their was a friendly and supportive demeanor among all of them. It honestly just made me even MORE excited for the film to come out! November can’t come soon enough
As the even ended, a few of the cast members gave a little bit of attention afterward to the fans that were in the room. They didn’t have a lot of time (as they were running late to make it to their next event), but just a “thank you for your question!”, a high-five, or a quick photo went a long way. They were in no way obligated to do any of those things — they just did it because they are nice. My only regret is that I couldn’t spend more time talking with them! Maybe someday…
Tabitha wrote about her experience and the atmosphere in the hall:
There was a great spirit of camaraderie between all of the writers/interviews there. I talked a bit with a couple of writers there, one representing Snitchseeker and the other MuggleNet. We got to know each other a little before the interview, and we all expressed how excited we were for this opportunity.
To me, as someone who has never been behind-the-scenes for something like this, it was fascinating how something as seemingly simple as an interview takes so much preparation by a host of different people. All of the camera operators had to prepare their equipment and test it extensively; other members of the crew had to test the live-feed between San Diego and Leavesden to make sure it worked properly; and of course, there were quite a few people dedicated solely to making sure the actors were ready.
On a light note, the room the interview took place in was *tiny*! It was maybe a fifth of the size of the Great Hall shown in Leavesden. The stage took up about half of the room, and there was hardly any free space for people to move around in.
Unfortunately, the cast couldn’t stick around for long after the interview. They were rushed out pretty much immediately afterwards to go sign autographs at Comic Con.
Thank you to Georgia, Gemma, Tabitha and Carianne for attending the Fantastic Beasts Live Q&A events both in London and SDCC 2016. The video of the event can be seen here.
Nine years ago Harry Potter fans across the globe were reading the final book of Harry’s epic journey, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We had invested our lives in these books and we were finally getting answers. The global phenomenon that is and was Harry Potter culminated in an amazing tale of horcruxes and the Deathly Hallows.
This book revealed the appalling lengths that Voldemort would go to just to preserve his life. It also showed the lengths the trio would go to save the wizarding world. We learned things were not always black and white especially in regards to Dumbledore and Snape. We were also left with an epilogue that allowed for closure.
Here we are nine years later. Now we are eagerly anticipating the release of Rowling’s new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and her film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The wizarding world has also been expanded greatly via Pottermore.
Yet many of us return again and again to those original seven books. As we celebrate the ninth anniversary of The Deathly Hallows many of us can’t believe the impact those books have had on us and continue to have.
During a recent Pottermore interview, Award winning actor Dan Fogler who plays Jacob Kowalski in “Fantastic Beasts” spoke about his admiration and respect for co star Alison Sudol.
Speaking of his fondness towards Alison, who effortlessly exudes glamour as the character Queenie, Fogler says “Alison is an angel. She’s an angel”.
“The moment I saw her, I knew her energy was just perfect. When she gets in the make-up and she’s Queenie and she’s got the lights on her, she’s got skin that glows, you know? When I saw her for the first time, I was like, holy…. It’s Alison Monroe over here – Marilyn’s cousin.”
“She has that feminine, delicate quality about her that also lends itself to comedy in an Audrey Hepburn kind of way.”
With No-Maj character Jacob and Queenie, (sister of Tina) sparking our attention as they become part of the prevailing foursome of the film, it is already very exciting to see their relationships develop both on and off screen.
Dan continues ‘Together we’ve got a bit of an Adelaide and Nathan Detroit [from Guys and Dolls] thing going. So I’m always referencing something, that’s where I come from. I do a lot of homages in my work so I’m always referencing something. That’s what it feels like with the two of us.’
“She’s the real professional, she’s a rock star.”
Just like Harry Potter, with those endearing relationships built from the start between the likes of Dan, Emma and Rupert, fans can expect a second istallation of charming, genuine chemistry and sparking friendships yet again within the 3 upcoming films. The combination of four protagonists this time shows us it’s definitely going to be a bumpy ride for Newt, and we can’t wait to see how the story pans out for him and his friends.
To read the full interview, visit Pottermore here!
“Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them” debuts November 18th.
The Harry Potter fandom has longed for more information on Harry Potter’s world ever since The Deathly Hallows was published almost 9 years ago. So it is no surprise that the pre-orders for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have been staggering. According to Digital Journal
The company states that the new book has sold more copies at its initial release than any other in the series to date.
While many will not be able to attend the stage production in London in the coming months they will be able to read the much anticipated new story from Rowling. The Cursed Child has also seen the revival of the midnight release party. From Geeky Con to Barnes & Noble to local bookstores the excitement is palpable. The book is also a top seller on Amazon.com.
Once again Harry Potter fans will get to experience a new book together. This will only add to the already close knit community of Potter fans. The book will be released on July 31 of this year. Convenient as that is both Harry’s and Rowling’s birthday. As we all read this new story together it will deepen our knowledge and love of the Wizarding World that Rowling has created.
Happy Birthday to Dobby the House Elf! Celebrate with Quotes!
In honor of our favorite house elf, Dobby, from the Harry Potter series and his birthday on June 28th, we would like to take a moment to reflect on his awesomeness and wisdom.
