Tuesday, May 24, 2011

YA author helps tornado victims...

After her experience rallying followers on Twitter to contribute more than $15,000 in donations for victims of the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan earlier this year, YA novelist Maureen Johnson didn't waste any time springing into action Monday morning to support the people of Joplin, Missouri. She started by announcing a random drawing for everyone who tweeted about their donations to the Red Cross using the hashtag #starforjoplin, with an ARC of her fall 2011 novel, The Name of the Star, as a prize. Then, she decided to auction a manuscript critique to the highest bidder: "I will read your book. I will send back my notes. If you're not done, you can send it later. If you don't have a book, I'll critique something else, like your life, or I'll make up lies." Other authors and editors offered up their own critiques: the auctions for YA novelists Robin Wasserman and Beth Revis, and Harry Potter continuity editor Cheryl Klein, are running concurrently with Johnson's and will end today at 2 p.m. Eastern. National Book Award novelist Laurie Halse Anderson will participate in a separate auction this weekend. Full details are available on Johnson's blog.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

American Girl Reaches 25 Years~

A lot has changed at American Girl in the 25 years since Pleasant Rowland launched a mail-order children's book publishing/doll manufacturing company with 15 employees in downtown Madison, Wis., marketing its products as quality alternatives to Barbie dolls. Despite the phenomenal growth of the company, however, executives maintain that one thing has never changed: books are an essential component to the company's mission of simultaneously educating and entertaining girls.

The company, originally founded as the Pleasant Company in 1986 and renamed American Girl Inc. in 2004, has become a publishing powerhouse, releasing more than 40 titles each year for girls ages 8–12, selling 135 million fiction and nonfiction books since 1986, according to American Girl. Besides books, dolls, and doll accessories, the company publishes American Girl magazine and produces movie versions of its books, including 2008's Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (with executive producer Julia Roberts). More than 550 of its 1,946 employees—50 of them dedicated to the book division—work out of its headquarters, a 560,000-square-foot complex in an office park in a Madison suburb. There are nine American Girl retail stores around the country, with two more opening soon: one in Seattle, the other in Washington, D.C.

Read More: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/47124-american-girl-at-25.html

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

JK Rowling's Favorite Character....

She caused a scandal when she killed him off at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but Albus Dumbledore is still the character JK Rowling would most like to have dinner with, the bestselling children's author has revealed.

As her publisher Bloomsbury launched a global search to find the world's favourite Harry Potter character, Rowling said that her own most-favoured creation is the lightning-scarred young Harry himself. "I believe I am unusual in this, Ron is generally more popular (I love him too, though)," said the author. "Now that I have finished writing the books, the character I would most like to meet for dinner is Dumbledore. We would have a lot to discuss, and I would love his advice; I think that everyone would like a Dumbledore in their lives."

Read More Here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/2011/may/16/jk-rowling-favourite-harry-potter-character

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Village Park Scavenger Hunt This Saturday!

If you are over the age of 8, join us in the Village Park (next to the library) at 1 p.m. this Saturday. We are going to have a blast picking up odds an ends while "greening" up the park for the spring/summer season! Prizes will be award to the winners! For more information, contact Emily at 262-210-2929 ext. 15 or email escherrer@waterford.lib.wi.us. Call to register!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blood Red Road

Children's Review: Blood Red Road
Blood Red Road: Dustlands, Book One by Moira Young (Margaret K. McElderry/S&S, $17.99 hardcover, 464p., ages 14-up, 9781442429987, June 7, 2011)

Moira Young's debut novel, the first of the Dustlands series, unfolds in prose as spare as the wind- and sand-dominated landscape. Saba and Lugh, 18, are twins, born on the dried-up remains of Silverlake on Midwinter Day, "when the sun hangs low in the sky." Their mother died giving birth to their now nine-year-old sister, Emmi. Their father reads their fates in the stars, but he has no connection to the earth since the death of his wife. It seems to Lugh that there's nothing written in the stars, and Pa might do better to notice that there's too little to eat and no water supply except for the dew they collect. Only when four men in long black robes and leather vests show up on horseback (calling to mind the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) does Pa seem to come alive. He tells Saba, "They're gonna need you, Saba. Lugh an Emmi. An there'll be others too. Many others. Don't give in to fear. Be strong, like I know you are. An never give up."
The four horsemen kidnap Lugh and kill Pa--less than 30 pages into the book, and Saba is left alone to protect Emmi and rescue her twin brother. Pa once told them how to find Mercy, their mother's friend whom she'd known in Hopetown, the main city. Saba plans to leave Emmi with Mercy in Crosscreek while she searches for Lugh. They find Mercy in a dell with trees and two streams that meet up in a creek. Saba has never seen a place like this, with plenty of water and plants that grow, and begins to resent her father for keeping them in a dry desert land. Mercy explains to Saba that she parted ways with their father: " 'He looked to the sky for answers, I looked here.' She tap[ped] her hand over her heart." Before Saba goes on her way, Mercy gives her a heartstone, which Saba's mother had given her: "It lets you know when you've found your heart's desire." The stars versus the heart. The heroine must figure out for herself what she believes rules her path.
Saba starts out as an unsympathetic narrator. But as her world becomes wider, so does her perspective. Her ferocious will to survive serves her, and the information she gathers from those she meets along the way helps her see herself differently. The world Moira Young builds is breathtaking, with expanses of beauty, like Crosscreek, and a mountain pass draped in fog. But Saba also discovers shifting sands and winds so powerful that they can cover an entire "flyer" (airplane) fleet and make skeletons of skyscrapers. Giant carnivorous worms dwell deep beneath a dry riverbed. Few people know how to read. An addictive drug called chaal grown high in the mountains rules everything, and the Tonton--men in black robes, like those who stole Lugh--gather slaves to tend the chaal and serve a "king" who dresses like "Lewis Ex Eye Vee, the Sun King of France." For entertainment, the King holds gladiator-style fights in a "colosseum." After three defeats, the loser "runs the gauntlet," and the waiting crowd kills him or her in an end worthy of Tennessee Williams's Suddenly, Last Summer. There's an overriding sense of terror, akin to the world of Mad Max, ruled by tyranny rather than anarchy. But Saba also discovers romance, friendship and trust. Young uses coincidence to perfection, augmenting the importance of the question raised by Saba's father: Does fate truly rule our paths? This first book in the Dustlands series does not answer that question in full, but it does bring this first adventure to satisfying completion, and the cinematic images will linger in readers' minds until Saba's next adventure.--Jennifer M. Brown