Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: A Short Walk Through a Wide World by Douglas Westerbeke

From My Shelf

Raising Young Readers

Chances are, you are the reader you are today because someone kept handing you good books from the time you could hold them in your hands.

In this issue devoted to children's and young adult books for gift-giving, we offer books for a wide range of interests. Some are for pure pleasure--such as the wordless Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage; Jon Scieszka's newest anthology for middle graders, Guys Read: Thriller (as our reviewer says, girls will read it, too!); and Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen, the second in the Bright Young Things series for teens set in the 1920s.

Just as pleasurable, others are books to pore over, such as Stars by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Marla Frazee, a picture book that meditates on all the ways in which we encounter stars; Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson, which evokes an afternoon shared on the front porch with a loving grandmother as she goes through her scrapbook recounting family stories; and Dan Eldon: Safari as a Way of Life by Jennifer New, for artistic and socially conscious teens, who will expand their definitions of journal-keeping and community involvement.

And don't miss our interview with Marie Lu, whose whirlwind-paced debut novel, Legend, imagines a dystopian world whose fate lies with two 15-year-olds: June Iparis, one of the Republic's military, and the guy deemed the Republic's "most wanted" criminal, who goes by the code name "Day." Born enemies, the two tell their stories in alternating first-person narratives. It's both popcorn-reading and thought-provoking. --Jennifer M. Brown

Sleeping Bear Press: When You Go Into Nature by Sheri M Bestor, Illustrated by Sydney Hanson

The Writer's Life

Marie Lu: Re-imagining Les Miz for Teens

Marie Lu was born in 1984, an auspicious birth date for this first-time author of dystopian fiction. In the military-dominated futuristic world of Legend (reviewed below), plague runs rampant through the ghettos of the Republic of Los Angeles. Lu, who went to work for Disney right out of college, designing games for Facebook and mobile phones, created a game for Legend while she waited for a response to her manuscript.

What were the seeds for this idea? Did the characters come to you first? The setting?

Legend really started in high school, when I came up with the character of Day. But I didn't like the second point of view, so I shelved him. In 2009, I was watching Les Miserables one afternoon, and I started thinking about how it would be interesting to pit a teenage version of Valjean against a teen version of Javert. I always felt kind of bad for Javert; he was just doing his duty. They're essentially very similar at heart, even though June is much more logical, and Day is more intuitive. It's sort of a nature vs. nurture idea. Would things have been different if they'd been born on the same side?

The dystopian setting came about when I was looking online at a map of what the world would be like if all the fresh water in the world melted and the oceans rose 100 meters.

What inspired the plague idea?

Factory farming, and how quickly that spreads diseases like SARS, which propagate through factories of farms with animals on antibiotics. I thought, "We're fighting a war with a country right next to us, why not use this to get rid of their poor?" I hope nothing like that really happens, but I feel like in that situation, the poor would be the first to go. That also had to do with what I was reading about eugenics, and this idea of weeding out the weak portion of the population in order to raise a stronger population with people of higher quality.

Have you studied martial arts? That's such a big component here, too.

I tried to picture who would be a boy criminal in a world like this. I started watching videos about parkour. These kids can do the most amazing things--leaping down stairwells in two to three seconds, jumping from second-floor ledges to a nearby building. It's all about how to land properly, how to absorb a fall. It's a perfect skill that a boy would have in a future world.

As you go forward, will you explore the country's past as well as its future? Do you think history holds the answers in many cases of the way forward?

I pulled everything for Legend from real life: North Korea's regime, the cultural revolution in China, Sparta leaving babies out to die to create the perfect soldiers--in order to go forward you have to go back. This is how things play out if you're not careful.

You have several terrific quotes about power and war, especially the one from Metias, whose death sends June in pursuit of Day: "Few people ever kill for the right reasons." Why is it important for teens to think about the origins of war?

I hadn't set out to put a message into Legend. I think it came out subconsciously. I was born in Shanghai and was living in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. My aunt lived near the Square and for the two months leading up to the massacre, we watched from the sidelines. During the student protests, they had a carved Statue of Liberty. It was early summer and warm. I remember the tanks coming in at the end, and not having kindergarten. You have people being oppressed, shot because of what they believed in. At the same time, protestors pulled soldiers out of their tanks and set them on fire. It's the leaders pitting them against each other. There's no right reason to kill somebody. The students were right to protest for democracy, but had things gone too far?

When they're cracking down on the protestors in Legend, it's a mirror of watching the protestors in Tiananmen Square. I hope that young people will think about how you must seek out the truth in your life, not take everything at face value.

Book Review

Children's & Young Adult

The Umbrella

by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

This wordless adventure takes readers on a journey to the four corners of the world, yet brings us full circle to the place from which we started.

A husband-and-wife team follows a Scottish terrier's travels with a poppy-red umbrella, which the pooch discovers leaning against a tree. A gust of wind sends dog and umbrella on a far-flung adventure through the Serengeti plains, under the sea and up through the Arctic Circle. The dog uses the umbrella like a cane in a soft-shoe dance as it walks on clouds and, later, like a sword against some threatening crocodiles. Other animals help the hero along the way. A closing scene pictures the Scottie returning to the same house where a cat still waits in the roadway--and suggests the feline may be up next for a journey of its own. Lyrical scenes invite young onlookers to create their own narrative for the canine hero's odyssey. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A beautifully rendered wordless journey of a dog and an umbrella traveling the world together.

Lemniscaat, $16.95, hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9781935954002

Where's Walrus?

by Stephen Savage

Like a great teacher, this bold and witty book shows children how much they already know, as they search its pages for a runaway walrus from New York City's Central Park Zoo.

Youngest onlookers stand in the navy-capped zookeeper's shoes as they examine pages of "line-ups" looking for the gray, broad-tailed, long-tusked escapee on the city's streets. Stephen Savage (Polar Bear Night) creates clever camouflage. Is the walrus part of a team of hard-hatted bricklayers? Holding a hose with a row of firefighters? Savage strips down each scene to its bare essentials, and youngsters will savor staying one step ahead of the zookeeper.

At last the man catches up to Walrus on the high dive. As Savage traces the animal's impressive somersaulting descent, you can see a light bulb go off in the zookeeper's brain. When Walrus goes home, it's as the zoo's star attraction, and youngsters will feel as though they helped Walrus find his calling. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A picture-book puzzle that entertains as it bolsters children's confidence.

Scholastic, $16.99, hardcover, 32p., ages 3-up, 9780439700498

What Animals Really Like

by Fiona Robinson

The animal kingdom has had it with our assumptions about their favorite activities. They finally take a stand and put an end to the stereotypes in this silly and wonderful picture book.

Robinson (The Useful Moose) sends up traditional picture book tropes and standard rhyming schemes, and the result is a book that will give you and anyone in earshot the giggles. Her detailed artwork rewards multiple trips through the pages. The opening gatefold (a clever play on opening the curtain) depicts the animals neatly in rows, ready for their performance of the beaver conductor's song. Within the first verse, they're breaking ranks, and by the closing gatefold, chaos reigns. The animals are so well drawn that it's easy to see their individual personalities and imagine why they want to set the record straight. Both children and their parents will enjoy reading this over and over again. And they may ask themselves, why should cows be stuck mooing all the time, anyway? --Stephanie Anderson (aka Bookavore), manager of WORD bookstore

Discover: A delightfully goofy story about breaking ranks that's just as much fun for those reading it out loud as for those listening.

Abrams, $15.95, hardcover, 24p., ages 4-up, 9780810989764


by Mary Lyn Ray, illus. by Marla Frazee

For boys and girls of all ages, this poetic picture book celebrates stars in all their forms.

A boy walking his dog pauses to gaze at the first star of the evening: "A star is how you know it's almost night." Another boy cuts out a star from shiny paper: "Having a star in your pocket is like having your best rock in your pocket, but different." Ray (Basket Moon) evokes a childlike tone while seamlessly weaving into the text internal rhymes and a rhythm tailor-made for reading aloud. Frazee, as she did with her Caldecott Honor artwork for All the World, invents a visual narrative that establishes an emotional life for the child characters. The boy who makes the shiny star, for instance, gives it to a girl several pages later. We see her reach for it on a day when she doesn't "feel shiny." This will put a smile on everybody's face, no matter their mood. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A tribute to the stars, from the kind in the sky to the ones you put in your pocket to a spray of fireworks.

Beach Lane/S&S, $16.99, hardcover, 40p., ages 2-6, 9781442422490

The Family Storybook Treasury: Tales of Laughter, Curiosity, and Fun


This beautifully designed volume includes eight complete picture book texts, with a poetic pause separating each selection.

The stars include classic children's book heroes such as Curious George, Lyle the Crocodile and Mike Mulligan's steam shovel, along with newer favorites such as Tacky the Penguin and the lovable canine hero of Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh. Ample white space preserves the reading experience of the original picture books, and well-chosen poems act as palate cleansers between the selections. They include such standouts as Douglas Florian's "The Cheetah"; Nikki Grimes's "Caterpillar," with artwork by Javaka Steptoe; and the haiku "Lying on the Lawn" from Guyku by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter Reynolds. At under $20, this makes a gorgeous and substantial family holiday or new baby gift. A CD of the eight stories is tucked into a transparent pocket sewn into the inside front cover. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A family treasury of picture book favorites such as Curious George and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99, hardcover with CD, 304p., ages 4-8, 9780547612218

Toys Come Home: Being the Early Experiences of an Intelligent Stingray, a Brave Buffalo, and a Brand-New Someone Called Plastic

by Emily Jenkins, illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky

Fans of this duo's award-winning Toys Go Out (2006) and Toy Dance Party (2008) will revel in this maybe-even-better stand-alone prequel that reveals how three toys--StingRay, Lumphy (the buffalo) and Plastic (a ball)--came to live with the Girl. StingRay knows a lot, right out of the box: "It's practically like magic, the knowledge I have. I hope the rest of the world isn't too jealous of me." She can see right away that the bright-eyed, delicate-stomached Lumphy is "a deeply excellent person," and that Plastic just needs to figure out who he is and to understand the eternal question "And why are we here?" Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky depicts Plastic atop a book, as if searching for the answer. His delicately etched pencil illustrations endow the characters with human qualities.

This isn't your typical toys-come-alive-when-no one's-looking story. It's quirky, fresh and funny, and you'll never look at a toy the same way again. --Karin Snelson, freelance writer and children's book editor

Discover: A quirky, fresh, funny toy story--and you'll never look at a toy the same way again.

Schwartz & Wade/Random House, $16.99, hardcover, 133p., ages 6-10, 9780375862007

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

by Kadir Nelson

This elegant volume feels like a family album, brimming with stunning, full-color portraits that launch an abundance of stories told by a kindly grandmother.

"Most folks my age and complexion don't speak much about the past," the book begins. "Many of us are getting up in age and feel it's time to make some things known before they are gone for good." As with his history of the Negro Leagues, We Are the Ship, author and Caldecott Honor artist Kadir Nelson uses personal stories to make a sweeping history feel intimate. Pap, the narrator's African-born grandfather, achieves the heroic status of Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr. Members of the narrator's family were soldiers in the Civil War and World War II but did not enjoy the freedoms of the people for whom they fought. The book ends with optimism, as the narrator casts her vote in 2008 for Barack Obama. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A treasury of portraits and stories of extraordinary people, both known and unknown, sure to spark family stories of your own.

Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, $19.99, hardcover, 108p., ages 9-up, 9780061730740

Not-for-Parents Paris: Everything You Wanted to Know

by Klay Lamprell

Though it may seem to adults that a child going to Paris is a lucky child indeed, some children, feeling trapped in an endless hall of old paintings, may not see what the fuss is all about.

Enter Lonely Planet's new series, meant to make sense of all those paintings and buildings. Aimed at children 8-12, this is a great basic guide to contemporary and historical Paris, full of pictures and simple explanations that help make the city come alive. It also includes things about Paris that you probably won't find in your grown-up guide, such as an explanation of the sewers and the background of Asterix. Whether it's read on the plane ride over or the benches of the Louvre, this guide will make Paris more than one croque monsieur after another. Oh, and if you've never understood what the big deal is about Impressionism, you might want to skim it first before you hand it over. Also available for Rome (9781742208183), London (9781742208169) and New York (9781742208152). --Stephanie Anderson (aka Bookavore), manager of WORD bookstore

Discover: A great children's guide to Paris in a fantastic new series of guidebooks for the 8-12 set.

