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Tag: Children's Books (61-70 of 93)

'Hunger Games' director Gary Ross signs a deal for his children's book

Gary-RossImage Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR PhotosBack when his twin son and daughter were just a year old, writer-director Gary Ross got a frantic call from a friend: David Koepp was shooting his first movie, The Trigger Effect, and needed a bedtime story for Elisabeth Shue to read to her son in a scene. Could Ross come up with something quickly?

He dashed out some lines about a boy named Bartholomew Biddle who flies out his window using his bedsheet as a kite. “Bartholomew is very courageous,” says Ross. “He has untainted curiosity and the vehicle to explore it.”

Over the years, Ross kept writing, and kept reading to his children, until Bartholomew’s tale had bloomed into a 30,000-word epic told in verse. Candlewick Press, which recently bought Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind, plans to publish it in 2013, the year before Ross’ twins graduate from high school. “The book has spanned their entire childhood,” he says. “The end of the book is so poignant to me because the story is about growing up and breaking free.”

'39 Clues' exclusive: New series from Scholastic will feature David Baldacci

David-BaldacciTomorrow morning Scholastic will officially announce the second series of its smash hit 39 Clues franchise. (Movie rights first-10 book series, which has more than 8.5 million copies in print, have been snapped up DreamWorks, with Steven Spielberg the possible director.) The new seven-book series, The 39 Clues: Cahills Vs. Vespers, kicks off on April 5, 2011 with Vespers Rising, written by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Watson. In a surprise twist, Scholastic has hired David Baldacci will write the final book in the series, set to be released in March 2013.

In honor of the big announcement, Baldacci talked with us about how he got involved with the project and why he’s excited to write his first book for children.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you get involved with The 39 Clues project?
I got a call over the summer from Scholastic, and actually first my agent and I talked to Scholastic and they said that they wanted me to write the last book in The 39 Clues series, and that’s how I first found out about it. I didn’t think long about it, it was actually a cool offer, and I thought that it’d be something different, something challenging, so I said that I’ll do it. READ FULL STORY

The worst children's book covers. Please don't share these with your kids!

There’s some strange stuff marketed to our kids, and the people came up with a list of the top 20 worst children’s book covers. And like they said, I think it’s safe to say you can go ahead and judge these by their covers.

They’ve really hit all the high points. Polar bear sex, playing with fire, disabled people. This is real life, people. But don’t worry! There’s an awkward book cover for everyone. My favorite cringe-worthy cover? I Found a Dead Bird: The Kid’s Guide to the Cycle of Life and Death. Can someone say morbid? I think it’s safe to say putting a dead bird on the cover of a children’s book is not the best idea in the world.


After clicking through, what’s your pick for the worst children’s book cover? And are there any more covers that should be added to the list?

President Obama pens children's book

of-thee-i-singImage Credit: Janet Mayer/PR PhotosHe’s leader of the free world–and a now he’s a children’s book author, too. Random House will publish President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters on November 16. The book, illustrated by award-winning author and illustrator Loren Long, pays homage to 13 groundbreaking Americans including George Washington, Jackie Robinson, and Georgia O’Keefe.

Random House declined to comment, but president and publisher Chip Gibson said in a press release he was honored to publish the book: “[It's] an inspiring marriage of words and images, history and story. Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans–the potential to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths.”

Obama, inspired by his daughters Sasha and Malia, completed the manuscript for Of Thee I Sing before entering office in 2009. The best part of the book’s release? All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled soldiers serving our nation.

Will you be buying this book for your kids, Shelf Lifers? And any guesses as to who the other 10 Americans are acknowledged in the book? And anyone else now have My Country, ‘Tis of Thee now stuck in their head? Share them in the comments.

'Potato Chip Science': Experiments for kids (and EW staffers)

Potato-Chip-Science-BookWhen Potato Chip Science arrived in the EW offices it immediately caught my attention because I thought it was food. Alas, it was not. Turns out, it’s just some really cool packaging for a science book! (The title should have tipped me off. But forgive me for wanting an afternoon snack!)

