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April 02, 2014

Our TLA and IRA author signing schedules

TLA 2014 [San Antonio, TX | April 8-11, 2014 ]

Books will be available immediately before each author’s signing. Books are free, limit one per person.


  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. | CHRISTINA GONZALEZ – IN-BOOTH SIGNING
    The Red Umbrella (pb)
    A Thunderous Whisper (pb)
  • 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | VARIAN JOHNSON – AISLE #7
    Saving Maddie (hc)


  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | E. LOCKHART – AISLE #5
    Lemonade in Winter (hc)
    Water in the Park (hc)
    We Were Liars (hc)
  • 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | WENDELIN VAN DRAANEN & MARK HUNTLEY PARSONS – AISLE #5
    Road Rash (hc)
    The Running Dream (pb)
    Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief (pb)
    Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise (hc)
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. | DAVID LEVITHAN – AISLE #5
    Boy Meets Boy (pb)
    Every Day (pb)
    Two Boys Kissing (hc)
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. | JENNIFER L. HOLM – AISLE #7
    Babymouse #1: Queen of the World (pb)
    Babymouse #2: Our Hero (pb)
    Babymouse #16: Babymouse for President (pb)
    Babymouse #17: Extreme Babymouse (pb)
    Babymouse #18: Happy Birthday Babymouse! (pb)
    Squish #1: Super Amoeba (pb)
    Squish #2: Brave New Pond  (pb)
    Squish #3: The Power of the Parasite (pb)
    Squish #4: Captain Disaster (pb)
    The Fourteenth Goldfish (ARC)
    Penny from Heaven (pb)
    Turtle in Paradise (pb)
    Hattie Ever After (pb)
    Hattie Big Sky (pb)
    The Friendship Doll (pb)
    Better Than You (hc)
    Confessions of a Former Bully (hc)
    The Invisible Boy (hc)
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | DANA REINHARDT – AISLE #5
    Odessa Again (hc)
    The Summer I Learned to Fly (pb)
    The Things a Brother Knows (pb)
    We Are the Goldens (hc)
  • 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | PAT MORA – IN-BOOTH SIGNING
    The Beautiful Lady (hc)
    I Pledge Allegiance (hc)


  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. | CHRIS GRABENSTEIN – AISLE #2
    Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (hc)
    The Book of Blood and Shadow (hc)
    The Waking Dark (hc)


IRA [New Orleans, LA | May 10-12]


  • 4:00 – 5:00 P.M. | KIRBY LARSON
    Hattie Ever After (pb)


  • 1:30 – 2:30 P.M. | E. LOCKHART
    We Were Liars (hc)
  • 1:30 – 2:30 P.M. | SARAH MLYNOWSKI
    Don’t Even Think About it (hc)
  • 3:00 – 4:00 P.M. | MATT DE LA PEÑA
    The Living (hc)
  • 3:00 – 4:00 P.M. | MICHAEL D. BEIL
    Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits (hc)


    High Time for Heroes (hc)
    Heroes for All Times (pb)

April 01, 2014

April: Spring Break

By Pat Scales

It’s about time for spring break and readers of all ages are making plans. Some may head to warm climates and sandy beaches to surf the waves and hunt for sharks’ teeth or perfectly shaped seashells. Others may hike the trails of national parks, or climb to the peaks of some of the nation’s mountain ranges.  Some may choose to cruise the islands of the Caribbean, or travel to Europe, Asia or South America.  Most will simple stay at home and enjoy very late nights and lazy mornings.  And if libraries plan exciting programs, then many will elect to spend spring break reading a good book.  Here are some ideas to engage readers:

  • Ask readers to become a character in a book, and give a 3-minute presentation about why spring break should be spent with them in their city or state.  Consider these characters:

Naomi in Just Plain Fancy by Patricia Polacco (picture book)

Tulip Jones in Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch by Anne Issacs & illus. by Kevin Hawkes (picture book)

Bone in Precious Bones by Mika Ashley-Hollinger (young readers)

Calvin Coconut by Graham Salisbury (young readers)

Oz & Lily in The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders (young readers)

Miami Jackson series by Patricia & Frederick McKissack

Woohoo Cray in Chomp by Carl Hiaasen (middle grade)

