The Horn Book » Out of the Box http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:01:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Marla Frazee, wipe that smile off your face! http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/authors-illustrators/interviews/marla-frazee-wipe-smile-face/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/authors-illustrators/interviews/marla-frazee-wipe-smile-face/#respond Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:20:05 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40786 The story below is one reason we love Marla Frazee. Find out many more by reading her Talks with Roger interview. I was once a clown, in high school. A bunch of us were nominated to be on the homecoming court — twenty-five or thirty people — and I did not want to be one […]

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The story below is one reason we love Marla Frazee. Find out many more by reading her Talks with Roger interview.

I was once a clown, in high school. A bunch of us were nominated to be on the homecoming court — twenty-five or thirty people — and I did not want to be one of those. Not interested in that at all. There was this assembly — we were supposed to appear before the entire student body — so I wore this head-to-toe clown costume. Full-on, with the ruffle and the big shoes and the red nose. I worked on the makeup for a really long time. I drove to school in my ’67 Mustang, smoking a cigarette, and then I had to hide before the assembly because we weren’t allowed to wear costumes to school. So the curtains opened and we were all there, introduced to the students, and then as I was walking off the stage in the dark, I felt this hand grip my upper arm. It was the girls’ vice principal, who hauled me outside, walking me to her office. I’m slapping in my clown shoes, you know. She’s saying to me, as we’re walking side by side, “How dare you disrespect the school this way? How dare you disrespect” the whole homecoming-whatever-it-was. And then she wheels me around and stares at me and goes, “Wipe that smile off your face.” I’m laughing behind this smile. It took me about forty years — I don’t know if there’s something in this book [The Farmer and the Clown] about that, the “Wipe that smile off your face” line, but it definitely has stayed with me my whole life.

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here.

talkswithroger header Marla Frazee, wipe that smile off your face!

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Jason Segel, we love you, man http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/jason-segel-love-man/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/jason-segel-love-man/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:00:47 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40828 On Friday Cindy and I went to see actor Jason Segel discuss his new middle-grade novel (cowritten with Kirsten Miller) Nightmares! The sold-out event was sponsored by the Harvard Book Store and the nonprofit writing organization 826 Boston (program coordinator Karen Sama led the conversation with Segel). Cindy loves How I Met Your Mother (even […]

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segel nightmares Jason Segel, we love you, manOn Friday Cindy and I went to see actor Jason Segel discuss his new middle-grade novel (cowritten with Kirsten Miller) Nightmares! The sold-out event was sponsored by the Harvard Book Store and the nonprofit writing organization 826 Boston (program coordinator Karen Sama led the conversation with Segel). Cindy loves How I Met Your Mother (even the ending!), I love Freaks & Geeks, and we both love The Muppets. Segel is also the guy you may have seen naked in the very funny Saving Sarah Marshall (which he also wrote), and he was one of the bromantic leads in I Love You, Man.

segel kids Jason Segel, we love you, man

Photo: Cynthia K. Ritter

Nightmares! is his first children’s book, and he kicked off the event by asking everyone in the audience under age fourteen to raise their hands (there were a few). Later on he asked for kid volunteers to come up and read aloud from the book, instead of reading himself, which could have backfired but was awesome. “I’m like the Pied Piper,” Segel quipped as a girl named Tessa, two boys named Sam, and a cutie little one named Lucas came up onstage to read. Afterward he told them, appreciatively, “You’re so much braver than I would have been at that age.”

segel Jason Segel, we love you, man

Photo: Cynthia K. Ritter

The audience participation didn’t stop there. He asked people to share their nightmares; his as a kid involved a witch nibbling his toes (“because I have delectable toes”) and being chased around Dracula’s castle (“it was more Rococo than I would have thought”) which happened so frequently that he discovered a secret room where he could hang out and play video games. (Side note, and there were a lot of those: as a kid, Segel wore a Superman cape under his clothes “just in case” and carried the MYST game book around with him. Also? He’s been 6’4” since age 12 and the other kids used to jump on his back and chant “Ride the oaf!”)

