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Read an Excerpt From ‘Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics’


That wacky game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, is back! That’s right, a puzzle-packed sequel to the award-winning New York Times bestseller Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is in stores now.

This time, Mr. Lemoncello has invited teams from all across America to compete in the first ever Library Olympics. But something suspicious is going on . . . books are missing from Mr. Lemoncello’s library. Is someone trying to censor what the kids are reading? In between figuring out mind-boggling challenges, the kids will have to band together to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Can Mr. Lemoncello find the real defenders of books and champions of libraries? Packed with puzzles, clues, and thrilling surprises, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics is one action-packed read.

Read the first chapter from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics

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© 2016 by Chris Grabenstein. Published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

New Trailer For ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’

Harry Potter fans rejoice! There’s a brand-new Harry Potter movie coming soon. Well … kind of. J.K. Rowling’s 2001 book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is finally getting a big-screen adaptation. It’s not exactly a ‘Harry Potter’ book, but it takes place in the same universe.

It’s written as if it’s Harry’s textbook from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and includes several notes inside it supposedly handwritten by Harry and his best friend Ron Weasley about things they did in the book.

The movie will be about the book’s writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.And, yes, it’ll feature lots of cool wizards and crazy creatures.

Celebrate Halloween With ‘Monster Jamboree’ by Brandon Mull


Illustrations by Heath McKenzie & Kevin Hurley

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]bandoned buildings sagged on either side of the dirt road as we rolled into Larill, Arizona, in the dead of night, our headlights flashing across broken windows and peeling paint. No other lights hinted at life in the area. Our troop of 14 Scouts and three leaders caravanned in two SUVs and an old minivan.

The three vehicles stopped in the town’s main square. Our leaders killed the engines, and we got out. When I slammed my door, the echo bounced four or five times. A warm breeze sighed across the desert, carrying dry dust and the smell of sage. Off in the parched wasteland beyond the town, a coyote gave a lonely howl. With my arm fully extended, my hand couldn’t quite cover the pale hugeness of the bright moon.

“Did you check the date?” I asked.

“Midnight is a weird hour for opening ceremonies,” I said.

Our Scoutmaster, a lanky man with a mustache, held up his clipboard and clicked on a flashlight. “The Monster Jamboree is scheduled to begin here tonight at midnight. We’re right on time. Maybe a minute or two early.”

“Midnight is a weird hour for opening ceremonies,” I said.

“I checked when I called,” our Scoutmaster insisted. “The tradition dates back many years.”

I shrugged. “I don’t see anyone.”

Our Scoutmaster huffed. “They promised this would be very well attended.”

A ragged cloud drifted across the moon, dimming the night. Some of the younger guys in the troop crowded together, eyes wide.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] haven’t introduced myself. I’m Chase Davis, senior patrol leader of Troop 6526 out of Highland, Utah. I’m a Life Scout just two badges and a project short of Eagle.

Last year, our Scoutmaster really wanted to take us to the national jamboree in West Virginia, but he couldn’t arrange it. While in a cemetery this past Memorial Day, he found a flyer for the Monster Jamboree held in Larill, just over six hours by car from our hometown.monster_jam_main_patch

Determined not to miss this one, we raised the funds, packed up our gear and hit the road. We would have arrived earlier in the day, but a stretch of Highway 89 was closed and we got lost trying to find an alternate route.

“This is a ghost town,” I said, shining my flashlight at a skinny possum on a windowsill.

Our Scoutmaster shook his head. “My map and GPS agree that this is the right …”

He was cut off by the gong of a church bell. It seemed as loud as a cannon, and we all jumped. The bell clanged a second time, and a third.

From shadowy alleys and derelict buildings, Scouts began to pour into the square. They marched in orderly lines. Some carried torches, using them to light bonfires.

“This is more like it,” our Scoutmaster said.

