You’ve read their hot titles, but check out some lesser-known ones….

You've read all about Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, but have you checked out the awesome series Suzanne Collins wrote BEFORE ​The Hunger Games​?

You've read about Liesel Meminger's adventures with Death, but do you know what Marcus Zusak wrote before The Book Thief​?  

Or what Maggie Stiefvater wrote before Shiver and the Scorpio Races?


Check out this fun article about "B-Sides" of YA literature, for some suggestions of great reads that are a little less mainstream.



Time to Battle it out again!

If you recall, last year we posted about the Battle of the Kids' Books, hosted for the past few years by School Library Journal. This is a bracket-style showdown between some of the best books for kids & teens, with each matchup "judged" by a well-known author. And it's that time of year again!

This year's Battle of the Books began last Tuesday March 13, with an epic showdown every day– judged by a wonderful group of authors of teen and tween books (Sara Zarr! Gayle Forman! Jeff Kinney!).  There are three more matchups left in Round One, and then we move on to the re-matches in Round Two.

One thing that I keep thinking about as I follow this contest – how on earth do you choose between two such excellent books that are so different?  It is interesting to see how each judge considers the choices thoughtfully, in order to make the decision.  Click here to read the thoughtful reviews – and to see which books will be moving on to the next round!

RIP, Diana Wynne Jones

Man, it's been a bad year for authors, and it's still only March!  We lost another of the greats on Saturday, as British fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones passed away after a two-year battle with cancer.

Wynne Jones published books that were equally loved by children, teens, and adults, and writers as varied as J.K. Rowling to Neil Gaiman claim her as one of their greatest influences.

For more information about her rich life, read this obituary from School Library Journal, or this reminiscence from the blog of Neil Gaiman, who traveled to Britain to visit with her last week.  And for folks who haven't discovered her funny, wise, and witty fantasy books for all ages, check out some of these titles:

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci:

Charmed life 

The lives of Christopher Chant

Conrad's Fate

Witch week

The magicians of Caprona


The Derkholm series:

Dark Lord of Derkholm

Year of the Griffin


The Dalemark Quartet

 The Spellcoats

Drowned Ammet

Cart and Cwidder

Crown of Dalemark


The Howl's Moving Castle series

Howl's Moving Castle

Castle in the Air

House of Many Ways


And so many other wonderful stand-alone titles– HexwoodEnchanted Glass!  The upcoming "Earwig and the Witch!" 

 Diana, you will be missed.

Inheritance is coming!

This just in!

In a press release today from Random House Children's Books, it was announced that the final book of the wildly-popular Christopher Paolini "Inheritance" series will be released in November 2011!  Wahoo!! 

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Book 1: Eragon

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Book 2: Eldest

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Book 3: Brisingr


Book 4: Inheritance

This exciting news comes more than three years after the release of the previous book.  Author Christopher Paolini (only 17 years old when he wrote the first book) is quoted as saying:  "The burning questions asked by fans around the world will finally be answered in this last installment.  All will be revealed!"

Click here for a link to the Random House publisher's description of the new book.

I'm looking forward to it!  Are you?

Battle of the Books– check it out!

The magazine School Library Journal is running its second annual "Battle of the Kids' Books," which pits 16 of the very best books for young people of the year, judged by some of the most famous authors of children's books. 

Children's books and teen books;  fiction and nonfiction, they are all thrown in together to pick out what is THE. BEST. KIDS. BOOK. of the year. 

Author-judges include folks such as Karen Hesse, R.L. Stine, Barry Lyga, Francisco X. Stork, Karen Cushman and Richard Peck. 

There is one decision a day, starting on this past Monday, March 14th.  Some awesome titles have already been knocked out of the running.  Thank goodness for "The Undead Poll," where readers were allowed to vote for a book to be "resurrected from the dead" after Round Three.

Round One will winnow the list from 16 books down to 8;  Round Two will get it down to 4;  Round Three will get us to the top two books, and then we we get the winner in the Big Kahuna Round. 

Are you interested?  I sure am!  Follow along with me as the winners emerge each day!

