We the People

November 17, 2017

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Listen:

This week, we're talking about civics education. At a time when our republic feels particularly unsettled, we’re asking: What do students know about their government? What SHOULD they know? Teachers tell us that there is a critical need for materials that help students understand their role in a democracy and as citizens of the world—whether the lesson is understanding the three branches of government, spotting fake news, or simply learning how to disagree respectfully, teachers of all grade levels are having civics-related discussions almost daily. 

In this episode, we sit down with four of our Scholastic Classroom Magazines editors to talk about how they help teachers bring civics into the classroom. We also talk with a fourth-grade teacher from New York about the types of lessons she's sharing with her students.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Steph Smith is the editorial director of Scholastic News.
  • Mary Kate Frank is the Deputy Editor of Junior Scholastic.
  • Ian Zack is the Executive Editor of The New York Times Upfront
  • Laine Falk is an Editorial Director for Scholastic News.
  • Gail Sider is a fourth-grade teacher at Hutchinson Elementary School in Pelham, New York.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

 

Talking Wonderstruck with Brian Selznick

November 9, 2017

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Listen:

This week, we're taking you with us to the Queens Museum as we attend a special event honoring the Panorama of the City of New York exhibit — a miniature model of New York City that was built for the 1964-1965 World's Fair. The exhibit plays a pivotal role in Brian Selznick's bestselling novel Wonderstruck, as well as its recent movie adaptation. We talk with Brian about Wonderstruck and what it was like to see his novel come to life on the big screen. Later in the episode, we also hear from Louise Weinberg, curator and archives manager from the Queens Museum, who will share some of the history of the Panorama.

Additional Resources:

Guests: 

  • Brian Selznick is the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of the New York Times bestsellers The Invention of Hugo Cabret, adapted into Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning HugoWonderstruck, adapted into Todd Haynes’s eponymous movie; and The Marvels. Among the celebrated picture books Selznick has illustrated are the Caldecott Honor Book The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, and the Sibert Honor Book When Marian Sang by Pam Muñoz Ryan. His books appear in over 35 languages. He has also worked as a bookseller, a puppeteer, and a screenwriter. He divides his time between Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.
  • Louise Weinberg is a curator and archives manager at the Queens Museum

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

I Exist: Why Representation in Children's Books Matters

October 26, 2017

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"I stopped reading books that had humans in them after Harriet [the Spy] because I knew there wouldn't be any humans like me," — Sarah Moon, author of Sparrow

At Scholastic, we're proud to publish authors of differend backgrounds, cultures, races, abilities, and orientations. But we also know that many of our authors have felt the same way Sarah did as a child. Like her, many felt that they didn't exist in children's books when they were growing up. And like her, many are now writing to change that for future generations. We invited them to share their stories and to talk about why representation in children's books is so crucial. These stories will break your heart, but they will also give you hope: hope that today's children will never doubt that they can be the heroes of their own stories. 

Contributing authors:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Everything is a Metaphor: A Conversation with Maggie Stiefvater

October 6, 2017

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This week, we're talking myths, magic and metaphors with bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, whose newest novel, All the Crooked Saints, will be in stores on October 10. Maggie is joined in the studio by her editor, David Levithan, as well as some extra special guests: her dad and her brother! Later in the episode, we'll also talk with Booklist editor Daniel Kraus about Booklist's 50 Best YA Books of All Time list, which just so happens to include Maggie's New York Times bestselling series The Raven Cycle.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Entertainment Weekly has called Maggie Stiefvater, “one of the finest YA novelists writing today.” Maggie Stiefvater is a writer, artist, and musician and a New York Times bestselling author. Her work includes the Shiver series, The Raven Cycle series, The Scorpio Races, and many more books for young readers. Stiefvater lives in Virginia with her family. You can visit her online at www.maggiestiefvater.com and follow her on Twitter @mstiefvater.
  • Daniel Kraus is Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Art, Tragedy, and Ghost Stories: A Conversation with Daniel José Older

September 21, 2017

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This week, we're joined in the studio by Daniel José Older, author of the New York Times bestselling Shadowshaper, an urban fantasy for young adults that follows the adventures of Sierra Santiago, a Brooklyn teen with supernatural powers. Daniel is also a musician, an artist, and a former paramedic. We're talking with him about his latest book,Shadowhouse Fall, and about his efforts to bring more diversity to children's literature.

Additional Resources: 

Guests:

  • Daniel José Older is the New York Times bestselling author of the Young Adult series the Shadowshaper Cypher (Scholastic), the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series (Penguin), and the upcoming Middle Grade sci-fi adventure Flood City (Scholastic). He won the International Latino Book Award and has been nominated for the Kirkus Prize, the Mythopoeic Award, the Locus Award, the Andre Norton Award, and yes, the World Fantasy Award. Shadowshaper was named one of Esquire’s 80 Books Every Person Should Read.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

 

Getting Families Engaged in the Classroom

September 7, 2017

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Research tells us that when families are engaged in their children's learning, great things happen. But what does it look like when families and educators are working together? To find out, we're talking with Dr. Karen L. Mapp from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (and co-author of Powerful Partnerships: A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging Families for Student Success). We'll also hear from Dana McDonough, the 2016 New York State Teacher of the Year, who shares ways that she works to engage her students' families and the community at large in her classroom.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Dr. Karen L. Mapp is a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Faculty Director of the Education Policy and Management Master’s Program. She is also co-author of the new book for educators Powerful Partnerships: A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging Families for Student Success
  • Dana McDonough is the 2016 State Teacher of the Year from New York. She is a district literacy specialist in Newburgh, NY.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

 

Summer Short: Middle Grade Read-Alouds

August 24, 2017

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This week, we’re excited to share another short episode full of read-alouds with you! Here at Scholastic, we know that reading aloud with your child is one of the most important things you can do to, and it shouldn’t stop once they can read on their own. According to data from our recent Kids and Family Reading Report, the frequency of reading aloud drops off significantly after children turn 5, and again after they turn 8. But kids between the ages of 6 and 11 overwhelmingly reported that they still enjoy being read to! In the spirit of those findings, this week, we’re sharing five read-alouds for your 8- to 12-year-old. 

Additional Resources: 

Special Thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Chris Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Summer Short: Picture Book Read-Alouds and 50 Brilliant Books for Summer

August 10, 2017

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This week, we have something special — and a little different. We know from research that reading aloud is one of the best ways to turn kids into lifelong readers, and over the past 40 plus episodes, we’ve asked A LOT of talented authors to read aloud from their work. Today, we’ve stitched our picture book read-alouds together into one short episode that’s perfect for your 3- to 8-year-old!

We’ll also hear from Tara Welty, editor-in-chief of Scholastic Teacher, about their 50 Brilliant Books for Summer List.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Tara Welty is the Editor-in-Chief of Scholastic Teacher. Tara is also Vice President, group Editorial Director and Editor of Scholastic ART magazine and Teacher Resources at Scholastic. 

