Out Today: The Star-Spangled Banner

Happy Flag Day! In a bit of publishing synchronicity (that I’m certain was no accident), The Star-Spangled Banner is out today. It’s a Level 4 Reader in Grosset & Dunlap’s Smithsonian series. A bit about the book from their site:

The original Star-Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry, Baltimore, in 1814 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that would become the national anthem of the United States, is the showpiece of the Smithsonian! In this lively nonfiction book, young readers will read about the story behind the flag, the song, and how the Smithsonian cares for this most precious national treasure.

 
Researching this book was a tremendous amount of fun–I learned so much about the flag, the anthem, and the extraordinary efforts the Smithsonian Institute has made to restore and preserve the Star-Spangled Banner. Did you know that Francis Scott Key was a lawyer? Or that the Star-Spangled Banner was bigger than the house in which it was sewn?  Or that almost 200 square feet of the flag were lost to snippets cut for souvenirs? There are so many fascinating facts in the flag’s story–I hope that kids (and those reading with them) will enjoy learning about the Star-Spangled Banner as much as I did.

You can buy the The Star-Spangled Banner here:
Northshire
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

Out Today, Falcon: Fear of Flying

514bkh-5KBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My latest project for Marvel, Falcon: Fear of Flying, is out today. It’s a Level 2 in Marvel’s emerging reader program, “World of Reading.” In it, Falcon is forced to confront some unusual super-fears in order to help a friend out of a tough situation.

I had a lot of fun writing this story, especially since we’ve been working with leveled readers at Read Ahead. Seeing kids interacting with these books in real life really crystallized for me what an important role they play in a child’s journey toward literacy. I also think it’s great that World of Reading (and other leveled reader series) offer so many options across such a wide range of interests.

In a moderately failed experiment, I brought the first book I ever read on my own, The Marvelous Mud Washing Machine, to a Read Ahead session. I had to track it down online, as my own copy had long since been donated to my mom’s kindergarten classroom. I was surprised to find out it was also a leveled reader (though mightily of yore), from the “10 Word Reader” series. My reading buddy politely went along with it, but was ultimately less than impressed. Not surprising, considering the options today are so much better. I mean, mud puddle vs. Iron Man? No contest. (Sorry, mud washing machine! You’re still marvelous to me!)

**As I mentioned with Ant-Man: Game Over, the incredibly talented artists Rachelle Rosenberg and Ron Lim deserve a special shout-out again for their brilliant art and illustrations.**

Falcon: Fear of Flying is available at bookstores and online:
Northshire Bookstore
IndieBound
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Out Today, Ant-Man: Game Over!

Ant-Man Art Guess what? Ant-Man: Game Over is out in bookstores today!

As a kid, I loved stories about little creatures making it in the big, bad human world.* Some of my favorites were The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Stuart Little, and The Cricket in Times Square—just to name a few. I guess I was really into stories about tiny worlds and…anthropomorphized vermin? Moving on.

Obviously, with that (tiny) background, I was especially excited to work on an Ant-Man book. Having recently visited Asbury Park‘s extraordinary Silver Ball Museum, I knew exactly where I wanted to send Scott Lang and his daughter Cassie in this story. Luckily, my editor (hi, Clarissa Wong!) and everyone at Marvel (hi, everyone at Marvel!) was on board. It was so much fun to imagine the many wonders (and dangers) Scott and Cassie would encounter while navigating the frenetic, vivid world of a pinball playfield at roughly ¾ of an inch, and the fantastic illustrations by Rachelle Rosenberg and Ron Lim really bring that all to life.

Ant-Man: Game Over is a Level 2 reader and is suggested for grades 1 – 3, ages 6 – 8.
It is available at your local bookstore or online at:
IndieBound
Astoria Bookshop
Amazon
B&N

*Who am I kidding? I still love those kinds of stories!

PW’s Sneak Peek at the Spring ’16 Children’s List

PW Children'sPublishers Weekly released their annual Fall Children’s Announcements issue this week, including their preview of the upcoming (in this case, Spring 2016) season.

This is always one of my favorite issues, which I approach with the same voracious glee that a much littler me approached J.C. Penney’s mammoth holiday toy catalog. I was lucky enough to snag ARCs for a few of the titles on my To-Read list at BEA this year, but I’ll still be back at the bookstore filling in the rest…and buying hardcovers of the ARCs as I often do, because book addiction.

I should also mention that listed in the Spring 2016 Preview, under “Penguin/Penguin Young Readers” is one of my upcoming early readers, The Star-Spangled Banner.

Coming Soon…Ant-Man: Game Over!

Ant-Man ArtSeriously, how awesome is this cover art? So as not to spoil anything, I will only confirm that, as the cover indicates, Ant-Man: Game Over is set in a pinball arcade and that when I was working on the book, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I HAD IN MIND. Illustrators/artists are fantastical wizards who never cease to amaze me.

Generally speaking, with work-for-hire, you’re not  supposed to get too attached to your projects, especially when it comes to working with big licensors–too much can change and none of it is in your control. I’m pretty good at maintaining that distance most of the time. BUT, in this case, [redacted] all that noise. I love this cover art and I really can’t wait to see the interior illustrations.

Ant-Man: Game Over is coming to a bookstore near you (or your browser) on October 20, 2015. Around that time I’ll post to tell you all about the awesome Silver Ball Museum, which I visited for “inspiration” last summer.

PSA: Ant-Man, starring probable vampire* Paul Rudd, opens Friday, July 17th.

Pre-order Ant-Man: Game Over here**:

 

* but of the kindly, non-threatening variety.
**will add indie links as they become available.