February 1, 2010

Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club

Poison Eaters


Steel Trap

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories
Holly Black

A Whole Nother Story

Dr. Cuthbert Soup



Dear Readers,

Welcome to KidsBuzz, featuring book giveaways and behind-the-scenes stories from top kids' authors.  In this issue, you'll meet four new authors:

- Holly Black,  known for her New York Times bestselling Spiderwick Chronicles books, discusses the origins of her highly anticipated first short story collection

- James Jennewein and Tom S. Parker, authors of the popular RuneWarriors fantasy-comedy series

- Bestselling author Ridley Pearson who makes us wonder whether having a photographic memory is a blessing or a curse for his character Steven "Steel" Trapp

 - and Dr. Cuthbert Soup, Ph. D
in Unsolicited Advice, in his hilarious book for ages 8-12, A Whole Nother Story.

Warm wishes,
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

HollyBlackAges 14 and up / Young Adult Fiction (short stories) / Big Mouth Press

Win a set of autographed copies of The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black for your book club

Enter to win by emailing Holly (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

PoisonEatersDear Reader,

Over the past ten years of my career, I have worked on The Modern Faerie Tale books, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and The Good Neighbors, three series dealing with faeries and folklore.  But the dozen stories that make up my first collection, The Poison Eaters and Other Stories gave me a chance to write about lots of the other things I'm interested in.

Contained within The Poison Eaters are stories of a vampire girl named Matilda who stops herself from drinking blood by drinking booze; of Elienad, a werewolf boy who is kept like a dog by his father; of Nikki, a girl living in a trailer park, who challenges the devil to a competitive eating contest; as well as one story set in tHolly  Blackhe Modern Faerie Tale world, where Roiben walks into a coffee shop and is drawn into a past he thought he'd long left behind.  They were so much fun to write and I hope they are equally fun to read.

For more about me or my books, please visit

Holly Black

Praise for New York Times bestselling author Holly Black:

"Gritty, grim and fabulous, Holly Black is the master of dark magic and dark reality."
- Author Tamora Pierce

"Holly Black is the Real Thing:  a gifted writer with a solid grounding in what matters.  Her stories are dark and splendid blooms rising from roots sunk deep in myth and tradition."
- Author Ellen Kusher

Discussion Questions for The Poison Eaters and Other Stories:

1.     Why are teenage girls in fiction often attracted to immortal and dangerous fellows?
2.     If you read on Craigslist that denizens of the netherworld were hanging out at a cafe in your town, would you go see?
3.     Have you ever been to a competitive eating contest? Do you think the Black Widow is human or ...  a denizen of the netherworld?
4.     Eating and drinking are often dangerous in these stories (A Reversal of Fortune, The Night Market, In Vodka Veritas): do you think consuming these stories will change readers?
5.     What about these stories do you think makes them YA?

Holly Black is  happy to call your book club. Email Holly Black to submit your request (write "Book Club visit" in the subject line).

   Ages 8 and up / Middle Grade Fantasy Fiction / HarperCollins

Win a set of RuneWarriors by James Jennewein and Tom S. Parker for your book club.

Enter to win by emailing the authors (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

RuneWarriorsDear Reader,

One day we came across a book called The Poetic Edda, a collection of heroic Viking sagas. This, and the many stories in The Prose Edda, completely captured our imaginations and we became fascinated with the world of the Vikings, especially, their belief system, what is now known as Norse mythology. Thus, RuneWarriors was born. A series that follows the epic adventures of 13-year-old Dane the Defiant and his many rowdy but lovable friends. Encountering fantastic creatures, otherworldly beings, trolls, frost giants and other perils, Dane's journey of adventure and self-discovery is told with equal parts heart and irreverent humor. Tom Parker

Email us with your questions at and we hope you enjoy the books!

James Jennewein and Tom S. Parker

Book Reviews for RuneWarriors:

"...Hideous perils and hilarious misadventures. A rollicking page-turner..."
- Kirkus Reviews

"Classic rite-of-passage storytelling... will send shivers of anticipation down even the most jaded middle-school spine..."      
Bloomsbury Review

Discussion Suggestions for RuneWarriors:

For Sword of Doom:
1. Lut uses the runes to tell fortunes.  Would you like to know your exact future, or would you rather be surprised?
2. Would you risk your life to save the life of your best friend? Would you do it to save your worst enemy?
3. What does the death of Dane's father do to Dane's character?

See the RuneWarriors website to listen to the characters speak, read a fun interview with the authors and watch free videos.

James Jennewein and Tom S. Parker are happy to call your book club. Email the authors to submit your request (write "Book Club visit" in the subject line).

 Ages 10 - 12 / Middle-grade /  Young Adult / Disney/Hyperion

Win a set of Steel Trapp: The Academy by Ridley Pearson for your book club.