Turtle in Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm (middle grade)

 Zeeta in The Ruby Notebook by Laura Resau (young adult)

Virginia in The Queen of Water by Laura Resau & Maria Virginia Farinango (young adult)

bSami Ames in Hot Scots, Castles & Kilts by Tammy Swoish (young adult)

Torin Sinclair in The White Gates by Bonnie Ranthun (young adult)

  • Be a travel agent and plan a spring break trip for a book character.  Consider what is revealed about the character in the novel.   Readers should justify where they are sending the character, and prepare an itinerary. Suggestions from Random House include:

Young Readers

Lucy Rose, series by Katy Kelly

Gooney Bird, series by Lois Lowry

Junie B. Jones, series by Barbara Park

Babymouse, series by Jennifer Holm

Grk, series by Joshua Doder

Nate, Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Shamat

Middle Grade Readers

Harriet from Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Mr. Juniper from The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School by Candace Fleming

Georges & Safer from Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Chuck & Ales in Racing the Moon by Alan Armstrong

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

Young Adult Readers

Lonnie Jackson from Hoops by Walter Dean Myers

Teenie by Christopher Grant

Hailey Tarbell in Banished by Sophie Littlefield

Brett in Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress by Maria Padlan

Sammy Keyes by Wendelin Van Draanen

  • Tell readers that a very rich person has given money for someone to take a special spring break trip.  The donor needs a letter that explains why the person deserves a trip.  Ask readers to pick a deserving main character from a book they’ve read and write a letter in their support.  Plan a panel of judges to select the character for the trip.  Book suggestions from Random House include:

Middle Grade Readers

All the Way Home by Patricia Reilly Giff

Flush by Carl Hiassen

One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

Heart of a Shepherd by Roseanne Parry

Holes by Louis Sachar

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Young Adult Readers

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk

The Lost Songs by Caroline B. Cooney

Ball Don’t Lie by Matt de la Peña

Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

The Decoding of Lana Morris by Laura & Tom McNeal

Surface Tension by Rent Runyon

Sparrow by Sherri L. Smith

What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson

March 04, 2014

The Penderwicks

Jeanne Birdsall’s beloved Penderwicks series has been refreshed in paperback!  Brimming with the magic and adventures of summertime, the books are centered on the lives of four charming sisters and their hilarious, often touching, interactions with each other and the world around them. When the first title, The Penderwicks, appeared on shelves, it was a National Book Award winner, a New York Times bestseller, and was named to countless best-of lists.  Its sequels, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, are equally beloved. (Psst–we have an Educators Guide for the series available to download!)

 Check out the revamped covers below:

A boxed set of the new cover is also available. And get excited, Penderwicks fans!  We’ll have some news in the near future that may interest you… 

March 03, 2014

March: Women’s History Month

by Pat Scales

I love independent main characters in children’s fiction.  Nancy Drew was the closest such character that was available to me.  But I did read about a few strong women in the Childhood of Famous American’s biography series.  They were highly fictionalized, but nonetheless paved the way for me to search for more information about these women.  Since March is Women’s History Month, I thought this a good time to check young readers’ knowledge about women who have made their mark on history.  I suspect that many young readers may know the accomplishments of women like Susan B. Anthony, Lizzie Stanton, Clara Barton, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Amelia Earhart.  But do they know Ida B. Wells, Jane Addams, Alice Paul, Anne Morrow Lindberg, Bessie Colman, Lucretia Mott, Margaret Sanger, Dorothea Lang, Shirley Chisholm, and Barbara Jordan? They may know the names of a few contemporary women who have made a great difference in our society.  Women like Hilary Clinton, Madeleine Korbel Albright, Michelle Obama and Ophrah Windfrey, Sonia Sontomayor, and Ruth Bader Gingsburg.  But do they know Gloria Steinman, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Lilly Ledbetter?   These women may be introduced by leading reader to the following website:  http://www.greatwomen.org/welcome.

