June 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Selznick, Myracle, and Others Appear in Scholastic Fall 2015 Online Preview

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Author Sonia Manazno (left) with Andrea Davis Pinkney.

For Scholastic’s recent Fall Online Preview, the publisher produced four videos featuring over 20 of its upcoming picture books, graphic novels, middle grade, and teen titles.

Among the highlights of watching is seeing Andrea Davis Pinkney and David Levithan trading in their author hats for those of proud Scholastic editors. Pinkney interviewed Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on Sesame Street and has written a YA memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx (August). A little backstory: Pinkney and Manzano hoped to film the interview on a brownstone stoop, New York City noise, rain, and construction caused the production team to opt for the comfort of the Scholastic headquarters.

Pinkney and also introduced Friendshape (August), a picture book about shapes and friendship by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. In addition, she clued us in on Allen Say’s upcoming graphic memoir, The Inker’s Shadow (September), which she described as “a narrative of America.” Say’s new book builds upon his previous Drawing From Memory. Meanwhile, Leviathan presented debut novelist Alex Gino’s George (August), a middle grade story about a girl in a boy’s body who wishes to play Charlotte in the school play, Charlotte’s Web 

Some authors would do almost anything to let librarians and teachers know about their books, even hang upside down from a tree—as Lauren Myracle did in her video about Upside-Down Magic (September), written with Emily Jenkins and Sarah Mlynowski. “I did this because the book is about the joy of not being normal,” Myracle says. “I’ve had lots of experience with that, but almost zero experience filming video clips.”

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Coauthors Sarah Mlynowski (left), Emily Jenkins, and Lauren Myracle (upside down).

My choice for best solo performance goes to author Stephen Savage, who wanders the set to discuss his latest book, Where’s Walrus? Where’s Penguin? (August). Meanwhile, the segment with the best location definitely goes to Brian Selznick, who addresses viewers from his studio in Brooklyn. The author illustrator describes his latest work, The Marvels (September), which encompasses two connecting stories: the first, told in 400 drawings, followed by the second, a written narrative.
The graphic novel video featured a family affair with brother and sister Matt and Jenni Holm, who banter about their newest book, Sunny Side Up (August), and sibling relationships.Other highlights included young author Aija Mayrock talking about her novel  Survival Guide to Bullying: Written by a Kid for a Kid (June)  and Mary Lyn Ray, whose latest  picture book is A Lucky Author Has a Dog (August), illustrated by  Steven Henry and detailing Ray’s relationship with her dog. The other dog featured in the preview was a shelter hound, also a vampire dog, starring the first title in Tommy Greenwald’s “Crime Bites” series, My Dog Is Better Than Yours (September).


Brian Selznick, filmed in his Brooklyn studio.

“Eight is round and adorable” has to be the most quotable quote of the preview, made by Elisha Cooper. His book 8: An Animal Alphabet (July) features hundreds of animals, with each kind pictured eight times for its corresponding letter of the alphabet.

Lori Benton, vice president and group publisher, introduced us to The Queen’s Hat (August), in which  author/illustrator Steve Antony takes us on a romp through London as the Queen and her corgi chase her hat. Barry Cunningham, publisher of Scholastic’s Chicken House imprint, definitely wins best costume, as he donned a period hat to present  A Little in Love (August) by Susan Fletcher, inspired by Victor Hugo classic Les Miserables.

Scholastic has also produced a catalog with additional information on each title, an order form, and ways to arrange for authors to visit your school or library.

Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.



  1. Michaela Schied says:

    Just wanted to point out, it’s David Levithan.