A Big Surprise for a Young Author

Twelve-year-old aspiring chef and author Jack Witherspoon, a leukemia survivor, had a surprise guest at a recent signing for his cookbook Twist It Up (Chronicle, 2011) at Posman Books in New York City. With help from Chronicle and the bookstore, Food Network star Rachael Ray surprised Witherspoon at his book signing, and invited him to appear on The Rachael Ray Show. The episode featuring Witherspoon aired earlier this week (click here for video from his appearance). So was he surprised? “I seriously thought I was on a prank show,” said Witherspoon during the segment.

Teens Preview Kagawa’s ‘Immortal Rules’

Julie Kagawa’s new YA series, Blood of Eden, kicked off last week with the release of the first book, The Immortal Rules (Harlequin Teen). But thanks to the publisher, teens in book groups across the country got a sneak peek at the novel, set in a plague-riddled future where vampires reign, before it went on sale. In a starred review, PW called the book “a fresh and imaginative thrill-ride that deserves a wide audience.” Seen here are three seventh-graders in the “For Teens~By Teens” Recommended Read Program at Vista Academy of Visual & Performing Arts in Vista, Calif.: (l. to r.) Megan Perreault, Veronica Garibaldi, and Flor Gallardo. Photo: Beth Duncan.

On the Road with Laurisa White Reyes

Debut author Laurisa White Reyes has been traveling in advance of the release of her new middle-grade novel, The Rock of Ivanore, which will be published by Tanglewood later this month. The book, first in the planned Celestine Chronicles series, is a quest adventure starring Marcus, an orphaned apprentice to a wizard; PW’s review said that the novel “hearken[s] to the oral storytelling tradition.” Here, Reyes shows off a copy of the book at an event last Friday at Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose, Calif.

Celebrating ‘The Girl in the Park’

Author Mariah Fredericks marked the release of her YA novel The Girl in the Park (Random House/Schwartz & Wade, Apr.) with friends and family at a launch party thrown last Friday by her sisters, Stacey and Devon. The novel, which received a starred review from PW, is a thriller that unspools through the narration of Rain, an introverted teenager whose once-friend Wendy is found murdered in New York City’s Central Park. Here, Fredericks (center) is joined by her agent, Jodi Reamer (l.), and her editor, Anne Schwartz, at the party.

Dancers at the Library

Last Wednesday, the Jefferson Market Library branch of the New York Public Library held an event featuring ballet dancer turned children’s book author Allegra Kent and Caldecott Medalist Emily Arnold McCully, who presented their picture book Ballerina Swan (Holiday House, Feb.). Kent read to an enthusiastic crowd, some of whom arrived in tutus and dance outfits, and McCully sketched dance poses starring the book’s protagonist, Sophie the swan. More than 80 signed copies of Ballerina Swan were given to attendees. Seen here, l. to r.: children’s librarian Rebecca Schosha, Kent, McCully, and assistant children’s librarian Jenny Rosenoff.