November 15, 2011 

  Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club

Parrots and Pirates           Duke Ellington      Nightingale



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

... enter a world of mystery and fun in Elizabeth Levy's PARROTS AND PIRATES: A MYSTERY AT SEA;


... learn about one of the coolest, hippest musicians ever in Anna Celenza's DUKE ELLINGTON'S NUTCRACKER SUITE;


... and meet some fascinating characters in a new young adult novel, NIGHTINGALE, from New York Times bestseller David Farland.

Warm wishes,


Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Block1Ages 7-10 / Middle-grade mystery / Roaring Brook Press   


Win a set of PARROTS AND PIRATES: A MYSTERY AT SEA - and a set of wind-up parrots! -- for your book club; enter to win by contacting the author through her website.  


Parrots and Pirates Dear Reader,  


Welcome to PARROTS AND PIRATES, the second book in my Mystery at Sea series. A rare species of parrots is endangered, and my characters get to use both their brains and their hearts to save the day. Want to have your own adventures? Then come on board!  


PARROTS AND PIRATES is dedicated to my great good friend, and illustrator, Mordicai Gerstein.... "with love and for all the characters we share." Hard to believe that nearly 40 years ago, we created Gwen, Jill and Fletcher, together in the "Something Queer Books." Mordicai and I met in the early 1970's, when we both had much longer and darker hair. Mordicai was working in advertising and a great cartoonist. I had just written a book on politics after working on Robert Kennedy's campaign for president. Mordicai and I met, laughed together, and almost instantly became great good friends. The friendship has lasted all these decades and so have the laughs and the desire to create together.


Elizabeth Levy photo
Mordicai Gerstein and Elizabeth Levy

I love mysteries because I am comforted that my main characters will always stay friends. They may fight, but in the end they will work together to solve the mystery and their loyalty will prove to be unbreakable.


When I teach kids how to write, I always tell them to start with looking at the way they are with their friends - the jokes, the fears, the secrets. It is there that you often find your strongest plots.


Read - and write on!


Elizabeth Levy



Book reviews:


"Mystery, intrigue and a healthy dose of fun takes you from sea to shore and back... the top of our list for mystery-loving tweens and any family who wants to get their kids excited about an upcoming cruise."  

-The Lollipop Road, A Family Friendly Travel Blog


Discussion questions:


1. HOMELANDS: Philip is always thinking of his homeland, Borgunlund. Do you know where your ancestors are from? Would you like to sail there? Maybe you can write your own adventures on a cruise ship. Check out and see all the books that children have written as they turn their libraries and schools into their very own cruise trips traveling to lands and times far and wide.


2. FUN FACTS: I love to do research. I found out lots of facts about parrots, Houdini and magic tricks. What is your favorite animal? What does it like to eat? Maybe you can write a mystery about your favorite animal and take them on a cruise with you.


3. FRIENDSHIP AND LOYALTY: Philippa and Philip come from very different worlds. What do you think it's like to be a friend with someone who is very different from you? When Philip and Philippa fight they realize they really care about each other. Do you and your friends get over times when you fight?


Find out more about Elizabeth Levy, download bookmarks, learn how to write your own mystery, read her blog and more at her website.


AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION: Elizabeth Levy is happy to call in or Skype with your club. Contact the author via her website to submit your request.

Block2Ages 6 and up / Nonfiction picture book / Charlesbridge


Win a set of DUKE ELLINGTON'S NUTCRACKER SUITE for your book club; enter to win by emailing the author.  


Duke Ellington Dear Reader:


Listening to music is liberating. For me, it's like reading a book: sometimes I do it alone; sometimes I like to share the experience. That's why I wrote DUKE ELLINGTON'S NUTCRACKER SUITE. For years, I've enjoyed The Nutcracker on my iPod. Now the time has come to share it with friends like you! My love of Duke's music inspired me to look for the storyAnna Celenza behind the notes. What I discovered was an array of marvelous  musicians: the "cats" in Ellington's band. As Duke's best friend Billy Strayhorn would say: "They're beyond category!" 


Duke and Billy didn't like to be categorized; that's why they blended classical music and jazz. You can see the band in action here:  

Duke Ellington Meets Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker Suite 
Duke Ellington Meets Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker Suite

Never has The Nutcracker been so hip! Keep swinging!  



