Saturday, June 22, 2013
If there's one thing kids are scared of, it's the dark. In his latest children's book, The Dark, Daniel Handler — who writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket — takes on darkness itself, with the story of a young boy who confronts his biggest fear. Handler is known for his dry wit and matter-of-fact take on the mysterious and macabre. In his A Series of Unfortunate Events books and , the protagonists confront twisted characters and dastardly villains.
"I can't think of a story that doesn't have something terrible in it," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. "Otherwise, it's dull. So when I embarked into the world of picture books, my first thought was to do something about the dark.
"I think the book is probably a little bit scary. I also hope it's interesting."
Handler talks about his own childhood fears and the process of writing his latest book.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Katherine Applegate's Newbery Award winning book The One and Only Ivan is NPR's June Backseat Book Club selection. Yesterday, NPR conducted an interview with Katherine. Enjoy!
PS: Katherine Applegate will be at the National Book Festival this year!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Several years ago, I took my son (who was around 10 at the time) and the students in my children’s literature course to an author appearance by Christopher Paul Curtis. His book, Watson’s Go To Birmingham – 1963 had been chosen for the citywide read program. By all accounts, it was an amazing event! Christopher Paul Curtis read aloud the first chapter (which is hilarious), discussed his inspiration for writing the story, and answered questions.
Afterward, as we stood in line to get his autograph, many of my students commented that they had never met an author before. My son was also enamored. He asked Curtis to sign a poster of the book and to take a picture with him. Later, he hung the poster on his door. As he grew into a teenager, almost everything about his room changed – all except the poster of Curtis on the door. He didn’t want to take it down. It represented an important moment in his life; one that made a lasting impression.
Meeting an author is a wonderful experience. Nowhere is that more apparent than at the National Book Festival hosted by the Library of Congress on the National Mall every September. Large tents are set up on the lawn representing genres or age groups and scheduled authors present over the two day weekend. Two of these tents are for children’s and young adult authors. Book enthusiasts from across the country gather under the tents waiting to be wowed by their favorite authors and every year I am lucky enough to be one of them. This year, the festival will be held on September 21-22. Check out the list of children’s and young adult authors appearing this year here.
However, everyone is not able to attend the National Book Festival. Fortunately, each author is videotaped and the recordings are made available on the website for the National Book Festival. Last year, I heard Patricia Polocco and was simply brought to tears by her powerful presentation. I was able to share that experience with my students by showing the video to my class. There are hundreds of videos of authors available, so you can bring the power of meeting the author to your students!
Friday, June 1, 2012
2 Free Audiobook Downloads Each Week from Listening Library
Listening Library is proud to team up with AudioFile Magazine to support SYNC. Beginning this month, SYNC offers FREE audiobook downloads of Young Adult audiobooks and Summer Reading Classics!
Watch for Listening Library's IRISES by Francisco X. Stork available June 21 – June 27 and THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND by Jonathan Stroud available June 28 – July 4.
To find out when you can download titles to listen to on the run this summer, visit www.AudiobookSync. or text syncya to 25827.
NPR BOOKS CONFESSES LOVE FOR “TEEN” READS
“SUMMER BOOKS” SERIES COMES-OF-AGE WITH YOUNG ADULT FOCUS,
YA AUTHORS REVEAL FORMATIVE LITERARY INSPIRATIONS
NPRBOOKS.ORG FEATURES ANNUAL “SUMMER BOOKS” ROUND-UPS FROM NPR FAVORITES
May 30, 2012; Washington, D.C. – A good novel doesn’t just transcend the boundaries of its target market – it knows nothing about target markets. NPR Books takes this to heart with the launch of its annual Summer Books package, focusing this year’s theme on the coming-of-age stories that open our eyes to a world beyond childhood and stick for a lifetime. NPR Books will spotlight Young Adult literature with a new series and its annual listeners’ poll in addition to round-ups of critics’ picks and exclusive excerpts from this season’s most anticipated reads.
The centerpiece of Summer Books is “PG-13: Risky Reads,” a new series exploring the ageless themes and no-holds barred style that makes the Young Adult genre eternally inspiring. In first-person submissions, acclaimed authors including Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper), Abraham Verghese (Cutting for Stone), Lois Lowry (The Giver) and Jesmyn Ward (2011 National Book Award for Fiction, Salvage the Bones) remember the books they may have read before they were quite ready – a child peeking into the world of adults. The series began on All Things Considered with the nightmarish nail-bitter I Am the Cheese, which made a then-12-year-old Ben Marcus worry. Listeners can also visit the This Is NPR blog to read similar narratives submitted by NPR staff. Local stations and broadcast times are available at www.npr.org/stations.
