Monday, May 10, 2010: Dedicated Issue: Simon and Schuster Children's

We thank you for all of your support! From Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing

Atheneum: Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer

Aladdin: Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

Simon and Schuster Children's: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Beach Lane Books: Boss Baby by Marla Frazee

Little Simon: Beauty and the Beast by Robert Sabuda

Editors' Note

Dedicated Issue: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

In this issue, with the support of the publisher, Shelf Awareness takes an in-depth look at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, a long-established cornerstone of the industry that's innovating in both the presentation of its titles and outreach to customers. The interviews are by Jennifer M. Brown.


Simon Pulse: Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Books & Authors

Simon & Schuster: Embracing New Opportunities

When Jon Anderson came from Running Press to Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing in January 2009 as executive v-p and publisher, he was excited about the possibilities that the new technologies in publishing had to offer. "Running Press specialized in a lot of novelty and coffee-table books that could really only exist in book form. The digital onslaught that was coming was not a huge part of the planning," Anderson said. "When I got here, I was amazed at how far ahead of the curve S&S was, and in particular how the kids' division was taking advantage of the opportunities available."

In 2009, some major series were coming to a close: the Spiderwick books, the Pendragon series and "I think we thought we were concluding Mortal Instruments," Anderson said with a chuckle (more on that a bit later). "This year we have a combination of big, new series preparing to launch, and a handful of number twos--second books in series that are already performing incredibly well." Among those are follow-ups to the New York Times bestseller Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Crescendo, November), the Printz Honor book The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (its sequel, The Curse of the Wendigo, October), Dork Diaries #2: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl by Rachel Renée Russell (June), and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, the sequel to Leviathan (more on that a bit later, too).

Some star quality stand-alone titles also lead the fall list at S&S, including Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Atheneum, $15.99, 9781416999614/1416999612, 128 pp., ages 4-8, September) by Judith Viorst, author of classic backlist titles such as Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, illustrated by Ray Cruz. After Lulu's parents nix her birthday wish for a brontosaurus, she takes matters into her own hands and heads to the woods to find the prehistoric pet herself. But the brontosaurus has his own plans for the heroine. "We all loved Lulu, and we realized we had to find a marvelous illustrator to pair it with. It was just a wonderful stroke of luck that Lane Smith was equally wowed by the tale and eagerly came on board," Anderson recalled. (Viorst and Lane will sign ARCs of Lulu and the Brontosaurus at BEA on Wednesday, May 26, at 11 a.m. in the autographing area, Table 15.)

The Brazilian fine artist Romero Britto makes a transition to children's picture books next month with My Alphabet Playbook (Little Simon, $12.99, 9781416996248/1416996249), a "puzzle board book," and in October, S&S will publish Britto's Where Is Friendship Bear? ($12.99, 9781416996231/1416996230, both board books are $12.99, 16 pp., ages 4-8). Anderson pointed out that Britto has done a great many sculptures, including the original cow parade, as well as high-profile advertising work like a design for an Absolut bottle. "He has a unique graphic style that is immensely popular, and we felt that appeal could easily stretch to a preschool audience as well," Anderson said. "With Alphabet Playbook, playing off his reputation as a sculptor, we thought it would be great if the letters popped out of the book, to allow kids to make their own sculptures out of the letters."

Anderson was introduced to Matthew Van Fleet's titles as a bookseller (he got his start at the age of 15 in a B. Dalton in his native South Dakota). "I have always admired his books for their child friendliness and distinctive look," Anderson said. "Now Matt is practically a household name." In September, S&S will publish Heads (Paula Wiseman Books, $19.99 9781442403796/1442403799), a companion to the author-artist's million-copy-plus bestselling Tails.  "When you see a Matt Van Fleet book from across the store, you head right for it because you trust it," says Anderson. "Yet all of Matt's books are so different. Having the chance to now work with Matt has been a wonderful experience."  (Van Fleet will sign copies of his book Alphabet at BEA on Wednesday, May 26, at 2 p.m. in the autographing area, table 30.)

