Alexandria Library Annual Spring Book Sale

It's that time at the Beatley Central Library for their annual book sale! Head over to the library during the dates below for a a chance to grab some really amazing selections to add to your collections! Tell your friends to bring those bags and fill them up with some great books! Happy Reading!! 

March 21-26, 2017

MEMBERS’ PREVIEW
Tuesday, March 21         4:00pm – 8:30pm

PUBLIC SALE
Wednesday, March 22    10:00am - 8:30pm
Thursday, March 23     10:00am - 8:30pm
Friday, March 24        10:00am - 5:30pm
Saturday, March 25    10:00am - 4:30pm
Sunday, March 26          1:00pm - 4:30pm

CHILDREN’S BOOKS*NOVELS*MUSIC CDs*COOKBOOKS*HISTORY*SCIENCE*ART*SCI FI
MOVIE DVDs*RELIGION*MILITARY HISTORY*REFERENCE*BUSINESS*CLASSICS*FANTASY
THRILLERS*HEALTH*MYSTERIES*TRAVEL*CRAFTS*POLITICS*BIOGRAPHIES

AND MORE!  COME EARLY FOR THE BEST SELECTION

Sale items priced $.50 to $3.00

Presented by the Friends of the Beatley Central Library
5005 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22304
703-746-1702
www.beatleyfriends.org

Barnes & Noble Introduces First-Ever National Teen Book Festival

New York, NY – May 19, 2016 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today introduced B-Fest (BN.com/B-FEST), the Company’s first-ever teen book festival and the largest national teen book festival in the United States. B-Fest will take place at all Barnes & Noble stores nationwide Friday, June 10, through Sunday, June 12, and will feature hundreds of authors of teen books appearing at stores nationwide in what will be the largest-ever weekend of author events in Barnes & Noble history. The list includes some of the most beloved and bestselling names in the teen space such as Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why), Jesse Andrews (The Haters), Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything), Rick Yancey (The Last Star), Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle) and hundreds more! Customers should contact their local store for more details on author appearances.
 
B-Fest will also feature other engaging events and activities for teens, including a story development workshop, cosplay, trivia and interactive games, all designed to provide teens with unique and fun experiences that will fuel their love of reading and writing. During B-Fest, teens will get access to free content including chapter samplers, an exciting cover reveal, and more, while supplies last. Plus, one Trivia Blast winner per store will be added to Penguin Teen’s Advance Reader's Copy mailing list for one year, and receive between 5 and 6 preselected advance reader’s copies of books that have not yet been released.
 
“Barnes & Noble has always been a destination for teens to explore and expand their love of reading, and now we’re taking our commitment to teens to the next level by rolling out our first-ever national teen book festival,” said Mary Amicucci, Chief Merchandising Officer at Barnes & Noble. “B-Fest is all about delivering an authentic book festival experience to teens that will bring the exciting worlds of writing and publishing to life. Best of all, B-Fest will bring an unprecedented number of authors of teen books to Barnes & Noble stores to engage their fans across the country.”
 
The three-day B-Fest teen book festival will feature four cornerstone events that will take place at all stores, in addition to a massive schedule of author appearances nationally, and other events that will occur at the local level. Following are the events happening at all stores:
 
B-In the Know – Friday, June 10 at 7PM
Teens can be a part of an exciting Trivia Blast based on leading teen book properties, hosted by Barnes & Noble and created by Penguin Teen and Random House’s First In Line. One winner in every store will receive advance reader’s copies of the most anticipated new teen books.
 
Felicia Frazier, Senior Vice President, Director, Young Readers Sales, Penguin Random House, said, “Penguin Random House really looks forward to participating in Barnes & Noble’s first-ever teen-book fest. B-Fest is a great way for us to reach teens across the country, and our authors who are attending B&N in-store events are excited about the opportunity to greet their fans.”
 
In addition, attendees at the B-In the Know event will receive a free B-Fest Guide from Penguin Random House containing everything they need to know about the hottest trends in teen books. The guide includes sneak peeks into bestselling authors’ habits, hopes, homes and hobbies, as well as never-before-seen content for upcoming books. It’s available while supplies last so B-there early!
 
B-First – Saturday, June 11 at 11AM
There’s nothing more exciting than being the first to get the inside scoop, and any teens who visit Barnes & Noble during B-Fest will get just that on the fascinating world of teen books. During the “B-First” event at Barnes & Noble, customers can get chapter samplers of upcoming book releases, while supplies last, as well as other exclusive content including a very special cover reveal that attendees will not want to miss. Teens at the B-First event will also receive a free ‘Epic Reads’ festival brochure provided by HarperCollins, while supplies last, that includes specially curated content like sneak peeks of upcoming books and fun quizzes, crosswords and more.
 
