Friday, August 30, 2013

When Edgar Met Cecil

Have you ever been the new kid at school? Edgar knows how you feel. When the young robot moves with his family to a new and different (and I do mean different) town, Edgar isn't quite sure he's going to like it at first. The kids there are...weird. 

Join us on this week's blog tour as we take a look at Kevin Luthardt's When Edgar Met Cecil and learn how new friends can sometimes be found where you least expect them!

Monday, Sept. 2

Tuesday, Sept. 3
Wednesday, Sept. 4
Thursday, Sept. 5
Friday, Sept. 6

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Win a copy of The King of Little Things!

This week we're celebrating all things little with Bil Lepp and David T. Wenzel's The King of Little Things. 

So, tell us! What little things in your life make a BIG difference? Leave your comments below or email us and you could win a copy of The King of Little Things

*Contest ends 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013
**U.S. residents only, please

Monday, August 26, 2013

A word from the birders!

Cathryn and John Sill have quite the collection of nature titles to their credit. The husband and wife team have written and illustrated over 19 books together in their About... and About Habitats... series. 

Their latest book, a second edition of the infamous A Field Guide to Little-Known and Seldom-Seen Birds of North America, written in collaboration with John's brother Ben, is only a slight departure from their normal fare. While it does delve into nature and our feathered friends (a favorite topic of theirs), this title takes a look at the seldom seen birds...the imaginary, fictitious and downright ridiculous avian figments of the Sills' imaginations. 

Avid birders themselves, the Sills have a wealth of knowledge on birds (both real and imagined). Welcome to the blog, Cathryn and John! 

John and Cathryn visiting our offices this summer!

When did you first become interested in birding as a hobby? What is your favorite thing about birding now?

Cathryn: I remember watching birds out our dining room window with my mother when I was about 3 years old. My parents were nature lovers and introduced us to the wonders of the natural world at an early age. I love watching the behavior of birds and seeing how they react to their surroundings.

John: As long as I can remember I have been fascinated with birds. When I was a kid, I imagined myself being able to talk to birds and having them actually understand me. I know now they were just tolerating a pesky boy. Like Cathy, I enjoy seeing what birds do. I also enjoy seeing new species.

Ben: Our family always was interested in birds – feeding them, watching, and we always had a pair of binoculars around. My favorite thing about birding now??? Well it is probably a couple of things – 1) seeing a new bird (my North America list is about 515 so it is hard to find new birds in North America), and 2) watching bird behavior is increasingly interesting. Feeding, grooming, flocks flying, etc.

Do you have a favorite bird?

Cathryn and John: For both of us, our favorite bird is usually the one we are watching at the time.

Ben: I do have a favorite bird – the Swallow-tailed Kite. This majestic bird is my favorite for several reasons – it is large – hawk sized and thus easy to view; its markings are as striking as any bird I know; and its feeding habits – catching insects on the wing – AND eating them on the wing.  It is uncommon in the states so to see one is a double treat. 

How did the idea for your field guides come about? What was your writing process like?

Ben: The idea for the Field Guide actually came from Cathy’s mother; they can tell the story better (or with more accuracy, but this is what I remember), but one day she and John showed up at Cathy’s mom’s house from a short birding venture and her mom (also an avid birder) asked what they had seen. Cathy made up a bird and said that they had seen it down at Lake Emory. Her mom, without thinking, and knowing that she had never seen this bird, grabbed her binoculars and headed for her car before realizing that something was wrong. The rest is history.

Cathryn and John: When we were traveling on road trips, we would make up bird species to pass the time. We would often see something that would trigger an idea, write the idea on a scrap of paper and stuff it in the glove compartment of the car. One day as we were sharing the ideas with John's brother Ben, he entered into the fun and added his ideas. He looked at us and said "We should write a book!" And the rest is history. The three of us each have a different sense of humor so we were able to work together to have a well-balanced book that hopefully appeals to many different people. 

Do you have a favorite bird from your field guides?

Cathryn and John: When you have a part in "creating" these birds, you develop an affection for all of them. 

Ben: My favorite bird from the Field Guide (although several would vie closely for the prize) would probably be the Southern Snake Strangler.

You have also written and illustrated together many nonfiction books about birds -- what do you love most about these animals that keeps you coming back?

Cathryn and John: Birds are a beautiful part of our natural world. While some are readily evident in both appearance and song, others are a challenge to find. We really enjoy the birds that we see at our feeders on a daily basis. We also enjoy going "out in the field" and looking and listening for birds that are not as easily accessible. 

Ben: I think that the thing that I love most about birds is their ability to fly – and fly with such ease and grace. My training as an engineer was in the area of aerospace engineering. When you flap your arms you see just how futile it is to imagine that we can fly – there isn’t really much substance to air. The fact that birds are not restricted to the flat landscape or to bodies of water, but are free to move “as the crow flies” is pretty special.

 Check out John's website here, and be on the lookout for About Habitats: Forests this spring 2014! 

Also hitting shelves Spring 2014: 

About Birds (bilingual edition)
About Habitats: Mountains (paperback edition)
About Mammals, 2nd edition (also in paperback)

Little Things Make a Big Difference!

This week we're looking at The King of Little Things by Bil Lepp and illustrated by David T. Wenzel! If you haven't had a chance to see this beautiful picture book, you really do owe it to yourself to find a copy and pore over it. While you're here, let my blogger friends give you the proper introduction on our blog tour! 

Good Reads with Ronna






Be sure to stop back here on Wednesday for your chance to win a copy! 

