About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Celebrate the Life of Award-Winning Author Sid Fleischman


March 16, 1920 — March 17, 2010

The Whipping Boy

1987 Newbery Medal

"I write what I am. When I sit down to a blank street of paper, I may become a yellow-haired boy, a snarling pirate, a prankish wizard's ghost, or even a dog with arrogant wolf's eyes. But beneath all the makeup, the wigs and putty noses — that's me: off on a fresh adventure and having as much fun as I can." — Sid Fleischman

Celebrate the life and works of Newbery Award-winning author Sid Fleischman with these Teaching Resources at Scholastic.com:

Friday Blog Round Up: Duck! Rabbit! and an Olivia poster

Duck_rabbit Cathleen at Chronicle Books tipped me off to a bunch of cool book features they have online. They include teacher guides, printable posters and videos. Check out the links for the following: Duck! Rabbit!, Little Oink, and Horse Crazy.

Chris Gall is currently being featured on the Little Brown Books You Tube channel. Hear about his inspiration behind Dinotrux! or check out another video to hear Patrick McDonnell, Stephenie Meyer, or James Patterson.

Over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, there's an interview with one of my favorite illustrators, Christopher Denise, as well as author Kristy Dempsey. It's also worth taking a look at his Web site; you'll get a full sense of his artwork. Keep up the good work Christopher!

With all the festivities around last week's Children's Book Week, there are still so many fun resources out there. I'm assuming this poster of Ian Falconer's Olivia is still available and worth the 60 cents for your classroom.

There's something about Mir that makes me want to pull a chair up to the table at Kitchen Table Reviews. This week she's blogging about Tedd Arnold's Super Fly Guy -- and fly he is!

You know the drill folks. Have a happy weekend and we'll see you back here next week!

Video Wednesday -- John Green Interview

Papertowns It takes a special kinda guy to admit to reading the Baby-Sitters Club books -- and John Green is just such a guy. The author of funny-and-true YA books, like his newest Paper Towns, talks about the origins of "nerdfighters," how he creates characters, and how reading those aforementioned Baby-Sitter Club books helped him understand high school girls -- sort of.

Watch John Green's full interview, including a reading of Paper Towns.

Video Wednesday: Sid Fleishman Interview

Fleischman_sid_lg Talk about a fascinating guy! Elder statesman Sid Fleishman has written over 50 books for children and adults, and has dabbled in magic, movies, and newspaper reporting. We met up with him last November and asked him about picking character names, the Charlie Chaplin bio he's been working on, and much more. So much, that I couldn't decide on which clip I liked best to highlight.

I finally decided on this clip; Fleishman talks about the magicians' manual he wrote in high school, which is still in print. I had no idea there were publishing houses just for magician books. Fascinating!

Watch the full Sid Fleishman interview.

Video Wednesday: Mark Teague Interview

Get up close and personal with illustrator/author Mark Teague in this gem of a video. The creator of the LaRue series and illustrator behind How Do Dinosaurs... series shares his inspiration, his advice for budding artists, and, most amazingly, takes you into his studio to show how he creates his beautiful artwork.

He also shares a few stories about his reading life as a kid, which I can relate to. I remember coming home from the library with a big stack of picture books, as well!

For more Teague resources, find downloadable classroom activities on the SeeSaw Author of the Month page.

More about Mark Teague.

On the Trail of 39 Clues

Peter Lerangis, the author of the third 39 Clues book is over on Ink Splot blogging about his crazy adventures promoting the new book (The 39 Clues #3: The Sword Thief) while following mysterious clues. It's very entertaining -- especially if you're a fan of the books. 

Watch the first of five videos he filmed "Blair witch" style in the New York City subway, here:

Everything you need to know about 39 Clues is here.

Are you reading the 39 Clues series? What do you think?

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

While he didn't technically write any picture books, he sure did have an effect on our language: good, old William Shakespeare apparently had his portrait painted in the early 1600s and there's evidence that the painting is directly of him instead of a copy of another piece of art.  

