Category Archives: News & Reviews

These Quirky Bookmark Stickers Will Transform Your Book

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Attention page folders, there’s a better way to mark your spot in a book. Sure, you can use a cheap bookmark, but why not try something more adventurous.

British designer Duncan Shotton has created a set of inventive sticky paper tabs let you create tiny landscapes on the top of your books. There are 10 themes, ranging from natural landscapes to outer space to cities like London, NYC and Tokyo. Here are a few of the coolest options:

Mars

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New York

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Nessie

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Choose from the following sets:
Mars (aliens, galactic party rock and space buggies)
Sky (fluffy clouds and a juicy little rainbow)
Ocean (curly wurly waves, icebergs and a couple of (friendly) sharks)
Polar (icebergs, igloos, snow covered trees and penguins)
Desert (sand dunes, cacti and skulls)
Forest (pointy, bubbly and perfectly round trees, and tufts of grass)
London (skyline including big ben, the gherkin, St Paul’s cathedral, London eye, red buses, houses and tower-blocks)
New York (skyline including the chrysler building, the statue of liberty, the empire state (inc. king kong), yellow cabs, tower blocks and apartments)
Tokyo (skyline including Godzilla, Tokyo tower, tochoō, sky tree, thundergate, ‘mansions’ and tower blocks)
Hong Kong (skyline including the international finance centre, peak tower, bank of china building, boats and tower blocks)

Each marker type comes in a stack of 20 sheets.

New ‘Space’ Book Offers DIY Experiments and Epic Images

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51fBIpEMAaL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Looking for a cool summertime project book? Discover the wonders of the universe in Exploring Science: Space An Amazing Fact File and Hands-On Project Book: With 19 Easy-To-Do Experiments And 300 Exciting Pictures.

The book offers 19 do-it-your-self experiments like an dish antenna and solar heat conductor. Plus, there are hundreds of NASA-approved photos.

 

 

Experts Discover the ‘True Face’ of William Shakespeare

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Think you know what famed playwright William Shakespeare looked like? Traditionally, he’s been described as a slender man with dark hair that billowed down his shoulders and a carefully manicured mustache. The truth is, we have no idea. There’s never been a verifiable portrait of the writer.

Until now. Experts recently discovered what could be the only known portrait of William Shakespeare made in his lifetime. It shows Shakespeare at age 33, and is the only known verifiable portrait of the legendary writer.

How was it discovered it? In a 400-year-old botany book that contains an engraving on the title page of four famous figures — one of whom is supposedly Shakespeare.

Learn more at The Guardian.

See the First ‘Scorch Trials’ Movie Adaptation Trailer

The Maze Runner series by James Dashner was one of the most popular young adult novels of the last decade. The dystopian fantasy series followed the adventures of a group of kids called Gladers, led by the fearless Thomas. BL named The Maze Runner one of the 100 Best Books for Boys, too.

Since then, the bestselling series has been adapted into an equally successful film series. The second movie in the series, The Scorch Trials, hits theaters Sept. 18.

In the next chapter of the epic Maze Runner saga, Thomas and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.

The first trailer dropped today. Check it out below:

10 Fun Facts About ‘Where The Wild Things Are’

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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is a classic children’s book, and one of the most respected stories ever written.

In Sendak’s 1963 book, Max, a little boy in a wolf costume, is sent to bed without supper. So he sails on a boat to a faraway land where he tames the Wild Things, becomes their king, and leads them on a wild rumpus.

Mental Floss recently posted a cool list of Wild Things facts. Here’s a couple of them:

WHERE THE WILD HORSES ARE?

Sendak was working as a children’s book illustrator when editor Ursula Nordstrom (who also did Charlotte’s Web and Goodnight Moon) offered to let him write his own book. He came up with the title Where The Wild Horses Are, which Nordstrom thought was “so poetic and evocative,” according to Sendak. Then Sendak, who was a self-taught artist, discovered that he couldn’t draw horses. When he told Nordstrom his problem, she said in an icy tone, “Maurice, what can you draw?”

“Things,” he replied.

 

THE BOOK WAS ABOUT SENDAK’S CHILDHOOD

Sendak repeatedly said he didn’t try to write for children, he just tried to write about himself and people he knew. The books were a form of self-expression for him. Where The Wild Things Are was based on his experiences living as a child in Brooklyn with his hard-working father and emotionally unbalanced mother.

