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April 2014 Newsletter April 2014
New York Public Library Photocredit: Buzzfeed
Celebrate Libraries with!
Hello Kidsreaders, and Happy April!

If you’re like a lot of people, you have holidays on your mind this month! Easter is coming up this Sunday, and Passover began on April 14th. I actually hosted a Seder for my friends on Tuesday, which was a lot of fun --- it’s interesting to cook and have people over in a tiny New York apartment! At Seders, you read the story of Passover from books called Haggadahs, and we used the coloring book versions I’ve had since I was a toddler. Therefore, my friends not only learned about the history of matzah, but they also got to witness my three-year-old scribbles. Maybe not the most sophisticated way to celebrate, but definitely the most fun (and the most embarrassing for me --- apparently I thought frogs, burning bushes and the Pharaoh’s headdress were neon pink).

While they don’t get as much attention as Easter and Passover, there are some more April holidays that we’re particularly excited about --- School Library Month, National Library Week and National Librarian Day! These holidays celebrate one of the most important literary institutions out there --- places where knowledge, books, resources and community come together, for free.

To celebrate these holidays, we asked our reviewers to share some of their favorite library experiences. Here are a few highlights:

One of my earliest library-related memories is of borrowing books for our local Book Mobile. It came every two weeks during the summer. I eagerly awaited its arrival so I could collect my bounty of requested books. Such treasures. --- Christine Irvin

There are two kinds of book smell --- the warm, musty old kind which really is not at all as bad as it sounds --- and then the newer smell, which is the plastic wrapping they put around the covers of the new books when they come in and are prepped for the library. At first, those were what I looked for --- my newest updates in all the series I read as a kid. But then in middle school, I started reading the classics --- so I’d often wander along those aisles, staring in wonder at these legends living before me in the fibers of their page --- Corinne Fox

To see all the responses, read this blog post, and be sure to email me at if you have any library memories of your own. For more on libraries, you can check out this month’s Quirky Holiday Feature, where we focus on two middle grade tales that show just how magical libraries can be --- THE NINJA LIBRARIANS and THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY. You can also see some cool library photos above (The New York Public Library, the Library of Dutch Parliament and Trinity College Library, all taken from Buzzfeed's list of "49 Breathtaking Libraries from All Over the World"). This list has me dying to visit the Library in the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, Austria and the Library of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Canada.

And on a different note, we wanted to quickly share five great events this month and next month that we think you’ll want to know about:

1) On April 24th, James Patterson and Dwayne Wade team up for a webcast about how literacy saves lives. Here is a link to James’ website, where you can sign up to watch it. And here is an interview with James to get you excited!

2) Any CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY fans out there? In honor of the book’s 50th anniversary, Penguin has an amazing Golden Ticket Sweepstakes that you’ll definitely want to enter. You can win a trip to New York City (complete with a tour of Dylan’s Candy Bar and tickets to the Broadway musical Matilda), a complete set of Roald Dahl’s books, A YEAR’S SUPPLY OF CHOCOLATE, and more! Click here to learn more, and to enter.

3) This April is the first ever Wimpy Kid Month! You can catch a webcast with author Jeff Kinney on April 28th (sign up here), which will include a fun quiz, a drawing lesson, and the cover reveal for the ninth book. You can submit questions to ask Jeff at, and you design your own idea for the new cover, here!

4) And lastly, remember that May 17th is Indie’s First Storytime Day, and authors will be reading out loud at independent bookstores around the country. Here is the list of participating stores and authors, so far…make sure to stop by one near you!

5) Voting for your favorite author and book is not an event, exactly, but it's so awesome that we think it should be considered one! Voting for the Children's Choice Book Awards ends Monday, May 12th --- make sure you have your say before it's too late!

And with that, we’re off! So scour the rest of this newsletter and our website for book recommendations…and then check them out at your library (especially this month) or buy them at your local bookstore!