S&S's new West Coast imprint, Beach Lane Books, led by v-p and publisher Allyn Johnston, will continue the Pals in Peril series by M.T. Anderson, edited by Johnston while she was editor-in-chief at Harcourt. Last fall, S&S/Beach Lane published the third in the series, Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware, and next month S&S will take over publication of the first two books in the series, Whales on Stilts and The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen. "I think a series tends to lose its focus if it's spread out across different publishers, so we bought the books back from Harcourt," Anderson said. He called M.T. Anderson "one of the most fascinating people I've ever met. I was a fan of his books before I had the pleasure of being his publisher." The fourth book in the Pals in Peril series, Agent Q, or The Smell of Danger! (Beach Lane, $16.99, 9781416986409/1416986405, 304 pp., ages 9-12), will be released in October.

The Canterwood Crest series by Jessica Burkhart "keeps getting bigger and bigger with each new book we do," according to Anderson. " It seems to be that perfect combination of girls and horses with a little attitude." The ninth book, City Secrets ($6.99 paper, 9781442403802/1442403802, July), finds series stars Heather, Sasha and Paige taking a break from academics and horses to head to Manhattan, and September marks the publication of book #10, Elite Ambition (9781442403826/1442403829).

In addition to what he calls the "abundance of riches" on the fall S&S children's list, Anderson is also excited about the online exchange S&S has developed with readers--through in particular, which launched last June. "Everyone here has been embracing the new opportunities that are coming about with being able to reach our audience directly and to market to them directly," Anderson said. "Opportunities are coming about that never existed in publishing before."


Margaret K. McElderry Books: Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

The Wonders of WondLa

"The Search for WondLa is Tony DiTerlizzi's masterpiece," according to Justin Chanda, v-p and publisher of S&S Books for Young Readers, Atheneum and McElderry Books. "It's like nothing you've ever read, and yet everyone who's read it feels like it's an instant classic." Twelve-year-old Eva Nine is being raised in a high-tech, underground Sanctuary by a robot named Muthr. Even though she's never encountered another human being, Eva believes that others like her exist--especially after she discovers "a small thin item" with an image of a girl holding hands with a human adult and a robot. And when an intruder breaks into their Sanctuary, Eva finally gets her wish to explore what lies outside it. "There's a surprise at the end, and we start to know what WondLa is or might be," Chanda hinted. "It's a reveal that will propel the rest of the series."

The Search for WondLa
(SSBFYR, $17.99, 9781416983101/1416983104, 496 pp, ages 10-up, September 21, 2010 laydown; also available on CD and for download from S&S Audio) is the first book in a planned trilogy. "It's set in a world that only Tony can conceive," Chanda said. "Not to make the Star Wars connection too strong, but Lucas created a mythology that we believe, with futuristic elements from the past--'Long ago in a galaxy far away....' Tony is creating characters and science, weapons and tools that are either futuristic or from the past, but either way it's otherworldly."
The project sent DiTerlizzi back to children's books from the 1930s and 1940s, from which he took his inspiration for the artwork and the production. Each book will be in two colors, and all of the books will include 50 to 60 illustrated pieces. At 496 pages, it's aimed at a slightly higher age range than DiTerlizzi's Spiderwick books, which he co-created with Holly Black. "It's a different side of Tony. This feels more cinematic," Chanda said. "Spiderwick, as fantastical as the world was, you weren't being introduced to a planet and different environments, and now you are."

DiTerlizzi also pushes the envelope with the use of augmented reality in three places in the book. "What hasn't been done yet with augmented reality is interaction with book content," Chanda said. "Here you'll hold up a page from the book to a computer webcam, and on the computer screen a map will spring out from the book. Readers will  be able to see where Eva has traveled and see an impression of the landscape." Readers don't need a webcam to get the full story but, Chanda said, the addition of the webcam takes the experience to a whole other level. "We need to always push the boundaries, and Tony is always looking to do something different," Chanda added. You can see a demonstration of "WondLa-Vision," the name S&S has given the augmented reality experience of the book, and a book trailer at

Tony DiTerlizzi will sign ARCs at BEA in the S&S booth, #3940, on Wednesday, May 26, at 10 a.m.

Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing: A ValueTales Treasury by Spencer Johnson, MD

Praise for Milo

Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze Quotes by Alan Silberberg (S&S, $15.99, 9781416994305/ 1416994300, 256 pp., ages 12-up, September)

"I was taken completely by surprise by Milo, an unexpectedly moving novel. Twelve-year-old Milo is an endearing character whose experiences will make readers laugh and cry. He reveals his terrific sense of humor through his thoughts and feelings and his admission of some pretty embarrassing moments such as being caught buying a jumbo pack of super-soft toilet paper by his current crush. Interspersed among countless comical experiences are scenes of Milo's tender, heartfelt memories of his mom. Alan Silberberg has written a story for 'tweens and young teens with a refreshing honesty not often seen in children's literature today." --Tish Gayle, Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, Pa.

