Category Archives: Authors

January 23, 2014

Horses of the Dawn by Kathryn Lasky

Posted by at 1:26 am in Authors, Reads | Permalink

jkt_9780545397162.inddA Special Message from Author Kathryn Lasky

Dear STACKS Readers,

Over the years, I have written about the brave owls of Ga’Hoole, the noble wolves of the Beyond, and now . . . horses! Why horses? Well, when I was growing up, I loved horse stories, but I longed for a story told from a horse’s perspective. I wanted to know: What does it feel like to gallop? What does it sound like to pound across a plain with your herd?

There were no humans in Guardians of Ga’Hoole or Wolves of the Beyond. That allowed me to focus on the animals and build worlds that explored the species’ complex societies, free from any human influence.

However, the history of horses is inextricably linked to human history, which presented a unique challenge. Unlike owls or wolves, horses have been “domesticated” for centuries. Oh yes, there are “wild” mustangs in the western U.S., but they are the descendants of the first horses that came to America, and they only became wild after they escaped from captivity. These horses had to learn how to forage or gallop without shoes. Thinking about this, I became fascinated by the idea of a herd that broke away from its human masters. How would the horses survive? How long would it take for their “wild” instincts to emerge? Before I knew it, I had begun the Horses of the Dawn series.

The first book, Escape, is the story of the first horses that came to North America with the Conquistadores. Specifically, it’s the story of one filly named Estrella, who, along with six other horses, is tossed overboard from a ship bound for the New World.

The horses swim to shore, and for the first time, they have to make decisions for themselves. There are no humans, no whips, no spurs to tell them what to do. Estrella becomes the unlikely leader of the herd, though that is only the beginning of her adventure. Essentially, Escape is a story of self-discovery and homecoming, as one young horse finds the strength to lead the herd to freedom, to claim their destiny as the Horses of the Dawn.

Read Chapter 1. I hope you enjoy it!

Kathryn Lasky

January 15, 2014

Dav Pilkey & Jeff Kinney Webcast Today

Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey Create a “Story Smashup” Live On Stage in an Exclusive Scholastic Webcast Today

WHEN: Today at 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT
WHO: Jeff Kinney, creator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Dav Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants series.

CU_attackoftalkingtoiletsWHERE: Scholastic Headquarters in NYC, but we will be live-chatting about the event on the Reading Buzz Message Board. And you can watch the webcast video here.

AND download the contest entry form to create your own brilliant, one-of-a-kind, three-panel ending to Kinney and Pilkey’s original story! One Grand Prize Winner will have his or her entry framed alongside Kinney and Pilkey’s first six panels, autographed by each author. Ten Runners-Up will receive their very own illustrated storytelling extravaganza book collection. So, yeah, you will want to enter that!

Mail your entry by February 14 to:
The Mini-Story Cliff-Hanger Contest
P.O. Box 714
New York, NY, 10013-0714

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. All students in grades 2 through 8 in a U.S. school who are legal U.S. residents are eligible to enter, except those who have family members employed by Scholastic Inc. Every entry MUST include student name, teacher name, grade/age, school name, address and phone number and mailed to: Mash-Up Mini-Story Cliffhanger Contest, P.O. Box 714, New York, NY, 10013-0714. One (1) Grand Prize Winner (approx. retail value: $300) and ten (10) Runners Up (approximate retail value: $75) will be selected based on clarity of thought, execution and creativity. Winners will be notified on or about March 13, 2014. Void where prohibited.

Hope to see you in the chat!

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

January 6, 2014

Captain Underpants Meets Wimpy Kid Webcast!

Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey Create a “Story Smashup” Live On Stage in an Exclusive Scholastic Webcast

Jeff Kinney, creator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Dav Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants series joined forces for a “Story CU_attackoftalkingtoiletsSmashup” webcast event at Scholastic.

Superstar artist-authors Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey worked together to create an original story with art and pictures based on suggestions from an audience of kids. In the webcast, you can also watch Kinney and Pilkey’s hilarious attempts to draw each other’s characters and to see if they can draw their own characters, Greg Heffley and Captain Underpants, blindfolded! Watch the webcast video.

And . . . There’s more! You can enter a contest based on Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey’s story starter. Download the contest entry form and create your own brilliant, one-of-a-kind, three-panel ending to Kinney and Pilkey’s original story! One Grand Prize Winner will have his or her entry framed alongside Kinney and Pilkey’s first six panels, autographed by each author. Ten Runners-Up will receive their very own illustrated storytelling extravaganza book collection. So, yeah, you will want to enter that!