I instructed my fellow Scouts to form up into orderly ranks. As another troop positioned themselves beside us, I dug out some patches I had brought for trading. I had lots of Utah National Parks Council patches, but wasn’t sure if we were far enough from home for them to generate much interest.

I approached a Scout in the neighboring troop. He was pale with dark eyes. “Have any patches to trade?” I whispered.MonsterJambo2_FINAL_KO

“Maybe.” When I showed him one of my patches with Delicate Arch and a dinosaur, his expression brightened. “I’ve never seen that one!”

He accepted mine and gave me a patch from the Transylvanian Council. “Is this from Europe?” I asked.

“You sound surprised,” he said. “This is an international jamboree.”

Encouraged by the good trade and noticing many Scouts still coming to the square, I wandered over to another troop. They wore shabby uniforms and smelled like they desperately needed showers. A Scout with a crooked back limped over to me, eyes on my patches. One of his arms hung useless at his side. I tried not to stare.

“Trade?” he asked.

I showed him my patch. He sniffed it, then gave me one from the Necropolis Council. I hit a couple other nearby troops and got patches from the Bermuda Triangle Council, the Lost Mines Council and the Stonehenge Council. One of the troops wore weird shoes. In the bad lighting, their feet almost looked like hooves.

Monster Council Patches


The other troops had mostly found their positions by the time I returned to mine. Some of the troops on the far side of the square looked like they were wearing costumes under their uniforms. One whole troop was dressed as skeletons. Our Scoutmaster had never mentioned that possibility.

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] figure in a hooded robe shuffled to the center of the square. “Welcome to the 75th Annual Monster Jamboree,” said a slithery voice that reached my ears as if whispered from close by. “We have Monster Scouts from 19 countries in attendance tonight. Troop 23 from the Barbary Coast will serve as color guard, after which Troop 888 from beneath the sands of Cairo will lead us in the Scout Law.”

An orderly group of Scouts in perfect formation brought out a flag and raised it with dignity. Instead of the familiar stars and stripes, this flag depicted a skull and crossbones on a field of black.

“I thought the ‘Monster’ in ‘Monster Jamboree’ referred to the size of the event,” I murmured to our Scoutmaster.

“With or without a monster theme,” he muttered, “this seems disrespectful.”

A group of Scouts wrapped in bandages marched to the center of the square. One Scout stepped forward. “Please join us in the Scout Law.”

I started saying the familiar words, but stopped when I realized everyone else was reciting different ones. “A Scout is Bloodthirsty, Tricky, Harmful, Deadly, Ominous, Fierce, Obscure, Vengeful, Sneaky, Grave, Mean and Irreverent.” At the end, scattered voices added, “And Hungry!”

I knew something was wrong. The monster theme was going too far.

The kid who had given me the Transylvania patch stood nearby. I sidled over to him.

“Have you come to this before?” I asked.

“First time,” he replied. “But I’ve been a Monster Scout since I was little. I earned my Arrow of Darkness, and I’m on the path to Dragon.”

“Dragon? What rank are you?”

“I’m a Death Scout. I just need my Lifetaking merit badge and a few others. Seems like just yesterday I was a Tenderthroat.”

The scraggly cloud moved away from the moon. Several troops instantly morphed into wolf shapes. A winged flock of uniformed gargoyles landed not far away.

“You’re not Boy Scouts,” I groaned.

He grinned, revealing fangs. “Some of us were, before we got bitten.”

I backed away. Several voices started crying out, “Humans!”

“Time to go,” I told my troop. Breaking ranks, we raced toward our cars.

As the kid who had given me the Necropolis Council patch staggered toward me, his arm dropped off. “Gross!” I shouted.

“Brains,” he croaked.

With dozens of Monster Scouts trailing behind me, I was last into the minivan. We yanked the doors shut and locked them as bodies pounded against the windows, teeth bared. Our Scoutmaster floored it, and monsters dove out of the way. Dust sprayed behind us as we whooshed out of town.

