Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Book Report: Sharing the latest in books, apps and literary marketplace news

'Books' photo by Paula Slade

Welcome to the debut edition of “The Book Report.” This weekly column is dedicated solely to the best in books, apps and audio as well as literary news and events. Like our sister columns, “If it’s Tuesday it must be toys and tours,” Thursday’s “Musical Notes” and Friday’s “Popcorn Report,” which respectively features the information on toys and travel, music, and movies, this weekly post highlights the important world of literature as positive entertainment for children and teens. Be sure to check back each Wednesday.


The American Library Association (63,000 members strong) took a stance when they issued a press release on March 14 regarding e-book lending restrictions that were imposed on libraries on March 7 by publishing house giant HarperCollins.

Libraries nationwide are now limited to 26 loans per e-title from Harper Collins. This policy has not gone over well with librarians, who in this present day economy serve more patrons than ever, while their budgets have been severely constrained. This action limits the individual e-book license to roughly one year of checkouts per title..

Libraries have a long history of providing access to knowledge, information and the creative written works of authors,” said American Library Association (ALA) President Roberta Stevens. “We are committed to equal and free access for the millions of people who depend on their library’s resources every day. While demand has surged, financial support has decreased. The announcement, at a time when libraries are struggling to remain open and staffed, is of grave concern. This new limitation means that fewer people will have access to an increasingly important format for delivering information.”

A website, Boycott Harper Collins has been organized by two librarians, Brett Bonfield and Gabriel Farrell and provides a place for librarians to voice their concerns on this subject. Stay tuned - so far, Harper Collins has not responded.

When you build it they will certainly come if it’s done right and Rick Richter’s Ruckus Media Group was given a $3.5 million vote of confidence with Series A funding provided by the entrepreneurial group Alsop Louie Partners.

Ruckus entered the highly competitive app scene in October 2010 with five superbly produced apps that were featured in an earlier September post.

The freshman company currently has 15 app offerings (a new release featured below) and with this round of funding will expand their library as well their as their distribution reach beyond Apple’s iTunes and include Amazon’s App Store, Barnes and Noble Nook, Google’s Android Market and Research In Motion’s Blackberry App World,

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and National Writing Project (NWP), two desperately needed educational literacy groups have been subject to a Congressional and Administration federal funding axe and need your help.

RIF costs every American taxpayer a paltry $0.25 per year, (translated $24.5 million total budget) but provides 4.4 million children (primarily low income) with a program of free books and learning opportunities at over 17,000 locations nationwide. NWP costs $25.6 million and reaches 130,000 teachers, 1.4 million- plus students. Studies show that both RIF and NWP programs work at promoting and providing literacy.

If you’re a concerned citizen or have children directly impacted by the withdrawal of these vital programs, link to these pages for RIF and NWP, which explain how to contact your legislators and others, in order to garner support on behalf of these organizations.


If you and your child live in the New York City area, or will be vacationing there this summer, the Thalia Kids’ Book Club Camp is taking reservations.

This is a unique camping experience geared toward avid readers and writers ages 9-12 (two one-week sessions) and 13-15 (one one-week session) based at Symphony Space (95th and Broadway).

Children have the opportunity to interact with their favorite children’s book authors and illustrators, taking part in book discussions and going on book related field trips around the city.

Three (different) one-week sessions (24 campers per week)

Week one: July 25 - July 29 - This week in now full
Week two: August 1 - August 5
Week three: August 8 - August 12

Note: campers may enroll in more than one session when space is available.

Camp hours9am - 4pm
Cost:  $650 per session/$625 for Symphony Space members.

To read more about this exciting opportunity, and the authors and illustrators who will be taking part in the camp, follow this link to Symphony Space.


The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Art in Amherst Massachusetts has announced the “Sixth Annual Carle Honors Honorees” awards that “celebrate the creative vision and long-term dedication of key individuals and organizations to the world of picture books and the many ways they open minds to art and literacy.”