B-Part of the Fun – Saturday June 11 at 2PM
Barnes & Noble stores have always been places where communities come together in the spirit of learning and fun, and B-Fest will be no different. The “B-Part of the Fun” event will feature interactive games and activities around popular teen book series, with giveaways and prizes based on these leading properties. Games and activities will include a spelling showdown, story ball, and many other activities like scavenger hunts and charades. Fun prizes for the winners include tote bags, notebooks and more. Cosplay is also encouraged, including an Instagram sweeps, for those 13 and older, that runs throughout the weekend where a teen/young adult-inspired cosplay pic posted with the hashtag #BFestBuzz will be chosen at random to win a prize pack of 50 teen hardcover books from HarperCollins Publishers Children's Books.  Check Instagram.com/barnesandnoblefor complete details and Official Rules after June 9.
 
B-Creative – Sunday June 12 at 2PM
Teens have always been big readers, but they also love to write. That’s why B-Fest will feature the “B-Creative” event, where teens can participate in a story development workshop created by Adaptive Studios, a pioneering new company that transforms pending movie scripts into re-imagined novels that ultimately make it to the big screen. Teens will learn how to write “log lines,” “spark pages” and tips for reimagining popular characters. They can also share their writing with peers if they choose to.
 
B-There (Check with your local Barnes & Noble store)
Barnes & Noble has long been the destination for customers to meet their favorite authors, but B-Fest takes that promise to an unprecedented new level. During B-Fest, hundreds of authors of teen books will appear at stores nationwide in what will be the largest-ever weekend of author events in Barnes & Noble history. Authors will include big names like Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes), Brandon Sanderson (Calamity) and Jazz Jennings (Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen) with more being booked every day. Customers can visit the Barnes & Noble Store Locator (www.bn.com/storelocator) for the latest details on who’s appearing at their local store.
 
Barnes & Noble will be announcing more events, exciting author appearances and signings, giveaways and exclusive content in the coming weeks. For more information on B-Fest, customers should visit BN.com/B-FESTor ask one of the knowledgeable booksellers at their local Barnes & Noble store.
 
Teens should follow Barnes & Noble on TwitterInstagramTumblr and like Barnes & Noble on Facebook for the very latest information on B-Fest, and join in on the conversation using the hashtag, #BFestBuzz. All throughout B-Fest weekend Barnes & Noble will be running social media sweepstakes* with fantastic prizes. Stay tuned toTwitterInstagram, and Facebook in the coming weeks for more details and Official Rules.
 
* Must be 13 years of age or older at time of entry and a resident of the U.S. to participate in Sweepstakes.   
 
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is a Fortune 500 company, the nation’s largest retail bookseller, and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products.  The Company operates 640 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s premier e-commerce sites, BN.com (www.bn.com).  The Nook Digital business offers a lineup of popular NOOK® tablets and eReaders and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store®. The NOOK Store features more than 4 million digital books in the US (www.nook.com), plus periodicals and comics, and offers the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through Free NOOK Reading Apps™ available for Android™, iOS® and Windows®.

Two Free Buzz Books Offer 60 Excerpts from Top To-Be-Published Fall/Winter Titles

NEW YORK, May 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Buzz Books have predicted which books will land on bestseller and critics' lists for five years. For the ninth time, Publishers Lunch presents excerpts from 60 of the most buzzed-about books scheduled for publication this fall and winter in two exclusive, free new ebooks, BUZZ BOOKS 2016: Fall/Winter and BUZZ BOOKS 2016: Young Adult Fall/Winter.

Be the first to read excerpts from major authors like Christina Baker Kline, Amor Towles, T.C. Boyle, Ann Patchett, Maria Semple, Marisa Silver, and Andrew Gross. Discover gripping work by debut authors tipped to be literary stars, including Helen Sedgwick, Elan Mastai, Emily Fridlund, Thomas Hill, andStephanie Gangi.

Memoirs and nonfiction include new books from bestselling author Elizabeth Lesser, New Yorker writerLauren Collins, child star Mara Wilson, and renowned neurogeneticist Dr. Sharon Moalem.

The fifth edition of Buzz Books: Young Adult includes pre-publication excerpts from 20 forthcoming young adult and middle grade books. The YA titles previewed in Buzz Books cover a wide range of genres—fantasy, humor, romance, and dystopian—and include works for tweens and middle-grade readers. 

Two New York Times bestselling authors share inventive new work. Melissa de la Cruz's Something in Between launches Seventeen Fiction from Harlequin Teen, a collaboration with Seventeen magazine, while Lauren Oliver's Replica is a "flip book" that contains two narratives in one. Read titles by award-winners David Arnold, Kendare Blake, and Sharon Cameron, along with the first book in four new series.

Start reading to see why reviewers rave with comments like: 
"Buzz Books is a helpful tool for those who love to read but have little time to search out reviews and recommendations of the latest offerings. Much like trailers for upcoming films, Buzz Books whets your taste buds for your next read. Each edition gives you summaries, excerpts, and author biographies that make choosing your next book an easy pleasure."

