Happy Holidays/Winter Break

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Area Wide Book Battle Committee would like to wish you all Happy Holidays

The Feature Book of the Week will resume after Winter Break.

Also look for the question of the week which will begin late January.

~ The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination. ~ 
Elizabeth Hardwick 

Featured Book of the Week/A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Tree-ear, an orphan, lives under a bridge in Chulpo, a potters village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potters craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated — until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Mins irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself — even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Mins work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

The winner of the 2001 Newbery Medal is now in paperback. Set in 12th-century Korea, "A Single Shard" is the story of an orphan boy who dreams of making beautiful pottery at the King's Court. An ALA Notable Book and ALA Best Book for Young Adults.


Linda Sue Park was born in Urbana, Illinois on March 25, 1960, and grew up outside Chicago. The daughter of Korean immigrants, she has been writing poems and stories since she was four years old, and her favorite thing to do as a child was read. 

This is the first thing she ever published—a haiku in a children's magazine when she was nine years old:

In the green forest
A sparkling, bright blue pond hides.
And animals drink.
For this poem she was paid one whole dollar. She gave the check to her dad for Christmas. About a year later the company wrote to her asking her to cash the check! Linda Sue wrote back explaining that it was now framed and hung above her dad's desk and was it okay if he kept it? The magazine said it was fine, and her dad still has that check.

During elementary school and high school, Linda Sue had several more poems published in magazines for children and young people. She went to Stanford University, competed for the gymnastics team, and graduated with a degree in English. Then she took a job as a public-relations writer for a major oil company. This was not exactly the kind of writing she wanted to do, but it did teach her to present her work professionally and that an interested writer can make any subject fascinating (well, almost any subject ...).

In 1983, after two years with the oil company, Linda Sue left her job and moved to Dublin when a handsome Irishman swept her off her feet. She studied literature, moved to London, worked for an advertising agency, married that Irishman, had a baby, taught English as a second language to college students, worked as a food journalist, and had another baby. It was a busy time, and she never even thought about writing children's books.

In 1990, she and her family moved back to the U.S.  because of her husband's job. Linda Sue continued teaching English to foreign students. It took her quite a while, but she finally realized that what she really wanted to do was to write books for children. In 1997, she started writing her first book, Seesaw Girl. It was accepted that same year and published in 1999. 

The Kite Fighters came out in 2000. This book was especially exciting because the chapter-heading illustrations were done by Linda Sue's dad. 

A Single Shard was published in March 2001 and was awarded the 2002 Newbery Medal. Since then, Linda Sue has published several other novels, as well as picture books, poems and short stories.
Linda Sue now lives in upstate New York with the Irishman, their two children, and a dog. The dog is a Border Terrier named Fergus.
Besides reading and writing, Linda Sue likes to cook, travel, watch movies, and do the New York Times crossword puzzles (daily and Sunday). She enjoys baseball and soccer (watching); board games (playing—Scrabble and trivia games are her favorites); and video games like Tetris and Dr. Mario.(Biography retrieved from author website)

Linda Sue Park  has new book, A Long Walk to Water  that was released November 15, 2010. The book trailer has Ms Park discussing the book and its real life characters.

Featured Book of the Week
Morpheus Road: The Light
by DJ McHale

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Marshall Seaver is being haunted. In the first installment of this chillingly compelling trilogy, sixteen-year-old Marshall discovers that something beyond our world is after him. The eerie clues pile up quickly, and when people start dying, it’s clear whatever this isit’s huge.

Marshall has no idea what’s happening to him, but he’s soon convinced that it has something to do with his best friend Cooper, who’s been missing for over a week. Together with Coop’s sister, Marsh searches for the truth about what happened to his friend, ultimately uncovering something bigger than he could ever have imagined


I’m very psyched to hear that my book Morpheus Road:  The Light has been chosen to be a part of your book battle.  A book battle.  I’m picturing books with arms and legs holding swords fighting each other.  I guess the big books would win.  Or the smart books, though I guess all books are smart.  So maybe the scariest book would win, and in that category, I’ve got a shot.

I love scary stories.  That’s why I’m writing the Morpheus Road trilogy.  I’m the kind of reader who loves to get lost in a book and be taken to another place.  Certainly fantasy books do that, and so do scary books.  There’s something exciting about seeing a world where supernatural events become “natural” and anything can happen.  (It’s also great to know that it isn’t true and that once you close the book, you’re safe)  I also love the mystery of a scary story.  There’s always something going on that the heroes have to try and figure out in order to solve the puzzle.
Or save their lives.
The main character in The Light, Marshall Seaver, has to deal with a couple of mysteries.  His best friend has disappeared and he must try and find out what happened to him.  But stranger than that, he is being haunted by a frightening character that he himself created, a ghoul named Gravedigger.  Working through the clues and trying to solve the mysteries along with Marsh is what the story is all about.  I hope you have as much reading it, and experiencing it along with Marsh, as I had in writing it.
D.J. MacHale

D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series and movies.  As an author, his ten-volume book series:  PENDRAGON – JOURNAL OF AN ADVENTURE THROUGH TIME AND SPACE became a New York Times #1 bestseller.
He was raised in Greenwich, CT and graduated from Greenwich High School. While in school, he had several jobs including collecting eggs at a poultry farm, engraving trophies and washing dishes in a steakhouse…in between playing football and running track. D.J. attended New York University where he received a BFA in film production.

His filmmaking career began in New York where he worked as a freelance writer/director making corporate videos and television commercials. He also taught photography and film production.
D.J. broke into the entertainment business by writing several ABC AFTERSCHOOL SPECIALS. As co-creator of the popular Nickelodeon series: ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?, he produced all 91 episodes over 8 years.  D.J. also wrote and directed the movie TOWER OF TERROR for ABC’s WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY which starred Kirsten Dunst and Steve Guttenberg. The Showtime series CHRIS CROSS was co-created, written and produced by D.J. It received the CableAce award for Best Youth Series.

D.J. co-created and produced the Discovery Kids/NBC television series FLIGHT 29 DOWN.  He wrote every episode and directed several. His work on FLIGHT 29 DOWN earned him the Writers Guild of America award for “Outstanding Children’s Script” and a Directors Guild of America award nomination.

Other notable writing credits include the ABC AFTERSCHOOL SPECIAL titled SEASONAL DIFFERENCES; the pilot for the long-running PBS/CBS series GHOSTWRITER; and the HBO series ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN, BOY DETECTIVE for which he received a CableAce nomination for writing.
In print, D.J. has co-written the book THE TALE OF THE NIGHTLY NEIGHBORS, based on his own teleplay and penned the poetic adaptation of the classic Norwegian folk tale EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON.  He is currently writing three new book series.  MORPHEUS ROAD, a spooky trilogy; THE EQUINOX CURIOSITY SHOP, a fantasy adventure and THE MONSTER PRINCESS, a picture book.

D.J. lives in Southern California with his wife Evangeline and daughter Keaton. They are avid backpackers, scuba divers and skiers. Rounding out the household are a Golden Retriever, Maggie; and a Kitten, Kaboodle.

A very special thanks to DJ McHale for providing a guest post. If you enjoyed Morpheus Road: The Light, then make sure you check out the sequel Morpheus Road: The Dark which will be release in April 2011. I know I cannot wait to find out what happens next!

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