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October 19, 2014

Happy International Sloth Day!

Don’t be a sloth…read a book!

As it turns out, being a sloth is pretty cool. Just ask Sparky, the friendly sloth from the newest picture book by Jenny Offill; illustrated by Chris Appelhans.

Celebrate international sloth day (October 19th) with these amazing facts about sloths:

  • Sloth’s claws can grow between three and four inches long. Talk about a good grip!
  • As early as 10,000 years ago, giant sloths called MEGATHERIUM roamed the earth. They were the same size as a modern rhinoceros!

  • Sloths spend so much time in trees that algae grow on their coats! This helps the sloths blend into their environment and avoid predators.
  • Baby sloths cling to their mothers for a full year.

  • It takes a month for a sloth to digest one meal of leaves.

Need more sloth in your life? Don’t forget to order Sparky! the hilarious, touching picture book perfect for young animal lovers. For even more sloth fun, check out the Sparky! Storytime Activity Kit.


October 06, 2014

Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher

Most children know that Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. He engineered the Louisiana Purchase. Now, thanks to Jon Meacham’s children’s adaptation of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, they will learn about America’s third president as a charming politician and a sentimental Renaissance man with many interests—in agriculture and cuisine, the fine arts, architecture, painting, sculpture, literature, music, natural history, and science. And also as a man of contradictions—a slave-owner and an eloquent statesman who wrote so passionately about equality and the pursuit of happiness. Meacham’s biography offers a fascinating portrait of Jefferson as a political strategist navigating the birth of a nation and the tumultuous political times in which he lived.

Peek inside this exciting new biography.

resentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Architect of the CapitolWashington with Jefferson and Hamilton, 1872, by Constantino Brumidi, Senate Reception Room of the U.S. Capitol

 

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

 Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher

Hardcover: 9780385387491
Library Binding: 9780385387507
Epub: 9780385387514

Download the Educators’ Guide


October 06, 2014

Bullying Prevention with Jodie Cohen and David Levithan

David Levithan is the author of many books for teens including Every Day and Two Boys Kissing, which was a Lambda Literary Award Winner and a Stonewall Honor Book.

In addition to being a bestselling author, David is also a senior editor at Scholastic, and founder of the PUSH imprint, devoted to finding new voices in teen literature.

Fun fact: David also narrated his audiobook, Two Boys Kissing.

David Levithan is a master at connecting with today’s teen audience. And, because he creates such thought-provoking titles that touch on gender, romance, and the complexities of life, his audiobooks are the perfect entry way for both parents and educators to open up a dialogue with students and listeners. David has also been instrumental in bringing LGBTQ stories to the forefront of YA literature

Have you ever been bullied or witnessed something that you incorporated into your writing?

Like most kids I certainly had bullied experiences, especially in junior high school. There were a couple of kids who liked to spit upon me, yell at me, call me different names, etc, etc, etc. I certainly took some solace in being the smart kid but that wasn’t enough to stop them from picking on me. And certainly I saw my friends go through this as well and that informs what I write about and what the characters I write about go through. But I think really the important thing to realize and something that came up a lot when I was asked to write about bullying for an Anthology called The Letter Q, is the fact that it’s not really an either/or. As many times as I can think that I was bullied, I can also think of times where I was a bully—where I picked on somebody or came up with a snide name for somebody else or liked to just sort of push the button that I knew the person didn’t want to be pushed. So I think that it’s important for me when writing characters and thinking about bullying to think that everybody has the potential to be both the bully and the bullied and that you really are making choices in different situations for different roles.

I believe in the power of books and audiobooks as a positive force in kids’ lives. Do you think your books help kids and if so, how?

Well certainly I hear a lot from readers and so I can have a sense of what books can do—not just my books but the books that all of my fellow authors write. I think one of the worst things about bullying is how isolating it is. That when you’re picked upon, you don’t want to talk about it with other people, you think you’re the only one being picked upon and it just feels like there’s nobody you can really relate to and nobody really relating to you. You feel that the bully is really the one with the power and the one that everybody is going to relate to. And I think the power of books is that they can make you feel less isolated. That reading a book that has something you’re going through can really make you realize that other people go through it. And if this adult you’ve never met, in this place you’ve never been, is writing about this in a way that you relate to then you know that it’s not just you. And if you read about kids who are going through other things that aren’t the things that you’re going through you also get a sense of what everybody else is up against. And know that even if you’re the only one facing your particular thing in your particular place, that there are other kids going through other things and you have to really team up with them and not feel quite so isolated.

