Cleopatra’s Moon ARC Twitter Give-Away
To mark the passing of the Ides of March, we’re giving away three copies of the ARC of Vicky Alvear Shecter’s FABULOUS new YA novel, Cleopatra’s Moon. We all know the story of Cleopatra and Mark Antony (thanks, Shakespeare! or Elizabeth Taylor, I guess), but you probably haven’t heard the story of their daughter, Cleopatra Selene. Sent to Rome with her two brothers in the aftermath of their parents’ death, Cleopatra Selene must navigate the terrifying politics of living in the house of her mother’s mortal enemy, the Roman Emperor Octavianus, while trying to bring about what she believes to be her destiny – that she would one day return to rule her mother’s kingdom.
You guys, this book is awesome. While I was proofreading one of the passes, I was sorely tempted to run out and buy some Kohl eyeliner. I was inspired to watch CLEOPATRA (all three hours + of it) in one sitting. And I spent some serious time on Wikipedia searching for more (possibly erroneous) information about everyone involved in this story. All this to say, if you win one of these ARCs, you will devour it, so enter to win one today!
To enter, follow @AALBooks and then re-tweet the @AALBooks original tweet of “Beware the Ides of March! And RT for a chance to win an ARC of @valvearshecter’s CLEOPATRA’S MOON, 3/14-3/15! http://bit.ly/akmkg2” between now and 11:59 pm EDT on March 15, 2011.
The Ides of March didn’t really work out for some people, but it may bring good things for you!
@AALBooks Cleopatra’s Moon ARC Twitter Give-Away Rules:
1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
Lost & Found ARC Twitter Give-Away
We are SO excited about Shaun Tan’s Oscar nomination for The Lost Thing, his animated short film based on the original picture book! You can read The Lost Thing in Lost & Found, coming out from AALB in March 2011, but for those of you who want a sneak peak, we’re giving away five copies of the advanced reader's copy of Lost & Found on Twitter.
To enter, follow @AALBooks and then re-tweet the @AALBooks original tweet of “RT for a chance to win an ARC of Shaun Tan’s LOST & FOUND 2/11-2/21! http://bit.ly/akmkg2” between now and 3 pm EST on February 21, 2011.
And don’t forget to tune in to the Oscars on 2/27/11 to see if Shaun wins!
@AALBooks Lost & Found ARC Twitter Give-Away Rules:
1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
Ivy Loves to Give Twitter Give-Away
’Tis the season for giving and receiving, and no one loves to give gifts like little Ivy does in Freya Blackwood’s adorable picture book, Ivy Loves to Give. The act of giving is such a simple but heartfelt way of expressing love and thanks, and to express our appreciation for all our wonderful Twitter followers, we’ll be giving away two copies of Ivy Loves to Give this holiday season.
To enter, follow @AALBooks and then re-tweet the @AALBooks original tweet of “RT for a chance to win Freya Blackwood’s IVY LOVES TO GIVE, 12/1–12/8! http://bit.ly/akmkg2” between now and 3 pm EST on December 8, 2010.
@AALBooks Ivy Loves to Give Twitter Give-Away Rules:
1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
Ashbury High Give-Away!
We’ve always LOVED Jaclyn Moriarty’s Ashbury High books, but this year we decided to give them a fresh look to coincide with the release of Jaci’s new novel, The Ghosts of Ashbury High. So to celebrate the gorgeous new covers for The Year of Secret Assignments and The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, we’re giving away sets of these new paperback editions to two of our wonderful Twitter followers!
To enter, follow @AALBooks and then re-tweet the @AALBooks original tweet of “RT for a chance to win a set of Jaclyn Moriarty’s Ashbury High paperbacks, 6/9-6/16! http://bit.ly/crywb0”, along with the name of your favorite Ashbury High character. For example, you might tweet “Emily Thompson! RT @AALBooks RT for a chance to win a set of Jaclyn Moriarty’s Ashbury High paperbacks, 6/9-6/16! http://bit.ly/crywb0”
So send us a tweet before 3 pm EST on June 16, 2010. And sorry, Scholastic employees and non-US residents aren’t eligible, but we’d still love to know who your favorite character is! For the official rules, keep scrolling.
