Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Decade of Judy Moody.....

A decade ago, a plucky, unabashedly moody heroine first appeared in the pages of Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody, an early chapter book from Candlewick. Readers were smitten by Judy’s moods and meanderings, prompting the author to pen eight subsequent novels starring this character, plus three featuring her and her spunky brother Stink, two activity books, and a journal—all illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. The series is now available in 24 languages, has won more than 30 awards, and has a worldwide in-print tally of 12 million copies. And its publisher is staging a Judy Moody’s 10th-birthday celebration that’s now in full swing.

This spring Candlewick reissued all of the Judy Moody books to mark the occasion, with a new cover design and added content, including an interview with the heroine, samples from the activity books, and teasers to other titles. The publisher has also revamped its dedicated Web site, and has added to the series’ offerings. Judy Mood’s Way Wacky Uber Awesome Book of More Fun Stuff to Do, a paperback activity book, was released in January; and Stink: Solar System Superhero, a hardcover chronicling the boy’s mission to reinstate Pluto as a planet. And Judy returns in August—this time solving a mystery—in Judy Moody, Girl Detective, which will have a 150,000-copy first printing.

To celebrate Judy’s milestone and tout the new titles and series’ redesign, McDonald has embarked on a 10-city tour, which will take her to New York City for BEA and to Toronto—her last stop—in the fall. She is grateful for her character’s popularity and longevity—if a bit surprised. “Who would have thought it?,” she says with a laugh. “It’s amazing to me, since when I wrote Judy Moody I thought it was just a single book. It wasn’t conceived of as a series, but grew in a kind of grassroots way, with my readers wanting more of her.”

Musing on why Judy Moody has resonated so deeply and widely with fans, McDonald mentions her heroine’s flaws, which are easy to relate to. “She has bad moods, sometimes gets in trouble, and not everything always goes right for her, and kids can connect to all of that in a very real way.”

Megan McDonald celebrated 10 years of Judy Moody at the Judy Moody Day event in her hometown of Sebastopol, Calif. Photo: Nicholas Grizzle.Readers also meet Judy at an impressionable age, McDonald notes. “I think there is something significant about those first chapter books we read,” she says. “They are the first books that kids tackle as independent readers, and that is a huge accomplishment for them. I still remember how strongly I felt about Beverly Cleary’s books when I read them in the third grade or so—and about Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy.”

A highlight of the 10th birthday commemoration was last Saturday’s Judy Moody Day celebration in McDonald’s hometown of Sebastopol, Calif., which drew a crowd of several hundred. The event featured arts and craft activities, kids’ yoga demonstrations, and a treasure hunt. And Screamin’ Mimi’s Ice Cream shop, which Judy, Stink, and pals frequent in the series’ novels, featured two special flavors for the day—Gold Rush and German Chocolate Cake—concoctions invented by the winner of a Judy Moody contest run by the store.

McDonald, who called Saturday’s extravaganza “an amazing event with a huge turnout,” cites two particular high points of the day. “Probably the most touching thing for me was to meet a whole bunch of high-school girls who came clutching their old, tattered copies of Judy Moody books—some of which I’d signed in 2001,” she says. “They told me that these were their favorite novels in third grade—and that they still love and read Judy.”

McDonald with Oliver Kneen of Houston, a runner-up in Candlewick’s Judy Moody Ultimate Fan Sweepstakes. Photo: Nicholas Grizzle.Also gratifying to the author was the chance to meet—and introduce to the crowd—Oliver Kneen, a runner-up in Candlewick’s Judy Moody Ultimate Fan Sweepstakes. “His entire family had flown in from Houston for the event, which was amazing,” McDonald says. “I was so impressed! We gave him a set of autographed books.” The sweepstakes winner (selected at random from entrants who correctly completed a Judy Moody trivia quiz) is a girl from San Diego who will have a character named after her in a mini mystery included in Judy Moody, Girl Detective.