As many of you know, Dobby started as a house elf enslaved to the Malfoy family. He loved Harry, and Harry eventually helped Dobby earn his freedom when he tricked Lucius Malfoy into giving him his freedom. He then worked at Hogwarts, giving us tons of hilarious one-liners and escapes until the bitter end. But enough about that! Let’s now celebrate Dobby with some of his most memorable quotes!
“Dobby will have to punish himself most grievously for coming to see you, sir. Dobby will have to shut his ears in the oven door for this.” (Chamber of Secrets)
Harry: ”You’d better clear off before my bones come back, Dobby, or else I might strangle you.”
Dobby: ”Dobby is used to death threats, sir. Dobby gets them five times a day at home.” (Chamber of Secrets)
“Harry Potter mustn’t be angry with Dobby. Dobby did it for the best.” (Chamber of Secrets)
“Socks are Dobby’s favorite, favorite clothes sir! But sir… they has made a mistake in the shop, Harry Potter, they is giving you two the same.” (Goblet of Fire)
“And if Dobby does it wrong, Dobby will throw himself off the topmost tower, Harry Potter!” (Half-Blood Prince)
Bellatrix Lestrange: ”You stupid elf! You could have killed me!”
Dobby: ”Dobby never meant to kill! Dobby only meant to maim, or seriously injure!”(Deathly Hallows)
Dobby’s last words whispered before death, “Harry Potter…” (Deathly Hallows)
I can’t say how much I loved Dobby’s character. What about you guys? Share your deepest thoughts in the Comments below!
Monday night, two beautiful tributes were payed to those we lost in the tragedy that happened at a gay nightclub early sunday morning. One, on Shaftsberry Avenue in London, the other, thousands of miles away, at a theme park in Orlando.
Jo tweeted this photo of the screens outside the Cursed Child theater on Shaftsbury Avenue in London. I am thankful that this fandom is led by such a wonderful women like Jo. The powerful image of the gay flag being flown outside of the theater will surely inspire many to stand up and fight for what we have lost.
That same night, fans gathered and raised their wands outside the Wizarding World in Orlando, Florida, to pay tribute to our fellow wizard, Luis Vielma, who we lost in the shooting (see previous article here). A video was posted soon after the tribute took place, showing people mourning together, hugging each other, and helping each other through this terrible time. When there is no one else to turn to, be thankful we will always have our fellow Harry Potter fans to lean on.
See more about the London tribute here, and more about the Orlando tribute here.
Natalia Tena (who played the ever-fabulous Hufflepuff and Auror, Tonks, in the Harry Potter films) stars in an animated short film called Fishwitch, previously titled Once Upon an Iceberg. As Leaky reported previously (read here), the short description of the animated short calls the film “an ugly fairy tale with a lot of heart.” The animated short is currently in production, running at about 8 minutes total.
“When Tootega the Sea Witch catches Derek the Singing Merman in her net, she assumes she can use her powers to get rid of him, just like everyone else. Except Derek is not like everyone else, and Tootega soon finds her heart melting under Derek’s influence – quite literally.”
Natalia Tena will be playing the protagonist, Tootega the Sea Witch. Sam Apley, Tena’s partner from her musical band, Molotov Jukebox, will be taking the role of Derek the Singing Merman.
The short film will be screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, in competition with other short films that will be shown. There are tickets still available to see Natalia Tena as Tootega, more information can be found on the film’s Facebook page, here. The new trailer for the short film can be seen below!
As Leaky stated on all of its social media, we will be honoring J.K. Rowling and the cast and crew of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s wishes to “Keep the Secrets.” We will not be reporting on any content of Cursed Child, but we will share any small details that Pottermore–J.K. Rowling’s website–deems acceptable to share. No spoilers.
Just as the curtains were rising for the first preview of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child earlier this week, Pottermore shared a photo of Rose Weasley standing in the middle of the Great Hall, during what appeared to be a sorting ceremony. Read more of Leaky’s report on that here.
In that photo, the world was presented with a new set of House banners! Pottermore tweeted today, revealing a clearer picture of these banners as concept art.
Every house banner incorporates its mascot into the initial of its house, rather than using what became known as “Harry Potter font.” As expressed before, multiple times, the play is a continuation of the books, not the movies (movie canon differs from book canon). Because of this, it is not surprising the banners differ from the movies, but could potentially fulfill the description of house banners in the books.
However, the banners do not seem to support official house colors; unless, differing from both book and movie canon, the house colors are now different. Because book canon and movie canon differ, many fans know that Ravenclaw’s house colors are different in the films than in the books. Ravenclaw’s colors are blue and bronze by book canon, and blue and silver by movie canon. In the movies, the shades of the other house colors don’t stay true to for either. If these new banners are representing house colors, Gryffindor and Slytherin’s colors are the only set of colors that have remained mostly true to both book and movie canon.
Ever read a book where the main character lives with mean relatives because something happened to his or her parents? That’s how Harry Potter’s life has been for all of his eleven years. He must endure life with his aunt’s family, the Dursleys, who make him sleep in the cupboard under the stairs. He only has extremely faint memories of his parents, whom he was told died in a car crash.
One day, he gets a letter addressed to his cupboard. Before he can read it, his uncle tears it up. But the letters keep coming, and Harry’s aunt and uncle become terrified. They run from the letters to a small hut on a small rocky island.