And then there was the singing. During the Q&A a woman nervously asked: “What’s your favorite show tune?” “It’s gotta be the confrontation from Les Miz. Do you know it?” “Um, yes (giggle giggle).” “Ok, do you want to do it? Which part are you going to sing?” She chose Javert, and Jason sang his heart out as Jean Valjean (here’s how he did it with Neil Patrick Harris). The evening ended on an amazing note for fans with Segel at the piano doing the Dracula song (“‘Die… die… die…’ ‘I cahhn’t'”).

segel critter Jason Segel, we love you, man

Cindy in the signing line

If this guy isn’t the nicest, most genuine-seeming Everydude in Hollywood, well, he must be a truly great actor (slash-master-manipulator), because he seemed really thrilled (“This is so much fun! Seeing those kids read up there, that’s the coolest thing ever”) and humbled to be there — even after a two-hour-plus signing line that Cindy waited on. Any “grown man” (he was in his late twenties at the time) who “burst into tears” upon seeing Kermit the Frog “in person” and who also cried while sitting in “kind of a rough pub in London” after finishing Winnie-the-Pooh is a-ok in my book. I’ll even forgive his publicist for ignoring my Five Questions request *cough cough.* Jason Segel, we love you, man.

Quotable dude

Nightmares! was originally a screenplay I wrote at age 21, after Freaks & Geeks ended and I was unemployed and thinking, “I’m going to have to live with my parents forever.”

When I was a kid, movies like Labyrinth and The Goonies and Roald Dahl’s books made me believe I might find buried treasure. There’s still magic out there. You can catch a kid at the right age to say: don’t forget there’s magic…Kids’ imaginations are so much better than what you can put onscreen.

My mentor Judd Apatow said to me, “You’re kind of a weird dude.” Also [after Segel played him the Dracula song] he said: “Don’t ever play that for anyone else ever again.”

I’m willing to sit through the fear of doing something badly to get to passable. I tell myself: “I’m bad at this… right now”…The only thing I’m afraid of is being unprepared.

Coraline really scared me, and I’m a grown man!

Audience question: Who was your favorite actor growing up? Answer: Kermit. When you’re a kid, Kermit is Tom Hanks, Jimmy Stewart.

I wrote The Muppets when I was in London. With all those double-decker buses and furry hats, it’s a very Muppet-y place…The Muppets are Monty Python to a kid.

I did a Muppets screening at the White House and got to meet Barack Obama. He shook my hand and said, “I love you, man,” and I said, “I love you too, Mr. President!” It gets worse. Then I said, “You should come to the screening. There will be free snacks,” and he said, “Yeah, that’s what I’m missing. Not being able to get free snacks.”

At the screenings, we’d have people fill out questionnaires — what did you like about the movie, what didn’t you like. Oh, and my character’s name was Gary. People said, I liked the music. I liked the story. I liked the puppets. One kid wrote: The thing I didn’t like: Gary’s face. I mean…it’s my face! What can I do?

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Boston Teen Author Festival turns 3! http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/boston-teen-author-festival-turns-3/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/boston-teen-author-festival-turns-3/#respond Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:00:43 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40776 Emerson College students Renee Combs and Marisa Finkelstein (both former Horn Book interns, might I add) founded the Boston Teen Author Festival in 2012 as a smallish signing-and-panel event dedicated to “embracing YA.” Baby, look at you now: for its third year, BTAF will feature an unbelievable twenty-four guest YA authors from the Boston area, […]

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btaf logo Boston Teen Author Festival turns 3!Emerson College students Renee Combs and Marisa Finkelstein (both former Horn Book interns, might I add) founded the Boston Teen Author Festival in 2012 as a smallish signing-and-panel event dedicated to “embracing YA.”

Baby, look at you now: for its third year, BTAF will feature an unbelievable twenty-four guest YA authors from the Boston area, many of whom have participated previously.

  • M.T. Anderson
  • Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  • Charlotte Johnson Bennardo
  • Josh Berk
  • Julie Berry
  • Cara Bertrand
  • Alexandra Bracken
  • Annie Cardi
  • Erin Dionne
  • Huntley Fitzpatrick
  • Emily Franklin
  • Esther Friesner
  • A.C. Gaughen
  • Sashi Kaufman
  • Kendall Kulper
  • Claire Legrand
  • Stewart Lewis
  • Cammie Mcgovern
  • Hillary Monahan
  • Diana Renn
  • Gregg Rosenblum
  • Laurie Faria Stolarz
  • Francisco X. Stork
  • Heather Swain

For the first time, a writing workshop (“Finding Your Writing Voice,” led by Lori Goldstein and Mackenzi Lee) will be offered, in addition to five panels and several signing opportunities. Books will be available for sale at the event through Porter Square Books. The schedule of events:

Writing Workshop 9:45-10:30
“Finding Your Writing Voice” led by Lori Goldstein and Mackenzi Lee
Signup in advance is required; please email BTAFworkshop@gmail.com with your interest and your party number.

