Take a Look, It’s in an…E-book!

Reading Rainbow, the children’s literacy program that ran on PBS for 26 years, is going digital, with the launch of an app for iPad and Android. LeVar Burton, longtime host and executive producer of Reading Rainbow, presented the app during a June 19 celebration, which took place at Studio 450 in New York City. Burton’s multimedia company, RRKidz, is partnering with Holiday House, Kane Press, Abrams, Shenanigan Books, and Little, Brown to provide an initial virtual library of more than 300 titles, available on the app via subscription for $9.99 per month. Burton – seen here showing the app to Shane Ammon, one of several kids invited to the event – emphasized that the goal of the Reading Rainbow app is to honor the integrity of children’s literature, while appealing to new generation of readers: “Books are the heart and soul of what we do,” he said. (Photo: Childs Play Communications.)

ABC Catalog Cover Revealed

Expect this year’s children’s book holiday catalog early, Shannon O’Connor, ABC Children’s Group Manager for the American Booksellers Association, promised booksellers at the start of the first Children’s Institute at last week’s BookExpo America. The cover design is already in place and features an illustration from William Joyce’s newly released The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (S&S/Atheneum). O’Connor anticipates a 400,000-copy printing for the catalog, which was distributed by 1,300 bookstores in 2011.

Veteran Authors, New Festival

Maryland's Howard County Library System, Central Branch, hosted its first-ever children’s book fair, Bookapalooza, on Saturday, June 16. More than 2,000 people turned out to see presentations and get their books signed by a host of authors and illustrators, among them Katherine Paterson, Michael Buckley, Tom Angleberger, and Mary Downing Hahn. Shown here – well, partially – are Dork Diaries (S&S/Aladdin) author Rachel Renée Russell (hiding behind the artwork) and her daughter Nikki Russell. Nikki, the series namesake, illustrated the newly published book four in the series, as well as book five, due out this fall.

A Writer Named Annabel

On June 14 in the Rye Free Reading Room in Rye, N.Y., debut author Annabel Monaghan (shown here with a few of the 100 fans in attendance) discussed her YA novel, A Girl Named Digit (Houghton Mifflin), which hit shelves this month. Monaghan, who lives in Rye, is also the co-author of the teen nonfiction handbook Click: The Girl’s Guide to Knowing What You Want and Making It Happen (Simon Pulse). She pointed out in a recent newspaper interview that, despite its title, Digit features “as strong a male protagonist as a female” one – perhaps unsurprising, as she is the mother of three sons.