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Dore’ Ripley, a lecturer at California State University, East Bay (CSUEB), had a better afternoon than most on January 20th. Why? Gene Luen Yang --- the recently named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and author of BOXERS & SAINTS, THE SHADOW HERO, AMERICAN BORN CHINESE and more came to visit! The CSUEB alum had a lot to say about Asian representation in comics, both today and throughout history. Dore’ recounts some of the most interesting parts of his talk, below, so read on --- your comics knowledge is about to get a lot more nuanced!
January 15, 2016


Posted by Shara
Fans of Cindy Callaghan's books --- including LOST IN ROME, LOST IN PARIS and LOST IN LONDON --- should rejoice, because she's working on a new book, LOST IN HOLLYWOOD! We're thrilled to be able to exclusively reveal the cover, below, as well as the re-release of LOST IN IRELAND (previously called LUCKY ME).   
In the much-anticipated sequel to ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY, MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY OLYMPICS, teams from across the country are competing in the most bookish competition ever created! There are library cart relay races, Dewey decimal classification games and even a Reading While Eating contest. Therefore, we thought it was only fair to ask the author, Chris Grabenstein, what he would excel at were he invited to play along. See his response, below!
October 19, 2015


Posted by Shara
Sure, being exceptional is great --- you're the best artist in your class or the star player on your basketball team. But as it turns out, being utterly mediocre --- even forgettable --- has its perks too, especially when you're a spy. We're so excited to premiere this awesome video about THE LEAGUE OF UNEXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN, a the first book in a hilarious new series by Gitty Daneshvari. Check it out below, and then be sure to grab the book, which is on sale tomorrow!
October 13, 2015

COVER REVEAL! Mother Goose’s Pajama Party

Posted by Shara
You might love slumber parties at your best firend's house, but image what a slumber party at Mother Goose's house would be like! You'd get to eat cookie dough with Miss Muffet, watch a movie with Little Bo-Peep and, of course, listen to Mother Goose tell her unforgettable nursery rhymes.  
Authors have to do all kinds of research for their books --- maybe they have to travel to faraway places like India or the Netherlands, or maybe they have to go to special library archives to read through primary documents from the Civil War. What’s another helpful tool, though, no matter what authors write about? Reading OTHER middle grade books. Seriously, though --- you can realize what makes a book great (or not-so-great) and use those skills to make your own book even better. Below, SUPER FREAK author Vanessa Barger takes us through some of her own favorite middle grade novels and series. Be sure to check them out --- as well as her story (which follows a 13-year-old, very non-magical girl in a town full of supernaturals as she tries to figure out the secret behind her very creepy house).
Many authors are very observant and mine ideas from the smallest details --- a snatch of conversation overheard on the bus, a woman with a three-foot-tall hat on a park bench. But as it turns out, authors can by inspired be moments even when they’re asleep. Kenneth Oppel is one such author. As he explains below, he has always had vivid dreams (and nightmares), some of which contributed directly to plot points in his novels. With his newest book, THE NEST, however, it wasn’t the content that drove the story… it was the idea of vivid dreams, themselves. Find out more, below, and be sure to check out the book!
When Charles Curtis was a kid, he spent hours in front of the TV, watching sports games. It might sound like a waste of time to you, but Charles would beg to differ --- his early obsession with athletics helped him become a sports writer and, now, the author of the football-themed middle grade novel STRANGE COUNTRY DAY.
September 9, 2015

Who Can See Magic? - Guest Post by Adam Shaughnessy

Posted by Shara
All authors whose stories are tinged with magic face a similar decision --- how do you decide which characters can see the magic and which can’t, and why? When writing his debut novel THE ENTIRELY TRUE STORY OF THE UNBELIEVABLE FIB, Adam Shaughnessy was no exception; he had to figure out which characters could see the Mythics --- characters from myths that can occasionally visit our world --- and make it logical, meaningful and interesting. Find out his process --- and his final decision --- in his blog post below!   
Most authors bring other parts of their lives into their books. If an author is also a cartoonist, they'll scribble drawings throughout their story. If they're a scientist, their novel might be infused with facts about black holes. And, if they're an actor, like Eric Pierpoint, they'll make their book a cinematic experience. What does that mean, exactly? According to Eric, it's a way to make books have all of the emotion, action and suspense of movies. Read his blog post below, and he'll explain how he does it in THE LAST RIDE OF CALEB O'TOOLE and in his newest book, THE SECRET MISSION OF WILLIAM TUCK!