Mail your entry by February 14 to:
The Mini-Story Cliff-Hanger Contest
P.O. Box 714
New York, NY, 10013-0714

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. All students in grades 2 through 8 in a U.S. school who are legal U.S. residents are eligible to enter, except those who have family members employed by Scholastic Inc. Every entry MUST include student name, teacher name, grade/age, school name, address and phone number and mailed to: Mash-Up Mini-Story Cliffhanger Contest, P.O. Box 714, New York, NY, 10013-0714. One (1) Grand Prize Winner (approx. retail value: $300) and ten (10) Runners Up (approximate retail value: $75) will be selected based on clarity of thought, execution and creativity. Winners will be notified on or about March 13, 2014. Void where prohibited.

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

August 14, 2013

Guardians of Ga’Hoole Author, Kathryn Lasky

Posted by at 1:06 am in Authors, Reads | Permalink

Gahoole130A Message from Guardians of Ga’Hoole Author, Kathryn Lasky

Dear STACKS Readers,

It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to my latest Guardians of Ga’Hoole book, The Rise of a Legend, the story of Ezylryb, the legendary whiskered screech of the Great Ga’Hoole tree. This prequel reveals how this owl from the ice-choked Northern Kingdoms rose through the ranks to become the commander of the Glauxspeed Division and why he gave it all up and flew to the Great Ga’Hoole Tree where he became the greatest scholar in its history as well as a mentor to the great owl Soren.

Why, for my first owl book in five years, did I choose to write about Ezylryb? It all began with a boy named Evan who sent me an email. “So what do you plan on doing after finishing the wolves series?” he asked. Would I ever go back to owls? “You told us about Ezylryb as a grown up, but why not go into detail about his childhood and years as a commander? You have endless possibilities.”

Why had I never thought of this! Evan was right. I felt a thrill in my gizzard. There were endless possibilities. The story of Ezylryb’s youth was so dramatic. Before he was known as Ezylryb, he was called Lyze of Kiel. Lyze never wanted to fight, but the death of his beloved sister drove him to pick up his battle claws. He became a great strategist. He knew weapons and he knew how to bring together animals as different as Kielian snakes and snow leopards and turn them into crack fighting teams and espionage units. In The Rise of a Legend, you will meet other characters from the Guardians of Ga’Hoole books, such as Octavia the blind snake and the Great Snowy owl Moss. You’ll see them when they were young, sometimes foolish, and often scared. You’ll see them grow, gather courage and begin to question why and if there must always be war.

I had so much fun revisiting Ga’Hoole and the hero owls there, and hope you enjoy reading The Rise of a Legend as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Read an excerpt and visit the new Ga’Hoole Website to play the brand new Rise of a Legend Game.

Happy Reading!

—Kathryn Lasky, Guardians of Ga’Hoole Author

June 14, 2013

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets New Cover

Posted by at 4:21 am in Authors, Harry Potter | Permalink

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Do you guys remember when I showed you the new cover for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? All 7 books are coming out with new covers for the 15th anniversary of Harry Potter in September 2013, but I now have a sneak peek at book #2!

Do you love it??? I think it’s pretty amazing. I also got to interview the illustrator, Kazu Kibuishi, last week when he was in New York and asked him all my burning questions. Read on for the interview. . .

Sonja: Most people can remember everything about the first time they read Harry Potter. Can you describe your first Harry Potter encounter?
KAZU: After college, I had to help my parents pay for their house. They couldn’t afford their mortgage, so what I did was go and get a job, make money. I sent them everything I made and I just kept as much as I needed to survive. Very stressful time. I remember it was a Friday and I had to go back to work. Even though I was young, I felt really old at that point so I really didn’t have time for any entertainment. I was just working; that’s all I did. So the way I actually read the book was I listened to the Jim Dale audiobook on my commute to work. That’s how I experienced the books. But it was like I was in a closet too. I was like Harry in the broom closet, very much trapped in the Muggle world. I thought I was supposed to draw and write for a living, and I just I couldn’t get there, and I was kind of trapped.