I would have to say that I agree with the BookChook that Mem Fox is "The Queen of the Read-Aloud."  "Fall in love with the pause," is just one of her "14 Fantastic Hints on Reading Aloud."

I know you've heard the big debate, Harry Potter or Twilight? Well, the Seattle Public Library has decided to take it to the fans as an after-school fundraiser, with panels that will "debate the merits of each series." Nicely done Seattle Public Library!

RIF has done a nice job of creating a collection of read-along stories and songs, including The Eeensy Weensy Spider, The Frog Princess and my personal favorite, Mice-tro Mozart. Try sharing these with students with the help of a whiteboard or projector.

Flashlightreader_large_lg As usual I'm hooked on Flashlight Readers, in particular the Underland Chronicles. The site is loaded with features: a moderated message board, a meet-the-author section, and the Gnawers' Labyrinth to name a few. I can't stop playing with the Creature Creator!

Alrighty then folks. Send me a comment or two and tell me what featured sites or books you've enjoyed. I'm all ears. Until then, have a super weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday. 

CBC Book Awards Finalists 2009

The 2009 CBC Children's Choice Book Award finalists have been announced. Nearly 15,000 children and teens cast votes to determine the list -- and thousands more will weigh in on who should win.

Kid Lit Kit applauds all the fantastic nominated books, authors, and illustrators. The Scholastic finalists are:

Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year
100 Most Dangerous Things On the Planet by Anna Claybourne 
Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi (watch an interview with Kibuishi and the Amulet book trailer)

Teen Choice Book Award
Airhead by Meg Cabot (see the Airhead video booktalk)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
(read Hunger Games chapter one (PDF), watch an interview with Collins, find The Hunger Games discussion guide)

9780439634250_lg Illustrator of the Year
Jon J Muth, Zen Ties

Encourage your students to vote at www.BookWeekOnline.com from March 16 through May 3. 

Video Wednesday - Teacher From the Black Lagoon

9780590419628_sm Author Mike Thaler paid us a visit not too long ago. We were thrilled at the opportunity to talk with this favorite author of more than 140 books. Wearing his favorite color -- yellow -- Thaler talked about writing riddles, where he got the idea for the Black Lagoon series, and what to tell kids who want to write. He also gave a mini-tutorial about how to write riddles. Best of all, he read from Teacher from the Black Lagoon. It was a real treat to hear the classroom classic read by its author.

Tune in and watch the full Mike Thaler interview here.

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

Clifford It's Friday folks, and despite my case of winter sniffles, I'm here to bring you up-to-date on what's what in kid lit.  Let's jump right on over to A Fuse #8 Production on SLJ.com to check out Video Sunday.  This past Sunday featured videos of a monkey on the lam, a squirrel-phobic park ranger, the always entertaining Jon Scieszka, as well as a couple of our own Scholastic author interview videos of Shawn Tan and Lisa Yee. Good stuff!

When you're done there, check out Clifford and his humanitarian efforts.  "BE BIG! is a national campaign that invites everyone, big and small, to take action and raise awareness for how CLIFFORD'S BIG IDEAS can make the world a better place.  The mission of BE BIG! is to recognize and reward others for their BE BIG actions, to catalyze change in local communities and to provide resources for everyone to share Big Ideas!" From now until February 28, kids can even send Clifford a Valentine's Day Card! And don't forget to check out the Norman Bridwell video.

Little yellow Carin Berger's The Little Yellow Leaf was one of my favorites last year and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast had the opportunity to visit with her lately.  Her images are beautiful.

If you're in need of a fairy tale fix, you might want to check out Sur La Lune Fairy Tales.  You'll find out about Geek Charming a modern high school Frog Prince story, Wild Orchid a retelling of the Chinese Mulan story, and the long awaited re-release of Patricia Wrede's Snow White and Rose Red.

