November 15, 2010

  Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club





In this issue of KidsBuzz, featuring book giveaways and behind-the-scenes stories from top kids' authors, you'll:

... meet R. L. Stine, widely considered the king of children's horror writing, as he discusses a collection of terrifying original stories from the hottest names in thriller writing today (beware: nothing is what it seems and no one is safe!)

... climb aboard a cruise ship and help uncover a mystery with Elizabeth Levy in her new MYSTERY AT SEA chapter book series


... and read about courage and the power of hope to overcome fear with writer Beth Fehlbaum.

Warm wishes,
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Ages 12+ / Short story collection / Anthology / Published by Penguin Speak


Win a set of FEAR edited by R. L. Stine for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the publisher (write"Kidsbookclubbing" in the subject line).

FearDear Reader:

You probably agree with me that there just isn't enough fear in the world. The hair-raising screams, the chills down the back, the chattering teeth, the cold shudders, the -- may I say it? -- goosebumps, the choked gasps of sheer horror. Where are they coming from?

Yes, of course. From the news every day. But I'm talking about the good kind of fear -- the fiction kind.

I'm proud to have helped spread fear in the world. I compiled the ITW young adult story collection, appropriately named FEAR. Now, by telling people about this book -- or even buying a few copies -- you will be helping to spread some fear, too.
I believe the 13 stories in this collection will bring that tingle of fear and trembling of the limbs we all enjoy. The stories are written by some of the most popular young adult authors of today (including five New York Times bestselling authors and four Edgar Award nominees), as well as several best-selling International Thriller Writers members. 

I hope you'll keep the fear alive by checking out FEAR.

Scary Best Wishes,

R.L. Stine


P.S. I hasten to add that all this fear is for a good cause. All of us in the anthology donated our stories, absolutely gratis. Half of all proceeds supports the excellent organization Reading is Fundamental, which encourages literacy, and half supports International Thriller Writers.


FEAR includes 13 terrifying original stories from the hottest names in thriller writing today:

R.L. Stine

Meg Cabot

Heather Brewer

Tim Maleeny

Heather Graham

Alane Ferguson

Jennifer Allison

Walter Sorrells

Peg Kehret

Suzanne Weyn

Jim Rollins

F. Paul Wilson

Ryan Brown


Book reviews:

"Vampires, aliens, mind creepers, demons, sinister swamp people, hungry shadows, or cannibals next door -- any one of these would guarantee shivers, chills, and sleeples nights for avid horror fans. R. L. Stein, dean of the creepy-crawlies, has collected stories by thirteen authors to provide thirteen times as much of the right stuff, under the aegis of the International Thriller Writers. . . . It is rare for a collection of stories to maintain the same quality from beginning to end, but FEAR succeeds in delivering all the suspense, terror, irony, and twisted endings that any horror addict could crave."


"Combine a title like FEAR
with a name like Stine, and most readers will naturally assume this collection is filled with supernatural terrors. And for many of these 13 original stories, they would be right. Many genres are represented, and each story (including Stine's, which opens the book) offers chills, though seldom getting too gruesome. Readers seeking diverse sources of suspense will most appreciate this collection."

- Publishers Weekly

"Thirteen highly suspenseful short stories, well selected by none other than R. L. Stine, who contributes the first tale, have the power to attract and delight many stouthearted young readers. The man behind the Goosebumps and Fear Street megaseries enlists some of the best in the business, such as Meg Cabot and F. Paul Wilson, Walter Sorrells and James Rollins, who offer plenty of heart-throbbing supernatural horror, crime suspense, shockers and sometimes a mixture of all three."

- Kirkus Reviews


Visit The Big Thrillers for more info about these thirteen blood-chilling stories from true masters of suspense.

   Ages 7 - 12 / Mystery Chapter Book / Published by Roaring Brook / Macmillan

Enter to win a set of DANGER AND DIAMONDS by Elizabeth Levy for your book club.  Visit the author's website to enter (see WRITE ME section).


DangerandDiamondsDear Reader,


You may know some things about me from the books I've written, but now I have a chance to tell you more about myself. I have been writing for over 30 years and published over 80 books with over 5 million sold. Writing is always an adventure.


Want mystery and adventure and to find out what it takes to be both a detective and a loyal friend?  Come on board!  DANGER AND DIAMONDS is the first in the Mystery at Sea series, illustrated by Caldecott Winner, Mordicai Gerstein.  We've got diamonds, duchesses, parrots and a captain's sLevyon with a royal secret.  Best of all we've got dogs, taken from real life -- my dog Buddy and his best friend Max. 


FREE BOOKMARKS:  Visit my website to download free bookmarks.  Plus I love hearing from students, teachers, librarians and booksellers  -- so feel free to write to me.  I will personally answer.