In June, NPR Books will begin compiling readers’ nominations for the best YA literature of all time. Listeners can vote for their favorite formative novel and find further inspiration at www.npr.org/summerbooks. The Top 100 list will be released in August.
Summer Books 2012 will again offer its extremely popular package of themed critics’ lists compiled by NPR favorites such as Susan Stamberg, Lynn Neary and Maureen Corrigan, as well as acclaimed literary names like romance author Eloisa James (Pleasures trilogy) and novelist Madeline Miller (The Song of Achilles). Other notable compilations include critic Heller McAlpin’s list of “Seriously Funny” reads to distract that fidgety beach buddy, NPR bookworm Nancy Pearl’s “Under the Radar” list of inconspicuous gems, and librarian Lee Butler’s summer reading assignments for those avid YA fans. These recommendations – for literary fiction, mysteries, historical fiction, romance, humor and more – will make even avid NPR listeners turn down the radio and pick up a book. Listeners can also find exclusive text and audio excerpts from some of this year’s best reads at www.npr.org/books.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
A couple of months ago I posted my thoughts on SHARE: the guilt that comes with feeling that you Should Have Already Read Everything.
One of the big ways I find time to read is auidobooks. I am a big fan of audiobooks for lots of reasons.
- First, they are excellently performed. Have you listened to an auidobook for children/YA lately? I just finished listening to Rotters, written by Daniel Kraus and performed by Kirby Heyborne, which won the 2012 Odyssey Award and is brilliant! Last year, The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex and performed by Bahni Turpin won the award and it, too, was brilliant. Some are performed by movie stars such as the Curse Workers series performed by Jesse Eisenberg and others are performed by the author such as Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.
- Audiobooks often include an interview with the author at the end. This is a special treat! John Green discussed his writing process in an interview at the end of The Fault in Our Stars and Libba Bray, who also performed Beauty Queens (which is amazing!) discusses her thoughts on the concept of beauty in our society.
- Audiobooks are portable. I have an audiobook in my car, on my phone and on my iPod at all times. I have a two hour round trip drive to and from the university. It's not something most people would look forward to --- unless, you're listening to a fantastic book and you can't wait to get in the car to hear more! I listen on long car trips and on vacation, too. But, I also listen when I'm gong to the grocery store or other places not so far from home. Twenty minutes here and fifteen minutes there adds up and before I know it, I've finished a book. I also listen to audiobooks on my iPod when I run. I know that for some people, it would be hard to concentrate while sucking air and sweating profusely, but it doesn't bother me at all. However, I have been known to have tears running down my face or to burst out laughing as I'm running, too.
- Audiobooks are abundant and accessible. There are a lot of children's and YA books available in audio format. I check them out from the library, order them through interlibrary loan, and download them from Audible. There are other sources as well.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
This is the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal! In honor of this special occasion, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is offering a free webinar:
Caldecott Uncovered: What You’ve Always Wanted to Know About the Caldecott Medal
Instructor: Rita Auerbach, past Caldecott Committee chair
Tuesday, May 8, at 1:00 p.m. Central Time; Thursday, July 12, at 6:00 p.m. Central Time
This webinar will be offered completely free to members and nonmembers both. Don’t miss it! Space is limited; reserve your seat now.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Established in 1919, Children's Book Week celebrates books for young people and the joy of reading from coast to coast!
- Check out the line-up of Official Book Week events! Over 40 cities are hosting author and illustrator events during Book Week (May 7-13, 2012), with additional venues to come!
- Each year, the Children's Book Council enlists illustrators to design a commemorative Children's Book Week Poster and Bookmark. Download the 2012 Book Week bookmark by Lane Smith and order your 2012 Poster by David Wiesner!
- Children's Choice Book Awards Gala! In 2008, the Children's Book Council created the Children's Choice Book Awards, the only national child-chosen book awards program, giving young readers a powerful voice in their own reading choices. Each year, the award winners are announced live at the highly-anticipated Children's Choice Book Awards Gala during Book Week (May 7, 2012)!
You can also add a really cool widget to your blog or website with the CCBs finalists.