Special Thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Chris Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Making Magic with Wings of Fire

July 27, 2017

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This week, we're talking with author Tui Sutherland about her New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, Wings of Fire. Set in the magical land of Pyrrhia, the books follow seven dragon tribes who have been at war for generations and a prophecy that foretells of five dragonets and a great sacrifice. Tui and her editor, Amanda Maciel, talk about the work that goes into building the fantastical world of this series, the upcoming graphic novelization of the series, and announce some exciting news about upcoming books!

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Tui T. Sutherland is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Wings of Fire series, the Menagerie trilogy, and the Pet Trouble series, as well as a contributing author to the bestselling Spirit Animals and Seekers series (as part of the Erin Hunter team). In 2009, she was a two-day champion on Jeopardy! She lives in Massachusetts with her wonderful husband, two adorable sons, and one very patient dog. To learn more about Tui's books, visit her online at www.tuibooks.com.
  • Amanda Maciel is an executive editor at Scholastic and a YA author. Find her on Twitter @amandamaciel12

Special Thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Chris Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

 

25 Years of Goosebumps

July 13, 2017

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In July 1992, Scholastic introduced a monthly book series by R.L. Stine called Goosebumps with Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House. Twenty-five years (and several generations of frightened kids later), Goosebumps is now one of the best-selling children's series of all time with more than 350 million English language books in print. To celebrate this milestone, we invited R.L. Stine into the studio to reflect on the last 25 years and to give us a look at what's still to come for the master of horror. 

Joining us in the studio today is a special co-host, Gina Asprocolas. Gina is a Scholastic employee who was a die-hard Goosebumps fan as a child. She shares her story of growing up with Goosebumps, gives Stine some inspiration for millennial-inspired stories, and we test her R.L. Stine-related knowledge with some trivia!

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • R.L. Stine is the author of the Goosbumps series and one of the best-selling children's authors in history. Follow him on Twitter @rl_stine
  • Gina Asprocolas is an internal communications manager at Scholastics and quite possibly one of the biggest Goosebumps fans of all time (or, at least in New Jersey). 

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Chris Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Telling the Stories of Refugees

June 22, 2017

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Actors Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody, and author Alan Gratz join us this week to talk about the refugee crisis, and how they are giving voice to the children affected.

First, we speak with Alan Gratz, a children's author whose most recent book, Refugee, hits shelves July 25, 2017. The book follows three children from three periods of history fleeing three different evils: Josef, a young Jewish boy fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930s; Isabel, a Cuban girl whose family sets out on a raft bound for America in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015, who hopes to escape the violence and destruction of his homeland and begin a new life with his family in Europe.

Later in the episode, we talk with Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody. Mandy is an actor and singer whom you may know from his roles in "The Princess Bride," the Showtime series "Homeland," or as the voice of Papa Smurf in the recent movie "Smurfs: The Lost Village." Over the past few years, Mandy and his wife, actress and writer Kathryn Grody, have worked with the International Rescue Committee, traveling to Greece and Serbia to meet with refugees living in limbo in the refugee camps. They join us in the studio this week to share some of those stories.

Additional resources:

Guests:

  • Alan Gratz is the author of several books for young readers, including Prisoner B-3087Code of Honor, and Projekt 1065. He lives with his family in North Carolina. Find him online at www.alangratz.com or on Twitter @alangratz
  • Mandy Patinkin is an actor and singer. Find him on Twitter @PatinkinMandy and on Facebook here
  • Kathryn Grody is an actress and writer

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Chris Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Openly, Honestly Bill: Bill Konigsberg on Reading and Writing with Pride

June 8, 2017

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Award-winning author Bill Konigsberg joins us in the studio for this week's episode, just in time to celebrate Pride Month. Bill is the author of Openly Straight, which won the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor, the Stonewall Award-winning The Porcupine of Truth, and most recently, Honestly Ben, a follow-up novel to Openly Straight. He talks about why he decided to write Honestly Ben several years after Openly Straight's release. Bill also shares what his life was like growing up as a gay teen in New York City during a time when there were little to no books in which he could see himself, his experiences, or even any role models.

Later in the episode, we also talk with Scholastic librarian Deimosa Webber-Bey and art director Jeremy Goodwin about their recent experiences when Bill came to a meeting of the Scholastic Employee Book Club while they were discussing Honestly Ben

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Bill Konigsberg is the author of novels including Openly Straight, which was named to the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults list, and The Porcupine of Truth, which won the Stonewall Book Award and the PEN Center Literary Award. Bill lives in Arizona with his husband. Visit him online at billkonigsberg.com and follow him at @billkonigsberg.
  • Deimosa Webber-Bey is the Library Manager at Scholastic and is responsible for the corporate archive, readers advisory, cataloging, and the employee book club. She also taught for several years in public schools in Queens, Brooklyn, Albuquerque, and the Pueblo of Jemez.
  • Jeremy Goodwin is the Art Director for Scholastic's Corporate Communications department. With the mission of elevating the brand under a unified message, he contributes to high-level projects across the divisions of Scholastic. An alumnus of Parsons School of Design, he has been in the industry for over ten years and is also an avid reader and independent artist. 

     

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan 
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Writing About War for Young Readers

May 25, 2017

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Memorial Day is a time of reflection and patriotism. But we recognize that it can sometimes be challenging to explain what we're celebrating — and the realities of war — to children. In this episode, we talk with authors C. Alexander London (Dog Tags and Tides of War series), Kate Messner (Rolling Thunder), and Lauren Tarshis (I Survived series) who share with us why and how they write about war for their young readers.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • C. Alexander London has written books for children, teens, even a few grown ups. He’s the author of The Wild Ones series, Dog Tags and Tides of War series, as well as the Accidental Adventures and two titles in The 39 Clues series for young readers. He has also written books like One Day the Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War for older readers. When he is not writing books, he can usually be found wandering around Philadelphia talking to his dog. For more information, visit: www.calexanderlondon.com.
  • Kate Messner is the author of The Seventh WishAll the AnswersThe Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., winner of the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award for Older Readers; Capture the Flag, an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award winner; Hide and SeekManhunt; and the Ranger in Time and Marty McGuire chapter book series. A former middle-school English teacher, Kate lives on Lake Champlain with her family. Visit her online at katemessner.com.
  • Lauren Tarshis’s acclaimed and bestselling I Survived series, which has more than 23 million copies in print to date, tells stories of young people and their resilience and strength in the midst of unimaginable disasters. Lauren has brought her signature warmth and comprehensive research to topics such as the sinking of the Titanic, the destruction of Pompeii, Hurricane Katrina, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In addition to being an author, Lauren is the editor of Storyworks, an acclaimed national language arts classroom magazine for grades 4-6 and the newly-launched Storyworks Jr. for grade 3. She lives in Westport, Connecticut, and can be found online at laurentarshis.com.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Meet the Kids Press

May 11, 2017

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This week, we're introducing you to four members of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. Each year, 10- to 14-year-olds around the world are selected to be a part of the award-winning program. These young journalists report news for kids, by kids, covering breaking news, entertainment, and sports events from their hometowns and on the national stage. With us this week are Kid Reporters Esther Appelstein, Adedayo Perkovich, Titus Smith III, and Maxwell Surprenant, to talk about their experiences during the past year. We're also joined in the studio by Michael Cappetta, a Scholastic News Kids Press Corps alumnus who is now a producer at NBC Universal. He shares favorite memories of his time as a Kid Reporter.

