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August 20, 2014

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Trunk-Kated: An Interview with Kate DiCamillo

We caught up with Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo, who’s busy promoting her latest novel, The Magician’s Elephant (2009), which takes place in a mythical city and involves an orphan boy who is led by an elephant in search of a sister who was thought to be dead. The last time we spoke with DiCamillo was in 2006, when she read from her book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2006, both Candlewick).

It seems like you did a lot of research [...]

Met Any Good Authors Lately?

Classroom author visits can happen via Skype (here’s a list of those who do this for free)

Illustration by Marc Rosenthal

At 7:25 am on the last day of school, five avid fifth-grade readers hustle into the library of Chamberlin School in South Burlington, VT. They shrug off backpacks and pull out advance copies of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, my middle-grade novel about a Vermont girl who’s convinced her school leaf collection project is ruining her life. They crowd [...]

Caroline in the Schools

Caroline Kennedy’s Fund for Public Schools has garnered $230 million in private donations for New York City schools. Last month, more than 200 local retailers donated a part of their proceeds to city school libraries through Shop for Public Schools.

Shop for Public Schools is specifically for school libraries. How’d that come about?

The retail community came forward with this idea that they wanted to do a promotion. We talked to them about what the money should go for, and I think [...]

Scholastic: Bye Bratz

Scholastic has dropped the Bratz brand from its book clubs and book fairs following complaints that they promote the sexualization of girls. The publisher, however, says the move was part of a routine decision to “rotate the books in our book selection.” The titles are a spin-off of the popular 10-inch dolls, which have large heads, wide eyes, and full lips—and are often dressed in miniskirts, fishnets, and feather boas.

 

School Librarians Connect Kids with Galleys

Seventh graders reading Carl Hiaasen’s Scat (Knopf), a January 2009 galley, at one of school librarian Rose Brock’s five student book clubs at Coppell Middle School West in Texas.

FROM CHILDREN’S BOOKSHELF: It’s a win-win situation: publishers get middle-grade and young adult galleys into the hands of middle-school librarians, who share them with students in hopes of fueling their interest in reading. The kids’ enthusiasm for a title then creates in-school, pre-pub buzz about the book that can, in some [...]

SLJ Talks to Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy is asking New Yorkers to shop until they drop. Well, at least for one week out of the year. Her Shop for Public Schools program—which this year ran from October 1-8—raises money specifically for needy school libraries by asking retailers to donate a portion of their proceeds. The program is a key part of Fund for Public Schools, which raises private investments and where Kennedy is vice chair.

SLJ spoke to the attorney, author, and philanthropist about the importance [...]

American Girl Shelves Samantha Parkington

Say good-bye to Samantha Parkington, one of American Girl’s original historical characters who was introduced in 1986.

Samantha’s complete product collection, including her best friend, Nellie, is about to be removed from American Girl’s catalogue, Web site, and retail stores and placed in the American Girl Archives, says the company. But there’s some good news for Samantha fans: the Samantha books will still be sold on Americangirl.com, at American Girl’s retail stores, and at bookstores nationwide.

Currently, there are 14 Samantha-related books [...]

High Tea With Harry

Care for a cup of tea with J. K. Rowling? To celebrate the U.S. release of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Scholastic, Rowling’s U.S. publisher, is sponsoring a national essay contest for U.S. kids—and the five winners and their chaperones get an all-expense paid trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, to attend an exclusive event at the National Library of Scotland.

The December 4, 2008 celebration includes a children’s tea party, where Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter books, will read [...]

Breakfast in the Rainforest

In his ninth children’s book, photographer and author Richard Sobol takes readers through central Africa to meet an endangered, and beloved, species in Breakfast in the Rainforest: A Visit with Mountain Gorillas (Candlewick, 2008).

Sobol explains his hope that children learn not just about these animals, but also about the relationship with the people who live near the gorillas’ home in Uganda’s Bwindi National Park.

What attracted you to writing about mountain gorillas?
I had been to Uganda before, it was a place [...]

Babar Comes to New York

Babar the elephant, the beloved protagonist of nearly four dozen children’s books, is now the star of his very own show: an exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

For the last two weeks, crowds of all ages have been coming to the former home and library of financier Pierpont Morgan to see “Drawing Babar: Early Drafts and Watercolors,” which features more than 170 works, including manuscript drafts, sketches, and watercolors, for the first book by each [...]

Life in the Wild

Biologist, ecologist, and photographer George Schaller has hope that his images of wild creatures in Life in the Wild: George Schaller’s Struggle to Save the Last Great Beasts (Farrar/Melanie Kroupa Bks, 2008) will inspire a new generation to protect the earth. We spoke with him in between his recent travels.

What do you think young people will respond to in the book?
It’s about animals that everybody can relate to: pandas, and tigers, and so forth. And that automatically creates interest and [...]

Midnight Sun Rises Too Early

Best-selling author Stephenie Meyer is scrapping plans to finish the final book in her “Twilight” series after an incomplete version was leaked. “My partial draft of Midnight Sun was illegally posted on the Internet,” Meyer wrote on her Web site. “What happened was a huge violation of my rights as an author.”

Meyer, who says she can likely pinpont the source of the leak, will make the draft public.

“I feel too sad about what has happened to continue working on Midnight [...]

Kinney Report

Kids are nuts about Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007) and Rodrick Rules (2008, both Abrams/Amulet).

Your books have remained on best-seller lists for months. How does it feel to be such a huge overnight sensation?

It feels great! Sometimes, I feel like I don’t belong at the table. I know how hard it is to make those lists, and I had only been published for a short time before it happened. I worked on my book for about nine [...]

Paolini’s New Release Date for Brisinger Hits a Snag

Some children’s booksellers are unhappy with the recent decision to move the release date of Christopher Paolini‘s latest book, Brisinger, to a weekend so that kids can take advantage of midnight store events.

Although the shift is likely to be well-received by public librarians who may want to organize events at their libraries.Two weeks ago, Knopf Books for Young Readers gave in to requests by booksellers to shift the release date of Brisingr,the third book in Paolini’s Inheritance series, to Saturday, [...]

S & S to CBC: We’re Baaaack!

What a difference a year makes. Simon & Schuster (S & S) has rejoined the Children’s Book Council (CBC) after withdrawing its membership last January.

“We like the direction they’re going,” says Rick Richter, S & S’s president and publisher of children’s books. “They’re really taking seriously the potential role they could have in the book retail community. I think they’re making some real strides.”

Richer specifically cited the CBC’s decision to host Children’s Book Week in May instead of November to [...]

Interview with Lois Lowry, Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner

The Edwards Award-winner talks about The Giver’s controversial past and, yes, its enigmatic ending

Who would’ve guessed that the author of a sci-fi masterpiece would live in a Federal Colonial house with a picket fence? But then again, it’s never wise to second-guess Lois Lowry. In the early ’90s, in a radical departure from her previous 20 novels for young readers, Lowry wrote The Giver (1993), the tale of a futuristic society that appears to have everything under control, including war, [...]