Alexandra Kennedy, executive director of The Carle, says It is a thrill to honor these individuals whose work has contributed so positively to the world of children’s literature. Industry giants on their own, together these four talents comprise a sweeping scope of the breadth and impact of this exceptional genre.”

Lois Ehlert, Artist – Caldecott Honor winning author and illustrator

Jeanne Steig, Angel – Multimedia artist; donor of the William Steig picture book art archive to The Carle’s permanent collection

Michael di Capua, Mentor – Editor and art director of children’s books for more than 40 years

Karen Nelson Hoyle, Bridge – Professor and curator of The Children's Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota

These literary luminaries will be feted at New York City’s Guastavino’s on Thursday, September 22, 2011. Watch for additional information, or please contact Rebecca Miller Goggins, Director of Development for details at or by phoning (413) 658-1118.


AudioGo, the audio book publisher of BBC recordings are offering a half price sale from now until March 31, 2011.

These are children’s audio books as well as classic BBC radio programs, and original productions based on classic SF novels. 

Prices vary from approximately £3 to almost £10. ($4.81 to $16.03). Not all of the 740 titles, which are on sale, are available in the United States, but there still is a huge library to choose from for download.

All recordings are outstanding BBC quality productions and narrated in the “King’s English”; these are marvelous stories that reflect the best of literary accomplishments.


From the multiple entertainment hyphenate, Weird Al Yankovic comes a delightful new children’s picture book, When I Grow Up.

Geared toward the four-to-eight year-old marketplace, parents will also enjoy reading this offering out loud to kids because of Yankovic’s marvelously witty rhyming text, and delightful illustrations by Wes Hargis.

When I grow Up provides children permission (albeit silly) with all the delightful possibilities that their life can become.

Already a hot item at booksellers, and firmly ensconced on the New York Times Bestseller list, the video below gives you a sneak peek at what’s inside the covers.

The suggested retail price for this hardcover edition of When I Grow Up is $17.99. Best available pricing at the time of this posting is $7.72 through Amazon Marketplace.


It is not often that a film is adapted into a book; it’s almost always the other way around. One of these rare exceptions to the rule, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is coming to a bookseller near you in November this year.

The publisher is Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group and according to their press release, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things about Me will feature oil paintings based on photographs of Marcel in his home environment and will be aimed at readers of all ages. Razorbill will simultaneously publish an enriched, interactive digital version of the picture book, and an audio version of the text, recorded by Jenny Slate, will be available as a digital download.”

It was Slate, an actress, along with film director Dean Fleischer-Camp who created what has become an Internet award-winning sensational short , which since October 2010 has been viewed by over eight million persons via YouTube.

If you’re not familiar with Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, take a look at the video below. Talk about an idea whose time has finally come.



Another fine title has been launched from Ruckus Media Group (see news item above), the retelling of one of the world’s most beloved folktales, The Three Little Pigs, which is narrated by notable actress, Holly Hunter.

The original recording production of Three Little Pigs received the distinguished Parents’ Choice Gold Seal Award.

The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It requires iOS 3.2 or later and offers an interactive recording feature so a child can read along and record their voice.

The Three Little Pigs app is priced at $3.99 and may be purchased direct from iTunes.

Below for your enjoyment is a sneak peek preview of The Three Little Pigs.

It was only a matter of time and the 140th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass that an outstanding app by the same title makes its debut.

Check it out below, you are in for a wild trip.  Enjoy!

Through the Looking Glass is available through iTunes, and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 2.2 or later and costs $1.99


Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, author of Hands-On History: Middle Ages, Super Pop-up Reports for American History, and Multicultural Books to Make and Share, all from Scholastic Professional Books (teaching resources) shows us how to make an “accordion book.”  This is a great idea for having fun with the child in your life. Stop by her website; you’ll be delighted with what you find.

Gaylord’s artistic books are part of in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art Library, Yale University Library, and Wellesley College Library.

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