BUZZ BOOKS are offered free. The consumer edition is available in the U.S. and Canada on all major ebook platforms, including Amazon, iBook Store, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo. The trade editions—at PublishersMarketplace.com and NetGalley—feature extensive trade information for each title.

SOURCE PUBLISHERS MARKETPLACE

Most Popular Shakespeare App Celebrates 400th Anniversary

SAN FRANCISCO, April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- April 23, 2016 will mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death and Shakespeare theatres all over the world will be celebrating this momentous occasion in many ways. PlayShakespeare.com will join that global event.

Back when the Shakespeare app was created in July 2008 and went live on the Apple App Store right after the store was launched, it was the only Shakespeare app available. It was a breakthrough in combining technology with liberal arts and literature. Carrying around large tomes of the Complete Works of Shakespeare was no longer necessary. Quality editions of all of Shakespeare's writings from PlayShakespeare.com were now in a portable and searchable format in your pocket.

In 2009, PlayShakespeare.com co-organized with Apple a special reading of Macbeth at the Apple Store in San Francisco. Professional actors did a reading off their iPhones before an ecstatic live audience, the first time the marriage of performance and portable technology had ever happened.

Since that time, the Shakespeare Pro app has grown to become the must-have app for students, teachers, actors, directors, theatre professionals and aficionados. With over 8 million downloads, it has a worldwide reach. The app currently includes Shakespeare's entire First Folio (in original spelling), the industry standard Shakespeare's Words glossary (by David and Ben Crystal), note-taking with shareable notebooks, power search to find the exact phrase you're looking for, and BardFind™ to locate any Shakespeare theatre or venue anywhere in the world.

Priced at $9.99, the app is less expensive than a printed complete works edition, and even more cost effective when you consider the added price of the Shakespeare's Words glossary, a First Folio facsimile, and the wealth of other information in the app. Also included in the Shakespeare Passport (www.shakespearepassport.com), the best way to get freebies and discounts at participating Shakespeare venues and events all over the world.

Normally $9.99, for 24 hours the Apple iOS app will be only $.99 to celebrate the anniversary. The Android app is free.

Apple iOS: http://bit.ly/shakesproapp 
Android OS: http://bit.ly/shakesandroid

About PlayShakespeare.com  
PlayShakespeare.com creates smart apps for literary and theatre lovers, including the Soliloquy app (http://bit.ly/soliloquypro). The PlayShakespeare.com website is the ultimate free Shakespeare resource with news, reviews, discussion forum, and more.

SOURCE PlayShakespeare.com

One Million Books Sold in The Iron Fey Series by New York Times Bestselling Author Julie Kagawa

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

NEW YORK, April 4, 2016 /CNW/ -- Harlequin TEEN™ announced today that New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author Julie Kagawa's The Iron Fey series has reached the one-million mark in copies sold in North America along with achieving multiple national bestseller placements.

The internationally bestselling The Iron Fey series consists of seven books (The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, The Iron Knight, The Lost Prince, The Iron Traitor and the newly released The Iron Warrior) and three novellas ("Winter's Passage," "Summer's Crossing" and "Iron's Prophecy," collected in The Iron Legends anthology). The Iron Fey series has been published in more than 20 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, France and Germany.

"The first sentence on the first page of The Iron King captured my imagination and drew me into The Iron King captured my imagination and drew me into a world where faeries were real and anything could happen," said Natashya Wilson, Executive Editor of Harlequin TEEN. "As I read that original manuscript, my hands were shaking and I knew, I just knew, I had received something incredibly special. Watching The Iron Fey come to life and grow has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career, and I have been honored and privileged to work with Julie on this unforgettable series."

The Iron Fey series follows Meghan Chase, a young half-human, half-faery girl as she fights to claim her magical birthright after her half-brother, Ethan, is abducted. Rescuing Ethan draws her into the Nevernever—the magical world—where the never-before-seen Iron fey are raining destruction upon traditional faeries. As their adventures unfold, Meghan's quest and Ethan's survival are fraught with unimagined dangers, unpredictable powers and undreamed-of consequences.

In The Iron Warrior, the unforgettable and epic conclusion to the beloved series, the Veil separating the world of Faery and the human world is torn away and the belief and glamour it produces flows into the forgotten faery queen, who has grown strong once more. Now she and her followers threaten the courts and all of Faery—and the Summer and Winter courts prepare for a war that will divide family and unite old friends once more. For more about The Iron Fey series, visit juliekagawa.com/iron-fey.

"It's incredibly exciting," said Kagawa. "Back when I first started The Iron King, I was just an unknown writer who wanted to be published.  I had no idea what would happen, how the series would unfold and evolve into this massive thing with its own history, characters, and backstory.  And here we are, one million books later, and the world of the Iron Fey has grown beyond all my expectations."