Know a kid with a nose for news? The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps is accepting applications through May 31, 2017. Find out more details and apply here!

Additional resources:

Guests:

  • Esther Appelstein is a 12-year-old member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps from St Louis, Missouri. Esther joined the Kids Press in 2015.
  • Adedayo Perkovich is a 13-year-old member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps from New York, New York. Adedayo joined the Kids Press in 2014.
  • Titus Smith III is an 11-year-old member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps from Southfield, Michigan. Titus joined the Kids Press in 2016.
  • Maxwell Surprenant is a 13-year-old member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps from Needham, Massachusetts. Maxwell joined the Kids Press in 2015.
  • Michael Cappetta is an alumnus of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps program and a producer at NBC Universal.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Emma Donoghue Plus One

May 4, 2017

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This week, we're talking with Emma Donoghue (author of the award-winning novel for adults Room), about her new book for children, The Lotterys Plus One. She's joined by her editor, Arthur A. Levine, to talk about the process of transitioning from writing for adults to writing for children; where the inspiration for Sumac Lottery and her big, unruly family came from; and the role Emma's own chlidren play in her creative process.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Emma Donoghue is the author of the international bestseller and Man Booker Prize finalist Room, as well as several other novels, including the YA collection Kissing the Witch (1997), which was shortlisted for the Tiptree Award. Her most recent book The Wonder was published in September 2016. Born in Ireland, she now lives in Canada with her partner and their two children.
  • Arthur A. Levine is Vice President and Publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. Throughout his career, Levine has edited and championed an exceptional and diverse group of writers and artists, including Emma Donoghue, J.K. Rowling, Lisa Yee, Jaclyn Moriarty, Shaun Tan, Sundee Frazier, and Dan Santat.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

A Celebration of Poetry

April 20, 2017

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"A poem begins with a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, or a love sickness." — Robert Frost

This week, we're celebrating Poetry Month by talking about the power and joy of poetry. First, we hear from renowned novelist, essayist, and poet Calvin Trillin, who shares some of the inspiration behind his new poetry collection for children, No Fair! No Fair!. We also talk with two high school students, Maya Eashwaran and Gopal Raman, who were honored as National Student Poets in 2016, as well as an educator, Adam Couturier, who speaks about the wonderful poetry program in his Massachusetts school district.

Additional resources:

Guests:

  • Calvin Trillin is a journalist, humorist, poet, novelist, memoirist, and food writer. A long-time staff writer at The New Yorker, he is also The Nation’s “deadline poet.” He has published thirty books, many of them bestsellers. His books include Remembering DennyAbout AliceTepper Isn't Going Out, and Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse. In 2012, he won the Thurber Prize for American Humor. He lives in New York.
  • Maya Eashwaran is a senior at Milton High School in Milton, Georgia, and a 2016 National Student Poet. In addition to writing poetry, she is also an avid musician.
  • Gopal Raman is a senior at St. Mark’s School in Dallas, Texas, and a 2016 National Student Poet. In addition to writing poetry, he edits for his high school newspaper and chairs the St. Mark’s Literary Festival.
  • Adam Couturier is the  6-12 Humanities Curriculum Coordinator for Southbridge Public Schools in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Mr. Couturier was a 2016 Pioneer Valley Teacher of Excellence award winner as a result of his work in Springfield, MA. He served as a teacher, Social Studies Department Chair, and as a Middle Years Programme Coordinator at an International Baccalaureate school. In addition to this, he wrote curriculum for the National Parks Service at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Springfield Public Schools, and now at Southbridge Middle and High Schools.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters

April 6, 2017

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Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst are trying to change how we read. In their new book, Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters, the award-winning authors and literacy educators explore a new approach where reading is viewed as a transformational experience rather than a practice of decoding, recalling, and responding to questions. As Bob says, "We're looking for the replacement of artificial and formulaic reading with REAL reading." This week, Kylene and Bob join us in the studio to talk about how teachers can start implementing changes in their classrooms today, ways parents can be reading role models for their children at home, and why it's more important that kids recognize how a text makes them feel than remember the main character's name.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Kylene Beers, EdD, is an internationally known and respected authority in literacy education. She is a past president of the National Council of Teachers of English and has received an NCTE Leadership Award. She has served as a consultant to the National Governor’s Association Education Committee, was the editor of the national literacy journal Voices from the Middle, taught in the College of Education at the University of Houston, held a reading research position in the Comer School Development Program at Yale University School of Medicine, and has most recently served as the Senior Reading Advisor to the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University.
  • Robert E. Probst, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of English Education at Georgia State University and was a research fellow for Florida International University. He has served as a member on the Conference on English Board of Directors, an NCTE journal columnist, and a member of the NCTE Commission on Reading. He was awarded the NCTE Exemplary Leadership Award presented by the Conference on English Leadership.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Multiplatform Storytelling: The Team Behind Horizon

March 29, 2017

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What do you do with a story that's too big to be contained in a book series? This week, we're talking about Horizon, a new multiplatform adventure for 9- to 12-year olds. Joining us in the studio are New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld (UgliesLeviathanAfterworlds), game designer Gavin Brown, and editor Nick Eliopulos to talk about the unique approach Scholastic's multiplatform team takes to storytelling. As Nick says, "The books that we love become these spaces that we want to play in." 

 

Additional Resources:

Guests:
  • Scott Westerfeld is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Uglies series, which has been translated into 35 languages; the Leviathan series; Afterworlds; and many other books for young readers. He was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia and New York City.
  • Nick Eliopulos is an editor at Scholastic.
  • Gavin Brown is a digital product director at Scholastic.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Amazing, Delightful, Happy Dreamer

March 23, 2017

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Author Peter Reynolds is redefining what ADHD stands for. In his world, and in his new picture book, Happy Dreamer, it's simply an acronym for Amazing Delightful Happy Dreamer. This week, we talk with Peter and educator Lester Laminack about how we can encourage dreamers of all forms to feel included, engaged, and welcomed whether it's at home, in the classroom, or on the playground.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Peter H. Reynolds is an author and illustrator of children's books, including The DotIshThe North Star, and Happy Dreamer. He is also the founder of the educational media company FableVision.
  • Lester Laminack is an award-winning author and educator and Professor Emeritus from Western Carolina University where he taught writing workshop, children's literature, and reading. 