  • Suggest that they created trading cards about some of the great women honored on this website.  Help them download a picture of the woman for the front of the card (or have them make an illustrations that best represents the woman) and on the back of the card include 5 facts that made her great. Sponsor a trading day.
  • Tell them that the First Women’s Rights Conference was held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.  Have them take a virtual field trip of the Women’s Rights Historical Park (http://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm) in Seneca Falls, and now a part of the National Parks Service.
  • Have them visit the online exhibits at the National Women’s History Museum (http://www.nwhm.org).
  • Tell them that the theme for Women’s History Week in 2014 is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment.”  Find out about this year’s honorees (http://www.nwhp.orgWoman’s_
  • Then introduce strong, independent fictional girls.  Sponsor an essay contest called  Female Fictional Characters: Character, Courage, and Commitment.”  Suggestions from Random House include:

Counting on Grace (MG) by Elizabeth Winthrop

Harriet the Spy (MG) by Louise Fitzhugh

The Hope Chest (MG) by Karen Schwabach

Laugh with the Moon (MG) by Shana Burg

The Mighty Miss Malone (MG) by Christopher Paul Curtis

Sylvia and Aki (MG) by Winifred Conkling

Hattie Big Sky & Hattie Ever After (YA) by Kirby Larson

Sarny (YA) by Gary Paulsen

  • Have readers locate biographies about women in history. Suggestions from Random House include:

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart (MG) by Candace Fleming

The Story of Harriet Tubman (MG) by Kate McMullan

The Story of Sacajawea (MG) by Della Rowland

  • Include the youngest readers by introducing picture books about famous women.  Suggestions from Random House include:

The Ballot Box Battle (PB) by Emily Arnold McCully

Only Passing Through (PB) by Anne Rockwell & illus. by Gregory Christie

They Called Her Molly Pitcher (PB) by Anne Rockwell & illus. by Cynthia Von Buhlee

Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson (PB) by Sue Stauffacher & illus. by Greg Couch

Sky High: The Story of Maggie Gee (PB) by Marissa Moss

The Daring Nellie Bly (PB) by Bonnie Christensen

The Bravest Woman in America (PB) by Marissa Moss & illus. by Andrea Wren

The Watcher (PB) by Jeanette Winter


February 07, 2014

Celebrating Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day was established as a federal holiday by an act of Congress in 1879–though, back then, the holiday was called George Washington’s Birthday! Originally celebrated on Washington’s birthday, February 22nd, celebrations shifted to the third Monday in February when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, placing the date between the 15th and 21st. Fun fact: because of that, the holiday never occurs on Washington’s actual birthday (the 11th in the Old Style calendar and the 22nd in the New Style). This is especially ironic because, if you’re going to be technical about it, the day is still legally dubbed Washington’s Birthday. The term “Presidents’ Day” was created by advertisers in the 1980s, taking advantage of the fact that President Lincoln’s birthday also fell within the month.

There’s no standard name for the holiday, as different states celebrate the holiday with different names… but there’s still plenty of fun to be had in introducing your students to the remarkable men who have held the office of President of the United States of America!

George Washington

George Washington’s Birthday by Margaret McNamara; illustrated by Barry Blitt

Meet George Washington (Landmark Books series) by Joan Heilbroner

George Washington and the General’s Dog by Frank Murphy; illustrated by Richard Walz


Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson’s Feast by Frank Murphy; illustrated by Richard Walz

Meet Thomas Jefferson (Landmark Books series) by Marvin Barrett; Pat Fogarty

Jefferson’s Children by Shannon Lanier and Jane Feldman; photographs by Jane Feldman

Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher by Jon Meacham (coming soon!)


Abraham Lincoln

Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by John Hendrix

Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner; illustrated by Donald Cook

Meet Abraham Lincoln (Landmark Books series) by Barbara Cary

Abe Lincoln at Last! (Magic Tree House #47) by Mary Pope Osborne; illustrated by Sal Murdocca

Abraham Lincoln (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #25) by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce; illustrated by Sal Murdocca

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary by Candace Fleming (Educator Guide)


Franklin D. Roosevelt

A Boy Named FDR by Kathlee Krull; illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Alphabet Soup by Tonya Bolden




Multiple Presidents

George, Thomas, and Abe by Frank Murphy, Martha Brenner; illustrated by Richard Walz, Donald Cook

The Look-It-Up Book of Presidents by Wyatt Blassingame


Presidency-Related Titles

As If Being 12 3/4 Isn’t Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President! by Donna Gephart

A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by C. Coco De Young

Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama