Archive for May, 2011

Middle Grade Editor’s Buzz

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I moderated the first BEA Middle Grade Editors Buzz session, with five editors presenting the picks of their lists. Each of the titles is a fast-paced fantasy with twists and turns, centering on the theme of the unlikely hero, perfect for the Harry Potter/Lightning Thief crowd. Below are the books that were presented, with my quick book talk for each.

The Unwanteds
Lisa McMann
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Aladdin – (2011-08-30)
ISBN / EAN: 1442407689 / 9781442407688

Imagine a a future where all children are separated by ability and those that display any hint of creativity at age 12 are sent to their death.


Colin Meloy
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray – (2011-08-30)
ISBN / EAN: 006202468X / 9780062024688

There may be a forest filled with talking animals and border skirmishes just beyond the sedate everyday suburbs…shades of Narnia, extensively illustrated, a handsome volume.


Matthew J. Kirby
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press – (2011-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0545274249 / 9780545274241

Set in a time and place of Norse gods, we follow the trials of the second born overlooked daughter of a king as she struggles to protect her brother, the heir apparent. The power of story is evident as she grows in confidence and maturity.


The Apothecary
Maile Meloy
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile – (2011-10-04)
ISBN / EAN: 039925627X / 9780399256271

In the seemingly old fashioned 1950’s London, a fourteen-year-old girl transplanted from Los Angeles, finds herself plunged into a high-stakes world of magic and intrigue.


Ashtown Burials #1: The Dragon’s Tooth
N. D. Wilson
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers – (2011-08-23)
ISBN / EAN: 0375864393 / 9780375864391

Cyrus and Antigone Smith lost their parents, their home and live in the care of their college aged brother Daniel in a run-down, moldy motel. Unlikely hero? Check. Bullying peers? Check. Really really scary evil-doers? Check. Secret societies? Check. Roller coaster, video game-like adventure. Check. Dying to read number 2? You bet.

Lisa’s BEA Picks; High-Interest Chapter Books

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The BEA show floor produced some high-interest finds for reluctant readers.

Ghost Diamond is an English import from Lerner, an early chapter book for the Cam Jansen crowd It’s a funny story about the adventures of a kid spy, illustrated with line drawings; perfect for those 2nd and 3rd grade readers who are between easy readers and big chapter books..

Ghost Diamond: Agent Amelia #1
by Michael Broad; illus. by Michael Broad
Ages 7 and up; 144 pages
Darby Creek Pub (Oct. 2011); 9780761380603

I wasn’t expecting another Origami Yoda book; the first one, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda was a satisfying stand-alone, a school story told from multiple points of view. I know my kids will go nuts for this followup.

Darth Paper Strikes Back
by Tom Angleberger
Ages 9 and up
Amulet Books/Abrams (August 1, 2011)

The Mystic Phyles: Beasts is a high interest scrapbook, reminiscent of Regarding the Fountain, an easy hand-off for the kids who can read but just don’t. Lots of details to pore over with hidden visual clues.

The Mystic Phyles: Beasts

By Stephanie Brockway; Illus, byRalph Masiello
Charlesbridge (July, 2011)9781570917189


Coming soon; the second in the Guys Read bookshelf; the first collection was Guys Read Funny Business. This time around, Jon Scieszka has gathered stories that “thrill.” The publisher describes it this way,

James Patterson, Anthony Horowitz, Margaret Peterson Haddix, M. T. Anderson, Walter Dean Myers, Gennifer Choldenko, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Matt de la Peña, and more, not to mention cover and interior artwork from Brett Helquist. And in the stories, you’ll find an eleven-year-old ghost, a Somali pirate, the world’s worst private detective, and a warehouse full of snakes…and that’s just the beginning.

As with the first book, this volume will be available simultaneously in both hardcover and paperback. What more could a guy ask for?”

Guys Read Thriller by Jon Scieszka
Harper (September 20)
Hdbk, 9780061963766; pbk, 9780061963766


Okay, full disclosure…
I had no idea who Tony Hawk was…
FYI, he’s star of the X games, the first skateboarder to ever land a 900.  It was one of skating’s most gripping moments, playing out in front of a huge crowd of his peers and fans, and on national TV. That exposure, along with his successful video game, gives him rock star status.

