Tag Archives: authors

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.

Virginia Lee Burton

Virginia Lee Burton was awarded the Caldecott Medal for The Little House (published 75 years ago today), but it’s not her most famous book. You can read more about her in this new biography:

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Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker; illustrated by John Rocco
Desribes the life of the children’s book author and illustrator, conveying her life at Folly Cove, her love of dance, and how she was able to create images of machinery, including those used in her book, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel.

 

Happy birthday, dear Underpants…

Pilkey art

I first became aware of Captain Underpants during the presidential election of 2000, when a student at my college sent out an email reporting on the results of putting the presidential candidates’ names through Professor Poopypants’ Name Change-O Chart. But the series is actually a little older than that– it came out 20 years ago this month!

We have lots of Dav Pilkey books to help you mark the occasion, and you can also enjoy reading an interview with the author.

 

Go back to magic school (no, not that one)

quests

Do you love the “School for Good and Evil” series? A new book, Quests for Glory, comes out today. Fans can enjoy an interview with the author as well as a book trailer:

Thoreau investigations

You would expect Daniel Pinkwater, author of The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, to have a quirky taste in books. If you tuned in to the radio in 2003 you might have heard him introducing a series of picture books that has a number of unusual characteristics. For one thing, they feature a main character based on writer/naturalist/philosopher Henry David Thoreau. Secondly, the main character (and everyone he interacts with) is a bear. Third, the books are illustrated in a sort of Cubist Expressionist style that you hardly ever see in children’s books.

 

 

 

This July 12, Thoreau turns 200 years old. If you want to introduce your children to his work, the library has a few books that will let children enjoy his writings in his own words:

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Henry David’s House shares selections from Walden alongside beautiful illustrations. Singing America includes two of his poems in a collection with works by other authors.

There are also several books (past the picture book level) that feature Thoreau as a hero or icon. The Dragon Tree opens with a quote from Thoreau, and imagines a magical tree with quotes from all kinds of literature on it leaves. This book was the inspiration for the architectural “trees” decorating the Children’s Services department. It’s also the eighth book in the Hall Family Chronicles, which includes

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The Mysterious Circus, in which the Halls foil a new enemy’s plan to build a Henry Thoreau theme park across from their home (with humor and magic).

It’s not too different in theme from

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The Trouble With Henry: A Tale of Walden Pond, in which Thoreau defends his beloved woods from a toothpick factory.

Moving into the modern day, we have

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Octavia Boone’s Big Questions About Life, the Universe, and Everything. Seventh-grader Octavia puzzles over lifes biggest questions when her mother seems to find the answers in a conservative Christian church, while her artist father believes the writings of Henry David Thoreau hold the key.

Kids who love humor might prefer

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Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters. When Alvin‘s father takes him camping to instill a love of nature, like that of their home-town hero Henry David Thoreau, Alvin makes a new friend and learns that he can be brave despite his fear of everything.

If you want to read more about the life of Thoreau, we have several biographies. There’s also a guide in our homeschooling section called Henry David Thoreau for Kids: His Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities. Or you could follow this link to see how he invented No. 2 pencils (no, really!). Be sure to check out our display of books!

 

Jean Fritz

 

We recently got the news about the death of another favorite author, Jean Fritz. I read biographies she had written while I was in grade school (such as Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? and Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George?). We studied a more recent title, Around the World in a Hundred Years, in library school. Her most recent book was Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider. Reading the obituary, she would have been about 95 years old when it was published.

Remembering James Stevenson

You might know the work of James Stevenson whether you are a child or a grown-up. He was a cartoonist at the New Yorker for many years. He also illustrated books for children, including his own stories and poetry, poetry by Jack Prelutsky, and stories about “The Pain and the Great One” by Judy Blume. We would be happy to help you find his work in our collection or place a hold on titles available at another library.