About Harlequin TEEN
Harlequin TEEN™ is the home of critically acclaimed, award-winning, commercial young-adult fiction from bestselling established authors and fresh new voices. The program publishes a variety of genres, including contemporary, fantasy, dystopian, paranormal, historical, romance and horror, and it releases one to three original novels each month. Launched in 2009, Harlequin TEEN is dedicated to publishing authentic, compelling fiction that will resonate with readers and be remembered long after the covers are closed. Harlequin TEEN is an imprint of Harlequin—a division of HarperCollins Publishers—which has offices in 14 countries and publishes in as many as 34 languages and 102 international markets.

About Julie Kagawa
Julie Kagawa is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the award-winning The Iron Fey series, the Blood of Eden trilogy and the Talon saga. Born in Sacramento, California, she moved to Hawaii at the age of nine. Julie now lives near Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and a plethora of pets. For more information on Julie visit juliekagawa.com.

About Harlequin
Harlequin (Harlequin.com) is one of the world's leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in as many as 34 languages and sold in up to 102 international markets. The company publishes more than 110 titles monthly and more than 1,300 authors from around the world. Harlequin is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, itself a subsidiary of News Corp, and one of the largest consumer book publishers in the world. Harlequin has offices in 14 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information, please visit Harlequin.com and Facebook.com/HarlequinBooks. Follow Harlequin on Twitter: @HarlequinBooks.

SOURCE Harlequin TEEN

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Coloring Book Shows There's No Age Limit When It Comes to Girl Power

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

SILVER SPRING, Md., March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Tom F. O'Leary's recent release, The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Coloring Book: A Tribute to the Always Colorful and Often Inspiring Life of the Supreme Court Justice Known as RBG, is an homage to Ginsburg's surprising ascendency to pop culture stardom. According to O'Leary, Ginsburg "has really put a g-is-for-geriatric into girl power, and I wanted to capture some of that in my coloring pages." Unlike the youthful queen bees, riot grrrls, and Manga heroines who have been the usual darlings of contemporary pop feminism and postfeminism, Ginsburg is 83 years old.

The coloring book, which is suitable for adults and kids alike, highlights many of Ginsburg's achievements during her life so far, both as a private woman and as a public champion of women's civil rights. Facing each coloring page is a description of the accomplishment, biographical event, or personality trait depicted.

O'Leary says that when he was creating The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Coloring Book, he aimed to capture the same quirky spirit that the judge herself often displays. "Although publicly Ginsburg absolutely embodies the sober and respectable attitudes and behaviors we expect from a Supreme Court Justice," he says, "her fancy lace jabots, tongue-in-cheek admission of public intoxication, and revelation of potentially embarrassing personal details have all humanized her, and in my opinion are exactly the reason we find her so accessible as a pop culture icon."

Among the coloring pages are illustrations representing:

  • Ginsburg's notoriously scathing judicial dissents while serving on the Supreme Court
  • her championing of female reproductive rights in the 1960s and 1970s
  • her embrace of President Obama after his first speech to Congress in 2009
  • her 56-year love affair with her husband Marty
  • her dozing during Obama's 2015 State of the Union address
  • her performance in full costume as an extra in an opera
  • her poor driving and cooking skills

The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Coloring Book was recently listed by Newsweek as one of "7 Ways to Admire Ruth Bader Ginsburg While Awaiting Her Book Release."

Ginsburg enthusiasts can preview the book and download a free, printable coloring page sample or from the publisher's website. Online shoppers can buy the book on Amazon.

About the Author

Tom F. O'Leary is a coloring book artist and illustrator from the Washington, D.C.-area. His other recent works include the Trump 2016 Off-Coloring Book featured on CNN and Hillary Says! An Off-Color Hillary Clinton Coloring Book.

About Gumdrop Press

Gumdrop Press is a small indie press located in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

From humor and pop culture to hobbies, arts and crafts, we publish unique works that you won't find anywhere else.

Batman v Superman: Who's the More Powerful Comic Book Investment?

NEW YORK, March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Batman and Superman are currently locked in a heated popularity contest, driven by the much-anticipated movie, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. But while fans debate the merits of each superhero, comic collectors are asking: who's the shrewder investment?

After all, both wildly popular characters got their start in comic books. Superman burst on the scene in 1938 in Action Comics #1. Batman debuted in 1939 in Detective Comics #27.

That timing is key, says Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of Metropolis Collectibles, www.metropoliscomics.com, the world's largest vintage comic book dealership, and www.comicconnect.com, its online auction site.

"Superman is the world's first comic book superhero," notes Zurzolo. "He influenced all who followed, including Batman."

"Comics featuring a character's first appearance are typically the most valuable. For these reasons, I believe that Action Comics #1 will always be the gold standard."

