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Archives - April 2015

What does a book starring a character from the video game Minecraft have to do with a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young women through the arts? Way more than you might think. ESCAPE FROM THE OVERWORLD author Danica Davidson explains how she got involved with the program Saving Our Cinderellas below, and how even things as seemingly diverse as books and organizations can come together when they have the same values!
Reading books is great, and all, but what would you do if you could literally step into a book and meet the characters face to face, fly on their dragons and wander through their neighborhoods? Alice, the protagonist of Django Wexler’s book THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY and its soon-to-be released sequel, THE MAD APPRENTICE, has this ability, but sometimes it’s a bit more dangerous than you’d imagine. Kidsreads asked Django to tell us which character from his books he’d most like to spend the day with. See his answer below, and be sure to check out The Forbidden Library series!
              THE WATER AND THE WILD by K.E. Ormsbee tells the story of Lottie Fiske, a 12-year-old girl who enters a strange new world in an attempt to save her best friend’s life. Before Lottie sets out on her quest, she lives in a boardinghouse on Kemble Isle, a fictional island off the coast of New England. Lottie’s bedroom overlooks a green apple tree, which later proves very important to the story. But what might you find inside Lottie Fiske’s bedroom --- in particular, on her nightstand? And what do those objects say about her character? Find out in K.E.'s blog post, below, and be sure to check out her other stops along the tour, which you can find at the bottom of the page!
Liesl Shurtliff knows a thing or two about fairytales…her first book, RUMP, goes behind the scenes of Rumpelstiltskin, and her latest, JACK: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk, shares a new take on the classic story of a curious boy and a world full of giants. In the blog post below, she parses out the difference between “real things” and “fairytales”…and it’s not as big as you’d think. 
Every single story is original, fresh and new --- there are distinct characters who get into crazy adventures, twists and turns, strange unexplored lands and the author’s unique take on language. However, that doesn’t mean that the overall idea for the story --- the inspiration --- has to come from thin air. As author Fiona McIntosh explains, lots of books are born from a trope, or “a recurring idea in fiction.” In fact, her new middle grade novel, THE WHISPERER, came from the same trope as Mark Twain’s THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER --- two twins are separated at birth but maintain an unbreakable bond. Read Fiona’s blog post, below, to learn more about how an author can take a tried-and-true idea and make it their very own, as well as to get some inside info on THE WHISPERER!
The kids in the National Book Foundation’s BookUp program do a lot of things --- they participate in an after-school reading group led by an acclaimed, local author. They go on field trips to libraries and bookstores to get their own books. They learn the importance of reading and develop their literacy, social and emotional skills. And, sometimes, they get to go on cool field trips! Below, Mariam, an 11-year-old BookUp member who is part of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn group, writes about the trip that all Book-Up members took to the New York Academy of Sciences a couple of weekends ago. While there, they not only got to speak to groundbreaking professionals in the science field, but also to Katherine Duckett, who works at the acclaimed science fiction publisher Tor and writes her own speculative fiction. Below, see Mariam’s post about the field trip, and how science and reading are more related than you might think.
You're probably quite familiar with Octavia Spencer, who won an Academy Award for her role as Minny Jackson in The Help in 2012 and has been in everything from Insurgent to "30 Rock." Well, it turns out she's adding something else to her impressive repetroire --- she's the narrator of the audiobook RANDI RHODES, NINJA DETECTIVE: The Sweetest Heist in History, which came out on March 31st! This is the second book in the Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective series that Octavia herself wrote, which follows a kick butt girl and her best friend, D.C., who use their ninja and sleuthing skills to solve mysteries both in and out of their small town.
OF COURSE authors and publishers know plenty about books, but so do plenty of people who you wouldn't necessarily expect to --- including those who work for costume companies! One such company, the UK-based Fancy Dress Ball, has to know a lot about popular books and characters so every kid can dress up as their favorite. Based on all of their research, they decided to make an infographic about some classic children's tales with popular movie adaptations (and plenty of costume inspiration), sharing fun trivia about each and deciding, once and for all, which medium is the best! You can see a short version of the infographic below. Click on the image and it will take you to a longer version, where you can zoom in and read all of the little-known facts the Fancy Dress Ball team dug up!