Doors Open 10:45

Introduction 11:15

Meet the Authors! 11:30-12:15
A rapid-fire session where each author gets roughly one minute to introduce themselves and their book. This is a way to help those not familiar with all of the attending authors to choose which panels they’d like to attend later in the event. The rest of the panel will be filled with silly questions and bizarre answers.

Panel Session One 12:30 -1:15
CRIMINAL MINDS: Writing the bad guy. or
A WHOLE NEW WORLD: World building at its finest.

Lunch Break 1:15-2:00

Panel Session Two 2:00-2:45
PLATONIC IN LOVE: Writing strong non-romantic relationships. or
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: Characters who forge their own destinies.

Signing 3:00-4:00

And the entire event is free — although registration for the workshop is required and an RSVP for the day is appreciated. See you Saturday, September 27th, at the Cambridge Public Library!

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Kids Discover: Cells app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/kids-discover-cells-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/kids-discover-cells-app-review/#respond Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:48:50 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40515 By now, nonfiction magazine Kids Discover has adapted twenty-two (and counting) of its issues to digital, covering a wide range of natural and social science topics from the microscopic to the galactic. Every issue — and by extension, every app — offers eight informational chapters, each with an introductory paragraph followed by a engaging, collagelike […]

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 Kids Discover: Cells app reviewBy now, nonfiction magazine Kids Discover has adapted twenty-two (and counting) of its issues to digital, covering a wide range of natural and social science topics from the microscopic to the galactic. Every issue — and by extension, every app — offers eight informational chapters, each with an introductory paragraph followed by a engaging, collagelike layout of brief facts, photos, cartoons, and sidebars.

Volume 4: Cells (Joe Zeff Design, 2013), the second Kids Discover app I’ve explored, includes chapters entitled “The Stuff of Life,”  “Zooming In,” “DNA Unraveled,” “What Cells Do,” “Incredible Journey,” “The Story of Cells,” “Hand-Me-Down Genes,” and “Engineering a Better World?” The app introduces intermediate users to various types of cells’ structures and functions, the scientific discovery of cells, cell specialization, life span and replication (mitosis and meiosis) of cells, DNA and chromosomes, and heredity. The chapter “Engineering a Better World?” is particularly interesting, covering genetic engineering, testing for inherited diseases, and a balanced discussion of some controversial applications of genetic research (e.g., cloning, use of embryonic stem cells).

 Kids Discover: Cells app review

The interactivity here is minimal but well considered, with sound effects, animations, and brief videos (such as a virtual tour inside a white blood cell) extending the information offered in the text. Several potentially unfamiliar words (e.g., “eukaryote”) appear in glowing red type; when clicked, they are said aloud so that users can hear their correct pronunciations. Three additional sections offer activities (a maze, a nine-piece puzzle, and a word game, all of which unfortunately feel a bit young/easy for the intermediate audience), a comprehension quiz, and print and web resources for further exploration.

The app is made for browsing, with an emphasis on breadth rather than depth. Still, this overview is fascinating and — especially accompanied, as it is, by crisp microscope photography of cells, viruses, etc. — will likely encourage kids to continue learning about cells elsewhere.

A few additional resources (lesson plans, an infographic of a cell’s interior) are available for free on Kids Discover‘s website.

Available for iPad (requires iOS 6.0 or later); $3.99. Recommended for intermediate users. Also available in print; $4.99.

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Once upon a newsletter http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/news/notes-from-the-horn-book/upon-newsletter/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/news/notes-from-the-horn-book/upon-newsletter/#respond Wed, 10 Sep 2014 19:05:50 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40737 In September’s Notes from the Horn Book, Kitty asks past HB reviewer/contributor Christine Heppermann five questions about her new fairy tale–inspired YA poetry collection, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty. This issue’s also got • girls on the edge in YA novels • sequels to beloved picture books • primary nonfiction on nature • […]

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In September’s Notes from the Horn Book, Kitty asks past HB reviewer/contributor Christine Heppermann five questions about her new fairy tale–inspired YA poetry collection, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty. This issue’s also got

• girls on the edge in YA novels
• sequels to beloved picture books
• primary nonfiction on nature
• books about unlikely BFFs for middle graders

0914 notes Once upon a newsletter

Read the issue online here or subscribe to receive Notes from the Horn Book newsletter (and its supplement Nonfiction Notes, coming at the end of this month) in your inbox. Browse the newsletter archives for more recommended books and author interviews.