--- Shara Zaval (


Special Feature: CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG OVER THE MOON by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Plenty of technology has been invented since the first Chitty Chitty Bang Bang book was written in the 1960s, from the internet to cell phones to iPads. But, as Frank Cottrell Boyce, the author of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG OVER THE MOON, says, “the idea of a car that can fly is still really magical,” even decades later! That’s why we were so excited to create a special feature for CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG OVER THE MOON --- the latest story starring the flying car with its own personality. In our feature, you can find a review of the book, an excerpt and an author interview, where Frank talks about everything from his favorite feature of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to how writing books is different from writing movies.

Click here to read the review
Click here to read the excerpt
Click here to read the interview

Click here to see our special feature on CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG OVER THE MOON!

Ready, Set, Vote for the Children's Choice Book Awards!

Do you want your favorite author, illustrator and book to win the Children's Choice Book Awards? Then vote here, today!

Voting closes on Monday, May 12th, and you can view the finalists, below.

Also, make sure to check out some videos by your favorite children's authors that celebrate the 95th Annual Children's Book Week. The latest video is from Liesl Shurtliff, the author of RUMP: The Story of Rumpelstiltskin. Keep checking back to CBC's YouTube channel to stay up to date!

Illustrator of the Year
Oliver Jeffers, THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT (Philomel)
Victoria Kann, EMERALDALICIOUS (HarperCollins)
James Dean, PETE THE CAT: THE WHEELS ON THE BUS (HarperCollins)

Author of the Year
Rick Riordan, THE HOUSE OF HADES (HEROES OF OLYMPUS, BOOK 4) (Disney/Hyperion)
Veronica Roth, ALLEGIANT (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins)

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year
THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)
MUSTACHE BABY by Bridget Heos, Illustrated by Joy Ang (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
ALPHABET TRUCKS by Samantha R. Vamos, Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke (Charlesbridge)
BEAR AND BEE by Sergio Ruzzier (Disney/Hyperion)
CHAMELIA AND THE NEW KID IN CLASS by Ethan Long (Little, Brown)

Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year
BEAN DOG AND NUGGET: THE BALL by Charise Mericle Harper (Knopf)
COUGAR by Stephen Person (Bearport Publishing)
THE MATCHBOX DIARY by Paul Fleischman, Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (Candlewick)
BUGS IN MY HAIR! by David Shannon (Blue Sky/Scholastic)

Fifth to Sixth Grade Book of the Year
LAWLESS: BOOK 1 by Jeffrey Salane (Scholastic)
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS MYTHS BUSTED! by Emily Krieger, Illustrated by Tom Nick Cocotos (National Geographic Children’s Books)
HOKEY POKEY by Jerry Spinelli (Knopf)
BATTLING BOY by Paul Pope (First Second)

Teen Book of the Year
ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins)
ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Press)
CLOCKWORK PRINCESS (THE INFERNAL DEVICES) by Cassandra Clare (Margaret K. McElderry/S&S)
SMOKE by Ellen Hopkins (Margaret K. McElderry/S&S)
THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey (Putnam)

Quirky Celebrations --- Libraries, Libraries and More Libraries!

April is ALL about libraries --- it's School Library Month, National Library Week (April 13-19) and National Librarian Day (April 15). So what better way to celebrate all three of these holidays (besides visiting your local library, of course) than to read some novels featuring these beloved bookish institutions?

THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY by Django Wexler follows a girl named Alice who is sent to live with her Uncle Geryon in an enormous manor with an off-limits library. But when a talking cat tells Alice to enter the library, and an arrogant boy dares her to open a book, Alice can't resist...and she gets a lot more than she bargained for. In THE NINJA LIBRARIANS: The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey, Dorrie and her brother Marcus discover a secret society of ninja librarians that protects people whose words get them into trouble, anywhere in the world and any time in history. Dorrie would love to join, but when the Society thinks she and Marcus are traitors, she has to clear their names before it's too late.

Click here to read the whole feature!