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Once Upon a Fractured Fairy Tale

March 10, 2017

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How many times have you heard the story of Cinderella? Or Beauty and the Beast? Probably dozens. And yet somehow, they never get old. No matter how they're told and re-told, we know good will triumph over evil, our heroine will find love, and everyone will live happily ever after. But why do those stories have so much appeal?

Today, we have two fairy tale experts joining us to share their thoughts on why these stories have endured generation after generation: authors Sarah Mlynowski and Garth Nix. Sarah and Garth are two writers who have often fractured, or re-told, fairy tales. Sarah, for her bestselling Whatever After series, and Garth, in his most recent YA novel, Frogkisser!

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Sarah Mlynowski is the New York Times bestselling author of the Whatever After series, the Magic in Manhattan series, Gimme a Call, and a bunch of other books for tweens and teens, including the Upside-Down Magic series, which she is cowriting with Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins. Originally from Montreal, Sarah now lives in the kingdom of Manhattan with her very own prince charming and their fairy-tale-loving daughter
  • Garth Nix is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Old Kingdom series, The Seventh Tower sequence, The Keys to the Kingdom series, Troubletwisters series, and many other fantasy novels for young adults and children, including Frogkisser!. Garth lives in a Sydney beach suburb with his wife and two children.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet: Giving Children a Voice

February 23, 2017

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This week, we're talking about the importance of raising children's voices. First, we're joined by Carmen Agra Deedy, the acclaimed author of the new picture book The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!, an allegorical tale of a brave, little rooster in a town where singing has been outlawed. Carmen shares the story of her own childhood as a Cuban refugee living in Decatur, Georgia, and talks about the importance of the message that children should be encouraged to speak their truths. Next, we talk with Dana McDonough, a second grade teacher who was named the 2016 State Teacher of the Year from New York. Dana tells us how she works to make every child feel heard in her classroom.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • Carmen Agra Deedy is one of America's most foremost storytellers. Her many award-winning books include Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, which received a Pura Belpré Honor, and her New York Times bestseller 14 Cows for America. Born in Havana, Cuba, Carmen drew on her love of folklore to create The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! She lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia. 
  • Dana McDonough is the 2016 State Teacher of the Year from New York. She teaches second grade at Fostertown ETC Magnet School in Newburgh, NY.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

 

Read Out Loud: Celebrate World Read Aloud Day

February 15, 2017

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On February 16, we are celebrating the power of the read aloud with World Read Aloud Day. Every year, this global celebration calls attention to the importance of sharing stories by challenging participants to grab a book, find an audience, and read out loud. In fact, data from Scholastic's Kids & Family Reading Report shows us that reading aloud to children regularly from birth is crucial for their happiness and their development as readers. Today, we'll explore why that is and hear from four guests who have all been powerfully impacted by their memories of childhood read-alouds.

Guests:

  • Pam Allyn is a literacy expert and the founder of LitWorld, the organization behind World Read Aloud Day. She is also a co-author of Every Child a Super Reader.
  • Ernest Morrell is an award-winning author, teacher, and researcher, and a co-author of Every Child a Super Reader.
  • Nick Cannon is an actor, comedian, rapper, and the author of Neon Aliens Ate My Homework.
  • Andrea Davis Pinkney is a Coretta Scott King Award-winning author and an editor at Scholastic.

Additional Resources:

Special Thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Survey Says: Kids Like Reading for Fun

February 6, 2017

Listen:
Listen:

In the sixth edition of our Kids & Family Reading Report, we asked U.S. parents and children about their attitudes and behaviors around reading books for fun, and now the results are in! Key findings reveal what kids and parents look for in children's books, the increase in reading aloud to children from an early age, the inequities around access to books in the home, and more.
View all our findings and learn more about the methodology behind the survey at scholastic.com/readingreport.

Be sure to keep an eye out for forthcoming episodes diving more deeply into the topics of reading aloud and summer reading!

Guests: 

  • Kristen Harmeling is a senior vice president at YouGov, a third-party, international market research firm, and the manager of the Kids & Family Reading Report national project. 
  • Donalyn Miller has taught 4th, 5th, and 6th grade language arts and social studies in the Fort Worth, TX, area and was a finalist for 2010 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. She is a reading advocate, the author of two professional books, The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild, and a reading ambassador for Scholastic Book Fairs.
  • Deimosa Webber-Bey is the Library Manager at Scholastic and responsible for the corporate archive, readers advisory, cataloging, and the employee book club. She also taught for several years in public schools in Queens, Brooklyn, Albuquerque, and the Pueblo of Jemez.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan 
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

 

 

Best of Scholastic Reads: A Year in Review

January 19, 2017

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Scholastic Reads recently celebrated its first anniversary, and we wanted to mark the occasion by sharing some of our favorite moments from the last year! In this short episode, we'll hear clips from Lauren Tarshis (I Survived series), Sonia Manzano (Becoming Maria), Edwidge Danticat (Untwine), Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants series), Ann M. Martin (The Baby-sitters Club series), Arthur A. Levine (publisher and editor), David Levithan (author and editor), Cheryl Klein (editor), and Pam Muñoz Ryan (Esperanza Rising). Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or visit scholasticreads.com to listen to all of our episodes! Links to the full episodes for each clip are below.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

Dav Pilkey: Using Humor to Get Kids Reading

January 4, 2017

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Laughter is a universal language, and Dav Pilkey speaks it fluently. The award-winning author and illustrator of the Captain Underpants series joins us in the studio this week to introduce his newest series, Dog Man, and to talk about why funny books are often the right books to spark a love of reading. Dav also shares his own story about growing up with ADHD, dyslexia, and behavioral problems, and leaves us with some wise words of hope and encouragement for children who might be struggling with similar issues today.

Additional Resources:

Guests:

  • When Dav Pilkey was a kid, he suffered from ADHD, dyslexia, and behavioral problems. Dav was so disruptive in class that his teachers made him sit out in the hall every day. Luckily, Dav loved to draw and make up stories. He spent his time in the hallway creating his own original comic books. In the second grade, Dav Pilkey created a comic book about a superhero named Captain Underpants. His teacher ripped it up and told him he couldn't spend the rest of his life making silly books. Fortunately, Dav was not a very good listener. 

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

 

 

Holiday Book Fair: Must-have Books for 2016

December 19, 2016

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The holidays bring many wonderful thing to Scholastic, chief among them, the employee book fair! There's something for readers of every age, from picture books, coloring books, and cookbooks, to how-to books, graphic novels, and memoirs. In this episode, we talked with colleagues who are shopping and volunteering at the fair to find out what are the must-have books this holiday season.

Here's a list of all the books mentioned in this episode with links to their Goodreads pages:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

 

Pam Muñoz Ryan: Getting Readers to Turn the Page

December 5, 2016

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Pam Muñoz Ryan, the celebrated and critically acclaimed author of Esperanza RisingThe Dreamer, and Riding Freedom, among many others, joins us in the studio today with her editor, Tracy Mack, to talk about her writing process, the genesis of her latest New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor novel, Echo, and why so many of her novels contain themes of social justice. 

