Archive for the ‘Childrens and YA’ Category

Hitting Screens, Fourth of July Weekend

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Two big-budget adaptations open this week, both based on classics.

9781101997697_e08eeOpening Friday is Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, based on the childrens novel by Roald Dahl. As we noted earlier, Deadline Hollywood reported that it got a 4-1/2 minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Cannes film festival.

A tie-in came out in May: The BFG Movie Tie-In, Roald Dahl (Penguin/Puffin Books; Paperback; $7.99; Audio tie-in, Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).

Despite the enthusiasm from audiences at Cannes, Variety, predicts disappointment at the box office, noting that Spielberg has not had a major hit in several years, “The man who ushered in the summer blockbuster era with Jaws hasn’t done as much escapist fare in recent years, preferring to spend his time on historical dramas such as last winter’s Bridge of Spies and War Horse. That may have been artistically fulfilling, but didn’t result in many financial windfall.”  In addition, The BFG has to go up against Finding Dory, which continues to dominate box offices after two weeks in theaters.

Spielberg’s next project, an adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, set for release in March, 2018, may reverse the trend, says Variety, since it is “appears to be more mainstream.” Seeming to prove that, each new casting announcement causes a spike in the book’s sales.

The Legend of Tarzan is the other big opening this week. In this live-action take on the familiar story, Tarzan has left Africa for the high life as an aristocrat in England, but is offered a job as a trade emissary to Congo that returns him to his jungle home and plenty of trouble. Variety predicts it will also be a disappointment, saying that “The failure of sequels such as Alice Through the Looking Glass and The Huntsman: Winter’s War has led some analysts to suggest that audiences are rejecting the overly familiar and are desperate for more original entertainment.”

The film stars Alexander Skarsgård in the title role, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent and Christoph Waltz.

There is no direct tie-in.

9781484741238_4a40aAlso opening this week is Life, Animated, a Sundance award-winning documentary following the life of Owen Suskind (son of author Ron Suskind) who was diagnosed with autism at age 3. Unable to speak as a child, Owen found a way to communicate through classic Disney animated films. Variety calls it “captivating” and The Hollywood Reporter says it is “radiant.”

A tie-in is set for release after the film opens, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism, Ron Suskind (Hachette/Kingswell; on sale July 12). The original hardback was published in 2014.

9780143129646_e719eOur Kind of Traitor opens July 1 and stars Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis, and Stellan Skarsgård. It is the second recent adaptation of a John le Carré novel, but unlike the recent TV adaptation of le Carré’s The Night Manager, this project is getting less than rave reviews. As we noted earlier The Hollywood Reporter says it is “High-toned but ho-hum” while  The Independent calls it “entertaining but very lightweight.”

The tie-in was released earlier this month: Our Kind of Traitor: A Novel (Movie Tie-In), John le Carré (PRH/Penguin Books; OverDrive Sample).

YA/MG Chat, June 21

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Join us for the next chat on Tuesday,July 19. NEW TIME, 4 to 5 p.m., ET. Virtual cocktails at 3:30.


Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

A second full-length trailer for Tim Burton’sadaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has just been released. It gives a closer  at some of the characters, including Barron, a villain created for the film and played by Samuel L. Jackson.

Starring Asa Butterfield as 16-year-old Jacob with Eva Green (star of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful) as Miss Peregrine and Chris O’Dowd, Ella Purnell, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp and Judi Dench, the movie opens.on Sept. 30.

The tie-in:


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Movie Tie-In Edition)
Ransom Riggs
Quirk Books, Trade Paperback, August 2, 2016

Also coming is a behind-the-scenes companion book:

9781594749438_37c46The Art of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: The Art of the Film
Leah Gallo
Quirk Books, Hardcover, August 30, 2016
$39.99 USD, $49.99 CAD


Monday, June 20th, 2016

The SelectionFollowing on the heels of the “unexpected” success of the adaptation Me Before You (is it possible that Hollywood underestimated the female-led production?), director Thea Shamrock has her next assignment, reports Variety, directing another adaptation, the best selling YA dystopian series The Selection by Kiera Cass, (HarperTeen, 2012) as a feature film for Warner Bros.

Author Cass tweeted that she’s happy with the choice, but reminded fans that the project does not yet have the green light.

Fans don’t need the reminder. Back in 2012, as detailed by the site MoviePilot, the CW network ordered a pilot for a TV series based on the books. Not satisfied with the result, but not willing to give up, a new script was ordered and a new cast. The resulting pilot was also ultimately rejected. This may be the magic third time.


Sunday, June 19th, 2016


The first footage from DreamWorks Animation’s adaptation of Marla Frazee’s Boss Baby (S&S/Beach Lane, 2010) was shown to an enthusiastic audience this week during the Annecy International Animation Festival in the French Alps.

Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar), it features Alec Baldwin as the voice of the Baby, with Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow playing as his parents.

Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter praise the director’s use of CGI to mimic classic hand drawn cartoons. Variety reports that the screening “had the audience in stitches” and brought ” whoops of applause.”

The movie is described as “inspired” by Frazee’s picture book and adds  several story lines. The tie-in, coming in January, is a novelization of the movie script:

The Boss Baby Junior Novelization
Tracey West
S&S/ Simon Spotlight
January 17, 2017
Hardcover and trade paperback

Lois Duncan Dies

Friday, June 17th, 2016

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The news of the death of Lois Duncan has brought an outpouring of warm appreciation for the pioneer YA suspense novelist. Even the site Jezebel took a break from snark to praise Duncan for taking “timeless literary themes—mystery, sin, longing, revenge and, of course, love—and [applying] them to teens without condescension.”

On NPR this morning, Petra Mayer says that “The Queen Of Teen Suspense” seemed to lose her taste for the genre after her  youngest daughter, Kait, was killed in 1989 in a crime that police called a random drive-by shooting. Duncan would not accept that explanation and devoted herself to trying to find the truth. According to Mayer, Warner Bros. had expressed interest in a documentary on the case just before Duncan’s sudden death.

Several movies and TV shows have been based on her books. In 2012, Stephenie Meyer bought the film rights to Down A Dark Hall. In 2014, a new adaptation of I Know What You Did Last Summer was announced 

Live Chat Today with Author
C.C. Payne, 5 to 6 p.m., ET

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

This chat has now ended. You can read the archived version below.

For more on the Penguin Young Readers Program, click here.

Live Blog Live Chat with C.C. Payne – THE THING ABOUT LEFTOVERS

Closer To Screen: CHAOS WALKING

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016


Patrick Ness’s award-winning and best-selling YA post-apocalyptic trilogy is closer to screens with the news from The Hollywood Reporter that Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow) is in talks to direct the thriller for Lionsgate/Summit. Variety adds filming is expected to begin as early 2017.

The adaptation has been in the works for years without much to show for it, but seems to be on more solid footing now, with filming planned to begin in the fall and a high-powered director ready to take the reins.

Ness’s background suits the trilogy, an action filled and fast paced story following two central characters as they seek to survive in a world in which everyone can hear each other’s thoughts in a constant stream known as the “Noise.” Begun in 2008, the trilogy has since be reissued with associated short stories, all from Candlewick

 Chaos Walking: Book One, The Knife of Never Letting Go

Chaos Walking: Book Two,The Ask and the Answer

Chaos Walking: Book Three, Monsters of Men 

As The Wrap points out, Summit is trying, as they have for a while, to keep profits rolling in from YA films, building on the success of the Twilight and Hunger Games series. The studio is also behind the Divergent films, but that series has not been nearly as successful.

Another adaptation of a Patrick Ness title, A Monster Calls, (Candlewick, 2011) is scheduled for release on Oct. 21 (recently moved forward a week from Oct. 14). See the trailer here.

WONDER Scheduled for 2017

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Wonder The film adaptation of the best selling middle-grade novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio, (RH/ Knopf Young Readers, 2012), still on the NYT Hardcover Middle Grade list after 43 weeks. is now set for release on April 7, 2017. In the lead role is Jacob Tremblay, who starred in the Oscar-winning adaptation, Room. Julia Roberts will play his mother.

The movie is directed Stephen Chbosky, who wrote and  directed The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Hitting Screens, Week of June 13

Monday, June 13th, 2016

It’s a week with no new movie or TV adaptations, but Disney’s Finding Dory opening on Friday has several tie-ins.

9780736435734_647f1Finding Dory: The Junior Novelization (RH Disney (PRH/Disney) is aimed at kids aged 7 to 10. Also available in paperback, the hardcover edition is called the “Deluxe” version.

There’s a picture book, Finding Dory (Picture Book): Three Little Words, Amy Novesky (Hachette/Disney Press) and the image-rich Disney Pixar Finding Dory: The Essential Guide, DK (PRH/Penguin/DK Children).

The two leveled readers are Ocean of Color (Disney/Pixar Finding Dory), Bill Scollon (RH/Disney) and Dory’s Story (Disney/Pixar Finding Dory), RH Disney (RH/Disney).

The film, which recounts the continued adventures of the fish Dory following Finding Nemo, features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, and Idris Elba.

Stars Align For MARY POPPINS

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

9780152058104The dream-team of the year may be Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, starring in Disney’s forthcoming live-action film, Mary Poppins Returns.

Blunt, who proved her musical chops in Into The Woods, will play the magical nanny while Miranda, currently winning every prize possible for a musical, will play a lamplighter named Jack.

According to The Telegraph, “This new story will take place in Depression-era London. It follows adult Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by Poppins following a personal loss. She and her friend Jack then help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.”

Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods) will direct and Tony-winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will create the score and write the songs. No word yet if Miranda will get a crack at those as well.

Vulture reports that the film will not only be based on the Disney told story but on the seven other books PL Travers wrote, quoting Marshall: “This is an extension. I’m a huge fan of the original [but]… There is all this new material – it was the Harry Potter of its time – and they were never turned into anything further than that [one] adventure.”

Disney is now known for live action re-boots of their classics films, including the box office hits Cinderella and The Jungle Book,  Coming next year is Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson.

It’s difficult to guess if author P.L. Travers, who famously hated Disney’s first version of her book, would approve of the new one, but Julie Andrews, who played the title role, said back in October, that, after fifty years, it is “about time” for a new version.

Mary Poppins Returns is currently scheduled to open on Christmas Day, 2018.


Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

We often joke here at EarlyWord that we get our news based on which books are rising Amazon’s sales rankings.

Sometimes the connections are surprising, like when Josephine Tey’s 1951 mystery, The Daughter of Time experienced a sudden sales spike, on the news  of the discovery of Richard III’s bones (in the novel, Tey’s detective looks in to why Richard was regarded as an evil hunchback, even though a contemporary portrait shows him quite differently).

9780061992254_43ab9Today, Katherine A. Applegate’s 2013 Newbery Award winning book, The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins), about a gorilla living in a cage in a shopping mall, made a sudden leap to #157. We suspect that the interest was spiked by the story of Harambe, the gorilla who was killed in a Cincinnati zoo, a story that even caught Donald Trump’s attention.

The book also recently received a boost, based on the news in early May that Disney is planning to adapt it as a movie.



Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

9780316013727_c7ee8On the strength of an NPR interview Sherman Alexie’s new picture book jumped up Amazon’s sales rankings, jumping from #1,381 to #83.

NPR’s David Greene talks with Alexie about Thunder Boy Jr.,  illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Hachette/Little, Brown), calling it “joyful… funny and sweet.” Words which could also describe Alexie’s reading of the book, which opens and closes the interview.

9780316013680The two discuss the inspiration for the story as well as Alexie’s life, father, and vision of himself, pointing to the dark humor in his National Book Award-winning novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is also rising strongly on Amazon.

Alexie talks about how reading created the person he is today:

“My life changed dramatically, and started to change dramatically, when I read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I was 4 or 5 on the reservation, and it was the first book I ever read with a brown-skinned character … I reached across the fictional and the real barriers and boundaries to connect my heart to him. And that’s why I’m here now. That one book made me a writer. And I can point to other books throughout my life that did the same thing — that made me who I am. I am constructed of stories that have changed my life.”

Live Chat with Author Paul Griffin

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The chat has now ended. Read it below.

Be among the first to learn about the upcoming Penguin Young Reader titles. Join the program here.

Live Blog Live Chat with Paul Griffin : WHEN FRIENDSHIP FOLLOWED ME HOME

YA/MG GalleyChat, Tues. May 17

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

This edition of GalleyChat has now ended. Please join us for the next one on June 21, 5 to 6 p.m. ET (4:30 for virtual cocktails).