Check it out in the YouTube video below (You can skip all the preliminary drama and begin watching 7 minutes in).


At BEA, fans among the attendees began lining up an hour before the signing.

Tony Hawk’s 900 Revolution Series: Drop In: Volume One
by Donald Lemke, illustrated by Caio Majado;
Stone Arch Books/Capstone (Aug, 2011)
Hdbk,  978-1-4342-3214-4; pbk, 978-1-4342-3451-3

BEA Roundups

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Again this year, consumer media coverage of Book Expo America is focused on eBooks (the Financial Times headline, “E-books Rewrite an Industry” contrasts with a blogger’s take that BEA is about clueless “Industry Dinosaurs on Parade“).

As for the books at Book Expo, New York magazine rounds up the hottest fiction galleys in “The Ten Hottest Prospects From This Year’s Book Expo” and the Wall Street Journal summarizes the Editors Buzz panel in Six Books Look to Build Buzz at BookExpo America.

But the industry trade magazine is not completely blinded by eBook talk. PW declares that, in adult, Hardcover Fiction is Back and that it’s A Bountiful Fall for Children’s Books.


Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

A trailer for the David-Fincher-directed adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo started making the rounds on Saturday. Some say it’s a camcorded version of the European trailer that was leaked here, but The Hollywood Reporter suggests it’s a clever viral marketing campaign. Adding credence to this theory is the fact that it has not been taken down.

The movie opens this Christmas.

UPDATE: The supposedly leaked trailer has now been removed and the studio has released the official trailer (which leaves out a few seconds of gore), below:

THE HOBBIT; Official Titles, Release Date

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The official titles and release dates of the movies based on J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit were announced yesterday on the official Hobbit Facebook page. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released on December 14, 2012 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again will be released the following year on December 13, 2013.

New Title Radar – Week of 5/30

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The Memorial Day weekend brings media roundups of the big summer titles (inevitably, with the word “hot” in the headline); the L.A. Times was the first out last week; USA Today‘s and the NYT’s both arrived today).

Meanwhile, here’s the titles to look forward to next week.


To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal (Little, Brown) is the story of a Los Angeles wife and mother reevaluating her marriage and the carpenter she left in her Nebraska past. The Wall St. Journal praises its prose and plot, and it’s an Indie Next #4 Pick for June.



Dreams of Joy by Lisa See (Random House) revisits Shanghai Girls sisters Pearl and May in this story of life in Communist China. Library Journal says, “Readers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details that See weaves into her novel. You don’t have to read Shanghai Girls to love this book, but if you have, this sequel will make you want to reread its predecessor.”

Movie Tie-ins

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Random House) ties in to the movie directed by Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck ClubMaid in Manhattan and Because of Winn-Dixie) coming July 15. Check out the trailer here.


Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton (Metropolitan Museum of Art) is a look at the highlights of the fashion designer’s career, tying into a current exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum. The book is currently at #174 on the B& bestseller list.

The Seed by Jon Gordon (Wiley) is a business fable by the bestselling author of The Energy Bus and Soup, which explains how to embark on a quest for meaning and passion behind work.

Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow (HarperCollins) is a memoir by the college football quarterback and NFL top prospect about his faith and family values.

Lisa’s Picks of BEA, Day Three (Pt. One)

Friday, May 27th, 2011

As the sound of packing tape being ripped off  hundreds of rolls echoed through the cavernous Javits Center, so ended another Book Expo. Three days of talking and shouting and love for the book (whatever the delivery system). Yes, there were celebrities.. a John Lithgow sighting…droves of attendees waiting patiently for a glimpse of Jane Fonda…Exhausted publishers’ representatives who have been standing on concrete for three days were ready to ship those boxes and return to home base.

Here are my day three picks…(part one; more to come later)

Plagues, Pox and Pestilence by Richard Platt ; illus. by John Kelly
Ages 8 and up
Kingfisher (Oct. 25) 9780753466872

Facts about disease and its transmittal illustrated with sticky, gooey cartoonish illustration.

Accurate straightforward information with a light touch.