In the last decade, four high-grade copies of Action Comics #1 have sold for over $1 million—all through Zurzolo's company, which has the Guinness World Records to prove it. The highest book sold for an unprecedented $3.2 million (which Zurzolo purchased). In contrast, only one Detective Comics #27 has broken the seven figure threshold, and just barely.    

So is Batman a weak comic book investment? By no means, says Zurzolo, noting, "If a high-grade copy of Detective Comics #27 came on the market today, it would perform very well."

In fact, when it comes to compelling supervillains, Batman overpowers Superman, and that also impacts comic book values.

"The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, Two Face…Batman has a deep bench of great villains," says Stephen Fishler, CEO of Metropolis ComicConnect and Zurzolo's business partner.

"But name one well-known Superman villain besides Lex Luthor," challenges Fishler, who created the 10-point grading scale that is now the gold standard. "Most people can't."

So, at the end of the day, which character should aspiring comic book collectors choose?

"My rule of thumb is to collect what you love, so pick the character that appeals to you," advises Zurzolo. "Or collect both. Just do your homework. Make sure you're buying from a reputable seller, paying fair prices, and most of all, having fun."

SOURCE ComicConnect.com

Barnes & Noble Stores Nationwide Celebrate Batman v Superman Day on Saturday, March 19

New York, New York – March 8, 2016 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, is celebrating Batman v Superman Day at its stores nationwide on Saturday, March 19, in honor of the upcoming release of the major motion picture Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Friday, March 25). Batman v Superman Day will feature fun themed activities, including a trivia event happening exclusively at Barnes & Noble on March 19, and free giveaways including a special edition of the SUPERMAN/BATMAN Vol 1 comic book while supplies last.
 
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Trivia Event for teens and adults, sponsored by DC Entertainment™, will begin at all Barnes & Noble stores nationwide at 7 p.m., and feature trivia stations dedicated to characters from Batman v Superman including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. In addition to getting the opportunity to test their knowledge on all things Batman v Superman, customers in attendance can also enter for a chance to win one of three posters featuring images from the movie.
 
Select other activities for customers of all ages will also take place at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide on March 19 during Batman v Superman Day. Events could include a DC Comics™ Cosplay Showcase in which customers are encouraged to show up dressed in costume, DC Comics Storytimes featuring popular DC Comics titles like DC Super Heroes Storybook Collection and Batman Classic: 5-Minute Batman Stories, plus much more. Customers should contact their local store or visit the Store Locator (www.bn.com/storelocator) to find out what activities will take place.  
 
Giveaways will also be available at Barnes & Noble stores during Batman v Superman Day, while supplies last, including a special edition of the SUPERMAN/BATMAN Vol. 1 comic book by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, paper masks in the likeness of Robin, Harley Quinn, Batgirl and more, a Justice League of America poster, and aBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice bookmark.
 
For more information on Batman v Superman Day, customers should visit www.bn.com/batmanvsuperman or contact their local store.
 
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is a Fortune 500 company, the nation’s largest retail bookseller, and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products.  The Company operates 640 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s premier e-commerce sites, BN.com (www.bn.com).  The Nook Digital business offers a lineup of popular NOOK® tablets and eReaders and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store®. The NOOK Store features more than 4 million digital books in the US (www.nook.com), plus periodicals and comics, and offers the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through Free NOOK Reading Apps™ available for Android™, iOS® and Windows®.

LeVar Burton Brings The New Reading Rainbow To Today's Classrooms With The Launch Of Skybrary School

LOS ANGELES, March 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- LeVar Burton's RRKidz, Inc., home of the beloved children's brand, Reading Rainbow® releases a new educational digital library especially for early elementary school students and their educators. Delivering on the promise made in its record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, the company introduces Reading Rainbow Skybrary® School as an effective tool to close the reading gap among children in this country, and to deliver a single platform of resources that helps develop life-long learners everywhere.

Skybrary School offers a rich multimedia resource filled with close to 1,000 fiction and non-fiction books, newly produced video field trips hosted by LeVar Burton, and standards aligned themed lesson plans developed by educational specialists specifically for Skybrary School. This Netflix-like learning service is based on Reading Rainbow's award-winning Skybrary Family digital library, yet features a powerful new teacher dashboard, Common Core aligned content and easy to use management tools.

"Teachers devote their lives to giving students the tools needed to succeed in reading and we want to make sure we are doing the same for them," said LeVar Burton. "With Reading Rainbow's Skybrary Family and now Skybrary School, we are offering a comprehensive solution to assist both educators and parents in providing engaging and relevant content to develop children's literacy and learning skills."

Working with acclaimed publishers such as National Geographic, Britannica, and Teacher Created Materials, Skybrary School's digital collection of children's literature enables students to discover books that meet their interests and reading level. Each book supports emerging to fluent readers by offering audio narration from acclaimed professional actors under Burton's personal supervision, bringing the stories to life in the true Reading Rainbow tradition.

