Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"The Exquisite Corpse Adventure" NOW Available from Candlewick Press

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure
A Progressive Story Game Played by
20 Celebrated Authors and Illustrators

Originally published on as the foundation of a national reading and writing initiative created by The National Children’s Bookand Literacy Alliance and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is now available from Candlewick Press in paperback, hardcover, and audio formats!

What Is
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure?
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a progressive story just like the one many families play on road trips, at camps, at parties, at home when there is a power outage. It is a game where one person begins a story, stops at a cliffhanging moment, and the next person picks it up, continuing on until everyone in the group has the opportunity to contribute. And just like in those games, in The Exquisite Corpse, characters spontaneously erupt out of our authors’ imaginations; plot lines tumble forth, some realized, some lost; and we are often poised at the edge of a cliff with no logical solution in sight! 
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure authors and illustrators are:  M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown,  Susan Cooper,  Kate DiCamillo,  Timothy Basil Ering, Jack Gantos, Nikki Grimes,  Shannon Hale,  Lemony Snicket, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire,  Megan McDonald,  Patricia and Fredrick McKissack,  Linda Sue Park, Katherine Paterson,  James Ransome, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Dusen. 

Extensive Online Education Support Materials Available!
Discover a treasure trove of online educational support materials for
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure on the NCBLA’s Exquisite Corpse Adventure Education Resource Center. Overflowing with supplemental articles, classroom activities, reading lists, art activities, discussion questions, and more, the Education Resource Center is designed for moms and dads, teachers and librarians, grandparents and guardians—all adults who live and work with young people and have a vested interest in helping kids read more, write better, and create stories and art that expand all of our universes.
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure Education Resource Center provides three categories of content:
* General interest articles explain the history of the Exquisite Corpse art form and how it is played, provide instructions for playing progressive story games, and offer tips for parents to encourage reading in their homes.
* Episodic materials include links to author and illustrator biographical information, annotated lists of recommended reading (thematically linked to each episode!), classroom activities, art activities, and discussion questions—provided and customized for each Exquisite Corpse episode.
*  Literacy resources include authoritative articles on reading and writing from the NCBLA and other literacy experts, links to informative websites and blogs dedicated to literature and literacy, and links to Exquisite Corpse Adventure contributors’ websites and video discussions.
The educational resource center was created by the NCBLA and our distinguished colleagues at the Butler Children’s Literature Center at DominicanUniversity.

Ask for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure at a library or bookstore near you!

To buy The Exquisite Corpse Adventure from the bookseller of your choice, click here. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In Case You Missed It!

Authors James Patterson and Rick Riordan Discuss How to Get Kids Reading
In the video titled "Inspiring Reluctant Readers" on the New York Times website,  best-selling authors James Patterson and Rick Riordan talk about the challenge of encouraging children, particularly boys, to love reading. Click here to watch the video.

Parents and guardians, for more tips on developing life-long readers and fostering a love of reading and writing in your home, check out the NCBLA'S "Parent and Guardian Handbook." 

And look for other great resources on, such as "Hooking Struggling Readers: Using Books They Can and Want to Read," and on Jon Scieszka's website: Jon Scieszka Worldwide.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Children's Literature Festivals Scheduled in September and October

Princeton Children's Book Festival to be Held Saturday, September 10

The Princeton Children's Book Festival is an annual event each September at the Princeton Public Library and the Albert E. Hinds Memorial Plaza located at 65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, New Jersey. The Festival will be held Saturday, September 10, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The Princeton Children's Book Festival is a celebration of the love of libraries and books that allows participants to meet authors and illustrators, listen to author discussions, and have books autographed.

Some of the participating authors and illustrators include: Cyn Balog, Lindsay Barrett George, John Bemelmans Marciano, Becky Birtha, Sophie Blackall, R. Gregory Christie, Brian Floca, Brett Helquist, and Dan Yaccarino.

Click here to see the complete list of participants and learn more about the Princeton Children's Book Festival. 

Keene State College Children's Literature Festival to be Held Saturday, October 22
The Keene State College Children's Literature Festival is an annual, one-day Saturday event held on the campus of Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. 
This long-running festival was initiated in 1978 and provides the opportunity for participants to meet and talk with widely recognized authors and illustrators of books for young people; have lunch with fellow teachers, librarians, and children's literature enthusiasts; and view the extensive collection of artwork in the Festival Gallery, which includes over 200 working drawings, finished illustrations, and the 102 Festival owl illustrations. Over 180 illustrators have work in this gallery.

Each year five speakers give a one-hour presentation. Presenting this year are: Harry Bliss, Bryan Collier, Melissa Sweet, E. B. Lewis, and David Wiesner.

Click here to learn more about this year's speakers and to register. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In Case You Missed It!

Author Robert Lipsyte Examines the Decline in Boys as Readers in New York Times Essay

In the New York Times essay "Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?," Robert Lipsyte writes:

To me and I think to many prospective readers, today’s books for boys — supernatural space-and-sword epics that read like video game manuals and sports novels with preachy moral messages — often seem like cynical appeals to the lowest common denominator. Boys prefer video games and ESPN to book versions of them. These knockoffs also lack the tough, edgy story lines that allow boys a private place to reflect on the inner fears of failure and humiliation they try so hard to brush over. Editors who ask writers of books for boys to include girl characters — for commercial reasons — further blunt the edges. 