Judy will make her silver-screen debut next year—ideally on April 1, her birthday—when Smokewood Entertainment is slated to release a film with the working title of Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer. McDonald collaborated on the screenplay with Kathy Waugh, a friend and screenwriter. Candlewick will issue at least two movie tie-ins next spring: a paperback novelization and a hardcover entitled Judy Moody Goes Hollywood, which takes Judy and gang behind-the-scenes on the movie set.

Judy Moody fans will be happy to hear that McDonald is now working on a new, still untitled novel in which the protagonist, fed up with all the bad news in the paper, creates her own newspaper that McDonald says, “features just good moods and good news.” And her brother will be back soon in Stink and the Ultimate Thumb Wrestling Smackdown, revealing what the resourceful boy does when his parents insist he play a sport.

Beyond that, the author looks forward to following these siblings’ subsequent adventures into the next decade. And does she expect there will be a 20th anniversary celebration in her future? “I certainly hope so,” replies the author.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

For all you 13 yr. old legal brains....

A 13-year-old is unwittingly is dragged into a sensational murder trial in Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, John Grisham’s first novel for young readers. The book, which launches a middle-grade series starring this amateur trial attorney, will be released on May 25 with a 1 million-copy first printing. Dutton acquired the novel at auction in late February and has quickly moved from manuscript to finished books—and has assembled an aggressive marketing campaign to promote the book to the consumer, school, and library markets.
Grisham, whose novels have been translated into 38 languages and have 250 million copies in print, obviously has an exceptionally broad fan base, and Penguin Young Readers Group is taking steps to ensure that it expands even further. “We’ve built our marketing campaign so that we have different strategies to reach different audiences,” explains v-p of marketing Emily Romero. “Our goal is to brand the Theodore Boone character and the series to kids and to parents, and to reach out to teachers and librarians with ‘Bring the Courtroom to the Classroom’ kits providing materials that tie into the novel’s educational component.”

The publisher will do a national mailing of the kits to librarians for summer-event planning and plans an extensive mailing to teachers in the fall. The kit will also be distributed at school and library conferences and via wholesalers. Grisham is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at ALA on June 28.

The publisher’s consumer campaign is rolling out with a major advertising push. On May 21, a movie trailer will premiere in theaters nationwide on screens showing PG-rated movies (including Shrek Forever After) and will air for two weeks. Beginning May 24, three TV ads for Theodore Boone will run nationally on Nickelodeon during after-school and weekend time slots. The trailer is currently posted on Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life blog.

These big-screen and small-screen ads both direct readers to [a dedicated Website], an introductory site launching on May 21 that Romero explains “is designed to create intrigue about the character of Theodore Boone and offer clues about him and the novel’s murder trial.” A more traditional, ongoing Web site,, which is live now, offers interactive quizzes and games for readers as well as materials for teachers and librarians.

Also planned is print and online advertising. For booksellers, the publisher has created merchandising kits that include such promotional materials as branded legal notepads, pens, and bookmarks, as well as a pre-order easel, a handselling tip sheet, and double-sided poster. Floor displays are available as well.

“We ordered quite a few of the floor displays,” says Becky Anderson of Anderson’s Bookshops in Naperville and Downers Grove, Ill., who has high hopes for Theodore Boone. “I read it and loved it,” she adds. “When you read a Grisham novel, you’re drawn in from page one, and that definitely happens with this book. I love this character and his relationships with others—from his parents to the people in the courtroom.”

The bookseller also notes that the novel fills what she perceives of as a void in the marketplace: “We need more mysteries for upper middle-grade readers, and I don’t think I’ve seen a series for this age group about the legal profession and how the courtroom works. I think that will be fascinating to kids. And who better to write that than John Grisham?”

Anderson anticipates that Theodore Boone will be a strong parent buy (“I think they’ll buy it for their kids—but also to read themselves”), but also calls the book “an easy handsell to kids, even kids who don’t know who Grisham is. It won’t be hard to get boys into it.” She plans to display the novel prominently both inside her stores and in the windows. “We’ve all seen adult authors try to write kids’ books that are utter failures,” she says. “I expect this novel will really be big.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wimpy Kid #5 Release Date....

