Friday, October 24, 2014

Free Book Friday's Countdown to Halloween: Ghostly Evidence!

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Congratulations to Elizabeth Meyers! You've won Monster BuddiesPlease send an email to publicityinfo@lernerbooks.com with the subject line "Free Book Friday" and your mailing address so we can get your books in the mail.

We've got another great book for Halloween to give away: Ghostly Evidence: Exploring the Paranormal!


It's late at night, and you're on a tour of a so-called haunted house. You see something out of the corner of your eye and quickly snap a photo. Your hands tremble as you lower the camera. Your eyes widen as you stare at the image you've just captured. A face seems to be lurking in the background. But when you look up, there’s no one standing there! Was it a ghost?


Ghost sightings are reported all the time. Many are easily explained. Others are harder to dismiss. But is there any proof? To find out, Kelly Milner Halls explored haunted houses. She examined photographs and investigated eyewitness accounts from ghost hunters, mediums, and paranormal experts. What's the verdict? Are the spirits of the dead wandering among us? Explore her findings and decide for yourself.

If you'd like to win Ghostly Evidence, please leave a comment on this post (including your first and last name), or tweet this line: "Free Book Friday! RT to win @KellyMilnerH's GHOSTLY EVIDENCE from @LernerBooks. bit.ly/1OrSN"

We'll announce the winner on Friday, October 31, so check the blog then to see if you've won!

Good luck!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spooooky!

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You guys! It’s almost Halloween! And we can celebrate big-time this year, because the Night of Fright is falling on a Friday. This means later trick-or-treating, lots of Halloween party potential, and the option to stay up late eating candy and watching scary movies (provided that’s your thing).

9781467738347fc_Large Since this Halloween is bound to be extra fun for many, I thought I’d share some ideas for living it up courtesy of Plan a Holiday Party (cover pictured):

Want to make a tasty, festive holiday snack? Just toss some mini pretzels or peanuts in a bowl and mix in a little candy corn for color. If you want, you can add bagel chips, Bugles, raisins, chocolate chips, or anything else you like.

Need a drink to wash down that salty treat? Fill a punch bowl with ice and 2 liters of lemon-lime soda. Mix in 1 liter of lemonade, pineapple juice, or cranberry juice. Add several drops of red food coloring, and there you have it—“bloody” punch! You can also go for green food coloring and toss in some gummy worms for a little extra creepiness.

Looking for an easy way to decorate your door or yard? Put some cotton balls in the center of a tissue and secure the cotton by tying the tissue with some string. Draw eyes on with a marker. Hang these guys from a tree or suspend them over your door.

● Make a playlist to keep your party hopping—or to set the mood as you hand out treats to little ghosts and goblins. Our suggested spooky tunes include “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley, and “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Happy Haunting, everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Book Friday's Countdown to Halloween: Monster Buddies!

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Congratulations to Toni Chipka! You've won Sometimes You BarfPlease send us an email to publicityinfo@lernerbooks.com with the subject line "Free Book Friday" and your mailing address so we can get your book in the mail.

Halloween is coming up, so to help you prepare, we're giving away Monster Buddies!


Putting a fun twist on a spooky subject, this eight-book series introduces young readers to scary creatures of legend. Early readers will laugh and be thrilled by these books' fun monster facts and lively, kid-friendly illustrations.


The books cover dragons, fairy-tale witches, aliens, zombies, mummies, ghosts, vampires, and werewolves. 

If you'd like to win Monster Buddies, please leave a comment on this post (including your first and last name), or tweet this line: "Free Book Friday! RT to win MONSTER BUDDIES from @LernerBooks. bit.ly/1OrSN"

We'll announce the winner on Friday, October 24, so check the blog then to see if you've won!

Good luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

FREE Activities for Ghost Walls

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Maybe it's just me, but autumn always gets me thinking about the past. Perhaps it's the changing colors of the trees or the approach of Halloween and the dwelling on ghosts and ruins. Regardless, I can't help thinking about how the world has changed in the last few months, years, decades, centuries. I wonder what my neighborhood looked like before the roads were expanded, what the river looked like before a city grew up around it.  Have you ever wondered about the history around you? What your home looked like before you lived there? Or what your city looked like a century ago? 

In Sally M. Walker's Ghost Walls:The Story of a 17th-Century Colonial Homestead,  a team of scientists and historians don't just wonder, they dig. As the team works, they uncover the stories of men and women who lived and worked at St. John's house, a homestead built in seventeenth-century Maryland. Through the eyes of these people, the team explores issues such as slavery, religious tolerance, the betrayal of native peoples, and the struggle for gender equality. 


What I'm trying to say is that this book makes an excellent read. But it's an excellent teaching resource too! Teaching materials aligned to Common Core standards for fifth - eighth grade are now available. A CCSS research project encourages students to dig into the history of their own communities while a living history project challenges readers to create an interactive exhibit. Both are completely FREE and available for download here. Look for the eSource Downloads on the right hand side of the page. 


This is a call

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I’m going to ask for something completely unfair.

Unless you attended opening night of this year’s Children’s and Young Adult Literature Conference at The Loft Literary Center, you probably haven’t seen the Czech film Who’s Afraid of the Wolf. The 2008 film was shown at The Loft thanks to a University of Minnesota professor’s connection to the filmmaker, I believe, and a lively panel discussion followed. Unfortunately, even with the magical Internet at our fingertips, I think the full-length movie is otherwise not very findable in the US.

Who’s Afraid of the Wolf is the story of a girl named Terezka and her parents, and it is striking for the stunningly authentic child’s perspective it conveys. Adult characters are portrayed with depth and good intentions and human flaws, yet for grownup viewers, the cinematography gives a peek back in time to how a kindergartener observes and interacts with her parents and others. Difficult conversations are heard from under the kitchen table or while pretending to focus on an activity across the room. Mom’s old acquaintance is a newcomer to Terezka’s family universe. Events and behaviors beyond a child’s scope of knowledge may as well be the work of aliens. Read a good summary here.

While the story is not limited to one perspective, it treats the child’s point of view with humbling respect and weight.

The trailer gives a decent idea:

Who is Afraid of the Wolf (international trailer) from Bionaut on Vimeo.

My inability to share the whole film with you is what makes this unfair: I’m looking for a picture book manuscript that wows me with similar authenticity. One in which the camera angle is from about three-and-a-half feet high. One that leaves my jaw hanging open at the voice or the way the narration transports me back into a six-year-old’s body. (Give or take a few years.) Especially, and critically, one that holds appeal for both children and the adults who may be reading with them, in the way this film is kid-friendly but no less engaging for adults.

A few notes that may or may not be relevant: I’m a linguist by training. The way the words fit together to paint a story is equally or more likely to woo me as/than any particular type of character, setting, or plot is. I generally don’t go for personified animals. We at Carolrhoda are more likely to publish picture books that are a bit offbeat and/or off the beaten path (think Infinity and Me). I’ll take dry humor and sharp wit any day over super-sweet or sentimental. I will never stop loving Winnie the Pooh.

Watch the trailer. Then send me submissions until October 31.

-Anna Cavallo (@eatreadwriterun)