Going Viral

Are you a fan of forensic anthropology?  How about Kathy Reichs, bestselling author of the Temperance Brennan series?  Ok, ok, how about the TV show Bones?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you should definitely check out Kathy Reichs' latest book, which is also her first book for a teen audience.

Virals, released in late 2010, is a spinoff of Reich's well-known series — its main character is Tory Brennan, who is the niece of forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.   In this first book of the series, 14-year-old Tory and her pack of science-geek friends get infected by a mysterious virus that makes them slowly develop wolflike senses.  It's a fun story — kind of a cross between a mystery-thriller and a science fiction story, with lots of neat technology, genetically modified DNA, and of course a murder to solve!









Click this link to read a cool interview with the author– she talks about her inspiration for the book, her love of forensic science, and even a sneak peek into the sequel coming out this summer!

Redwall author Brian Jacques dies at 71

It is a sad day for fans of Mossflower Woods!

Master storyteller and author Brian Jacques, prolific author of the anthropomorphic adventure series Redwall, died of a sudden heart attack on Saturday, February 5.  
Read here for an obituary of this wonderful author.

If you have not read books by Brian Jacques, what better way to honor his memory than to get hooked into a fantastic world of animals and adventure!  See below for a list of all books in the series (in publication date order) … and wait with the rest of us for the latest (and now likely final) book in the series, "Roque Crew," which will be published in May.

 1 Redwall View full image
 2 Mossflower View full image
 3 Mattimeo View full image
 4 Mariel of Redwall View full image
 5 Salamandastron View full image
 6 Martin the Warrior View full image
 7 Bellmaker, The View full image
 8 Outcast of Redwall View full image
 9 Pearls of Lutra, The View full image
 10 Long Patrol, The View full image 
 11 Marlfox View full image 
 12 Legend of Luke, The  View full image
 13 Lord Brocktree View full image 
 14 Taggerung View full image 
 15 Triss  View full image
 16 Loamhedge View full image 
 17 Rakkety Tam  View full image
 18 High Rhulain View full image 
 19 Eulalia! View full image 
20 Doomwyte View full image
21 Sable Quean, The View full image
 22 Roque Crew  Coming soon!



Figment is a new social networking community geared towards teens with a focus on all things surrounding creative writing. Share your own writings, connect with other teen authors, find book reviews, read interviews of your favorite authors, participate in writing contests, and more. Check it out and sign up at

YA Fiction Factory? Wow….

I just read this article from New York Books about author James Frey (known for getting busted for falsely claiming his bestselling book was a true story).  It appears that he is recruiting struggling young writers to participate in a sweatshop-style writing project to try to churn out the next Twilight-style commercial success in teen literature.  I must admit that I am a little shocked.  I actually read the "I Am Number Four" book — it was ok, not great, but clearly written with the goal of becoming a movie. 

I wonder what will happen with this company and the stuff they will turn out?  Will any of them actually become popular?  What do you think?

Read the article here:

Meet Authors AND a Poetry Slam!

Am I dreaming?  BOTH these events in the same place on the same day?!  YES WAY, TED!  These two awesome events are both taking place at this year's Sonoma County Book Festival!

First:  Meet the Authors at a special Teen Author Panel

This is your chance to get up close and personal with three exciting authors of teen fiction!  The Teen Author Panel will be at Cafe Azul in Santa Rosa, from 2:00-3:00pm on Saturday, September 25.  A panel discussion is fun because it's usually a pretty informal presentation, not a canned speech;  the authors can relax and joke with the audience.  They might talk about things like how they got started writing, or how they come up with their stories — things you want to know if you are an aspiring writer yourself!

Sounds good, right?  Well, if that wasn't enough reason to mosey your way to downtown Santa Rosa, then THIS will be!  Immediately after the Author Panel will be a TEEN POETRY SLAM with cash prizes for the winners!!

The Teen Poetry Slam starts at 3:00pm, but participants must check in by 2:30pm.  Participation is open to teens ages 13-19.  Blah, blah, blah, there are a few rules to follow, but that's only to be expected for a serious competition.  Not a poet, and you know it?  That's ok — come anyway to cheer them on!  Judges are selected from the audience, and plus it'll be fun to see how creative your fellow Sonoma County teens can be.  See below for links to the Registration Form and Rules.

Hope to see you there!