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Archives: February 2014

McSweeney’s Publishes Portlandia Activity Book

portlandiabookMcSweeney’s has just published an activity book inspired by the popular television series Portlandia. The show’s creators Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Jonathan Krisel authored the book. Sam Riley edited it.

“Like a cool high school classroom that prefers a sweat lodge to the traditional classroom, this book will expand your mind through participation, dehydrate you to a state of emotional rawness, then linger in the corners your bare soul,” explains the book’s description. Activities involved in the book include, “How to Crowdfund Your Baby,” “Punk Paint By Numbers,” and “Terrarium Foraging.”

The book retails for $28.00 but is currently on sale for $23.00 on the McSweeney’s site.

Children’s Book Week Poster Unveiled

childrensbookweekThe Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader released the official 2014 Children’s Book Week poster.

Illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser created the poster which celebrates the 95th annual event for young readers. Glasser won the Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year Award last year for Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet. Glasser has drawn the covers of many classic children’s books including: EloiseGoodnight MoonThe TwitsThe Purple Crayon,Call of the Wild, and Charlotte’s Web.

Every year, the Children’s Book Council tasks a talented children’s book illustrator to create an official Children’s Book Week poster. Past participants have included: Brian Selznick, Ian Falconer, Jon J Muth, Maurice Sendak, Ezra Jack Keats, Richard Scarry, Ellen Raskin, Laurent deBrunhoff, Tomie dePaola, Rosemary Wells, Garth Williams, Marc Brown, and Jerry Pinkney.

The organization will release 175,000 copies of the poster nationwide. Educators can request posters online. We’ve embedded the entire poster after the jump. Read more

Scholastic Hires Chief Experience Officer

heathermcintoshcassanoScholastic has hired Heather McIntosh Cassano as Chief Experience Officer, a newly created position.

In her new role, Cassano will work with the company’s various publishing departments to implement Schoh digital experiences. She will also lead the entire company’s user experience designers, prototypers and user researchers. Evolving the company’s website for elementary school teachers is her first mission. She will also work with product development and e-commerce employees to help ensure a consistent user experience across channels.

Cassano has more than twenty-five years of experience in user experience and product design. She comes to Scholastic from Pearson, where she served as Chief Experience Officer for about three years. Cassano has also held senior positions at Yahoo, Google, Symantec Corporation and Sun Microsystems. She received her B.A. in computer science from Boston College, and a Master of Fine Arts from Bennington College, Vermont.

Wreck This Journal: The Travel Version Comes Out in June

wreckthisboxKeri Smith’s Wreck This Journal has a new travel edition coming out called Wreck This Journal Everywhere.

The guidebook has sold more than two million copies in print and has been released in numerous formats including app form. The book encourages “creativity through destruction” with a series of exercises designed to stir imagination by messing things up.

The new travel edition includes a section in which travelers can collect names, autographs, other people’s dreams, as well as an activity to fill an entire page with words spotted on an adventure. The journal also encourages readers to hang the book in a public place and invite others to draw on it. Another exercise suggests that the user takes a walk, then stands on a page. The book also instructs a user to collect a napkin from a restaurant, write a secret on it, and glue it to a page.

The travel guide comes out in June.

Becca Fitzpatrick Inks Deal For New YA Thriller

beccaBecca Fitzpatrick, the young adult author behind the Hush, Hush saga, has landed a deal for a new book called Sapphire Skies.

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers plans to publish this stand-alone thriller novel in Fall 2015. Executive editor Zareen Jaffery negotiated the deal with Inkwell Management literary agent Catherine Drayton. The story stars a 17-year-old girl named Stella Gordon who ends up in the witness protection program due to extraordinary circumstances.

Fitzpatrick had this statement in the press release: “I’m delighted to be writing another young adult thriller for Simon & Schuster—this about a girl who’s running from dangerous men and a haunted past. I’m drawn to stories that weave heart-stopping suspense with broiling romance, and Sapphire Skies is no exception.”

Read more

John Steinbeck Gets Google Doodle For His Birthday

steinbeck doodle

Google has created a Doodle to celebrate John Steinbeck’s 112th birthday. Throughout his writing career, Steinbeck penned many beloved works including East of Eden, Of Mice & Men, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning title, The Grapes of Wrath.

To this day, Steinbeck is a widely respected and read author. According to SFGate, the organizers behind the Steinbeck Festival plan to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath at this year’s event. In April, the Of Mice & Men play starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd will open on Broadway.

Read more

VIDEO: Hank Green Rants About Books

Hank Green, brother to The Fault in Our Stars novelist John Green and one half of the creators behind the Vlogbrothers YouTube Channel, has created a video called “Ranting about Books.”

In the video embedded above, Green shares his complaints on the way books are being published. Some of his gripes include:

    • Sharing spoilers on the jacket flap copy.
    • Not explicitly printing the series title for books that belong in a series.
    • Book covers featuring “decapitated YA fiction ladies.”

What do you think? Do you share the same grievances?

Kickstarter Features a Travel Guide For Pet Owners

falcoHave you ever wanted to take your dog along for vacation? Writer Paul and his faithful pet Falco hope to raise £300 for their travel book project, Europe: A Woof Guide.

This book will share information and tips on how to bring your canine best friend along for trips to the South of France, Spain, and Italy. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“Why restrict yourself to holidays in the UK with its notoriously unpredictable weather when you can take your pet to the South of France, Spain, Italy or even the Czech republic just as easily. I recently booked a 1 week trip to the Cote D’azure for this summer that included all transport for 2 adults, 1 child and our dog in June for £250. It even included a free stop in Paris.”

Read more

Transgender Advocate and Author Janet Mock Talks About Her Memoir

Janet-Mock.3

Janet Mock has known she wanted to be a storyteller since she was a fifth grader in Honolulu who escaped to her local public library to devour books by Maya AngelouTerry McMillan and Zora Neale Hurston. ”I knew that words would be my refuge and words were where I could create a composite of the dreams and the life that I wanted to live,” she recalls.

Years later, the now 30-year-old moved to New York to pursue her writing career. And after coming out as a transgender woman in a 2011 Marie Claire article, Mock became an ardent advocate for other transgender women, especially those who are young and struggle financially. Her newly released memoir, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster) delves into the self-identify struggles that many trans people face. Mock recently spoke to Mediabistro about her book and offered some advice on writing your own memoir:

Anchor yourself in your own experience and write from that place. And you’ll find your voice. You’ll find out what you want to do. You’ll find your purpose. And I think that everything comes out of that. It’s [about] being able to sit still with yourself and really excavate those parts of yourself that were shut off or silenced or put into the dark a long time ago. I know that when I actually sat down with myself to do that work… that’s when my life began transforming.

To hear more from Mock, including what her literary idol, bell hooks, thought of her book, read: So What Do You Do, Janet Mock, Writer, Transgender Advocate and Author?

Women Still Lag Behind in Book Reviews: VIDA

vidagraphBooks written by women are reviewed on average much less than books written by men, according to the annual VIDA count a report that tracks gender inequality in literary publications.

The organization looked at the number of women whose books were reviewed, as well as the number of female reviewers in 39 literary publications and found that some are more gender balanced than others.  Gender-biased publications included The New York Review of Books which published 212 book reviews written by male reviewers in 2013, and only 52 by female reviewers. In addition, The London Review of Books reviewed 245 books written by men last year and only 72 written by women.

Not every publication was so biased. The Paris Review was very balanced with 47 men and 48 women represented overall. Granta reviewed books by 30 females and 36 males.

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