All aboard,


Elizabeth Levy


Book reviews:


"When two veterans such as Levy and Gerstein join forces, it's clear the result is going to be good, and with its intriguing high-seas locale, this new mystery series doesn't disappoint. A smart heroine, a cute boy, and a mystery that can be pretty easily solved make this right on target for a middle-grade audience. And with Caldecott Medalist Gerstein behind the expressive double-page illustrations, you can be sure the artwork is of a higher caliber than is found in most series fiction. Anchors away!"

- Booklist


"...a fast paced story full of intrigue and adventure on the high seas make this series perfect for newly independent readers."

- Goodreads  ***** 5 stars


 "Elizabeth Levy has great comedic timing and writes with a depth of feeling."

- School Library Journal, Starred Review (on MY LIFE AS A FIFTH GRADE COMEDIAN)


 "(Levy's) mysteries have enormous appear because of their combination of humor and sleuthing."
- Washington Post
(on The Invisible Inc. series)  


Discussion questions:


1.     If you lived on a cruise ship, where would you want to go?  Would you like to sail to your family's country of origin and why? What mysteries do you think you could find there?

2.     Philippa gets to live on a cruise ship:  What do you think would be the best and worst things about such a life? For example, every cruise brings a new adventure, but she always has to be polite to the paying customers.

3.     Philip's father is the captain of the ship:  He has a huge stateroom and is allowed to have pets.  Philippa and her parents live below the water line. Is it hard to be friends with someone who has so much more than you?  How do Philip and Philippa show their loyalty to each other?

4.     Philippa and Philip love mysteries and are always willing to do research to solve them.  Why is it so important for a detective to be curious?  What can you learn from mysteries?

Visit Elizabeth's website to read her blog, find out about author visits, get free stuff, learn some tips on how to write a mystery, and more.


Author call-in information:  Elizabeth is available to call-in to or Skype with your book club.  Visit her website to submit your request.

   Grade 9 & Up / YA Realistic Fiction / Published by WestSide Books

Win a set of Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum for your book club.
Enter to win by emailing Beth (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

HopeinPatienceDear Reader,


I was inspired to write Hope in Patience by my own recovery from childhood sexual abuse.  At the suggestion of my therapist, I decided to try writing a novel.  It took me about four months of starting and stopping, always ending up in the same place: stuck inside myself -- until one day I became so sick of the scenery that I decided to try to imagine what it would have been like if I had been able to get out of the abusive situation I was in at age 15.  What if a young girl in that situation had a father who had allowed his own shame at being a lousy dad to keep him away for her entire life, as Ashley's father, David does?  What if he was able to come through for her in a way he never thought he could, when she needed him the most?  In the process of knocking down the walls I had built around myself,  I found Ashley Nicole Asher, age 15, and Patience, Texas, a tiny East Texas town populated with people who can be found anywhere, dealing with the same problems that all people must face, whether they want to admit it or not. Fehlbaum


Hope in Patience is about courage and the power of hope to overcome fear.  This is not  "an abuse story" -- it is a survival story.  It's anyone's story -- anyone who has ever overcome what they thought they never could; anyone who has ever known what it is to want to be loved and accepted as -- is. 


I look forward to hearing from you!


Beth Fehlbaum


Book reviews:


"Ashley will have readers rooting for her."

- Publishers Weekly


"Ashley's story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, a true testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit. Written with elegance and fearless honesty, this book is a shot of hope, and quite simply a must-read for anyone who's suffered abuse."

 - Jennifer Brown, author of HATE LIST, a 2010 ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a 2009 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year


"In this powerful story, Fehlbaum scrapes below the surface of the trauma caused by sexual abuse, exposing layer after layer of pain and damage. Using a cast of delightful, multi-dimensional characters,  Fehlbaum shows that recovery is possible, and the human spirit is indomitable. A remarkable achievement."

- Shelley Hrdlitschka, author of DANCING NAKED, an ALA Quick Pick , ALA Best Book Nominee, ALA Popular Paperback Nominee,  2003

Discussion Questions:

1.     Discuss what it would be like to grow up in an abusive situation.  How would the outcome for Ashley have been different if her mother acted on her outcry rather than blaming her for the abuse?

2.     How can the poem, "In Response to Executive Order 1066" be related to Marcus' assumptions about K.C. because of her sexual orientation?

3.     Contrast Coach Griffin's take on the Japanese of World War II with Bev's presentation of the Japanese in Farewell to Manzanar.


To read an excerpt, Q&A or Beth's blog, visit her website.  You can also connect with her on Twitter or via Facebook.


Author call-in information:  Beth Fehlbaum is happy to call-in to or Skype with your club.  She can also meet with your group if you live within 75 miles of Athens, Texas.  E-mail Beth to submit your request.

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