Amulet Books has announced the publication date for the fifth book in Jeff Kinney’s bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The book will go on sale Tuesday, November 9, and for those keeping track: its cover will be purple (the first four books were red, blue, green, and yellow). Promotional events for the book will be disclosed this summer, as will its title.
“I feel like everything in the series has been leading up to the fifth book, which is about change and the different ways Greg and his best friend, Rowley, deal with it,” said Kinney in a statement. “To me, this book is the linchpin in the series, and I’m excited to be writing it.” More than 32 million Wimpy Kid books are in print in the U.S., and the books have been sold in more than 30 countries.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I know this might be a bit young for some of you, but I really feel as if Dr. Seuss is sort of an universal figure, so you might be interested, I hope. This website offers, games, newsletters, potential prize giveaways, posters, and coloring books. You can sign up on the website and once a month they'll email you their newest letter of the month. It's seems very fun and interesting--I hope you look into it! Cheers! Enjoy this gorgeous day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beach Book Bag Giveaway....

Beach Bag of Books ContestIt's time to think about Summer Reading --- and we're not talking about the list of books you’ll be receiving for Required Summer Reading from school. What we're talking about are the kinds of books that you're glad you now have time to kick back with and enjoy. The way we see it, it wouldn't be summer without sun, surf, and great reading. You supply the beach chair, and we'll provide the fantastic fiction in our Fourth Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest.
From May 14th thru July 14th, you can enter to win a " Beach Bag of Books." Five winners each will receive a beach bag that includes 14 books: BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver; THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell; CARTER'S BIG BREAK by Brent Crawford; THE GARDENER by S. A. Bodeen; GIRLS IN LOVE: A Summer Girls Novel, by Hailey Abbott; THE KARMA CLUB by Jessica Brody; LIES: A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant; THE LIFE OF GLASS by Jillian Cantor; NUM8ERS by Rachel Ward; PASSING STRANGE: A Generation Dead Novel, by Daniel Waters; RADIANT SHADOWS: A Wicked Lovely Book, by Melissa Marr; RUNAWAY: An Airhead Novel, by Meg Cabot; STOLEN by Lucy Christopher; and SWIM THE FLY by Don Calame.
Along with the books, winners will find their striped canvas beach bag stocked with an assortment of summer goodies.
» Click here for all the contest details.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Comic Books & Their Movie Counterparts....