In addition, the service features over 200 educational video field trips hosted by Burton. Here, students join Burton at exciting destinations such as inside The White House, peeking inside the Mars Rover at NASA, all the way to Israel, behind the scenes at Cirque Du Soleil, and in the Grand Canyon. These newly produced videos connect the stories students read with real life experiences, and introduce them to the world in a way that only Burton and Reading Rainbow can.

Skybrary School further extends the learning with 40 standards aligned, themed lesson plans inspired by the books and videos in the library. The supplemental lessons enhance any instructional program with flexible online and offline activities. For example, "Big Thinker Questions" that follow each book are open-ended, allowing students to respond with their interpretation of the content or to discuss differing points of view. The program's blended learning approach builds student's knowledge and develops their vocabulary, comprehension, critical thinking and writing skills.

Skybrary School is available as an easy-to-use web-based subscription service with on demand access to read and learn anytime, anywhere. The added bonus of serving as the ideal school-to-home platform enables parents, siblings, or friends to join in the experience. In addition, the library grows with exciting new books and videos added to the service every week.

Thanks to the legions of fans that contributed to the Kickstarter campaign, RRKidz, Inc. is giving Skybrary School to 10,000 classrooms nationwide for free.

"For more than three decades, LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow have encouraged a passion for reading and provided opportunities for children to engage their curiosity," said Mark Wolfe, RRKidz, Inc. co-founder and CEO. "In 2012 we brought the same trusted curation of children's content to the digital generation with Skybrary Family, and since then more than 35 million books and videos have been enjoyed by kids. With Skybrary School, we are offering educators, home school parents and after-school programs our service tailored just for them."

For additional information on Skybrary School and Reading Rainbow, please visit www.ReadingRainbow.com.

About RRKidz, Inc. and Reading Rainbow®
The multi-award-winning Reading Rainbow® children's launched in 1983 to encourage kids to read, by bringing books to the television screen. Over the next 26 years, actor/director LeVar Burton (also known for iconic TV roles as Kunta Kinte on "Roots" and Geordi La Forge on "Star Trek: The Next Generation) hosted all 155 episodes, inspired millions of people to love reading, and dedicated his life to promoting literacy and the love of learning in children everywhere.

In 2012, RRKidz, Inc. reimagined the iconic brand for today's digital families and launched the enormously successful Reading Rainbow App. RRKidz, Inc. has since launched numerous enriching products to children and their parents, including LeVar's first children's book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. The mission of RRKidz, Inc. is to instill a passion for learning in "Every Child, Everywhere"- at home and in the classroom. Reading Rainbow® and its logo are registered trademarks of Western New York Public Broadcasting Association (WNED-Buffalo) and used with permission. ©2015 RRKidz, Inc.

SOURCE RRKidz

Scholastic Reading Club and We Need Diverse Books™ Announce Eight New Jointly-Curated Special Collections of Diverse Books for the 2016-17 School Year

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Feb. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Scholastic and the non-profit organization, We Need Diverse Books™, today announced the expansion of their collaboration to bring more books by diverse authors and featuring diverse characters into schools nationwide. For the 2016-17 school year,Scholastic Reading Club and We Need Diverse Books™ will collaborate on eight flyers to be distributed in classrooms with students ranging in age from toddler to teen. These offers will elevate stories by and about people from traditionally underrepresented communities. The original special edition collection, launched in Fall 2015, remains available along with the diverse titles and authors featured in all Scholastic Reading Club flyers, at: www.scholastic.com/readingclub.

Featuring award-winning titles, beloved classics, and new releases, these special edition Scholastic Reading Club flyers will reach millions of students during the 2016-17 school year. The collection will showcase a wide variety of titles representing many types of diversity, including race and ethnicity, religion, LGBTQ, disabled characters, and more.

"We are pleased that the range of titles and authors in our first flyer curated with We Need Diverse Books is resonating with the diverse population of young readers served by Scholastic Reading Club through schools nationwide," said Judy Newman, President, EVP, Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company. "We are delighted to expand this collaboration and continue to help our young readers understand and appreciate people, cultures and experiences, alike and different from their own."

"We are thrilled with the positive response to our Fall flyer, created in partnership with We Need Diverse Books and are excited for the opportunity to expand this effort. We continue to be committed to our goal of reflecting the world as it is by sharing stories and experiences as diverse as the readers we reach," said Ann Marie Wong, Editorial Director, Scholastic Reading Club. "At Scholastic Reading Club, we want every child to find that just right book. We believe that our collaboration with We Need Diverse Books™ helps more kids do just that as they discover the joy and power of reading."