 "Milo is the little brother I never had, he made me laugh and he made me cry--on an airplane with nowhere to hide! He's one of the most believable and lovable characters I've met in a long time." --Mary Marotta, V-P, Drector of Children's Sales

 "I love Milo! He's a character you can't help but instantly fall in love with. With equal doses of humor and heart, this poignant novel will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. If you're like me you'll immediately need to tell others about Milo, once you've wiped away the tears." --Victor Iannone, National Accounts Manager, Children's Division

Spotlight on Olivia

When Ian Falconer's Olivia debuted at S&S in 2000, she caused quite a stir--and seemed destined for the screen. Now, thanks to her reach on the (small) screen on Nick Jr., the diminutive porcine diva is known to kids from one to 92. This October, she'll star in Olivia Claus (Simon Spotlight, $16.99, 9781442406629/1442406623), a Christmas Eve tale. Valerie Garfield, v-p and publisher of Novelty and Licensed Publishing, including Little Simon and Simon Spotlight, attributes the success of the launch of the TV tie-in titles to the fact that the books had such a built-in audience due to the existing  hardcover. "Even though the books and DVDs launched ahead of the rest of the consumer products, which is unusual for a brand, we had an audience who already knew and loved the character," Garfield said.

Olivia also translates well to the school environment, the setting for the TV show. "She has an episode with a school play that's absolutely hilarious, where she's not cast as the lead, and there's the 'Olivia Meets Olivia' episode, where someone has the audacity to show up in her class with the same name," Garfield said with a laugh. "Things are still centered on her home life, but the TV show has the extra element at school with the milestone issues that children are experiencing themselves--though not quite on as dramatic a scale as Olivia."

Chorion, the licensor of the Olivia TV series, has also worked with Eric Carle and developed Paddington Bear. "We work very closely with Chorion to make sure that the books retain Olivia's character, and remain true to the core character that Ian established with the hardcovers," Garfield said. She believes that the TV tie-in books have expanded the audience because of lower price options, such as the $3.99 8×8 paperbacks. "I think with any noise out there for a character, all boats rise," she noted. Olivia Goes to Venice ($17.99, 9781416996743/1416996745), the first hardcover picture book by Ian Falconer in three years, will be published by S&S's Atheneum imprint in September. Garfield said Olivia inspires a housewide effort: "It's a great marriage when you can have the hardcover editor and the editor for the TV tie-in books working together, and to expand her smartly and be sure Olivia earns her place on everyone's bookshelves."

Steampunk... Westerfeld-Style

Is everyone sitting down? Behemoth (Simon Pulse, $18.99, 9781416971757/1416971750, 496 pp., ages 9-12, October) by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Keith Thompson, is the second in a trilogy. We've heard that before. "Scott's readers will laugh, because so was Uglies, which turned into a four-book 'trilogy,' " said Bethany Buck, Westerfeld's editor, and v-p and publisher of Simon Pulse and Aladdin. Behemoth is the sequel to his mind-bending Leviathan, an alternate steampunk history that takes place at the start of World War I and sets the Darwinists (who have spawned the interbreeding of species) against the Clankers (who place their faith in machinery). "Like any good story, there's certainly room for more, especially something like this that's so layered and deep. He conceived this as three books, and I believe he's known where he's going since the beginning," Buck added.

The book takes readers to Istanbul, where they first encounter Behemoth, a water creature. "According to Scott, Leviathan is an air creature, Behemoth is a water creature and Goliath [the planned conclusion] will be a land creature," Buck revealed. "It's interesting because Scott controls the artwork, and he directs the artwork himself, and a lot of the stuff comes from Keith [Thompson]. Scott mentioned that their collaboration really comes together in Behemoth. What really becomes visible is the clash between the Clanker and Darwinist cultures." Buck said that Westerfeld held onto his manuscript an extra month so he could travel to Istanbul and fill in more detail. "This is an around-the-world adventure, so his depth of research is pretty outstanding," she continued. "The manuscript was already so detailed, but he added the smells and the details of the Istanbul's layout, it's like you're really there. It's a multicultural and charged area. It's sexy and exotic."

