Category Archives: Other

JK Rowling in Conversation with UK personality Lauren Laverne

LL I wondered how you measured success. I read your Wikipedia because we were doing this…

JR Oh God, have you read it? I’ve never read it. I’ve read yours.

LL You’ve done quite well, Jo.

JR Cheers, Lauren.

LL No spoilers, but as far as all the traditional metrics go, you’re fucking acing it.

From this very entertaining conversation.

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Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart on Stage


There’s a stage production of Cornelia Funke’s fantasy, Inkheart, about to open in Manchester, England.

Books can take us to a different world – but what happens if that world is full of dark magic and ferocious and forbidding villains, where secrets are revealed and stories come alive?

Join our hero Meggie as she finds herself bang in the middle of the kind of adventure she’s only ever read about in books.

Thrust into an epic battle with the baddest of bad guys, will Meggie and her team of unconventional allies be able to stay one step ahead and keep those they love safe from danger?

Inkheart leaps from page to stage in this funny, thrilling and action-packed UK premiere for families.

Our Artistic Director of Theatre Walter Meierjohann, in collaboration with writer Stephen Sharkey and a distinguished international creative team including award winning designer Stéphane Laimé, create a breathtaking visual world that vividly blurs the boundaries between real-life and fiction.

– See more at:

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Patrick Ness’s A MONSTER CALLS movie teaser trailer

Fingers crossed.

Described thus:

A visually spectacular drama from acclaimed director Juan Antonio Bayona (“The Impossible”), based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel. 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall) attempts to deal with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales that explore courage, loss, and faith.


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Celebrating the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015

Yesterday I was delighted to be at a very special event honoring the illustrators whose books I helped select, along with Marjorie Ingall and Frank Viva, for the  New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015.  Way back in September, we spent a day at the Times looking at over 2,000 books before selecting ten for the honor. Unlike other awards such as the Caldecott where the whole book is considered this one is for artistic merit alone. Here we are at work at the start of the day. A lot of books, right?


We then had to wait till the end of October for the list to be announced, keeping the fact that we’d been on the jury secret along with our choices.  That was hard!  And then there was yesterday’s breakfast ceremony where the illustrators of the books we selected were honored. It was wonderful indeed (and poignant as we had selected two books that featured the Eiffel Tower). Here are a couple of photos from the day, courtesy of Times photographer Earl Wilson.


In the front row are Pamela Paul (editor of the New York Times Book Review), Lizi Boyd (Big Chair Little Bear), JooHee Yoon (The Tiger Who Would Be King), Sophie Blackall (A Fine Dessert), and Duncan Tonatiuh (Funny Bones). In the back row are Greg Pizzoli (Tricky Vic),  Sydney Smith (Sidewalk Flowers), Patrick McDonnell (The Skunk), Christian Robinson (Leo), and Maria Russo (children’s book editor at the New York Times Book Review). Csil (Madame Eiffel) and Guojing (The Only Child) were unable to attend.

And here is the jury: Frank, myself, and Marjorie.

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Edward Carey’s Iremonger Trilogy

I am surprised not to see more about Edward Carey’s Iremonger Trilogy, the last of which — Lungdon — has just been published. I first learned of it after reading an enthusiastic New York Times review for the first volume, Heap House. (I see now that it got several starred reviews and ended up on many 2014 best of the year.) I got my hands on it right away and then couldn’t wait for the second which came out this spring. Having just finished the final book, I can say that the whole trilogy is terrific.

The story is of the Iremonger family, who live in the huge and sprawling Heap House, outside of London, in an alternate Victorian steampunkish, gothic, fantastical universe. This singular and snobbish family oversee the heaps, piles of trash from the city of London (or Lungdon as they call it) from which they are exiled. They are a harsh family with a very odd aspect —  all have “birth objects,” things they must keep near them at all times. Among them is Clod who has a unique condition — he can hear the objects. His birth object, for example, a universal bath plug, repeatedly mutters “James Henry Hayward.”  And into the world of the Iremongers comes Lucy Pennant, a girl from the city who arrives to work as a servant at the House. Over the course of the three novels, the world of the Iremongers and the residents of London are changed forever.

Told through a variety of voices, the story is rich and compelling. Carey’s world building is superb. These Iremongers and Heap House reminded me again and again of the equally weird world of Mervyn Peake’s marvelous Gormenghast books. The characters are similarly strange, the language ornate and original, the place fabulously described, and the plot riveting. In addition to being a terrific read, the books themselves are gorgeous, full of Carey’s art. Dark at moments, emotionally charged at others, this is one superb series.

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New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015

Last month I went to a top-secret location  to meet with my top-secret collaborators where we did something very top-secret: select this year’s New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books. It has been, as you might imagine, hard to keep such a top-secret, but we did until yesterday when and our choices (and ourselves) were revealed here. Being part of this jury was a longtime dream come true so my thanks to children’s book editor Maria Russo and Pamela Paul editor at the Book Review, for making it happen. It was a delight to work with my fellow jurors, Marjorie Ingall and Frank Viva, starting out with over 2000 books and ending up with ten. Focusing on the artistic merit of each book, I was struck by what a remarkable year it has been for illustrated children’s books — with so many wonderful titles, limiting ourselves to ten was challenging indeed. Congratulations to all!  (You can see some interior spreads from each book at this post by Travis Jonker.)


Big Bear Little Chair
Written and illustrated by Lizi Boyd


A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat

By Emily Jenkins. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall.


Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
By Duncan Tonatiuh


Leo: A Ghost Story
By Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Christian Robinson


Madame Eiffel: The Love Story of the Eiffel Tower
By Alice Brière-Haquet. Illustrated by Csil.


The Only Child
Written and illustrated by Guojing


The Skunk
By Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Patrick McDonnell.


Sidewalk Flowers
By JonArno Lawson. Illustrated by Sydney Smith.


The Tiger Who Would Be King
By James Thurber. Illustrated by JooHee Yoon.


Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower
By Greg Pizzoli


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My Report on the USBBY Conference in NYC

The recent USBBY conference here in NYC was terrific and I enjoyed writing it up for SLJ. You can read my report here.

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