"After the overwhelmingly positive response from teachers, parents and kids, We Need Diverse Books is delighted to continue our partnership with Scholastic Reading Club. Together, we'll be able to broaden the breadth and scope of the books we're putting into the hands of children, presenting them with both the necessary windows and mirrors through which they explore the world." -- Dhonielle Clayton, COO and Sr VP of Librarian Services for We Need Diverse Books

For more information about http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/ScholasticReadingClub.

About We Need Diverse Books™

We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization of children's book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. For more information, visit http://weneeddiversebooks.org/

For more information about Scholastic, visit: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com 

SOURCE Scholastic Inc.

Weinberg Foundation Set to Launch Annual Book Drive Benefitting Baltimore Library Project

BALTIMORE, Feb. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States, tomorrow will launch its 5thannual community-wide Book Drive in support of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project.

Just $7 will buy a brand new, hardcover book for one of the Baltimore City Public Schools libraries that will be renovated this year as part of the Library Project. Donations will be accepted online throughout the month of March.

Book collection bins will also be available at select Baltimore businesses, organizations, and schools.  Individuals may simply place new, hardcover children's books inside the marked bins. In addition, several local employers are hosting a "dress down day" for books—an opportunity for staff members to dress casually in exchange for a new, hardcover children's book or monetary donation. Other organizations are invited to host a "dress down day" as well, or create their own way of engaging with employees to support the Book Drive.

"Numerous studies document the importance of childhood literacy for future academic success," saidEllen M. Heller, Weinberg Foundation Board Chair. "A well-equipped, well-staffed, well-resourced school library can significantly override the negative impact poverty has on a student's academic achievement." Heller added, "We hope every person who knows the joy of reading will take this opportunity to pass along that gift. Each donation, each new book, is an investment in a child's learning and literacy."

As in years past, existing Library Project schools will also participate in the Penny Challenge. This is an opportunity for students who have already received a renovated school library to pay-it-forward by donating their pennies. These donations will be used to purchase additional books for this year's new libraries: Hampden Elementary/Middle School and George Washington Elementary School.

The Weinberg Foundation has committed $10 million to build or transform up to 24 Baltimore City Public Schools libraries in an effort to strengthen academic achievement among students. To date, the Weinberg Foundation and its more than 40 partners have completed 11 of these bright, new spaces.

To learn more about the Library Project Book Drive, and to donate, visit www.baltimorelibraryproject.org. You can also follow #libraryproject on Facebook and Twitter for all of the latest updates.

About The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, provides approximately $100 million in annual grants to nonprofits that provide direct services to low-income and vulnerable individuals and families, primarily in the US and Israel. Grants are focused on meeting basic needs and enhancing an individual's ability to meet those needs with emphasis on older adults, the Jewish community, and our hometown communities of Maryland,Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Hawaii. The trustees, some of whom also serve as executive officers of the Foundation, are Donn Weinberg, Barry Schloss, Robert T. Kelly, Jr., Alvin Awaya, and Board ChairEllen M. Heller. Rachel Garbow Monroe serves as the Weinberg Foundation's President and Chief Executive Officer. For more information please visit www.hjweinbergfoundation.org.   

SOURCE The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

Major Publishers Contribute Thousands of Titles to Benefit Students In Need

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Open eBooks, a new initiative and e-reader app that will make thousands of popular, top-selling eBooks available to children in need for free. First Lady Michelle Obama just released a video  raising awareness of the new opportunity for children. The initiative is designed to address the challenge of providing digital reading materials to children living in low-income households, and offers unprecedented access to quality digital content, including a catalog of eBooks valued at more than $250 million.

President Obama announced a nongovernmental eBooks effort in support of the ConnectED Initiative at the April 30 Kids Town Hall held by the White House at the Anacostia Branch of the District of Columbia Public Library. ConnectED is multi-pronged effort designed to provide all youth with access to high-quality digital learning tools. Since it launched, over 20 million more students have been connected to high-speed broadband in their schools and libraries and millions more are taking advantage of its free private sector resources. Open eBooks complements the new digital infrastructure to provide an opportunity for kids in need to have a world-class eLibrary in their homes.

A coalition of literacy, library, publishing and technology partners joined together to make the Open eBooks program possible. The initiative's partners -- Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), First Book, and The New York Public Library (NYPL), with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor -- created the app, curated the eBook collection, and developed a system for distribution and use. They received financial support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and content contributions from major publishers. National Geographic announced today that they will provide all of their age-appropriate content to the app, joining publishers Bloomsbury, Candlewick, Cricket Media, Hachette, HarperCollins, Lee & Low, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster, who made commitments providing thousands of popular and award-winning titles last year.

The books in the Open eBooks collection were selected by the DPLA Curation Corps, which was established to ensure a diverse, compelling, and appropriately targeted set of thousands of titles—something from which every child could read, enjoy, and learn. The Curation Corps was selected through a competitive process from a pool of more than 140 applicants from across the country, and they bring their extensive experience helping children select titles in school and public libraries.