I’m sure you receive lots of fan mail, have you received letters from teens who are being bullied? If so, how do you respond to them?

Yeah. Sometimes I do hear from kids who are being bullied—mostly for being gay or lesbian or bisexual, transgender. And it’s a really, really, tough thing to go through and I think it’s really caught up in all of these identity issues in feeling alone and feeling unsupported and being picked upon while you’re feeling alone and unsupported. So the first thing I always tell these kids is to talk to somebody. That the odds are very good in their life that there is somebody who will understand what they’re going through. And if they’ve tried talking to somebody, whether a parent or a teacher or a guidance counselor or a friend, and it hasn’t felt or they don’t feel that it’s gone the right way, then they should talk to somebody else. And try to look for other people. A lot of the times they feel very safe talking to an author at a remove by an email because we’re not in their lives. But because we’re not in their lives we really can’t tell them what to do in the way that a responsible person who knows them or knows their life can do. Another thing I keep telling them is to keep perspective that a lot of us went through bullying and a lot of us were picked upon and a lot of us questioned our identity when we’re younger and we got through it. And that the most important thing sometimes is just to hold on. That if you think your situation is just not changeable and that your life will never, ever change—there are millions of us who’s lives didn’t seem like they would change and then they changed. So sometimes when you are being bullied you don’t have that perspective but eventually you get to grow up and you get to leave. And the world is a better place.

Gay, lesbian, and transgender students are five times more likely to miss school because they feel unsafe after being bullied due to their sexual orientation. One of the reasons the main characters in Two Boys Kissing decide to break the world record for longest continuous kiss is a reaction to a homophobic attack against their friend Tariq. Can you talk about how this feeling of a lack of safety comes into the book?

When I was writing Two Boys Kissing, I knew that the central event of the book would be based on a true story which is that two boys in New Jersey beat the world record for longest continuous kiss by kissing for over 32 hours as a way of protesting inequality in my home state of New Jersey. So when thinking about turning this into a fictional event, the question kept coming up of “Why would they do this? What would be the inciting incident?” And what I kept coming back to and thinking about what gay kids are up against today was the idea of being bullied or being attacked. And that while certainly it gets better and certainly it is better now than it’s ever been in America, there are still times where you are picked upon and you are called names or you are actually physically attacked and I certainly have friends who’ve been through that. But I think, partially from having friends who’ve been through that and partially witnessing other people, I see how the lowest of the lows can lead to the bravest of the heights. That often when something really awful happens to us, we don’t react in fear or weakness, we actually find a strength that we didn’t know we had. And I think for the main characters of Two Boys Kissing, they see the strength that Tariq has after being attacked and they want to share that strength with the world and really find that strength for themselves and find a way to show it to everybody else. And that is why they kissed for as long as they do. And it does have the reaction that they want to get.

How do you research your characters—for example, “A” embodied 41 different people. Was that a challenge?

It’s one of these really interesting things that should have seemed obvious when I was writing the book but only seemed obvious after I wrote the book. What “A “does in Every Day, waking up every day in a different body in a different life and really having to navigate that life for a very short time before moving on is a lot like what authors do. We write books to create these fictional people, live in their lives for a little bit, see the world through their eyes, and then we leave. And I think it was a challenge certainly in Every Day to have “A” be in so many different lives and so many different bodies but at the same time it was just a variation of what I usually do as an author. I think the most successful writing is about empathy. We can’t just write about what we know—we have to write about what we see, what we feel and the commonality we feel with other people. So I think that the way that “A” navigates is really the way authors navigate. And the things that “A” discovers are the things that authors discover by trying on different people’s shoes and walking in them for a little bit and realizing the similarities we really have even though we seem different at first.

Every Day is a great book to use in the classroom or for a family with teenagers to listen to together. It offers the opportunity to start a dialogue about bullying since “A” inhabits the bodies of many different individuals and personalities. Entertainment Weekly raved Every Day has the power to teach a bully empathy by answering an essential question: What’s it like to be you and not me—even if it’s just for one day.

Please discuss this facet of the story.

