November 1, 2009

Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club


     If I Stay           Thirteen Reasons Why             wintergirls           After                             
      If I Stay                       Thirteen Reasons Why    Wintergirls                 After
      by Gayle Forman          by Jay Asher                  by Laurie Halse          by Amy Efaw


Dear Readers,

Welcome to KidsBuzz, featuring book giveaways and behind-the-scenes stories from top kids' authors.  In this issue, you'll meet four young adult authors, all published by Penguin, who write novels that fill the silence surrounding difficult topics.  These books are meant to spark discussion about issues facing teens, and we hope they'll do just that with your book club.
You'll hear from:
- Award-winning author Gayle Forman who writes about how everything changes in a single moment for her seventeen-year-old character in If I Stay.
- New York Times bestselling author Jay Asher, who worked as a bookseller and a librarian, before writing his debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why.
- Laurie Halse Anderson, winner of the 2009 Edwards Award for significant and lasting contribution to young adult readers, as she talks honestly and speaks up loudly about her novel Wintergirls, and

- Amy Efaw, graduate of West Point Military Academy and mother of five, whose spent hours observing juvenile offenders while researching her book After

Warm wishes,
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Ages 14 and up / YA Fiction / Dutton

Win a set of If I Stay by Gayle Forman for your book club.
Enter to win by visiting Gayle's website and sending an email with "Kidsbookclubbing" in the subject line.

Dear R
If I Stayeader:
So, if someone were to describe my book If I Stay to me - 17-year-old girl goes out for a drive with her family, tragedy strikes, she finds herself as a ghost-like outsider to her critically injured body as she's rushed to the hospital and attempts to decide whether to live or die - I'd think: Major Downer. And to be sure, there are Kleenex moments. But the thing about this book, the thing readers keep telling me, is that it's sad in places (hence the Kleenex) but that in other spots, you'll be cracking up. And that at the end of the book, you'll find yourself feeling really hopeful and uplifted and paying attention to all the things that matter in your own life.
Why is that? Sad stuff happens to Mia, the 17-year-old cello player who's the book's heroine. But a lot of funny and happy things happen, too, as Mia relives her first kiss with her swoon-worthy boyfriend, Adam, her fistfight with her best friend, Kim, her obsession with cello, her relationship with Gayle Formanher supercool punk-rock parents and her ebullient little brother. At the end of the day, I think this is really a book about love. And what's not to love about that?
I spend most of my working life alone at a desk so I'm always thrilled - no, seriously it makes my day - to talk to book clubs, be it in person or via the interwebs (live chats or Q&As). Mosey on over to my web site and drop me a line if you're interested in me visiting your book club.

Stop by or visit me on Facebook to say hi or learn more.

Book Reviews for If I Stay:

"Graceful, imaginative and haunting, If I Stay is both a page-turner and a gentle, satisfying read."
-Patricia McCormick, author of National Book Award Finalist Sold

"Intensely moving, the novel will force readers to take stock of their lives and the people and things that make them worth living."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

Discussion Questions for If I Stay:

1.   Compare and contrast a point in your life when you felt you controlled your future with a time when you felt powerless.
2.   Describe a situation when you gave up something in your life. Why did you do it? How did giving it up make you feel?
3.   How much control do we have over our own destiny?
4.   What coping skills help us deal with personal tragedy?

To read an excerpt and full book group discussion guide, author bio, watch a trailer and an author interview, learn about author events and more, see Penguin's Point of View Books website or Gayle's website.
Gayle Forman is happy to call-in to your club.  Email Penguin's marketing department to submit your request.

Ages 12 and up / YA Fiction / Dutton

Win a set of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher for your book club.
Enter to win by emailing Jay's publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Dear Thirteen Reasons WhyReaders,
Long before I came up with the idea for Thirteen Reasons Why, I took an audiotour at a museum.  The woman's voice in my headset described what I was looking at, and when I finished the tour, I passed her recorded words on to someone else.
Hmm...  Has there ever been a story with two simultaneous narrators, one being a recorded voice and the other being the thoughts of someone listening?  That could be interesting!

Around the same time, a close relative of mine attempted suicide.  We later had several conversations about why she thought ending her life was the only way to end her pain.  She said it wasn't one big thing, but a lot of smaller things that kept piling on.  Unfortunately, while there were people she could've turned to for help, she was never completely honest about her feelings.
Nine years later, the two ideas came together:Jay Asher
When Clay Jensen first receives an anonymous box of audiocassettes, he's excited...until he presses play.  Out comes the voice of Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush.  Two weeks earlier, Hannah committed suicide.  On each side of each tape, she talks about a person at their school who she feels led to her decision to take her life.
"And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why."
Thirteen Reasons Why was written as a suspense novel.  If I did my job right, you won't be able to put it down!  But I also hope it reminds you that the small things we say and do absolutely matter.  And if you're hurting, you must speak up and seek help...because you deserve it.

Jay Asher

Book Reviews for Thirteen Reasons Why:

A New York Times Bestseller
"Thirteen Reasons Why is a mystery, eulogy, and ceremony.  I know, in the years to come, I will often return to this book."
-Sherman Alexie, author of the National Book Award Winner, The True Story of a Part-Time Indian
"Every once in a while you come across a book that you can't get out of your mind.  Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why is one of those books."
-Ellen Hopkins, author of the New York Times bestsellers Crank, Burned, and Glass

Discussion Questions for Thirteen Reasons Why:

1.   Consider the title of the novel.  Are each of Hannah's thirteen reasons of equal importance? Which do you find to be the most unexpected? Who is responsible for Hannah's death? Why do you think Hannah committed suicide?
2.  The inside of the book jacket for Thirteen Reasons Why pictures a replica of the map that Hannah leaves for each of the people named on her tapes. What does being able to visually trace Clay's route through town add to your reading experience?
3.  Discuss the role that the presence of Hannah's voice plays as a physical presence on the tapes. Is the impact the tapes have different from the impression a suicide note would have left? Why do you think she recorded and left the tapes? If her story had been recorded on CDs or MP3 files would the effect have been different? 