National Autism Awareness Month Roundup
April is National Autism Awareness Month! There are plenty of great books --- both fiction and nonfiction --- that cover this increasingly prevalent topic, and we've shared our favorite titles, here. There's something in here for everyone looking to learn about and cope with the difficulties of autism and Asperger's, and we hope you continue to explore this list even after the month ends.
Click here to see our roundup!

Happy Anniversary, Emily Windsnap!
In THE TAIL OF EMILY WINDSNAP, Emily discovers that she’s a half-mermaid, and ever since, she’s taken readers on a whirlwind of watery adventures, from accidentally waking a legendary sea monster in EMILY WINDSNAP AND THE MONSTER FROM THE DEEP to discovering a trove of stolen memories in an alpine lake in EMILY WINDSNAP AND THE LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series, author Liz Kessler gives us a list of her top favorite things about Emily Windsnap. Read on to learn more about this adventurous girl and all of her amazing qualities!
Click here to read Liz Kessler's Guest Article!

Guest Article: Cathie Pelletier, author of THE SUMMER EXPERIMENT
In THE SUMMER EXPERIMENT, best friends Roberta and Marilee have a master plan for beating Henry Horton Harris Helmsby in the annual science fair --- proving that aliens exist! In this guest article, author Cathie Pelletier tells the reasons she chose Allagash, Maine as the setting of her book --- and, eerily, the reasons that a UFO sighting in the area isn't actually that unbelievable.
Click here to read the full article!

Harriet the Spy 50th Anniversary Contest --- Winners!

Last month, we hosted a contest in honor of HARRIET THE SPY's 50th anniversary, and we asked YOU to tell us which literary character you'd like to spy on and why in order to win a copy of the book! We're happy to announce the winners (and the top 10) below.

Also, in honor of the anniversary edition, Random House hosted a special viewing of author Louise Fitzhugh's artwork at the Forbes Gallery in New York City. We got to see Harriet's infamous tomato sandwich (pictured above). Many authors who contributed essays to the anniversary edition attended the event, too, including Lenore Look, author of the Alvin Ho series. See their group photo, above!


Alyssa from Oakton, Virginia
Marie from Lincolnton, North Carolina
Rita from Kaneohe, Hawaii
Alyson from Shaker Heights, Ohio
Sandra from Fort Worth, Texas

Top Ten answers: Which literary character would you spy on and why?

1. Mr. Travers from SHILOH to see if he ever does something nice when no one is watching.

2. Stuart Little to see such a small point of view

3. Miss Frizzle so I could see where she buys her zany clothes, accessories and also I wonder what she eats for dinner.

4. Eloise from ELOISE AT THE PLAZA so I can see if she crashes any weddings or parties.

5. Margaret from Judy Blume's book ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET. I just want to know if Margaret is doing okay and if she is happy.

6. I'd spy on Waldo so that I could find him!

7. I would spy on Curious George so that I could see the world through a beginner’s eyes.

8. Kalinka from THE WINTER HORSES so I could learn more about life in the Ukraine.

9. Anne of Green Gables so I could see for myself the trouble a carrot top can get herself into and out of.

10. Hagrid from HARRY POTTER so I can see all the creatures he really encounters.

Now in Stores: FLY AWAY by Patricia MacLachlan

FLY AWAY by Patricia MacLachlan (Juvenile Fiction)

Everyone in Lucy’s family sings. Opera. Rap. Lullabies. Everyone, except Lucy. Lucy can’t sing; her voice just won’t come out. Just like singing, helping Aunt Frankie prepare for flooding season is a family tradition --- even if Frankie doesn’t want the help. And this year, when the flood arrives, danger finds its way into the heart of Lucy’s family, and Lucy will need to find her voice to save her brother.

- Click here to learn more about the book.

Click here to read the review!