Lonely Planet, $14.99, paperback, 96p., ages 8-11, 9781742208176

Guys Read: Thriller

by Jon Scieszka, editor, illus. by Brett Helquist

Jon Scieszka (Guys Read: Funny Business) rounds up a star-studded group of children's and teen authors who have produced what he calls "the wildest mix of detectives, spooks, cryptids, snakes, pirates, smugglers, a body on the tracks, and one terribly powerful serving of fried pudding." He is not kidding. When his friend Jeremy disappears, "Nate Macavoy, Monster Hunter" sets off to rescue him from monstrous cryptids in a fantastic tale that only the irrepressible Bruce Hale could carry off. In Gennifer Choldenko's noir story "The Snake Mafia," two boys search for their missing father who left a note saying, "Don't Call the Police. Dad." And that's just two of 10 in an all-star cast of authors. Brett Helquist's goosepimply pictures enhance the stories' appeal in this handsome book, with comfortingly large text and plenty of white space to bolster even newly independent readers' confidence. --Ellen Loughran, adjunct professor, Pratt Institute

Discover: A story collection whose combination of excitement and mystery will strike joy in the hearts of "guys"--and gals, too.

Walden Pond/HarperCollins, $16.99, hardcover; $6.99 paperback, ages 8-12, 9780061963766/9780061963759

Bigger than a Bread Box

by Laurel Snyder

Laurel Snyder (Penny Dreadful) is a must-read author of middle-grade fiction.

Twelve-year-old Rebecca heads to her grandmother's house in Atlanta with her mother and baby brother, leaving her father behind in Baltimore. Her parents might be separating, she has to start a new school mid-year, and she has no idea when she'll see her friends and her home again. Then Rebecca finds an old bread box in her grandmother's attic--a bread box that grants wishes. If it's a real thing and will fit inside the box, it's hers! She tries to use her wishes to make her life in Atlanta easier, fit in with the cool crowd, get her parents back together--but then everything catches up with her. Where exactly does the bread box get stuff? Are her attempts to get back to Baltimore only making things worse? --Jenn Northington, events manager at WORD bookstore

Discover: A thoroughly enjoyable read, perfect for kids who want a touch of magic and parents who want less fluff.

Random House Books for Young Readers, $16.99, hardcover, 240p., ages 8-12, 9780375869167

An Elephant in the Garden

by Michael Morpurgo

For those who loved War Horse (Spielberg's film based on it will be out this Christmas), Michael Morpurgo presents another unforgettable story, inspired by historical facts, about the bond between the human and animal world.

In a Canadian nursing home, elderly Lizzie tells nine-year-old Karl and his mother, a nurse, about the elephant she kept in her garden as a girl: "I did not know it at the time,... but this elephant... was going to change my life forever, change all our lives in my family.  And you might say she was going to save our lives also." And so the elephant Marlene does, in Morpurgo's elegant, elegaic story-within-a-story that flashes back to World War II Germany. Lizzie, her mother and her younger brother, Karli--and Marlene, too--are so real that readers will feel the fear, the hunger and the cold they experience on their prodigious trek. Morpurgo balances the characters' anxiety and sadness with acts of human kindness, Karli's funny ways and a deeply satisfying ending. --Ellen Loughran, adjunct professor, Pratt Institute

Discover: A haunting story of survival set during World War II for fans of War Horse, with definite adult crossover potential.

Feiwel & Friends, $16.99, hardcover, 208p., ages 10-14, 9780312593698

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman

by Meg Wolitzer

In this newfound era of Words with Friends, we've moved to experiencing Scrabble as fingerswipes on touch screens rather than a bag of wooden tiles and a scratch pad. Wolitzer returns the game to its table-top roots with this fantastic middle grade novel that follows three kids on their path to and through the Youth Scrabble Tournament.

All three have very good reasons to want to win, but as they meet each other, they find other things they want even more. With realistic, thoughtful writing, a solid dose of magic and just the right amount of Scrabble factoids, Duncan is the perfect gift for any young nerds in your life. Note: Best given alongside a Scrabble board, if you want to extend the game's spell after the last page and have a new Words with Friends competitor someday. --Stephanie Anderson (aka Bookavore), manager of WORD bookstore

Discover: A great book about growing up, making friends and the joy of placing Q on a triple-word square.

Dutton, $16.99, hardcover, 304p., ages 8-12, 9780525423041

Secrets at Sea

by Richard Peck, illus. by Kelly Murphy

In 1887, the Cranston family, in despair of ever finding a husband for their awkward eldest daughter, decides to set sail from New York to England in hopes of finding a socially acceptable peer in want of a wife with money.  What they don't realize is that they are accompanied on their sea voyage by the Downstairs Cranstons, a family of four mice, who bravely stow away in search of their own dreams.

The award-winning author of A Year Down Yonder and The Teacher's Funeral has created an absolutely charming seafaring adventure for the younger set.  Winsome illustrations by Kelly Murphy enhance a delightful story. This family-friendly adventure will be a sure-fire hit with that special girl on your shopping list and would make a wonderful read-aloud during the holiday season. --Jane Henriksen Baird, public librarian in Alaska

Discover: A world where the smallest of creatures have the biggest hearts and the greatest adventures.

Dial, $16.99, Hardcover, 238p., ages 8-up, 9780803734555

The Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters

by Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Christina Balit

Donna Jo Napoli (The Magic Circle) has proven time and again her empathy for "supporting characters." Here she examines both the leading players from ancient Greece as well as lesser-known figures such as Selene, goddess of the Moon, and Hestia, goddess of the Hearth.

In 25 brief two- to four-page chapters, Napoli focuses on major events from the lives of gods or mortals, such as Helen of Troy (in a chapter wittily titled "The Lethal Beauty"). Each builds on previous events and opens with a sumptuous two-page full-color portrait, such as one of Gaia, Mother Earth, in a dress of leaves and tendrils, and Zeus gripping his signature thunderbolt. Her lyrical narrative lends these figures human qualities (of Uranus she writes, "His fear became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Cruelty is the snake that bites its own tail"). This is a book kids can dip in and out of, but will be most enjoyed cover to cover. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: An impossible-to-put-down, sumptuously illustrated history of the ancient Greek gods and their all-too-human foibles.

National Geographic Society, $24.95, hardcover, 192p., ages 8-12, 9781426308444


by Pat Schmatz

Eighth-grader Travis--who was called "Bluefish" at his old school--begins a tenuous friendship with classmate Velveeta in a novel about breaking molds and making your own future.

Short alternating chapters from Travis's and Velveeta's points of view will quickly hook even kids who think of themselves as nonreaders. Travis prefers the quiet of the woods, but he finds Velveeta, with her rapid-fire quips, appealing as an easy conversationalist. Velveeta notices Travis's strengths in ways perhaps no one else has--such as his innate sense of justice. And when she discovers his secret, she accepts him just as he is. This inspiring novel demonstrates how two teens with survivor instincts and a little guidance from a couple of perceptive adults choose a different path than the one they were born into. Schmatz keeps their situation realistic while also emphasizing the importance of seizing opportunities when they present themselves. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A novel of two teens who risk exposing their secrets and discover that it strengthens their friendship.

Candlewick, $15.99, hardcover, 204p., ages 12-up, 9780763653347

Everybody Sees the Ants

by A.S. King

Printz Honor recipient A.S. King (The Dust of 100 Dogs; Please Ignore Vera Dietz) has a singular talent for shining bright light into the dark corners of teenage life.

The somewhat ironically named Lucky Linderman, surrounded by adults too buried in their own troubles to see how much pain--both physical and emotional--he is in, has endured years of bullying by one of his town's favored sons. In his dreams, Lucky escapes the torture of his own life to search the Vietnamese jungle for his MIA grandfather. Balancing an absolute refusal to pull punches, King's inspired use of magical realism adds occasional bursts of light and levity to an otherwise dark story. The result is a timely and engaging meditation on courage and self-respect.

This book is a lifeline for any teen who has suffered bullying, in school or out of it, and a must-read for families, teachers and librarians. --Jenn Northington, events manager at WORD bookstore

Discover: A teenage boy struggling with bullying, in search of a savior, who finds the strength to save himself.

Little, Brown, $17.99, hardcover, 286p., ages 15-up, 9780316129282


by Marie Lu

This chilling debut novel imagines a near-future world in which no one is truly safe. Plague devastates the poverty-stricken classes. Only the military and the wealthy receive inoculations against the ever-evolving disease. But even the privileged fear the Patriots' attempts to overthrow the government.

An examination determines the fate of every 10-year-old in the Republic. If children test well enough, they enter the military, and if not, to the labor camps they go. Only one child has been known to receive a perfect score: June Iparis. She is one of two 15-year-olds who narrate this tale. The other, Day, was told he had failed his exam but escaped his fate. He now roams the streets as "the Republic's most-wanted criminal." How these two born enemies meet makes for riveting reading.

