March 28, 2014
I am sadly falling behind in emails (in the past hour I have answered seven, while twelve more have entered my Inbox), but I did just receive one that warranted a break from email in favor of a quick Friday posting:
THE CANDY SMASH has been included in the 2014 edition of Best Books of the Year for Children and Young Adults, selected by the Children's Book Committee. The CBC is a lovely bunch of folks with a primary mission of supporting literacy. They do lots of educational programming and literacy advocacy, and they work hard to highlight books they think kids will love. Thanks for such a wonderful "hurrah" to kick off the weekend.
March 26, 2014
Quick! Party hats and noisemakers! Yesterday was the pub date for Cindy Lord's newest Hot Rod Hamster (does that name just crack you up, or what?) book: HOT ROD HAMSTER: MONSTER TRUCK MANIA! You've probably already met this energetic furball in her two previous picture books: HOT ROD HAMSTER and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAMSTER, but in this third book, HRH goes to a Monster Truck Show to get his engines revved up. It's funny, it's clever, and it's oh! so much fun to read out loud. Congratulations, Cindy!
March 23, 2014
I'm including here two videos of the same thing: the extraordinary Book Hive installation at the Bristol Central Library in Bristol, England. Designed by the artist group Rusty Squid, it's an animatronic collection of 400 books to celebrate the library's 400th anniversary (remarkable, that, all in itself). The first video explains a bit about the installation and gives some excellent background information that will help you understand just how this thing works. But the second video, only 48 seconds in length, gives a better demonstration of what is truly remarkable about this piece of book art. Watch until the very end to have your breath taken away.
March 22, 2014
In THE MAGIC TRAP, Mrs. Treski hangs a poster in her laundry room that reads, "Keep Calm and Carry On." Many of you may know that this is a reference to a Word War II propaganda poster created by the British government to help people buck up and endure the horrendous aerial assault launched by the Germans against the island nation. Here is an absolutely wonderful, warm, charming, understated video that gives a little background on the now-famous poster (which was never actually released during the war) and introduces what may be the single most delightful independent bookstore in Northeast England. The video is only three minutes long, and I promise you won't be sorry you took the time to watch it.
March 21, 2014
I had such a great time visiting the kids at Runkle School in Brookline, MA. Many thanks to super-librarian Teresa Gallo-Toth for making it happen. I want to share one moment with you. During the Q&A session with the first graders, we had been discussing those who might like to be writers some day, and one girl raised her hand with such a look on her face. The best way to describe it was a Wemberly Worried look. Clearly, something was causing her great anguish. Very quietly she explained her problem: "I'm a scientist. But I like to write." "That's wonderful," I said. "My friend Loree Griffin Burns is a scientist who writes the most wonderful, exciting books about the world around us!" (Loree was particularly on my mind, because I had just reread her spectacular TRACKING TRASH a few weeks earlier.) You can't imagine the smile on this little girl's face when she realized she could love both writing and science. And then imagine the smile on my face when, after the presentation, Teresa told me that Loree had recently visited the older kids at Runkle to talk about ocean currents. Fabulous! I love it when the circles of our lives intersect in unexpected way.
Is anyone else waiting with baited breath for Loree's newest book? I am. It comes out this fall, and it looks like a page turner.
March 19, 2014
What a relief! We all survived the Ides of March. Technically, the Ides of March is just one day: the 15th, but I always feel like the danger zone spills over a few days before and a few days after. But by today, we are safely through. Well done! And of course that means that spring is truly within sight. But I'd like to harken back for a moment to a wonderful December parade that was held in Berwick, PA. This is an annual, town-wide event, and each block of the parade route is decorated with a particular theme. Fourteenth Street School (seen in the background) chose THE LEMONADE WAR as its theme, and, boy, did they do themselves proud. I especially loved the giant plywood figures of Jessie, Evan, Mrs. Treski, and Officer Ken. With spirit like this, every day is a parade at Fourteenth Street School!
March 16, 2014
A friend sent this picture of The Lemonade War series of books on display at the Boston Barnes & Noble store. What fun to see them all together—soon to be joined by the next in the series, THE MAGIC TRAP. Hey, wait a minute! Is that a rogue copy of THE CANDY SMASH trying to sneak into the book display next to it? Maybe it wanted to go visiting neighbors, or maybe it just thinks it deserves the label "DRAMA." And I can't help but notice that one of my all-time favorite picture books from my childhood is making a sneak appearance in the background: CORDUROY. Books gone wild!
March 14, 2014
Don't you love Fridays? I do. Although if you think about it, it's a pretty strange word. A day for frying? A day of feeling fried? Enough nonsense! I promised to post the brand-new trailer for the fifth book in The Lemonade War series, THE MAGIC TRAP, and here it is. Enjoy!
March 13, 2014
Got home late last night (thank you Berwick, Pennsylvania, School District and Countryside Elementary School in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, for hosting such fun-filled visits) to find four large boxes from my publisher filled with...new editions of some of my books. Always fun to see! There was the brand-new Spanish edition of THE LEMONADE WAR in both paperback and hardcover; the newly released paperback edition of THE CANDY SMASH; and the not-yet-released (but soon! April 1!) edition of THE MAGIC TRAP. I felt like it was my birthday with so many fun boxes to open. I'll be posting the just completed trailer for THE MAGIC TRAP soon, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, you can watch the trailers for the other four books in the series here.
March 7, 2014
Very pleased to arrive home to find out that THE MAGIC TRAP and the Spanish-language edition of THE LEMONADE WAR (entitled LA GUERRA DE LA LIMONADA)
have both been named Junior Library Guild selections. Lovely! I raise a glass of lemonade to the Guild!
March 5, 2014
Hey, how fun is this?
Teachers at F.N. Brown Elementary School in Verona, New Jersey, surprised their students with a Flash Mob dance to kick off the school's One School, One Book event reading THE LEMONADE WAR. These teachers have moves! (That's the book they're dancing with!) I'm so impressed that they managed to rehearse this dance despite all the snow days they've had. Go, teachers!
March 1, 2014
I recently got back from the greater Philadelphia area, where I had a wonderful time visiting with kids in Lafayette Hill, Wilmington, Wynnewood, Middletown, and Cherry Hill. I also had time to sneak off to the Philadelphia Art Museum, which has a world-class collection of good art. There was a terrific temporary exhibition on Surrealism, but the piece of art that stole my heart was this little oil-on-paper painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. What can I say? I love dogs.