Sticking Her Neck Out for Literature

The title of her new book may be Don’t Feed the Boy (Roaring Brook), but Irene Latham apparently doesn’t feel the same way about giraffes. On October 14, the Birmingham Zoo hosted a launch party for Latham’s novel, about a boy who lives at a zoo very similar to this one. The zoo donated 50 giraffe-feeding tickets for kids in attendance, and Alabama Booksmith sold books. Latham, who lives in Birmingham, is on tour for several weeks, visiting libraries, schools, conferences, bookstores, and festivals in Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, wrapping up with an appearance at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort from November 9-10. Photo: Lynn Baker.

Rodin Would Be Proud

On October 17, while on a five-city national tour for The Fire Chronicle (Knopf) – the second installment of his middle-grade Books of Beginning fantasy trilogy – John Stephens visited Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., and struck a thoughtful pose with students from the local River School. The author, who has said he was inspired to write children’s fiction after reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, looks especially pensive – perhaps he’s pondering the positive reception his latest book has received including a starred writeup in PW.

John Rocco Makes His ‘Mark’

The Orlando Museum of Art is hosting an exhibit called “From Alice to Zeus: The Art of John Rocco,” featuring work by the prolific artist who, in addition to illustrating his own picture books, does the artwork for all the titles in Rick Riordan’s various series, including the latest Heroes of Olympus installment, The Mark of Athena (Disney-Hyperion). Rocco recently visited the museum and signed books for visitors. Works on view at the exhibit, which runs through October 28, include cover art for various Riordan novels, and images from Rocco’s Wolf! Wolf and Blackout.

‘Smile’ for the Camera

Raina Telgemeier’s extensive tour to promote Drama (Scholastic Graphix), her new graphic novel, sprawls over three months and from coast to coast, beginning with a September 2 appearance at the Decatur Book Festival in Georgia and finishing up at the National Council of Teachers of English annual convention in Las Vegas on November 20. Among her many stops were Champlin Park High School in Minnesota, where she was interviewed on camera by a student and spoke to the creative writing classes. PW said in a starred review of Drama, “The author follows up her award-winning graphic novel Smile with another dead-on look at the confusing world of middle school…. Telgemeier’s manga-infused art has some moments of heartache, but the generally cheerful and affirming story should be eagerly devoured by her many fans.”

A ‘Timeless’ Interpretation

When Alexandra Monir (far l.) appeared at last Sunday’s Mission Viejo Readers Festival in California, she was greeted by an homage to her debut paranormal fantasy, Timeless (Delecorte). On display in the room that hosted all of the event’s young adult panels, the mural was created by a group of local teens in their art class. Monir spoke on the “Otherworldly Reads” YA panel with authors Josephine Angelini (Starcrossed), Anna Carey (the Eve trilogy, HarperCollins), Rachel Cohn (Beta, Hyperion) and Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me, HarperCollins), who all signed books afterward, and took pictures with fans. Monir’s followup to Timeless, titled Timekeeper, will be out in January.

We Are “Family”

The third annual Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival, a free public event held in Wisconsin October 12-14, brought together 16 authors and illustrators to explore the theme of family, and how their own families influence their work. On Saturday, Mitch Teich, executive producer of Milwaukee Public Radio WUWM’s Lake Effect show, moderated a panel of young adult authors who spoke about family dynamics in novels for children and teenagers. From l., Teich, Sarah Weeks (So B. It, HarperCollins), Julie Halpern (Have a Nice Day, Feiwel and Friends), Ilsa Bick (the Ashes trilogy, EgmontUSA), Jacqueline Houtman (The Reinvention of Edison Thomas, Boyds Mills), and Lisa Albert (Mercy Lily, Flux).