Category Archives: Other

Holly Black and the Twelfth Doctor

Holly Black has joined a stellar line-up of children’s authors (to name a few: Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness, Eoin Colfer and Neil Gaiman) who have each crafted a short tale for every incarnation of the eponymous Time Lord.

When the original run of e-books ended in November of last year Matt Smith was the incumbent Doctor but now acting heavyweight Peter Capaldi has taken on the role it seems apt that he should be featured in a story.

Black’s story, Lights Out, is unique in many respects. She had the exciting but “super intimidating” task of penning an adventure for the Twelfth Doctor who, when she wrote it over the summer, had yet to appear on our screens. She was given scripts to aid her (“Some of it was blacked out for mysterious reasons!”) and relied on images but she seemed somewhat relieved to have been allowed to edit Lights Out after seeing Capaldi’s debut, Deep Breath back in August. “When I actually saw the episode [Deep Breath] I went back and made a lot of changes,” she tells me. “Because there’s just something so different about seeing Peter Capaldi owning the role onscreen.”

Read the rest here.  There is also a fun gallery of jackets for each doctor here. I’ve just ordered this as an audio book— I think it will be a lot of fun to listen to.

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A Westing Game Movie Directed by Neil Patrick Harris with a Screenplay by Gillian Flynn?

What book would you most like to see turned into a movie?

I have, for years, been a bit obsessed with “The Westing Game,” by Ellen Raskin. It’s a young adult murder mystery, about a group of residents in an apartment building, the death of a millionaire in a mansion nearby and their trying to solve clues left by the deceased to win his inheritance. Apparently it has already been made into a movie, but not by me! I’m dying to direct a really dark, moody version of it. Then I read that Gillian Flynn, of “Gone Girl” fame, loved this book growing up, as well. So now my infatuation has rekindled — I want to get her to write the screenplay. Fingers crossed.

Fingers crossed indeed! From Neil Patrick Harris: By the Book.


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Frank Cotrell Boyce on the Importance of Story

I love visiting schools. There’s a humbling, Homeric magic in the sight of a crowd of children sitting down waiting to listen to your story. A few months ago, however, a lovely young NQT stepped between me and that crowd and said: “Now we are very lucky to have Frank with us today. We’re going to use our Listening Skills (she touched her ears) to try and spot his Wow Words (what?) and his Connectives so that we can appreciate how he builds the story.” Imagine going on a date with her. “We’re going to have some proteins. Some carbs – not too many – and conversation. If you make me laugh, that’s a physical reaction so it puts you on the erotic spectrum and you might get lucky.”

That’s from “schools are destroying the power of stories” an extract from Frank Cotrell Boyce’s David Fickling Lecture. And if you don’t know Frank Cotrell Boyce’s work you should.  In addition to being a screenwriter and one of those who came up with the idea of the queen parachuting into England’s Olympic opening ceremony, he is the author of MillionsFramed, and my personal favorite Cosmic (I’m doing my yearly read aloud of it right now) as well as a trio of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sequels — they are fabulous middle grade books.

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Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

It wasn’t love at first sight, but now I am completely and utterly smitten with Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s Sam & Dave Dig a HoleI had taken a quick look when I received it, but then last Friday at the very end of the day, after having seen Travis Jonker’s post of theories about the ending, I read it aloud to my 4th graders and all hell broke loose. You want theories? My class had them in spades. I had to practically shove them out the door — on a Friday, mind you!  And then yesterday, having decided to use the book in a project (hopefully something I will be able to share here) I asked them to repeat their theories for a colleague. They went even further this time. One theory generated another one and another and another. I’ve one boy who has his theory divided up into 7 volumes (that is what he calls them). Their theories involve alternative universes, wormholes, gravitational pull, dreamlands, dog-as-god, and more. And so, yeah — I’ve fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.

K.T. Horning clued me in to this charming video of Jon filling a bookstore window with dirt, of course.

And if you haven’t seen the official book trailer, that is adorable too.


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Gregory Maguire on Writing and Inspiration (especially for Egg & Spoon)

If I can collect a little assemblage of items that put me in a mood of the book, then I find some place in my study where I can put them out. For “Egg and Spoon,” I had some wonderful things. I had a 1940’s era paper mache Baba Yaga’s cottage. It’s only standing on one chicken’s foot; it got broken somewhere along the way. I have a number of matryoshkas I’ve collected over the years. I have a number of painted eggs I’ve painted myself starting 40 years ago; I used to paint one every Easter. Some of them have Russian themes. I have little British foot soldiers. I’ll arrange them on a little altar to the muse. I don’t play with them — I don’t march them around the room and sing little songs — but the fact that they’re there is a clue to myself that the studio is open.


via Karen Kosko

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Some of My Right Words Celebrating Bryan and Sweet’s The Right Word

This is so cool. Thank you, Erdmans!


We thought we should mix Monica Edinger‘s great quote with an image

proving her point that:

“All in all, The Right Word is a







work of art.”

(Thanks for the love, Monica!)

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Books for Incarcerated Teens

Many years ago I first heard Walter Dean Myers speak of his involvement with incarcerated teens. Later, when I found myself with an abundance of YA ARCs, I was pleased to hear that they were much needed for incarcerated teens and looked for a way to get them to them. After some struggles figuring this out (living in NYC I’m carless so getting lots of books places isn’t so easy) I discovered that Karlan Sick, who lives around the corner from me, is now chair of the board for Literacy for Incarcerated Teens. Karlan told me to bring the books to her and she’d get them to the teens.  And so for the last few years, I periodically load up my shopping cart with finished galleys and take them to her building.  For a time I was told they could only take galleys and paperbacks, but more recently I’ve been able to donate hardcovers as well.  It is fabulous program that I associate with Walter as he was so passionate about incarcerated teens and so I was delighted to see the SLJ feature, “Literacy for Incarcerated Teens” and urge you to read it to learn more about this wonderful program.


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