Book Trailer Premiere (and bonus interview): The Forbidden Library Series



I’m sure that the readers in your life book trailers as much as I do. I’m excited to have the opportunity to premiere the book trailer to Django Wexler’s the Forbidden Library series.

BONUS INTERVIEW!!!! I hope you enjoy my interview with Django Wexler.

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about the Forbidden Library series? (5 sentences)
  2. The Forbidden Library starts when Alice’s father disappears at sea, shortly after Alice sees him confront a fairy in their kitchen.  Alice is sent to live with her uncle Geryon, who turns out to be a Reader – a magician who can unlock the magic of special books.  Alice discovers she has the Reader’s gift, too.  She makes friends with Ashes, a cat who helps guard the library, and learns to bind magical creatures and use their powers.  But as she studies as Geryon’s apprentice, she also investigates her father’s disappearance, no matter where that trail might lead her.
  1. What is your favorite thing about being an author? (4 sentences)
    I’m tempted to say being able to sleep as long as I like in the mornings, not having to commute, and a lack of meetings!  (I was a software guy in a previous life.)  But honestly, the best part is talking to people who’ve read the books and enjoyed them.  Getting to see how something I’ve done makes people happy, and seeing all the different takes on the characters and the stories, is really wonderful.
  1. What’s the hardest thing about being an author? (3 sentences)
    Writing, basically, writing is hard.  It’s simultaneously the most fun thing I get to do and occasionally the most frustrating.  When it’s going well, I feel on top of the world, but when I get stuck, or have to rewrite something I thought I had down, I can get very grouchy.
  1. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick? (2 sentences)

bankscoversSomething far-future and science fiction-y, like Iain Banks’ Culture novels or Peter Hamilton’s Void trilogy.  I would take the chance to get myself upgraded with all kind of awesome nanotechnology to impress my friends when I came back.


  1. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom? (1 sentence)

Basically, you need to read a lot and never stop, and write a lot and never stop, even if it takes you many tries to get where you want to go.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Scott M. Cohn


Looking for a fun book for Father’s Day? Be sure to check out Daddy Sat on a Duck. It just may be the book the dad in your life may totally dig. I’m pretty excited to be interviewing Daddy Sat on a Duck author Scott M. Cohn.

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about Daddy Sat on a Duck?

Daddy Sat On A Duck is about a little girl who thinks she’s living in a house full of wild, hairy, noisy, stinky animals only to realize that it’s actually just her Daddy! It’s about how silly grown-ups can be without even knowing it, and how that can make life exciting and fun! (2)


  1. What is your favorite thing about being an author?

Being able to say “Hey, look at me! I’m an author!” and not be lying. (1)

  1. What’s the hardest thing about being an author?

Knowing when to put down your pencil and say, “That’s good enough.” It’s easy to go back over what you’ve done a million times and find a different way of saying something, but at a certain point you lose that little nugget of truth that inspired it in the first place. Certainly you want to proof your work and rewrite if there’s a better, more direct way of making your point, but after a while you’re just shuffling around the same car parts and trying to build an airplane. (3)


  1. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick?

I think I’d have to say Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. Yes, that. I know things get out of hand in that book – stinky cheese, broccoli, etc. But as a gourmand, it has always been a dream of mine to live in a world of giant food.  (4)

  1. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom?

Get good at talking, then write how you talk. Don’t try to “write.” Read many books of all types, not just literature, but biographies, DIY books, obscure histories, technical manuals – they will fuel your writing in ways you will thank them for later. Listen to the voice in your head so long as it stays positive and nurturing. Take your own criticism with a large grain of salt or you’ll never get anything done. (5)

Trifecta: Interstellar Cinderella


Today’s post is part of a #SharpSchu and #NerdyBookClub trifecta.

Check out Mr. Schu’s post by clicking on the image below.

Clicking on the image below will take you to the Nerdy Book Club’s portion of today’s trifecta.

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I read my third graders and my children a lot of books.

A lot.

Often the books that I’m reading my students are the same books I am reading my kids at home. I think that Interstellar Cinderella just may be one of the most important 2015 books that I read them.


I so badly want my daughters and the young girls in my classroom to grow up believing that they can do anything in this world. It is very easy to see what society thinks girls should be, and it is not exactly what I’m hoping for my students and my kids. I think that it is fair to say that none of us are wishing that the young ladies in our lives grow up to be air-brushed babes. We’d much rather see them grow up to be…whatever the heck they want to be.

I feel that Interstellar Cinderella does a marvelous job showing girls that they can be anything that they’d like, and they don’t need a dude to swoop in and save the day. They can stand on their own two feet. They can be their own person. They can be themselves.

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All of my students had smiles across their faces when we got to the end of Interstellar Cinderella. The ending led to some great conversations with both my students and my children.

I’m thankful to have a book like Interstellar Cinderella on my bookshelf at home and in my classroom library at school.

Guest Post From Ben Hatke: Where Do Goblins Come From?


Where do Goblins Come From?


I’ve been playing role playing games since I was a wee thing. For me it all started with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and other Strangeness) game. My first character was a mutant weasel named Tannon.