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ow you might think some of this sounds too crazy to be true. An alternate Scouting program full of werewolves, vampires, zombies, mummies and gargoyles might seem like a lot to swallow.

You could argue that we dreamed it. And I might have to agree, if I didn’t have some truly unusual patches in my collection!

Brandon_Mull_Mug_ShotAbout the author: Brandon Mull is an Eagle Scout and has authored many novels, including the Fablehaven, Spirit Animals and Beyonders series. His newest series is Five Kingdoms.

Don’t Miss These Seriously Spooky Books


What better way to celebrate the spookiest time of the year than with a few scary books. Here’s a few of the best Halloween books ever written.

51YpY9BT-PL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_The Witches by Roald Dahl

This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches. Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There’s nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them.

Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma’s stories—but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah Howe

515MBTEMKYL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_It all began when the Monroes went to see the movie Dracula. At the theater Toby (the son) found something on his seat: a baby rabbit that he took home and named Bunnicula. Soon though, the family started noticing strange things about the new bunny.
For one, thing he seemed to have fangs. And the odd markings on his back looked a little like a cape. Furthermore, Bunnicula was awake only at night. Was Bunnicula really a vampire? Only Bunnicula knows for sure.

harry-potter-and-the-sorcerers-stone-cover-imageHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradburyhalloweentree

A group of eight boys set out to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, only to discover that a ninth friend, Pipkin, has been whisked away on a journey that could determine whether he lives or dies. Through the help of a mysterious character named Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, they pursue their friend across time and space through Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Greek, and Roman cultures, Celtic Druidism, Notre Dame Cathedral in Medieval Paris, and The Day of the Dead in Mexico. Along the way, they learn the origins of the holiday that they celebrate, and the role that the fear of death, spooks and the haunts has played in shaping civilization.

51gQrGXfEnL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_Coraline by Neil Gaiman

When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own . . . except that it’s different. It’s a marvelous adventure until Coraline discovers that there’s also another mother and another father in the house. They want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to keep her forever!

Coraline must use all of her wits and every ounce of courage in order to save herself and return home.

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz51rg-Zr1+AL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm (and Grimm-inspired) fairy tales. An irreverent, witty narrator leads us through encounters with witches, warlocks, dragons, and the devil himself. As the siblings roam a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind the famous tales, as well as how to take charge of their destinies and create their own happily ever after. Because once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.


All About ‘Nick and Tesla’s Special Effects Spectacular’


Smart siblings — and amateur scientists — Nick and Tesla Holt are back in another STEM-focused adventure. In Nick and Tesla’s Special Effects Spectacular, you’ll not only solve a tricky mystery, but also get to try a few science projects along the way. By Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith; Quirk; $12.95 hardcover. All ages.

Learn more here.

Cool Book Alert: Guinness World Records 2016 Edition



To celebrate the release of the Guinness World Records 2016 Edition, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the lesser-known Guinness World Records. Who doesn’t love reading about cool Guinness World Records? From the tallest human to the most expensive car to the fastest roller coaster, Guinness has been collecting epic world records for more than 60 years. So, without further ado, take a look at the twelve oddest, most bizarre world records I could find.

Longest Fingernails on a Single Hand

Most Balls Caught By a Dog in One Minute

Heaviest Weight Lifted With the Tongue

Loudest Purring Cat

Most Walnuts Smashed with a Nunchuks in One Minute

World’s Heaviest Strawberry

Fastest Tortoise

Fastest Time To Pierce Four Coconuts with One Finger

Most Bananas Snapped In One Minute

World’s Tallest Cow

Fastest Time To Type Using the Nose

Most Keys Removed From a Keyring By a Parrot

Bnus: Tallest Staircase Built In One Minute In Minecraft

OK, this one’s not that weird. But it seems like something one of you Minecraft experts might be able to top. Do you think it’s possible to break it? Take a look:

‘How to Tell a Story’ Creates an Epic Game of Endless Possibilities


If you’re a fan of telling tall tales, How to Tell a Story by Daniel Nayeri is for you. The whimsically illustrated, 144-page book comes with 20 six-sided story cubes that provide all you need to craft more than a million stories.