Bookie Woogie is a kid lit site featuring 3 kids and their dad talking about books.  This week they chat about some old favorites featuring monsters like Monsterlicious.  It's a treat to read the banter between Aaron and his kids.  

OK folks, I'm going back to my sniffles.  You should go share some of your Big Ideas with Clifford and we'll all meet back here next week.

Video Wednesday: Online Author Visits

Author visits are a great way to inspire kids to read. And now with internet video, teachers have a new way to bring authors into the classroom. There are several places on the Internet where teachers can find video interviews like this one with Ellen Levine, author of Henry's Freedom Box.

Take a look at Scholastic's other Author Videos.

You can see more author videos at Reading Rockets, AdLit, and BookWrap Central.

Apparently authors are excited about this possibility too. At I.N.K.:Interesting Nonfiction for Kids, author Melissa Stewart says,
"Seeing someone on screen isn’t quite as powerful as a live visit, but videos are a great option for schools that lack the time, resources, or funding to bring in authors and illustrators. They’re also a great way for any school to increase their students’ exposure to book creators. And because teachers can watch the video clips in advance, they can easily build lesson plans around the footage. "

Here is a video of Melissa Stewart describing how she got the idea for her nonfiction picture book When Rain Falls.

Video Wednesday: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Brian Selznick describes how he researched and created the hidden spaces behind the walls of the train station in The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

For an in-depth author study unit on Brian Selznick, including more video, lessons, and a chance to interract with Brian Selznick himself, visit Scholastic's Author of the Month.

Video Wednesday: Kazu Kibuishi

Last June at ALA, Jessica and I got to interview Kazu Kibuishi and talk about his new graphic novel series, Amulet. In this video, he demonstrates his technique for drawing the Amulet characters. 

Kazu talks more about the Amulet series, and what it's like to be a graphic novelist in the rest of the video interview. If your students are fans of graphic novels, you will definitely want to check this out.

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

Toys David Shannon has a hilarious new book out, Too Many Toys, starring Spencer.  Mir and her daughter had a great conversation about it at Kitchen Table Reviews.

Mir: What was your favorite part?
Daughter: I liked that there was a picture of you in here.
Mir: Huh?
Daughter: There’s a picture of you, Mom! [Giggling, she turned to an illustration of Spencer’s mom hollering at him. The picture is approximately 80% gaping mouth.]

In this Scholastic video interview, Shannon actually describes how he drew Spencer's mom.

Continue reading "Friday Kid Lit Round-Up" »

Video Wednesday: Jan Brett

Wild In honor of Jan Brett's birthday on December 1, Scholastic has compiled this Author Study with lesson plans for many of her beloved picture books.
Jan Brett's Home Page has 4,691 pages of free activities, coloring pages, projects, games, printable cards, and video. It is really pretty amazing.

Take a look at this video interview with Brett talking about The Wild Christmas Reindeer.

And in this video, Brett introduces viewers to her adorable baby pet hedghog and demonstrates how to draw a hedgehog. So cute!

There are lots more videos on her home page. It would probably take days to go through all the great stuff she has there, but that sounds like a great project for a holiday weekend! Enjoy!

Video Wednesday: The 39 Clues

Get ready for Book 2 of The 39 Clues coming out December 2! Gordon Korman has written the second book in the series, One False Note. It's so top secret, I was not able to beg, borrow or steal an advance copy. Not that I actually contemplated stealing it. . . But I was able to download a PDF of the first chapter so I know that this book has the Cahill kids traveling to Vienna to chase clues about another famous historical figure - who also happens to be related to them - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Korman himself will be talking about his new book in the live webcast happening on December 1.


Scholastic has gathered some teaching resources for the 39 Clues series including booktalks, video author interviews, and text excerpts.

Video Wednesday: The Spiderwick Chronicles

That beautiful and super-cool woman reading in the video is author Holly Black. She was kind enough to read aloud for us the first chapter of Book 1 in The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide.

