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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:

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: Monkey and Me Author Reading

Monkeyme I just love listening to authors read their own words -- especially if the author is also the illustrator. 

Watch British author/illustrator Emily Gravett as she reads from her picture book Monkey and Me and explains that it's based on a friend's "wiggly" daughter. It's absolutely charming!

Hunger Games Movie News & Contest

9780439023481_lg Two pieces of BIG news about one of our favorite books of the year... The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

First, we're so excited to hear the book is going to be made into a movie, with Suzanne Collins penning the script. Who better to adapt that crazy book than the author herself? (Though, I'll be covering my eyes at the scene towards the end with the dogs and cornucopia. Remember? Eww.) 

I spent the entire walk to the office this morning trying to think of casting choices -- but so far came up empty. Teen tomboys are few and far between in Hollywood these days. Our friends on Ink Splot 26 came up with some interesting picks, check those out and jot your ideas in the comments. I'd love to hear them.

Second, and most exciting, Scholastic is giving one lucky fan a chance to sit down with Suzanne for a private lunch in NYC. Not only will they get to pick the brain of this creative and incredibly nice (we've met her) author, they get an autographed copy of Catching Fire (the sequel, eeek!), and a collectible mockingjay pin. Get the details here. (Unfortunately, Scholastic employees are not eligible. Boo.)

Get inspired for the contest by watching Ms. Collins reading from her book:

Find all things Hunger Games here. And watch an interview with Suzanne Collins.

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. 

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.

Video Wednesday: Neil Gaiman

2009 is turning out to be quite a year for Neil Gaiman! On Monday he won the Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book (which Jack reviews on InkSplot 26.) And next week the movie version of his book, Coraline, comes out on February 6.

So much excitement! Where to start? I definitely recommend taking a look at Neil Gaiman's Website for Young Readers. He's got video of himself reading aloud each chapter of The Graveyard Book, a Graveyard Sudoku game, a Graveyard Book trailer, audiobook excerpts, printable posters and downloadable wallpapers, and several amazing videos from the Coraline movie!

I was honestly surprised by the video previews of Coraline I've seen. It seems to have that freaky Nightmare Before Christmas look, mildly creepy but in a childlike magical kind of way, which is not how I read the book at all. I read the book much more in a full-on frightening terror-filled sort of way. Do other people think the movie looks less scary than the book, or should I just stop reading alone on dark stormy nights?

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 Hunger Games

My holiday book recommendation for every young adult (and adult) reader is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I got the ARC last spring and it was the topic of conversation in the office for months as it made the rounds.  This poor little ARC is so beat up, it is is barely recognizable. Every reader I know over the age of 12 can expect a copy for Christmas - if I haven't already given it to you for your birthday!

In this video, Suzanne herself reads (in character!) the passage from the book where the games are just about to begin. It still gives me chills!

I had the chance to interview Suzanne Collins in August and begged her for details about the next book, but she wouldn't give away anything! It was great to meet her anyway, and she did talk about what inspired The Hunger Games and gave some background into its dystopian setting. The video interview is definitely worth a look. Even the video editor wants to read The Hunger Games now after having worked on this video!

For lots more holiday book buying ideas, check out Book Recs for Holiday Shopping from around the Litblogosphere at Chasing Ray. You will find book gift ideas for every reader on your list.

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

Hungrycaterpillarquilt222x300 Hey folks.  If you’re looking to pep up your correspondence with Eric Carle designs or add some jazz to your photos with an Eric Carle motif, then Kodak can help you out.  According to Kodak.com you can “create your own cards with Eric Carle designs” or “tell your stories with exclusive Eric Carle hardbound photo books.” Prices start at $1.49 per card.

If you’re looking for another way to bring a little Eric Carle into your home, you should consider buying a raffle ticket from the Advisory Board of First Book-Deschutes County.  For $5 you can have the chance to win a beautiful The Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt along with the book and DVD.

Oh that Hungry Caterpillar would enjoy a tasty treat in Jill White’s classroom.  Her students are learning about things from the inside out and are using Tomie dePaola’s The Popcorn Book to do it.  According to Jill, “Yes, we even tasted the kernels.”  Wow, hardcore!

Now that I’ve gotten you hungry thinking about hot buttery popcorn I’m going to up the ante by showing you cakes filled with white and milk chocolates. On Chicken Spaghetti this week, you can find links to some ideas for creating your own Dr. Seuss inspired creatures, including a video of the Food Network Dr. Seuss Cake Challenge. The artistry behind these Dr. Seuss sweets is nothing short of spectacular.  (Quick warning, if you’re planning on using this video in the classroom, you may want to pre-screen it for language.)

And last but not least, when I was in England a few summers ago I picked up a copy of Neil Gaiman’s adult book Neverwhere but could simply not get into it.  I finally did a few weeks ago and loved it.  Now I keep seeing Neil’s name everywhere, including as part of this video read-aloud of his new children's title, The Graveyard Book.  To learn more about this award winning writer, listen to the interview on ScottishBookTrust.com.

And with that folks, I am off to hunt down some cake or popcorn, whichever comes first.  You all have a wonderful weekend and keep on reading.

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!

Video Wednesday: Cornelia Funke and Inkdeath

I am so excited to announce that Cornelia Funke will be our November Author of the Month! One of the great things about working for a children's book publisher is that you can get advance copies of books coming out sometimes even before the ARC is ready. I don't exercise this privilege often, but last spring I just couldn't wait another day to read Inkdeath, so I made a few  requests and managed to get the bound manuscript. I had to beg and grovel a little bit, but it was so worth it!

Inkdeath was officially released this October and if you haven't read it yet, you are in for a treat. I won't give anything away except to say that I was thrilled to interview Cornelia at ALA last June, and she answered some of my burning questions about the Inkheart series.  Here she is reading aloud a passage from the final book.

For the full interview as well as more video, lesson plans, bonus features from the Inkheart movie, and a chance to ask Cornelia your own questions, visit her Author of the Month page.

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.

Video Wednesday: Blue Balliett Author Read-Aloud

Every day there is more and more video on the web. Some of it is great, educational and engaging. Some of it is . . . well, not so great. Jessica and I work together on the Scholastic.com Books & Authors Web site, so our job is to create many of the Scholastic videos about books and authors found around the site. On Video Wednesday we will cull the best videos both from Scholastic.com and beyond to find the gems you can share with your students to get them excited about reading.

Today we have a video of author Blue Balliett reading Chapter 1 of her newest art-inspired mystery, The Calder Game.

Scholastic.com has lots more teaching resources about Blue Balliett and her books.

Check back every Video Wednesday for video booktalks, book trailers, author interviews and author read-alouds. And please leave a comment letting us know what kinds of videos you would like to see here in the coming weeks.

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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.