Archive for the ‘Childrens and YA’ Category

JUNGLE BOOK, Super Bowl Teaser

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Super Bowl ads are super expensive and the smart money takes full advantage of them.

The marketing geniuses at Disney have released a teaser of their ad for The Jungle Book.

The teaser is introduced on People magazine by the movie’s young star, newcomer and native New Yorker Neel Sethi. Part of his interview, below:

The adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic debuts in theaters April 15. A full-length trailer was released in September.

Tie-ins (full list of tie-ins to upcoming adaptations here):

9781484725795_6102c 1484725786_c98cc
The Jungle Book: The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack, Scott Peterson, Joshua Pruett, Zendaya, (Disney Press, March 1)

The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Rainy Day, (Disney Press, April 8)


Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Christmas in CamelotIt’s amazing to realize that the popular childrens series, Magic Tree House has never been adapted for the screen. Today it was announced that Lionsgate has acquired film rights to all the books.

Work has already begun on the first in the live-action films which will be based on the 29th book in the series, Christmas in Camelot, (Random House BYR) reports Entertainment Weekly. Author Mary Pope Osborne will executive produce along with her husband, Will.

Peter Rabbit, Meet Kitty-in-Boots

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

9780723247708Move over Dr. Seuss and make way for Beatrix Potter. She too is now among the list of beloved children’s authors with a newly found manuscript.

According to The Guardian, the treasured find, The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, has been lying low for 100 years, hidden in the V&A archives.

The project dates back to at least 1914, when Potter informed her editor that she was at work on a story of “a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life.”

Various life events got in the way of Potter completing the tale, including WWI and marriage, but Potter drafted a mock-up of the book, complete with one finished illustration and a rough sketch.

Publisher Jo Hanks, who found the tale, says it offers some of the “best of Beatrix Potter … It has double identities, colourful villains and a number of favourite characters from other tales [even an “older, slower and portlier” Peter Rabbit].

9780142410318_83ed6Artist Quentin Blake, who in the past created new art for Roald Dahl’s books, has been selected to illustrate the tale. He told the paper, “I liked the story immediately – it’s full of incident and mischief and character – and I was fascinated to think that I was being asked to draw pictures for it … I have a strange feeling that it might have been waiting for me.”

According to The Washington Post, the new tale will be published world-wide in September by Frederick Warne & Co, Beatrix Potter’s original publisher, now owned by PRH. The 2016 publication date coincides with the 150th anniversary of Potters’ birth.

The Guardian offers images of Potter’s illustration and the new art by Blake. The BBC provides an excerpt of the story.

Eric Carle To The Stage

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

9780399208539_6f91eWith 75 puppets, music, and charming set design, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is about to make his Off-Broadway debut in a musical for children.

Created by Jonathan Rockefeller, the The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show re-tells four of Eric Carle’s stories, The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and, The Very Hungry Caterpillar (all published by PRH/Philomel) in a format and manner designed to offer young children an introduction to the joys and magic of live theater.

9780399257131_468ff97803992549019780399227745The show debuted in Australia with that country’s edition of Time Out raving:

“Beautiful, rhythmic and faithful to the author’s works, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a triumph for first time theatregoers … Simply put, the makers behind the first stage adaptation of The Very Hungry Caterpillar know and understand kids … Filled with ‘wow’ moments and stunning effects throughout, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is mesmerizing.”

It opens in NYC on Jan. 30, running through March 27th,  at the 47th Street Theater.

YA GalleyCat, Jan 19. 2016

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Join us for the next YA Galley Chat on Feb. 16, 5 to 6 p.m. (4:30 for virtual cocktails).

Scholastic Stops Distribution of

Monday, January 18th, 2016

9780545538237_ca86eA children’s picture book that features George Washington’s enslaved cook has been withdrawn from sale by the publisher Scholastic, just weeks after it hit shelves.

Bowing to widespread pressure, Scholastic has ceased distribution of A Birthday Cake for George Washington, written by Ramin Ganeshram and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, saying in a press release, “We do not believe this title meets the standards of appropriate presentation of information to younger children, despite the positive intentions and beliefs of the author, editor, and illustrator.”

