A Winning Combination

William Kamkwamba’s bestselling memoir, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, was published by William Morrow in 2009; it tells how Kamkwamba, then 14, built a windmill out of junkyard scraps in order to bring light and running water to his famine-stricken village in Malawi. Dial published a picture book version in January 2012, and in fall 2014 it will publish the tale anew, for middle grade readers. In the meantime, Kamkwamba’s story continues to draw praise; a film based on his life, William and the Windmill, won this year’s Documentary Feature Grand Jury Award at SXSW. Shown here are the film’s director, Ben Nabors (l.) and editor, Carlos Pavan.

Voice Talent

Olivia Bell, a nine-year-old from Illinois, will voice a small part in the upcoming animated adaptation of the The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Albert Whitman held the contest in fall 2012 to celebrate the new film and the 70th anniversary of the series. The taping took place in the Carol Stream, Ill., studios of Oasis Audio, which publishes the audio versions of many of the Boxcar Children books. The film’s director, Mark Dippe from Hammerhead Productions, directed Olivia in the role via phone. The animated feature is scheduled for DVD release in August.


Amy Timberlake lives in Chicago now, but her Wisconsin roots run deep. Her new novel, One Came Home, details two significant events from the state’s history: the largest recorded nesting of passenger pigeons in spring of 1871, and the devastating firestorm that fall. On March 23, Timberlake returned to her hometown of Hudson, Wisc., for an event at Chapter 2 Books (pictured). The next day, Timberlake had a signing at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, Minn. The author has fans further afield, too; in an article in PW, Jane Knight of Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vt., called the book one of her favorite new middle-grade titles.

What a Doll

Buffalo, N.Y.-area debut author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, launched her Forest Has a Song (Clarion), illustrated by Robbin Gourley, at Redfish Art Studios, a gallery in East Aurora, N.Y. VanDerwater dressed like her heroine, right down to the matching red boots, and her friends gave her a handmade doll and dog, also matching the book – plus a bracelet engraved with the book’s Library of Congress number. Gourley sent development sketches that were displayed where the author signed books; some 350 copies of the title were sold at the event. VanDerwater’s forthcoming appearances include an April 13 visit to B Is for Books in Orchard Park, N.Y.

‘Hungry’ for More

On March 23 Chronicle Books hosted an Eric Carle Day party at San Francisco’s Metreon. Some four dozen kids noshed on cupcakes and painted a section of a Very Hungry Caterpillar garland (with the help of Chronicle marketing assistant Alexis Watts, shown at l.), which will hang in the store. In addition to celebrating the ravenous critter, the publisher had its new line of Eric Carle personalized books, growth charts, and stationery on offer.

Standing Proud

Each year Selma, Ala., holds a Bridge Crossing Jubilee to commemorate the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march. This year, Elizabeth Partridge – author of Marching for Freedom (Viking) – did two presentations at Selma’s National Parks Service Interpretive Center. Some of the protesters she had interviewed for her book were in attendance, among them (with Partridge, far l.) Charles Mauldin and siblings Lynda Lowery and Joanne Bland, shown here with retired Selma fire chief Henry Allen (far r.). Partridge’s next book is on the Vietnam War, and she took the opportunity to interview Allen about his own life – he protested as a teen, then served in Vietnam and, when he returned whom, integrated Selma’s then-all-white fire department.