Additional Resources:

About Echo:

Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.

Guests:

  • Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author of the Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestseller, Echo, as well as the recipient of the Kirkus Prize, the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award, and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature. She has written more than thirty books for young readers. Her celebrated novels, Esperanza RisingRiding FreedomBecoming Naomi LéonPaint the Wind, and The Dreamer, have received numerous accolades, among them two Pura Belpré Awards, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and an Americas Award. Ryan's acclaimed picture books include Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Rideand When Marian Sang, both illustrated by Brian Selznick, and Tony Baloney, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, as well as a beginning reader series featuring Tony Baloney. Kirkus Reviews described Echo as "a grand narrative that examines the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance." Ryan lives near San Diego, California with her family. You can visit her at pammunozryan.com.
  • Tracy Mack is a vice president and publisher at Scholastic, and Pam Muñoz Ryan's editor.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow

James Patterson: Saving Lives with Libraries

November 14, 2016

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Libraries are the heart of a school, but many suffer from chronic under-funding. Author James Patterson is working to change that. In this episode, he joins us to discuss his pledge to donate $1.75 million to school libraries for the second year in a row. We also hear from librarian Teresa Israel, who works at one of the schools that received a grant from Patterson’s 2015 pledge. 

Guests:

  • James Patterson received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community at the 2015 National Book Awards. A tireless champion of the power of books and reading, he has created a new children's book imprint, JIMMY Patterson, whose mission is simple: "We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY Book to say, 'PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.'" He has donated more than one million books to students and soldiers and has over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships at 24 colleges and universities. He has also donated millions to independent bookstores and school libraries. Patterson will be investing proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.  
  • Teresa Israel is a 25-year veteran of the New York City School System. During that time she has worn many hats, always in the elementary school setting. Six years ago her principal asked her to take over the abandoned school library and there has been no turning back. A graduate of Fordham University, she received a scholarship through the department of education to work on her master’s degree in school librarianship and information technology from Mansfield University in 2013. Israel lives in Rockaway Park, New York with her three children and feels blessed to be able to share her love of books with children each day.

Additional Resources:

Special Thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Morgan Baden

"Dream Jumper" and the Rise of Graphic Novels

November 2, 2016

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Graphic novels are having a moment. Inspired by the rise of this popular genre, we asked Greg Grunberg, actor and author of the recently released Dream Jumper, to share the story of his inspiration. Illustrator Lucas Turnbloom also discusses his role in the book and his artistic process. Finally, David Saylor, the founder and editorial director of Scholastic's Graphix imprint, joins us with an exciting announcement: a new Graphix contest, where aspiring graphic novelists can get published.

Guests:

  • Greg Grunberg has appears in the award-winning series Heroes, Alias, and Felicity, among others. Grunberg's film credits include Mission: Impossible III, Austin Powers, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens directed by J.J. Abrams. Greg is also co-host of AMC's "Geeking Out," a new late-night talk show hosted by Kevin Smith and Grunberg that takes a timely look at pop culture through a fanboy lens and features talk, clips, celebrity interviews, and out-of-the-studio segments. Dream Jumper is his first graphic novels. 
  • Lucas Turnbloom is an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator who's best known for his comic strip, Imagine THIS, which is syndicated through Universal Press/Uclick. He was a contributing artist for Darkhorse's Axe Cop graphic novel series. Turnbloom's first picture book, Dragon and Captain, was recently published by Flashlight Press. His work has also appeared in USA Today and TIME.com. Turnbloom currently resides in San Diego with his wife and two sons.
  • David Saylor is a VP and Creative Director in the Scholastic Trade Publishing Group. In 2005, he founded Scholastic's groundbreaking graphic novel imprint, Graphix. In addition to art directing the American editions of the Harry Potter series, he has art directed many award-winning books, including many which have received recognition from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Society of Illustrators, the New York Times Book Review, the Bookbinder’s Guild of New York, and the American Library Association.

Additional Resources:

Special Thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Morgan Baden

Books with Scare Power: Dan Poblocki on "Shadow House"

October 17, 2016

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Just in time for Halloween, Dan Poblocki, author of the new multiplatform series Shadow House, joins us to talk about the origins of his spooky tales. The series comes with an app, which is perfect for young readers. In the episode, Dan (pictured here with his bewitching editor, Erin Black) reveals all of the creepy things that have happened to people who have worked on the Shadow House series. Join us for some scary stories!

Guest:

  • Dan Poblocki is the author of The Stone ChildThe NightmarysThe Ghost of GraylockThe Haunting of Gabriel AsheThe Book of Bad Things, and the Mysterious Four series. He lives in Brooklyn with two adorable cats and more books than he has room for. Visit him at danpoblocki.com. Dan welcomes readers to Shadow House, a new multiplatform series filled with ghostly apparitions, spooky noises, and things that go bump in the night. The Gathering, Book 1 in the series, is in stores now. Book 2, You Can’t Hide, is coming in January 2017.

Additional resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Morgan Baden

 

 

 

Barry Cunningham and M.G. Leonard Talk Books (and Beetles!)

October 5, 2016

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15 years ago, Scholastic partnered with Chicken House, a publishing company based in the UK begun by publisher Barry Cunningham. In this episode, Barry, perhaps best-known for being the original acquiring editor of a little book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the U.K., shares his vision of book publishing and talks about the state of the industry. He's joined by Chicken House author M.G. Leonard, writer of Beetle Boy, who regales listeners with her story of writing children's books about creepy-crawlies...while being utterly terrified of them.  

Guests:

  • Barry Cunningham is the founder of Chicken House, a lively and creative company publishing highly original and enjoyable children’s books, with a special emphasis on new fiction. Chicken House launched in the US in 2001 and marked its 15th anniversary here this past summer. Barry is also known for signing up J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone while at Bloomsbury. Together with Chicken House and Scholastic, Barry is proud to have brought the voices of five-time New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke (The Thief Lord; Dragon Rider; the Inkheart trilogy), Printz Honor Award-winning Lucy Christopher (Stolen), Kevin Brooks (Martyn Pig; Lucas; Candy), Rachel Ward (Numbers trilogy), Cathryn Constable (The Wolf Princess), and M.G. Leonard (Beetle Boy) to the world.
  • M. G. Leonard is the senior digital media producer at Britain’s National Theatre where she creates podcasts and documentaries about theater. Beetle Boy is her debut novel and the first in a trilogy. Leonard lives in Brighton, England with her family. Please visit her online at www.MGLeonard.com.

Additional resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Morgan Baden

Children's Books to Help Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

September 28, 2016

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Maria Dominguez, executive editor at Scholastic en Español, and Nancy Mercado, editorial director of Scholastic Press, share their experiences reading and editing Spanish-language or Latino-culture-driven children's books in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. They discuss the books they love and recommend, from Sonia Manzano's Becoming Maria to Christina Diaz Gonzalez's Moving Target. Maria also highlights her own experience growing up in Cuba, while Nancy talks about the importance of reading Spanish-language books to her daughters.