Since those long-ago days I’ve played many different types of RPGs, in several different systems, and explored all kinds of stories and genre mash-ups. And like many role players I hold a special affection for Dungeons and Dragons.


D&D, that most prototypical of RPGs, lets players run loose in a wide, somewhat generic fantasy world full of taverns and dungeons and dark towers and, of course, lots of monsters and creatures to fight on your quest for fortune and glory. But one thing always bothered me about D&D.

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See, in this game alignment (good, evil, indifferent) is designated. The creatures you fight, event the fully sentient ones who are making their own decisions, are just evil. This problem is definitely not unique to D&D. It’s in all kinds of stories, but it comes up a lot in our gaming group all the time.


This allows player characters to charge into a dungeon and put all the goblins they find to the sword without having to ask questions like “does that goblin have a family?” or “is this goblin fighting me because it sees me as a trespasser in its home?” No, you just hack the goblin to pieces because it’s evil. Case closed.

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Poor little things.

So I’ve written a picture books for the goblins. For the weakest, grimiest denizens of our fantasy worlds. Goblins are the ugly little creatures everyone feels comfortable hating, even thought they don’t pose much of a threat. I decided to give the goblins a chance. I sent a goblin on a quest (his name is Goblin) and he became one of my favorite characters.

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One one day, if you see my Goblin staring out at you from the shelf of your bookstore or library, I hope you don’t draw your sword right away.


Ben Hatke is the #1 New York Times Best-Selling author of the Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, as well as the picture book Julia’s House for Lost Creatures. His next book, Little Robot, will be in stores September 2016.

Little Red Henry Trifecta


I’m a pretty big fan of Linda Urban. When I read a Linda Urban book for the first time I’m always wearing my “Linda Urban Glasses”. These glasses contain a lens that shoots a signal through my eyes, to my brain, and finally to my heart that says: this book is wonderful. These glasses were developed through the reading of every Linda Urban book and every Linda Urban blog post. I believe that the children’s literature community has come to recognize and associate Linda Urban’s name with greatness. I then read the book a second time and I realize that it wasn’t the goggles that made the book so awesome, it was the writing.

Little Red Henry is another wonderful book from Linda Urban.


One of the things that I love so much about Little Red Henry is that we all can learn something from the book. Henry’s family is pretty much nuts. The more time I spend on this Earth, the more I realize that in one way or another all of our families are a little nutty in one way or another. Henry’s family is insanely overprotective. They do everything for him. Basically, Henry is like many of the students in our classrooms. Heck, he’s a lot like the four kids running around the Sharp house. I love that the kids that are hovered over, and families doing the hovering, can walk away from this book knowing that giving a little bit of space is okay. The world is not going to end, and the kid is probably going to be a lot better off because of it.

I would highly recommend that all teachers and parents that need to learn this lesson from Little Red Henry check out this blog post from Kristi Mraz.


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I hope that you’ll check out Linda Urban’s Little Red Henry. It’s a super fun book with a few lessons sprinkled in that the kids in our life would probably appreciate that we learned.

Today’s post is part of a trifecta.

Check out Mr. Schu’s interview with illustrator Madeline Valentine, and Linda’s post over at Nerdy Book Club.

The Sky Painter Blog Tour


I love me a good picture book biography. Margarita Engle’s The Sky Painter is one that I am super excited to add to my classroom library. I’m going to share with you 5 reasons why you want to add this book to your collection.

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1. Birds

Seriously, kid love birds, so a biography about a person that is obsessed with birds is sure to be a hit.

2. Poetry Month

The first thing I thought when I read the first page/poem in The Sky Painter was that it would make a poem for Poem in Your Pocket day.

3. Newbery Honor

Seriously, Margarita Engle can flat out write. It’s very easy to see why a Newbery committee found her words to be distinguished.

4. Aliona Bereghici

I think that it would be pretty intimidating to illustrate a picture book about one of the greatest bird painters in the history of the universe (Louis Agassiz Fuertes).

5. The Historical Note

One of my favorite things about picture book biographies are the historical notes. I imagine authors trying to pick and choose their words in the first 32 pages so carefully. I’m sure that they had to cut out so many things that they wanted to share with their readers. The historical note is a perfect place for them to expand on their subject. The Sky Painter has a most excellent historical note.

Follow along on THE SKY PAINTER blog tour!
Mon, Apr 20
Library Fanatic
Tues, Apr 21
Kid Lit Frenzy
Wed, Apr 22
Unleashing Readers
Thurs, Apr 23
5 Minutes for Books
Fri, Apr 24
Teach Mentor Texts
Sat, Apr 25
Booking Mama
Mon, Apr 27
Tues, Apr 28
The Children’s Book Review
Wed, Apr 29
Cracking the Cover
Thurs, Apr 30
A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
Fri, May 1
Archimedes Notebook

One lucky winner will receive a copy of THE SKY PAINTER: LOUIS FUERTES, BIRD ARTIST by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Aliona Bereghici. (U.S. addresses only.)