Recently in Children's books Category

Summer reading challenge for kids

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Borders has issued a Summer Reading Challenge to keep kids reading throughout the warm summer months. From now until Aug. 31, children 12 and younger can read any eight books of their choosing, tell Borders what they've read, and when they've completed the challenge they can choose from a selection of books priced at 50 percent or more off the regular price.

If you can't come up with eight titles, Borders also has assembled a list of recommendations:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (birth to 3)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (birth to 3)
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (ages 3-6)
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (ages 3-6)
Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon (ages 7-9)
Ivy & Bean by Annie Barrows (ages 7-9)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid #3: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney (ages 8-12)
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (ages 8-12)
Percy Jackson #5: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (ages 8-12)

Attention Harry Potter fans!

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Kids everywhere will be rejoicing this holiday season -- J.K. Rowling's long-awaited The Tales of Beedle the Bard is finally on store shelves. Parents will rejoice, too. The standard copy costs a mere $12.99.

The book -- a collection of five fables mentioned in Rowling's Harry Potter series of books -- launched in 20 countries with a global print run of about 8 million. (I did not get a copy in the book room, but then again, Rowling doesn't really need the help of newspaper reviews to make sales.)

The author celebrated by attending a tea party with 200 schoolchildren in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she lives.

Britain Rowling
Author JK Rowling reads passages from her new
book to schoolchildren at a tea party in the
Parliament Hall Edinburgh.
(David Cheskin/AP)

"We expect it to come straight in at No. 1 and is very likely to be our No. 1 book this Christmas," Jon Howells of Britain's Waterstone's book store chain told the Associated Press. "It's in with a fighting chance of being the best-selling book of the year, even though there are only a few weeks to go.

"This is J.K. Rowling. None of the usual rules apply."

Rowling is donating her royalties to the Children's High Level Group, which helps institutionalized children in Eastern Europe.

Eloise back at the Plaza

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NEW YORK — Eloise, the Plaza hotel’s most famous fictitious resident, has officially returned to the storied landmark following a $400 million renovation — with a portrait of the mischievous 6-year-old prominently displayed near its famous Palm Court dining room.

‘‘Children of all ages have been asking for Eloise and it is our pleasure to have her call The Plaza home once again,’’ said Shane Krige, the hotel’s general manager.

Eloise, known to fans worldwide from the children’s book by Kay Thompson (illustrated by Hilary Knight), is an endearing fixture at the hotel. An ‘‘Eloise’’ bubble bath, accompanied by milk and cookies, is available to all guests, and a children’s menu, which pictures Eloise on a tricycle, is available in all of The Plaza’s restaurants.


The portrait was returned to its original spot on a wall outside the sumptuous restaurant, whose stained-glass ceiling, covered with plaster in the 1940s, was uncovered and restored during the two-year renovation.

The Plaza, a National Historic Landmark, first opened in 1907. It officially reopened to the public last weekend after its new owners, Elad Properties, converted the hotel’s original 805 guest rooms into 282 hotel rooms and 181 condominiums.


It's no big surprise that J.K. Rowling has won the Children's Choice Book Award for Author of the Year. Who else has enjoyed a bigger following in kid lit this past decade? Her final installment in the Harry Potter series — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — was the most anticipated children's book of last year.

Around 55,000 across the country voted online and at libraries and bookstores in this inaugural event sponsored by the Children's Book Council. The winners in the Book of the Year categories are:

Frankie Stein Big Cats Encyclopedia Horrifica Olivia

Kindergarten to Second Grade: Frankie Stein by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Kevan Atteberry

Third/Fourth Grade: Big Cats: Hunters of the Night by Elaine Landau

Fifth/Sixth Grade: Encyclopedia Horrifica: The Terrifying TRUTH! About Vampires, Ghosts, Monsters, and More by Joshua Gee

Illustrator of the Year was awarded to Ian Falconer for Olivia Helps With Christmas

For more information: or

Attention Harry Potter fans!

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How much do you want to get your hands on J.K. Rowling's handwritten companion book to the Harry Potter series? Enough to write and essay about wizards? is sponsoring the Beedle the Bard Writing Contest, "an opportunity for Muggles to compete for the chance of a lifetime." The winner will receive a trip for two to London and will get to peruse the ultra-rare The Tales of Beedle the Bard for an entire weekend.