“That’s what art is. I mean, you don’t make up stories, you live your life,” he said, adding, “I was not Max. I did not have the courage that Max had, and I did not have the mother that Max had.”

Click here to see the rest of the list.

Are You A Winner In the ‘Into the Killing Seas’ Giveaway Contest?

seas_450x2-300x450New York Times best-selling author Michael P. Spradlin is back with epic new adventure novel. Into the Killing Seas is based on the true events of the 1945 sinking of the USS Indianapolis, tells a harrowing story of World War II.

We held a contest to giveaway five copies of the upcoming book. Here are the winners:

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Get the Scoop On Max Brallier’s Latest Book, ‘Galactic Hot Dogs.’

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Author Max Brallier has written more than twenty books, including the pick-your-own-path adventure Can YOU Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? and several interactive max-brallier-75371836_bannerAdventure Time novels. He’s also a game designer for the incredible gaming site Poptropica.

Galactic Hot Dogs, his latest book, is in stores now. It’s the hilariously wacky, epically intergalactic, overwhelmingly unputdownable tale of a boy named Cosmoe and his flying food truck. (Click here for a chance to win a copy.)

Want more? You’re in luck. Max Brallier took some time out of his busy schedule to chat about Galactic Hot Dogs, Star Wars and the Boston Celtics.

 


 

What can you tell us about Galactic Hot Dogs?

Galactic Hot Dogs is a little bit Star Wars, a little bit Guardians of the Galaxy, a little bit Captain Underpants, and a whole lot of weirdness. This goofy, funny, action-packed space story follows the adventures Cosmoe the Earth-Boy and the crew of the Neon Wiener, a flying food truck that sells funky hot dogs and weird alien milkshakes.

The action starts when Cosmoe and his two best buddies stumble upon a long-lost spaceship full of zombie space pirates, where they discover a long-lost map that leads to something called The Ultimate Evil. Now, they’re on the run from a massive squad of bounty hunters and an entire evil army! As they flee across the galaxy, they battle evil robots, wrestle giant mutant worms, stumble into the galaxy’s strangest videogame, and more —all while on the hunt for the mysterious Ultimate Evil. 

 

It’s a one-of-a-kind story. How did you come up with the idea?

It really came to me super easily – I just slammed together the three ultimate loves of my life: action-packed space adventure, mouth-watering hot dogs, and goofy humor! I came up with a really fun crew of silly best friends and then threw them into a past-faced, really exciting, really funny adventure. At least, I think it’s exciting and funny – but I may be biased.

 

What makes writing for kids so fun?

No joke, it’s just like writing for myself. I don’t know what adults like and I don’t what they want. I would have a horrible time ever trying to write a serious book for adults. Writing for kids and teens is just fun — it’s all about tapping into my inner child. And that’s not hard — I’m basically a kid. When I’m not writing, I’m busy playing videogames, collecting action figures, and rooting way too hard for my favorite sports teams.

I was a constant daydreamer as a kid. Sitting in class, sitting on the bus, laying in bed, goofing around at summer camp — I was always daydreaming. And when daydreaming, I was usually imagining myself in the middle of some crazy, bonkers adventure with my best friends. By the way, that adventure usually involved either Indiana Jones or Wolverine or both. So when I’m writing, I just do the same thing: I shut my eyes and I just think, man, what would be really funny? What would be a really great action scene? What would two best buddies say to each other if they were staring down a giant spider beast? I just think about what I would want to read — and I do my best to write it!

 

What are some of your favorite kid/young adult books?

My favorite series of all time is either Jeff Smith’s BONE series or Herge’s Tintin series. I’m really into AMULET right now — I’ve totally fallen in love with the world Kazu Kabushi has created. Of all the recent, fantastic YA books out there, I think The Maze Runner is probably my favorite — I loved the mystery behind the dystopia and it had me flipping pages like a mad man. I think maybe the best American writing of all time can be found in Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes. I always enjoy Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Timmy Failure — and I’m always inspired by their brilliant, hilarious storytelling.

 

What can we expect next from the Galactic Hot Dogs series?