Now in Stores: FILE UNDER: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket

FILE UNDER: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket (Mystery)

Paintings have been falling off of walls, a loud and loyal dog has gone missing, a specter has been seen walking the pier at midnight --- strange things are happening all over the town of Stain'd-By-The-Sea. Called upon to investigate 13 suspicious incidents, young Lemony Snicket collects clues, questions witnesses and cracks every case. Join the investigation and tackle the mysteries alongside Snicket, then turn to the back of the book to see the solution revealed.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Click here to read the review!

April's New Picture Books Roundup

Our April picture book roundup includes IT’S AN ORANGE AARDVARK written and illustrated by Michael Hall, a book full of bright colors and die-cut holes that follows a group of five ants as they try to uncover the source of a mysterious noise; DUCK AND GOOSE GO TO THE BEACH by Tad Hills, the follow-up to DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE that follows the two winged friends as they explore the ocean; and LONDON FOR CHILDREN by Matteo Pericoli, an adaptation of his gorgeous LONDON UNFURLED that takes kids on a trivia-filled, architectural tour of England’s capital city.

Click here to see April's New Picture Books roundup!

April’s Cool & New Books Roundup
Our April roundup includes FILE UNDER: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket, where readers are invited to accompany the sleuthful young Lemony as he investigates strange incidents occurring in Stain’d-By-The-Sea; the second Life of Ty book by Lauren Myracle --- THE LIFE OF TY: Non-Random Acts of Kindness --- where the second-grader has to contend with his baby sister, crazy classmates and upcoming public speaking assignment; and THERE WILL BE BEARS by Ryan Gebhart, where 13-year-old Tyson sneaks his grandfather out of a nursing home so they can go on a hunting trip together.

Click here to see April’s Cool & New Books roundup!
April's New in Paperback Roundup
Among the paperback titles released this month we have HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel by Cressida Cowell, where Hiccup must find a prized jewel in order to save his people; HORRIBLE HARRIET’S INHERITANCE by Leigh Hobbs, where the most endearingly evil girl in picture books bursts into chapter books for the first time to tell the story of her family tree; and THE MARK OF ATHENA, the third book in Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus series, where Greek and Roman demigods must defeat giants and find the Doors of Death.


Click here to visit our April New in Paperback feature!
New Reviews!

Check out these reviews that we just put up on!

DREAMER, WISHER, LIAR by Charise Mericle Harper (Fiction)

When seven-year-old Claire shows up, she turns Ash's carefully constructed life upside down. Ash must protect a carefully hidden secret: she has discovered a magical jar in her basement. It has the power to send her back in time and provides a window into another friendship between two girls. Discovering her own connection to the girls' story shows Ash that her life is full of surprises and friends she never saw coming. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


Furious Jones, the twelve-year-old son of a famous thriller writer, lives with his grandfather after his mother was mysteriously gunned down right in front of him a year ago. Curious to know more about his estranged dad, he goes to see him speak about his upcoming novel to a packed audience --- and to his shock and horror, he witnesses his father get shot as well. When Furious discovers that his dad’s upcoming novel contains dangerous and fiercely protected secrets, he sets out to discover who killed his father, and what exactly they were trying to cover up. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

OCEAN SECRETS (A Fairy Houses Mystery #2) by Tracy Kane and Genevieve Aichele (Fiction)

Swimming in the tidal pool, Kate peers through her mask at the undersea world below. Kate finds a structure of rocks adorned with seaweed, shells and starfish --- it looks like an underwater fairy castle! Exploring the Isles of Shoals, Kate and her friend Luke discover the magic along these rocky shores. While out at sea, a secret new world of adventure awaits, where pirates, ghosts and a feisty seal are just the beginning. Reviewed by Kathy Purcell.

