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Guys Read: Funny Business

30 Nov

Let’s go back to May of this year. I was looking at the panels for the Book Expo of America conference and my eyes landed on the panel for Guys Read, and I thought, hey, this could be interesting. Then I saw the panelists: Adam Rex, Mac Barnett, Jon Scieszka, Jeff Kinney, and David Lubar! How could I not go to this thing?

The panel was amazing, hilarious, and informative. They spoke about why they wanted to participate in this short story compilation and it was simple: They wanted to do this because guys reading humor doesn’t mean that it has to be gross—it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Needless to say, I was hooked. Then (as if I wasn’t already dying to read this book) they showed the audience a book trailer featuring all the authors.  I’ll let the trailer speak for itself:

This book, which you can find in December’s Arrow catalog, is perfect for not only reluctant readers, but anyone who loves a funny story. From a story about a kid who has no superpowers in a class where everyone does, to a story about a kid whose parents give his bedroom to a biker, this book has everything.

And if that’s not enough, check out the list of authors that have stories in this book: Mac Barnett (Brixton Brothers), Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl), Adam Rex (Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich), David Lubar (Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie; the Weenie books), Kate DiCamillo (The Magician’s Elephant; The Tale of Despereaux), Jon Scieszka (Spaceheadz; The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales), David Yoo (Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One Before), Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Christopher Paul Curtis (Bud, Not Buddy; Elijah of Buxton), Paul Feig (the Ignatius MacFarland series), and Jack Gantos (Hole in My Life; the Joey Pigza books).

Frankly, Frannie…Frankly Adorable

6 Oct

A while back we introduced Frankly, Frannie as part of the New Kids in Class for Lucky. Well, we are excited to say that we have yet another Frankly, Frannie available in October’s Lucky—Frankly, Frannie: Doggy Day Care! Here’s what our Lucky Editor, Caitlin, had to say about it:

Did you know that Frannie’s favorite dogs are Goldendoodles and Sheep Poodles? She also really likes Skeedaddles and Puffdoodles. Frannie is going to be a veterinarian, but not just any veterinarian—a DOG vet only. When Frannie’s Aunt Magoo breaks her leg, she needs Frannie and her family to come help out! This means that Frannie will have to take care of Bark, Aunt Magoo’s dog. But when something looks funny with Bark’s walk, will Frannie be up to the canine career she wants, or will it turn into a doggy disaster?

If that’s not enough, check out this awesomely adorable book trailer for the first book:

Vlad Tod Smiley Face

4 Oct

Perhaps you’ve seen the image of a smiley face with fangs around town (on bags, T-shirts and pins) and wondered what it’s all about. If so, that means you’re missing out on the immensely popular, action-packed, and sometimes hilarious vampire series, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod!

Think junior high and high school are tough? Try adding a desire to drink blood and enemies who never die to the mix and you’ve got real problems. Vlad Tod is just your typical student. He worries about the bully who seems set on ruining his life, a crush on a girl who seems to like his best friend, and never-ending homework. He’s also got a secret. A big secret. He’s a vampire, and ever since the mysterious death of his parents three years ago, only his aunt and best friend know. When some really shady characters start showing up in town, Vlad realizes that confronting his past might just be a matter of life and death!

Watch this great trailer for the second book in the series, Ninth Grade Slays, and see what all the excitement is about!

The final book of the series, Twelfth Grade Kills, is out now and available in October’s TAB. Haven’t started the series yet? TAB is also offering the first four books as well.

Sweet Dreams for Our Children This Winter Thanks to Scholastic and ClassroomsCare

28 Sep

While most people take clean, warm pajamas for granted, thousands of children right here in the U.S. go to bed each night without them. Instead, they just keep on the same clothes they’ve already worn for too many days and nights—clothes that are soiled, wet, and hardly their size. While volunteering at different shelters, I noticed the children who stayed there went to sleep in their regular clothes. I later learned it was because the children didn’t have any pajamas, and that some of the children didn’t even know what pajamas were. I felt strongly that these children deserved a loving bedtime, complete with pajamas and a storybook, just like I’d had as a child. In 2001, I founded Pajama Program, a nonprofit organization that provides pajamas and books to underprivileged and foster kids to give them the bedtime all children should have.