One of the things that surprised me while writing Every Day is that, when I first approached the character of “A” I thought, “Oh, ‘A’ is going to navigate by just realizing all the differences between people and is going to be shocked every day by how different people are.” But while I started writing the book I realized that this was actually the opposite of the truth. That the way that “A” could navigate through all of these different lives and all these different bodies and have an understanding of who these people were was by finding the commonality, was by saying, you know, even though this person looks very different or seems to have a very different life, 98% of the time we have very similar emotions, we have very similar fears, we have very similar desires. And thus, “A” really does navigate the world. And I think that’s the beautiful thing about the book and the reaction to the book is that people do read it and they do realize that even if they were in another body, even if they were in somebody else’s shoes that they have enough in common with that person that they would understand it and they would be able to in some way feel what that person feels. And I think that is a powerful statement that we do think of bullies as being an “other” and as being somebody who isn’t like us just as the bullies look at somebody who they are bullying and think, oh, this person is somehow less or somehow different in a bad way. But if we really focus on the things we have in common and we don’t emphasize all of the differences and use the differences for divisiveness instead of community, then really we do lead to empathy and we do have an understanding that hopefully makes the world easier to navigate for everybody involved.

In Every Day, “A” enters the body of a bully, Vanessa. What inspired you to write that character? And, what did you hope the reader would take away from that section?

The way I wrote Every Day was really just: every day “A” wakes up in a different body and encounters a different thing. And for me as a writer, every chapter I would go, “OK. Who’s body is ‘A’ going to be in next?” And the morning “A” wakes up as Vanessa, I was like, “OK. Who is this girl?” And I realized that that one type of person that I had not talked about was somebody who really enjoys the power she has over other people. And that “A” being in that life for a day would see that the way that everybody else reacted to this girl was really, really nervous and wary. And that while through her eyes she might think she was getting their respect and think that they were her followers and think that she was adored. Really, “A” through her eyes realizes that no—these people are really afraid of her. They’re afraid of the next word that will come out of her mouth. They are afraid she’s going to attack them. They are afraid that the power she uses is always used against them and not for them. And I think it’s a really important thing to sort of step back and see. That even if you are the popular one and even if you are the bully or if you are somebody who has a large amount of power, you have to ask yourself, “Well, why do I have this power? What is making these people want to listen to me?” And that, if they’re listening to you because you’re their friend and you’re a good friend and you’re supportive of them and you’re fighting on their behalf—that’s one thing. And you’ll get a really great feeling from that. But if they’re following you because they are afraid not to follow you, that’s quite a different thing and that’s going to turn against you. So “A” feels very uncomfortable that day—almost one of the most uncomfortable days “A” has—because everything is under the surface. And “A” knows that Vanessa when she’s in her body doesn’t see these things because she is so caught up in herself. But when “A” is in her body looking out “A” realizes all these things and sees how wrong this power dynamic is.

To find out more visit thebullyconversation.com


October 01, 2014

What’s new from Lauren Kate

 

Have a look at these titles from Lauren Kate’s Waterfall and Fallen series

Waterfall
Written by Lauren Kate
ISBN (13 digit): 9780385742672
Imprint: Delacorte Press
On Sale Date: 10/28/2014
Format: Hardcover
Price (US): $18.99
Age Range: 12 and up

 

 

 

 

Teardrop
Written by Lauren Kate
ISBN (13 digit): 9780385742658
Imprint: Delacorte Press
On Sale Date: 10/22/2013
Format: Hardcover
Price (US): $18.99
Age Range: 12 and up

 

 

 

 

FallenFallen
Written by Lauren Kate
ISBN (13 digit): 9780385738934
Imprint: Delacorte Press
On Sale Date: 9/28/2010
Format: Paperback
Price (US): $9.99
Age Range: 12 and up

 

 

 

 

Torment
Written by Lauren Kate
ISBN (13 digit): 9780385739153
Imprint: Delacorte Press
On Sale Date: 6/14/2011
Format: Paperback
Price: $10.99
Age Range: 12 and up

 

 

 

 

Passion
Written by Lauren Kate
ISBN (13 digit): 9780385739177
Imprint: Delacorte Press
On Sale Date: 5/8/2012
Format: Paperback
Price (US): $10.99
Age Range: 12 and up

 

 

 

 

Rapture
Written by Lauren Kate
ISBN (13 digit): 9780385739191
Imprint:  Delacorte Press
On Sale Date: 1/7/2014
Format: Paperback
Price (US): $10.99
Age Range: 12 and up

 

 

 

 

Fallen in Love
Written by Lauren Kate
ISBN (13 digit): 9780385742627
Imprint:  Delacorte Press
On Sale Date: 12/26/2012
Format: Paperback
Price (US): $9.99
Age Range: 12 and up

 

 

 


October 01, 2014

Maximilian Starling, Curriculum Vitae

Objective: Seeks employment in order to independently maintain current lifestyle until parents are found.
Secondary objective: find parents.