Red and yellow are not only the colors of summer weather; this year they’ve attached themselves to a blockbuster summer movie as well. And Iron Man, the iconic character sporting those gaudy heat-heavy tones, kicks off the summer movie season with the much anticipated Iron Man 2, setting off another long summer season filled with comic book movies. Later this summer we’ve got director M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender and, of course, director Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, coming later this summer.
In addition to the Marvel publications tied to Iron Man 2, likely the biggest comic book movie of the year, we’re going to highlight books and a “motion” animated comic as well—attached to them. And next summer we can look forward to Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, that’s right—still more big time comic book movies.
Film: Iron Man 2, opened this past weekend.
Two years after the first Iron Man film, the gang’s (mostly) all back. Now officially revealed to be the man behind the mask, Tony Stark is even cockier than he was in the past. This sets up him up perfectly to be the target of some evil villains, such as the evil Whiplash. From Burger King to 7-11, Iron Man is plastered everywhere making him the unofficial star of the summer. To celebrate, Iron Man’s publishing home, Marvel, has launched a bunch of titles both tied directly, and indirectly, to the movie.
The periodical comics: Invincible Iron Man #25 by Matt Fraction. A special double sized periodical issue created in tandem with Iron Man 2, Marvel claims this issue of Iron Man’s flag ship series is “the perfect jumping-on point for fans of the films and readers new and old alike.”
Iron Man Legacy by Fred Van Lente with art by Steve Kurth. Iron Man got a brand new, second, ongoing series, in early April, which gives readers a closer look at the character. It’s perfect for anyone seeking out greater insight into the life of Shellhead before seeing Iron Man 2.
Iron Man 2: Public Identity by Joe Casey & Justin Theroux with art by Barry Kitson. Another Iron Man series, this one set in the world of the “Iron Man” movies. Here, you’ll read what happened between the movies. Obviously the world changed when Tony Stark just flat out said, “I am Iron Man” at the end of the first film. Iron Man 2 starts a few months later. Fill in the blanks with this comic.
Black Widow by Marjorie Liu with art by Daniel Acuna. Portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2, this classic Marvel super-spy doesn’t have any real super powers but she’s held her own along side everyone from Captain America to Daredevil. Now, hot on the heels of her big screen debut, the black-leathered beauty gets her own ongoing series.
Digital: Iron Man: Extremis by Warren Ellis with art by Adi Granov, the motion comic. In a digital world, it’s hard to keep comics on the page. So, Marvel has launched this title, available on iTunes, Zune and X-Box Live. It’s a 6 part series with each running 20 minutes, retelling a popular Iron Man storyline from 2005. While not directly tied to the movie, it provides some enlightening background and action for Tony Stark and Iron Man.
Film: The Last Airbender, opens July 2
The writer and director of The Sixth Sense, and one of the most underrated comic book movies of all time, Unbreakable, is getting his Nickelodeon on with The Last Airbender. M. Night Shyamalan helms this story of a powerful boy named Aang who can manipulate elements and finds himself at the center of an epic war. Originally an award winning animated Nickelodeon series (which was called Avatar: The Last Airbender), it spawned a slew of popular books and manga. Del Rey/Random House is keeping the tradition going.
The books: The Last Airbender: Prequel: Zuko’s Story by Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus with art by Nina Matsumoto (Del Rey, May 18). What happened right before the movie The Last Airbender begins? Well, this manga prequel tells the story of Zuko, a prince from the Fire Nation who is banished and must travel the world to find his one chance at redemption. That one chance comes in the person of the all-powerful Avatar.
The Last Airbender by Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus with art by Joon Choi (Del Rey movie tie-in, June 22). Seeing a movie in a theater is one thing, reading it in manga form is a totally different beast. This adaptation of the film will tell the story of the Avatar, his affect on the world around him and the war waged at his expense. It’s perfect for fans of the film or anyone who wants to go in with a little more knowledge.
Avatar: The Last Airbender #1 (Del Rey, June 22). This book, the first in a new ongoing manga series, follows the story of the original animated television show, not the movie, but features many of the same characters and themes.
Secrets of the Avatar (Golden Books, May 11). Secrets of the Avatar, along with Fire Power and Air Strike, highlight a series of activity and puzzle books based on the film version of The Last Airbender and are aimed younger kids.
Film: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, opens August 13.
Scott Pilgrim is a normal kid who has fallen in love. The girl, Ramona, just happens to have seven evil ex-boyfriends and in order to be with her, Scott must defeat them all. Heavily influenced by comics, manga, videogames and, indeed, pop culture of all kinds, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s cult comic series is getting the big screen treatment thanks to director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead). To tie-in with the film, which is named after the second book in the series, Oni Press is releasing the highly anticipated sixth and final volume of the saga right before the film hits theaters.
The book: Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, to be published July 20. It’s something of a spoiler to say that Scott has already defeated six of Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends and finally, in Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, he will face the biggest and baddest of them all, Gideon Graves. Anyone who has been following Scott’s exploits already has this one on preorder. Anyone who hasn’t will read this as soon as they see the movie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New May Reads...

May’s roundup of Cool New Books includes THE CARDTURNER, Louis Sachar’s novel about a high school student who becomes intrigued by the game of bridge when he spends the summer being his great-uncle’s cardturner; FOR THE WIN, a prophetic and inspiring call-to-arms for a new generation from Cory Doctorow (of LITTLE BROTHER fame), who this time focuses on macroeconomics, video games and the labor movement; THE PRINCE OF MIST by THE SHADOW OF THE WIND author Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n, in which a mysterious house harbors an unimaginable secret; THE NECROMANCER, the fourth book in Michael Scott’s The Secrets of Nicholas Flamel series, which finds the twin protagonists questioning their ability to trust Nicholas Flamel (or anyone else for that matter); and WHITE CAT, Holly Black’s gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love --- or death --- and your dreams might be more real than your memories.»