Magical Books
Scholastic Book Clubs and ClassroomsCare heard my stories and immediately reached out to help. We agreed: Bedtime is an extraordinary time, a time for children to feel safe and to dream of wonderful things that can happen tomorrow, and to dream about what they can be when they grow up. The books complete a nighttime ritual that so many of us took for granted…when Mom or Dad said, “OK, get your pajamas on and I’ll be right in to read you a story.” The children of Pajama Program seldom hear these comforting words. Thousands of them live in orphanages, group homes, and shelters, and are shuffled often between temporary living facilities. They are removed from school at the same time they are removed from a home. Often the books we give them are the only books they will have for months at a time.

Danger Season Brings the Chilling Nights
October 1 marks the beginning of “Danger Season,” the most difficult time for the children we serve. Temperatures drop at night and the children are afraid and lonely. Many of them have been abused or abandoned, and have never enjoyed the simple comfort of a mother or father tucking them into bed in warm pajamas and reading them a magical storybook.

Thank you, Scholastic—you are giving these children their dreams again, dreams of what magic tomorrow may bring and dreams of becoming anything they want to be when they grow up.

Genevieve Piturro
Founder/Executive Director
Pajama Program

We’re COOL Now (Clubs Ordering Online)

23 Sep

Book Clubs is over 60 years old, but we think we’re pretty COOL (wink, wink). That’s right, COOL (which stands for Clubs Ordering Online) and PCOOL (our parent version) help teachers and parents connect online. We still accept classroom orders over the phone or by mail, but now over 75% of all Book Club orders come through these online channels.

Online ordering gives teachers and parents an easy alternative to help kids get the books that they can’t wait to read. Through teacher recommendations, editorial picks, streamlined methods of managing orders, and the ability for parents to contribute books to their children’s classrooms, we hope it’s just one more way of making life easier.

But don’t believe us?  Believe a teacher! Brittany Begg Lee, a Teacher Advisor, is here to tell you why she uses online ordering.

Club Leo: Spanish and Bilingual Book Club

7 Sep


Nice to meet you/Mucho gusto

My name is Mariel, and I am the Editor of Club Leo Scholastic’s Spanish and Bilingual Book Club for grades PreK–6.

Research shows that the more children read at home, in any language, the better they do in school.

Club Leo celebrates Hispanic culture and traditions all year-long, and we are always looking for ways to help you increase class participation and reach-out to every student and family.  For this reason, I have created a Spanish/English letter that you can easily download here and send home with your students.

Like my colleagues, I am so excited about our September selections and I want to share a few of them with you!  And we are also looking to hear from you! Which books would you like to see in Club Leo?

Some of My Personal Favorites:

  • Si le das un pastelito a un gato (If You Give a Cat a Cupcake) by Favorite Author, Laura Numeroff Only $1…WOW!
  • Library’s Secret/Secreto de la biblioteca: Bilingual Fantasy!
  • A Cat and a Dog/Un perro y un gato: This cat and dog are learning to be friends! Bilingual!
  • Best National Soccer Teams Pack: Perfect for your little soccer fans!
  • Classic Multilingual Read Along: Clifford the Red Dog, A Bad Case of Stripes, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

Hispanic Authors Not to be Missed:

The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz-Ryan

School Library Journal says: “Starred Review. Grade 4–9—Readers enter the creative, sensitive mind of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, in this beautifully written fictional biography.”

 Sergio Saves the Game by Edel Rodríguez

  1. Stared review—Publishers Weekly
  2. “A nice splash of self-determination.” —Booklist. “Winning.”—New York Times


Welcome to My Nieghborhood! ABC

A poetic celebration of life in the Barrio—in the words of Quiara Hudes, author of the Tony Award-winning musical IN THE HEIGHTS.

Listen to an NPR interview with Quiara here.

Spanish Phonics & Language Skills:

  • Stories of A-Z—Bestseller!
  • Scholastic Phonic Readers Pack –Bestseller!
  • My First Book of Spanish Words
  • ABeCedario Salvaje

Leviathan: Bringing Steampunk to Kids Everywhere!

30 Aug

For those of you who read the blog regularly, you are probably aware that I am currently obsessed with steampunk. Don’t worry if you don’t know what steampunk is—you’ve probably read steampunk or have seen a movie that is steampunk without even knowing it. The simplest explanation comes from G.D. Falksen’s description from his post, Steampunk 101 over at “In three short words, steampunk is Victorian science fiction.”