@AALBooks Ashbury High Twitter Give-Away Rules:
1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
Mildred L. Batchelder Award Ceremony, July 13, 2009
Acceptance Speech by Arthur Levine and Cheryl Klein, for Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano
Arthur Levine: In 1979, in the Elmont Public Library on the border of Queens, New York, I picked up Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior.
Cheryl Klein: In 1995, in the Mid-Continent Public Library in Grandview, Missouri, I found a book by Robin McKinley: The Hero and the Crown.
AL: I took the book home. I read it in four days.
CK: I took the book home. I read it in four hours.
AL: As an Italian Jew, whose childhood was shaped by the ancient stories of my family’s past, I loved the rich mythology, the sweeping narratives that fed Maxine Hong Kingston’s imagination, and helped form her identity. She was an American, like me, but like me she drew strength from a place far away.
CK: McKinley’s heroine, Aerin, was clumsy like me. And she was awkward in social situations, like me. But she had people who believed in her, and a great dream; and as she worked hard at the things she loved and grew into her own strength, she conquered both a dragon and her own inner demons. Aerin helped me have faith I could do that too.
AL & CK: Through her, I had an amazing adventure.
AL: In 1995, as Cheryl read The Hero and the Crown, in an apartment in Japan, a writer named Nahoko Uehashi sat down to watch a movie. During the previews, she saw a woman onscreen leading a young child by the hand.
CK: An idea flashed into her mind, a story about a woman warrior protecting a noble boy.
AL: Who was the boy? Who was the woman? Were they related? She wrote their story to find out.
CK: Her heroine was named Balsa.
AL: Her novel, Seirei No Moribito —
CK: Guardian of the Sacred Spirit—
AL: —was published in Japan in 1996.
CK: It was an immediate success, winning several major awards. A sequel followed three years later: Guardian of the Dark.
AL: In 2000, I met with Yurika Yoshida of the Japan Foreign Rights Center at the Bologna Book Fair. She represents Nahoko’s publisher, and she told me about Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit.
CK: This went on for three more years, but the time was never right.
AL: Partly perhaps because we were working on another big-scale fantasy by a Scottish author. But also because even with the support of an award like this one, publishing translations is hard. You need the right story and characters, with appeal to readers around the world.
CK: And the right translator, who knows how to get that appeal across in English.
AL: A strong translation—faithful to the original but not awkward in sound or flow.
CK: And the right marketing hook, to help the book break through the publishing pack.
AL: In 2006, I met with Yurika at the Bologna Book Fair. She told me about Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. And she said there was a TV adaptation on its way. We have a Marketing Hook!
CK: We found Cathy Hirano, who translated The Friends, a previous winner of the Batchelder Award. We have a translator and translation!
AL: And at last, we acquired the book, whose story and characters we’ve loved all along.
CK: In 2007, when I received the first draft of the manuscript, I took it home and read it in -- not four hours, because an editorial read takes a little longer than that. But I couldn't stop reading once I started. I had that same narrative need as with The Hero and the Crown, the same connection to Balsa, the same drive to see what would happen next.
AL: Through Balsa,
CK: through Cathy,
AL: through Nahoko,
AL & CK: we had an amazing adventure.
AL: This book came together through the readers we are—still seeking the stories that transform our lives and give us strength—
CK: And through knowing there are lovers of translated literature out there, like all of you.
AL: Librarians who will take these books and put them in the hands of twenty-first-century Arthurs and Cheryls,
CK: in small towns in Missouri,
AL: And the suburbs of big cities,
CK: Trusting that the words and work of a Norwegian artist, a German storyteller, or a Japanese anthropologist might reach far beyond the bounds of race and nationality and gender.
AL: Connecting all of us in our common humanity, and strengthening it through that connection.
CK: On behalf of Cathy Hirano, Nahoko Uehashi, and everyone at Scholastic, we thank you again for this wonderful honor.
AL: We know it will help the book find readers, and lead them on to more amazing adventures.
Arthur A. Levine Books Intern Blog, by Mallory Kass
I have the best summer job in the entire world. While it seems like the majority of my peers wage war against disgruntled photocopiers in dreary offices or chase hyperactive nine-year-olds at Oboe camp, I spend my day immersed in the world of books. However, more than the pleasure of working in an air-conditioned office with a group of enthusiastic, like-minded people, I’m indebted to Arthur A. Levine Books for salvaging my fraught relationship with literature. This is my second year interning for Arthur. This summer, I came straight from graduate school where I had just completed a Masters degree in English Literature. I’ve devoted five years of higher education to analyzing texts, yet, even after being forced to read The Faerie Queen in Middle English, my critical training never challenged my deep-rooted love of reading, a passion that once compelled me to smuggle a book into my own eighth birthday party. However, in graduate school, the act of reading became divorced from pleasure. I was encouraged to dissect texts and learned to value the parts more than the whole. I was like a car fanatic forced to dismantle a vintage T-Bird in order to see how the engine worked, irrevocably damaging the glorious bodywork above. I was taught to ignore emotion when considering literature; it didn’t matter whether I loved or despised a book as only the mechanics of the work warranted discussion.
This crisis reached a climax as I worked on my dissertation on Henry James. I used to wallow in James’s prose; I would allow his page-long sentences to wash over me, accepting whichever particles of meaning happened to stick but understanding that the majority would flow right past. However, in grad school, I was forced to attack the text with a microscope and fine-toothed comb, stripping away the layers to uncover the “true” meaning, as if The Wings of the Dove was actually a cover for James’s own communist manifesto or an encrypted treatise on space exploration. I began to dread working on my dissertation because everything I wrote felt wrong, clumsy, and sometimes even irreverent.
Three days after I turned in my dissertation, I found myself back at Scholastic for my second summer at AALB. Before the end of my first week, I began to remember why I have always been so passionate about reading. Arthur, Cheryl, Rachel, and Emily work tirelessly to publish books that are elegantly written, provocative, and intelligent but that are still a joy to read. I started to remember that metonymy and metaphor are more than potential essay topics; they’re tools to make a text more pleasurable, to emphasize the richness of language and the imagination. AALB publishes books that use the literary devices I once obsessed over, yet they become the means to a greater, more worthy end; they transport readers to foreign lands, conjure images of beauty, and evoke a range of complex emotions.
Last summer, Rachel asked me to read a manuscript she was considering, an adventure story with a young boy as the protagonist. I loved the imaginative plot but had trouble connecting with the main character; although he was both nuanced and likable, I didn’t find myself empathizing with him on the level I would have liked. I realized that the manuscript’s third person narration was creating a gulf between the hero and the reader. Without direct access to the main character’s thoughts and feelings, I felt as if I were watching from behind a screen rather than accompanying him on his adventure. I wondered whether first person narration might help this problem and I suggested we present that option to the author, to give the reader the chance to participate in the hero’s emotional journey. I likely would have had the same reaction to the manuscript regardless of my background in literary criticism, but my training provided me with the vocabulary to articulate my feelings about the text, transforming a vague impression into a potentially useful tool for revision.
I now appreciate my ability to recognize the mechanics of a text; it allows me to pinpoint a problem, like a faulty rhyme scheme, and articulate concerns about perspective and character development. However, I value these tools for their ability to enhance the reading experience. I’m no longer the mechanic who strips cars for the sole purpose of looking at theirs engine; I’m the test driver with the first chance to see them perform on the road. I examine their power to take me to new, wonderful places. While I enjoyed graduate school, I want to use the knowledge I gained to pinpoint for authors the reason I had a particular reaction to a text. I want to help make their books even more enjoyable, to analyze a metaphor with the aim of making it more powerful or evocative for the reader. I’m thrilled to be back at AALB and look forward to another summer learning from a group of such knowledgeable, talented, and enthusiastic editors.