To read an excerpt and full book group discussion guide, author bio, watch a trailer, hear Jay talking about his book, learn about author events and more, see Penguin's Point of View Books website or the Thirteen Reasons Why website.

Jay Asher is happy to call-in to your club.  Email Penguin's marketing department to submit your request.

Wintergirls Ages 12 and up / YA Fiction / Dutton

Win a set of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson for your book club.

Enter to win by emailing Laurie's publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

wintergirlsDear Reader,

Last week, a size-4 fashion model for Ralph Lauren (5'10" and 117 pounds) had her picture retouched to make her look even thinner than she is in real life. That is so dumb and ridiculous and dangerous it makes me want to scream.
What do you think?
At a time when our nation's obesity rate is higher than ever, teens are subjected laurie halse andersonto constant advertising of models who are made artificially thin. Magazines are sold, reality shows launched, and a billion-dollar a year dieting industry are all based on making you feel bad about the way you look. As if it wasn't hard enough to get through your adolescence!
I wrote Wintergirls to tell the truth; to show what it is like to be frozen in the throes of an eating disorder.  I hope reading Wintergirls will help you be brave enough to take control of your body and your soul.
P.S. - You will never see me wearing Ralph Lauren!
Laurie Halse Anderson

Book Reviews for Wintergirls:

A New York Times Bestseller
"Due to the author's and the subject's popularity, this should be a much-discussed book which rises far above the standard problem novel."
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Anderson illuminates a dark but utterly realistic world...this is necessary reading."
-Booklist, starred review

Discussion Questions for Wintergirls:
1.   Discuss the title of the novel and its significance. What roles do silence and truth play in the story?
2.   Why does Melinda isolate herself from her friends? Is she justified in doing so?
3.   Despite her internal sense of humor, Melinda seems depressed to the outside world. In what ways is her depression evident? How do the people around her react to her behavior? Do you think they respond appropriately? How would you respond?
4.   What finally allows Melinda to speak?

To read an excerpt and full book group discussion guide, author bio, watch a trailer, hear Laurie talking about her book, learn about author event, resources for further information and more, see Penguin's Point of View Books website or the Wintergirls website.

Laurie Halse Anderson is happy to call-in to your club.  Email Penguin's marketing department to submit your request.

Ages 12 and up / YA Fiction / Dutton 

Win a set of After by Amy Efaw for your book club. 

Enter to win by emailing Amy's publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

AfterDear Reader,

I was first exposed to the "Dumpster baby" issue one winter day in
Philadelphia many years ago.  The news story that day was of an off-duty
police officer and his pit-bull, taking an early morning walk, when they
stumbled upon a live baby left with the trash.  I remember how disturbed and
upset and enraged that story had made me feel then - How could somebody do
something like that?  And why?

Fast-forward five years and, still intrigued with the issue, I decided to
answer those questions for myself.  I read hundreds of newspaper articles,
interviewed psychiatrists and attorneys, visited hospitals, and observed
juvenile offenders in a detention center - all so that I could learn
everything I could about the issue.Amy Efaw

And then I wrote the story about one girl's denial and isolation so complete
that she would one morning find herself lying bleeding and disoriented on a
couch with a baby - her baby - desperately hanging onto life and dumped
inside a trash can in the alley behind her apartment building.

Do you believe her story?  That she never knew she was pregnant?  Or do you
think she knew about her situation all along?  Do you think she made a
conscious choice to ignore the obvious and hide the evidence?  Please visit
my website and let me know what you think!

~Amy Efaw

Book Reviews for After:

"This book captures you attention from the very first words that you read. This book is amazing."
"This book is absolutely stunning from the very first page. The book is so emotionally packed that you feel like you are right there with Devon throughout her whole journey. Overall, it is a great book that just pulls on heartstrings."

Discussion Questions for After:

1.   Devon doesn't want to give Dom a list of character witnesses because she doesn't want her friends and teachers to find out about what she did. If you had read about Devon's story in the paper, what conclusions would you have drawn about her? Would they be different than what you think about Devon after reading her whole story in After?
2.   Devon's mother was a teenage mother herself. How do you think this affects Devon's motivations and decisions? Do you think Devon would have reacted differently if she wasn't afraid of becoming her mother? At what point in the story does Devon begin to view her mother in a different light?
3.   How are the adults in Devon's life complicit in the situation?  Should her mother or coach have noticed that she was pregnant and discussed it with her? Do you think they were negligent?

To read an excerpt and full book group discussion guide, author bio, watch a trailer, hear Amy talking about her book, learn about author events and more, see Penguin's Point of View Books website and the After book website.

Amy Efaw is happy to call-in to your club. Email Penguin's marketing department to submit your request.

  • A maximum of 10 books is available for each book club giveaway.

  • Contest entries are sent directly to the authors administering each contest.  Our Privacy Policy does not apply to emails sent as contest entries.  You must be 18 years or older to enter the contests.

Copyright � 2009 Kids' Book Club Book. All rights reserved.