Enter to win by emailing Ridley Pearson (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Steel TrapDear Reader,

Hey, have you ever wondered what it would be like have a photographic memory? To never, ever forget a single thing you've said, or done, or others have said or done to you?  It's a blessing and curse, as it turns out for Steven "Steel" Trapp who finds himself offered a place at a boarding school, only to realize it's no normal school.

Steel remembers the good stuff, absolutely.  But he also remembers the bad stuff, a
Ridley Pearsonnd worse, he remembers things he would rather forget -- like other people's secrets. Torn between misunderstood friendships and teachers he's not sure he can trust, he sneaks around in the school's utility tunnels, popping up where he's least expected.

I attended a similar school (a long time ago) and I discovered tunnels just like the ones Steel ends up in.  Come join me for the crawl of a lifetime.  And bring a flashlight.

Thanks for reading!


Book Reviews for Steel Trapp: The Challenge

"Ridley Pearson has a list of published books a mile long, so he obviously knows what he's doing with his clever imagination. Steel Trapp: The Challenge has every ingredient needed to serve up an exciting adventure. The pages turn with fast-paced action, revealing the interlocking mysteries piece by piece. His characters offer a variety of personalities -- from secretive FBI agents to ultra-intelligent teens, all battling with right and wrong, and making choices. Pearson wraps up all the ingredients with his sense-awakening descriptions that really bring the surrounding scenery to life. Another winner from this bestselling, award-winning author."
-; reviewed by author Chris Shanley-Dillman
"This book is a definite winner! Ridley Pearson is just incredible! I started off reading his wonderful mysteries, then got hooked on the Peter Pan series -- the very best of his stories in my opinion!!!! Because I love his writing, I purchased this book too. I am so glad that I did... the story grabs you and keeps the action coming! I couldn't put it down! Although geared to teens, the book is a great read, no matter what your age. Enjoy! It really is worth reading! (Then try his Peter Pan books -- WOW!)"
- Emily Pennington

Discussion Questions for Steel Trapp: The Academy

1.      Did you know there really are such people?
2.      What's the farthest back you can remember?  Are you sure it's a memory and not an image from a photo you've seen or a story you've been told?
3.      Play some memory games...
4.      If you could forget one thing -- pretend it never happened, what would that be?

Read an excerpt or keep up with Ridley through his blog or Twitter.
Ridley Pearson is happy to call your book club. Email Ridley to submit your request.

EvidenceofAngels    Ages 8 to 12 / Middle Grade Fiction / Bloomsbury Children's Books

Win 7 copies of A Whole Nother Story for your book club.

Enter to win by emailing Dr. Cuthbert Soup (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

WholeNotherStoryDear Reader,

A Whole Nother Story is my first book.  First book I have written, that is.  Not to boast, but I have read several books.  So how did I go from avid reader to published author?  The inspiration to write a book came one day as I was strolling through my friendly neighborhood bookstore and noticed an empty slot on one of the shelves. 
It occurred to me rather immediately that someone needed to write something in order to fill that awful black hole of booklessness between War and Peace and Wig Making for Dummies.   The result was A Whole Nother Story and a very nice wig.

You can check out my wig, as well as learn more about me and my novel at  And if I may provide an unsolicited opinion, I think you'll quite enjoy this book.

Dr. Cuthbert Soup
President, National Center of Unsolicited Advice
Reviews for A Whole Nother Story:

 "A grand escapade centered around a close family of smart, helpful, likable characters who run into all sorts of oddball wanderers on the road and show plenty of inner stuff when push comes to shove.  . . . Great fun."
- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Offbeat humor and wordplay by narrator Dr. Cuthbert Soup propel this very kid-friendly novel.  . . . The storytelling, which merges deadpan narration with an absurdist sense of humor, is the real star of this fast-paced adventure."
- Publishers Weekly

"This book is an exciting and wonderful book. It's quite adventurous, hilarious and DEFINITELY a page-turner. My favorite part? The WHOLE BOOK! This book is AWESOME!!!! "
- Kent, grade 6, Seattle, WA
Discussion questions for A Whole Nother Story:

1.  If you were on the run from evil villains, what would you change your name to and where would you go?
2.  What's the best (and worst) unsolicited advice you've given, and received?
3.  If you could time travel, where would you go and why would you go there?
4. Who is your favorite character and why?
5.  A Whole Nother Whole Nother Story is coming out in January 2011. What do you hope will happen in the next installment of the Cheeseman's story?

Read an excerpt and Q&A at the A Whole Nother Book website.

Dr. Cuthbert Soup is happy to call or Skype with your club. Email Dr. Soup to submit your request (write "Book Club visit" in the  subject line).

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