Tag Archives: Scholastic

Review: Ann M. Martin: The Story of the Author of the Baby-Sitters Club

IMG_3463Recap: Ann M. Martin is the brilliant creator and writer of The Baby-Sitters Club series that I binged ferociously throughout elementary school. I wanted friends like the girls in the club, and I wanted a side job like they had so I could make money to shop at Claire’s. Ann M. Martin was J.K. Rowling before J.K. Rowling. She was a badass woman who created an entire world of people and problems to which every kid could relate. Finally learning a little more about her as a person was exciting and interesting.

The book is a true biography of her life and climb to the top as a children’s author. It includes details of her family, her childhood, the fall that caused her to deal with lifelong pain and illness and how she started writing professionally. When you read her biography, it becomes clear why she wrote about what she wrote about. She always loved children, writing and babysitting. For most of her young life, she thought she would be a teacher, but things ultimately changed direction as they so often do.

It was also interesting, maybe not so surprising, and a little disappointing to learn that once the series became so popular, she wasn’t necessarily the author writing all The Baby-Sitters Club books.

Analysis: A little backstory on this: I received this book in the mail as a response to a fan letter I wrote to Ann M. Martin probably when I was about eight years old. Clearly, author meant for me to read it then, but I didn’t and it fell into the abyss of my childhood bedroom. I rediscovered the book several years ago when my family moved out of that house, so I finally decided to read it.

It was extremely thoroughly and painted a beautiful, wholesome picture of the woman who will always remain wholesome in my pain.

That said, I wish I’d read it when I was eight. Though her story was interesting, it was clearly written for kids. The writing is extremely basic, especially when compared to some of the other adult memoirs and biographies out there. (I mean hell, I read Ron Chernow’s Hamilton a few years ago.) But it is the perfect biography for children who probably love Ann M. Martin as much as they love her books.

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More ‘Harry Potter’ Adult Coloring Books Set to Debut

harry-potter-coloring-booksAh yes, the adult coloring book craze continues. I, myself, have been searching stores high and low for the perfect adult coloring book, and haven’t been able to find one. They generally consist of intricate designs that may be fun and relaxing to color, but don’t necessarily form anything exciting in the end. For me, that’s simply will not do. But someone heard my prayers — and apparently I’ve just been looking in the wrong places.

According to Hypable, five official Harry Potter coloring books will by out by this summer. Two have already been released. The first is a number one bestseller on Amazon. Just last month, yet another was released — this one based on magical creatures from the Harry Potter series.

Scholastic has more planned, including Harry Potter Magical Places & Characters Coloring Book and Harry Potter Postcard Coloring Book, which are set to be released in March and Harry Potter Artifacts Coloring Book, set for a June release.

It makes complete sense that the pop culture-oriented coloring books are selling the most. After all, they have pictures of characters and settings with which people are familiar. Not to mention, this is a brilliant way for J.K. Rowling to expand on her ever-growing Potter empire. It’s both crazy and amazing how much she continues to churn out in the way of books, coloring books and movies, even though the actual story of Harry Potter is done. Allegedly.

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Scribd Adds 30,000 Audiobooks

Good news for those who like not to read their books, but to listen to them.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the streaming subscription service Scribd is adding thousands of audiobooks to its catalog — 30,000, to be exact. The new books will include old and new releases from some of the more well-known publishers and authors, including Scholastic and HarperCollins and Haruki Murakami and Suzanne Collins.

Before the addition, Scribd’s catalog included more than half a million titles.

But according to The Verge, that catalog was only made up of e-books, not audiobooks. The hope is that the company will be able to compete now with Audible.

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‘Hunger Games’ Author To Publish Children’s Book

If the upcoming Hunger Games movies aren’t enough Suzanne Collins for you, have no fear. The famed author of The Hunger Games series is releasing another book; but this one is a little different from the last three.

Year of the Jungle will be an autobiographical children’s picture book. According to Entertainment Weekly, however, the book will still have some similarities to The Hunger Games; or rather the main character will share some of the same qualities as Katniss Everdeen. The story will focus on a young girl dealing with the harshness of war. It’s about a girl named Suzy whose father is overseas, fighting in the Vietnam War. It’s a story that comes from Collins’ own childhood memories, as she explained in the press release for her book.

For several years I had this little wicker basket next to my writing chair with the postcards my dad had sent me from Vietnam and photos of that year. But I could never quite find a way into the story. It has elements that can be scary for the audience and it would be easy for the art to reinforce those.  It could be really beautiful art but still be off-putting to a kid, which would defeat the point of doing the book.

My guess is it’ll be tough to top sales and the popularity of The Hunger Games series, but it could be good. Thoughts?

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J.K. Rowling’s Next Book: ‘Likely To Be For Children’

Though Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s first adult book The Casual Vacancy is selling well, it has gotten some relatively underwhelming reviews. That may explain why the author recently told several media outlets that her next book would likely be a children’s book.

According to Huffington Post, Rowling revealed the news (below) in a web chat hosted by the publisher Scholastic:

The next thing I publish is likely to be a book for children. The reason I’m not committing myself wholeheartedly is because, after fifteen years of being a writer for Harry Potter, where you would say something and someone would seize on it and say, ‘You are definitely doing that now.’ And you kind of thought you weren’t allowed to change your mind. And it got a little intense, so I try not to commit myself with my plan. So I’m not 100 percent sure about doing it, but I think it will be a book slightly more for children.

Rowling also mentioned something similar in an interview with BBC. However, she hasn’t made clear if the book would have anything to do with the world of Harry Potter. Rowling has previously mentioned that she may not be done telling Hogwarts stories yet, even though she says her Harry Potter stories are finished for sure. What do you guys think? Will her next children’s book be Hogwarts related? Or something completely different?

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The Hunger Games’ New Mockingjay Mockup

The Hunger Games has a new look. Scholastic has put together The Hunger Games Collector’s Edition, featuring new and improved cover art.

The original book used the Mockingjay pin as its central focus, and the other books in the series followed suit. The new version still features a mockingjay, minus the pin. As we Hunger Games readers know, the mockingjay has much more meaning to the series than just being a pin.

In this Entertainment Weekly article, Scholastic editorial director David Levithan explains how the new mockup came to be:

“Amazingly, we chose the mockingjay image for the first book before we knew how crucial it would be in the trilogy, and we concepted the cover directions for Catching Fire and Mockingjay before we’d read a word of either book.” He  adds, “Now we have the opportunity to go back and create new icons for each book.”

Levithan adds that the pinless mockingjay teases the significant role of the bird in the series.

So is the new cover better or worse?

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