That being said, let’s get familiar with some steampunk on Book Clubs. One of the newest books in the genre can be found in September’s TAB and TeenRC: Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. I was a reader of steampunk prior to reading this, but afterwards I became enthralled. Leviathan is a riveting retelling of World War I that follows Alek, the son of the assassinated archduke, and Deryn, a girl dressed up as a boy in order to be in the army. Alex is part of the Clankers, which are also the Axis powers, and Deryn is part of the Darwinists, which are part of the Allied powers. The Clankers believe in and use steam-powered machines, while the Darwinists believe in and use evolved fabricated beasts. Alek and Deryn are both thrown together after the sides go to war. But, if they are to survive, they both have secrets that they must protect. Check out the awesomely amazing book trailer:

The main thing I took away after reading this book was: Wow! This book is so smart. It can teach kids about World War I in an engaging and fun way. The illustrations throughout the novel enhance Westerfeld’s terrific prose and provide vivid images of the great creatures and machines he has created in this world. The illustrations also provide a great point of reference for a novice in the steampunk genre.

Steampunk has always been somewhat of an underground niche genre and I personally believe that Leviathan is a book that can bring this genre to the forefront for young readers. Westerfeld does a masterful job—not only telling an exciting narrative, but also introducing steampunk to young readers in a fun and engaging way. The illustrations add that nice extra touch that makes Leviathan accessible to kids, teachers, and parents who might not be familiar with the genre.

If you haven’t read Leviathan, I highly recommend it. It is one of the best books I have read in the last two years and is perfect for boys and girls grades 5–up. Scott Westerefeld’s Uglies series is also available in September’s TAB and TeenRC clubs as well!

Here is a list of books and movies that have steampunk elements that you may already be familiar with:

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

9 (animated movie, PG-13)
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (PG)
Wild Wild West (PG-13)

Do your kids/students read steampunk? Do you use any steampunk novels in the classroom? We’d love to hear about it.

The 39 Clues® Book 10 Is Here!

27 Aug

When The 39 Clues® series launched in September 2008, we just couldn’t wait to read the first one! But when we found out that the series was not just made up of ten adventure-filled novels written by seven of the best children’s authors today, but that it was also a multiplatform series that combined books, collectible cards, and an online game, we were absolutely floored! There was nothing like it on the market and we just knew that kids were going to go wild for this interactive way of reading–we were right!

Two years later, the groundbreaking series comes to an end with Book 10, which releases nationwide next Tuesday, August 31. In it, Margaret Peterson Haddix picks up the quest of Amy and Dan Cahill as they face their final challenge on a mysterious lost island. Margaret, who is also the author of the exciting Shadow Children series, agreed to speak to Book Talk about her experiences writing this final installment of The 39 Clues®. We can’t wait to get our hands on this one!

One-on-One with Margaret Peterson Haddix:

BT: What branch of the Cahill family do you belong to?

MPH: Ekaterina.

BT: Which member of the Cahill family would you team up with on the hunt?

MPH: Oh, definitely Amy and Dan!

BT: If you could change the identity of the man in black from Book 9, who would he be and why?

MPH: Interesting question! I think if the man in black weren’t…uh…who he really is, I would want him to be Amy and Dan’s grandfather. Partly this is because I feel so bad for Amy and Dan that all their closest relatives (except each other) are dead. I’m not sure how it could be explained why everyone thought the grandfather was dead—or where he’s been for most of Amy and Dan’s lives—but it might be fun to try. Or, possibly the man in black could have been their grandfather on their father’s side, so it would turn out that they have Cahill connections on both sides….

Photo Credit: The Backstage Studio

MPH: Still having exciting adventures.

BT: If you could join Amy and Dan on one of their adventures, which one would it be and why?

MPH: The one in Book 10. Because they know the most about what’s going on then.

BT: Did you work with the other authors of The 39 Clues® series in planning/writing Book 10?

MPH: Rick Riordan, who wrote the first book in the series, also wrote brief outlines for all the other books, including Book 10. But, given that he wrote it before the other books were finished, that outline was fairly sketchy, and I was happy that it left a lot of room for me to use my own imagination. I had a lot more contact with Linda Sue Park, who was writing Book 9 about the same time that I was writing Book 10. Linda Sue and I—and The 39 Clues® editor, Rachel Griffiths—had a long conversation early on to make sure that our character development and plotlines would work together. And then while Linda Sue and I were both in the writing process, we occasionally exchanged e-mails along the lines of, “Someone’s going to need to address this particular issue before the end of the series. Are you handling that in your book, or should I take care of it?”