At first Scholastic defended the book. VP and executive editor, Andrea Davis Pinkney posted an explanation on the company’s website. The book’s author also posted a  defense on the Children’s Book Council site.

Published just a few weeks ago on Jan 5., the book is facing similar charges to those leveled at another recently published picture book that also features slaves smiling while they create a treat for the household’s masters,  A Fine DessertFour Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (RH/Schwartz & Wade).

SLJ Book Review Editor Kiera Parrott, who wrote a starred review of that book, reversing her position after considering the complaints against it, panned A Birthday Cake for George Washington, calling it “A troubling depiction of American slavery … A highly problematic work; not recommended.”

Many libraries seem to have taken note. A search of World Cat reveals few holdings.

The controversy is getting wide coverage with pieces in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and Forbes. The story is even making UK news with the BBC reporting on it as well.

Hitting Screens, Jan. 18 thru 24

Friday, January 15th, 2016

MV5BMTUxNzY5MzgwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDM0NDgxNzE@._V1_SX214_AL_After stealing key scenes in Downton Abbey and wowing small girls in Cinderella, Lily James stars in one of the great epics of all time, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. She takes up the role along side another familiar PBS face, James Norton from Grantchester.

The two help lead the newest BBC historical drama (in partnership with the US based Weinstein company), which is set to air in the US on January 18th on no less than three channels, A&E, Lifetime, and the History Channel.

Reaction to the sexy, violent, and lush drama has been mixed at best.

Here is The Guardian’s drooling take:

“This is proper, proper costume drama at its most lavish and its most dreamily, romantically Russian. This is how you do it, people. This is how you do it. Stop all period dramas being made now because nothing is going to match up to this. Sunday-night TV has been rescued. It’s hard to imagine how the BBC could have done a better job. It makes Downton Abbey look like am dram. It’s tonally perfect, striking exactly the right balance between drama and wit, action and emotion, passion and humour.”

On the other hand, in their preview, Flavorwire says:

“It’s hard to say whether American audiences will take to a literary miniseries comprising six one-and-a-half-hour episodes, but any low ratings won’t be for lack of celebrity or sex or war or incest … it’s Downton Abbey with war scenes, which should be enough to draw and retain an American viewership … Still, based on a single episode, it seems unlikely that this production of War and Peace will reach the heights of the 1966-67 Sergei Bondarchuk version, or the 1956 King Vidor adaptation starring Audrey Hepburn … Anyway, shouldn’t you be reading the book?”

51GF8ik4yoL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_Oddly, War and Peace: Tie-In Edition to Major New BBC Dramatisation, Leo Tolstoy, (BBC Books) is not due to be released until Feb. 23.

Hitting a completely different note, MV5BMjQwOTc0Mzg3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTg3NjI2NzE@._V1_SX214_AL_The 5th Wave is coming out on Jan. 22nd.

An alien invasion movie based on the novel by Rick Yancey, it stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Matthew Zuk, and Gabriela Lopez.

9781101996515_7d7c3As we reported earlier, tie-ins came out in November. In addition, another book the series has been released, The Infinite Sea (Penguin YR/Putnam, 2014). A third book The Last Star (Penguin YR/Putnam) is due in late May.






ALA Youth Media Awards Sell Books

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

The books that rose the highest on Amazon sales rankings since yesterday’s announcement of the ALA Youth Media Awards are the Newbery and Caldecott Medalists.

9780399257742_291dbFinding Winnie

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, Lindsay Mattick and  Sophie Blackall– the Caldecott Medalist rose to #37  from #3,766.

Last Stop on Market Street, Matt De La Peña, Christian Robinson, (Penguin/Putnam) — Not only is this the Newbery Medalist, it is also one of the three Caldecott Honor Books as well as a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. It rose to #48 from #7,857 and is liste as “temporarily out of stock” on Amazon as well as on wholesaler sites.

Winners Blackall and De La Peña were interviewed last night on NPR’s All Things Considered:

Two other titles also received bumps:


Waiting, Kevn Henkes, (HarperCollins/Greenwillow) — A Caldecott and a Geisel Honor Book, it rose to #201 from #494.

