Tag Archives: authors

A real house that may or may not have a clock in its walls

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The House With a Clock In Its Walls has always been a good, scary read, but I think I might have been much more freaked out as a kid if I knew that it was inspired by a real house in my own state of Michigan.

In fact, the whole town that John Bellairs lived in (Marshall, Michigan) was an inspiration for places in his books; the owner of a local bookstore even created a tour. One of the places you can visit is the American Museum of Magic, with a collection that includes thousands of books. Its focus is on stage magic, so need to worry about the kind of trouble Lewis gets into with his uncle’s books.

Fans might also enjoy poking around Bellairsia, a website about John Bellairs, his books and related topics (like news stories about the new movie). Trailers for the movie prompted me to read the book all over again, and I highly recommend it as an exciting book with wonderful language.

ALA Youth Media Awards

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Take a look at the award-winning books for kids and teens announced this morning! In addition to individual books that were honored, Eloise Greenfield and Jacqueline Woodson received awards for their many books for children (and Angela Johnson was honored for her writing for teens). Debbie Reese, who will deliver the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, has also shared the winners of the 2018 American Indian Library Association’s Youth Literature Award on her blog.

ALA Youth Media Awards – News and Press Center

Free Resource for Teachers and Students

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Are you studying any of the Coretta Scott King Award books in your classroom? TeachingBooks.net has a great collection of resources related to nearly 300 books that have won the award. Usually you need an account to access TeachingBooks.net, but “This Curriculum Resource Center was created by TeachingBooks.net with the support of the Coretta Scott King Book Award 40th Anniversary Public Awareness Campaign Committee” and you can access them without an account.

You can watch a meet-the-author video (maybe the one for Bryan Collier, who illustrated the Monarch Award nominee Trombone Shorty), listen to interviews with authors or listen to them read their books aloud. You can look for lesson plans or book discussion questions to go with a title. Teachers can even search for books to match a particular grade level, school subject, or type of reading (for example, poetry or realistic fiction).

Jonathan Swift at 350

Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667. He’s best known in the world of children’s literature for Gulliver’s Travels (originally for adults). To find out more about him and the time in which he lived, you could check out The 18th Century: Artists, Writers, and Composers. You can also enjoy one of these adaptations of Gulliver’s story:

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Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Unabridged Playaway audiobook

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Gulliver by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Chris Riddell
The voyages of an eighteenth-century Englishman carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall, and Brobdingnag, a land peopled by giants. This adaptation is long but full of pictures and recommended for grades 3 and up.

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Gulliver in Lilliput by Lisa Findlay
On a voyage in the South Seas, an Englishman finds himself shipwrecked in Lilliput, a land of people only six inches high. This one is in our collection of books for beginning readers.

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Gulliver’s Travels by Martin Woodside
An abridged version of the voyages of an eighteenth-century Englishman that carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall, and Brobdingnag, a land peopled by giants. The Classic Starts series is suggested for ages 7 to 9.

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Gulliver’s Travels by Nick Eliopulos
The voyages of an Englishman carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land of giants; and a country ruled by horses. This Stepping Stone book is recommended for ages 6 to 9.

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Gulliver’s Travels by James Dunbar
The voyages of an eighteenth-century Englishman carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall, and Brobdingnag, a land peopled by giants. Illustrated notes throughout the text explain the historical background of the story.

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Gullifur’s Travels by Brad Strickland
When Joe learns a valuable lesson in judging basketball players by their size, Wishbone imagines himself as Lemuel Gulliver, a seventeenth-century ship’s surgeon who is shipwrecked in two strange lands. In one place, everyone is only a few inches tall. The other land is populated by giants. Suggested for ages 8 to 12.

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Lilliput by Sam Gayton
Three-inch-tall Lily has been trapped in a bird cage for half of her life while her giant captor, Gulliver, writes a book about his travels but she finally escapes and, aided by a clockmaker’s apprentice and his friends, makes plans to leave London and return home to Lilliput. Inspired by Jonathan Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels.

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Gulliver’s Travels: Gulliver’s Fun Pack
Jack Black plays a man shipwrecked on the island of Lilliput.

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Gulliver’s Travels
Ted Danson plays Gulliver in a TV miniseries.

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Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels: A Graphic Novel adapted by Donald B. Lemke
Retold in graphic novel form, Lemuel Gulliver voyage takes him to the strange lands of Lilliput, where people are only six inches tall, and Brobdingnag, a land of giants. This version is available through eReadIllinois in English and Spanish.

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Gulliver’s Travels, retold by John Malam
When Lemuel Gulliver is washed up on the distant shore of Lilliput, he becomes a giant among men. As his travels continue, Gulliver is dwarfed by the people of Brobdingnag and bewildered by the customs of the Laputians. Will Gulliver find the humanity he seeks in the Land of the Talking Horses? A retelling of Jonathan Swift’s story in graphic novel format.

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Travel & Adventure by Seymour Reit
Three classic stories of travel and adventure from Bank Street Graphic Novels.

Wonderstruck is coming!

A new movie based on one of Brian Selznick’s books is out in limited release and will be opening more widely soon.

A previous adaptation of one of his books, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, just made Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 25 Best Movie Adaptations of Classic Children’s Books. You can read about the making of the movie in The Hugo Movie Companion: A Behind the Scenes Look at How a Beloved Book Became a Major Motion Picture.

Farewell, Richard Wilbur

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We recently heard the news about the death of Richard Wilbur. He wrote poetry for both adults and children, and was also known for translating plays. Click (and scroll down the page) to hear him read “The Opposite of Pillow” (“What is the opposite of pillow? The answer, child, is armadillo…”)

Nights at the Museum

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was one of my favorite books as a kid, and I’m not alone. This month marks 50 years since the book was published, and many people are writing tributes— including some new children’s books.

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Ban This Book: A Novel by Alan Gratz
“A fourth grader fights back when From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library. Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don’t mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books that will make you laugh and pump your fists as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take a stand against censorship.”

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One Mixed-Up Night by Catherine Newman
“Frankie and Walter aren’t really running away. Just like the kids in their favorite book, they are running to somewhere. Specifically, a massive furniture store. They’ve been obsessed with the Ikea catalog for years. So they make a plan, pack their backpacks, give their parents the sleepover switcheroo . . . and they’re in.”

As you can see by the big gold sticker on the cover, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal. Mrs. Konigsburg also won a Newbery Honor for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth the same year. I’m not sure anyone else has managed to do that with two books in one year, and it’s even more impressive when you find out that these were the two books she wrote and illustrated! The book has also been turned into a movie under the title The Hideaways, which you can check out on DVD.