Book reviews:


"Love jazz? Want to pass that love along to your children? Then pick up a copy of Anna Harwell Celenza's wonderful book, DUKE ELLINGTON'S NUTCRACKER SUITE, illustrated by Don Tate and it includes a CD recording! Together with his friend, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington composed, orchestrated, and recorded some of the greatest jazz classics.... This one is a keeper!"

-Author and Commentator Alan Caruba


"Laced with invented dialogue and crisply delineating the close collaboration between Ellington and his brilliant, classically trained friend, Billy Strayhorn, the narrative traces the piece from radical idea to work in progress to exuberant recording session....The brilliant music cues Tate's full-bleed mixed-media pictures. ... The delightful accompanying full-length CD is a must-listen, since text and art mesh with it in genuine symbiosis, song by song....real cool."

-Kirkus Reviews


Discussion questions:  


1. How did the record producer Irving Townsend and the band members react when they learned Ellington and Staryhorn wanted to record a jazz version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite?  Why do you think they reacted the way they did?


2. Why does the book describe The Nutcracker by Ellington and Strayhorn as "a timeless musical map"?  Which U.S. cities influenced the composition's musical style?


3. What do you think Billy Strayhorn meant when he described his and Ellington's music as "Beyond Category"?


Find out more about Anna Celenza, see a video of Duke Ellington and his orchestra performing The Nutcracker Suite, and learn more about her other books at her website.


AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION: Anna is happy to call in, email, IM, or Skype with book clubs and groups and meet with groups in the greater DC area.  Email the author to submit your request.

Block3Ages 12 to Adult / Fantasy/Sci-Fi / East India Press


Win a set of NIGHTINGALE for your book club; enter to win via the website. All book club leaders who register via the website will receive a free copy.


Nightingale Dear Reader,   


After many New York Times Bestsellers and awards, I decided to reach for my ultimate goal: Write a series that is remembered fifty years from now. After all, I'm willing to admit openly what every writer secretly hopes, that someone will remember them after they're gone.   


In this spirit, I present Nightingale. Many have said that I've done it, but I know it will largely be up to you and people like you to decide. I'd like to hear what you think.   


In Nightingale, I wrote about a loner. Bron is alone in every way -- abandoned at birth, no home, family or friends -- until he meets an extraordinary young woman. She awakens his talents, wonderful and perilous. Just when he begins to feel that he fits in, he discovers that he's something more than human.   David Farland


Suddenly, two epic forces collide to reclaim him, and he's caught in the middle, fighting desperately to cling to the new life he's found at a superb school, with friends, a girlfriend, and his first real home.   


I invite you to read Nightingale in its enhanced mode, with sound, artwork and my special notes to you, for free at Leave me your opinion and register to win a free set of enhanced novels for your club. (The winner will be provided with up to ten free codes for the enhanced novel, which can be read on any pad, computer, or smart phone.)   


Happy Endings,   


David Farland


Book reviews:   


"A thrilling ride, with plenty of twists, action, and amazing characters.  I ripped through it.  Highly recommended."

-New York Times bestselling author James Dashner 


"A beautifully crafted experience: stunning art, haunting music and delightfully subtle animated accents all accompany a riveting and deeply human story. There is (quite literally) nothing else like it."



Discussion questions:  


1. In the book, designer clothes, a great hairstyle and the latest gadgets turn Bron into the most popular boy in school. Do you really have to have all that to be popular? Will being popular make you happy?  


2. Scientists have already discovered how to chemically erase memories. As soon as the news was released people were writing in, begging to have their painful memories erased. It may not be long before memories can be selectively erased. Should we do that? Who should decide which memories a person must keep and which ones they can erase? Should we erase the memories of criminals?  


3. Do you think it's possible that scientists can discover a way to transfer memories in your lifetime? How will that affect the world? How will it change education? Which memories should not be transferred?  


4. There will be three more books to this series. What do you think might happen? What would you like to happen?  


5. Some books are just for fun. Some make you think. Once in a while a book comes along that makes you think about it for a long time. It may even change the way you think for life. What made you think? Do you think you will remember this book in a year? Five? Fifty?


To keep up with David Farland via his blog, Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, please see his website.


AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION: David Farland is happy to meet with book clubs via conference call. Email David's assistant to submit your request.

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