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Book Talk’n: The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan

2 Dec

There was exciting news this week for Scholastic: Pam Muñoz Ryan’s The Dreamer was just selected as a 2010 Horn Book Fanfare Book! This distinction is awarded to the best children’s books of the year, and we couldn’t be happier for Pam and her very deserving book.

The Dreamer, beautifully illustrated by Peter Sís, documents a fictional account of Pablo Neruda’s early life as a boy in Chile. The story follows Neftalí Reyes, a little boy with big dreams and a great love of words, nature, and the world around him. Neftalí is shy and creative, and a constant disappointment to his cruel father who wants to toughen his son up. It is Neftalí’s imagination that takes him away from his overbearing father and taunting schoolmates into a world where words dance off the pages of books and where Neftalí is transported to lands he’s only ever read about.

The book is sprinkled with poetry and illustrations that are almost reminiscent of one of my favorite stories, The Little Prince. They complement Ryan’s story so perfectly that you shouldn’t be surprised if you, too, are transported to those distant lands along with Neftalí!

Pam Muñoz Ryan (whom I actually got to meet at the National Council of Teachers of English conference this year!!) is the celebrated author of multicultural titles like the Pura Belpré Medal–winning Esperanza Rising and Riding Freedom.

Don’t miss The Dreamer in the Arrow January catalog, and find the book in Spanish (El soñador) in the Club Leo All School Year 2010–2011 catalog!

Get Ready to Go Back to Camp Half-Blood!

16 Sep

Rick Riordan may have finished up his best-selling Percy Jackson series last year, but that doesn’t mean he’s just sitting at home and relaxing. Incredibly, Rick is launching not one, but TWO new series this year, and we just couldn’t let that go without a big celebration!

Starting today, you can visit www.scholastic.com/rickriordan to check out all things Rick! There you’ll find special sneak peeks at chapters from the new series; character profiles; polls; pre-order information for his latest book, The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero; and three exclusive videos featuring Scholastic Book Clubs’ Q & A’s with Rick!


The first book in his Egyptian mythology series, The Kane Chronicles, entered the world with a bang last May with the publication of The Red Pyramid. In it, we were introduced to Sadie and Carter Kane—who take up their family’s quest and find themselves in a world where ancient Egyptian gods continue to exert their power over us puny mortals. We already can’t wait to read the next book in the series!


In Rick’s latest series, The Heroes of Olympus, Rick returns to the world of Camp Half-Blood where demigods struggle to understand who they are, and what their purpose is in this mortal world. The first book in the five-book series, The Lost Hero, is set to release nationwide on October 12, when a brand-new set of demigods will inherit a quest. But to be successful, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods along the way….


Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.


Scholastic Book Clubs is now offering The Lost Hero for pre-order in Arrow and TAB October.

Top 5 Favorite Schools from Children’s Literature

15 Sep

It’s September, and it’s back-to-school time for almost everyone. We have been discussing back to school quite a bit on Book Talk with “Authors Go Back to School!” and chatting about our favorite memories of Scholastic Book Clubs when we were in school. Now we are adding one more to the list…Top 5 Favorite Schools from Children’s Literature! Here are the coolest/best schools or camps from some of our favorite books in no particular order:

Hogwarts (Harry Potter)

Camp Half-Blood (Percy Jackson & the Olympians)

Wayside School


Gallagher Academy (Gallagher Girls)

Cat School (Splat the Cat)


What are some of your favorite schools from children’s books?

Book Talk’n: Miss Fortune

25 Aug

One of our editors is so excited about Miss Fortune–available in September’s Arrow–she had to write a review and asked the author do a video for us! Jill is the editor of the Tab Book Club and co-edits the TeenRC Book Club with yours truly (Trevor)!

Full disclosure, Brandi is a good friend of mine. We got to know each other when Brandi worked at Scholastic for eight years choosing the books for the Arrow book club (grades 4-6). So I was thrilled to be asked to talk to her about her new middle grade novel Miss Fortune, which is part of The Poison Apple series. I really enjoyed reading this spooky novel set in Portland. The novel centers around best friends, Zoe and Mia. On one fateful night Zoe and Mia decide to get their fortunes read at a carnival. While Mia hears only good news from the fortune teller, Zoe’s fortune is decidedly less positive. That’s OK–Zoe’s never been particularly superstitious…that is until some pretty scary stuff starts happening to her. As Zoe’s luck gets worse and worse, Zoe and Mia race to find out what’s going on and how to stop it. This is a perfect middle grade novel with an accessible and engaging storyline.