Tag Archives: Staff

Muggle-less No More

19 Nov

That’s right. Sticking to the deadline I set for myself, I have finished all seven of the Harry Potter books just as the movie releases today! I am Muggle-less no more!

We were going to do another riveting video with our amazing puppets, but some people went to the midnight showing last night and came into work a wee bit tardy (cough, Preeti, cough). Not to worry though, I am here to entertain you with my thoughts on the series for the next hundred or so words!

Like everyone, I received my honorary scar on my forehead after turning the last page—wait, what? Not everyone gets that? Um…maybe I should head to Diagon Alley to have that looked at then…. Anyway, I loved, LOVED, LOVED the last book and am equally excited to see the first installment of the movie this weekend. For me, the best thing about this book was that I didn’t know what was going to happen. Like I said before, I had seen the movies previous to reading the other six, so there wasn’t much of a surprise to any of them, whereas in Deathly Hallows there was a twist and turn on every page. I can’t believe I waited this long to read them, and yes, this is a series that I will read over and over again.

Time for some awards without spoilers:

Favorite character: Severus Snape. He’s just fascinating!

Favorite moment: The ending, but of course!

Favorite charm or spell: Patronus or Stupefy. (I really like saying “stupefy”!)

And last, but not least…favorite book:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I loved all of the books, but the third one, for me, was where I really got into the world Rowling had created and started to really care about the characters.

All right, I better get back to work so I can leave on time to catch the movie. If you haven’t read Harry Potter yet, I highly recommend it. You can find the books in November’s Holiday Gift Books catalog.

Virtual Catalog Tour

11 Nov

I don’t know about you, but I just looked at the calendar and realized that, OM-Goodness, it’s November 11! Thanksgiving is in two weeks and the holidays, like a 5th grade pop quiz, are upon us! Where does the time go? I have yet to even think about shopping—just the idea of it gives me hives and I have to go hide in a good book—and let’s not even talk about finding the time to actually do it. What is one to do!?!?

Books make great gifts and this year’s Holiday Gift Books catalog is overflowing with awesome gift ideas. I’m lucky. I get to work on the catalog and that means I know THE BEST books available this season. Yes, I know you’re jealous. But I’m here to help! We have so many great books that I, along with my fellow Book Talker, Erin, and Holiday Gift Books Editor, Sada, decided to give you an exclusive virtual tour of the catalog. We wanted to show some of our favorites and give you something a little more than what you see on the printed pages.


Books not only make great gifts, they make kids better readers. I remember getting Where’s Waldo?, A Wrinkle in Time, The Hardy Boys, and Goosebumps as gifts when I was younger and they definitely shaped me into the voracious reader that I am today. I hope you enjoyed the video and we’re also here to answer questions…so ask away!

If you want to look more at the Holiday Gift Books catalog, click here.

Muggle-less Muggle: On to Deathly Hallows!

4 Nov

Oh man! I am so excited! I am finishing the Half-Blood Prince today and will be vaulting directly into Deathly Hallows, so there won’t be any video today because I am too busy getting my read on! I mean, we only have two weeks until the movie comes out, Muggles, so I have to be ready!

Now, before I launch into how excited I am to read Deathly Hallows, let’s take a moment to reflect on Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince. Rather than go on some long rant about each book, I will give you my favorite and least-favorite thing about each one:

Order of the Pheonix:

Most Fave: Dumbledore’s Army. Man, that is just awesome! This (for me, anyway) is when the books become more about kids doing something to save the world. It’s not just Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It’s everyone coming together to take on evil and make the world a better place!

Least Fave: Dolores Umbridge—need I say more? She is a vile woman and, for me, one of the greatest moments in the series is when she is relieved as the headmistress of Hogwarts! Man, I hate her!

Half-Blood Prince:

Most Fave: Probably Harry doing a curse on Draco. Great moment for many reasons.

Least Fave: The Half-Blood Prince (I’ll refrain from using names so as not to spoil it for anyone). That was a huge twist that wasn’t, ya know? I mean, I expected something to be revealed like that eventually—but this far into the series, the fact that it didn’t happen sort of lulled me to sleep about that character. UGH! I can’t wait for Deathly Hallows.

Now, on to Deathly Hallows! The main reason I am excited about delving into this finale is that this is the only book that I have absolutely no knowledge as to what will happen. I had previously seen all the movies for the other books, so while I enjoyed reading them, there was that missing element of uncertainty So I am going in with clear eyes and expecting the unexpected.

I’ll be back with a video recapping my thoughts on the final book, the series, and my excitement about the movie in two weeks. How excited are you for the movie? I’d love to hear about it. I know a few in our office have already bought tickets for the midnight showing. They’re going to be some tired Muggles at work that day.

Don’t forget, you can relive the magic or live the magic for the first time! All the Harry Potter books are on November’s Holiday Gift Books catalog.

