From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess Writing Contest

Thursday, February 26th, 2015 / Share your comments...


Enter to win a makeover worthy of royalty for your bedroom!

Olivia thinks she is completely average until the day she meets her half-sister, Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia. How would you react to learning you were of royal heritage? Write an essay 500-1000 words long that finishes the sentence: “If I found out I were royalty, I would…” and tell us all about it!

One grand prize winner will receive a $2,500 Pottery Barn gift card and a signed copy of From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess. Two runner up winners will receive a signed copy of From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess.

Hurry, enter today!


middleschoolprincess3dOlivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is a completely average twelve-year-old: average height, average weight, average brown hair of average length, average brown skin and average hazel eyes. The only things about her that aren’t average are her name (too long and princess themed), her ability to draw animals (useful for her future career as a wildlife illustrator), and the fact that she is a half-orphan who has never met her father and is forced to live with her aunt and uncle (who treat her almost like their own kids, so she doesn’t want to complain).

Then one completely average day, everything goes wrong: the most popular girl in school, Annabelle Jenkins, threatens to beat her up, the principal gives her a demerit, and she’s knocked down at the bus stop…

Until a limo containing Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia pulls up to invite her to New York to finally meet her father, who promptly invites her to come live with him, Mia, Grandmère and her two fabulous poodles…

Maybe Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison isn’t so average after all!

Learn More!




FINDING SERENDIPITY by Angelica Banks Quote Roundup

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 / Share your comments...

When Tuesday McGillycuddy and her beloved dog, Baxterr, discover that Tuesday’s mother—the famous author Serendipity Smith—has gone missing, they set out on a magical adventure. In their quest to find Serendipity, they discover the mysterious and unpredictable place that stories come from. Here, Tuesday befriends the fearless Vivienne Small, learns to sail an enchanted boat, tangles with an evil pirate, and discovers the truth about her remarkable dog. Along the way, she learns what it means to be a writer and how difficult it can sometimes be to get all the way to The End.

FINDING SERENDIPITY is full of really great quotes, especially about reading and writing. Here are a few of our favorites!

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Interior Spreads – Special Delivery

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 / Share your comments...



Sadie is on her way to deliver an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine, who lives completely alone and can really use the company.

She tries everything from mailing the elephant to boarding a plane, a train, and an alligator to get to her aunt’s home. Along the way she meets an array of interesting characters, including an odd postal worker and a gang of bandit monkeys, who all help her get where she is going. 

This eccentric and hilarious story from Philip C. Stead, the author of the Caldecott-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee and illustrator Matthew Cordell will surprise and entertain from beginning to end. Discover some of the fun interior images below!


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Featured Black History Month title: Black Jack

Friday, February 20th, 2015 / Share your comments...

Our final Black History Month featured title is Black Jack. Don’t forget to check out our other great titles great for all ages!

9781596434738Born as Arthur John Johnson in the southern state of Texas, Jack Johnson was one of the most renowned boxers of the twentieth century.

Through hard work and persistence, he climbed the ranks, taking a swing and a jab and eventually busting the color barrier.

As the first black man to win the Heavyweight Championship, there was more than a title on the line.

Published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this history-making bout (July 4, 1910).


This is an extraordinary marriage of poetry, fabulous collage artwork, and a splendid achievement in its own right.


Download the question and answer with the author!

Interior Spread- Naptime for Theo and Beau

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 / Share your comments...

NaptimewithTheo&Beau_highrescvrIt all started when a loving mother posted a few pictures of her son, Beau, and their new puppy, Theo, napping together on her popular blog Momma’s Gone City. But these pictures were so “unbearably adorable” (The Daily Mail) and “utterly charming” (The Huffington Post) that it quickly became much, much more. By faithfully recording and sharing what Good Morning America calls “the most mesmerizing naps ever caught on camera,” Jessica Shyba and her family captured the hearts of people all over the world, and these beautiful images of friendship and trust have become an international viral sensation.

Check out some of the adorably cute photos you’ll find inside the book! We can’t get enough!

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50 Books to 50 States Book Scavenger Giveaway and Game!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 / 1 Comment

Greetings, Readers!

Garrison Griswold, here, inviting you to join in some bookish fun! I am the creator of Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the United States and clues to find them are posted on You can learn more about me and my game in the forthcoming middle grade mystery, Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. Here’s a bit more about this book:

BookScavenger3dTwelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold’s attackers make them their next target.