I’ve been saving the “bag of chips” on my desk waiting for a special moment to try out one of the experiments. In the process, I’ve had multiple EW staffers ask me about my weird obsession with said chips, and one editor even advised me to share! Little did they know I was hoarding a bag of science, not sustenance.

Created by Allen Kurzweil and his son, Max, Potato Chip Science uses the popular snack food (and potatoes!) to teach a wide range of sciences. Most of the experiments can be executed with items you can easily find in your home. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to several of these things in my office cubicle. I had to make do. (I wanted to test What Do Car Batteries and Vinegar Chips Have In Common? I’m sure it will shock you to learn I do not have a blender on my desk, one of the necessary items to complete that task.) Anyway, I found something else: Creating my very own CSI (Chip Science Institute) Detective Kit.

I recruited fellow coworker Catherine Fuentes to be my partner in crime (pun intended). And with that, we present to you: Science with Catherine and Breia! (Please note that this activity uses fire, and should only be conducted under adult supervision. Catherine and I asked the fabulous Missy Schwartz to be our adult. She kindly obliged. I must say, she was definitely the right person for the job.)

MATERIALS: metal pie pan, 1 potato chip, matches, spoon, freezer bag or small jar, transparent tape, clear packing tape

MISSION: Learn about forensics by creating our fingerprints!

  1. Our first task was to burn a potato chip in the pie pan.
  2. We crushed the charred remains to make the fingerprint powder.
  3. After the remains cooled, we rubbed the powder on our fingers.
  4. We placed our fingers on clear tape, and voila! We’ve officially been fingerprinted!


Above you can see actual photos from our in-office experiment. (Sadly, our fingerprints did not photograph so well so you can’t see the end result. But trust us! It worked!) I’m not really sure that we learned anything about forensics. But we did learn how to avoid setting off the office smoke alarm, which I’m sure is a valuable lesson. And while the whole adventure was pretty silly, the one thing Catherine and I wholeheartedly agreed on is that this book is perfect for kids. (I would have gone nuts for this as a child! And who am I kidding? I’m in my twenties and I still think it’s pretty cool!) I have three young cousins who would adore these projects. I can already picture their reactions when I tell them this book has instructions on how to make a shrunken potato head.

Would you be willing to try out Potato Chip Science? And are there other office experiments that Catherine and I need to know about?

Emma Thompson to pen new Peter Rabbit story. Will she do the classic children's tale justice?

Emma-ThompsonEmma Thompson, writer and star of the new film Nanny McPhee Returns (out this Friday), is already planning her next children’s venture: penning a Peter Rabbit story. Thompson’s new tale about Peter Rabbit is expected to be released in 2012, marking the 110th anniversary of Beatrix Potter‘s original story, The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. Thompson told The Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson that the book’s publishers had asked her to do the job. “They asked me to write a new story, so I’m going to take [Peter Rabbit] to Scotland.”

In case you had no childhood, the original book has Peter Rabbit (not to be confused with Peter Cottontail, who can be found hopping down the bunny trail) ignoring his mother’s warning and sneaking into Mr. McGregor’s garden to eat vegetables. When Mr. McGregor sees him and chases him out, Peter leaves his shoes and jacket behind. Poor Peter Rabbit.

I feel quite nostalgic thinking about this new book. As a child*, I owned the most adorable velveteen rabbit named Bunny. Original, right? Anyway, Bunny went everywhere with me, and I thought all bunnies were just as cool as he was. As a result, I loved reading Peter Rabbit. I imagined that if my Bunny lived out on his own he would get into Peter Rabbit-like shenanigans. Ahem. Back to Emma Thompson. I saw the first Nanny McPhee, the screenplay for which was also written by Thompson, and it was cute enough. The kids I saw it with loved it, so that’s a plus. And she has an Oscar for her Sense and Sensibility screenplay, although I’m not sure how well Jane Austen translates to anthropomorphized rabbits. What do you think? Are you excited about Thompson’s new take on a classic? What other childhood characters should be introduced to a new generation?