This suspenseful book comes to a satisfying close, but leaves enough unanswered questions to bring readers back for the next installment. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: Two born enemies, a 15-year-old male and female, who realize they share a common threat.

Putnam/Penguin, $17.99, hardcover, 320p., ages 12-up, 9780399256752

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

by Rae Carson

Fantasy readers in search of the romance of Kristin Cashore's Fire and the political intrigue of Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief will be spellbound by this debut novel. 

Ella, the second-born princess of a small but influential kingdom, has always known that she was "the chosen one." But chosen for what? Marked at birth with a magical jewel embedded in her navel, she gains no apparent benefit from it.  Ella's older sister is beautiful, intelligent and beloved by all, while 16-year-old Ella--timid, ill-mannered and overweight--manages her anxiety by compulsively eating. Ella's saving grace is that she is bright and well read. When her family marries her off to a handsome, emotionally distant king for a political alliance, Ella begins a transformative adventure. The plot twists and turns, and nothing is as it seems. Apparent enemies become allies as Ella grows in confidence in her own power and abilities. Carson creates a well-constructed fantasy world with an empathetic protagonist. --Lisa Von Drasek, librarian at Bank Street College of Education's School for Children

Discover: A debut fantasy for fans of Kristin Cashore's Fire and Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief, starring a princess in search of her purpose.

Greenwillow, $17.99, hardcover, 432p., ages 13-up, 9780062026484

Beautiful Days: A Bright Young Things Novel

by Anna Godbersen

When we met the heroines of Bright Young Things (now out in a $9.99 paperback, 9780061962677), Cordelia Grey and Letty Larkspur had just arrived in New York City in the summer of 1929 from Ohio, and Astrid Donal, aimless and bored with the predictable society in Long Island, delighted in gaining two fascinating new friends.

It's still the summer of 1929 in Beautiful Days. Cordelia struggles with the loss of her father so soon after their reunion; Astrid is dismayed to find that being engaged to a bootlegger is no easier than dating one; and Letty tries to summon the courage for another go at the Broadway scene. In the meantime, the war between the Greys and Hales heats up, and the girls become players in a deadly game of brinksmanship. For readers who enjoy glamour, glitz and gangland, Godbersen's series offers a Boardwalk Empire meets The Great Gatsby for the younger set.  --Jenn Northington, events manager at WORD bookstore

Discover: Three girls, determined to make it in New York City during the Prohibition Era, who navigate the treacherous waters of fame and friendship.

HarperCollins, $17.99, hardcover, 368p., ages 14-up, 9780061962684

Dan Eldon: Safari as a Way of Life

by Jennifer New

For the socially conscious and/or artistic-minded teen in your life, Dan Eldon's story serves as proof that individuals can make an impact no matter how young they are.

London-born, African-raised Eldon, who was stoned to death at age 22 while covering Somalia as a photojournalist, has become an iconic figure, inspiring a line of Toms Shoes and a film produced by Julia Roberts. His interest in tribal customs, artwork and language caused him to cross color and racial lines, and deeply influenced his aesthetic sense. This exquisitely designed paper-over-board volume presents facsimiles of his journal pages and interactive elements such as an invitation he created for a fundraiser to help a friend in need of heart surgery. Don't expect a linear reading experience. Rather, think of these pages as a collage of moments, much like Dan's own artwork in his journal entries, capturing the highlights of an extraordinary life. -- Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A peek inside Dan Eldon's visually arresting journals that offers a window into his life as an artist and activist.

Chronicle, $22.50, hardcover, 194p., ages 12-up, 9781452102078


Author Buzz

Dragon Kiss
(A Dragon Kings Novella)

by Donna Grant

Dear Reader,

Welcome back to the Dragon Kings! I'm thrilled to bring you DRAGON KISS. The world of the Dragon Kings keeps expanding, and this story brings us Alasdair and Lotti, a powerful couple who have overcome all odds to find love. But a deadly enemy intends to rip them apart.

I can't wait for you to fall in love with Alasdair and Lotti as I have.


Available on Kobo

AuthorBuzz: 1001 Dark Nights Press: Dragon Kiss (A Dragon Kings Novella) by Donna Grant

1001 Dark Nights Press

Pub Date: 
January 9, 2024


List Price: 
$2.99 e-book

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