Tag Archives: editorial

A Reader’s Resolution

30 Dec

Happy New Year, everyone! In honor of 2011, we thought we’d do a quick “Reader’s Resolution.” These are books I am resolving to read this year. Leave a comment with some of yours!

In 2011, I plan to finally read The Brothers Karamazov and Boneshaker.

How about you?

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

29 Dec

This holiday season I was lucky enough to head down to Florida to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It – was – awesome! Walking up to the gates, we began to hear John Williams’ score from the movies, and then the Hogwarts Express came into sight.

And then of course, Hogsmeade.

They had everything—from Zonko’s to Honeydukes, and of course the Three Broomsticks…but we had a different plan. First off, we went to Olivander’s where we got to see a special kid get chosen by a new wand, and then Hogwarts!

The ”castle ride” had a bit of a wait (2 hours!), but all the while we were in line, we got to walk through Hogwarts. There were mandrakes in the conservatory and Harry, Hermione, and Ron even paid a visit to let us know what we were getting into (lots of flying and action, it seemed). We actually passed by the entrance of Dumbledore’s office!

And they were kind enough to give us warnings early on:

Once we got out of Hogwarts, we of course had to try Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice! And then it was straight on to Honeydukes and Zonko’s!

There were Ton Tongue Toffees and Cauldron Cakes, and Extendable Ears and U-No-Poo tablets!

We headed back to Platform 9 ¾, where the conductor and a Weasley twin were kind enough to take a picture with a friend. (As you can see, the twin is still a bit of a prankster).

Sadly, we did have to leave The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, our own money bags a few galleons lighter, but our eyes full of wonder and magic in real life! I have to be honest, I bought a wand.

Overall, the experience was wonderful and it really was Harry Potter come to life. I just wish I could live there! I suppose I’ll just have to reread them yet again!

Sweet Dreams for You!

6 Dec

One of our favorite subjects for our little readers (and their parents!) is bedtime. And we’ve got quite a few bedtime books for you this winter, so there’s sure to be something for every kind of sleeper!

Twinkle, Twinkle, Time for Bed

A twist on the classic lullaby, this version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” shows that even toys need to be tucked into bed. With its adorable illustrations and story-time tips for parents, this bedtime book is perfect for reading and being read to! You can find it on Honeybee this December.

I Love You, Stinky Face

While settling down to bed, Stinky Face has just a few questions for his mom. No matter who he is, whether he’s an alligator or a gross, smelly skunk, Stinky Face’s mommy will always love him. I Love You, Stinky Face is available on Honeybee December.

Little Critter: Just Go to Bed

We all know and love Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter. He’s just as precocious as ever in this great installment of the series. Little Critter does not want to go to bed, and he will do anything to get out of it! Just Go to Bed is on Honeybee December.

Bedtime for Little Bears!

Enjoy the season and bedtime by saying good night to all sorts of arctic animals in this adorable picture book. Bedtime for Little Bears! is on Firefly’s cover this December!

If Animals Kissed Good Night

Here’s the perfect book for you if you want to say good night to the rest of the animal kingdom! Told in rhyme, If Animals Kissed Good Night shows us all the different ways that animals say good night. Find it on Firefly December!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Awesome Truth

23 Nov

Well, it’s been two weeks. I’m sure some of us have read and re-read the fifth installment in the Wimpy Kid series. One thing is for sure, kids love these books! On the publication date (November 9, 2010) Scholastic Book Clubs sent out copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth to 300,000 classrooms (see map below). I thought we at the office were excited for this book. That was nothing compared to the reaction I saw from flipcams we sent to various classrooms around the country. Check it out:

Map Key

  • Each spot is a U.S. City

White point: 1000 to 9999 shipments in city

Yellow point: 100 to 999 shipments in city

Red point: 10 to 99 shipments in city

Black point: 1 to 9 shipments in city

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Who Wants a Visit from the Black Lagoon?

3 Nov

Do you ever stop and think: How do authors come up with iconic characters, such as the teacher from the Black Lagoon®? What else would you ask other famous authors if you could? What if…gasp…no one even notices when a famous author visits?

Well, in Mike Thaler (author) and Jared Lee’s (illustrator) latest work, The Author Visit from the Black Lagoon®, Thaler brings this idea to life. Our Lucky Editor, Shelly, reviewed the book for us below:

“A real live author, Penny Inkblot, is coming for a school visit, and Hubie has been selected to escort her! But what if her limousine pulls up and she totally ignores Hubie?  What if the book she reads is as boring as the phone book?! And what if, instead of signing books, she stamps everyone’s foreheads with a rubber stamp!?!”