Work Experience

Self-Employed—Solutioneer

●   finder of lost things

●   problem-solver

●   engineer of favorable outcomes

Starling Theatrical Company

●   prompts actors during performances

●   keeps track of props

●   appears as extra onstage


 

When Max arrives at the docks to meet his parents aboard the Flower of Kashmir, there’s no such ship, and even more bizarre, there are no parents. Now Max is finding his way until he can find his parents by playing the role of artist, spy, gardener, traveling salesman, and ordinary schoolboy to solve his cases as Mister Max, Solutioneer.

With lively dialogue, characters with distinct personalities, and lots of action, Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things provides excellent opportunities for student-created readers’ theater experiences. Download the Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things Educators’ Guide with a readers’ theater activity kit. The adventure continues with Mister Max: The Book of Secrets.

Cynthia Voigt is the acclaimed author of many books, including Dicey’s Song, winner of the Newbery Medal; A Solitary Blue, winner of a Newbery Honor; and Homecoming. For her body of work, Cynthia Voigt was honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Outstanding Literature for Young Adults.


October 01, 2014

Good things to say about VERY BAD THINGS by Susan McBride

“Katie has mostly recovered from the tragedy of her father’s suicide and is excited about her future: graduation and college with her boyfriend Mark, a popular hockey athlete. She attends a prep school on scholarship and has found a best friend in her roommate Tessa. Katie’s senior year takes a sudden turn, though, when a mysterious package arrives at the dorm for her and contains a gruesome object within. Soon she’s questioning who she can trust and trying to piece together a story from a hazy night of partying that resulted in the death of an innocent teen girl. Fans of “The Pretty Little Liars” series (HarperCollins) will appreciate the high drama and plot twists. The horror elements are tame making this book appealing for middle grade readers as well as teens.”
–Samantha Lumetta, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH, School Library Journal

“Katie can barely believe Mark, the good-looking star center on the Whitney prep school hockey team and son of the headmaster, is her boyfriend. In fact, she is stunned to realize he was waiting for her after the poetry slam she had organized ended. She falls for him hard the day he shows her the secret tunnels which come out in the greenhouse, where he cut a blooming rose for her hair. The last few years have been tough on Katie, losing her father at twelve and only making it to boarding school on a scholarship. Unfortunately, Mark has his detractors, including his former girlfriend, Joelle; his new teammate Steve; and Katie’s roommate and best friend, Tessa. Katie is stunned to learn that there are photos of Mark with another girl online that Mark cannot explain even when she is reported missing. Is he sincere or is he a liar? What secrets is he keeping? When a box addressed to Katie arrives with a severed hand, Katie realizes she cannot just walk away, but her digging leads to only more secrets.

This fast-paced, well-crafted novel is written from the different points of view of Katie, Mark, and Tessa. The characters are interesting with realistic bonds that tangle their lives together. There are many subplots creating both mystery and complexity. This will be a popular book with a long and continuous list.”—Ava Ehde, VOYA Review, October 2014

“In her first book for teens, adult author McBride (the Dropout Debutant Mystery series) draws readers into upper-crust society and the dangerous secrets that lie beneath it. Fifteen-year-old Katie has felt unsettled during her four years at a New England prep school, despite having a loyal best friend in her roommate Tessa and dating Mark, a hockey star and the headmaster’s son. Lately she has reason to worry: several students seem to want Katie’s relationship with Mark to end, and she suspects someone is following her, leaving roses in the library and her room. Then a “sex pic” of Mark and a Katie lookalike circulates, and after the girl in the photo turns up dead, Mark claims he can’t remember anything about the night when it was taken. To save her future with Mark, and possibly their lives, Katie tries to find the killer. McBride’s fast-paced plot is fueled by jumps between multiple characters’ perspectives, and her rendering of the venerable yet sinister school, complete with a web of subterranean steam tunnels, is as absorbing as the tightly wound mystery. Ages 12–up.” —Publishers Weekly, August 29 2014

Very Bad Things
Very Bad Things
by Susan McBride
Hardcover: 9780385737975
Library Binding: 9780385907040
Delacorte | Oct. 2014