Guests:

  • Maria Dominguez, executive editor, Scholastic en Español
  • Nancy Mercado, editorial director, Scholastic Press

Additional resources:

Books discussed in this episode include:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Morgan Baden




Back to School with Judy Newman

September 9, 2016

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For generations, teachers have been using Scholastic Reading Club to help their students foster a lifelong love of reading. Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Reading Club, joins us to talk about the unique business, its book-selection process, and her team of book-loving editors. We’re also joined by teacher-customer turned employee Carol Levine; Editorial Director David Allender; and Reading Club Teacher Advisor Beth Prince.  

Guests:

  • Judy Newman. President, Reading Club and E-Commerce. Judy oversees Scholastic Reading Club, the company's school-based book distribution channel which has been a treasured tradition for teachers and students since 1948. Scholastic Reading Club reaches more than 1 million teachers and 26 million children in classrooms nationwide every year. The Club's e-commerce platforms on Scholastic.com made Internet Retailer’s Hot 100 list in 2009. In 1999, Judy created Scholastic Reading Club's ClassroomsCare initiative, which helps children understand the value of reading and giving. Scholastic donates up to 1 million books to children in need when students in each participating classroom read 100 books. Judy also oversaw the development of Clubs Ordering On-Line (COOL), a service that allows teachers to submit Reading Club orders via the Internet, and Parent COOL, which enables families to submit book orders to their teachers online. Judy also currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Reach Out and Read.
  • Carol Levine, Director of Special Events
  • David Allender, Editorial Director, Scholastic Reading Club
  • Beth Prince, Kindergarden teacher at Hearst Elementary School in Washington, D.C., and Scholastic Reading Club Teacher Advisor.

Additional Resources:

The Baby-sitters Club Turns 30

August 12, 2016

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Thirty years ago this month, readers were first introduced to the founding members of The Baby-sitters Club: Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey. With nearly 250 titles in print, and new graphic novel adaptations by Raina Telgemeier, The Baby-sitters Club remains one of the most beloved series of all time. In this episode, we talk with BSC creator Ann M. Martin and her longtime editor, David Levithan, about the groundbreaking series and its loyal following.

Guests:

  • Ann M. Martin's Baby-Sitters Club series has more than 176 million copies in print worldwide. Martin, who lives in upstate New York, is also the author of the Main Street series; the Newbery Honor-winning A Corner of the Universe; Here Today; A Dog's Life; and On Christmas Eve; as well as the much-loved collaborations P.S. Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail, No More with Paula Danziger.
  • David Levithan is an editorial director and publisher at Scholastic, as well as the author of several YA novels, including Boy Meets Boy,Every Day, and (with Nina LaCour) You Know Me Well. Follow David on Twitter at @loversdiction.

Additional resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Stories of Survival With Lauren Tarshis

August 3, 2016

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Lauren Tarshis, author of the bestselling I Survived series, explains why her stories of survival resonate so deeply with young readers. Her thrilling tales about such momentous events as the sinking of the Titanic and the bombing of Pearl Harbor allow her fictionalized characters to confront life-or-death challenges. Lauren also dons her editor’s hat to talk about Storyworks Jr., Scholastic's new English Language Arts magazine for third graders.

Guest:

  • Lauren Tarshis’s I Survived series has sold more than 21 million copies. The fictionalized tales take characters on harrowing journeys, where they must draw on their smarts and resilience. In her work, Lauren has brought to life such events as the Joplin tornado, the destruction of Pompeii, Hurricane Katrina, and, most recently, one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in U.S. history—I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980. Lauren is also the editor of Scholastic Storyworks and Storyworks Jr. magazines and the author of Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree and Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love. She can be found online at laurentarshis.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurenTarshis

Additional resources: 

  • Browse the I Survived Series and read excerpts from each book here.
  • Learn more about Storyworks Jr., Scholastic’s new magazine for third graders, here.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Photo credit: David Dreyfuss

Edwidge Danticat: Beating the Darkness

July 12, 2016

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In this episode, we’re joined by Edwidge Danticat, whose work recounts the stories of Haitians and Haitian-Americans. Her haunting YA novel, Untwine, tells the story of an unbreakable bond between twin sisters of Haitian descent. 

Guest:

  • Edwidge Danticat is the author of several award-winning works, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah’s Book Club pick; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award nominee; The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award Winner, and Untwine (Scholastic, 2015). Edwidge, who was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2009, lives in Miami, Florida, with her family. You can learn more about her work at www.EdwidgeDanticat.com.

Additional Resources:

  • Learn more about Untwine and read an excerpt here.
  • Read about Edwidge's story of Haiti's heroic queen Anacaona here.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Photo credit: Mark Dellas, 2015

Drag Teen with Jeffery Self

June 24, 2016

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June is Pride Month, so we’re dragging it up with Jeffery Self! Jeffery is the author of Drag Teen, his debut YA novel. The book follows a high school senior (and aspiring drag queen) on a quest to go to college. Jeffery is joined by his editor, acclaimed YA novelist David Levithan.

Note: This episode was recorded before the tragic shootings in Orlando. Our hearts are with the victims, families, and friends of this devastating event.

Guests:

  • Jeffery Self is a writer and an actor who has appeared in Desperate Housewives90210, and 30 Rock. He has also starred in his own show, Jeffery & Cole Casserole. Jeffery currently appears as the host of the MTV talk show, Scream After Dark. The author of two books for adults, he hosts a weekly podcast called This Is Really Important on iTunes. In a starred review, Booklist praised Drag Teen, Jeffery’s first novel for young adults, saying, “Drag queens are virtually nonexistent in YA fiction, and Self does an excellent job introducing that world, as well as conveying the happiness that performing brings JT…. In the end, it may not be Prince Charming who is JT’s prize, but rather the discovery of his true self.” Follow Jeffery on Twitter at @JefferySelf.
  • David Levithan is an editorial director and publisher at Scholastic, as well as the author of several YA novels, including Boy Meets BoyEvery Day, and (with Nina LaCour) You Know Me Well. Follow David on Twitter at @loversdiction.

Additional resources:

  • Learn more about Drag Teen here, and read an excerpt of Drag Teen here!
  • Celebrate LGBT culture with our round-up of books featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender characters.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

We Have Diverse Books

June 14, 2016

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In this episode, Arthur A. Levine, Vice President and Publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books, joins us to talk about the authors, topics, and books that he has championed throughout his career. Authors Francisco Stork (Marcelo in the Real World, The Memory of Light) and Mike Jung (Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, Unidentified Suburban Object) will also join us to talk about their new work. 