Sonja: Why are you a Harry Potter fan? What do you love most about the books?
KAZU: Just they’re good. (laughs) What’s not to love? The list would be so long, but probably more than anything, it’s that sense of place. It feels like a place and I try to do that in my own books too. It was like a landscape painting, and I felt like I was there. I could sense the people, and I can feel what it’s like to be there every time I would read a Harry Potter book. That’s the thing I like the most about it is that imaginary space just feels so real.

Sonja: Were you nervous about redoing the original covers?
KAZU: I felt that the Harry Potter fans were so enthusiastic and giving, and they’re just sweet (laughs), so I didn’t really think there was going to be that much of a backlash. So that didn’t really worry me, but I wanted J.K. Rowling to be happy with the covers. That was my main concern. So once I heard from her and she said they were good, and she approved of them, I felt like I was home free.

Sonja: In the original cover to book 1, Harry is front and center catching the snitch. In yours, Harry looks tiny and lost in the busy world of Diagon Alley. Why did you choose to make Harry look so vulnerable, rather than focus on his heroic qualities?
KAZU: I wanted it to reflect how the reader is probably going to feel when he or she picks up the book for very first time. I felt like the scene in Diagon Alley embodied that experience better than anything else. It was the entry into, like, all of the potential of what can be. And you’re just seeing the first window and then it’s going to get bigger and bigger. So when I drew it, I didn’t necessarily think of him as being tiny and overwhelmed. I think he looks at it and he thinks, “WOW!” I think he’s really drinking it in, and that’s what I was trying to go for. I feel also in the first book that he isn’t the assertive Harry we know, so to see him in an action scene would, I think, be counter to how he is in the book. He’s still like a child discovering things. It’s more like the legend of Harry Potter is actually taking him along for a ride, and then he becomes the legend as the books go on.

Sonja: Did seeing the movies influence you at all when creating the covers?
KAZU: Well of course because the movies exist, and we know them and I love them. Actually Prisoner of Azkaban is probably one of my favorite movies. I actually think Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban might very well be the very best fantasy movie ever made. The end sequence in Prisoner of Azkaban in the movie is so amazing. (laughs) That moment is so incredible for me. I just cry thinking about it.

Sonja: Can you give us a hint of what will be on the Prisoner of Azkaban cover?
KAZU: You guys will like the cover because it’s very emotional. (laughter) There was NO question about #3. I’ll just say that. No question. It was that cover that everybody responded to the most when I did a really quick sketch. I did that one in 5 minutes. There was, like, no question. And I sent that [to Scholastic] and they’re like, “Can all the other ones be like that one?” They really bought into what I was trying to do emotionally more than as an illustration. It means so much; it HAS to be this, so . . . Yeah, I love that cover.

Sonja: Were you concerned about spoilers on the covers?
KAZU: Yes, yes, and I was really careful not to spoil too much. A lot of the suggestions for the front covers were too “spoiler-y” so actually I decided to do covers that were less of a spoiler. You guys will see the Chamber of Secrets cover does not spoil actually anything at all. But it is exactly the feeling I got from reading the second book, which was I felt it was a cup of tea. I thought it was the break before the crazy battles. We’re putting this kid through the ringer; let him have a break. I think the break was number 2. And that’s how I wanted to approach that cover.

Sonja: Thanks for answering our questions.
KAZU: Hope you guys like the covers.

UPDATE: See the new covers for Books #3-5, Book #6, and Book #7!

June 4, 2013

British Children’s Author Trivia Quiz Answers

Posted by at 4:21 am in Authors, Trivia | Permalink

British Children’s Author Trivia Quiz Answers

Last week, we had a British Invasion with our British Children’s Author Trivia Quiz! How many authors and books did you know? Check out the answers below.

  1. Name the author and book this quote is from:
    “The scar had not pained Harry for 19 years. All was well.”
    ANSWER: J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  2. Name the author and book that features a golden ticket, some Oompa Loompas, and lots of chocolate.
    ANSWER: Roald Dahl and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  3. Name the author and book series that takes place in Narnia.
    ANSWER: C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia
  4. Name the author who wrote this line:
    “Edward Bear, known to his friends as Winnie the Pooh, or Pooh for short, was walking through the forest one day humming proudly to himself.”
    ANSWER: A.A. Milne.
  5. This famous author lived from 1858-1924 and wrote several classics including The Enchanted Castle, The Railway Children, and The House of Arden. Her first name was Edith but she went by the initial “E” when publishing her first name.
    ANSWER: E. Nesbit.
  6. Dick King-Smith is the British author known for his book about a pig who wants to be a sheepdog. It was made into a movie. Name the book AND the movie if you can.
    ANSWER: The book was Babe the Gallant Pig, and the movie was shortened to Babe.
  7. Some say this British author paved the way for J.K. Rowling with her exotic worlds of ghosts, wizards, and mermaids in books like Journey to the River Sea and The Secret of Platform 13. Her most recent page-turner was One Dog and His Boy – a must read for dog lovers!
    ANSWER: Eva Ibbotson. 
  8. This author is best known for her books featuring those mischievous bunnies Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.
    ANSWER: Beatrix Potter. 
  9. Name the book series and the author that features Lyra and her daemon, an armored bear, and “dust” sucked out of the sky.
    ANSWER: His Dark Materials and Philip Pullman. (One of my fave series!) 
  10. Writer of the Alex Rider series, name this author AND another one of his famous series.
    ANSWER: Anthony Horowitz. The Power of 5 series, The Diamond Brother series, The Gatekeepers

I could go on and on – those Brits are brilliant!
Cheers!

—Ratha, Stacks Writer

May 29, 2013

British Children’s Author Trivia Quiz

Posted by at 2:01 am in Authors, Reads, Trivia | Permalink

British Children’s Author Trivia Quiz

Did you ever realize how many of your favorite authors were British? Not only did England give us One Direction and Prince George. . . but also awesome literature. Shakespeare, anyone?
So in today’s Tuesday Trivia we’re testing your smarts on how many British authors and books you know. Ready, mate? GO!

  1. Name the author and book this quote is from:
    “The scar had not pained Harry for 19 years. All was well.”
  2. Name the author and book that features a golden ticket, some Oompa Loompas, and lots of chocolate.
  3. Name the author and book series that takes place in Narnia. Hint: Lucy, Edward, Susan and Peter befriend a great lion, and battle the White Witch in one of the books.
  4. Name the author who wrote this line:
    “Edward Bear, known to his friends as Winnie the Pooh, or Pooh for short, was walking through the forest one day humming proudly to himself.”
  5. This famous author lived from 1858-1924 and wrote several classics including The Enchanted Castle, The Railway Children, and The House of Arden. Her first name was Edith but she went by the initial “E” when publishing her first name.
  6. Dick King-Smith is the British author known for his book about a pig (who wants to be a sheepdog). It was made into a movie. Name the book AND the movie if you can. Hint: The movie is one word abbreviated from the title of the book!
  7. Some say this British author paved the way for J.K. Rowling with her exotic worlds of ghosts, wizards, and mermaids in books like Journey to the River Sea and The Secret of Platform 13. Her most recent page-turner was One Dog and His Boy – a must read for dog lovers!
  8. This author is best known for her books featuring those mischievous bunnies Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.
  9. Name the book series and the author that features Lyra and her daemon, an armored bear, and “dust” sucked out of the sky.
  10. Writer of the Alex Rider series, name this author AND another one of his famous series.

Leave your answers below, and check here to see if you’re right!
Cheers!

—Ratha, Stacks Writer

February 28, 2013

NEW Harry Potter Illustrator Kazu Kibuishi

Posted by at 2:24 am in Authors, Harry Potter | Permalink


SneakPeekNEW Harry Potter Illustrator Kazu Kibuishi

Meet Kazu Kibuishi, the illustrator of the new Harry Potter book covers coming out in September 2013. If you have read his Amulet series, then you know he is an awesome artist. If you have never heard of him before, you might be worried about his credentials. Is he worthy of the epic task of illustrating the book covers to the ultimate series of all time??

Click here to see the first new Harry Potter cover.

I had the chance to interview him a few years ago and he is so, so nice! For those Harry Potter fans who are worried about the new Harry Potter covers, I can assure you we are in good hands with this illustrator!

Watch my interview with him where he talks about being an artist.

And this interview where he shows us his real live, actual sketchbook!

He seems super-cool, right?  Leave a Comment to tell us what you think of the new Harry Potter covers!

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

February 19, 2013

Author Trivia Quiz Answers

Posted by at 12:27 am in Authors, Trivia | Permalink

Trivia Tuesday:

Beyond the Book Author Trivia Quiz Answers!

Last week we posted a super-exclusive Author Trivia Quiz with . . .

From their biggest phobias to favorite books – we got the scoop. How many did you guess correctly? Answers are below!

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