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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!
              THE WATER AND THE WILD by K.E. Ormsbee tells the story of Lottie Fiske, a 12-year-old girl who enters a strange new world in an attempt to save her best friend’s life. Before Lottie sets out on her quest, she lives in a boardinghouse on Kemble Isle, a fictional island off the coast of New England. Lottie’s bedroom overlooks a green apple tree, which later proves very important to the story. But what might you find inside Lottie Fiske’s bedroom --- in particular, on her nightstand? And what do those objects say about her character? Find out in K.E.'s blog post, below, and be sure to check out her other stops along the tour, which you can find at the bottom of the page!
Liesl Shurtliff knows a thing or two about fairytales…her first book, RUMP, goes behind the scenes of Rumpelstiltskin, and her latest, JACK: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk, shares a new take on the classic story of a curious boy and a world full of giants. In the blog post below, she parses out the difference between “real things” and “fairytales”…and it’s not as big as you’d think. 
Every single story is original, fresh and new --- there are distinct characters who get into crazy adventures, twists and turns, strange unexplored lands and the author’s unique take on language. However, that doesn’t mean that the overall idea for the story --- the inspiration --- has to come from thin air. As author Fiona McIntosh explains, lots of books are born from a trope, or “a recurring idea in fiction.” In fact, her new middle grade novel, THE WHISPERER, came from the same trope as Mark Twain’s THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER --- two twins are separated at birth but maintain an unbreakable bond. Read Fiona’s blog post, below, to learn more about how an author can take a tried-and-true idea and make it their very own, as well as to get some inside info on THE WHISPERER!
The kids in the National Book Foundation’s BookUp program do a lot of things --- they participate in an after-school reading group led by an acclaimed, local author. They go on field trips to libraries and bookstores to get their own books. They learn the importance of reading and develop their literacy, social and emotional skills. And, sometimes, they get to go on cool field trips! Below, Mariam, an 11-year-old BookUp member who is part of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn group, writes about the trip that all Book-Up members took to the New York Academy of Sciences a couple of weekends ago. While there, they not only got to speak to groundbreaking professionals in the science field, but also to Katherine Duckett, who works at the acclaimed science fiction publisher Tor and writes her own speculative fiction. Below, see Mariam’s post about the field trip, and how science and reading are more related than you might think.