When the big day arrives, Hubie is relieved to find that Penny Inkblot is supercool. She tells the class how she much loves to write, and that everyone in class can be an author, too. All you need is a pencil, a piece of paper, and your imagination! That’s all that Hubie needs to hear—by the end of the day, he has his written his own story. Perhaps Mrs. Beamster will put it in the school library!”

Remember that you should absolutely check Lucky November or click here to find out how you could win a school visit from Black Lagoon® author, Mike Thaler! Just…don’t ignore him.  🙂

Comics in the Classroom

13 Oct

Call them what you will—comic books, graphic novels, illustrated guides—but these formats are permeating the mainstream. On Monday, we posted a mini picture post from our adventures at New York Comic Con this past weekend, and you guys had plenty to say! The comments covered everything from comic books being just like TV and video games to comic books being a great gateway into reading. Just like any other medium, comics are both these things and many others.

We were lucky enough to attend a lecture given by Scott Westerfeld on Sunday. He spent a few minutes talking about how he decided to write a series of novels (the Leviathan trilogy) with illustrations, and reminded us that, historically, most novels were once illustrated. On the right, you’ll see illustrations from a late 18thcentury edition of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. He noted an edition of The War of the Worlds that heralded the illustrator’s name far larger than that of H.G. Wells! Illustrations are beginning to regain the reputation they lost for being just as legitimate as the words themselves.

Comic books aren’t comic books because of their content—they are comic books because of the heavy use of illustrations to denote action that interacts with the text. They can contain any type of story or information: Comic books can be about superheroes or space aliens, but they can also be about history (as with the Maus graphic novels) or science (as with The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook)! For some children, sequential art makes difficult concepts easier to grasp.

Elephant & Piggie, a series of beginning readers by award-winning illustrator Mo Willems, feature common comic-book styles while still using the repetitive text and illustrations classically used in the genre. Compare these illustrations below: On the top, you have Elephant & Piggie and underneath, you have a strip from Scholastic’s own middle-grade graphic novel series, Amulet. Both use sequential art and speech balloons while also containing positive themes that students can relate to…but one is a reader and one is a comic.

Books for older children are also embracing traditional comic-book characteristics. Did you know that Jeff Kinney actually started the ever-successful Diary of a Wimpy Kid as a Web comic? Now the very same series has kids thrilled about reading! It also deals with issues kids face every day: bullying, growing up, friendship—look how excited these kids were to get their copies of the fourth book, Dog Days.

Graphic novels, illustrated guides, comic books—however you want to refer to them—have evolved into an excellent reading tool. Many of them cover complex issues and concepts in an accessible design. Some of you noted that this format has aided students with learning disabilities, others mentioned that these books were a great way to get kids interested in reading. After reading your comments, we decided to put together a list of classroom-appropriate graphic novels that cover a variety of subjects. If you have any suggestions, definitely leave a comment! We’d love to see what books you use!

Ghostopolis | Tab October
Bone | October
Amulet | Teens September
Resistance | Teens September
Maus | Teens September
Diary of a Wimpy Kid | Pre-order #5
Calvin and Hobbes | Fall
Dork Diaries | Arrow October
Popularity Papers | Arrow September
Adventures of Ook and Gluk | Lucky September
Elephant & Piggie Pack | SeeSaw October

Teachable Moment: Special Days

30 Sep


Firefly October Featured Book: The Spooky Wheels on the Bus

This humorous, Halloween-themed version of the classic song “The Wheels on the Bus” is a perfect new book for the season. It features a shiny foil cover with vibrant illustrations on each page, and children will love following along with the bold, repeating text. The story chronicles one bus driver’s night as he cruises through town on Halloween, picking up all sorts of unexpected passengers. Plus, the story provides a great opportunity to practice simple counting skills. From “one spooky bus” to “ten goofy ghosts,” children will enjoy counting and singing along to this not-so-spooky Halloween rhyme!

In addition to being a fun read-aloud, we especially love this book because it’s a wonderful introduction to the holiday. Reading stories like this one about Halloween helps children understand why holidays are special days. They can pick out images from the story that signify Halloween to them, such as jack-o’-lanterns, black cats, mummies, and witches. You can also talk to your children about what words like “spooky” mean to them. Discussing what makes certain days more special than others helps young children make sense of their world.  Costumes, candy, decorations—it can be overwhelming for a kid to take in all at once, but a lot goes into making holidays special. Once your child understands the holiday better, celebrating can be all the more exciting!

What are some other books you’ve found that provide teachable moments?