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March 11, 2015

A Letter from Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder, authors of A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans

Dear Librarians,

How do two writers tackle the job of writing a book together?  We’re happy to tell you that it can be done without much fighting and no biting!

Larry and I are married and have been together for 30 years, both writing for over 40 years.  We have written well over 100 books, but A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans is our first book written together.  We’ve talked about doing so, and we’ve often read each other’s manuscripts and given advice.  But this book idea caught our joint fancies, so we ran with it.  It’s been a happy adventure creating this magical tale of an elderly dragon and her 10-year-old human pet in contemporary San Francisco.  It was fun to imagine what Miss Drake and Winnie would be like and do, and we found ourselves enjoying being “partners in whimsy.”

Now we are very different writers.  Larry writes novels; I write poetry and non-fiction picture books.  He is the long-distance runner; I am the sprinter.  He is the lark up early and writing during the day.  I am the owl, rising later and working from sunset to the wee hours of the morning.   We have separate writing spots in the house, and we get together at mealtimes to discuss what we’re doing, work on plot points, and discuss problems.

We’re written two books in the series so far, and the way it has worked is this.  Larry writes the opening, we work on the overall plot, he writes some chapters, and I write others.  We share what we’ve done and rewrite and edit all the parts till we are happy.  Larry, as a novelist, has a much better understanding of plotting and dramatic arches, etc.  As a poet, I work on images and details and the emotional thrust of the book.  So we each bring the elements we know best to the story.

We both want to write stories with warm and enchanting characters that children will enjoy reading.  It’s been a special treat to work with Miss Drake and Winnie—and with each other.  Now we’re looking forward to seeing what we—and they—will do next.

Happy reading,

Larry and Joanne

A Dragon's GuideA Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans
by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder
Hardcover: 978-0-385-39228-0
Library Binding: 978-0-385-39229-7
EPUB: 978-0-385-39230-3

March 11, 2015

From the Kitchen of: Alice Hoffman – Sidwell’s Pink Apple Pie Recipe

Nightbird Educators' GuideNightbird
Hardcover: 978-0-385-38958-7
Library Binding: 978-0-385-38959-4
EPUB: 978-0-385-38960-0

In her first novel for middle-grade readers , bestselling author Alice Hoffman tells a bewitching story of love and friendship that is truly magical.

Twig lives in Sidwell, where people whisper that fairy tales are real. After all, her town is rumored to hide a monster. And two hundred years ago, a witch placed a curse on Twig’s family that was meant to last forever. But this summer, everything will change when the red moon rises. It’s time to break the spell.

Download the educator’s guide to bring the magic into your classroom, and be sure to pick up the book that’s good enough to eat.

Pink Apple Pie
Apple Pie Recipe Instructions

Alice Hoffman with editor Wendy Lamb

Alice Hoffman with editor Wendy Lamb and some apple pie

Two Stars for The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
March 11, 2015

Two Stars for The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

“Welcome back Penderwicks! And also welcome back all those in the Penderwicks’ circle, including honorary brother, Jeffrey (messing with the family dynamics by having fallen for Skye); Nick, on leave from fighting overseas and as idolized by the kids as ever; assorted friends and neighbors; a couple of dogs; and a new music teacher. It’s the latter who makes a surprising impact on 10-year-old Batty’s life, telling her that she has a rare and beautiful voice. And it is with utter shock that Batty realizes she does indeed. But she doesn’t want her family to know until she talks with Jeffrey, her musical mentor. But Jeffrey’s crush and a devastating family secret overheard by Batty mixes everything up and keeps Batty silent in several different ways. Besides being chock full of all the qualities fans love (humor, heart, and the honest exploration of emotions), the compelling storyline examines the guilt that Batty feels over both the death of her mother and her inability to keep the family dog, Hound, alive—and it does so in honest and touching ways. Batty is the narrator, most of the time, but younger Ben takes over on occasion and two-year-old Lydia is an eccentric presence. The Penderwicks have a strong bench, so, happily, expect more.”—Booklist, February 1, 2015
★“With the addition of baby sister Lydia, the Penderwicks’ blended family returns with all the big-family drama and joys that fans have come to expect. In this fourth installment, musically inclined fifth-grader Batty is delighted to learn that her school’s dull music teacher has been replaced by the more appealing Mrs. Grunfeld; better still, the new teacher thinks Batty has a “rare and beautiful” voice. Inspired, Batty earns money for singing lessons by walking two unusual neighborhood dogs, a job that makes her yearn for her own, recently deceased dog. After overhearing a family secret, she starts to believe that she was responsible for the death of her mother, who passed away when Batty was a baby. It takes a lot of detective work from her older sisters, parents, and neighbors to figure out why Batty is so blue, but in true Penderwick fashion, misunderstandings are soon righted. The warmth and compassion of the Penderwick family comes through in every page of this slice-of-life novel, healing emotional bruises and reassuring readers that most problems can be overcome. Publisher’s Weekly, January