Robert Lipsyte received the 2001 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for lifetime contribution to young adult literature. His most recent Y.A. novel is “Center Field.” His memoir, “An Accidental Sportswriter,” was published in May. Learn more about Robert Lipsyte and his books on his website.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Coming TOMORROW to a Library and Bookstore Near You!

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure
A Progressive Story Game Played by
20 Celebrated Authors and Illustrators

It all starts with a train rushing through the night. . . . Well, actually, it starts when Jon Scieszka, former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, writes a cliff-hanger episode and passes it on to the next member of a cast of celebrated writers and illustrators, who continues the story and passes it on.

A collaboration between the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance and the
Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure originated as a national literacy outreach project for young people and helped launch the website. 
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure has been published in hardcover, paperback, and audio formats by Candlewick Press. Read more about this innovative national reading and writing outreach project on The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance website

First run in installments on the Web, the pro bono project shifts tone and atmosphere with the author, from Lemony Snicket to Natalie Babbitt, from Linda Sue Park to Nikki Grimes, from Jon Scieszka to Jack Gantos—and who would have guessed that Katherine Paterson would be such a dab hand at egg puns?—but never goes off on self-indulgent tangents.” –Kirkus Reviews

What Do Contributors Say About Their Experiences Writing and Illustrating The Exquisite Corpse?
Author and illustrator Steven Kellogg has loved children's books since he was a child and was always drawn to stories about animals. The prolific author says this about the challenge of writing for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, "The most challenging aspect of creating episodes for the ECA was choosing which characters and plot directions to concentrate on during the time that I was advancing the story, and then deciding how to conclude my segment with an intriguing detail that would propel both the readers and the waiting author into the next phase." Steven Kellogg is the author and illustrator of such books as the Pinkerton series, tall tales Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed, and The Pied Piper's Magic. Kellogg most recently illustrated Clorinda Plays Baseball (written by Robert Kinerk), which will be published early next year. Learn more about Steven's books on his  website.
Here is what Newbery medal winner Kate DiCamillo says about her experience writing two episodes for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, "I'm kind of a control freak, and writing with a bunch of other people means relinquishing control. But you know what? The most challenging thing was also the best thing. There is freedom in being part of something larger. I had such a good time."

Kate DiCamillo is the author of Because of Winn Dixie, The Magician's Elephant, Bink & Gollie, The Tale of Despereaux, and the Mercy Watson series illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. Learn more about Kate's books on her website.
Award-winning author Shannon Hale  writes for young adults and adults. She began writing at age 10 and has never looked back.   

She says this about writing for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, "
It's so hard to write your episode without knowing where the story will go. When writing my own book, I can rewrite the whole thing extensively to make sure all the parts work together, but with this kind of writing you have to write your little bit and then let it go." Shannon Hale is the author Princess Academy, Rapunzel's Revenge, The Actor and the Housewife, and the Books of Bayern series. Midnight in Austenland will be published in January 2012. Learn more about Shannon's books on her website
Available from Candlewick Press

in hardcover, paperback, and audio formats TOMORROW
CLICK HERE to Order!

Learn more about this innovative project and discover a wealth of coordinating activities and resources on the NCBLA's Exquisite Corpse Adventure Education Resource Center.

Friday, August 19, 2011

All Eyes on the First Family: Learning More About Presidents and Their Families

Share Presidential Facts and Stories with Your Family and Learn Together

As the First Family begins their summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard, reporters and photographers are helping Americans everywhere keep hourly tabs on their activities, allowing us to watch the family's walks to the local bookstore, bicycle ventures, and brief questions with the press as journalists ask the president what work he is accomplishing while enjoying the island.

Parents and guardians, why not make the current media focus on the presidential family a teachable moment? You can help kids learn more about America's presidents, families, politics, and history using the award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out!

Share the stories of  Thomas Jefferson's fascination with fossils and White House life for the young Kennedy family in  "Jefferson's Monstrous Bones" by Barbara Kerley and "The Kennedy White House" by Barbara Harrison.

Read about the letters Theodore Roosevelt sent to his children in an article by Leonard S. Marcus. And take a look at what happens behind the scenes in David Small's lively sketches titled "Backstairs at the White House."

On the companion educational site, you can read about the secret surgery President Grover Cleveland underwent while the public thought he was on vacation! And read why the capacity to relax is critical to a president's effectiveness and how presidents seek some relief from the pressure of their jobs in "Stress Relief: Exercise and Relaxation at the White House" by Geri Zabela Eddins.

Also on, learn about our first president's interest in breeding mules and hounds in "Presidential Menageries: George Washington, Hound Dogs, and Super Mules" by Mary Brigid Barrett.

And discover what you might have in common with American presidents and what unusual critters have resided in the White House with them in "Presidents Are People Too!" and "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My" both by Heather Lang

While visiting, be sure to check out the vast array of other articles, resources, and activities that help young people connect with American history.

Our White House is a project of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance created  to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive. Our White House is available in both paperback and hardcover from Candlewick Press.

Ask for Our White House at a library and bookstore near you!