Archive for the ‘Childrens and YA’ Category

FREE TICKETS For the Arbuthnot Lecture

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

There’s still time to reserve your free tickets to hear Andrea Davis Pinkney give this year’s Arbuthnot Lecture on Saturday, May 3rd at the University of Minnesota.


RSVP here, or by calling 612-626-9182.

An accompanying exhibit, Rejoice the Legacy! is open through May 14, 2014.

More information here.

Trailer; IF I STAY

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

ifistay-paperbackAs movie audiences will discover this summer, there is much more to YA adaptations than kids fighting kids in dystopian battles.

Following the release in June of The Fault in Our Stars, based on the John Green novel, comes the film adaptation of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, (Penguin) on August 22. The first trailer, below, was just released.

Actress Chole Moretz stars as Mia, a 17 year-old cellist, who is given the choice whether to live or die, while in a coma after a car accident that killed her family. Jamie Blackley (Snow White And The Huntsman, The Fifth Estate) plays her boyfriend Adam, Mirella Enos and Denny Hall,  her parents and Stacy Keach, Gramps. It is directed by R. J Cutler, known for his documentaries, including the Emmy-award-winning American High.

Shocker: ALLEGIANT Movie To Be in Two Parts

Monday, April 14th, 2014

The film of Divergent is an official success, so much so that, like other popular teen franchises (Twilight, Hunger Games), the final book in the series will be split into two movies.

The stars revealed on yesterday’s MTV Movie Awards red carpet that they knew that was a possibility from the beginning:

Early April Kids Books to Love

Friday, April 4th, 2014

We’re being showered with some great kids books this month. Below are some new arrivals that caught my eye (for my picks of YA titles, click here).

The Pigeon Needs a BathThe Pigeon Needs a Bath!, Mo Willems, Hachette, Disney-Hyperion

Over ten years ago four-year-olds everywhere screamed, denied, and prevented a small blue pigeon from driving a bus. Pigeon has found a hotdog, wanted a puppy, longed for a cookie, stayed up late and I am pretty sure that we are not surprised that now he needs a bath.

9780316The Adventures of BeekleThe Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, Dan Santat, Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Beekle is a doughy white roundish creature with a golden crown. He is an imaginary friend who lacks a child. Beekle impatiently waits in the land of imaginary creatures for his perfect match until he just can’t wait any longer and journeys off to find the child himself. Santat has created a fantasy world of helpful imagined companions. We meet a navy blue octopus who seems to have mehndi designs trailing up its tentacles, a cheerful wind cloud who helps fly a kite, and a playful salamander-like creature; all part of a community of children in a familiar yet strange landscape saturated with color.

Have You Seen My Dragon?

Have You Seen My Dragon?, Steve Light, Candlewick

Counting from 1 to 20 we wander the street of Manhattan as a the eponymous dragon hides in plain sight. Light’s retro crowded pen and ink drawings evoke the hustle and bustle of the big city with judicious spots of color to help young readers find the 2 red hotdogs in golden buns, 3 purple buses and so on and so on.

Cowy Cow , Chris Raschka, Abrams/Appleseed

When I found out that Abrams Appleseed was bringing the Thingy Thing books back in print, I did cartwheels. When I found out that they were adding 4 new titles right away, I did hand springs. Okay not really, but my heart did. I have adored these simple stories that are just right for the emergent readers since the silly Moosey Moose who pined for long pants to wear on his antlers. Don’t worry, kids get the joke.

Ninja Ninja Never Stop

Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop!, Tad Carpenter, Abrams Appleseed

Picture books about ninjas abound:

The Boy who cried Ninja, Alex Latimer, Peachtree Publishers

Wink the Ninja Who Wanted To Nap, J.C. Phillipps, Penguin/Viking Juvenile

The Three Ninja Pigs, Corey Rosen Schwartz, Dan Santat, Penguin/Putnam Juvenile

Nighttime Ninja, Ed Young, Barbara DaCosta, Hachette/Little, Brown

This one with its bold graphics and bouncy rhyme is a delightful romp.

The 12-Story Treehouse   9781250026910_deb21

A year a go I proclaimed my adoration of Andy Giffiths, author of The 13-Story Treehouse, illustrated by Terry Denton, (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends). It bears repeating, especially now that there’s a sequel, The 26-Story Treehouse :

Are you a little sick of the refrain, “Boys don’t read … boys stop reading … boys can read but don’t”?

My not-so-secret weapon is Andy Griffiths. Got a third grader who isn’t in to reading yet? Give him Griffiths and Denton’s The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow! and The Cat on the Mat is Flat. It can mean the difference between a kid becoming a life-long non-reader or a fluent confident reader who knows there are books out there to be enjoyed.

This new title is a not-so-tongue-in-cheek memoir of Andy and Terry who live in a 13-story-treehouse, with all the fantasy rooms a kid could dream up; a see-through-pool, a basement laboratory, a marshmallow shooting cannon, a shrink ray AND the ability to transform a cat into flying catnary (click on the cover to see treehouse in its full glory). Let’s not be sexist about the appeal of this volume. All genders of third graders will be fighting over it.

Register with SLJ and you can have a class/ library visit with Andy Griffiths live from the Twin Cities Rock Star Supply Co.

Early April YA Titles

Friday, April 4th, 2014


Below are three YA titles to add to your pile of kids books to love in early April (see for my picks for younger kids here):

The Here and NowThe Here and Now, Ann Brashares, Delacorte Press

The new book by author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, is a very different kind of novel. Prenna might seem like an ordinary teenager but she is not. She is a member of a community of time travelers who have landed in the present from a devastating plague ridden future. Her movements, her contacts with others, and her very conversations are circumscribed by “the twelve rules” put in place to keep them safe and not disturb the time. Yet, how much can Prenna trust that the leaders have their members best interest in mind when she knows that any misstep could cause a person’s removal or death at the hands of those pledged to keep them safe? A page turner.

The Ring and the crownThe Ring and the Crown, Melissa de la Cruz, Disney-Hyperion 

Sweeping romance, alternative history with Franco/Anglo crown, where there was no American Revolution, and internecine royal conflict threaded with magic construct a compelling and riveting fantasy novel, plus a crazy great book trailer.  Do not miss.

Vigilante PoetsThe Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, Kate Hattemer, RH/Knopf Books for Young Readers

Brainy outsiders? “Look at me” theater gleeks? Handsome popular guy? Cool English teacher? Villainous administrators? Outsized crushes? Just an ordinary Minneapolis arts high school until a reality show takes residence. It’s all down hill from here, unless the Vigilante Poets can save the day in this outstanding debut novel.

ELEANOR & PARK Go To The Movies

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Eleanor & parkLibrarian favorite and Printz honor award winner, Rainbow Rowell has her first movie deal. Entertainment Weekly reports (“exclusively,” followed by MTV News interviewing the author) that DreamWorks has bought the rights to her popular YA romance, Eleanor & Park. (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Listening Library; Thorndike Press)

DreamWorks president of production, Holly Bario, tells Entertainment Weekly what librarians already know, “Every girl who has read it says, ‘That was me in high school, or that was me in 7th grade.’” She also says they are trying to figure out how to handle the book’s structure of alternating chapters from each of the main character’s perspectives, “There are all storts of groovy stylistic things you could do with voice over, or words on the screen, but we want something that’s real Rainbow.”

To aid in that process, Rowell has  been hired to write the screenplay. DreamWorks hopes to begin shooting in 2015.

John Green, Producer

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Paper TownsOn Twitter yesterday, John Green announced that he is trying on a new hat, as executive producer for the film version of his third novel, Paper Towns (Penguin/Dutton, 2008). He notes, “Now, if you don’t like something, you can blame me,” (when the casting choices for the forthcoming adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars, received criticism last year, he vigorously defended them, even though the decisions were not his).

Paper Towns will be built around actor-singer Nat Wolff,” the co-star of The Fault in Our Stars, reports Deadline.

Green has strong ties to libraries, having once worked at Booklist. He spoke to a packed house at the recent Public Library Association conference in Indianapolis, where he lives.

DIVERGENT Franchise Now Solid

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Divergent MTI  Insurgent  Allegiant

Analyses of the weekend box office show that Divergent, based on the first book in a YA trilogy by Veronica Roth, came in at a respectable $56 million, a bit lower than expectations of $60 million, but it still a strong enough showing for Lionsgate to consider it “a great start to another franchise.”

Although behind the opening weekends of the first Hunger Games ($152.5 million) and Twilight ($69 million), it brought the official green light for the next films in the series. Insurgent is scheduled for release next March, followed by the final in the trilogy, Allegiant in March 2016.

Shooting is set to begin on Insurgent in May, but the primary location has been changed from Chicago to Atlanta.

Divergent‘s director, Neil Burger won’t be returning, having turned down the sequels  due to scheduling conflicts. The helm will be taken over by Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler’s Wife, Red). Stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James will be returning. Their on-screen chemistry is the one element critics agreed the movie has going for it. Woodley will next be seen in the film version of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, coming the theaters June 6.

DIVERGENT; Review Proof?

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Divergent   Divergent MTI

The early trade reviews of the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent have not offered a warm welcome. The consumer reviews began pouring in yesterday and the story is the same. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film now has just a 38% positive rating (and even some of those “positive” reviews damn with faint praise; “Hey, we gotta kill time between Hunger Games installments somehow. Why not Divergent?” The Dallas Morning Herald).

Box office predictors, like Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo, tell USA Today, “Divergent won’t be the next Hunger Games, but it could be the next Twilight.”

If it succeeds at the box office, the secret will not only lie in the movie’s heavy marketing, but in an element acknowledged in even the most rotten reviews; the chemistry between the two leads. As People magazine (which gives it 3 of 4 stars) puts it, while Divergent “isn’t as emotionally engaging as Games, its leads could give Katniss and Peeta serious chemistry lessons … The slow burn between these two is the best thing about the film.”

Reminder: the male lead, Theo James, played the Turkish ambassador on Downton Abbey, the man who successfully melted Lady Mary’s frosty exterior (and paid dearly for it).

There is one straight out rave review, however. The Washington Post‘s Michael O’Sullivan says “director Neil Burger (Limitless) has crafted a popcorn flick that’s leaner, more propulsive and more satisfying than the bestseller that inspired it …  [The] Screenwriters … have even come up with an ending that more cleverly utilizes the story’s teenage heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) without changing the outcome.”

The film is already a raging success by one indicator. All three of the books in the trilogy occupy the top spots on USA Today‘s best seller list.

THE GIVER, The Trailer

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Dystopia is everywhere! On the eve of Friday’s release of Divergent, we’ve seen the trailer for The Maze Runner and now comes a trailer for a movie based on the godmother of the genre, Lois Lowry’s The Giver.

Entertainment Weekly offers a “deep dive” into the 1.5 minute trailer, saying it is not a faithful adaptation of the book.

It seems a significant number of people want to read the book in advance; it rose to #20, from #212, on Amazon’s sale rankings.

The movie is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 15, just one month before The Maze Runner. Then it’s back to Hunger Games, with Mockingjay, Part 1 on Nov. 21.

Tie-ins (no covers yet):

The Giver Movie Tie-In Edition
Lois Lowry
HMH; July 1, 2014
Hardback, $17.99
9780544430785, 0544430786
Trade paperback, $9.99
9780544340688, 054434068X

Audio tie-in
The Giver Movie Tie-In Edition
Lois Lowry, Ron Rifkin
Listening Library, July 8, 2014
CD-Audio; $29.95
9780553397109, 0553397109


Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Just as Divergent is about to hit theaters, the trailer for the adaptation of another first title in a dystopian series, The Maze Runner, appears.

Based on the novel by James Dashner, the movie, directed by Wes Ball, opens on Sept 19.

Entertainment Weekly says the  two-minute trailer offers fans a “treasure trove of clues to dissect.” and gives author Dashner himself the opportunity to do a “deep dive” into it.

The tie-in has been announced (no cover yet)

The Maze Runner
James Dashner
RH/Delacorte On Sale Date: August 5, 2014
Trade paperback;  9780385385206, 038538520X
$9.99 USD / $10.99 CAD

DIVERGENT: Early Reviews Not Promising

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Divergent Movie CompanionMuch speculation has gone in to whether the film adaptation of Divergent, which opens on Friday, will be the next Hunger Games, or will fizzle like The Mortal Instruments.

The trade reviews have just arrived and  they’re not promising.

The Hollywood Reporter – “… director Neil Burger struggles to fuse philosophy, awkward romance and brutal action. Even with star Shailene Woodley delivering the requisite toughness and magnetism, the clunky result is almost unrelentingly grim.”

Thompson on Hollywood — “… feels like a set-up for [the sequels], with an unconscionable amount of exposition and introduction. This is part of Divergent’s major problem: It’s not really a high-concept movie, and is trying to be one, hence its fuzzy impulses and skewed logic.”

The Wrap – the headline says it all — “A Little Hunger Games, a Little Harry Potter, a Lot of Dull.”

Variety — “Even though it stretches to nearly two-and-a-half hours and concludes with an extended gun battle, by the time Divergent ends, it still seems to be in the process of clearing its throat … Fans of the books will turn out for what should be a very profitable opening weekend, but with future installments already on the release calendar, the film’s B.O. tea leaves will surely be read with care.”

As to those tea leaves, Forbes says the message is clear and none of the above matters:

Forbes – “Divergent is, barring fan revolt, critic proof. And thanks to its reasonable budget, it’s almost word-of-mouth proof … The work was done in the marketing department, with Lionsgate securing the hype and mainstream attention that guaranteed that Divergent didn’t suffer the same fate as Beautiful Creatures or The Mortal Instruments … we’ve got the next big young-adult literary adaptation franchise on our hands.”

Nancy Pearl Interviews: Laurie Halse Anderson

Monday, March 17th, 2014

9780670012091Speaking with YA author Laurie Halse Anderson, librarian Nancy Pearl asks about the term, “problem novels,” often applied to books about teens dealing with real-life situations. Anderson responds that she thinks of the genre as “Resilience Literature” because the goal of the books is to helps strengthen kids facing difficult situations.

As to the people who try to censor her books because they don’t want kids exposed to such realities, she says,”They need to sit down and have a cup of coffee with me.”

Anderson’s latest book, The Impossible Knife of Memory, (Penguin/Viking; Brilliance Audio; January), is about a teenager trying to deal with her beloved father, a former soldier struggling with PTSD. She tells Nancy how her own experiences influenced the book which is currently on both the NYT and the Indie best seller lists.

The interview is part of the series, Book Lust with Nancy Pearl on Seattle Channel 21.

TFIOS, The Paperback

Friday, March 14th, 2014

After more than two years on best seller lists, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is coming out in paperback.

You can thank the movie. A tie-in trade paperback is being published in early April, as well as one with a version of the original hardcover art.

Any bets on whether, as with The Great Gatsby, consumers will prefer the original cover over the tie-in?

The movie arrives in theaters on June 6. The two stars, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, will first be seen together in the movie adaptation of Divergent, debuting in theaters next Friday.

Fault in Our Stars, MTI

The Fault in Our Stars (Movie Tie-in)
John Green
April 8, 2014
9780147513731, 0147513731
Trade paperback
$12.99 USD / $14.99 CAD




The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
April 8, 2014
9780142424179, 014242417X
Trade paperback
$12.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

March Kids Book To Love

Friday, March 14th, 2014


Among the new offerings for young readers are some enchanting picture books as well as new reasons to fall in love with sloths and poetry.

Picture Books

Jasper & Joop

Jasper & Joop (Gossie & Friends series), by Olivier Dunrea; picture book, also a board book edition, (HMH)

When Gossie first appeared on the scene, I wept for joy. Dunrea has a way of paring down language to the essentials and cueing the reader with his now classic avian creatures on a stark white background.

Grown ups will recall Felix and Oscar, the original odd couple, as we get to know the tidy Jasper and not-so-tidy Joop. A delight.


Toot   Tickle
Toot and Tickle, by Leslie Patricelli, Candlewick

I adore Leslie Patricelli’s board books. Babies love to look at babies and hers are having a lovely time. Silly age appropriate fun.

The Scraps BookThe Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life, Lois Ehlert (S&S/Beach Lane Books)

Full disclosure: To me, Lois Ehlert is the unsung hero of picture books. Her careful collages and straightforward language, her sharp eye for design and subtle humor often gets lost among the piles of picture books produced every year. Her range is astounding from the marching, dancing graphic letters of her timeless read aloud classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to the pitch perfect poetic language of her informational book about metamorphosis Waiting for Wings, we are used to being astounded by her art. With this new book, count me astounded again.

The Scraps Book holds all the joy of an archival collection (like the one where I work, the Kerlan); being able to look at  manuscript pages and sketches to see how the artist is thinking and creating , but with the major advantage that you don’t have to get on a plane to experience it, it’s all in her book.

Reasons every library must have multiple copies of this book.

  1. The hard to fill reference question from the beginning-to-read and beginning-to-write 1st or 2nd grader, “I need an autobiography.“ For this reading level, they are few and far between. Give this book
  2. Ehlert lets us in on  her creative process. We witness the scraps and pieces of leaves, berries, and photocopies and watercolor paper arrange on the page to become birds and cats, a leafman and snowman, fish floating and a squirrel leaping. We see the growth of an artist and her process.
  3. Intertextual connections. We see how a book, a story, a picture is made and we can go to that book and have many an ah-ha moment.
  4. Anyone, adult or child would be inspired by this book to create their own art and tell their own story.

The Geisel Award, please.

Middle Grade

Princess Labelmaker

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue: An Origami Yoda Book, Tom Angleberger (Abrams; Recorded Books)

Obviously, you don’t need me to tell you about this series (in fact, this book just hit the USA Today best seller list), but I can’t pass it by. All the books offer a core truth about life in Middle Quarry Middle School as the Origami Yoda Gang fight the menace of standardized tests.



Swing, Sloth!   Sparky!

National Geographic Readers: Swing Sloth!, Susan B. Neuman, (National Geographic Children’s Books)

Sparky!, Jenny Offill, illus. by Chris Appelhans, (RH/Schwartz & Wade)

A Little Book of Sloth

Is it me or are we being buried under sloth books? A quick check gives us 42 children’s books featuring sloths over the last year (you may recall my favorite from last year, Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke, S&S/McElderry Books).

These two contenders arriving this week do not disappoint on the official sloth-o-meter. Cute, sweetly faced sleeping mammal? Check. Sly almost silly humor? Check. Child reader appeal? You have to ask? Did you know that there is an International Sloth Day? Start planning your programming now.


Firefly July

Firefly July and Other Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko, illus. by Melissa Sweet (Candlewick)

Just in time for Poetry Month, these are the perfect pocket poems. What, you never heard of Poem in Your Pocket Day? This is the day when people throughout the United States select a poem, carry it with them. Poems from pockets are unfolded throughout the day during events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem. Save the date: Thursday, April 24.

From Kirkus: “Choosing from works spanning three centuries, Janeczko artfully arranges 36 elegant poems among the four seasons…Scintillating!”

I agree.