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September children’s lit events in Boston http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/september-childrens-lit-events-boston/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/september-childrens-lit-events-boston/#respond Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:33:09 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40681 Happy September! Please join Children’s Books Boston for refreshments and an opportunity to connect with fellow children’s books lovers at a reception at Simmons College’s Paresky Conference Room at 5:30 to 8:00 pm on Thursday, September 11th. Here’s what else is happening this month: Instructor Wendy Wunder will teach a class entitled “The Emotional Rollercoaster: […]

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cbb logo 300x160 September childrens lit events in BostonHappy September! Please join Children’s Books Boston for refreshments and an opportunity to connect with fellow children’s books lovers at a reception at Simmons College’s Paresky Conference Room at 5:30 to 8:00 pm on Thursday, September 11th. Here’s what else is happening this month:

Instructor Wendy Wunder will teach a class entitled “The Emotional Rollercoaster: Plotting the Young Adult Novel” at GrubStreet on Thursday the 11th, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The class fee is $55.00 for GrubStreet members and $65.00 for non-members.

Diana Renn, Erin Dionne, Kim Harrington, and Laurie Faria Stolarz will discuss the craft of writing mysteries and thrillers for young adults on a panel at Wellesley Books on Thursday the 11th at 7:00 pm.

Also at 7:00 pm on Thursday the 11th, The Writers’ Loft will hold its twice-monthly Picture Book Critique Group. Please email Josh at papajfunk [at] gmail [dot] com to be included on the group email.

Melrose Public Library will host a launch party for Jen Malone and her new middle-grade book At Your Service on Friday, September 12th, at 7:00 pm.

Actor, writer, and musician Jason Segel will speak about and sign his middle-grade horror comedy novel Nightmares! at the First Parish Church in Harvard Square at 7:00 pm on Friday the 12th. 826 Boston program coordinator Karen Sama will moderate.  Tickets are $20 (with book included), $5 kids’ tickets (for ages 16 and under; book not included).

Author/illustrator Brian Lies will sign his new picture book Bats in the Band at the Blue Bunny on Saturday, September 13th. He will be arriving in his “bat bandwagon” and invite attendees to play music on it.

maguire egg and spoon September childrens lit events in BostonGregory Maguire will speak about and sign his new middle-grade fantasy Egg & Spoon at The Concord Bookshop at 3:00 pm on Sunday, September 14th and at the Walpole Barnes & Noble at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, September 16th.

YA authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare will share their new collaboration, The Iron Trial: Book One of Magesterium, at the Jones Library at 4:00 pm on Sunday the 14th. The event is hosted by Odyssey Bookshop and requires a (free) ticket; reserve one here.

National Hispanic Heritage Month begins Monday, September 15th, and runs through October 15th.

GrubStreet’s “Introduction to the Young Adult Novel” class with instructor Karen Day begins on Monday the 15th. The class runs for six Mondays from 6:00-9:00 pm (no class on Columbus Day); tuition is $305 for members and $330 for non-members.

september2014magcover 200x300 September childrens lit events in BostonChildren’s literature historian and frequent Horn Book contributor Leonard S. Marcus will give a presentation on the life and work of Robert McCloskey at the Cambridge Public Library at 7:00 pm on Monday the 15th. Attendees will receive the September/October 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine featuring McCloskey.

The Writers’ Loft will hold its morning middle-grade manuscript critique group at 10:00 am on Thursday the 18th Please contact the Loft by email writersloftma (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in submitting a manuscript and attending the group.

The “Young Adult Novel In Progress” class with instructor Mary Sullivan begins at GrubStreet on Thursday the 18th and runs for ten Thursdays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. Fees are $455 for GrubStreet members and $480 for non-members.

The Carle Honors Annual Benefit Gala and Art Auction will be held Thursday the 18th at Guastavino’s in New York City. This year’s honorees are Jerry Pinkney, Reach Out and Read, Dr. Henrietta Mays Smith, and Françoise Mouly. Tickets start at $100; the festivities begin with cocktails at 5:30 pm and conclude with a live illustration auction. The online auction is open now through September 17th.