The War that Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, (Penguin/Dial)  — A Newbery Honor Book, as well as a co-winner of  the Schneider Family Book Award for Middle-School. In addition, the Listening Library audio won the Odyssey Award Medal. It rose to  #367 from #5,122. The author was featured in our Penguin Young Readers program (read the live chat with the author here).

Download our spreadsheet with full biblio. information on all the awards — ALA Youth Media Awards, 2016

Newbery/Caldecott, Printz and Youth Media Awards

Monday, January 11th, 2016



Read the press release with all the medalists and honor books. UPDATE:  Download our spreadsheet with full biblio. information — ALA Youth Media Awards, 2016


Coretta Scott King Illustrator  Award:  Rita Williams-Garcia for Gone Crazy in Alabama , (HarperCollins/Amistad)

Coretta Scott King Author AwardTrombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews, (Abrams)

Michael L. Printz AwardBone Gap, Laura Ruby, (HarperCollins Balzer + Bray)

Odyssey AwardThe War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Jayne Entwistle, (Listening Library)

Pura Belpré Award, Illustration: Drum Dream Girl, Margarita Engle, Rafael López, (HMH)

Pura Belpré Award, Text: Enchanted Air, Margarita Engle, Edel Rodriguez, (S&S/Atheneum)

Arbuthnot Lecture: Jacqueline Woodson

Batcheldor Award: The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy, Beatrice Alemagna, (Beatrice Alemagna)

Sibert AwardFunny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, Duncan Tonatiuh, (Abrams)

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award: Jerry Pinkney

Geisel AwardDon’t throw it to Mo!, David A. Adler, Sam Ricks, (Penguin Young Readers)

Caldecott MedalFinding Winnie, Lindsay Mattick, Sophie Blackall, (Hachette/ Little, Brown)

Caldecott Honors:

Trombone Shorty, Troy Andrews, Bryan Collier (Abrams)

Waiting, Kevn Henkes, (HarperCollins/Greenwillow)

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, Carole Boston Weatherford, Ekua Holmes, (Candlewick)

Last Stop on Market Street, Matt De La Peña, Christian Robinson, (Penguin/Putnam)

Newbery MedalLast Stop on Market Street, Matt De La Peña, Christian Robinson, (Penguin/Putnam)

Newbery Honors:

The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Jayne Entwistle, (Penguin/Dial)

Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson, (Penguin/Dial)

Echo, Pam Muñoz Ryan, (Scholastic)

Best Books, Childrens and YA, Updated

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

The final critics picks of best kids and YA books are now in and we can declare which lists are the longest and which are have the most unique selections.

Below are the recently added lists:

Booklist  — 53 picks

Entertainment Weekly Best Kids Books (Not available online) — 6 picks (for more on this list, see our earlier post, A Favorite Best Picture Books List)

Huffington Post  — 21 picks

Kirkus — Teen —  50 picks

Time Magazine Top Ten YA & Childrens  — 10 picks

The Wall Street Journal —  10 picks

We’ve added these titles to our downloadable spreadsheet, bringing the list to 285 titles:

2015 Best Books Chikdrebs & YA, V. 3

The most number of selections, by a long shot, comes from Kirkus, with 160 total titles. Given that number, it’s no surprise that it’s also the list with the most unique selections, 97 titles. However, it’s also the most in terms of percentage; 60% of the entire list.

The next closest in terms of percentage is Time magazine’s, but on  a much shorter list. Of their ten picks, half of were single picks:

David Levithan,  Hold Me Closer, (Penguin/Dutton) Time, #5

Eric Carle, The Nonsense ShowTime, #6

Michelle Cuevas,  Confessions of an Imaginary Friend (Penguin/Dial) Time, #7

Juman Malouf, The Trilogy of Two (Penguin/Putnam) — Time, #8

Dr Seuss, What Pet Should I Get? (Random Houae) — Time, #9


A Sheep, a Bookstore, and
a Blog Post

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

67ed427230059a0dbe113af3385420ecThe SheepOver (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), a children’s book about the illness and recovery of Sweet Pea the sheep, has turned two Vermont farmers into multi-book contract authors.

Based on the buzzy reaction to their Facebook page updates about their sick sheep, John and Jennifer Churchman decided to write a book detailing the story, illustrated with photographic collage art.