Guest Blog Entry
Click Lit: Arthur A. Levine Books Editor Cheryl Klein Discusses The Legend of the Wandering King
Every reader knows the click. It’s that moment in a book when you give yourself up to it, when you say “yes” and surrender to the world and the characters. It’s when you shut the door, turn off the e-mail, and take the phone off the hook; it’s going through the wardrobe, down the rabbit hole, into the secret garden, on the Hogwarts Express. It is, in short, the moment you fall in love with a book, and of all of reading’s many pleasures, it’s perhaps the most thrilling and addictive.
Every editor knows the click too. For me it happens when I recognize a gesture or a feeling in a book, something real from the range of human experience (often, though not always, my own experience): when I encounter something true. And of all the wonderful things I get to do as an editor, I have to say the click moment is perhaps the most exciting part of my job, because not only do I fall in love with a book, I know I’ll get to share it with other readers as well.
In the spring of 2002, my boss Arthur Levine brought back a brilliant new novel from the Bologna Book Fair, about an Arabian prince who longs to be a poet and an fabulous, deadly, enchanted carpet. Because the book was written in Spanish, Arthur asked Macarena Salas, an editor with Scholastic en Español, to read the book for us. She adored it. He asked Dan Bellm, an award-winning poet and translator, to translate three chapters for us. Dan gladly obliged. And when we received the pages, they included these lines describing the power of poetry:
"Everyone who was present that day could sense that words had a mysterious magical power, that they could reach the heart and make the oldest things new again, over and over, if only one used them with feeling and passion. And once the audience understood this, they never forgot it."
A truth expressed in a way we’d never imagined it before. And just like that: click.
The book was The Legend of the Wandering King by Laura Gallego García, and Arthur A. Levine Books is proud to be publishing the complete novel this coming August. Legend tells the story of Prince Walid of Kinda, a handsome, courteous, charming young man who longs to attend the great poetry competition at Ukaz. But his kingdom boasts one greater poet than he-a poor carpet-weaver named Hammad-and out of jealousy, Walid curses him to create an impossible work of art: a carpet showing the history of the entire human race. Hammad dies weaving it. Men go mad seeing it. And when it is stolen, Walid discovers his life’s quest: to recover the carpet and earn forgiveness for his mistakes.
The book has a marvelous background in historical fact: Walid’s story was inspired by the life of Imru’l Qays, a real prince of Kinda in the late fifth century C.E. Laura mentions Qays in her author's note, and I had a wonderful time fact-checking his biography: Qays was twice kicked out of his father's court for writing erotic poetry; he went on a mad and successful quest for revenge against his father's murderers, a tribe called the Banu Asad; he did indeed win the poetry competition at Ukaz; and legend has it that Emperor Justinian I sent him a poisoned cloak -- which killed him -- for winning the love of the Emperor's daughter. Stories like this, almost better than fiction, are exactly what make me love history (emphasis on the "story"); and I loved The Legend of the Wandering King all the more for introducing me to him.
And I loved the resolution Laura brings to her story as well, where Walid finally sees the pattern of his life unfolding like the pattern in that magical, entrancing carpet. The Legend of the Wandering King is about pride, about fate, about the choices we make that determine the direction of the rest of our lives, and about our ability to reverse those choices by making other ones: about the freedom we have to decide our lives every moment we live them. I moved to New York from the Midwest in 2000 basically on a dare from Dave Eggers: I read a piece in Harper's Magazine where he was asked by a college-age fan how he (I quote) "kept his shit real," and he responded that there was no real shit or unreal shit -- there was only saying "yes" to opportunities whenever they came. I had an opportunity; I made my choice; and it's resulted in my life as it is now, unpredictable and wonderful. And the opportunities continue: I could meet my future husband on the way to lunch; I could break my leg falling down the Scholastic staircase on the way back from lunch; I could get the next Harry Potter in the mail this afternoon. Legend not only reminded me of those first heady weeks in New York in 2000, it reminds me that that time, those chances and possibilities, happen every day of my life.
And, I’m delighted to say, it’s absolutely crammed with click moments. I hope it might click with you too.
Welcome to Arthur Levine’s blog! Check back for Arthur’s periodic postings on the books we publish, the books other people publish, the art of writing and editing, and what’s new in the world of Arthur A. Levine Books.