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Revenge of the Lunch Lady...

This series is brand new, exciting, and perfect for those of you who enjoy graphic novels or are trying to begin reading graphic novels. I read one on my lunch break the other day and laughed until I cried! We have a few at our library, so be sure to peruse the collection and check one out!

When not serving up French fries and gravy to students, Lunch Lady escapes to her secret kitchen lair to lead the life of a crime fighter. Using an assortment of lunch-themed gadgets (created by her sidekick Betty), she is definitely a quirky superhero. Tipped off by the Breakfast Bunch (three students who discovered Lunch Lady's crime-fighting alter ego in Book 1), she attempts to foil the plans of the evil League of Librarians, who seek to destroy all video games. The black-and-white pen-and-ink illustrations have splashes of yellow in nearly every panel. The clean layout, featuring lots of open space, is well suited for the intended audience. Terrence, Hector, and Dee become more developed in this second installment in the series, especially Dee, who asserts herself as the strong-willed leader of the group. The winking references to book fairs, read-a-thon enrollment, and media specialists fit well with the story line. With its appealing mix of action and humor, this clever, entertaining addition to the series should have wide appeal.

From: Publishers Weekly

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Read. Reflect. Reach Out.

In their own words, 826 National is a nonprofit tutoring, writing, and publishing organization. Kids between 6 and 18 can visit their local 826 chapter for tutoring sessions, writing assistance, free workshops, and more.
Hopeful writers should definitely check out the organization's opportunities for student publishing. High school students located in the Bay Area who love to write and are in need of financial aid may apply for college scholarships offered by 826. The organization also has lots and lots of amazing volunteers who donate their time, energy, and expertise. 826 opened in Valencia in San Francisco's Mission District in California in 2002 and have since added locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Michigan, Boston, and Washington, D.C. If you live in or near any of these cities, you should definitely drop by in person and volunteer your time and/or share your writing!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Salinger Article I thought you'd like....

From Publisher's Weekly:

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated a September, 2009 injunction barring publication of Swedish author Fredrik Colting's 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, which lawyers for author J.D. Salinger argued was an illegal, "unauthorized sequel" to The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger's legal team now have 10 days to seek a temporary injunction, otherwise the preliminary ban will be lifted, possibly paving the way for Colting's book, published last year in Europe, to come out in a U.S. edition.
The case, however, is far from over. At the direction of the Second Circuit, the District Court will now reconsider its preliminary injunction. If the court decides not to reissue a preliminary injunction, the case could then proceed to trial. In her ruling last July, Judge Deborah Batts found Salinger was "likely to succeed on the merits of [his] copyright case," and issued a preliminary injunction barring publication of Colting's book, whose main character is based on Holden Caulfield. "The alleged parodic content" in Colting's work, Batts ruled, was not "reasonably perceivable."
At a September 3, 2009, appeal hearing, however, Colting's attorneys offered six separate grounds for vacating that injunction--including that irreparable harm must be proven in order to issue a preliminary injunction. "Without a shred of evidence of harm to the Plaintiff, the District Court has taken the extraordinary step of enjoining publication of the book," Colting's appeal noted. And, citing a 2006 Supreme Court patent case, eBay Inc. v. MercExchange L.L.C, the Second Circuit agreed that "eBay abrogated parts of this Court's preliminary injunction standard in copyright cases," and remanded the case to the district court to "reevaluate Salinger's preliminary injunction motion." The court did not decide whether the preliminary injunction issued by the district court constituted an "unconstitutional prior restraint on speech," nor did it get to the copyright claims.
The case had attracted worldwide attention, but more likely because it involved Salinger, than for the copyright principles at stake. Salinger, however, passed away in January, 2010, taking away the possibility that the author's first words on his major work in decades would come in a deposition.