BT: Did you have any input in the planning/writing of Books 1–9?

MPH: None at all with Books 1–8. But, as I mentioned in my last answer, Linda Sue and I did compare notes while we were writing Books 9 and 10.

BT: How was writing Book 10 different from writing other books you’ve written?

MPH: This was the first time I’ve ever written a book based on a situation and characters that someone else came up with. I was a little worried about being able to write from the perspective of certain characters who were very different from me—for example, the Holts or Jonah Wizard—but it turned out that their scenes were some of the ones that I had the most fun writing.

The other big difference was that this had to be a much more collaborative process than I’ve ever been involved in before. In one sense, this made me less decisive than I usually am as a writer, because certain things were outside of my control. But I also felt a huge sense of responsibility, because I absolutely did not want to mess up anything when so many other people were also working hard to make The 39 Clues® project great.

BT: How long did it take you to write Book 10?

MPH: It took two months to write the first draft of the book, then about another two months to revise. Then, for a couple months after that, I worked on the book for a few days at a time, here and there, to deal with line editing, copy editor questions, etc.

BT: Was it more difficult to write the last book of this EPIC series after so many other great authors (besides yourself, of course) had contributed to it?

MPH: Absolutely! After nine books of incredible, dramatic, heart-stopping action, it was really hard for me to think of something that hadn’t already been done!

We want to thank Margaret for so graciously agreeing to stop by our blog and Book Talk with us!

You’re invited to a LIVE GLOBAL WEBCAST EVENT for the release of The 39 Clues®, Book 10 on August 31, 2010!

The 39 Clues®, Book 10: Into the Gauntlet and the complete boxed set of Books 1–10 are being offered this September in the Arrow, TAB, and Teachers’ Picks catalogs! If you haven’t already, join the hunt!

Duck and Goose Have a New Friend! Meet Rocket!

26 Aug

There is a very special new character on Firefly this October and we have some very special friends who want to introduce you to him! Take a gander at the letter, and be sure to download the exclusive Book Clubs’ “I Can Read Like Rocket!” certificate for your classroom!

Click here to download our exclusive “I Can Read like Rocket” certificate! You can see a sample below:

Don’t forget you can find Duck and Goose themselves on Firefly September in a brand new adventure, Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin!

Meet the New Kids in Class!

23 Aug

This fall, Scholastic Book Clubs wants to introduce you to the new kids in school—Frankly, Frannie and George Brown, Class Clown!  We are just so excited about these two new series, and can’t wait for you to read them, too!  We asked our Lucky Editor, Caitlin (of Ook and Gluck video fame) to tell us a little bit about these two new characters.  Check them out in your Lucky September flyers!

Frannie Miller is not your average kid. She desperately wants a job, loves offices, and hopes to get her very own assistant for Christmas. Frannie is a true original, which is why she changes her name so often. “Frankly” is her newest name—she would tell you it’s also a scientific fact! Frankly wants to be a grown-up, and she is learning to act like one every day so she can become one super fast. Actually, she has a briefcase, a résumé, and business cards already! Some of Frankly’s jobs have been a table clearer (her best one), a temperature taker, and a mustard sniffer. She wants to help out all the time; however, she sometimes gets “Frances-ed” by her mom. (That means Frankly, Frannie thought she helped, but she actually made a big mess of things.) You’ll love reading about Frannie’s crazy antics, especially if you’re already a fan of Clementine and Junie B.!

George Brown has to move around a lot because his dad is in the army. His brand-new town is Beaver Brook and his new school is Edith B. Sugarman Elementary. Since George has left Cherrydale, he has also left all his friends (including Katie Kazoo!), his old house, and even the old George behind. He wants a new start at being a new George, and that means no more class clown. In Cherrydale, everyone knew George as the funniest kid around—he was full of jokes and silly pranks! George starts out not being a total goof, but when he makes a wish on a star to make the kids in his class laugh, everything changes. Now whenever George gets this rumbly, grumbly, bubbly feeling in his stomach, a HUGE burp happens and turns him into a complete clown! Perfect for fans of Stink and Fudge!

Meet these new kids this September in Lucky to find out if Frannie will become a radio star, and whether George will get rid of his bad case of the burps, or be a class clown for life!