Book Scavenger won’t be available in bookstores or libraries until June 2, but for the next week you can enter to win one of FIFTY advance reader copies! In addition to being one of the first readers of Book Scavenger, you will also have the opportunity to launch the game this novel was based on.

Here is how the game works:

Step 1: Read the book!

Step 2: Hide Book Scavenger in a public place for another reader to discover. Report the hidden book on so other readers know to seek it out. tenniscourtshiddenbook

Step 3: Help spread the word that a book has been hidden by sharing your experience on social media using #BookScavenger

If you are not one of the initial 50 winners, do not fear! You can still participate in the game by seeking out books as they are hidden. Keep an eye on for updates on hidden books, or follow @jabertie on Twitter  or Jennifer Chambliss Bertman on Facebook. And, of course, Book Scavenger will be available everywhere June 2.

1. Tweet: Win an arc of #BookScavenger in the 50 Books to 50 States Giveaway! Plus help launch a book hunting game! #YourState
2. Share on Facebook: Win an arc of #BookScavenger in the 50 Books to 50 States Giveaway! Plus help launch a book hunting game! #YourState
3. “Like” Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s Facebook Author Page and comment or private message with your state.
4. Visit and comment on the “50 Books to 50 States” post. Make sure to leave your state and a way to be contacted if you are the winner. (Email, Twitter handle.) Or check back at the end of February for the list of winners.
5. Send an email to with “50 Books to 50 States” as the subject and your state in the text of the email.

That makes five possible ways to enter, allowing you five total entries. IMPORTANT: #BookScavenger is how social media entries will be tracked, so without that hashtag your entry might get missed. And you must include your state in order for your entry to qualify.

Entries will be accepted until 11:59pm on February 25. Winners will be drawn randomly from the entries for each state. In the event a winner cannot be contacted within 48 hours, a runner-up will be chosen.

Good luck!

Yours in pages and play,

Garrison Griswold


DON’T FORGET TO LOOK UP- A guest post by Tommy Greenwald

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 / Share your comments...

katiefriedmanOne reason I wrote my newest book, Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting (And Lives To Tell About It) is because I really wanted to address the issue of kids being on their phones too much. The only problem was, it was hard for me to find the time to write it, because I was on my phone too much.

And therein lies the dilemma. How do I encourage kids not to do something when I’m doing it myself?

I email and text all day long. A lot of it is for work, and a lot of it is important. But a lot of it is not for work, and a lot of it is not important. But I do it anyway. I do it because my phone is in my pocket and I should probably just check to see if I got any emails while I’m waiting for this elevator, or standing in that Starbucks line… and while I’m at it, I may as well see if there are any new headlines on or or or or… and oh yeah, I forgot to text my wife that I’ll be on a slightly later train home tonight…

Yeah. That’s pretty much what it’s like.

So why does it drive me crazy to see my kids – and all kids – behave the same way?

Maybe because I feel like it’s not too late for them. Maybe it’s because I think if they’re this bad now, imagine what they’ll be like when they’re my age! (Not that they can count that high.)

But mostly I think it’s because they’re so young, and I don’t want them to miss out on life. I can see young people narrowing their interests to a tiny screen, and spending most of their waking hours sending each other snapchats, and instagrams, and playing with the newest app that is known only to people under 18, and I worry.

I worry that kids are looking down, instead of looking up.

I worry that kids play faster and looser with feelings when they’re typing than when they’re speaking — and as a result, egos can end up becoming inflated and bruised, two things that are equally dangerous.

And I worry that kids are gazing at their own reflections, instead of seeing the world.

But hold on – I don’t want to sound like one of those anti-technology extremists, either. There are wonderful things about all the fantastic gizmos available to us – and important things, too. Things that make us safer. Things that make us more informed. Things that really do connect us.

Katie’s best friend, the semi-infamous Charlie Joe Jackson, argues with Katie about how wonderful cellphones are. Charlie Joe makes the point that they actually help kids communicate. And he might be right. I’m not sure. But isn’t there is such a thing as communicating too much? Is it possible we should be communicating less and thinking more? Ugh… It’s complicated.

Then there is the issue of turning everything into a show.

In the book, Katie has a friend who’s a rock musician, named Plain Jane. She makes a point of telling her audiences to stop filming her concerts with their phones, and actually enjoy the music with their eyes and ears. “Don’t film it!” she urges. “Live it!”