Lest there is still any doubt how cool Holly Black is, you should also know that she has a secret library in her house! Just imagine the coolness of having a secret library in your house! I probably wouldn't come out for days on end. Holly talks about that as well as other aspects of her life as a writer in our video interview filmed last June.

Also visit The Steampunk Home to see pictures of her library, and try not to drool on the keyboard!

Finally the Spiderwick movie is one of several book-based movies out on DVD. Would make a great holiday feature!

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

So a few weeks ago I had my students create self-portraits using pumpkins.  I thought it was a pretty cool project and then Patty, Scholastic's high school teacher advisor, posted about literary pumpkins this week for Halloween.   “The literary pumpkin project is a great way to demonstrate understanding of a character, setting, or major plot development of a novel.  Students demonstrate immense creativity when designing their "pumpkins" (although man-made materials, gourds, and other fall season-related veggies and fruits are often used for these projects).”  All I can say is you HAVE to check out her blog.

Planning on being in Western Mass on Saturday, November 8?  The Eric Carle Museum and Blue Heron Restaurant will be hosting a Bookworm’s Luncheon with readings by:
• David Costello - Here They Come
• Leslea Newman - Cats, Cats, Cats and more...
• Erica Verrillo - Alyssa's Quest
• Jeannine Atkins - Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon
I went to one of these events a few years ago and it was a blast. Call 413.665.2102 for reservations.

Speaking of David Costello, last year he teamed up with students online to create a collaborative picture book  called Mr. Allgunky and the Missing Monster. To see videos of the story coming to life and find other monster book activities to use with your students, check out this article.

Here Costello explains how he developed the characters for his collaborative book.

To check out his Here They Come trailer, jump on over to his website.  If you really want to be wowed, book him to come to your school.  Simply put, David Costello is one of the most talented author/illustrators in the business.

Continue reading "Friday Kid Lit Round-Up" »

Video Wednesday: Rick Riordan Author Study

I know we have been talking about Rick Riordan a lot, and the reason is he's REALLY COOL! His Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is a fun way to teach mythology, and his new series The 39 Clues incorporates history and geography into a fast-paced worldwide scavenger hunt adventure. He is that rare author whose books teachers can use in the classroom, and the kids (both boys and girls) will say, "This is the best book I've ever read!"

To help you teach his books, Scholastic.com has put together this Author Study unit. You'll find video, discussion guides, and a Message Board for students to talk about the books and ask questions for the author. Riordan himself will be joining the Message Board later this month to answer some of the posted questions.

In this video clip from my July 2008 interview with Rick, he talks about writing mistakes he's made that students can learn from. Share the video with students and then have them join the conversation with Rick Riordan on the Message Board!

Video Wednesday: Rick Riordan and The 39 Clues

Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, launched a brand new series this week called The 39 Clues, and it's going to be amazing! I am really excited about it. I got to meet Rick Riordan in July and I asked him to read-aloud from the first book,  The Maze of Bones.

Rick also had some interesting things to say about motivating boys to read.Take a look at our full video interview.

On his Web site, Rick was kind enough to put a link to the video of his Today Show appearance in case you missed it Monday. He is such a pro; he doesn't even look nervous on live TV.

While he was in New York for the Today Show, Rick stopped by the Scholastic headquarters and gave a presentation to a packed house of Scholastic employees. Karen from the Scholastic Kids blog Ink Splot 26 blogs about Rick's special appearance.

Video Wednesday: Sara Pennypacker and Clementine

Jessica and I are huge Clementine fans! I think Clementine is just the coolest third-grader ever. She is sensitive, creative, generous, and attentive, but somehow she always manages to get herself into trouble. In this video book trailer, author Sara Pennypacker describes what makes Clementine so endearing.

And don't miss this Author Read-Aloud video of Sara reading from the first chapter of Clementine.

Recent Posts


Quick Links:

Recommended Sites:

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Kid Lit Kit are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.