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ada twist, scientist

With "why?" being her first word uttered as a toddler and infinite curiosity about the world around her, Ada has the makings of a great scientist.  She joins wunderkinds Iggy Peck and Rosie Revere in thinking, inquiring, hypothesizing, perservering, innovating and engaging the people around her to solve life's quandaries.

Ada Twist, Scientist was inspired by Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace.  Most people are familiar with the work of scientist Marie Curie, but not everyone has heard of Ada Lovelace.  Ada, Countess of Lovelace, was the daughter of poet Lord Byron and she is widely regarded as the first computer programmer in history.  With an extensive background as a mathematician and writer, she created what many consider to be the first computer program—an algorithm for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a proposed mechanical general-purpose computer.  Charles Babbage was a fellow British mathematician and is known as ‘the father of computers.’

Back to our little Ada Twist—I don't want to give too much of her story away, but let's just say that it is as innovative and brilliant as her creators, Andrea Beaty and David Roberts.  Ada Twist, Scientist will be out September 6.


five questions with julie falatko

This is the second installment in our new series, Five Questions.  Today we’re interviewing Julie Fatlatko, author of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book!).  I hope you all enjoy getting to know the person behind the book and the "story behind the story" as much as I have.  


How did Snappsy come to be?

In 2012 I had immersed myself in children’s literature. I got huge stacks of picture books from the library every week, and was writing as much as I could. I wrote a lot of bad stories, then a lot of not-great stories, and then some pretty-okay stories It was in the middle of all that, thinking about all the books I’d read, and about how I mostly liked picture books that are funny and smart, that the idea for Snappsy came to me.


What does your background include besides being a writer?

I was an English major in college and got my masters in library science in 2010. And I’ve always loved reading and writing. (I guess the not-so-secret secret here is that it’s possible that writing children’s books is the only job I’m actually qualified to do.)


What books are you reading to your children at the moment?  (Or, what are their current favorite books?)

I have four children, so you’re going to get a varied list here.

Ramona, who’s 6, is loving A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman, illustrated by Corey R. Tabor, Where’s the Party? by Ruth Chan, Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli, and Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson.

Zuzu, age 8, is nose-deep in The Harry Potter Character Vault and The Harry Potter Artifact Vault, and also Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manual Miranda and Jeremy McCarter (we’re all reading that, actually). She also loves the Zebrafish graphic novels from FableVision.

Eli, age 10, just read Hoot and Flush by Carl Hiaasen, and loves anything related to World War II (he especially liked The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose). He also loves the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, and any book that starts with “graphic” and ends with “novel.” 

Henry, who’s 12, is reading the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, and loves non-fiction science encyclopedias like the DK/Smithsonian Natural History or History of the World in 1,000 Objects.


What is the best piece of advice anyone’s ever given you?

The best advice I’ve gotten is to take the word “aspiring” out of my description of myself as an author. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. An aspiring author is someone who thinks sitting at the coffee shop with a laptop sounds like something that might happen someday ten years from now. To take yourself seriously as a writer, do it, right now, today. 


Any hidden talents we should know about? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m pretty open about everything, so I’m not sure any of my “talents” are hidden. One thing I’m good at, which maybe is unusual, is public speaking. I love being on stage in front of a microphone (or just talking really loud). You know how public speaking is regularly listed as people’s number one fear? I’ve tried, but I really don’t get it. If anything, I fear not public speaking (like, I don’t know, a situation where everyone else gets to talk to a crowd, and I’m left out). I have fears of clowns, old dirty pennies that are weirdly damp, milk in sippy cups, and a strange rustling in tall grass. But I love public speaking. Is that a hidden talent? Maybe for a writer who spends the majority of her days sitting at a desk?


So great getting to know you, Julie.  And thanks for making us laugh!


seacrow island

We delve into chapter books, novels and the like for this month’s #littlelitbookseries.

Astrid Lindgren's Seacrow Island was originally published in 1964, but this edition was published this year. I bought Seacrow Island because it takes place in Sweden and we want to travel through Scandinavia eventually. And I wanted a book to read this summer that made us feel like we were somewhere else. I originally planned to read this aloud with Avery but after starting it, I realized it would probably be a better fit for when she was a little older. It’s about the four Melkerson children (Malin, Johan, Niklas and Pelle) and their writer father who move into the semi-dilapidated Carpenter’s Cottage on a tiny island in the Swedish archipelago for the summer. Their wild adventures exemplify the slow life, which is what drew me to the story as well. Savoring this one.

Recommended ages: 9-12

Head over to Instagram to check out other chapter books featured in today’s #littlelitbookseries.


tillie the terrible swede

Tillie Andersson, originally from Skåne, Sweden, moved to America in 1889, in search of a better life and at a time when bicycle racing was gaining popularity.  She caught “bicycle fever” and after many years of arduous races, became a world champion.  In an era where there weren’t very many women athletes, Tillie became a significant figure in the realm of competitive sports as well as women’s rights.  Tillie the Terrible Swede is by Susan Stauffacher.  Read about Sue's 250-mile bike trip book tour at The Tillie Ride.  Check out our #ahistoricalsummer series on Instagram. 


school's first day of school

"If these walls could talk."  Frederick Douglass Elementary has the jitters on its very first day of school.  Things ease up for school as the day goes on, as he sees that his fears and nervousness are mutual.  The children walking through his halls are experiencing their fair share of uneasiness.  Thoughtful humor from Adam Rex pairs well with Christian Robinson's affable, well-loved style.  School's First Day of School is a welcome change in perspective for kids who are facing that momentous first day.