Literary Halloween: When Imagination Meets Reality

28 Oct

 

A Bad Case of the Stripes

Halloween is a time for goblins, witches, and black cats—but it’s also a time for Harry, Matilda, (Fancy) Nancy, Katniss, and the Frizz.

Do you and your kids or students plan to participate? Let us know which characters you think will be popular this year, and which ones you hope to see. (Pictures of your favorite costumes or innovators are welcome…they’ll help provide inspiration!)

Personally, I’m thinking I’ll be “Mouse” from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…that way, I can carry around chocolate cookies (my favorite!) all night long.

What about my fellow Book Talkers?

Trevor: I wouldn’t dress up as this character, but it would be cool to see someone go as Ms. Frizzle.

Preeti:  I’m going to be Paddington Bear!

 

Remember, share your pictures with us to let us know how your students/kids are dressing up. Feel free to submit them after the big day!  

And Now, a Mini Comic Con Post

11 Oct

Hello my fellow nerds and nerd juniors! Trevor and I were lucky enough to go to the New York Comic Con this past weekend. While we spend a day or two writing up our full report, we thought we’d share a few of the pictures we took to tide you over. (^o^)V

Needless to say, this was a highlight for us—this was one of the artists behind Cars AND Toy Story!

Then we learned how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse. Very secretive stuff, you understand.

It wouldn’t be Comic Con without a few Star Wars sightings!

A friend kindly volunteered to take a “I Am Spider-Man” picture (some of us are camera shy!).

These are just a sample of some of the amazing figurines that people showcase. Harry Potter (Trevor was pretty excited about this one, of course) and Iron  Man!

Lastly, we got some fun pictures of people who made their own costumes. Domo was particularly adorable!

As you may have noticed, there was a lot to see and take in! We heard a lot of discussion about graphic novels in the classroom and the history of illustrations in novels, and even got to listen to a great talk given by Scott Westerfeld. Stay tuned for the full report this Wednesday!

In the meantime, some food for thought: What do you think about using illustrated guides and graphic novels as teaching tools?

A Little More Muggle…

7 Oct

My life is a little more magical and Muggle-filled than it was last week. I have finished the first two books in the Harry Potter series and boy, are they good. My Book Talk cohort Preeti interviewed me about reading the first two books and it went a little long, so the video below is just some of the highlights of that interview. I will say here that one of my favorite things about the series thus far is the world that J.K. Rowling has created. It’s enthralling. The characters are great as well, but I found myself just captivated by everything from Hogwarts to the different landscapes to Diagon Alley. My other favorite aspect of the series is the beginning of Sorceror’s Stone, when we meet the Dursleys and Harry. The Dursleys, for me, were very Roald Dahl-esque. I immediately recognized who these awful people were just as if they were relatives of the Wormwoods (Matilda) or Spiker and Sponge (James and the Giant Peach). Rowling does a masterful job of establishing a framework for escapism in these novels. I can only imagine my 12-year-old self reading this. It would have blown my 12-year-old mind, and I would have applied to Hogwarts—literally, I would have written Albus Dumbledore and begged and pleaded for him to accept me as a student.

Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts. I am really enjoying the series and can’t wait to see what happens in Books 3 and 4. To find out my favorite characters, teachers, and what my owl’s name would be, check out the video below:

Don’t forget—you can find the whole series on November’s Holiday Gift Books catalog or find each book in Club Shop on our online ordering site.

Muggle-less Muggle

1 Oct

OK, so we all know that today Oprah is going to interview J.K. Roooooooooooooooooooowling! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist an Oprah impersonation). This, of course, is bringing a lot of buzz, especially with the second-to-last movie coming out in November. So I am taking this opportunity to confess something…I…oh man, this is hard to say…I have not read Harry Potter (bows head in shame).

Gasp! What! Can it be?!?! How is this possible!?!? Oh, the HUMANITY!!!!

Yes, yes. I can hear the collective doubt from everyone. You may be wondering the following questions: How did he even get hired at Scholastic? How does he get up in the morning? Why, WHY?!?!

I will answer these questions with a simple answer: It’s on my to-read pile and has been for a few years, but I have so many other books to read for work that I just never get to them. However, I would like to point out that I did read the first book a few years back, so I am not completely in the dark.

Outrage, anger, sadness, sympathy—these may be some of the feelings you are having while reading this right now and some of my coworkers are right there with you.

It’s a burden I have carried all these years and today—today!—I am proclaiming my commitment to HP. I am going to read all seven books before the movie comes out in November. I will need an outlet to discuss all things HP, and I would love for you all to share in this experience with me. Reread them, or if you are like me and have been hiding this secret and want to say to the world, “Yes, I have not read Harry Potter, but I am going to now!”, here’s your chance.

I can’t be the only one, right? I am, aren’t I. No, it can’t be! I am a Muggle-less Muggle. There MUST be others out there. Join me!

I am starting the first book today and will be giving my thoughts next week as one of my coworkers will interview me about the first two books. And who knows, maybe we’ll have some giveaways in the future (hint, hint!).

Happy Reading!