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Holly Black returns to Middle Grade fiction with her new book, Doll Bones, which is great news for fanst of her widely successful Spiderwick Chronicles series. Written with a timeless feel that appeals to both young and older readers, Doll Bones is the story of three young friends--Zach, Alice, and Poppy--who are on the cusp between kid and teen. It's also about a very special and very creepy antique doll named the Queen. (That's her on the cover. Spooky.)
The Queen has lived in the cupboard in Poppy's living room and features in all the stories created by Zach, Alice, and Poppy's games. The three of them have been playing together long enough to explore a vast world populated with characters who are as real to them as each other. When Poppy tells Zach and Alice that the Queen has a mission for them, the lines between fantasy and reality blur as the three friends go on one final adventure to find her bones and put her soul to rest.
Reading Doll Bones as an adult fills one with the nostalgia of how big the world is when you're 12. Black's elegant tale provides action, adventure, and the emotional no…
This past weekend, the children’s lit world lost one of its most beloved authors, E.L. Konigsburg (February 10, 1930 – April 19, 2013). She was 83. The two-time Newbery Award winner is probably best known for her story about two children who run away from home to secretly live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Newbery in 1967).
For me, Konigsburg is among a group of children’s authors like Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and Madeline L’Engle, that first published in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s and continue to resonate with modern audiences because they tap into how it feels to grow up with deep questions, and what it means to be young and confused and feel like a complete outsider. Whether it was historical fiction or the trials of being on a really crappy baseball team coached by your mother, Konigsberg understood the importance of telling authentic children’s stories that didn’t talk down to the reader, but allowed them to think for themselves.
For many of her novels, such as The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place and The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World, Konigsburg merged mystery with art history…
My favourite thing about Alan Silberberg—besides the fact that he offered me cookies on Twitter and has written one of the most endearing characters in Milo—is that he makes me believe that I can draw. (Well his alter ego, Boyd T. Boone, does.)
And while I’ve been known to draw a thing or two, I can never quite get my hand to do what my brain wants it to. Silberberg (or Boone) at least gives me hope that maybe one day I’ll have a quirky looking character, too.
With the popularity of Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries, kids’ authors who merge the best qualities of comics and graphic novels with chapter books are giving something new to middle grade readers, perhaps adding a little humour to the trials of those awkward junior high/middle school years.
Finding the right combination of art and words to convey humour and heart, however, is a skill and this is something that Silberberg does exceptionally well. In Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze, Silberberg used his comic strips to enhance our understanding of Milo’s grief. Similarly, in The Awesome Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz, Silberberg not only shows the artistic process, or…
This week, we feature a special guest post from our Online E.V.P, Kirsten Chapman. Kirsten is talking about a new program that we’re all pretty excited about, a monthly bedtime story shop that will feature some of our favourite (and possibly forgotten classic) books, as well as some newer stories we love.
Best Bedtime Books
By Kirsten Chapman
I love nothing better after a long day, than cuddling up with my kids for Storytime. It’s heaven to have everyone safe and tucked in and ready and to share a special book or— if I am feeling generous (and not too exhausted) —two or three.
As much as I have loved Storytime over the years, I am now reading to our youngest child, 3-year-old Henry, and I have to say that I could easily recite Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, Curious George, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar off by heart – really, who couldn't?
And believe me, while I’m quite happy to read books multiple times and my children are happy to hear the same stories over and over and over and over—well you get the point—sometimes, I like to add a little spice to our storytimes. Tonight,…