Westerfeld also introduces a whole new group of characters in this book, Buck revealed. "Leviathan lands in Istanbul, and the characters get separated. Alek and Deryn both make big decisions that jeopardize their safety and their future. Deryn realizes that she's crazy about Alek. And he comes into his own, that he's responsible for himself, and he's his own destiny. They make decisions that are life-altering." Oh, and as to Dr. Barlow's eggs, stowed so carefully on Leviathan? "All the eggs come out. What is hatched becomes an important part of the story as well. We will find out in Behemoth what hatches from the egg," Buck says. "They're on a peace-keeping mission in Istanbul, because it's pivotal to the outcome of the war."

The first 50 people to email will receive a limited-edition poster for Behemoth.

Cassandra Clare: Bringing the Shadows to Light

Cassandra Clare first introduced the heroine of the Mortal Instruments series, Clary Fray, in City of Bones, where she falls in with the Shadowhunters of Manhattan and its Downworld (New York's "shadow self"). Now meet Tessa Gray, star of Clockwork Angel: Infernal Devices #1 (McElderry, $19.99, 9781416975861/1416975861, 496 pp., ages 12-up, August 31 laydown; also available on CD and for download from S&S Audio), which kicks off a companion series, set in London 130 years before Mortal Instruments. Tessa, an ordinary American girl, comes to London in search of her brother and is promptly kidnapped. "In this iteration, the Hell Fire Club inspired the Pandemonium Club," Clare explained. "They practice black magic and believe they can use Tessa for their nefarious purposes." Here the author talks about her fondness for cities and their shadow selves, trilogies and the parallels she has created between hers.

Did you originally conceive of Mortal Instruments as a trilogy?

I did think of Mortal Instruments as a trilogy when I first constructed it because I was a huge fan of trilogies as a kid. There's a theme that runs through it that's [inspired by] Milton and The Divine Comedy. There are little epigraphs at the beginning of each section: the first is the hero's descent, the second is about hell and the underworld, and the third as an ascent out of the underworld. I think of it as Clary's heroic journey.

What drew you back to the series for City of Fallen Angels (to be released in April 2011)?

A graphic novel company asked if I could do a story set in the universe of Mortal Instruments, so I storyboarded out a concept for a new story that would take off from the end of City of Glass and focus slightly more on the character of Simon, Clary's best friend. The project fell through, so I went to Simon & Schuster and asked how they'd feel about me turning this into a novel. And they said, "But it's a trilogy!" And I said, "I think Scott Westerfeld has proven that a trilogy has four books."

Victorian-era London is quite a change from modern Manhattan.

I believe that all cities have a shadow self. [In Mortal Instruments,] I tried to use a lot of locations in Manhattan that were abandoned and no longer have a purpose. I lived in London for several years when I was growing up, and it's the city I know second-best to Manhattan. There are so many wonderful locations in London where there used to be something amazing in a spot that no longer exists, but some echo of it remains. That in particular interests me. There's a cemetery called the Cross Bones Graveyard across London Bridge where they buried prostitutes and single women in the 17th century, and it was razed in the early 1900s. Between two warehouses there's a chain-link fence with notes to the women who once were buried there. It says this was the resting place of the "unconsecrated dead."

How many books have you planned in the Infernal Devices series?


And will each book feature an Infernal Device, just as your Mortal Instruments each featured one of the three Mortal Instruments?

In this case, the Infernal Devices are the tools that the Pandemonium Club is working on that will destroy the Shadowhunters. There's a steampunk element to the novel because I love steampunk. I was trying to do a bit of paralleling, with the way Clary falls in with the Shadowhunters. Tessa's experience is different because she's a Downworlder. They sign the Accords so the Shadowhunters can live with Downworlders in an uneasy truce. In the Mortal Instruments series, the Accords were signed many years in the past. I wanted to set a book right after the Accords were signed, where the tensions are still really high between the Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Tessa showing up and being a Downworlder and yet being their only hope of defeating the Pandemonium Club creates a tension that wasn't there for Clary [in Mortal Instruments], because Clary was also a Shadowhunter.

How does your view of adolescence fit into the development of Tessa's gift to transform, and Clare's gift for the Sight?