Guests: 

  • Arthur A. Levine is Vice President and Publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. Throughout his career, Levine has edited and championed an exceptional and diverse group of writers and artists, including Emma Donoghue, J.K. Rowling, Lisa Yee, Jaclyn Moriarty, Shaun Tan, Sundee Frazier, and Dan Santat. The imprint publishes Varian Johnson, Francisco Stork, Eric Gansworth, Sarwat Chadda, and many others. Arthur is also a leading publisher of books-in-translation, introducing American children to such writers as Daniella Carmi (Israel), Josef Holub and Wolfgang Herrndorf (Germany), Luis Sepulveda (Chile), Laura Gallego Garcia (Spain), Silvana Gandolfi (Italy), Nahoko Uehashi and Komako Sakai (Japan), Sylvie Weil (France), Guus Kuijer, Karlijn Stoffels, and Marcel Prins (The Netherlands), and Anne Provoost (Belgium). Arthur A. Levine Books is also recognized for having brought out the first contemporary YA novel translated from the Russian, Playing a Part, an LGBT coming-of age-story by Daria Wilke. Follow @AALBooks on Twitter.
  • Francisco X. Stork is the author of the acclaimed Marcelo in the Real World which received five starred reviews and won the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens; The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection; and Irises. His most recent young adult novel, The Memory of Light, was recently published and has already received four starred reviews. Francisco was born in Monterrey, Mexico, spent his teenage years in El Paso, Texas, and now lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, with his family.
  • Mike Jung is the author of Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities and Unidentified Suburban Object. He has contributed to the anthologies Dear Teen Me, Break These Rules, and 59 Reasons to Write. Mike is a library professional by day, a writer by night, and a semi-competent ukulele player during all the times in between. He is proud to be a founding member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks team. Mike lives in Oakland, California, with his wife and two young children. Find Mike at www.mikejung.com.

Additional resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

June 2, 2016

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In this episode, we're talking about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. Created in 1923 by Scholastic founder Maurice R. "Robbie" Robinson, the program has a noteworthy roster of past winners, including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, and Joyce Carol Oates, among many others. We sat down with the Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Virginia McEnerney, Scholastic CEO Dick Robinson, and two 2016 Gold Medal Portfolio Recipients, Razan Elbaba and Alex Zhang. 

Guests:

  • Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Virginia McEnerney
  • Scholastic CEO Dick Robinson
  • Razan Elbaba, 2016 Gold Medal Portfolio Recipient, Photography
  • Alex Zhang, 2016 Gold Medal Portfolio Recipient, Poetry

Additional Resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

 

Making the Summer Leap

May 16, 2016

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In this episode, literacy expert Pam Allyn joins us to talk about summer learning and how we can turn the dreaded “summer slide”—the learning loss children experience when they’re out of school—into the “summer leap,” a time filled with opportunity and joy around reading. Kelli Cedo, Principal of Forrest Elementary in Virginia, and Bruce Butler, Principal of Marieville Elementary School in Rhode Island, also join us to talk about how their schools embrace year-round learning.

Guests:

  • Literacy expert Pam Allyn is the Founding Director of LitWorld and the co-author of Every Child a Super Reader: 7 Strengths to Open a World of Possible (Scholastic, 2015). Follow her on Twitter at @pamallyn and @litworldsays.
  • Dr. Kelli Cedo is the principal of Forrest Elementary School in Hampton, Virginia. She has served as Title I Coordinator, Division Contact for School Improvement, Literacy Coach, Academic Coordinator, and Family Engagement Liaison in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Kelli is the co-creator of the Virginia PLC Consortium around Professional Learning.
  • Bruce Butler is the principal of Marieville Elementary School in Marieville, Rhode Island. Marieville Elementary won a “best in state” award in the 2015 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. 

Additional resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Librarians: Making Hearts Large Through Story

April 29, 2016

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We’re celebrating School Library Month with three of the most dedicated librarians we know. John Schumacher (the famous “Mr. Schu”) and Scholastic librarian Deimosa Webber-Bey talk with us about why they became librarians, the crucial task of finding the right book for a child, and why—as John describes it—the library is “the heart and soul of a school." Kristina Holzweiss, the 2015 School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year, also joins us to share her thoughts on why libraries matter.

Guests:

  • John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu) is a blogger, a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs. Before joining Scholastic, he was a teacher-librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook, Illinois. In 2011, Library Journal named John "The Xtreme Librarian” for the "gears and stunts" he uses to get kids reading. Teacher Magazine named him a “Cool Teacher” in 2014 for redefining what it means to be a teacher-librarian. John served on the 2014 Newbery Committee. You can find him blogging at www.MrSchuReads.com or tweeting @MrSchuReads
  • Deimosa Webber-Bey is the Library Manager at Scholastic and responsible for the corporate archive, readers advisory, cataloging, and the employee book club. A Dartmouth alum and native of New York City, she was in Cohort 5 of the NYC Teaching Fellows, and taught for several years in public schools in Queens, Brooklyn, Albuquerque, and the Pueblo of Jemez. Deimosa also worked as the Teen Librarian at the Rio Rancho Public Library. She has published in YALS ("Noise @ Your Library", 2008) and The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy ("Runaway Quilt Project", 2014). The oldest of six children and a life-long vegetarian, she enjoys reading, writing, hip hop, comics, and quilting. Follow Deimosa on the Scholastic On Our Minds blog and on Twitter (@dataquilter).
  • Kristina Holzweiss is a librarian at Bay Shore Middle School (BSMS) in Long Island, New York. She was named School Library Journal’s 2015 School Librarian of the Year. The award “honors a K–12 library professional for outstanding achievement and the exemplary use of 21st-century tools and services to engage children and teens toward fostering multiple literacies.” While she did not particularly enjoy attending middle school, Kristina loves being a middle school librarian. Follow her on Twitter @lieberrian

Additional resources: 

Cecil’s Pride: The Life of a Lion King

April 22, 2016

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Craig Hatkoff and his daughter Isabella join us to talk about Cecil’s Pride: The True Story of a Lion King, their stunning new picture book. Craig and Isabella give us a behind-the-scenes look at the famed lion’s life and death, and explain how their family’s passion for animals has resulted in a series of children’s books about resilience and survival. 

Guests:

  • Craig Hatkoff. A prolific children’s book author, Craig is a cofounder of the Tribeca Film Festival and founder and Chairman of Turtle Pond Publications, a private entertainment and media company in New York City. He is also on the Board of Directors of WildlifeDirect, New York University’s Child Study Center, the Sesame Workshop, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Borough of Manhattan Community College Foundation. Craig Hatkoff, Juliana Hatkoff, and Isabella Hatkoff have authored Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable FriendshipLooking for Miza and Winter’s Tail, among many other titles. 
  • Isabella Hatkoff. An animal lover and a volunteer for several animal welfare organizations, Isabella is a high school student in New York City. She has contributed illustrations to Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship and Cecil’s Pride: The True Story of a Lion King, among other titles. 

Additional resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Same But Different: Holly Robinson Peete

April 12, 2016

Listen:

Actor, author, philanthropist, and rockstar mom Holly Robinson Peete joins us to talk about her new book, Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express, which she co-wrote with her twins, RJ and Ryan ElizabethThe book explores the funny, painful, and unexpected sides of teen autism. 