I think she’s right. Because we all know that people take video of concerts and events and ballgames for one main reason. So they can post it on their pages and feeds and blogs and say, Hey, look! I was here! I’m awesome! Don’t you wish you were me?

I don’t love that.

I do it too – don’t get me wrong — but I don’t love it.

I don’t love that Facebook has become a place where people are constantly putting up pictures of themselves, and their new haircuts, and their fabulous vacations.

I don’t love selfies.

Our society is getting more and more narcissistic. And it’s because of social media. And what concerns me is that kids who adapt these habits will just fall deeper into the trap of self-absorption.

BUT… You can brag about your kids on Facebook. That’s totally allowed. It’s human nature. I do it constantly.

So where do we go from here? Can we be saved?

I wish I knew. Addictions are tough to break. And we are a technology-addicted society right now. But if we all take a look at ourselves, and our kids, and make a real effort to balance our lives, and our habits, and remember to look up every once in a while, maybe we can make some baby steps of progress. It’s a start, right?

So that’s why I wrote this book. I hope you like it, and makes you laugh a lot, and think a little.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a ton of emails to return.

Tommy Greenwald has enjoyed reading all his life, which is why he’s appalled that his kids Charlie, Joe and Jack, would prefer getting a dental check-up to checking out a book. After years of pleading, threatening, and bribing, Tommy finally decided the only way to get his kids to read was to write a book about how to get out of reading. The result was Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading. And they read it! (So they say.) The Executive Creative Director at SPOTCO, an entertainment advertising agency in New York City, Tommy lives in Connecticut with his wife, Cathy; his non-reading sons, Charlie, Joe and Jack; and his dogs, Moose and Coco.

Book Description:
When a text goes wrong, Katie Friedman learns the hard way that sometimes you need to disconnect to connect.Here are a few things you need to know about Katie Friedman:1. Katie is swearing off phones for life! (No, seriously. She just sent the wrong text to the wrong person!)2. She wants to break up with her boyfriend. (Until, that is, he surprises her with front row tickets to her favorite band, Plain Jane. Now what!?)3. She wants to be a rock star (It’s true. She has a band and everything.)4. Her best friend is Charlie Joe Jackson. (Yeah, you know the guy.)5. And most importantly, Katie’s been offered the deal of a lifetime—get ten of her friends to give up their phones for one week and everyone can have backstage passes to Plain Jane. (A whole week!? Is that even possible?)


The Boy Who Lost Fairyland Blog Tour

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 / 2 Comments

BoyLostFairyland BlogTourBanner

The Fairyland series is headed in an exciting direction. A young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, and becomes a changeling in our world, a place no less bizarre than Fairyland in his eyes. Left with a human family in Chicago, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate.

When he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland changed. An Endless Summer lies upon the land; powerful Fairies want to claim the world again—and rumors fly through the capital that ancient King Goldmouth is awakening with a terrible hunger. Hawthorn finds himself at the center of a changeling revolution—until he comes face to face with a beautiful young Scientiste with very large and ungainly feet and a mole on her left cheek, and a very big, very red assistant.

Join us for what’s sure to be an exciting blog tour! Check out the full dates and blogs below.

Tuesday, February 17
The Book Rat

Wednesday, February 18
The Book Monsters

Thursday, February 19
The Hiding Spot

Friday, February 20
Consumed by Books

Monday, February 23
Mod Podge Bookshelf



Featured Black History Month title: Claudette Colvin

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 / Share your comments...

Our second featured Black History Month title is CLAUDETTE COLVIN.

9780312661052“When it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can’t sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, ‘This is not right.’” – Claudette Colvin

On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders.


Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history.

Claudette Colvin is the 2009 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature and a 2010 Newbery Honor Book.

Download the Teacher’s Guide!


Circle Unbroken Teacher’s Guide

Friday, February 6th, 2015 / Share your comments...

To help teacher’s and students celebrate Black History Month in the classroom we’ve decided to highlight some of our favorite children’s books that celebrate African American heritage. Once a week we will highlight one of these titles that have additional resources to help teachers discuss it with their students. Check out our website for more titles that help celebrate Black History Month! And check back next week for another title!


9780312376031As she teaches her granddaughter to sew a traditional sweetgrass basket, a grandmother weaves a story, going back generations to her grandfather’s village in faraway Africa. There, as a boy, he learned to make baskets so tightly woven they could hold the rain.


Even after being stolen away to a slave ship bound for America, he remembers what he learned and passes these memories on to his children – as they do theirs.


Download the teacher’s guide!