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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.
You're probably quite familiar with Octavia Spencer, who won an Academy Award for her role as Minny Jackson in The Help in 2012 and has been in everything from Insurgent to "30 Rock." Well, it turns out she's adding something else to her impressive repetroire --- she's the narrator of the audiobook RANDI RHODES, NINJA DETECTIVE: The Sweetest Heist in History, which came out on March 31st! This is the second book in the Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective series that Octavia herself wrote, which follows a kick butt girl and her best friend, D.C., who use their ninja and sleuthing skills to solve mysteries both in and out of their small town.
OF COURSE authors and publishers know plenty about books, but so do plenty of people who you wouldn't necessarily expect to --- including those who work for costume companies! One such company, the UK-based Fancy Dress Ball, has to know a lot about popular books and characters so every kid can dress up as their favorite. Based on all of their research, they decided to make an infographic about some classic children's tales with popular movie adaptations (and plenty of costume inspiration), sharing fun trivia about each and deciding, once and for all, which medium is the best! You can see a short version of the infographic below. Click on the image and it will take you to a longer version, where you can zoom in and read all of the little-known facts the Fancy Dress Ball team dug up!
We love interviewing authors on Kidsreads.com, but sometimes, interviewing characters is even more fun! We asked Jen Calonita --- author of FLUNKED, the first book in the Fairy Tale Reform School series about a school where all of the professors are former villains --- to interview one of the super-scary teachers from the story. See their exchange, below!
What would happen if Ada Lovelace --- the world's first computer programmer --- and Mary Shelley --- the author of FRANKENSTEIN --- were to meet as children in 1826? Well, according to Jordan Straford's new series, they'd combine Ada's logical mind and Mary's imagination to create their own detective agency!   Jordan wrote a guest Post which features two letters from the fictionalized versions of Ada and Mary, shining a light on their very different voices and the way they complement each other.   Click here to read the post, and be sure to check out the first book in the Wollstonecraft Dectective Agency, THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE!  
What would happen if you took a topic very relevant to today's world --- global warming --- and applied it to another time period experiencing some major climate changes --- the Stone Age? David Zeltser does just this in his book LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age, which follows a boy who has a secret art cave, a couple quirky friends and an urgent need to survive the changing world and unite the feuding clans! Learn more about LUG and David's past in the below blog post, as well as a traiiler for the book!
As picture book illustrators know better than anyone, images speak 1,000 words. Therefore, Jeanette Winter, the creative force behind the inspiratoinal picture books MALALA: a Brave Girl from Pakistan and IQBAL:a Brave Boy from Pakistan: Two Stories of Bravery, decided to draw her inspiration for the books, rather than write about them. See the stunning result, below!  
We've seen a lot of beautiful picture books at Kidsreads, where illustrations are made with watercolors, acrylics, pen and and ink and everything in between. But it's rare that we see books where the illustrations are made out of paper, which is exactly what we get with Agnese Baruzzi's book ALADDIN! For her National Picture Book Month post, Agnese answers some questions that her publisher posed about her style, her life  and ALADDIN, plus some images from the book and her legendary "pet" diecutting machine.