Onshore Reunion

On July 20, Gennifer Choldenko (standing), author of the Al Capone series about a boy who lives with his family on Alcatraz Island, hosted a luncheon at her home for three of her favorite Alcatraz alumni and their spouses. Choldenko’s guests were (from l.) Robert Luke, a former inmate of the prison; George De Vincenzi, an Alcatraz guard; and Chuck Stucker, who was raised on the Rock. The luncheon was Choldenko’s way of thanking a few of the individuals from the Alcatraz community for their research help with the trilogy, which concludes this month with Al Capone Does My Homework (Dial). Interviews with Choldenko’s guests and other Alcatraz alumni will be posted on the series Web site every Tuesday from August 6 through September 17. In the meantime, Choldenko shared her favorite moment from the luncheon with PW: when she mentioned to Luke that she played tennis, the ex-con (who has since turned his life around) said that he did too. He learned from a pro at San Quentin. “They have tennis pros at San Quentin?” Choldenko asked. Luke responded, “Yes. He was convicted of a double homicide.”

A Flourishing Book Fest

The 15th annual Harlem Book Fair, which took place last month, is the largest African-American literary festival in the country. The event featured more than 250 booths and four stages that hosted author readings, meet-and-greets, storytelling, panel discussions, music, and more. Publishers at the event included Lee & Low, Just Us Books, and Akashic Books. Here, illustrator George Ford (Ray Charles by Sharon Bell Mathis) engages with a young fan at Lee & Low’s booth.

A Book Tour With Bite

Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (Little Brown, Sept.) is about a world in which vampires are enclosed within walled cities called Cold Towns. But Black’s reception during her recent summer book tour was anything but chilly. With stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, the author met up with independent booksellers and librarians all along the way. A final stop at San Diego Comic-Con rounded out the trip. Shown here at the convention, Black chats with author Cindy Pon (Silver Phoenix, Greenwillow).

A ‘Love’-ly Launch

Debut author Corey Ann Haydu spoke to a 65-person audience at BookCourt in Brooklyn Heights on July 24. Haydu’s novel, OCD Love Story (Simon Pulse), is about a teenage girl grappling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, learning to open up group therapy, and falling in love. Haydu discussed how she researched her book’s subject matter, what she learned about anxiety disorders, and how it feels to be published for the first time. Among the fans in attendance were several fellow authors lending support. Shown here are (from l.) Caela Carter (Me, Him, Them, and It, Bloomsbury), Alison Cherry (Red, Delacorte), Haydu, and Lindsay Ribar (The Art of Wishing, Dial).

Happy Birthday, Harry!

The world’s favorite wizard and his creator, J.K. Rowling, share a July 31 birthday, so what better day to unveil the new cover art for the paperback trade edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi? At the Scholastic Headquarters celebration, young fans dressed as characters from the series took part in activities that included making potions and wands. In the true spirit of wizardry, live snakes, toads, and owls were also in attendance. From August 1 to August 7, Scholastic plans to reveal the seven back covers of the Harry Potter paperback trade editions, one each day at 9 a.m. on the Scholastic blog. The complete boxed set of the new Harry Potter editions will be available on August 27, and Scholastic will mark the 15th anniversary of the U.S. release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on September 1.