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Early February 2006 Newsletter

Early February 2006

What's New on

WHERE Did January Go?

Author Talk: Louis Sachar, Author of SMALL STEPS

The John Newbery Medal

The Randolph Caldecott Medal

The Coretta Scott King Award

The Schneider Family Book Award

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Books Into Movies: Curious George and Nanny McPhee

Curious George Movie Tie-In Books

Celebrating Black History Month

Cool New Books for January

Series Update: Geronimo Stilton

Reviews and Features

Poll: Finding Your Book

Question of the Month: Authors Online
Some Links on
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Read our newsletter online here
Series Feature
Play a Trivia Game here
Word Scrambles

WHERE Did January Go?

Our January newsletter is arriving late. Where did that month go? I feel like the holidays were here, the tree and decorations got put away, we had the Martin Luther King holiday and then it was February 1st.

One reason for the delay is that there's so much going on at that we needed a few extra days to get it all posted on the site. 

First there's the announcement of all the award-winning books of the year, which include the Newbery and Caldecott winners. We're sure you have heard teachers and librarians talk about these awards, which are some of the most prestigious ones in children's books. Many parents have written to tell us that they buy these titles each year to build a library for their children.

Then there's an all-new Books into Movies update featuring Nanny McPhee and Curious George. And for those of you whose kids can't get enough Curious George, we have all the details on the tie-in books that are being released in time for the movie. We see a movie in your future with the long President's Weekend holiday coming up.

We have a funny and very informative interview with Louis Sachar in which he discusses some of the details of SMALL STEPS, his follow-up novel to HOLES, and describes his writing routine. We're also featuring a review of the newest Geronimo Stilton adventure and a roundup of titles for Black History Month.

So for all the latest on awards, books into movies, series, authors you love and books your kids can't wait to get your hands on... is the place to be. 

Here's wishing you and your family an early Happy Valentine's Day. We'll have another newsletter for you later this month.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Author Talk: Louis Sachar, Author of SMALL STEPS

Louis Sachar's SMALL STEPS chronicles life after Camp Green Lake for Theodore "Armpit" Johnson, one of the former occupants of Tent D from the Newbery Award-winning book HOLES. In this interview, Sachar explains why he chose to focus his highly anticipated novel on this particular character over all the others. He also describes his rather slow writing process and reveals how his life has (or hasn't) changed as a result of the success of HOLES.

SMALL STEPS by Louis Sachar
In this long-awaited companion to Louis Sachar's award-winning HOLES, two former inmates of the horrific juvenile detention center Camp Green Lake --- Armpit (aka Theodore Johnson) and X-Ray --- take small steps to regain their reputation, and self-respect, in the real world. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SMALL STEPS.

Click here to read an interview with Louis Sachar and a review of SMALL STEPS.

The John Newbery Medal

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

-This year's winner of the John Newbery Medal is CRISS CROSS by Lynne Rae Perkins.

-Click here to see the list of Newbery Honor Books.


The Randolph Caldecott Medal

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

-This year's winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal is THE HELLO, GOODBYE WINDOW by Norman Juster.

- Click here to see the list of Caldecott Honor Books.


The Coretta Scott King Award

The Coretta Scott King Book Award is given to an African American author and an African American illustrator for an outstandingly inspirational and educational contribution. The books promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream. The Award is further designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.

-This year's winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award is DAY OF TEARS: A Novel in Dialogue by Julius Lester.

-This year's winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award is ROSA by Nikki Giovanni.

-Click here to see the list of Coretta Scott King Honor Books.


The Schneider Family Book Award



The Schneider Family Book Award, donated by Katherine Schneider, Ph.D., honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. The book must portray some aspect of living with a disability or that of a friend or family member, whether the disability is physical, mental or emotional. Recipients are selected in three categories: birth through grade school (ages 0-10), middle school (ages 11-13), and teens (ages 13-18).

-This year's winner of the Schneider Family Picture Book Award is DAD, JACKIE, AND ME by Myron Uhlberg.

-This year's winner of the Schneider Family Middle School Award is TENDING TO GRACE by Kimberly Newton Fusco.


The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award



The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, which was established in 2004, will be given annually starting in 2006 to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of an outstanding book for beginning readers published in the United States during the preceding year. The award is named for the world-renowned children's author Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.

-This year's winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is HENRY AND MUDGE AND THE GREAT GRANDPAS by Cynthia Rylant.

-Click here to see the list of Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Books.


Books Into Movies: Curious George and Nanny McPhee

February offers two wacky and wonderful opportunities for kids who love movies based on books to head to the theater. The first is Nanny McPhee, which is based on Britain's Nurse Matilda series from the 1960s. If you're not familiar with the books, here's all you need to know: they're fun and fantastical --- think Mary Poppins meets Harry Potter --- and we're sure you'll love them.

On February 10th, the much-anticipated film version of the Curious George books by Margret and H. A. Rey climbs and swings its way into theaters. Starring the hysterical Will Ferrell as The Man in the Yellow Hat, this adaptation of one of the most beloved children's book series ever published is destined to be a classic.

Click here to read our Books into Movies feature.


Curious George Movie Tie-In Books


To celebrate the film release of Curious George, Houghton Mifflin has a number of outstanding books that pay tribute to the inquisitive chimp and his pal with the big yellow hat.

Curious kids will love this illustrated story based on George's animated adventure. Includes a full-color pull-out poster.

Kids can read about George's movie adventure in this novel that features an eight-page color insert with scenes from the film.