The Cambridge Public Library will host a reading and signing with Marjorie Agosin, author of I Lived on Butterfly Hill, at 6:30 pm on Thursday the 18th.

maze runner poster September childrens lit events in BostonThe movie adaptation of James Dashner’s dystopian novel The Maze Runner opens on Friday, September 19th.

Get motivated to work on your manuscript with a “butt-in-chair write-in” at the Writers’ Loft on Friday the 19th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

On Friday the 19th at 7:00 pm, Odyssey Books will host a “Horns and Heels” launch party for Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales with editors Kelly Link and Gavin Grant and contributors Joshua Lewis, G. Carl Purcell, and Alice Sola Kim.

James and Kimberly Dean will share their latest Pete the Cat book, Pete the Cat and the New Guy, at Wellesley Books at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 20th.

On Saturday the 20th at 10 am, the Writers’s Loft will host its monthly YA Think Tank group, which helps writers develop their YA manuscripts from concept to final draft. Email Alicia at aliciagregoire78 [at] gmail [dot] com to be added to the email group.

Peter H. Reynolds and his brother Paul Reynolds will read and sign their new early reader series opener, Sydney and Simon: Full Steam Ahead!, at their bookstore The Blue Bunny on Saturday the 20th. The free event begins at 11:00 am and will include a creative engineering activity.

BBW 2012 Poster forbidden 200x300 September childrens lit events in BostonBanned Books Week begins on Sunday, September 21st, and runs through Saturday the 27th.

At the Carle Museum at 1:00 pm on Sunday the 21st, Richard Scarry’s son Huck Scarry will discuss his “best art project ever”: completing his father’s unfinished picture book Best Lowly Worm Book Ever! A book signing will follow; the event is free with museum admission.

Deborah Kops, author of Somerville Reads 2014 pick The Great Molasses Flood, Boston 1919, will read and sign at the S0merville Public Library at 3:00 pm on Sunday the 21st. This event is recommended for kids age 8 and up.

Author/illustrator Kathy Caple will read, discuss, and sign her new early reader A Night at the Zoo on Monday, September 22nd, at 6:30 pm at Everett’s Parlin Library.

Author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka will talk about writing and illustrating his popular graphic novel series Lunch Lady at the Newton Free Library on Tuesday, September 23rd. Wellesley Books is co-sponsoring the event, which begins at 3:00 pm.

The Somerville Theater will screen Ways to Live Forever (based on the middle-grade novel by Sally Nicholls) at 7:00 pm on Tuesday the 23rd. Tickets are $12.

Author Julie Berry will celebrate the release of her new middle-grade Victorian caper The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place and the paperback release of YA mystery All the Truth That’s in Me with events at the Maynard Public Library (Tuesday the 23rd at 7:00 pm) and the Framingham Barnes & Noble (Thursday, September 25th at 7:00 pm).

Mike Lupica, author of many sports mysteries for middle-school readers, will discuss and sign his new novel Fantasy League at the Odyssey Bookshop on Thursday the 25th at 6:30 pm.

boxtrolls poster September childrens lit events in BostonThe Boxtrolls, the animated film adaptation of Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, opens on Friday, September 26th.

Join Dana Alison Levy (The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher), Paul Czajak (Monster & Me picture book series), and Ben Clanton (Mo’s Mustache! and Rex Wrecks It!) for a special storytime at the Andover Bookstore on Saturday, September 27th, at 10:00 am.

The third annual Boston Teen Author Festival will be held on Saturday the 27th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Cambridge Public Library. For the first time, a writing workshop (“Finding Your Writing Voice,” led by Lori Goldstein and Mackenzi Lee) will be offered, in addition to five panels and several signing opportunities. Special guests include M.T. Anderson, Julie Berry, Francisco X. Stork, Cammie McGovern, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Erin Dionne, and many more. Please RSVP for this free event.

Author Mark Greenwood and illustrator Frané Lessac will present their picture book The Mayflower at the Carle Museum on Saturday the 27th, at 1:00 pm. The event is free with museum admission.

On Sunday, September 28th, at 3:00 pm, author/illustrator Sarah S. Brannen will read, discuss, and sign her newest picture book Madame Martine at Concord Bookshop.

