March 1, 2013

  Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club

TimmyFailure          Rootless     verona



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


 ... 11-year-old Timmy Failure -- the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of a budding investigative empire in comic-strip artist Stephan Pastis's debut novel

... 17-year-old Banyan who sets off to find the last living trees in a world where no nature survives in ROOTLESS, the debut novel from Chris Howard that's making a splash

...and you'll enter a world of time-travel, adventure, suspense and romance in Lory Kaufman's THE LENS AND THE LOOKER.


Warm wishes,


Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Ages 8 - 12 / Illustrated Middle-grade fiction / Candlewick PressBlock1
Win a set of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis for your book club.  Enter to win by emailing the publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).


Dear Reader,


After you've done a comic strip for ten years, you feel the need to explore new characters. For my first book for kids, I wanted to create a character with a big blind spot. Timmy's is enormous. He is not good at anything he does.  Yet he thinks he's the center of the universe.


In kids' books, the boy detective is always so smart and clever. I wanted to turn that on its head a little.  Timmy is the kind of detective who can take any mystery and make it more mysterious.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is a historical record of Timmy's life as a detective.  Together with his business partner -- a 1,500-pound polar bear named Total --they tackle such mysteries as missing Halloween candy, the death of a friend's hamster, and the TP'd trees at a classmate's home.  
As a kid, I liked to laugh. I'm hoping this book does that for both kids and adults. I just want to give readers a story that has something humorous in every chapter.


Stephan Pastis

Book reviews:

"Timmy Failure is a winner!"
-Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

"Readers should be simultaneously amused and touched by this quirky antihero."

"Pastis has assembled an eccentric and funny cast, yet there are also touching interactions to be found, particularly between Timmy and his mother."
Publishers Weekly

Discussion questions:

1.    Do you think Total is a real polar bear? Support your answer with evidence from the text.

2.    Do the pictures tell the same story as the text? Are there any examples where
       there are contradictions?    

3.    What contributed to Timmy's eventual success in school?

4.    Does Timmy view himself and his detective agency in the same way that others view them?
       What examples from the book support your answer?

5.    What advice would you give Timmy in running his detective agency?

To learn more about Timmy, read a chapter excerpt, and watch the trailer, visit the Timmy Failure website.


12 and up / YA novel (sci-fi) / Scholastic Press   


Win a set of Rootless by Chris Howard for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Dear Reader,Rootless

I poured so much of myself into my debut novel, ROOTLESS, and I'm honored that Publishers Weekly awarded me a Flying Start, as well as a Starred Review for the book.  


It's been a great beginning, and I'm excited people are connecting with this story about a 17-year-old who sets off to find the last living trees in a world where no nature survives.
I was inspired while hiking in the Colorado Rockies, surrounded by trees decimated by insect kill. When I imagined a young man building forests out of scrap metal in a future where only engineered corn could grow, I immediately knew this young tree builder would set off on an adventure to find the last real trees.

See you out there!  

Happy reading,


Book reviews:

"There's a brilliant madness to this deadly post-apocalyptic world, filled with complex characters, shifting loyalties, and layers of mystery... it's also a nonstop adventure, with wild concepts and an almost hypnotic quality to Banyan's terse, weather-beaten narration."
-Publishers Weekly, Starred Review 

"Themes of loss, redemption, and sacrifice are explored, along with some big questions about science and family and love... Fans of the Mad Max movies, The Hunger Games, and other blood-pounding, life-or-death adventures will find much to like here." 

-School Library Journal

Discussion questions:

1.    Banyan's trees are in high-demand. Why do you think the elite of this future world would pay   for  Banyan's metal forests? What purpose do his sculptures serve?

2.    What do you think is symbolic about Banyan's name? What about other characters such as Alpha, Crow and Frost? Do you think the names help shape the characters?

3.    Zee believes in Zion, while Banyan does not. Why might they have differing opinions?

4.    How is the "Ark" an appropriate name for Harvest's vehicle? How is it also inappropriate? 

To read the first chapters, check out the curriculum/reader's guide and keep in touch with Chris via his blog, Twitter, and Facebook, please join him at his website.

AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION: Chris Howard is happy to call-in or Skype with your club. He can also meet with your group if you live in Colorado. Email Chris Howard to submit your request.  


ges 12 and up / YA fiction / Fiction Studio Books


Win a set of The Lens and the Looker for your book club.  Enter to win by emailing the author (write "Kidsbookclubbing" in the subject line).

Dear Re


At 14, I read William Golding's Lord of the Flies. That's when I knew I wanted to write futuristic fiction that both young and old would enjoy. Besides loving Golding's fantastic adventure stories, I was also captivated by the way he layered important social topics within the plot. And he did it without preaching. So, now it's my turn to reach out to readers with my first three books. 


The Verona Trilogy is The Lens and the Looker, The Bronze and the Brimstone & The LoryKaufman 

Loved and the Lost. In them, three teens from the 24th century are kidnapped back to 14th century Verona. There they must adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. Time travel, historical fiction, science  fiction, adventure and a Romeo & Juliet romance. Read by tweens, teens, boys, girls and adults. And I'm so very pleased how quickly readers jump from one book to the next.

Here's to reading - and jumping. 


Lory Kaufman

Book reviews:

"I was beyond impressed with The Lens and the Looker. Kaufman did a wonderful job setting up the world of his story and creating dynamic characters. His writing really made the book what it is.  Kaufman puts you in the story with ease through the language he uses."
-Geek On the Brink Book Reviews

"The magic of this book (The Lens and the Looker) lies with the wonderful, thoughtful take on 14th Century Verona, and the sort of coming-of-age story of the three teens from the future. . . I cannot remember ever reading a book that tackled this particular time period before and Kaufman approaches it with such care and gusto. He paints a truly vivid picture of the setting and colorful characters that come with it  -- he made me want to meet the lens maker, his kooky wife and beautiful daughter. I want to walk the bustling market streets and see the stunning church interiors."
-That Bookish Girl Book Reviews

Discussion questions:  

1.    Name five allusions to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet story in The Lens and the Looker.

2.    If time travel was really possible, what time and place in history would you most want to travel to and why?

3.    Hansum and Lincoln have to sleep in the loft of a barn. They are used to sleeping on levitation beds, back home in their 24th century. Describe the most uncomfortable place you ever had to sleep in and compare it with what the boys had to go through.

4.    In the 24th-century world where Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln were born, there are only three-hundred million (300,000,000) people. Today we have over seven billion (7,000,000,000,000) on the planet. What percentage difference is that?  How many people do you think should be on Spaceship Earth?

5.    Describe the typical meals that you eat in a day and where they come from.  Now compare that to what people in the 14th century had to do to eat.

To read an excerpt from each of the three Verona Trilogy novels, visit the author's website.  There, you can also follow his blog and keep up with him via Twitter and Facebook.  

AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION:  Lory Kaufman is happy to call-in or Skype with your club. He can also meet with your group if you live in Eastern Ontario or Northern New York. Email the author  to submit your request.  

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