Beedle the Bard
Only seven copies of J.K. Rowling's
The Tales of Beedle the Bard exist.

To enter, you must answer one of the three following questions, in 100 words or less:

1. What songs do wizards use to celebrate birthdays?

2. What other sports to wizards play besides Quidditch?

3. What have you learned from the Harry Potter series that you use in everyday life?

Contest deadline is April 22, and winners will be chosen in two categories: 13-17 years; 18 and older. For more details on the contest and how the winner will be selected, click here.

Amazon purchased on of the seven copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard for $4 million in December 2007.

Kids get a vote: Pick your favorites

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Young readers are the judges in the Children's Book Council's first annual Children's Choice Book Awards, a program created to help motivate children to read more and to develop their own reading lists. Votes may be cast online at until May 4. The winners will be announced at a gala during Children's Book Week (May 12-18).

The finalists in the five categories are as follows:

Favorite Book, grades K-2
Dino Dinners by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom
Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping by Eileen Christelow
Frankie Stein by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Kevan Atteberry
Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist, illustrated by Julia Gorton
Tucker Spooky Halloween by Leslie McGuirk

Favorite Book, grades 3-4
Babymouse: Camp Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Big Cats by Elaine Landau
Monday WIth a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Sal Murdocca
The Richest Poor Kid by Carl Sommer, illustrated by Jorge Martinez
Wolves by Duncan Searl

Favorite Book, grades 5-6

Beowulf: Monster Slayer by Paul D. Storrie, illustrated by Ron Randall
Encyclopedia Horrifica by Joshua Gee
Ghosts by Stephen Krensky
The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley by Amy Lissiat and Colin Thompson
When the Shadbush Blooms by Carla Messinger with Susan Katz, illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden

2007 Author of the Year
Anthony Horowitz, Snakehead (Alex Rider Adventure)
Erin Hunter, Warriors, Powers of Three: The Sight
Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan's Curse
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

2007 Illustrator of the Year
Jan Brett, Three Snow Bears
Ian Falconer, Olivia Helps with Christmas
Robin Preiss Glasser, Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy
Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Mo WIllems, Knuffle Bunny too: A Case of Mistaken Identity

Finalists in the Favorite Book categories were chosen by children's votes from a pool of entries submitted by publishers. Author and Illustrator finalists were selected from a review of best seller lists by the Children's Book Council.

A Merry Christmas gift

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I received as a Christmas gift, from my oldest friend in the world and her family, Frank McCourt's first children's book, Angela and the Baby Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 32 pages, $17.99, ages 5-10), which came out last month.

Angela and the Baby Jesus

You might recall Angela from McCourt's best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes. Angela was McCourt's mother, and he digs way into her past for this lovely new story...

Alice Walker, the Dalai Lama and Oprah

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The Associated Press reported yesterday that Alice Walker, who won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Color Purple, has chosen the library at Emory University in Atlanta to place her archive.

One of the reasons Walker, a native Georgian, chose Emory is that she visits the university every couple of years for readings and meetings with faculty members. She also said that Emory's relationship with the Dalai Lama, who joined the Emory faculty this year as a presidential distinguished professor, played a part in her decision.

"I can imagine in years to come that my papers and memorabilia, my journals and letters, will find themselves always in the company of people who care about many of the things I do: culture, community, spirituality, scholarship and the blessings of ancestors who want each of us to find joy and happiness in this life, by doing the very best we can to be worthy of it," Walker said in a statement...

A dark and stormy night...

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It's Halloween week here in The Book Room, and first up we have What the Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy (Candlewick, 295 pages, $15.99) by Gregory Maguire — the man who brought Wicked into the world.

What the Dickens

This story within a story begins as a storm is brewing around the canyon where the Ormsby family lives. Siblings Zeke, Dinah and Rebecca Ruth are left in the care of a cousin, Gage, when their parents take off to get some needed supplies...

Scary schmary

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It's October and Halloween candy has been in the stores for several weeks now, so I suppose it's not too early to start talking about scary stories.

Author David Lubar offers up a third volume in his "Warped and Creepy Tales" series. lists The Curse of the Campfire Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales as appropriate for children age 9-12, but I'd go a little younger than that, especially if you have a first- or second-grader at an advanced reading level...

The Curse of the Campfire Weenies

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