Motivate! Author Interview Series: Vaunda M. Nelson and Kevin R. Free

Bad News for OutlawsNext in the Motivate! Author Interview Series, we have both an author and a narrator! You’ll have a chance to submit questions to author of Bad News for Outlaws, Vaunda M. Nelson, and award-winning narrator Kevin R. Free.

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson received the Coretta Scott King Award for her children’s book Almost to Freedom. Here she relays the extraordinary story of Bass Reeves, a lawman in the Old West who escaped slavery to become one of the most successful U.S. Marshals in history.

Two Utah classrooms will be joining you in submitting interview questions to the author and narrator, so ask away! All questions must be submitted by Sunday, November 7, 2010.

Comments are closed – thanks!


WINNER of the Wimpy Kid Announced!

greg-heffleyRecently, we asked you to tell us what you’d do with a life-size Greg Heffley cutout. Congratulations to Karon Bybee of Lakeside Elementary in Texas, grand prize winner of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid contest!

Karon’s idea:

I am the literacy coach at Lakeside Elementary and would love to involve the school in a Wimpy Kid week. I would like to move the cut out around the school to pop up unexpectedly, so all the classes could participate in activities. We might read from Wimpy kid at lunch to peak interest. I would like for my struggling readers to watch the interview with Jeff Kinney and then create their own interview with Greg. We would broadcast the interview on the morning announcements to kick off the festivities. I would like to have my younger students draw themselves as a character to add into a wimpy kid adventure, which we would write either as a shared book or an individual story depending on the level. I would like to turn their adventures in to a podcast for parents to view. Finally to end the week with a celebration on “your favorite wimpy story” and I’ve been known to create some wimpy cookies.

We really love Karon’s plan to share Greg with the whole school through morning announcements, and involve everyone by writing their own wimpy adventure. Sharing these stories with parents and others through podcasts and videos is a great way to get parents involved and hopefully get students reading at home, too. (And we’d like to go on record to say that while the promise of cookies did not sway our vote, we’d still love it if Karon would send a few our way!) Karon will win a host of goodies for Lakeside Elementary, including the coveted cardboard wimpy kid.

We wish we had more than one wimpy kid to give away! Alas, there is only one Greg Heffley. So we also picked three runners up, who will each win one CD audiobook and one print book for one of the books in the Wimpy Kid series. Those winners are:
Kathy Scott (Hallsville), who suggested that Greg Heffley write a column for the school newspaper
Becky Norgard (Elim Christian Services), who planned to involve both younger and older students in a skit where the kids could see cutouts of themselves palling around with Greg (how cute!)
Shellie Swanson (Bayfield School District Library), who suggested using Greg as a basis for a character education discussion for middle schoolers

Because there were just too many great entries, we also picked two second runners up, who will each recieve one copy on CD of one of the Wimpy Kid books.
Cheryl Ford (Rock Hill, SC), who hoped Greg would inspire her kids to reach a 75 books a year goal (wow!)
Jerry Jarrell (Frank Stone Middle School), who suggested Greg hang out at the book fair and answer kids’ most burning questions

We hope you all still move forward with your great wimpy kid plans. If you do, please share with us! To read all of the wonderful submissions, click here.

Just a note…

Just a note…we’re received so many great entries for the Wimpy Kid contest that it’s going to take us longer than expencted to go through them all! Expect an announcement of the winner by Wednesday.

In the mean-time, we encourage you to read through the comments for some great ideas that you can incorporate into your classroom, whether you have a cardboard Greg Heffley or not!

Eva Ibbotson 1925-2010

We are very sad to have to share the news that one of the stars of children’s literature, Eva Ibbotson, died at her home in England on October 20. She was 85.

Ibbotson was the author of more than 20 beloved novels for children and adults, including The Beasts of Clawstone Castle, The Star of Kazan, The Dragonfly Pool, A Company of Swans, A Countess Below Stairs, and Journey to the River Sea published by Recorded Books. Her most recent title, The Ogre of Oglefort, has just been published in England and will come out in the US in summer 2011.

Free Pass to NMSA Exhibit Hall

visit us at NMSA

Thinking about visiting this year’s National Middle School Association Conference in Baltimore, but don’t have a show pass? Check out the exhibit fall for free and see what’s new with a free exhibit hall pass from Recorded Books! We’ll be featuring one of our curriculum products, Dr. Janet Allen’s Plugged-in to Reading. lf you use our pass, be sure to come to booth 521 and let us know!


Halloween Tricks and Treats

A good horror story has it’s charms any time of year, but even more so as the days grow darker and colder. Weird tales and ghost stories are even more entertaining when delivered by a great storyteller. Nothing beats a professionally narrated audio book for evoking tales told around campfires and whispered under blankets with a flashlight held to your chin…
For Little Monsters (ages 4-8)
Okay, so this isn’t really a scary book, but there are bats involved, and this bestselling title raises shrieks of delight  from young listeners. It also ties in nicely with the baseball playoffs. Perfect!
odious-ogreTHE ODIOUS OGRE
A scary-enough story that leaves kids smiling rather than shivering, from the creators of the classic THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH – which, by the by, will be celebrating its 50th  anniversary in 2011.
An antisocial duck adopts an egg that hatches out very differently than he expects. A real find for the rhyme and rep set.  
Funny stuff for kids who’ve graduated to chapter books. This time out, Roscoe tries to win books for his library by guessing the weight of a great pumpkin. Check out all the ROSCOE RILEY RULES books. You hear one, you’ll want to hear them all.

For Guys and Ghouls (ages 8-10)
Zombie stuffed toy terrorizes middle school? Enough said. (For a chance to have your students’ questions answered by author Kevin Bolger and to win Zombiekins on CD, click here!)
Not your usual ghost story. A haunting tale of loss and renewal set during the Katrina disaster in New Orleans.  
There may be more to Dwight’s paper finger puppet than meets the eye. Can Origami Yoda really read minds and predict the future? Kids are loving this and recommending it to their friends. Watch out, it may well be the next WIMPY KID. (Speaking of wimpy kids, have you entered yet to win a life-size Wimpy Kid for your classroom?)
Not for the Faint of Heart (ages 12 and up)
Might just be the best dystopian zombie hunter story EVER, from that bestselling prince of darkness Jonathan Maberry.  
MISGUIDED ANGEL (Blue Bloods #5)
New York Times bestselling BLUE BLOODS series has it all: vampires, fallen angels AND over-privileged rich kids partying like there’s no tomorrow. The latest installment will not disappoint. View the book trailer at MTV!
THE CURSE OF THE WENDIGO (Monstrumologist #2)
The sequel to 2010 Printz Honor Book and bestseller THE MONSTROMOLOGIST takes our Fearless monster hunters to Canada in search of a life-sucking immortal that puts vampires to shame. Gory? Yes. But totally engrossing.
jekel-loves-hydeJEKEL LOVES HYDE
The author of last year’s surprise bestseller JESSICA’S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE reanimates the Robert Louis Stevenson classic with the tale of two teen descendants of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who seem doomed to repeat their ancestor’s mistakes.

National Book Awards for Young People’s Literature: The Finalists

The National Book Award finalists for 2010 have been announced, and we think the selections for the Young People’s Literature award are wonderful!

Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker

Kathryn Erskine, Mockingbird

Laura McNeal, Dark Water

Walter Dean Myers, Lockdown

Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer

What do you think of the selections and who do you think will be the winner? And if you haven’t yet, view our interview with Rita Williams-Garcia and learn how you can participate in the next author interview with Kevin Bolger! There’s also still time to enter to win a life-size wimpy kid for your classroom!

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