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Many authors are very observant and mine ideas from the smallest details --- a snatch of conversation overheard on the bus, a woman with a three-foot-tall hat on a park bench. But as it turns out, authors can by inspired be moments even when they’re asleep. Kenneth Oppel is one such author. As he explains below, he has always had vivid dreams (and nightmares), some of which contributed directly to plot points in his novels. With his newest book, THE NEST, however, it wasn’t the content that drove the story… it was the idea of vivid dreams, themselves. Find out more, below, and be sure to check out the book!
When Charles Curtis was a kid, he spent hours in front of the TV, watching sports games. It might sound like a waste of time to you, but Charles would beg to differ --- his early obsession with athletics helped him become a sports writer and, now, the author of the football-themed middle grade novel STRANGE COUNTRY DAY.
September 9, 2015

Who Can See Magic? - Guest Post by Adam Shaughnessy

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All authors whose stories are tinged with magic face a similar decision --- how do you decide which characters can see the magic and which can’t, and why? When writing his debut novel THE ENTIRELY TRUE STORY OF THE UNBELIEVABLE FIB, Adam Shaughnessy was no exception; he had to figure out which characters could see the Mythics --- characters from myths that can occasionally visit our world --- and make it logical, meaningful and interesting. Find out his process --- and his final decision --- in his blog post below!   
Most authors bring other parts of their lives into their books. If an author is also a cartoonist, they'll scribble drawings throughout their story. If they're a scientist, their novel might be infused with facts about black holes. And, if they're an actor, like Eric Pierpoint, they'll make their book a cinematic experience. What does that mean, exactly? According to Eric, it's a way to make books have all of the emotion, action and suspense of movies. Read his blog post below, and he'll explain how he does it in THE LAST RIDE OF CALEB O'TOOLE and in his newest book, THE SECRET MISSION OF WILLIAM TUCK!
When you think of great stories, a lot of things probably come to mind --- bookstores, libraries, your favorite authors, your favorite armchair. But sports?  According to Matt Oldfield, author of WAYNE ROONEY, RAHEEM STERLING and GARETH BALE --- three new books about the soccer stars --- sports and books are actually a lot more similar than you'd imagine. He explains why, below, while also giving some details about the books and suggesting some other awesome soccer series.
Nowadays, it's never been more easy to take out your phone when you're hungry and scroll through pictures of delectable-looking meals or look up quick recipes. No matter if you're a five star chef or you've never upgraded beyond an Easy Bake Oven, the Internet is bursting with sites to satisfy all of your cooking desires. The only problem? Sorting through it all! We asked author Shelley Sackier to help us out, as her new novel DEAR OPL aptly follows a 13-year-old through the crazed world of blogging, weight loss and diets. In the post below, Sackier gives us a rundown of her favorite cooking websites.
A lot of people advise that you should “write what you know” --- if you grew up in New York City, set your story in Harlem or Park Slope. If both of your parents were doctors, fill your tale with medical jargon. And if you’re a male, write from the perspective of a boy or man. Author Robert Sharenow, however, would beg to differ --- his new novel THE GIRL IN THE TORCH is not the first, but the second novel he wrote featuring a female protagonist. In the blog post below, he tells us why he decided to write distinctly what he doesn’t know.  
Below, picture book author and illustrator Elise Parsley gives some great advice on what to bring (and not to bring) for your class's next show-and-tell...AND debuts the trailer for her  picture book IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AN ALLIGATOR TO SCHOOL, DON'T!, out July 7th!   
What does a book starring a character from the video game Minecraft have to do with a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young women through the arts? Way more than you might think. ESCAPE FROM THE OVERWORLD author Danica Davidson explains how she got involved with the program Saving Our Cinderellas below, and how even things as seemingly diverse as books and organizations can come together when they have the same values!
Reading books is great, and all, but what would you do if you could literally step into a book and meet the characters face to face, fly on their dragons and wander through their neighborhoods? Alice, the protagonist of Django Wexler’s book THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY and its soon-to-be released sequel, THE MAD APPRENTICE, has this ability, but sometimes it’s a bit more dangerous than you’d imagine. Kidsreads asked Django to tell us which character from his books he’d most like to spend the day with. See his answer below, and be sure to check out The Forbidden Library series!