Harry realizes that his eleventh birthday is coming up tomorrow. He counts down the minutes and seconds as he tries to fall asleep.
At midnight exactly, Harry and the Dursleys receive a surprise — a surprise that whisks Harry away to a world of magic. He learns about his parents and so much more.
But there’s a villain on the loose — the man who murdered Harry’s parents. The clock is ticking, and few know his plans.
My mom had trouble getting into the first book, and it took her a few tries. She’s very glad she stuck with it. If you don’t like it at first, just push through the first few chapters. The first time I read this book, I was in first grade. I have read it many times since, and have read all of the books in the series at least once. The last four are a little darker, but I was fine with them.
The book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling is amazingly well written, and expresses old concepts in new ways. It brings together bravery, friendship, and knowing whom to trust. This book would be great for anyone who wants to escape into another world.
GeekyCon 2016 has just announced that it is creating a large-scale, old-school, Harry Potter release party to celebrate the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The book comes out on July 31, 2016, the last day of the convention, which means that it will be the site of one of the biggest midnight parties in the country.
And this party is just one of all the cool and amazing events and activities scheduled for the weekend long festivity that is GeekyCon. As GeekyCon was once a Harry Potter-only convention and is planned by the same crew that brought us LeakyCon, it is backed by and attended by some of the biggest Harry Potter fans on the planet. As many of the people who run GeekyCon are still the biggest Potterheads, and have attended more than their fair share of Harry Potter book parties from 2004-2007, they decided to recreate the Harry Potter Book Midnight Release Party experience!
The party will be hosted by classic Potter podcast MuggleCast and PotterCast, and many others with experience and knowledge of Pottermania. The fun will start at 7 PM with the convention’s traditional Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball. Starting at 10:00 PM, festivities will convert themselves into a huge Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight book release . In tried and true Harry Potter Book Midnight Release party fashion, there will be a set of games, activities, and events to take part of–including, but not limited to:
Trivia and other games
Wizard Rock performances
Face painting and other crafts
Appearances from special guests
Put your name in the Goblet of Fire! (Submit your predictions, and we’ll go through them together at Sunday’s programming!)
Share in the Pensieve: Submit memories about Harry Potter and your experiences; we’ll be sharing them throughout the night.
And a lot more!
At midnight, everyone will begin to receive their book copy of the Cursed Child script! You must reserve a copy, and purchase will happen on site. Full, detailed instructions will shortly follow this announcement.
Fans in the Florida area, and maybe those who want to apparate further, can choose to come to just the party (which includes the ball) for $20, to enjoy the night’s festivities. If you are a full registered GeekyCon attendee, you can join us for the whole weekend — during which there will be a lot of Harry Potter related festivities and programming. Sunday we’ll be discussing Cursed Child almost nonstop!
A lot to say and so little time to say it. Let’s get started!
Today, if you are at all feeling blue, I suggest you read The Toast piece Jaya Catches Up: A Little Princess which is a killer breakdown of what is inarguably a problematic book. The Marie Antoinette portions are particularly choice.
Next, the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award Winners were announced. What does that mean for you? It means you should be boning up on your international children’s book knowledge, of course. Commit the names “Rotraut Susanne Berner of Germany” (who won for Illustration) and Cao Wenxuan of China (who won for Writing)” to memory. For more info on the books and the winners, go here.
If you were speaking to the man on the street (or woman, or child, or what have you) and they said, “Boy, those children’s books took the hardest left turn a series ever took”, what series would you assume the person was speaking about? Here is your answer and it’s a heckuva amusing post to boot.
Oh. In a weird way this makes sense. They’re turning The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll, the biography of Dare Wright, creator of the Lonely Doll book series, in to a film with Naomi Watts and Jessica Lange. You know what that means, don’t you? Lonely Doll fever is poised to sweep the nation. Be wary. Be warned. And buy stock in frilly underwear.
Remember when J.K Rowling said she had this “political fairytale” that was going to be her next non-Harry Potter children’s book? Looks like it’s kaputski. Which is to say, about 30 years after Ms. Rowling’s death someone will pull it out of that drawer and publish it anyway. So it goes.
This next one’s roundabout three years old but I only just found it. The mom from the Cat in the Hat finally speaks. Quite frankly, I always found that polka-dotted dress of hers rather fetching (to say nothing of her keen shoes) but that may just be me.
If you had the great good fortune to see the NYPL exhibit The ABC of It then you would have noticed one section was dedicated to a fascinating array of Soviet children’s art. I remember helping curator Leonard Marcus locate these books (of which NYPL owns a goodly number) and he picked and chose the best amongst them. But where did they originate? Having recently finished M.T. Anderson’s Symphony for the City of the Dead, I took the little bit of context I’d acquired and applied it to this fabulous piece on tygertale called Revolutionary Russian Children’s Books. Now I’m just beginning to understand. Thanks to Phil Nel (I’m pretty sure) for the link.
Growing up my mom had a machine in the attic that could type out braille. I don’t know why we owned it but I liked it a lot. Braille children’s books available in a mass market context have always been difficult to obtain, though. With this in mind, I’m very pleased to see DK is now releasing a braille board book series. Wow. Way to go, DK!