Book 2 is being released LIVE at GalacticHotDogs.com, so you can follow along with the adventure there. I can’t tell you TOO much, that would be spoiling the fun — but here’s a little peak: it involves a freaky space circus that’s full of giganto monsters, robotic clowns, and all sorts of strange, mysterious characters. Also, action and jokes. Tons of action and jokes.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

In no particular order, videogames (I’m addicted to Destiny right now), ping-pong, riding my bike, the Boston Celtics, reading, movies movies movies, collecting 1980s action figures, Frisbee, Pittsburgh sports, oversleeping, exploring big cities and new places, chocolate, milkshakes, chilling out.

 

Finally, finish this sentence: “He woke up falling from the sky…

and he realized with sudden horror: skydiving is a very poor choice of hobby for a narcoleptic.”

Winners of the Minecraft: Blockopedia Contest

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Are you a Minecraft fanatic? Minecraft: Blockopedia by Alex Wiltshire is the most definitive reference for all things Minecraft, providing detailed entries for blocks, plants, ores and everything else you need to know about the game. 41xxsVo+l3L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

The world of Minecraft is made entirely of blocks. Some help you build, some help you stay alive. Every block you discover opens up new possibilities and exciting adventures. The Minecraft: Blockopedia is fully illustrated and packed with essential information about each block and its uses. From basic plants and ores to enchantment tables and End stone, you’ll find every single block in here. Blockopedia contains everything you need to know to make the most of the blocks that make up your world — it’s a comprehensive reference tool for beginners and more experienced players alike. This hexagonal hardback book is presented in a stylish gift box.

Scholastic, $49.99 hardcover. All ages.

Congratulations to winners Charlie and Henry!

 

John Grisham Talks ‘Theo Boone,’ Scouting and His Favorite Books

Kid lawyer Theo Boone is back in bestselling author John Grisham’s latest thriller Theodore Boone: The Fugitive. If you haven’t read the series yet, I highly recommend jumping into it. It’s mysterious, smart and constantly entertaining.

51pkXG-Lr2L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Fugitive is the fifth installment in the series. It’s been two years since 13-year-old Theodore Boone, the ever-clever lawyer-in-training, tackled his last case. In the first four books in the series, Theo helped solve a murder mystery and a kidnapping, was framed for a crime he did not commit, and uncovered political corruption in a hot-button environmental case. In The Fugitive, Theo thought the danger had passed, but he’s about to face-off against an old adversary: accused murderer and fugitive Pete Duffy.

On a field trip to Washington, D.C., Theo spots a familiar face on the Metro: Duffy, who jumped bail and was never seen again. Theo’s quick thinking helps bring Duffy back to Strattenburg to stand trial. But now that Duffy knows who he is, Theo is in greater danger than  ever before. Even when everything is on the line, Theodore Boone will stop at nothing to make sure a killer is brought to justice.

Be sure to watch the trailer above for a cool glimpse of what to expect in Theo Boone: The Fugitive. Also, I spoke with author John Grisham earlier this week to chat about the new book (in bookstores now). See what he had to say below.


 

What can you tell us about the new Theo Boone book?

It’s sort of a sequel to the very first Theo book.  In that story, a number of loose ends were left hanging, especially the unusual outcome in the trial of Pete Duffy. I’ve heard from a number of readers who were a bit frustrated. So, I figured it was time to put an end to the Pete Duffy matter. Thus, The Fugitive.

How did you come up with the idea for the Theo Boone character?news-grisham

My daughter is a school teacher, and several years ago she asked me if I could write good suspense for the younger market. She was frustrated because she couldn’t find much for her kids. I took up the challenge and created Theodore Boone.

Theo is a Boy Scout. How does Scouting influence his life?

I was a Boy Scout and loved Scouting. I read Boys’ Life every month, from cover to cover. My fondest childhood memories are from Scouting, and I want Theo to have some of those same great experiences. Scouting provides me, as a writer, the opportunity to change scenery, to move Theo and his friends to the outdoors and beyond.

How is writing for children different than writing for adults?

On the one hand, it’s easier because the plots and people are not as complicated. On the other hand, it’s often difficult to maintain the voice of a 13 year old. I can’t always remember how smart I was at that age, nor can I remember how I viewed the world.

What are some of your favorite children’s books?

My favorite was the Chip Hilton sports series; the Hardy Boys; and especially Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

What can we expect next from Theo Boone?

More trouble, more adventures, more drama, more heroics.

All About About Meteorology

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In the May 2015 issue of Boys’ Life magazine, we featured an incredible story about storm chaser Reed Timmer.

Want to learn more about Meteorology? Here are a few book options:

Here are more cool meteorology links: