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Archive for the ‘Children’s Book’ Category

The Wit of Shel Silverstein Returns

September 23rd, 2011 No comments

There are millions of adults out there who were obsessed with Shel Silverstein’s poems in Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic at some point during their childhood. What kid could resist that magical blend of humor and storytelling accompanied by the author’s quirky illustrations? Now a new generation of children can enjoy a brand new book by Silverstein, and become entranced by his lyrical wit. This week, HarperCollins released Every Thing On It, a compilation of poetry and artwork that has never been published before. Though the writer passed away in 1999, this posthumous publication is not a tossed together collection of his lesser work. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the book “was culled from material Silverstein really liked but never found a place for in his other collections.” Read more…

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Roald Dahl’s Most Memorable Villains

September 19th, 2011 No comments

The Witches 1st edition cover art.

Last Tuesday, September 13, would have been author Roald Dahl’s 95th birthday. To honor the icon of children’s literature, Flavorwire posted an article listing ten of the writer’s best villains. Some nasty all-stars made the cut, such as the repulsive aunt Spiker and aunt Sponge, who torment the orphan James in James and the Giant Peach. Miss Agatha Trunchbull, the sadistic headmistress in Matilda, also topped the list. Some lesser known, but equally cruel, baddies rounded out the top ten, including the disgustingly hairy couple from The Twits and the Grand High Witch from The Witches, all of whom absolutely detest small children. Who is your favorite villain in the Roald Dahl catalog?

In a strange turn of events last week, members of Dahl’s own family are being accused of villainy, or at least stinginess, after granddaughter Sophie Dahl made a public plea to help raise £500,000 ($790,000) to save the novelist’s writing hut on British radio. The U.K., like most of the world, is suffering from a weak economy and members of the public responded with outrage that a family that still reaps the royalties from the healthy sales of Dahl’s books are asking for financial help. Read more…

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Race to Find The Magical Quill Begins on Pottermore

August 1st, 2011 No comments

Happy Birthday Harry Potter and JK Rowling! Yesterday, July 31, was the shared birthday of the boy wizard and his creator and the beginning of The Magical Quill hunt on Pottermore. According to the Pottermore home page now posting the headline “7 books, 7 days, 7 chances”, early access to site will be granted to those lucky few who find The Magical Quill and complete the registration process. “Each day, from 31 July to 6 August, a clue will be revealed here. Solve the clue and you will be taken to The Magical Quill. Be quick, The Magical Quill won’t be there for long and registration will only be open while spaces are still available each day.” Read more…

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New Chapter for the Harry Potter Generation

July 15th, 2011 1 comment

The Harry Potter Alliance turns the lessons learned from series into real world action.

The debut of the final film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in theaters early this morning signifies a new chapter for the Harry Potter generation. Rather than an end, fans like Harry Potter Alliance Executive Director Andrew Slack, see the release of the eighth movie as a new beginning, an opportunity to turn the lessons learned from Harry Potter into action. In an article for the CNN website Slack writes of the gifts that JK Rowling’s creations have given to millions of readers. “Reality is mysterious. And the reality is that a fantasy book aimed at children has forever changed writing, publishing, literature, music, sports, social media and social activism.” Read more…

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Spinning the Tale of Charlotte’s Web

July 14th, 2011 No comments

July 11th marked what would have been writer E.B. White’s 112th birthday. Born Elwyn Brooks White in Mt. Vernon, NY in 1899, the celebrated children’s author passed away in 1985 leaving behind a legacy of beloved stories. Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan and the adored Charlotte’s Web have captivated children of all ages for decades. Publisher’s Weekly recently polled authors, publishers, teachers and librarians on the best children’s books ever published in the U.S., and Charlotte’s Web topped the list. Distinguished nonfiction writer Michael Sims pays tribute to White and delves into the creation of the iconic story of a spider and a pig in the new book The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E. B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic. Read more…

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Beverly Cleary Still a Classic at 95

July 8th, 2011 No comments

Author Beverly Cleary has created beloved characters like Ramona Quimby.

Ever since Beverly Cleary published her first book, Henry Huggins in 1950, her work has become an integral part of childhood for generations of kids. More than a half a century and 91 million copies later, she has created a beloved cast of characters, including Ramona Quimby and big sister Beezus, that still capture the imagination of youngsters today. Benjamin Schwarz, the literary editor for The Altantic, recently interviewed the 95 year-old author and asked about how she balanced her budding writing career with the demands of her family as a young mother, and why her characters still appeal to 21st century children.

On starting out as a young writer and mother, she states plainly: “It wasn’t easy. I loved my family and I loved my young career. A neighborhood woman felt that I needed help and offered to come babysit the children. I would write while she looked after them. They would draw pictures and slide them under my door. It worked out nicely.” Read more…

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Wishing for a Bit of Potter Fantasy in the Real World

July 6th, 2011 No comments

©2011 Warner Bros.

The end is nigh, Potter fans. On Monday, people in the UK started camping out in London’s Trafalgar Square in anticipation of the world premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 that will take place on Thursday, July 7. The Guardian reports that prior to the screening, members of the cast and crew will stroll from a staged Diagon Alley set up in Trafalgar Square to the Odeon theater in Leicester Square. Fans outside of Britain have already made plans to flock to theaters next week, when the film is released world-wide. Yet, through all the excitement and anticipation, this ending is bittersweet. Many who have grown up with the books and movies, feel as if they are bidding farewell to their childhood. In a separate article, Naomi Alderman reflects on the enduring popularity of the series, and muses with a few friends on 7 bits of Harry Potter fantasy that they wish were real. Read more…

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Rowling Continues the Magic with Pottermore

June 23rd, 2011 No comments

For the past week, the Muggle world has been furiously guessing about the details of JK Rowling’s new website, hinted at with a mysterious splash page that pointed to a countdown video on YouTube. Today, Rowling released the details at press conference held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. “Pottermore has been a really great way to give back to the Harry Potter readership, who made the books such a big success,” she announced. In a video screened at the conference, and now posted on the Pottermore home page, the author thanked her readers. “No author could have asked for a more wonderful, diverse and loyal readership.” Rowling then went on to explain the particulars of the site.

“Digital generations will be able to enjoy a safe, unique online reading experience built around the Harry Potter books,” stated Rowling. “Pottermore will be the place where fans of any age can share, participate in and rediscover the stories. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase digital audio books and for the first time e-books in the Harry Potter series. I’ll be joining in too because I will be sharing additional information I’ve been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter.” Read more…

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James and the Giant Peach Turns 50

June 8th, 2011 No comments

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s classic James and the Giant Peach, which according to the author’s website, was the “first major book” Dahl wrote for children. Generations have fallen in love with the orphan James Henry Trotter, forced to live with his horrible aunts, Sponge and Spiker, who embarks on a magical adventure inside a giant peach. To celebrate the silver anniversary, publisher Penguin has created an interactive global campaign called Follow that Peach! Children, parents and people of all ages are invited to send Peach-grams to friends and family worldwide to share the news of the book’s birthday. Read more…

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Children’s Book Keeps Alaskan Language Alive

May 19th, 2011 1 comment

The K'alyaan Totem Pole of the Tlingit Kiks.ádi Clan, erected to commemorate those lost in the 1804 Battle of Sitka. ©2005 Robert A. Estremo

In an effort to save the dying Alaskan language Tlingit, English professor and award-winning author Ernestine Hayes will publish a children’s book written in the rare tongue. Hayes, who also acts as historian for her mother’s Tlingit tribe, based her story on the classic tale of the town mouse and the country mouse, and tells of the adventures that a forest bear has when he visits a relative who lives in town. City Bear, Forest Bear or Aanka Xóodzi ka Aasgutu Xóodzi Shkalneegi, as the book is titled in Tlingit, was translated from English with the help of Tlingit elders and is illustrated by Tlingit artist Wanda Culp. “As far as we know, this book is the first to be originally written in English and then translated into the Tlingit language,” the author tells The Guardian in an interview.

The Tlingit language is at serious risk for extinction, as it is spoken by only about 500 people today. Hayes’ hope is to keep this language from fading away by teaching it to younger generations with books like hers. However, the process of translating this primarily oral language into written words was a challenge, even with the elders’ help. Read more…

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