All right. My four-year-old is upstairs asleep and in her room are all my Harry Potter books. Otherwise I would check this myself. You see, they just released the first look of the new Jim Kay illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And I am staring and staring at this cover and I need your help. Look at the cover right here:
Am I crazy or is that car chock full of Weaselys? And doesn’t Harry drive to Hogwarts with just Ron? At least that’s what the old British cover told me:
So . . . huh? [Note: Interestingly the Buzzfeed article has plenty of comments but no one is pointing this out so I may just be completely and utterly wrong about everything]
In other news, the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy longlist was just released. Frances Hardinge made the cut!!! Wooty woot woot woot!!
Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly (Tor Teen) Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown) Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK 5/14; Amulet) Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House) Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee (Flux) Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine) Bone Gap, Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray) Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen) Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)
Oh, I absolutely love this. Children’s art. Not art for children, mind you, but art by children and its ramifications when studying history. Again, I think I have Phil Nel to thank for this one. He finds all the good stuff.
The Make Way for Ducklings statues are nothing new (nor are they the only ducklings as my old post on all the public children’s literature statues in America attests). Nor is it new to put hats on them. That said, this recent yarnbombing goes above and beyond the call of duty. That’s some seriously good knitting!
“Harry Potter isn’t real? Oh no! Wait, wait, what do you mean by real? Is this video blog real? Am I real if you can see me and hear me, but only through the internet? Are you real if I can read your comment but I don’t know who you are or what your name is or where you’re from or what you look like or how old you are? I know all of those things about Harry Potter. Maybe Harry Potter’s real and you’re not.” ― John Green
The illustration of Hogwarts is by Jim Kay
Opening the Doors to Wonder
Wonder comes in many forms.
Harry Potter swept the reading world and opened the doors to a greater audience. The success of the Harry Potter series renewed broad-based respect for fairy tales.
From the first book and beyond, J.K. Rowlingcreated an alternate world thatreaders could relate to. People young and old are drawn in to these robust stories and their engaging, fully developed characters. As with the classic stories from the past, the characters, imaginative twists and turns of the stories, and the fully realized details, combined to enable readers to believe in the magic of an alternate reality. The seven Harry Potter books created an enormous worldwide audience. And provided the substance for wonderful films.
Adults have also become fans of the books and movies, creating a record breaking "crossover" market. And the phenomenon continues to grow...
Click the photo for spring wonder.
Contact With The Lives Of Others
"Rowling's books, by arousing curiousity and establishing contact with the lives of others, even if they exist solely within the confines of a literary work, enable children to develop capacities that readily translate into real-life experience. JkRowlingnever shies away from the great existential mysteries: death and loss, cruelty and compassion, desire and depression. Harry is anything but sheltered from the evils of Voldermort...he is destined for greatness even though he also posseses the weaknesses, failings, and vulnerabilities of all humans."
Maria Tatar -- Enchanted Hunters -- The Power of Stories in Childhood
Harry Began On A Train
JK Rowling: I was going on a train from Manchester to London and I was looking out of the window at some cows, I believe and I just thought: "Boy doesn't know he's a wizard - goes off to wizard school." I have no idea where it came from. I think the idea was floating along the train and looking for someone and my mind was vacant enough so it decided to zoom in there.
Stephen Fry: And you played with the idea in your head…
JK Rowling: Exactly! From that moment I thought: "Well why doesn't he realise he's a wizard?" It was as though the story was just there for me to discover and I thought: "Well his parents are dead and he needs to find out they're wizards" and on we went from there.
The illustration, from the Philosophers Stone, is by Jim Kay.
Hermione...an empowered young woman
"Throughout the Harry Potter Tales, Hermione emerges as the beneficiary of three centuries of girls' book identity. At times the plucky youth, at times the serious student, at times the foolish lover, at times the tomboy, at times the blossoming maiden -- taken together, all these aspects of her personality make her the heir to everyone from Jenny Peace in Sarah Fielding's The Governess, to Jo in Alcott's Little Women, to Alice in Carroll's Wonderland, to all the girl guides, or "new Women" or adventuresome or studious females who fill the range of popular writing well into the twentieth century."
From Seth Lerer writing about Theaters of Girlhood, Domesticity, Desire, and Performance in Female Fiction in his book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter
Finding the Right Wand -- an adventure in an alternate reality
First, you go to Diagon Alley where Ollivanders is located..."Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C...
A single wand lays on a faded purple cushion in the dusty window."
You will be helped by Mr. Ollivander, a very old man, who remembers every wand he has sold -- and to whom he sold it.
You will be measured in many ways by a tape measure that works on its on while Mr Ollvander explains that, "Every Ollvander wand has a core of powerful magical substance...We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tale feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands are the same..."
You may have to try many wands before you have the right one.
It seems you don't choose the wand, the wand chooses you...
The fully imagined detail in the Harry Potter books plays a major role in their appeal. The fascinating story of Harry finding the right magic wand takes place in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stonewhen Hagrid takes Harry shopping on Diagon Alley, and introduces him to the the world of wizards.
The illustration of Harry and Hagrid in Diagon Alley is by Jim Kay
An Alternate Universe
..."J. K. Rowlinghas created a world as fully detailedas L. Frank Baum’s Oz or J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, a world so minutely imagined in terms of its history and rituals and rules that it qualifies as an alternate universe, which may be one reason the “Potter” books have spawned such a passionate following and such fervent exegesis...."