FREEDOM SUMMER: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi by Susan Goldman Rubin (Nonfiction)

This riveting account of the murder of three civil rights crusaders in Mississippi offers new interviews with volunteers from that fateful summer and many never-before-seen photographs. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

WORLD WAR I FOR KIDS: A History with 21 Activities by R. Kent Rasmussen (Youth Historical Nonfiction)

WORLD WAR I FOR KIDS provides an intriguing and comprehensive look at this defining conflict that involved all of the world’s superpowers. Young history buffs will learn why the western front bogged down into a long stalemate; how the war ushered in an era of rapid military, technological, and societal advances; and how the United States’ entry helped end the war. Far from a dry catalog of names, dates and battles, this richly illustrated book goes in depth into such fascinating topics as turn-of-the-20th-century weaponry and the important roles animals played in the war, and explains connections among events and how the war changed the course of history. Reviewed by Christine Irvin.

SCHOOLS OF HOPE: How Julius Rosenwald Helped Change African American Education by Norman H. Finkelstein (Youth Nonfiction)

When Booker T. Washington, the famed African American educator, asked Julius Rosenwald, the wealthy president of Sears, Roebuck and Company and noted philanthropist, to help him build well-designed and fully equipped schools for black children, the face of education in the South changed for the better. It was the early 1900s, a time of discrimination, racial segregation, and inadequate education for African Americans. Rosenwald created a special fund that in just twenty years built more than 5,300 schools attended by 600,000 black students. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

RED MADNESS: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat by Gail Jarrow (Children's Nonfiction)

One hundred years ago, a mysterious and alarming illness spread across America’s South, striking tens of thousands of victims. No one knew what caused it or how to treat it. People were left weak, disfigured, insane, and in some cases, dead. Award-winning science and history writer Gail Jarrow tracks this disease, commonly known as pellagra, and highlights how doctors, scientists and public health officials finally defeated it. Reviewed by Christine Irvin.

HIDDEN: A Child's Story of the Holocaust written by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Greg Salsedo and Marc Lizano (Youth Historical Fiction)

Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps. Dounia and her mother rediscover each other as World War II ends . . . and a young girl in present-day France becomes closer to her grandmother, who can finally, after all those years, tell her story. Reviewed by Charles Payseur.

THE CHILDREN OF THE KING by Sonya Hartnett (Children's Fiction)

Cecily and Jeremy have been sent to live with their uncle Peregrine in the English countryside, safe from the war, along with a young refugee named May. But when Cecily and May find two mysterious boys hiding in the ruins of a nearby castle, an extraordinary adventure begins. Reviewed by Quinn Colter.

THE NINJA LIBRARIANS: The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey (Fiction)

Petrarch's Library travels through time to anywhere there's trouble, like the Spanish Inquisition, or ancient Greece, or...Passaic, New Jersey, where Dorrie and her brother Marcus accidentally find the library's secret society of ninja librarians. But when a traitor surfaces, Dorrie and Marcus are prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back home closes forever? Reviewed by Rebecca Czochor.

THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY by Django Wexler (Children's Fiction)

When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon --- an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself inside the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within. It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice. Reviewed by Lily Philpott.

THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY by Jaleigh Johnson (Youth Fiction)

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect --- everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. And a little bit magical, and very exciting --- if she can manage to survive the journey. Reviewed by Kate F.

UNDER THE EGG by Laura Marx Fitzgerald (Fiction)

Theodora Tenpenny spills rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting and discovers a Renaissance masterpiece underneath. But Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting was stolen. Theo's search for answers shows her a new side of her grandfather. To solve the mystery, she'll have to build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time. Reviewed by Emma Kantor.

THE RIVERMAN by Aaron Starmer (Fiction)

Fiona shows up on Alistair's doorstep with a proposition: she wants him to write her biography. Fiona says a portal in her basement leads to a magical world where a creature called the Riverman is stealing children's souls. If Fiona really believes what she’s saying, Alistair fears she may be crazy. But if it’s true, her life could be at risk, and it’s up to Alistair to separate fact from fiction, fantasy from reality. Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski.

Remember to be safe online. NEVER tell anyone personal information --- which includes your real name, age, address, phone number or school. Hey, pretend you are undercover when you go online and protect yourself at all times!

Keep reading!

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