March 11, 2015

March is Women’s History Month

Random House Children’s books honors the contributions of women throughout literature and history. These books from our collection follow the 2015 Women’s History Month Theme: Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.

by Rosemary McCarney
Hardcover: 9780553521207
GLB: 9780553521214
EPUB: 9780553521221
by Anna Kemp; 
illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Hardcover: 9780385371254


by by Amelie Sarn;
translated from the French by Y. Maudet
(a 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project Finalist)
Hardcover: 9780385743761
GLB: 9780375991288
EPUB: 9780385370202
by Carole Boston Weatherford;
illustrated by Raul Colon
(a 2014 Amelia Bloomer Project Finalist)
Hardcover: 978037585606
GLB: 9780375956065
EPUB: 9780385392464
by Jordan Stratford;
illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Hardcover: 9780385754408
GLB: 9780385754415
EPUB: 9780385754422


by J.C. Carleson
Hardcover: 9780449809976
GLB: 9780449809983
EPUB: 9780449810002
by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince
Hardcover: 9780385755115
GLB: 9780385755122
EPUB: 9780385755139
by Esther Friesner
Library Binding:9780375954146
EPUB: 9780375982811



February 11, 2015

Random House Children’s Books Honors Black History Month

February marks the beginning of Black History Month, or National African American History Month; the annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time to recognize the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.

Random House honors this tradition with children’s books both by and about black Americans. Bring these gorgeous titles into your classroom and library.
Picture Books

by Barack Obama;
illustrated by Loren Long
Hardcover: 9780375835278
Library Binding: 9780375935275
EPUB: 9780375983290
by Renee Watson;
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Hardcover: 9780375869730
Library Binding: 9780375969737
EPUB: 9780375985379
Child of the Civil Rights Movement

by Paula Young Shelton;
illustrated by Raul Colon
Hardcover: 9780375843143
Library Binding: 9780375954146
EPUB: 9780375982811


You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!

by Jonah Winter;
illustrated by Terry Widener
Hardcover: 9780375868443
Library Binding: 9780375968440
EPUB: 9780375987823
Barack Obama: Out of Many, One (Step into Reading)
by Shana Corey;
illustrated by James Bernardin
Hardcover: 9780375863394
Library Binding: 9780375973710
EPUB: 9780385374781
Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century

by Carole Boston Weatherford;
illustrated by Raul Colon
Hardcover: 9780375856068
Library Binding: 9780375956065
EPUB: 9780385392464

Middle Grade

Bud, Not Buddy

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Paperback: 9780553494105

by Barbara Wright
Hardcover: 9780375869280
Library Binding: 9780375969287
EPUB: 9780375982705

by Tonya Bolden
Hardcover: 9780375827952
Paperback: 9780375827969
EPUB: 9780307792884


The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Hardcover: 9780385321754
Paperback: 9780440228004
EPUB: 9780307568458
The Mighty Miss Malone

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Hardcover: 9780385734912
Library Binding: 9780385904872
EPUB: 9780375897368
Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me

by Tonya Bolden
Hardcover: 9780385738798
Library Binding: 9780385907477
EPUB: 9780375896132

Young Adult

145th Street: Short Stories

by Walter Dean Myers
Paperback: 9780307976109
Library Binding: 9780385905381
EPUB: 9780385729840
Discovering Wes Moore (The Young Adult Adaptation)

by Wes Moore
Hardcover: 9780385741675
Library Binding: 9780375990182
EPUB: 9780375986703
Make It Messy

by Marcus Samuelsson
Hardcover: 9780385744003
Library Binding: 9780375991448
EPUB: 9780385374194


On a Clear Day

by Walter Dean Myers
Hardcover: 9780385387538
Library Binding: 9780385387545
EPUB: 9780385387552
What They Found: Love on 145th

by Walter Dean Myers
Paperback: 9780375845451
Library Binding: 9780375937095
EPUB: 9780307549181
Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina

by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince
Hardcover: 9780385755115
Library Binding: 9780385755122
EPUB: 9780385755139