From the book review by Michiko Kakatani of Harry potter and the Deathly Hallows in the New York Times
Stories That Opened My Mind
"There are hundreds upon hundreds of reasons for one to fall in love with the world and characters J.K. Rowling created in the Harry Potter series, the aforementioned being among them. For me, these are the stories that opened my mindto the wonderful world of books, novels and novellas, making them very near and dear to my heart..."
...Harry is called back into active duty when evil powers return in force... a new book and a play (opening in London) based on the book - HarryPotter and the Cursed Child -- are on their way, arriving in late July. They are based on a story by J.K. Rowling. Here are two links for more information: Pottermore and NPR
Wizardry Before Harry
The Wizard World in 1920's USA is the setting for a new movie,starring Eddie Redmayne...
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in the UK in November 2016... The book about Fantastic Beasts was used as part of the curriculum for young wizards in the Hogwarts classroom. There will be two sequels...all written by J.K. Rowling.
Support For Children
J.K. Rowling spendstime and money on helping people...In 2004 she foundedLumos...'No child should be denied a family life because they are poor, disabled or from an ethnic minority. Lumos works to support the 8 million children in institutions worldwide to regain their right to a family life and to end the institutionalisation of children."
For the real J.K. Rowling, or as close as we will probably get, I suggest the Oprah Interview... Engaging, interesting, and with some excellent documentary scenes woven in...Also, her candid, heartfelt, Harvard speech.
The N.R.A. Reimagines Classic Fairy Tales, With Guns
Liam Stack wrote this disturbing article. Here are excerpts...
"The world of make-believe can be a scary place, but never fear: Thanks to a series of reimagined fairy tales published online by the National Rifle Association, classic characters like Hansel and Gretel are now packing heat. The group has published two of the updated tales on its N.R.A. Family website in recent months, entitled “Little RedRiding Hood (Has a Gun)” and “Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns).” The stories have outraged advocates of gun control, but their author, Amelia Hamilton, a conservative blogger, has called them lessons in gun safety...
In the N.R.A. version, Little Red Riding Hood sets off through the forest to visit her grandmother, just like in the original. But the Big Bad Wolf did not scare her this time, because she “felt the reassuring weight of the rifle on her shoulder.”
When the wolf approached her, “she shifted her rifle so that it was in her hands and at the ready.” He fled in fear...
Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, agreed, calling the stories “a disgusting, morally depraved marketing campaign.” He said in a statement that the stories were in poor taste in part because nearly 50 children and teenagers are shot each day in the United States, and suicide by gun is a leading cause of death among children over the age of 9..."
Here is a link to read all of this disturbing article:FairyTaleGuns
The photo of a boy with a Barrett rifle at a meeting of the National Rifle Association in St. Louis in 2012. is by Daniel Acker for The New York Times
Save The Children
Save the Children works in 120 countries, including the United States, and has helped more than 166 million children — including more than 55 million children directly. Here are excerpts from the story of one child...
"At 12 years old Omar* suddenly found himself responsible for his family and working to support his mother and younger brother after his father was killed in the conflict... 'I am the man of the house now and they are relying on me'...Recently Omar started working in a fuel market in northern Syria where the work is both difficult and dangerous, and yet it is a job that pays enough to meet his family’s needs. Every day he goes to the market with his bucket and sponge to collect fuel that has spilled onto the ground from the tankers. Using the sponge he soaks up the fuel, squeezes it into his bucket and sells what he has collected at the end of every day.
Omar said, 'We have to be here very early in the morning because the tankers arrive early, so I get here at six in the morning and leave late at night so I that I have time to collect as much fuel as possible'..."
Omar was a good student and loved school; he dreamed of becoming an architect. His life is now about survival.
Here is a link to read all of Omar's painful story: Omar
Top photo, courtesy IRF; bottom photo, courtesy Save The Children.
Importance of Children's Books for Most Adults "But children's books are extremely important. Most adults don't read many books and if they do it will probably be some form of popular fiction. So achildren's classic may be the last, or in some cases, the only, piece of serious literature they have read. As such these books are very influentialand so I think it is our responsibility to consider them as seriously and carefully as any other great literature."
From a Guardian article by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Alison Lurie, professor emeritus of literature and writing at Cornell University, and author and editor of a multitude of children's books.
Here are excerpts from Chapter One of the book...the story of how dogs came down to Planet Earth to help people...
"Far out in the sky, on the other side of the sun, is the Planet of the Dogs. Dogs have always lived there in peace and happiness.
There are country dogs and city dogs. They live in places like Shepherd Hills, Poodletown, Retriever Meadows, Muttville, Hound Dog Hamlet, Biscuit Town, and Shaggy Corners...
Dogs talk to each other in many ways. They woof, bark, and howl. They use body movement, face licking, smiling, and tail wagging. Dogs can hear what other dogs are thinking. And they always tell the truth...Dogs are very good at sleeping, taking naps, and waiting for someone they love...
Dogs have no worries on their planet because there are no dangers there. There are no bad dogs, no hungry animals, and no mean people. There is plenty to eat, lots of time to play, and all kinds of schools for the puppies to learn interesting things about their planet and each other. It’s a wonderful place to live.
This is the world of Yelodoggie, created by author and dog advocate, C.A. Wulff.
All dogs, deep in their heart of hearts, are yellow. Because yellow is the color of light and joy and happiness, and these attributes are the true essence of dogs. Here is a link to Wulff's Etsy shopwhere you can see more of these delightful original watercolor paintings and prints celebrating dogs. They make a wonderful gift...
Alternate Realities from Finland
Leena Krohn, a highly regarded writer in Europe, wrote one of my favorite books, Tainaron. I was gratified to see that Joshua Rothman, in the New Yorker, wrote that her newly published book of collected fiction was among " The Books We Loved in 2015". Here is an excerpt:
"I also found myself hypnotized by Leena Krohn, a Finnish writer whose collected stories and novels, rendered into English by many different translators, have just been published as a single volume, “Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction.” Broadly speaking, Krohn is a speculative writer; one of the novels in the collection, for example, consists of thirty letters written from an insect city. (“It is summer and one can look at the flowers face to face.”) Krohn writes like a fantastical Lydia Davis, in short chapters the length of prose poems. Her characters often have a noirish toughness; one, explaining her approach to philosophy, says that when she asks an existential question, “life answers. It is generally a long and thorough answer...”
A compelling5 minute report on DW tv news about a little girl in North Koreabrought me a reminder of the power of film. Vitaly Mansky, the producer/director, has made a very poignant filmabout the life of Zin Mi (the little girl) in both the real world and the manufactured world of North Korea.
Here are excerpts from an informative article by Carmen Grayin the Guardian...
"A new film on life in North Korea has caused a diplomatic row after the director used officially sanctioned shoots to demonstrate how the state manipulates its people.
Authorities are said to have tried to prevent screenings of Under the Sun, a film that follows a North Korean girl as she prepares to celebrate the Day of the Shining Star, the birthday of former supreme leader Kim Jong-il...The film reveals how government representatives seek to construct an image of an “ideal” family, capturing the hectoring of officials as they tell the Koreans what to say, how to sit and when to smile.
“I wanted to make a film about the real Korea, but there’s no real life in the way that we consider,” said Mansky, who spent a year in the country filming. “There is just the creation of an image of the myth of a real life. So we made a film about fake reality.”
"Credit the Disney folks with making what could have been a lecture on stereotypes into one of the more amusing animated kidflicks of recent vintage. When you consider that this is the same zip-ah-dee-doo-dah studio that once made Song of the South ... well, let's just say Zootopia suggests we've all come a long way"...Bob Mondello, NPR
The Witch, a low budget (one million dollars), independent production, continues to find an ever-growing audience (over 30 million dollars)...
"The Witch is a scary movie and a serious one, because it lure us into the minds and the earthly domains, of those who are themselves scared, night and day, that they have forfeited the mercies of God. It takes an original movie to remind us of original sin..." Anthony Lane in his New Yorker review.
Stacy Schiffinwrote an excellent article, relevant to this movie, on TheWitches of Salem, also in the New Yorker. Here is an excerpt..."In 1692, the Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women, five men, and two dogs for witchcraft. The sorcery materialized in January. The first hanging took place in June, the last in September; a stark, stunned silence followed. Although we will never know the exact number of those formally charged..."
“Both Rowling and Meyer (Twilight series), they’re speaking directly to young people. … The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”- Stephen King
Circling the Wagginsby C.A. Wulff
What happens when a group of the most irascible, insane, and ridiculously un-adoptable pets known to man end up being permanent residents in an animal rescuer's home? Challenges abound and chaos reigns!
Here are excerpts from author Tim McHugh’s review…
"Circling the Wagginsis a heart-felt and moving story of two women's quest to heal and nurture a wide variety of animals. C.A. Wulff poignantly captures the complex personalities of the mice, dogs, and cats that inhabit her wilderness home as well as the humorous chaos that ensues as they all try to coexist. It is by turns a roller-coaster ride of animal rescue, as well as a keen reflection on the frailty of all life and the healing power of love and letting go."
Good Dog provides therapy dog services to people in health care, social service, educational and communityfacilities, and at disaster sites around the country. Its highly-trained and fully-certified volunteer teams each consist of a human handler and therapy dog. Good Dog focuses on work in the four divisions of Education, Health Care and Wellness, Research, and Disaster Response.For more on the work of these divisions, click here.
As the largest certifying animal-assisted therapy organization on the East Coast of the United States, Good Dog currently operates in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey, and at disaster sites around the country. Good Dog focuses on work in the four divisions of Education, Health Care and Wellness, Research, and Disaster Response."
by Jane E. Brody, Personal Health writer for the New York Times
"It did not take long for me to recognize the therapeutic potential of Max, the hypoallergenic 5-month-old Havanese puppy I adopted in March 2014. He neither barked nor growled and seemed to like everyone, especially the many children that come up and down our block.
When I asked if a crying child passing by would like to pet a puppy, the tears nearly always stopped as fluffy little Max approached, ready to be caressed.
So I signed us up for therapy dog training with the Good Dog Foundation, which met conveniently in my neighborhood. If we passed the six-week course, we would be certified to visit patients in hospitals and nursing homes, children in schools, and people in other venues that recognize the therapeutic potential of well-behaved animals..."
Here is the link to read all of this fascinating and informative article by Jane Brody: Personal Health
The illustration is by Paul Rogers
We have free reader copiesof the Planet Of The Dogsseries for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the books
Our books are available through independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble,Amazon, Powell'sand many more.
The Planet Of The Dogs series is also available in digital format at
The illustration from Planet Of The Dogs is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
Meeting A Dog
If you see an injured dog or a dog in trouble , from puppy mills to poison, Sunbear Squad can help you. Sunbear Squadis a leading source for information and guidance in dog rescue and care. Here is an excerpt from their site about meeting a new dog(s)...
"In the western world, we are taught at an early age to greet new people by approaching them with upright posture, looking directly into their eyes and offering a hand to shake or squeeze. It becomes second nature to us, so as a result, many of us animal lovers greet every living thing–except bugs–using those same “good manners...
We must UNLEARN that set of social rules to avoid frightening dogs, cats, and other animals, who will perceive full-front posture, staring, and outstretched arm as rude and threatening (unless they were very well-socializedwith humans during the crucial developmental period).
In other words, polite human greetings are bad manners for greeting dogs and cats! In fact the two greeting languages are almost all completely opposite...Here is a link to read all of this article:Meeting A Dog.
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ― Will Rogers
I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I noticed Meltdown Comics tweeted a savory picture maple syrup bottles, butter, and waffle makers on Saturday. The image was accompanied with “#Waffle party prepping with @CuddliApp. Singles mingle, 11AM.” Naturally, I jumped from my mattress off the floor and got ready to eat some waffles in 20 […]
Author J.K. Rowling has revealed new details about several wizarding schools, in a new post on pottermore.com.
For instance, the name of the North American-based school is Ilvermorny and it is likely located somewhere in the North East. Actress Evanna Lynch revealed the new details by reading from Rowling’s latest piece on Pottermore.com at a Harry Potter event held over the weekend.
“I am assured by Pottermore that more will be revealed on Ilvermorny soon,” said Lynch at the event.
The name of the Brazilian wizarding school, Castelobruxo, is also revealed in the new post. This school is guarded by Caipora, small and furry spirit-beings who come out at night. In addition, students at the Japanese wizarding school, Mahoutokoro, are given enchanted robes which grow as they age. And the African school, Uagadou, is carved out of the mountainside and is shrouded in a mist.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS I & II TO BE PUBLISHED IN PRINT BY SCHOLASTIC IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA AT 12:01 A.M. ON JULY 31, 2016
Scholastic will publish a script book based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth Harry Potter story, will be priced at $29.99 U.S. and $39.99 Canada. The script eBook will be published by Pottermore simultaneously with the print editions by Scholastic in the US and Canada, and Little, Brown Book Group in the UK.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.
Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint at Scholastic, will publish a hardcover book based on the special rehearsal edition script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II. The release has been scheduled for 12:01 a.m. on July 31; fans will recognize that this significant date is both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthday. Pottermore will publish the eBook edition.
Here’s more from the press release: “It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.”
As fans of Harry Potter know, there are two distinct responses to her "History of Magic in North America" stories. The first story was released on Monday, March 8, 2016. Fans were delighted to have more of her writing to read. Native people--those who are fans of her books, and those of us who study or write about representations of Native peoples in popular culture and children's literature--had a different response.
I'd been deeply immersed in a study of a handful of best selling children's books. This is in the popular Geronimo Stilton's Wild West:
I'd just read Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero where a main character's dad is Cherokee, making her half Cherokee. She's taunted by other characters who ask her if her dad is an alcoholic and if she'll do a rain dance. Riordan had those words come from what we might characterize as "mean girls." I assume he did that to, in that way, show them to be inappropriate things to say, but far too many people won't pick up on that nuance. I worry that, without a direct push-back on those taunts, people will view them as an affirmation of existing stereotypical ideas, and use those same taunts themselves.
When I read Rowling's story, I was furious. I used the f-bomb in a tweet at her. The emotion it expressed was real. Use of the word wasn't necessary. As I read tweets by Native people, I saw a range of emotion. Anger. And hurt, too. Native people who are my daughter's age grew up reading Harry Potter. This particular group are adults now, in their 20s. She--and they--were huge fans of every book in the series.
But this short story? Their reaction to it was different. They read the first line, with its monolithic "The Native Americans" was bad, but each paragraph of that short story was laden with troubling misrepresentations of Native peoples.
Those who are following the news on this story know that major media is reporting on it, excerpting a few words from a stream of tweets, or, from a blog post. Below are links to items by Native writers. Please read and share them. I'll be adding others as I find them. If you see others, please let me know in a comment.
STACKS Book Club: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Welcome back to the magical STACKS Book Club! What an amazing ending to J. K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! This book is filled with so many villains, so many friends, and so much magic, I hardly know where to begin. We’re always welcoming new members, so whether you joined Meeting 1 or this is your first time, please join the conversation!
What type of mischief would you get into if you had an invisibility cloak?
Would you be afraid of entering the forbidden forest?
Hagrid’s giant, three-headed dog is named Fluffy. If you had a three-headed dog, what would you name it?