John took the book to his local indie bookstore, the Flying Pig, and owner Elizabeth Bluemle blogged about the unique illustrations – a mix of photos, drawings, and kaleidoscopic layering.

Turns out that Bluemle contributes to PW’s ShelfTalker and wrote the post there (you can see samples of the illustrations in the post).

It caught the eye of agent Brenda Bowen, who contacted the Sweet Pea’s owners and within weeks had netted them a mid-six-figure deal for three books with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

On CBS News, which picked up the story, Bowen called the deal remarkable, saying “I don’t know the degree of rareness that I can get down to. I mean it’s granular level rare.”

Shelf-Awareness picked up the story too, thanks to the indie angle and PW reports it in detail as well.

Now the book is zooming up Amazon’s rankings and is currently out of stock.

Libraries seem to have missed the first wave of interest, with only 19 currently showing holdings in World Cat. With a three-book deal and plenty of farm animals to fuel additional stories, the interest in sheep might not be over for a while.

A Favorite Best Picture Books List

Friday, December 18th, 2015

last-stop-market village-by-sea

We’re missing Lisa Von Drasek’s annual lists of Books To Give Kids You Don’t Know Very Well (she is on hiatus as our EarlyWord Kids Correspondent while she serves on the 2017 Caldecott Award Selection Committee).

As a substitute, Lisa suggests Minh Le’s thoughtful selections and annotations in the Huffington Post‘s Best Picture Books of 2015.

Le’s top pick is Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, ill. by Christian Robinson (Penguin/Putnam YR), which he praises for its “generosity of spirit …Through de la Peña’s deft narrative and Robinson’s timeless illustrations, Last Stop on Market Street invites readers to train their imaginative powers on the real world in order to see more deeply and with greater compassion.”

Listed as the “Best Surprise” of the year is In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van, ill. April Chu (Creston, dist. by Perseus). Says Le, “At first glance, In a Village by the Sea appears to be a straightforward story about family, but Van’s clever nesting doll narrative and Chu’s playful illustration sprinkle the story with a healthy dusting of magic and surprise.”

Le writes on his blog that this has been a “stellar year for picture books.” We’re hoping next year proves the same, offering Lisa and the entire Caldecott committee many more to choose from.

We have added the titles from this list to our updated downloadable spreadsheet compiling the 2015 Childrens and YA Best Books.


Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

The first trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on the faux Hogwart’s textbook by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, published in 2001 and rereleased earlier this year) gives a glimpse of the world seventy years prior to Harry Potter’s arrival.

Planned as the first in a trilogy, the movie is scheduled for release on November 18, 2016. starring Eddie Redmayne as magician Newt Scamander, the “author” of the book. Also  in the cast are Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, and Katherine Waterston It is directed by David Yates, who was responsible for 4 of the 7 original Potter films.

The other movies in the series are planned for release in two-year intervals; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 (2018) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3 (2020).

THE BFG Gets A Trailer

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

The first teaser has just been released for Steven Spielbeg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1982 childrens book, The BFG, (Macmillan/FSG YR). The movie is set to open on July 1 next year.

If the trailer reminds you a bit of Harry Potter (which Spielberg was offered, but turned down), you’re not the only one.

The movie stars newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. Mark Rylance, who just received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as Thomas Cromwell in the BBC’s Wolf Hall, plays the Giant.


The BFG Movie Tie-In
Roald Dahl
Penguin/Pufin Books: May 17, 2016
Paperback; $7.99 USD
Audio tie-in, Listening Library

Late Night, Literary

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

What does a MacArthur Genius Fellow do when he appears on The Late Show? Sing a childrens song in a duet with Stephen Colbert, of course, even though it makes him nervous. As he admits, having to perform in front of the Late Show band is like “having sex in front of porn stars.”

Quotable line from the interview, “Novels are training wheels for empathy.”

9780812989632_0c260George Saunders is currently on tour for the re-release of his childrens book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, illustrated by Lane Smint, (Random House, 11/24/15; originally published in 2006).

Not mentioned in the interview, the book is set to be adapted as a movie by MGM, with Saunders producing.

Saunders also read a bedtime story to Colbert.