Guest:

  • Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete) has devoted her life and career to autism awareness. Since 2000, when Holly’s son RJ was diagnosed with autism, she has worked tirelessly to help families everywhere who are raising children with autism. Peete is the wife of former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and the working mother of four children. She and her husband co-founded the HollyRod Foundation, which provides support and resources for families living with autism and Parkinson’s disease. Her picture book, My Brother Charlie, co-written with her daughter, Ryan Elizabeth, and illustrated by Shane Evans, received an NAACP Image Award.

Additional Resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Photo credit: Stephanie Willis

Phyllis Hunter: Reading Is a Civil Right

April 1, 2016

Listen:

Literacy expert Phyllis C. Hunter joins us to talk about what inspires her (Jennifer Hudson, passionate teachers, and the musical Hamilton), and to share advice on how to help children become avid readers.

Guests:

  • Phyllis C. Hunter is an internationally renowned and beloved literacy expert who has served as an adviser to both the President of the United States and the Secretary of Education. She has worked as a district reading manager, principal, and speech and language therapist. In 2009, Hunter was named the Marcus Garvey Educator of the Year by the National Alliance of Black Educators and received the Scholastic Education Heroes Award for her contributions to the field of children’s literacy. In addition to having created the Phyllis C. Hunter Classroom Libraries, Hunter is the author of It’s Not Complicated! What I Know For Sure About Helping Our Students of Color Become Successful Readers. 

Additional Resources:

  • Do you have questions on how to reach disengaged students? Or, how to face the challenges of the achievement gap? Ask Phyllis anything! 
  • Learn more about the Phyllis C. Hunter Classroom Libraries here.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Kate Beaton: A Princess, a Pony, and Punchlines

March 18, 2016

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Just in time for Women’s History Month, Kate Beaton joins us to talk about her bestselling picture book, The Princess and the Pony, writing female characters, and her work on the wildly popular Hark! A Vagrant comic strip. Editors Cheryl Klein and Emily Clement also join us to talk about how they first discovered Kate’s work and to share some of their favorite female characters in literature.

Guests: 

  • Kate Beaton (Hark! A VagrantStep Aside, Pops, The Princess and the Pony, King Baby)
  • Cheryl Klein: Executive Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Emily Clement: Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mixing and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Photo credit: Notker Mahr

Sonia Manzano: Shaping a Life Story

March 7, 2016

Listen:

Author and actress Sonia Manzano, along with editor Andrea Davis Pinkney, discuss the making of Sonia's coming-of-age memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx. Sonia joined the cast of the acclaimed television series Sesame Street in 1971, where she defined the role of "Maria" and went on to write for the show, retiring in 2015 after 44 years. Sonia has won 15 Emmy Awards for her television writing and is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Arts and Sciences.

 

Guests:

  • Sonia Manzano, actress (Sesame Street) and writer (The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx)
  • Andrea Davis Pinkney, VP and Executive Editor, Scholastic Trade Publishing

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mixing and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Kids on the Campaign Trail

February 26, 2016

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The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps is the country’s oldest and largest student reporting program. This year, our team of young journalists is out on the campaign trail, meeting candidates and covering caucuses, primaries, and debates. In this episode, we talk with two Kid Reporters about their experiences reporting on the election so far. We also hear from Classroom Magazines editorial director Steph Smith about how Scholastic covers the race for the White House for kids, and from middle school teacher Josh Torpey about how he gets students in his Humanities class thinking deeply about the election. 

Guests:

  • Steph Smith, Editorial Director, Classroom Magazines 
  • Scholastic Kid Reporters Bobby Sena and Lilian Jochmann
  • 7th grade Humanities Teacher Josh Torpey (The Institute for Collaborative Education, New York)

Additional Resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Sharon Robinson: Breaking Barriers

February 17, 2016

Listen:

Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball great Jackie Robinson, joins us to discuss her new book, The Hero Two Doors Down: A Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend. Plus, we hear from filmmaker Ken Burns about his new documentary, Jackie Robinson, coming this April.

Guests:

  • Sharon Robinson
  • Ken Burns

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Additional resources:

  • The Breaking Barriers Essay Contest is a chance for diverse students in grade 4–8 to share their personal stories and show how they use Jackie Robinson's values to face their own barriers. Deadline is March 14, 2016.

The Power of Picture Books

February 8, 2016

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Scholastic editor Liza Baker joins us to talk about Scholastic's new awareness campaign, “The Story Starts Here,” which emphasizes the importance of reading to children from day one. Plus, Stephen Savage (Where’s Walrus and Penguin?) joins us to discuss his work as an award-winning picture book author and illustrator.

Guests:

  • Liza Baker, VP/Executive Editorial Director for Cartwheel and Orchard Books at Scholastic
  • Stephen Savage, author/illustrator 

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Book Trends for 2016

January 25, 2016

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What are the big trends in children’s literature for 2016? Look out for superheroes, graphic novels, diverse characters and mythology! Experts David Allender and Preeti Chibberr share their projections for the coming year.

Guests:

  • David Allender: Editorial Director, Scholastic Reading Club
  • Preeti Chhibber, Senior Editorial Manager, Scholastic Reading Club

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Every Child a Super Reader

January 6, 2016

Listen:

Literacy experts Pam Allyn and Ernest Morrell join us to talk about their new book, Every Child A Super Reader. The book helps parents and educators develop seven key strengths in young learners, transforming them into “Super Readers”—avid, passionate and critical. Learn more about Every Child a Super Reader at scholastic.com/superreader.

Guests:

  • Pam Allyn: Literacy expert, author, and Founding Director of LitWorld
  • Ernest Morrell: Macy Professor of English Education and Director, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Columbia Teachers College; Past President of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

Kids’ Books Holiday Hotline

December 17, 2015

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Giving the gift of reading isn’t always easy, especially when you have a reluctant reader on your holiday shopping list. Experts David Allender and Preeti Chhibber answer parents’ questions about their trickiest book-buying challenges. Plus, we interview Scholastic employees about what books they’re buying this holiday season and why. 

Guests:

  • David Allender: Editorial Director, Scholastic Reading Club
  • Preeti Chhibber, Senior Editorial Manager, Scholastic Reading Club

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

The Magic of Harry Potter

December 14, 2015

Listen:

What makes the Harry Potter series so special? How did it become the most popular in all of children’s literature? Cheryl Klein talks about her work as continuity editor on the series and shares harrowing stories about keeping the manuscript secret. Literacy expert Pam Allyn, Founding Director of LitWorld, weighs in on how Hogwarts and the lessons Harry Potter teaches us can be valuable for educators.

Guests:

  • Cheryl Klein: Executive Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Pam Allyn: Literacy expert, author, and Founding Director of LitWorld

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan
  • Produced by Megan Kaesshaefer

The Scholastic Reads Podcast