What would your reaction be if you discovered your friend was raising a baby dragon?
What obstacle would you be best at completing: catching a winged key, winning a game of chess, or solving a riddle and drinking the correct potion?
What would you be thinking if you were face to face with Voldemort?
Post your answers in the Comments below and ask your own questions to the STACKS Book Club! To meet and chat with other Harry Potter fans, join the Harry Potter Message Boards.
We’re diving right in today. Check out this killer poster:
Now if you’re one of the lucky ducks living in NYC, or will be there on the date of 4/16, you now have your marching orders. This is an event held at Bank Street College of Education and in wracking my brains I can’t think of anything more timely. You can see the full listing of the events here. Wish I were there. Go in my stead, won’t you?
New Podcast Alert: This one sports a catchy moniker that will strike some of you as familiar. Kidlit Drink Night (which would also make a good name for a band, a blog, or a dog) is the official podcast of one Amy Kurtz Skelding. There’s a bit of YA cluttering up the works, but enough children’s stuff is present to make it worth your pretty while. Do be so good as to check it out.
Hey! Hey hey! The Eric Carle Honorees were named, did you see? And did you notice that amongst them Lee & Low Books was named an Angel? Such fantastic news. A strong year of nominees.
So Phil Nel shared something recently that I’d like you to note. There is apparently a Tumblr out there called Setup Wizard which consists of the, “Daily Accounts of a Muggle I.T. Guy working at Hogwarts.” Phil suggests reading them in order. I concur. Thanks to Phil for the link.
I have lots of favorite blogs, but Pop Goes the Page clearly belongs in the upper echelon. Two posts by Dana Sheridan (the Education & Outreach Coordinator of the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University) caught my eye recently. Dana, as you will recall, is responsible for my little toilet paper tube profile picture on Twitter. Well now she’s used her knowledge of all things cardboard to create the world’s most adorable subway system complete with Broadway posters. In a different post Dana, in partnership with The Met Museum’s Nolen Library (the one for the kids), shows a killer display on taking care of your books. It doesn’t necessarily sound interesting, until you see how they magnified a book eating buggy.
So the other day I’m talking up Evan Turk and his new book The Storyteller, as per usual, and I mention to a librarian that the guy not too long ago did some killer sketches of Chicago blues musicians. Naturally she wanted to see what I was talking about. After all, I practically live in Chicago these days, so if there’s a talented illustrator going about making Chi-town art, it’s well worth promoting. I took her to Evan’s blog and there, beautiful as all get out, is the art. Then I thought I might share it with you as well. This is just a tiny smidgen of what he has up so go to his blog to see more. The sheer talent of it all floors me.
Do you know who is awesome? Sharyn November, former Viking editor, is awesome. So awesome, in fact, that she has her own brand of tea. You can buy this tea, if you like. I’ll put its description right here:
“sdn tea was created specifically for the punk goddess of children’s publishing, Sharyn November. This deity, who is all sharp angles, quick wit, and extraordinary fashion, is a fiery force of nature–literally and figuratively. She already has her own time zone, so it’s high time she has her own tea. This blend is strong and highly caffeinated. Almost impossibly fruity on the nose, it tastes of warm spice and goes extremely well with a piece of chocolate and a cigarette.”
Do school librarians yield higher test scores? You may have always suspected that was the case but a recent study out of South Carolina now has some facts so that you can put your money where your mouth is. Are you a school librarian in need of justifying your existence to your employer? You can’t afford not to read this SLJ piece.
I dunno. I get Neil Patrick Harris playing Count Olaf in the new Netflix series of A Series of Unfortunate Events. That makes sense to me. It’s Dr. Horrible without the songs. Sure. But Patrick Warburton as Snicket? Last time we had Jude Law, and I’m pretty sure that was the right move to make. Puddy as Lemony Snicket seems to lack the right panache.
In America we have our Newbery and Caldecott Medals. In England it’s all about the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards. And unlike the States, they create shortlists. Those shortlists have just been released for 2016 and (also unlike the States) they nominate books outside their nation. So Canadians like Jon Klassen and Sydney Smith have a fighting chance. I agree with Travis Jonker, though. The alternate title for Sidewalk Flowers was a surprise.
On the old To Do list: Meet Jan Susina, the Illinois State English Professor who also happens to be an expert on children’s literature. In a recent interview he produced this marvelous mention of Beatrix Potter: “Potter once said, ‘Although nature is not consciously wicked, it is always ruthless.’ Peter Rabbit is a survival story, not a cute bunny story.” How perfectly that quote could have worked in Wild Things. Ah well. The entire interview is well worth your time, particularly his answer to the question, “What is the greatest secret in children’s literature?” The answer will surprise you. Thanks to Phil Nel for the link.
This Saturday I’ve a Children’s Literary Salon at 2:00. Yet a couple months ago I hosted Jeff Garrett who spoke about his work with the Reforma Children in Crisis Project. You can imagine how pleased I was to hear that ALSC will be donating $5,000 to the project as well. Fantastic news.
I was dumpster diving in the donation bin this week when an old book caught my eye. Hate to say it, but this thing seriously disturbs me. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore (phew!).
Run, girl, run!! Or rather . . . skate, girl, skate!