How Does It Work?

The book is a guide to the principles of creative storytelling, covering the essential elements like conflict, characters, motivation, dialogue, theme and, of course, the climax. As you turn the pages, you’ll be prompted to roll the story blocks that are included with the book.


And that’s when the magic starts to happen. In fact, that’s how How to Tell a Story first got my attention. You can play/read it in so many of different ways. Have some friends over? Break out How to Tell a Story and collaborate on a single epic story. Or, players/storytellers can pit their own stories against other players’, letting a judge to decide which one is best.

You could also play it alone. Roll the blocks and let your imagination lead you to a cool imaginative story that you may not have dreamed up otherwise. Here at the BL office, we’ve used the blocks to get a brainstorming session up and going, break the ice at a meeting, and

If it sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. How to Tell a Story teaches you the ins and outs of gameplay, and leaves plenty of room for you to create up your own ways to play, too.

All About the Blocks

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 2.48.16 PM

Each block has six colored sides, all loosely associated with a part of speech: nouns (people or animals), other types of nouns (things), even more types of nouns (places), adjectives (descriptions or emotions), verbs (actions) and relationships (which like regular relationships, are a whole bunch of messy things at once).

Simply put, How to Tell a Story provides more than million combinations for telling a cool story. That means there are endless ways to read — and play — this book.

Check Out Some of the Coolest Libraries From Around the Globe


It’s easy to think of libraries at dusty old buildings without much aesthetic appeal, but these incredible book rooms will change the way you think about libraries forever. From Austria to Washington D.C., to the United Kingdom, this gallery features some of the most breathtaking libraries from around the world.

Butler Library at Columbia University — New York, N.Y.



Vatican Library — Vatican City




Library at the Benedictine Monastery of Admont — Admont, Austria




Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University — New Haven, Connecticut




Royal Portuguese Reading Room — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil




Library of Congress — Washington, D.C., U.S.A.




The Library of Melk Abbey — Austria

The library of Melk Abbey, Austria; Melk Abbey



University of Aberdeen Library — United Kingdom

Architect: schmidt hammer lassen architects, Client: University of Aberdeen, Area: 15,500 m², Construction sum: € 40 million excl. VAT, Competition: 2005, 1st prize in restricted international competition, Status: Construction period 2009 - 2011, Engineer: Arup & Partners Ltd, Quantity Surveyors: Davis Langdon LLP, Landscape Architect: schmidt hammer lassen architects



Read an Excerpt From the All-New Football Book, ‘Legends’

legends_football jcktXX.indd

Just in time for the start of the NFL season this week, comes the second book in a cool non-fiction series for sports fans, Legends: The Best Players, Games, And Teams in Football by Howard Bryant.

It’s a great look at some of the most famous moments in football history. Whether you’re a fan of QB’s like Tom Brady or John Elway, famous plays like David Tyree’s epic Helmet Catch or the Immaculate Reception, or any of the other great moments from NFL history, this is the book for you. Plus, you’ll get an timeline of the history of football.

Here’s the official synopsis:

9780399169045 (1)[1]In this day and age, the gridiron reigns supreme. Football is America’s most popular sport and the NFL’s star players are instant celebrities. Our collective obsession with the game begins when we’re just kids and culminates each year on what has become the equivalent of a national holiday—Super Bowl Sunday. Recounting momentous stories of football’s past and present, and accompanied by iconic photos, Top Ten Lists to chew on and debate, and a Top 40-style timeline of key moments, this comprehensive collection details twenty of the greatest Super Bowls in NFL history—and expands on their relevance within the larger scope of dynasties, giants of the coaching world, and marquee players forever etched in the public’s mind. From the upsets to the blowouts to the nail-biting finishes, this is the perfect book for young fans eager to kick off their football schooling.

Read an Excerpt

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