Little, Brown School September 2015 highlights.

September is National Library Sign-Up Month!

Don't walk, RUN to get your library card today. Just kidding, we know you all have at least one library card. But you probably know someone who doesn't have one. Need an incentive for those poor fools without a card yet? It's free! But the benefits are priceless. Share the library love everyone!

Author Essay: Monica Brown

Writing inclusive fiction and strong, complex characters

Soccer-playing Monica Brown (l.) and her two daughters (& one patient pup!)
When I was in second grade, I would have loved to meet a rough and tumble girl like Lola Levine. You see, I spent a fair bit of time on the bench at recess! Apparently I talked a lot in class, played tag a little too competitively, and jumped in puddles on purpose. I do remember that my mother was called more than once to bring me dry shoes.  In fiction, as in life, rascals and rebels might have more fun, but I learned to channel that mischievousness into creative outlets and team sports, not to mention a great deal of humor. Like Lola, I was also a child of two cultures, and I know first hand that mixed-race children like myself and my daughters are sometimes described as “half” this or “half” that, instead of beautifully whole.  Lola Levine isn’t a fraction, she is made up of multitudes! As a mother, a teacher, and a writer who meets thousands of children each year, I’ve also observed the way girls (and boys) who don’t quite “fit in” can experience social exclusion, teasing, and even bullying.
These are some of the reasons I created the irrepressible character of Lola Levine, who is boldly, fiercely, herself. Lola teaches us that girls can be competitive and loud and funny, but sensitive too. When Lola gets teased for being different, she copes in her own indomitable way.  And when her opinions and actions get her into trouble, she grows and learns with the guidance of the loving adults and family around her.
Lola has a big imagination and an active mind that simply can’t conform to other’s expectations. She doesn’t like to go to bed early—why would she with so many fun things to do? She loves soccer more than anything in the whole wide world and she likes to compete—winning is fun, right?  The daughter of an artist dad and journalist mom, she believes in expressing herself—in art painted directly on her walls, or with pencil power in her diary, and the notes she leaves everywhere for every occasion. Lola is funny and clever and doesn’t see what’s wrong with having a best friend who’s a boy, even if her class nemesis says it “isn’t allowed.” Lola has LOTS of opinions and writes notes and letters to her teachers, her friends, her parents and her little brother Ben. She shares her deepest thoughts in her diario, which she signs off, “Shalom, Lola Levine.” For Lola, who is Catholic and Jewish, the daughter of a North American father and a South American mother, Shalom signifies hello, goodbye, and peace.  In Lola Levine is Not Mean! the first book in my new chapter book series, Lola hurts a boy while playing soccer at recess, and her peers start calling her “mean, mean, Lola Levine,” a challenge she negotiates in her own unique way.
As a writer, I’ve been inspired by director Guillermo del Toro, famous for the film Pan’s Labyrinth, who in relationship to art, imagination, and childhood once noted that there is “a particular moment that we all go through when we are asked to stop believing and stop choosing who we are and become who everybody else tells us to be.” He goes on to say, “we should not obey . . . imagination should not comply.” There is such a freedom in being oneself, and that is a gift I bestow on my character Lola.  It was a dream and a pleasure to create a smart, diverse, multicultural character who each day chooses to be herself, and whose imagination certainly does not comply! Viva smart, bold girls, and viva Lola!
Monica Brown, Ph.D. is the author of many award-winning books for children, including Waiting for the BiblioburroMarisol McDonald Doesn't Match/ Marisol McDonald no combina and forthcoming chapter book series starring Lola Levine. Lola Levine is Not Mean! debuts this November, followed by Lola Levine, Drama Queen, in January 2016. Monica's books are inspired by her Peruvian and Jewish heritage and desire to bring diverse stories to children. Find Monica on Facebook at Monica Brown, Children’s Author, on twitter @monicabrownbks, or online at

Victoria Stapleton Interviews...

Jennifer E. Smith

If you've never met Jennifer E. Smith in person, you are missing out. She's so much fun and super sweet! Jennifer and Victoria delve into their own experiences of leaving home and their high school friends for the new adventure of college. Their experiences are very different, but both have delightful stories to tell. Listen to the chat here.

As ever, you can find us Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Our website,, is a repository of all our resources: guides, books sorted by category, book talks, upcoming events and awards.

Meet the Author: Kate Hannigan

The Detective's Assistant is one of those books with such a wonderful protagonist that you wish she was your best friend. Or you just wish her aunt—based on the real-life first American female detective, Kate Warne—were your own aunt. Either way, this book is so much fun, and a great classroom read too. And while you're at it, invite author Kate Hannigan to visit your school.

Kate lives in Chicago with her husband, three kids, and an adorable Australian shepherd that we'd like to steal for our very own office dog. Her excellent historical fiction writing comes from her background in newspaper journalism. She's one smart, interesting lady! Learn more about Kate and her books at

To schedule an author visit with Kate Hannigan email

Educator Guide of the Month

Educators of reluctant readers, rejoice! Do your students think history is boring? This book will prove them wrong. It's full of action, adventure, and weird (but true!) historical facts. A perfect addition to a classroom history unit on Vikings. And you know what's even better? This book is part of a series! Download the guide here.

Learn more about the series at

For more guides, visit our Pinterest pages.
10 Questions in 1 Minute w @libbabray & @barrylyga
Authors BARRY LYGA & LIBBA BRAY answer...
10 Questions in 1 Minute

Galley Giveaway!

In this sequel to President of the Whole Fifth Grade, Brianna navigates her toughest challenge yet: middle school.  
Brianna Justice is determined to raise enough money for the big class trip to Washington, D.C., but she's up against a lot: classmates who all pretend to be something they're not, a new nemesis determined to run her out of office, and the sinking feeling she's about to lose her two best friends. But just when she begins to lose hope, she comes to realize that sometimes surprises can turn out even better than the best-laid plans.
Click here to enter for your chance to receive a copy of PRESIDENT OF THE WHOLE SIXTH GRADE. Winners will be randomly chosen.
New this Month!
Train travel! Murder! Librarians!
A Series Finale!

On all other nights, the train departs from Stain'd Station and travels to the city without stopping. But not tonight. You might ask, why is this night different from all other nights? But that's the wrong question. Instead ask, where is this all heading? And what happens at the end of the line? The final book in Lemony Snicket's bestselling series, All The Wrong Questions, is a rollicking good time that will have you begging for just one more page.
Two decades have passed since a fire swept through the dorms of Elmbridge High School. Five lives were claimed, and one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace. A diary, discovered in the ruins, and written by Carly's supposed alter-ego, Kaitlyn, tells a sinister version of events that took place that night. Through psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary, the horrifying truth about the Dead House unfolds.
Coming Next Month!
In a world where kids are pushed to be "exceptional" at every turn, twelve-year-olds Jonathan and Shelley stand out for being utterly mediocre at everything they do. They're so average, they're forgettable. And who better to be a spy than a kid nobody remembers? Welcome to the League of Unexceptional Children!
Every November, writer and social media master Refe Tuma and his wife, Susan, work late into the night to bring their four children scenes from the secret lives of their toys—specifically the nighttime antics of their plastic dinosaurs. The dinosaurs wreck bathrooms, destroy vases, rock out, encounter terrifying hot irons, even do the dishes with hilarious, magical results. Each scene is photographed in meticulous detail, letting viewers joyfully suspend disbelief and think to themselves—just LOOK what the dinosaurs did last night!
Copyright © 2015 HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list   update subscription preferences