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kevin Luthardt, author-illustrator extraordinaire!

Ever wanted to see the many steps it takes to go from a blank canvas to THIS? 

Check out Kevin Luthardt's new video featuring art from his new picture book, When Edgar Met Cecil (Sept. 2013)! 

Love his work? Tell us about it! Leave a comment and you could win a copy!  I'll pick some winners at the end of the week!

*US residents only please
**Entries close 11:59 p.m. August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beginnings: How Charlie Bumpers Started - by Bill Harley

It's day 4 of our blog tour and we've got a special guest post for you guys!
Welcome to the blog, Bill Harley!

I’ve learned over the years that everything takes more time than it should. The idea for the Charlie Bumpers series came along eight or nine  years ago, when an editor suggested to me that I would be a good person to write a series about an elementary school boy.  Over the next year, I wrote the first draft of what would become “Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year”. Now, finally, we have a book.

Because of my work as a performing storyteller, I have a particular perspective on a fourth grade boy’s life. Many of my spoken word stories focus on my childhood – especially the years from second to sixth grade. Most of them are about me getting into trouble of some sort, usually inadvertently. And while I’m not interested in being heavily didactic or moralistic, I am concerned with what a story says about the world – kindness is often my underlying message. Beyond that, I’m happy to explore mayhem. My audience responds well to mayhem.

With my experience telling stories of growing up, telling Charlie’s story in book form was a natural step. I’ve spent a lot of time in elementary schools over the past thirty years  (I’m guessing I’ve been in 2500 schools), and while I’ve never been a classroom teacher, and would have a hard time hewing to any curriculum, I know the culture of schools, and I know the terror that lurks in the heart of a nine year old boy.

I mention terror with some hyperbole, but I really do believe that uncertainty about the future is a large part of children’s lives– they don’t really know what’s going to happen, and there ability to affect their situation can be pretty constricted. This terror is hard to stomach up close, but a half step away, it leads to humor and irony. Charlie’s first-person narrator voice is crucial to the story, and I knew what he should sound like right away.

Charlie is not faced with any life or death choices in this book, although his family will face some hardship up ahead in another book in the series. There are no deaths, no parents separating, no abandonment, no physical violence. Instead, I focus on the small challenges a kid can face in his or her day-to-day existence. I wanted to show that little things matter.

In thinking of what would come as a series, I decided the finished product (scheduled for six books) would take Charlie through the fourth grade year. Naturally, it begins with the start of school. In thinking about the start of the school year, it was easy to draw on my own memories of apprehension and excitement, as well as those of my own sons growing up. With Charlie in his next to last year in the K-5 school he attends, one would hope that he feels comfortable where he is.

And he would, but things go wrong.

He gets the one teacher he doesn’t want, his best friend isn’t in his class, and his nemesis, the unspeakable Samantha Grunsky, sits right behind him in class. Plus, he hates his new shoes.

Getting the “right” teacher is of great concern to all children – even if they don’t know who the “right” one is. Everyone has an opinion about teachers, and children talk among themselves about which teacher is the “best” or “nicest” or “strictest” or “funniest”. My feeling is that these everyday aspects of a kid’s life – who his teacher is, who’s in his class, who he sits next to – are small tests.  In negotiating these surprises and disappointments, character is developed. From the perspective of adulthood, some of these aspects don’t seem very important, but it’s my job as a writer to affirm for my reader that they are, and that there concerns are valid. Whether it’s a song I sing, or a story I tell, or a book I write, my main object is to affirm and honor the emotional life of my audience. Someone has to do it and I’m glad it’s me.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Field Guide to Little Known, Seldom Seen and Completely Fictitious Birds of North America

If you've ever wanted to learn more about the birds you see in your backyard...this probably won't help much. But it will give you a laugh! 

John, Cathryn and Ben Sill are at it again with this "partially revised and somewhat updated" second edition of their notorious A Field Guide to Little-Known & Seldom-Seen Birds of North America. 

To celebrate the return of this feather-brained parody, we're posting a new (and we do mean 'new') bird every week over on Facebook! Join the fun and read the introduction here

A Field Guide to Little-Known & Seldom-Seen Birds of North America is also a featured title on Netgalley!

Charlie Bumpers!

If you haven't seen Charlie Bumpers yet, follow along this week on our blog tour and read all about him and his crazy shenanigans! (And then get thee to your local bookstore and find this awesome new series from Bill Harley!)

There will also be plenty of chances to enter to win a copy too! So come with me this week while we stop by:




Bill Harley will be right here on the Peachtree blog talking about Charlie and his own adventures in school! Be sure to stop by and enter our contest to win a copy!


Don't forget to check out the Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the year trailer, original song by Bill Harley and our Charlie Bumpers website

Follow Bill Harley's blog!

And, as always: Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lion vs. Rabbit day 3!

Caption contest time! Give us your best shot in the comments (don't forget to include your email address) for your chance to win a copy! I'll pick a winner at the end of the blog tour! 

You can also tweet your caption to @Peachtreepub #captioncontest or email me!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lion vs. Rabbit!

We've all come up against a bully a time or two. The animals in the newest picture book from Alex Latimer (The Boy Who Cried Ninja and Penguin's Hidden Talent) have tried everything to try and get Lion to stop bullying them, but they might need outside help. Find out who comes to the rescue in this week's blog tour! 

Mon. August 5

Tues. August 6

Wed. August 7

Fun stuff will be happening right here on the Peachtree blog, so feel check back on Wednesday morning for your chance to win!

Thurs. August 8

Fri. August 9