Veteran and author Luis Montalvan will visit the Framingham Barnes & Noble on Monday, September 29th, at 4:00 pm to discuss Until Tuesday and Tuesday Tucks Me In, his books about the golden retriever that helped saved his life after he returned from war.

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Abhorsen read-alikes http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/abhorsen-read-alikes/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/abhorsen-read-alikes/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 16:06:39 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40212 Like me, my friend Marie (hi Marie!) is a huge fan of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen YA fantasy trilogy. And like me, she’s been patiently(ish) anticipating Clariel, the prequel publishing in October, for years. A lot of them. Unlike me, however, she doesn’t have an ARC…so I’m mailing her my reviewer copy. Here are some Abhorsen […]

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nix sabriel Abhorsen read alikesLike me, my friend Marie (hi Marie!) is a huge fan of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen YA fantasy trilogy. And like me, she’s been patiently(ish) anticipating Clariel, the prequel publishing in October, for years.

A lot of them.

Unlike me, however, she doesn’t have an ARC…so I’m mailing her my reviewer copy. Here are some Abhorsen read-alikes — featuring badass heroines, restless dead, adventure, and a hint of romance, all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and Guide — in case you can’t wait until October either!

armstrong sea of shadows Abhorsen read alikesEvery year, the Seeker, currently teen Ashyn, enters the Forest of the Dead to quiet damned spirits. The Keeper, Ashyn’s twin Moria, remains in the village as protector. But things go terribly awry, and the sisters are forced to travel across the Wastes to save their kingdom from the undead. Author Kelley Armstrong’s elaborate world is populated with complex characters in Age of Legends series-opener Sea of Shadows. (HarperCollins, 2014)

bick ashes Abhorsen read alikesAn electromagnetic pulse kills most of the country’s population instantly at the beginning of Ilsa J. Bick’s trilogy opener Ashes; many of those left become zombielike, “brain-zapped” cannibals. Survivor Alex teams up with eight-year-old Ellie and soldier Tom to search for other people. The trio’s deepening bond adds to the already high tension. This horror/survival story (with graphic violence) presents an intriguing take on zombie fiction. Look for sequels Shadows and Monsters. (Egmont, 2011)

bow sorrows knot Abhorsen read alikesAfter Otter’s mother, a binder of the dead, commits suicide rather than allow herself to be possessed by a ghostly White Hand, Otter and her friends venture beyond the bounds of their forest settlement to find the White Hands’ origin. The spirit-filled fantasy world of Erin Bow’s Sorrow’s Knot gives a hair-raising sensation of being surrounded by unknown dangers and evokes Native American cultures without caricaturing them. (Scholastic/Levine, 2013)

burtenshaw jenna Abhorsen read alikesIn Shadowcry, the first volume in the Secrets of Wintercraft series, fifteen-year-old Kate discovers she’s a Skilled, able to see and manipulate the “veil” between life and death. Moreover, she learns her ancestors wrote the coveted tome Wintercraft, which explains the veil’s secrets. Author Jenna Burtenshaw’s elegant, complex prose sweeps readers along to a dark world teeming with creepy underground passageways, abandoned buildings, and graveyards. Kate is a bright spot, facing each obstacle with defiance and determination. The series continues with Blackwatch and Winterveil. (Greenwillow, 2011)

moore texas gothic Abhorsen read alikesStriving for normality in her magic-practicing family, Amy is happy for a summer of hard work at her aunt’s Texas ranch. But the deathly cold apparition in Amy’s bedroom pulls her into a dangerous mystery. Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic mixes suspense, humor, and lots of local flavor in this lively teen ghost story — with sex appeal — that’s one part Texas history and one part CSI. (Delacorte, 2011)

lafevers grave mercy Abhorsen read alikesRunning from an arranged marriage, seventeen-year-old Ismae lands up at St. Mortain’s convent, discovers she has special gifts (and that her true father is Mortain, the god of Death), and trains to become an assassin — the true vocation of a daughter of Death. Robin LaFevers’s Grave Mercy is a romantic fantasy, set in an alternate, fictional, quasi-late medieval Brittany. The His Fair Assassin series continues with Dark Triumph; volume three, Mortal Heart, will be published this November.

