Category: Young Readers

Curious George

New Program Gifts Books to Newborns

It’s never too early or too late to discover the joy of reading. The Pratt Public Library and Pratt Regional Medical Center have come together to create a “Books for Babies” program that gifts books to newborns, hoping to spark the joy of reading early.


Pratt Regional Medical Center with Curious George books

image via pratt tribune

The Medical Center already gives out gift baskets for new moms and newborns to take home, and thanks to the Pratt Public Library a Curious George book will be added. Library director, Eric Killough, got the idea from his wife living in Canada. A library in Toronto had a similar idea, and once he got wind of it he had to pick it up.

In an interview with the Pratt Tribune, Killough said that Curious George was chosen because there are many books and it would encourage further trips to the library for more books. I mean who doesn’t love Curious George?

I find this to be an excellent idea, especially for families that wouldn’t make it a priority to get children’s books for a newborn. It makes reading more accessible and more fun.

featured image via arizona public media

This Graphic Novelist Compares Writing to the Big Bang

Cecil Castellucci is incredibly talented— known for writing comics, novels, lyrics, and plays. Currently on a comic book writing roll, she will soon release her memoir as a graphic novel.


LARBlog: Castellucci’s Class Notes

Image via LA Review of Books


While many of us dream of being novelists, graphic novelists, playwrights, or lyricists, Castellucci has done all four!


For a long time I thought that I had to choose one. I even had people in my life say to me, you have to choose a direction. But after a while, I realized that they were all the same thing. They were all different modes of telling a story. I always felt a little jealous that visual artists could choose the tool, pencil, pastel, water color, oils, ink, etc, to draw their picture. But it struck me at some point in my thirties that a song, a comic, a play, a movie, a novel, a libretto are also tools. And whichever one you use to tell your story colors the way that it’s told.

-Cecil Castellucci, Publisher’s Weekly, 2019



For Castellucci, writing is “the spark that can billow out into any other art form. It’s the big bang.” Castellucci’s writing career began back in the 90s, when she was the singer and songwriter for the indie pop/rock band Nerdy Girl. As indicated by the name, the band created music for nerds with a particular love for Star Wars. Their full biography can be read here.

Here one of the band’s first songs written by Castellucci, expressing her obsession with the galactic adventure saga.



After her band, Cecil Castellucci moved on to writing young adult novels, a number of them earning her awards on top of being on New York Times bestselling list. Two of her most famous novels are Tin Star and its sequel Stone In The Sky.



Tin Star hires.jpg  Stone in the Sky hires.jpg














    Images via Square Space



As reflected in her music, her passion for the Star Wars films was what sparked her desire to write. In an interview with Publishers Weekly, Castellucci shares the story of how she realized her dream career.


Seeing Star Wars was an inciting moment for me. When I (SPOILER!) saw that Darth Vader had spun away from the Death Star and hadn’t died, I knew that the story could continue. I wanted it to continue and I understood that someone would be tasked with the writing of that story. I wanted to be that person.


As a child she dreamed, now as an adult she achieved her dream, and then some! After striking a deal with Disney, Castellucci was given the amazing opportunity to truly live her dream and to add to the universe of Star Wars. This opportunity was the illustrated novel Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure


Image via Amazon



Castellucci has also done work with the publisher DC comics and has entered the world of the Opera playwright as well. Some of her work includes DC’s Shade: The Changing Woman and the comic book opera, Les Aventures De Madame Merveille. With Cecil Castellucci’s philosophy of writing being the “big bang” for everything art related, it’s a thrill to wonder what is the next storytelling art form she will conquer next.


Also, for anyone interested in reading her graphic novel biography, its titled Girl On Film, and it will be released November this year.



Featured Image via ComicsVerse.

John Lennon’s Son Wants You to Love the Earth (and Yourself)

Julian Lennon, John Lennon’s oldest son and the original inspiration for the Beatles song “Hey Jude,” writes tree-hugging, earth-loving children’s books when he’s not performing for live audiences.

