This week, Isaac Fitzgerald and Brigette Barrager have a dream fulfilled; Jeopardy! features a contemporary classic; Monica Hesse has a virtual launch; and Wednesday Books has a weeklong reader fest.
'Reading Rainbow' Redux
On April 20, as part of his #LeVarBurtonReadsLive series on Twitter, LeVar Burton read How to Be a Pirate (Bloomsbury). Pictured, the book’s author, Isaac Fitzgerald, reacts to Burton’s reading. “Every time I visit schools, I let the students know that there are secret goals I plan on keeping to myself until they come true,” Fitzgerald told PW. “LeVar Burton is someone who is both a childhood and adulthood hero to me, and all the work he’s done to get kids reading early, often, and with plenty of joy changed the course of my life. Because I was one of those kids. Thank you, LeVar. This was literally a dream come true.” Illustrator Brigette Barrager said, “When I watched Reading Rainbow as a kid in the ’90s, I always got a sweeping sense of comfort from the stories being read to me. When I heard that he was going to be reading our book, I wished I had a time machine. I wanted to go back and tell my little girl self that someday, in what will feel like forever but won’t be, LeVar, yes THAT LeVar, is going to read a book illustrated by YOU.”
A Mythic Question
On April 21, Jeopardy! featured a Final Jeopardy answer in the Contemporary Authors category that middle grade readers might have guessed before adults. Gary Patent, a screenwriter and actor from Los Angeles, Calif., correctly guessed “Who is Rick Riordan?” to clinch the win. Riordan is the bestselling author of the Percy Jackson series and its spinoffs, as well as middle grade series featuring Egyptian and Norse mythology written in the same vein. Riordan also serves as a curator for Disney-Hyperion’s Rick Riordan Presents imprint and has recently pledged to match donations to indie bookstores to alleviate coronavirus-related hardships.
A Historic Launch
Earlier this month, Politics and Prose Live! hosted a digital launch event for Monica Hesse’s latest YA historical novel, They Went Left (Little, Brown). Politics and Prose’s Heidi Yoon (l.) was in conversation with Hesse (c.) and Justine Kenin of NPR’s All Things Considered (r.). They Went Left is a post-WWII mystery featuring 18-year-old Zofia, whose family was sent to the gas chambers—except for her younger brother, Abek, who she’s determined to find now that the concentration camps have been liberated.
A Week of Wednesdays
To kick off WB Reader Fest, its weeklong virtual book festival, Wednesday Books hosted Kristin Cast (l.), Estelle Laure (c.), and Megan McCafferty (r.), among other authors, on its Instagram and Twitter feeds on April 20. The festival also featured chances to win books and a behind-the-scenes look at the Wednesday editorial and marketing processes.