ryan forest of hands and teeth Abhorsen read alikesOnly a fence separates Mary’s village from the Unconsecrated — zombielike creatures that must be kept at bay in order for her primitive post-apocalyptic community, governed by a religious sisterhood, to survive. Carrie Ryan’s inventive horror story The Forest of Hands and Teeth combines mystery, romance, and suspense as it records Mary’s quest to search beyond the barrier for alternatives to the life she has always known. Also look for companion books The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places. (Delacorte, 2009)

archived Abhorsen read alikesIn The Archived by Victoria Schwab, Mackenzie’s job is to return the wakeful dead to the Archive, a repository of all human memory. Persuading the dead to return to their rightful resting place often involves kick-ass combat, but this is no common policing-the-supernatural romantic thriller: Schwab writes of death, sorrow, and family love with a light, intelligent touch and inventive vigor. The story continues in sequel The Unbound. (Hyperion, 2013)

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More matchy-matchy http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/more-matchy-matchy/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/more-matchy-matchy/#respond Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:38:36 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40279 Apparently Katie’s not the only one with a matchy-matchy problem. Thanks to Lolly for noticing the similarities between the color palette of my dress (and for taking the picture) and of Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (reviewed by, well, me, in the September/October 2009 Horn Book Magazine).

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Apparently Katie’s not the only one with a matchy-matchy problem. Thanks to Lolly for noticing the similarities between the color palette of my dress (and for taking the picture)

lin dress More matchy matchy

and of Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (reviewed by, well, me, in the September/October 2009 Horn Book Magazine).
where the mountain More matchy matchy

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Pete the Cat in the Big Easy http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/pete-cat-big-easy/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/pete-cat-big-easy/#respond Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:45:34 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40342 I just spent a week in New Orleans, a place I’ve wanted to visit since first reading Interview with the Vampire as a teen. The week held plenty of sights and experiences I’d been highly anticipating (a ghost tour, the Garden District, blues and jazz clubs, and — of course — beignets) and some I […]

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I just spent a week in New Orleans, a place I’ve wanted to visit since first reading Interview with the Vampire as a teen. The week held plenty of sights and experiences I’d been highly anticipating (a ghost tour, the Garden District, blues and jazz clubs, and — of course — beignets) and some I hadn’t expected (Mardi Gras beads hanging in many trees; the informative but emotionally intense National WWII Museum, which Cindy also visited last year; lots and lots and lots of rain).

litwin pete the cat i love my white shoes Pete the Cat in the Big EasyOne pleasant surprise during my trip to NOLA was an encounter with Pete the Cat, star of the series of picture books and early readers written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean. During a leisurely stroll in the French Quarter, I spotted Pete’s familiar face in the window of Gallery Rinard. My parents are huge Pete fans (and I’m an unrepentant cat lady), so I dragged my boyfriend into the gallery to take a look at Dean’s original art.

While the gallery offered lots of original canvases, prints, and even puppets of the cartoony Pete his picture-book readers will know and love, many of Dean’s paintings are geared towards adults in content and humor (such as this “Most Interesting Man in the World” Dos Equis commercial parody). A series of re-creations of well-known photos and paintings — including The Mona Lisa, Klimt’s The Kiss, and Munch’s The Scream — features cameos by Pete.

And much of Dean’s work portrays his feline friend in a softer, more realistic manner, revealing the artist’s deep affection for the real-life Pete. After quite a bit of deliberation, I eventually chose one of these as a souvenir for my parents:

 Pete the Cat in the Big Easy

“Pete the Cat: Weather or Not” by James Dean

Like Cindy encountering a Dahl book at the WWII Museum, I didn’t expect for my kidlit life to come out to play while I was on vacation — but I’m glad it did!

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Here they come. Down the Street. You can hear. Their little feet. http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/come-street-can-hear-little-feet/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/come-street-can-hear-little-feet/#respond Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:00:55 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40198 The Tripods, which we discussed a few weeks ago, are back in a new edition. I’m not sure how I feel about the covers. The original U.S. covers have a spooky coolness to them while the latest iteration is more literal. But there have been two or three (how does one count these?) generations of […]

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tripods2014 Here they come. Down the Street. You can hear. Their little feet.The Tripods, which we discussed a few weeks ago, are back in a new edition. I’m not sure how I feel about the covers. The original U.S. covers have a spooky coolness to them while the latest iteration is more literal. But there have been two or three (how does one count these?) generations of kids since the mid-1960s, and who knows what those covers say to ten-year-olds today? Google images for “Christopher tripods cover art” to see an array of changing tastes.

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