Below is a photo of Christopher Paolini signing posters (like the one on the left) for BEA attendees. Look for Inheritance, the fourth and final volume in the series that began with Eragon, on November 8, weighing in at 704 pages.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Nov 8) 9780375856112


The upcoming Wimpy Kid Number 6 has no name yet. The one-day laydown is November 1st. Meanwhile, we have the promo art on the left, and a snow globe, based on that design, on the right.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Number 6
Abrams/ Amulet (Nov 1) 9781419702235


Children’s book illustrator Sophie Blackall created a blog in which she illustrated the romance of “missed connections.” These are collected in this sweetly hopeful volume. (The blog was featured in a Valentine’s Day story on NPR)

Missed Connections by Sophie Blackall, YA/ crossover
Workman Publishing  (Sept. 22) 9780761163589

Lisa’s Picks of BEA, Day Two

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Following up on my previous post, below are the highlights of day two on the BEA show floor.

Coming in August is Mary E. Pearson’s The Fox Inheritance, the companion volume to The Adoration of Jenna Fox. It is two-hundred-and-sixty years after the original story and Jenna Fox’s friends are still alive, but they’ve lost everyone that they knew. Except Jenna.

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson, YA
Henry Holt and Co.   August 30, 2011  9780805088298

So there I was scooting down the aisle and I notice a line of people waiting. A really, really long line stretching across many aisles. At the beginning was Alice Hoffman. Her new book is a historic retelling of the tragedy of Masada in 70 CE.

Stunning cover, huh?

The Dovekeepers, Adult/ YA crossover
Scribner (October 4, 2011); 512 pages


And I ran into Caldecott winner, Jerry Pinkney and he showed me his hot-off-the-press book, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (Little, Brown, 9780316056960, Oct).


I was thrilled to discover two reprints.

First from Workman Sandra Boynton’s lap-sized editions of her board books.

Finally back in print, the Mythomania series. Funny fantastic fractured Greek Myths (for those who don’t know these books, they will be available on at the end of the month).

Kate McMullan signing Nice Shot Cupid in the Capstone Booth.


What do you really want to know? Yes, there is a new Elephant and Piggie (Should I Share My Ice Cream?; Mo Willems, Hyperion, 9781423143437; 6/14)


A bit of silliness at the end of the day is always welcome. From How to Speak like a Wookie (Chronicle, August, 9781452102559; 16.95), with sound effects, of course.


Lisa’s Picks of BEA (Day One)

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Below are my picks of Day One (photos courtesy of my cell phone):

The Hot Galley

Brian Selznik, with his new book Wonderstruck (and Hugo Cabret)

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznik
Scholastic Press (September 13, 2011)
9780545027892; 608 pages

Similiar to Hugo Cabret in format…story is told in the illustrations as well as the words.

Not to Be Missed

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Candlewick (September 27, 2011)

Sly humor, limited language and a twist at the end. It will delight readers who appreciate Emily Gravett’s Wolves and reading teachers obsessed with inference in books.

Robie Harris Tackles the Big Questions

Who Has What? by Robie Harris
Candlewick (September 13, 2011)

Ran into Robie Harris in an aisle and she let me peek at her new book coming this fall. Perfect for preschoolers… answers all those questions in a developmently appropriate way.

From the Illustrator of Eloise

Nina in That Makes Me Mad by Hilary Knight and Steven Kroll
Toon Books/Candlewick (September 27, 2011)

Can’t Wait to Read

The Cheshire Cheese Cat, by Carmen Deedy, illustrated by Barry Moser
Peachtree Publishers (October 1, 2011)

For middle graders.

New Michael Crichton This Fall

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

MICRO, (ISBN 9780060873028) a new book by Michael Crichton, who finished one third of it before his death in 2008, will be published on November 22. HarperCollins press release It is described as a hogh-concept thriller n the vein of Jurassic Park,” and says the story follows,

…a group of graduate students who are lured to Hawaii to work for a mysterious biotech company specializing in micro-robotics. Conflict with the head of the company leaves the group fighting for their lives when they find themselves physically transformed and cast out into the rain forest, with only their scientific expertise and wits to protect them.

The book was completed by Richard Preston, known for his best-selling nonfiction title, The Hot Zone, about the Ebola virus. He has written suspense novels as well as narrative nonfiction and is a regular contributor to The New Yorker.

An earlier posthumous title by Chrichton, Pirate Latitudes, was published in 2009.