Lennon concluded his world-peace-focused children’s book trilogy on April 22nd with the publication of Love the Earth. Before the third installment hit the shelves, Heal the Earth and Touch the Earth had already graced The New York Times‘ bestseller list. The White Flier Advent trilogy details the adventures of children who travel the globe in an airplane called the White Feather Flier, delivering supplies and aid to people and animals in need. The books are co-authored by Bart Davis and illustrated by Smiljana Coh.




Lennon might be known in the public sphere for his problematic relationship with his father, who divorced Lennon’s mother when he was a child, but the core of his work lies in supporting global access to education and the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems. In 2007, Lennon created The White Feather Foundation, an environmental and humanitarian charity — in fact, much of the proceeds from The White Flier Advent trilogy and Lennon’s other projects go straight to the charity. Lennon has said multiple times that the name of the charity, and the trilogy, came from his father, who often said that should he pass away, he would send Julian a message from the afterlife in the form of a white feather.

The White Feather Foundation collaborates with similar humanitarian groups to raise funds for specific community projects or environmental initiatives. A recent news item on the group’s website highlights an independent film on disability education to which Lennon contributed music and lyrics, and which The White Feather Foundation promotes.

Lennon does not expect a children’s trilogy or an ever-expanding charity to retroactively resolve the effects of a toxic relationship with an absent father, but he does hope his work can shine a light into the darkness for future generations, readers, and listeners. His vision of a perfect world is not one where larger-than-life musicians return from the dead to forgive their loyal sons, but one where people of all backgrounds understand how to work together, help each other, and fight for their home planet.



Featured Image Via The White Feather Foundation.

The Outsiders Cast

On This Day in 1967: ‘The Outsiders’ First Published

On April 24th, 1967, The Outsiders was published as a cheap, drugstore paperback, in a time before the YA fiction market even existed.

Author S.E. Hinton started writing her famous book at just fifteen—and, amazingly enough, this wasn’t even the first book she wrote! She reveals in an interview for Entertainment Weekly that in middle school she wrote a book about The Civil War, commenting that she has “no idea what [she] thought [she] knew about the Civil War.” 

The premise of The Outsiders, though, was something she knew about from her experiences with a divided community that closely paralleled the deep cultural division between the “Socs” and the “Greasers.”

She relates, for instance, that the opening scene of the book—when Ponyboy is jumped while he walks home alone from the movies—was inspired by one of her friends getting jumped in real life. And yes, she says, her friends were really called “Greasers!”  


SE Hinton
Matt Dillon and S.E. Hinton on the set of Rumble Fish

Later in the interview, she reveals:

“I get so many letters from people saying, “You changed my life.” That scares me. I love getting letters saying, “I never liked to read, but I read your book, and now I’m going on to read other books.” But the “You changed my life” stuff is scary, because who am I to change anybody’s life? But I’ve learned to deal with it by thinking, The Outsiders was meant to be written, and I got chosen to write it. The rest of ’em, I just wrote, but The Outsiders was supposed to be there.”

Even today, during a time when the YA fiction market is thriving, this book still feels different from a lot of other books for young readers. In most fiction you read in middle school, like The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, there’s a clear “bad guy” and a “good guy.” I think The Outsiders still feels original because it doesn’t pretend that good and evil are such distinct categories—the real villain in The Outsiders is the socioeconomic disparity that divides the Socs and the Greasers in the first place. Hinton does a thorough job of showing the reality of both sides, like when Cherry Valance says, “Maybe the two different worlds we live in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset.”


The Outsiders


The Outsiders gained further staying power and widespread fame when it was adapted into an 1983 film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring celebrities like Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Tom Cruise. Mandi Bierly writes for HBO that the

“performances can be endearingly green and melodramatic at times; given the actors’ ages, the fast-moving plot, and the heightened teen emotions (“Let’s do it for Johnny, man! We’ll do it for Johnny!”), it’s to be expected. But there are also moments that ring so true, you feel them scarring your heart the way only teen dramas can: ‘I used to talk about killing myself all the time. Man, I don’t want to die now. It ain’t long enough. Sixteen years ain’t gonna be long enough.'”

Whether in the form of a book or a movie, the message of The Outsiders clearly resonates with teens. Hopefully, it will continue to remain popular reading for young readers for decades to come!


Check Out Pete Buttigieg’s 5 Favorite Books!

It seems as though presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has plenty of favorite books to read for the campaign trail! Recently, Vulture reported on some of the novels he picks up when his schedule isn’t too booked (get it?). Guess he’s a lit nerd; crazy, right? These are just a few of our favorites mentioned:


1. The little prince 



Few stories are as widely read and as universally cherished by children and adults alike as The Little Prince. Richard Howard’s translation of the beloved classic beautifully reflects Saint-Exupéry’s unique and gifted style. Howard, an acclaimed poet and one of the preeminent translators of our time, has excelled in bringing the English text as close as possible to the French, in language, style, and most important, spirit. The artwork in this edition has been restored to match in detail and in color Saint-Exupéry’s original artwork. Combining Richard Howard’s translation with restored original art, this definitive English-language edition of The Little Prince will capture the hearts of readers of all ages.


2. the quiet american 



Against the intrigue and violence of Vietnam during the French war with the Vietminh, Alden Pyle, an idealistic young American, is sent to promote democracy, as his friend, Fowler, a cynical foreign correspondent, looks on. Fowler s mistress, a beautiful native girl creates a catalyst for jealousy and competition between the men and a cultural clash resulting in bloodshed and deep misgivings. Written in 1955 prior to the Vietnam conflict, The Quiet American foreshadows the events leading up to the Vietnam conflict. Questions surrounding the moral ambiguity of the involvement of the United States in foreign countries are as relevant today as they were fifty years ago.


3. a child’s christmas in wales



This nostalgic recollection of Christmas past by celebrated Welsh poet Dylan Thomas evokes the beauty and tradition of the season at every turn: the warmth of a family gathering; the loveliness of a mistletoe-decked home; the predictability of cats by the fire; the mischief and fun of children left to their own devices; and the sheer delight of gifts–be they Useful or Useless.

Readers will cherish this beautiful hardcover edition of the classic A Child’s Christmas in Wales complete with gold-foil stars, a debossed, glossy front picture, and sparkling snowflakes. Once inside, readers are rewarded with stunning, midnight-blue endpapers sprinkled with a flurry of more snowflakes. This book is a must-have gift for the season.

Brilliantly illustrated by Caldecott medalist Trina Schart Hyman with a combination of more than 40 full-color and sepia-toned images, this beautiful edition of Thomas’s beloved classic will enchant readers of all ages, year after year.


4. the odyssey


Composed at the rosy-fingered dawn of world literature almost three millennia ago, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home.

This fresh, authoritative translation captures the beauty of this ancient poem as well as the drama of its narrative. Its characters are unforgettable, none more so than the “complicated” hero himself, a man of many disguises, many tricks, and many moods, who emerges in this version as a more fully rounded human being than ever before.

Written in iambic pentameter verse and a vivid, contemporary idiom, Emily Wilson’s Odyssey sings with a voice that echoes Homer’s music; matching the number of lines in the Greek original, the poem sails along at Homer’s swift, smooth pace.

A fascinating, informative introduction explores the Bronze Age milieu that produced the epic, the poem’s major themes, the controversies about its origins, and the unparalleled scope of its impact and influence. Maps drawn especially for this volume, a pronunciation glossary, and extensive notes and summaries of each book make this is an Odyssey that will be treasured by a new generation of readers.


5. ulysses


Ulysses is a modernist novel by Irish writer James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach in February 1922, in Paris. It is considered to be one of the most important works of modernist literature, and has been called “a demonstration and summation of the entire movement”. According to Declan Kiberd, “Before Joyce, no writer of fiction had so foregrounded the process of thinking.” However, even proponents of Ulysses such as Anthony Burgess have described the book as “inimitable, and also possibly mad”. Ulysses chronicles the peripatetic appointments and encounters of Leopold Bloom in Dublin in the course of an ordinary day, 16 June 1904. Ulysses is the Latinised name of Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s epic poem Odyssey, and the novel establishes a series of parallels between its characters and events and those of the poem.


Featured Image via vulture (Photo: Vulture and Getty Images)