One of the reasons we're often drawn to tell stories about adolescents who discover they're gifted in some special, often supernatural way, I think, is that they function well as allegory. It's the time in your life when you feel you don't belong and you're not like your parents, and you're not like anyone else, so who are you? And it's also the time when you discover that talent, that gift that makes you you.

And then for Clary and Jace there's the added layer of not knowing if you're related or not.

Yes, poor Clary and Jace. That was inspired by a story I read in a newspaper article. Two people were about to get married, and they had to get a blood test and discovered they were related and had been adopted out to two different families. I thought, this is a Greek tragedy dropped into modern times.

There's an interesting female-male trio dynamic in your books. Tessa Gray has male friends, Jem and Will; Clary has Simon and Jace.

I love a love triangle. With City of Bones, I didn't feel I'd done the classic love triangle. From the beginning Clary loves Jace, and Jace loves Clary. Clary never has feelings for Simon, so it's not the true love triangle in which love is equally balanced. With Will and Jem, Tessa's feelings are equally balanced. It's the love triangle that's calibrated carefully enough that you really don't know what's going to happen. Simon and Jace couldn't stand each other, but Will and Jem are best friends. For Tessa to come along and upset that delicate balance was also something I was interested in exploring.

Can you tell us anything else about the next books in the Infernal Devices trilogy?

When I decided to do City of Fallen Angels, I wanted to create stronger ties between Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices, because I always enjoyed reading series that were related to each other. You can read the books in any order. Once you start reading City of Fallen Angels you'll begin to recognize the supernatural characters from Clockwork Angel. To me that kind of stuff is fun. 

Be the first to read Clockwork Angel. Stop by the S&S booth (3940) at BEA on Thursday, May 27, at 9 a.m--only 300 ARCS will be available.

Book Brahmin: Laurie Halse Anderson

With her first novel, Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson was instantly a writer to watch. Speak was a 1999 National Book Award finalist, and Anderson was chosen as a PW Flying Start. Since then, she's written nonfiction and picture books, and her historical novel Chains, in addition to being an NBA finalist, won the 2009 Scott O'Dell Award. In October, S&S will publish its sequel, Forge ($16.99, 9781416961444/1416961445). During BEA, she'll sign Forge at the S&S booth (3940) on Thursday, May 27, at 11:30 a.m.

On your nightstand now:

The God of the Hive
by Laurie R. King (I counted down the days until its release); Ralph Ellison by Arnold Rampersad (fascinating); This Means War by Ellen Wittlinger (something new and different from a friend of mine); Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James (I will buy the phone book if she rewrites it); and The Road to Guilford Courthouse by John Buchanan (research for my next historical).

Next to the stack of books is a half-empty bag of honey-lemon cough drops. The yellow paper wrappers curl up on the floor.
Favorite book when you were a child:

The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I used to act out the prairie-living scenes, to my mother's everlasting horror. Now I have my own little house in the woods where I am a pioneer caught between centuries; chopping wood for the fire and using Twitter to stay in touch with readers.
Your top five authors:

Five? You're kidding, right? [deep sigh] Okay, I'll try: Neil Gaiman, P.D. James, Ray Raphael, J.K. Rowling and the incredible poet Patricia Smith.
Book you've faked reading:

Life is too short for faking anything. If a book isn't my cup of tea, I say so and give it to someone who might enjoy it more.
Book you are an evangelist for:

American Gods
by Neil Gaiman. Brilliant from the first page to the last. Also, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, which I have given or recommended to thousands of people who are trying to figure out if they have the courage to write what is in their hearts.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Covers don't make or break a book for me; the writing does. Though I did enjoy petting the fuzzy pink cover of Nick Harkaway's The Gone Away World. (Loved the story even more!)
Book that changed your life:

Ulysses by James Joyce. Opened my head up to the possibilities of a novel.
Favorite line from a book:

" 'Where's Papa going with that ax?' said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast."--Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. It manages to be horrifying and cozy in the same breath; the perfect set-up for the events of the story. I travelled down to Cornell University a few years ago and studied Mr. White's drafts for the book. It was reassuring to see that his early drafts were mostly dreadful, with flashes of potential. I learned much from his willingness to keep hammering at the story until he had crafted it to perfection. I bow down to his greatness.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger. It is the only book that had the power to make me sob uncontrollably on an airplane.

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