A Curious George adventure perfect for fans who are just beginning to read on their own --- simple pictures stand in for some words in this rebus reader. Includes full-color illustrations from the motion picture.

A storybook that includes six activity pages and bonus stickers.

Small hands can experience what the elements of George's world might feel like in this interactive board book.

Features scenes to decorate and matching games.

More information about the movie can be found here. And please be sure to check out our Curious George series feature to satisfy your curiosity!


Celebrating Black History Month

Heroes don't have to wear capes and wield superpowers --- they come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they use typewriters, needles and thread, or even baseball bats and dancing shoes to change laws and open the minds of millions. From soldiers who fought during World War I to a woman who simply kept her seat on a public bus, you'll meet a multitude of amazing individuals from all walks of life in this list of titles we've assembled to commemorate Black History Month in February. We hope these books, steeped in their grand deeds and rich cultural history, will inspire you to become a hero in your own way.

Click here to read this year's Black History Month roundup.


Cool New Books for January

January's roundup of cool new books is highlighted by SMALL STEPS, one of the most anticipated releases of the year. In Louis Sachar's follow-up to his 1998 bestseller HOLES, Armpit (aka Theodore Johnson) is now home in Austin, Texas, and trying to turn his life around after his release from Camp Green Lake. Also available this month is Terry Pratchett's second installment in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy --- featuring the brave 12-year-old from ONLY YOU CAN SAVE MANKIND --- and THE DOOR TO TIME, the first in an action-packed series from Scholastic full of mysteries, puzzles and codes. (Fans of CHASING VERMEER and The Spiderwick Chronicles are likely to devour this one!)

Click here to read our Cool New Books feature.

Series Update: Geronimo Stilton

It's Valentine's Day, and Geronimo can't wait to celebrate. He had sent valentine cards to all his friends and family members, but when he opens his mailbox on the morning of February 14th, it's empty. Unfortunately, this is the least of his troubles. It's starting to look like a true Valentine's Day disaster!

-Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature.

Click here to read a review of VALENTINE'S DAY DISASTER.
Reviews and Features





JOHNNY AND THE DEAD: The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, Book 2 by Terry Pratchett
In this hilarious yet thought-provoking sequel to ONLY YOU CAN SAVE MANKIND, Johnny Maxwell befriends a cemetery full of people who are, well, dead. He then campaigns to save the cemetery from developers and incidentally learns exactly who the cemetery is for. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from JOHNNY AND THE DEAD.

Prilla, a newcomer to Fairy Haven, is convinced she doesn't fit in. But when a magical egg belonging to Mother Dove is destroyed, Prilla and two other fairies set out on a dangerous quest to repair the egg. The fate of Neverland --- and their world as they know it --- rests on their shoulders. Reviewed by Joy Held.

FLASHCARDS OF MY LIFE by Charise Mericle Harper
Middle-schooler Emily claims she doesn't like to write in her journal. But despite her protests, Emily's diary reveals her deepest secrets, hopes and fears in entries, flashcards and sketches. First-time novelist Charise Mericle Harper introduces us to a realistic heroine who is flawed but funny, vulnerable but likeable. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE CANNIBALS by Iain Lawrence
In the style of the great classical adventure writers, Iain Lawrence has penned this sequel to his 2005 novel THE CONVICTS, providing readers with a non-stop, high seas tale full of twists, turns and fate. Reviewed by Joy Held.

In his third heroic adventure, 12-year-old Measle is thrust into his most outlandish predicament yet. How will he ever escape from the spooky, deserted castle, fend off his guardian Wrathmonk, rescue his kidnapped parents, and look after his baby sister? Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

UGLY by Donna Jo Napoli
As you might have guessed from the title and cover, Donna Jo Napoli's latest book is the story of the ugly duckling revisited --- but with a Tasmanian twist. In this version, the ugly duckling is helped by inhabitants of Tasmania on his journey to discovering who he really is. Reviewed by Robert M. Oksner.

RANI AND THE FASHION DIVAS: Star Sisterz, Book #4 by Anjali Banerjee
In RANI AND THE FASHION DIVAS, the fourth title in a series of adventures written specifically for girls ages 8-12, Rani Sen has a chance to become one of the most popular kids in school --- but at the expense of everything she believes in. Will she take it? Would you? Reviewed by Paula Jolin.

Read our reviews and features here.


Poll: Finding Your Book

Where did you find out about the book you currently are reading?

- Read a review on
- Read a review someplace else online
- Read a review someplace offline --- in a magazine or newspaper
- A friend or family member
- A local bookseller
- A librarian
- Television
- Radio
- Advertisement
- Browsing in a bookstore or library
- None of the above
- I cannot remember where I heard about it.

Do you own an iPod or an MP3 player?

Would you like to listen to podcasts of author interviews or authors talking about their books?

- Yes, I would be interested in this.
- I do not have an iPod or MP3 player, but I would be interested in this.
- I do not have an iPod or MP3 player, but if I did, I would not want to use it to listen to author interviews.
- I don't know what a podcast is.
- I don't know what a podcast is, but I've heard about them and I'm curious about them.
- No, I would not be interested in this.
Answer the poll here.
Question of the Month: Authors Online

Name up to five authors you would like to hear give online audio interviews.

Answer the question here.

Want to know my favorite part about this newsletter? You can forward it to a friend by clicking the button on the bottom of the page. What could be easier? Now it's really easy to share your favorite book newsletter with friends, teachers and librarians! Can you tell I am excited? I hope you are too.

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! Until next week...

Booker T. Worm and Friends
The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
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