Amazon’s Major Publishing Move

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Amazon, which recently added publishing to its businesses, just made a major, attention-getting step by hiring Larry Kirshbaum, former long-time CEO of TimeWarner Book Group (now Hachette Books), one of publishing’s “Big Six” companies, to head up their publishing operations in New York.

Amazon began making inroads into publishing with AmazonEncore, launched in 2009 to identify strong selling digital titles, many of them self-published, to re-edit, market and distribute in both eBook and print format. They quickly added AmazonCrossing, to translate titles into English and just last week announced a two new imprints, Montlake Romance and Thomas & Mercer  mysteries.

These moves worry many in the business; one unnamed publisher told the Wall Street Journal, that Amazon has an unfair marketing advantage;  “They can push their writers to the front and they have a decade of genre purchaser information.” Booksellers, who have long had issues with Amazon, have threatened boycotts of books by authors who publish through Amazon (thriller writer Joe Konrath’s takes strong issue with these tactics on his blog).

Will ebook versions of Amazon titles be available for library lending? Currently, that is a decision made by the authors; Konrath, for instance, recently made a deal to distribute 22 of his titles to libraries through OverDrive. One of the advantages of ebooks for libraries, says Konrath is that, “…unlike print, which wears out, an eBook is forever. It won’t get that crooked spine. You can’t rip the pages. The cover never needs to be replaced.”

Of course, some publishers and authors do not see that as an advantage.

Connie Willis Wins Nebula

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

The Washington Post describes the Nebula Awards as “the Screen Actors Guild of the sci-fi world, a prestigious, peer-selected award voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.”

The winner in the novel category, the two-parter Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis (Spectra/Random House; Audio, Brilliance; ebook, OverDrive) is the story of 3 historians who travel from the year 2060 to Britain during WW II. Booklist starred Blackout saying, it “…depicts the times and the spirit of the British people remarkably vividly, and bits of comic relief leaven any somberness.”

The full list of winners is available on the Tor site.

Noting that the SFWA, held in Washington D.C. over the weekend, is not an “outlandish Comic-Con…[but] a writerly conference for writerly people,” the Washington Post reporter comments,

One of the geekier pleasures of living in Washington is wandering past any large Hilton or Marriott, or the Mount Vernon Square Metro stop, and playing “Guess That Convention.” Are the participants…carrying tote bags (librarians) or plastic binders (engineers) or gourmet snacks (pharmacists)?

We always suspected that the locals had us spotted.

Summer Reading, 2011

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

With the Memorial Day weekend coming up, we can look forward to summer reading roundups. The L.A. Times gets a jump on the season, with picks in nine categories, including audio books.


Oprah Book Club May Live On

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

The Oprah Show sprints to its conclusion on Wednesday. In 1996, the show introduced Oprah’s Book Club. Although those segments didn’t bring the highest ratings, Oprah tells USA Today that she is “going to try to develop a show for books and authors” on her network, OWN.

What are low ratings for television are huge for publishing. The “Oprah Effect” has been unsurpassed in its influence on book sales; Oprah editions of the 70 titles in the club sold an estimated 55 million copies, according to USA Today’s source.

In a separate article, the AP analyzes the sales of specific titles, saying they present a “surprisingly erratic pattern” from title to title. The top Oprah author? Eckhart Tolle.

But the other living authors in the club have also found their lives transformed. In USA Today, Wally Lamb, author of two Oprah picks (She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True) describes what it was like to get the news, twice.


Friday, May 20th, 2011

Favorite new fact of the day; bigamy is so common that many churches have smelling salts on hand to revive the widow when another wife walks in the door.

We learned this via Michelle Norrs’s interview with Tayari Jones about her novel, Silver Sparrow (Algonquin, 5/24; Audio, Audiogo; Large Print, Thorndike) on NPR’s All Things Considered.

The book, opens with the words, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.” Norris asks if the story is based on Jones’s own life. She’s gotten that question a lot, says Jones, noting. “It’s funny, when it comes to memoir, we want to catch the author in a lie. When we read fiction, we want to catch the author telling the truth.” And, no, he is not a bigamist, but Jones uses the story of two separate families to explore how a father can be a different person to each of his children.

The book, which had early buzz on GalleyChat, is also the #1 pick on  the June Indie Next list.