harlem-charade-cover February 09

The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley – Review by Kate Hannigan

“Who gets to decide what is important about a community?” asks debut novelist Natasha Tarpley in her middle-grade mystery The Harlem Charade (January 31, Scholastic). “Who gets to tell our stories?”   Setting her fascinating adventure in Harlem, with its rich history of African American art, music, literature, and dance, Tarpley explores ideas of gentrification […]

the-castle-in-the-mist February 08

Amy Ephron on her first children’s book, The Castle in the Mist, and miraculously casting her friend Laraine Newman to narrate the audiobook by Amy Ephron

I always wanted to write a book like The Castle in the Mist, a kind of fantasy, reality-meets-magic, novel for children (or anyone 8 to 80)! The kind of novel I read when I was little that I felt I could get lost in.  And yet the book has some contemporary edges.   I call it […]

Adobe Photoshop PDF February 07

Huck Finn Inspired Storytelling by Caroline Starr Rose

When I started working on my latest novel, Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine, I knew I wanted to write about the Klondike Gold Rush. I’d first stumbled upon this bit of history while researching the frontier for my novel, May B. Here was a larger-than-life event that had driven the world into gold-fever […]

a-dogs-life February 06

Why I Bought a Stack of Sad Dog Books by Stacey Loscalzo

I don’t know about you but I have always avoided sad dog books until… I went looking for as many as I could find. I have two teenage nephews that I love to laugh with and eat with and share family traditions with but we haven’t talked about books together in a long time. When […]

My son, Evan, and I showing off our hiccupotamuses after Aaron Zenz’s author visit February 05

Inspiring Readers and Writers with Author Visits by Jim Bailey

Everyone has a favorite day of the school year.  It could be the first day, a special performance, or a tradition that is unique to your school.  For me, my favorite day is an easy choice:  the day of our annual author visit.  This year our guest author was Marc Tyler Nobleman.  He wowed the […]

every-hidden-thing February 04

Ten YA Books About Characters Shaped By Their Families by Melinda Wallace

We all have an origin story.  Life begins with a family, large or small.  Sometimes that family nurtures us as we grow and helps us to understand the world around us.  Sometimes that family provides struggle and resistance against which we learn to push.  Family provides a basis for comparison, the bar against which we […]

theunlikelystoryofapiginthecity_jodikendall_coverrevealnerdybookclubblog February 03


I loved a pig once.   A typical farm breed, she was pink with grey spots and had fine, white hairs all over her body. The runt of a litter, my brother had saved her life, sneaking her into his college dorm room. Days later he brought her home, to the outskirts of a big, […]

ashes February 02

Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson – Review by Melissa Biehl

I have loved Laurie Halse Anderson ever since I first read her book Fever 1793. I have read many of her books over the years and find them so powerfully written. I even went on a road trip to Naperville, IL with my daughters in 2009 so we could meet her. That summer, Anderson Bookshop […]

featuredimage February 01

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up by Sarah Albee

I’ve been fascinated by poison ever since I was a kid and first heard Snow White. As a teenager, I devoured Sherlock Holmes stories and Agatha Christie mysteries. Their plots are chockablock with poison. Both Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie were not just excellent mystery writers—they did their research. Conan Doyle was a physician. […]

unknown-1 January 31

Finding Inspiration by Mike Lowery

Hello!  I’m Mike Lowery an illustrator and author who spends most of the day drawing bananas with faces on them, space stuff, robotic cats and a grumpy duck named Carl from my series of books, Doodle Adventures.   I’d like to talk to you a little bit about a little thing called “Inspiration.” People ask […]