*Full disclosure. I still have Bunny, and I love him even though he’s got more holes than a strainer, and he’s missing an ear.

EW exclusive: Read the first two chapters of 'Reckless'

Reckless-by-Cornelia-FunkeYesterday we showed you the trailer for Cornelia Funke’s twisted fairy tale; now, take a gander at the upcoming 10-and-up novel’s first two chapters. It looks like Funke is returning to the genre’s more ominous and sinister roots, which I like. I know as a kid, I used to love books that were darker than the average Judy Blume, like Roald Dahl’s The Witches or Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. (I still have nightmares about this childhood-scarring picture. Why, oh, why would someone put that in a children’s book?!) Click on the link below to read the beginning of Reckless and tell us what you think.

Click here to read the first two chapters of Cornelia Funke’s Reckless.

A Sarah Palin book for children: What will it be missing?

Sarah-PalinImage Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty ImagesTired of looking for a children’s book for real, patriotic Americans? Everyone knows The Giving Tree supports a welfare state, Curious George is part of the evolution agenda, and don’t even get me started on that tree-hugging Lorax. Well, now you can search no further: The Christian publisher Zondervan has announced that they will be publishing an unauthorized biography of Sarah Palin for young readers. Speaking Up will fashion the story of the former governor’s life as a source of inspiration for ages 9-12.

According to the New York Times, Bristol Palin’s unplanned pregnancy will not be covered in this kiddie version of Going Rogue. Also likely to be excluded are the vice-presidential candidate’s hunting affinities: Children who love Dr. Seuss’ Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose probably wouldn’t be interested in seeing Ms. Palin pump a high-powered bullet through that big heart of his.  And I doubt that her hand-written note gaffe will make it into the final draft, lest you end up inspiring students to use crib sheets during their oral book reports.

What do you think, Shelf-Lifers? What else do you think won’t be in the book? What will be? And who do you think will be the primary evil villain: Levi Johnston or Katie Couric?

Fifth 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' book due out Nov. 9

diary-of-wimpy-kid-book-5It’s hard out there for a wimp. But that hasn’t stopped Jeff Kinney’s illustrated series Diary of a Wimpy Kid from being a massive best-selling hit, with a successful movie adaptation under its belt and a film sequel due next year. Now, Amulet has announced the release date for the upcoming fifth book about middle-schooler Greg Heffley. The fifth book, whose title Amulet plans to release in July, will land in bookstores Nov. 9 with a purple cover to follow the previous books chromatic succession.

In the press release, Kinney says that the new entry is an important one in Greg’s personal saga. “I feel everything in the series has been leading up to the fifth book,” he says. “To me, this book is the linchpin in the series.” So, what do you think, Wimpy fans? Excited for No. 5?

Nancy Drew: She's just turned 80

Nancy-DrewI have Nancy Drew to thank for a lot of my childhood quirks. It’s because of her I grew up tapping on walls, hoping to find a hidden passageway; was convinced that all attics had secrets stored inside; and eyed any suspicious-looking character who came my way.

Oh, who am I kidding? I still do all that.

It was 80 years ago yesterday that the world was first introduced to the intrepid, titian-haired girl detective. On April 28, 1930, the first three Nancy Drew books — The Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase and The Bungalow Mystery — were released, opening up a world where girls could — and did — do anything. Nancy wasn’t relegated to the sidelines; she was the one leading the charge, usually in her cool roadster.

She wasn’t alone, though. By her side during most cases were her best chums, cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne. She also had a caring father, lawyer Carson Drew, and doting housekeeper Hannah Gruen. Last but certainly not least was her “special friend,” the dreamy Ned Nickerson. Any man who isn’t afraid to let his girlfriend take the reins gets an A+ in my book. READ FULL STORY

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