We're delighted to introduce KidsBuzz, a bimonthly newsletter featuring
book giveaways and behind-the-scenes stories from top kids' authors.
In this issue, you'll meet:
- G. Neri, author of evocative stories for reluctant readers (that have earned him an IRA
Young Adult Choice honor, among others);
- Susan Kuklin, whose portrait of teenagers on death row has been recognized with more than 12 major awards (so far!); and
- Amy Hest, a New York Times bestselling author who writes for younger readers about the power of love after loss.
Please enter to win a set of books for your group! And we hope you enjoy sharing these authors' stories with your book club.
You'll continue to receive Book Beat,
our newsletter for youth book clubs, with book recommendations, news
for your club, and occasional book giveaways; our next issue will be
mailed in October. And please let us know what your club is reading
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp
One day I stumbled upon a funeral at sea for a young surfer. I was taken by the mystery surrounding that foggy morning and the four
generations of surfers on their boards spreading the young man's ashes in a
deeply ritualistic ceremony. I wondered who he was and how he came to
affect so many lives?
I started writing about it and also recalled a project I had
worked on years ago about the darker side of surfing - the secret world of drug
runners looking for easy cash so they could pursue the wave. This pull between the golden life and the darker forces
surrounding it became a perfect metaphor for the struggle between adolescence
and adulthood. Surf Mules took me for
the ride of my life: an epic journey of two young surfers on the verge of
graduating from high school when they become embroiled in a world of
I hope readers will empathize with Logan's journey into the
heart of darkness and what he needs to learn in order to survive. Aren't these issues we all have faced in one
way or another? To continue this discussion, visit my website.
And as always, thanks for reading! Dear Reader,
Ages 14 and Up / Young Adult Fiction / Putnam
Win a set of Surf Mules by G. Neri for your book club
(G. Neri is giving away one set of books and two sets of audiobooks)
Enter to win by emailing G. Neri (write "KidsBuzz" in the subject line).
Book Reviews for Surf Mules:
"Intense, funny and exciting...readers will be hooked
on this fast-paced, interesting adventure. It is a definite buy."
-School Library Journal
"The tortured but loving friendship between Logan
and Z-boy proves poignant and heartbreaking. Logan's agonized wrestling with
morally ambiguous choices and his flawed yet appealing family and friends
should find a wide audience."
Discussion Questions for Surf Mules:
makes Logan different from Z-boy, and why does he choose to stick with a
friend who will only bring him trouble?
Logan wrong to do what he does to help Z-boy and mother? What other
choices did he have?
would have happened to Z-boy if Logan had abandoned him?
Logan end up blaming himself for Z-boy's life?
will Logan go from here?
Catch the video, read an excerpt, reviews, author Q&A, and connect with G. Neri via his blog, Twitter, My Space, Facebook.
Author call-in information: G. Neri is happy to
call-in to your club. He can also meet with your group if you live in Tampa-St. Petersburg,
Florida. E-mail G. Neri to submit your request.
Ages 12 and up / Young Adult
Nonfiction / Henry Holt
Win a set of No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin for your book club
Enter to win by emailing Susan Kuklin (write "KidsBuzz" in the subject line).
A few years ago I attended a lecture about capital punishment and learned that only eight countries, including the United States, sentenced people younger than eighteen to death. Right then and there I knew I had to do something to bring this issue directly to you. That law has since changed. But the issue of juvenile justice has not.
My journey took me to maximum security prisons and death row where I interviewed inmates who had been sentenced to death for crimes they committed as teenagers. In their own words, raw and uncensored, they tell you about life "inside." But for one very serious act, these teens could be your brother, your classmate, your friend or even you. What you will learn may change the way you think about crime and punishment.
Please visit my website for details and blogs about how I wrote No Choirboy:
Book Reviews for No Choirboy:
powerful book should be explored and discussed in high schools all across our
Library Journal (starred review)
searing and provocative account that will touch teens' most fundamental beliefs
and questions about violence, punishment, our legal and prison systems, and
Discussion Questions for No Choirboy:
you the sum total of your worst act?
2. Are we
able to determine, justly, what punishment people deserve for their worst
obligation, if any, does society have to those who commit horrible acts?
4. Is the
death penalty ever justified?
juveniles who commit capital crimes be tried as adults?
Read about awards and reviews as well as
historical information on her website and connect with Susan via Twitter, Facebook, or her publisher.
Author call-in information: Susan Kuklin is happy to call-in to your
club. She can also meet with your group if you live in the greater NYC and DC areas, or while
she's in New Orleans during the week of 11.10.09. E-mail Susan to submit your request.
Discussion Suggestions for Remembering Mrs. Rossi: My favorite street in New York is the wide, winding one
called Riverside Drive. The Rossis live there, in a tall, brick building. I put
them there, in my newest novel, Remembering Mrs. Rossi. It is about mothers and fathers and daughters, and a teacher
who dies and her students. It's about love and people who know a lot about
Ages 8 - 12 / Illustrated Middle Grade
Fiction / Candlewick
Win a set of Remembering Mrs. Rossi by Amy Hest for
your book club
Enter to win by emailing Amy Hest (write "KidsBuzz" in the subject line).
There's a picture on my desk of me (age 8) with my mother.
Each day I imagined a little girl sitting beside me while I typed. She tells me
her name (Annie Rossi), her age (8), and where she lives (440 Riverside Drive,
In time, she tells me about her mother. Mrs. Rossi was a
teacher. (My mother was a teacher, too). Her mother went to the library often.
(My mother went often, too). Annie's mother died. (My mother died, too). Our
I love to talk about my books with readers, and with their
teachers, librarians and parents. You can e-mail me and I'll write back.
Book Reviews for Remembering Mrs. Rossi:
of this fine novel will find the spirited, resilient Annie another character -
just like her mother - well worth remembering."
gentle story that captures one third grader's year reinforces the power of
journaling in navigating through life's changes."
1. Encourage readers to think about the following line -
"...trying my best to keep Mommy close, and let her go, and keep her close
again." - and ask them to explain the ways
in which Annie and her father try to keep her mother's memory alive, while also
trying to build their life without her.
2. Remembering Mrs. Rossi is also a story about the power of writing. Annie and her father are sustained throughout the year by a
book of memories about Mrs. Rossi written by her sixth grade students. Ask your readers to write or talk about
a gesture they have made that had a positive impact on someone else.
See Amy's website for her "Hints for Writers",
a teacher's guide and an article where Amy
talks about New York, writing and love.
Author call-in information: Amy Hest is happy to call-in to your club. She can also meet with your group
if you live in the greater NYC area. E-mail Amy
to submit your request.
A maximum of 10 books is available for each book club giveaway.