Adults who work with children in need through libraries, schools, shelters and clinics, out-of-school programs, military family services, early childhood programs and other capacities can qualify for Open eBooks credentials by first signing up with First Book and then requesting Open eBooks access for the children they serve. Students can download the free Open eBooks app to their individual devices from the App Store or Google Play and enter their access code to start enjoying Open eBooks.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this fantastic initiative that will bridge a major gap in our society and help all children discover a love of reading," said Dan Cohen, DPLA's executive director. "Maximizing access to our culture has been the Digital Public Library of America's goal from its inception, and we are so delighted to join together with such great partners to make eBooks much more widely available."

"The Open eBooks initiative recognizes the critical need for books -- in all forms -- among children growing up in families in need," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "We're proud to support this ground-breaking effort to put high quality digital content into the hands of those who need it most, and to welcome the teachers and program leaders seeking access to these resources into the largest national network of educators serving kids in need."

"The New York Public Library is proud to work with these partners on the Open eBooks initiative, in support of the White House's ConnectED initiative that is perfectly aligned with NYPL's mission to provide free and open access to information, education, and opportunity," said Tony Marx, president and CEO of The New York Public Library.

"This program is the result of an extraordinary public-private partnership, which could not have been made possible without the support of many committed partners, particularly those in our libraries who really stepped forward to help move this vision into reality," said IMLS Director Kathryn K. Matthew. "Digital books open new doors to learning opportunities for students and can underpin brighter educational futures. IMLS is very proud to be a part of this unique initiative."

"We hope that by donating our technology to this innovative program, we help expand access to information and create new reading opportunities for school-age children throughout America," saidGeorge Coe, president and CEO of Baker & Taylor.

In the future, the partners will expand the initiative by adding to the collection with new and enhanced content from publishers and public domain titles; broadening the network of Title I schools, preschools, libraries, and other programs; incorporating new features into the app; and researching and sharing the effort's impact and best practices.

Access and Equality
The Open eBooks initiative is a significant step toward more equitable digital access for all U.S. residents, addressing the need for free, quality digital content for children in pre-kindergarten through high school. Specifically targeting youth in need, Open eBooks aims to ensure that any device can be enjoyed as a tool to deepen a child's love of reading.

While Internet access and device availability remain major hurdles in closing the digital divide, a recent study funded by the Gates Foundation and published by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center finds85% of families below the poverty line have a mobile device (tablet or smartphone) in surveyed households with children aged 6 to 13.  Additionally, a growing number of students can access and borrow electronic reading devices, and connect to the Internet at school and local public libraries. Open eBooks is designed to complement the Wi-Fi, computer, and physical book offerings of public libraries and school libraries, and serve as a gateway to more reading.

The Open eBooks Collection
The catalog of content in the Open eBooks initiative includes contributions of the most exciting, top-selling titles from publishers. Using Open eBooks, children will be able to build their own virtual collection of favorites and access single titles. The major publishers have committed to make thousands of popular and award-winning titles available to students over a three-year period include: Bloomsbury, Candlewick, Cricket Media, Hachette, HarperCollins, Lee & Low, Macmillan, National Geographic Kids, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster.

Snapshot of the Open eBooks initiative
Each partner has made, and will continue to make, a unique contribution to the success of this initiative:

  • The app: The New York Public Library developed the app that allows users to easily access the full text and illustrations of thousands of titles generously contributed by publishers.
  • The distribution services: Baker & Taylor provided support with publisher relations, content management and the digital distribution technology.
  • The eBook collection: The Digital Public Library of America recruited and enlisted a team of expert librarians to curate the collection to ensure a diverse, compelling, and appropriately targeted set of thousands of titles—something for every child at any age and reading level to read, learn from, and enjoy.
  • Reaching the children: First Book, a non-profit social enterprise that provides books and educational resources to classrooms and programs serving kids in need, will tap into its network of more than 225,000 schools and programs to reach children in Title I schools, Head Start programs, military families, after school or community programs, and others serving low-income families.

Qualifications
The Open eBooks app is available through Title I and Title I-eligible schools as well as libraries, preschools, and community after school programs serving a minimum of 70 percent children in need. The program will also be available through schools and programs serving children whose families are enlisted in the armed forces, or serving special needs children.

How do programs and classrooms get started? 
The Open eBooks initiative site, at www.openebooks.net, has full program instructions, including Frequently Asked Questions and links to program registration. From there, qualifying educators, librarians, community program directors, and others working with low-income children and youth must register their organization with First Book. Next, users will request a code and PIN combination for every student they serve or device available, and they should indicate the student's grade level from one of three categories: elementary, middle or high school. Qualifying educators will be able to obtain enough codes to cover all of the students that they serve. Codes will correspond to Open eBooks Elementary Collection (for PreK - Grade 4), Open eBooks Middle School Collection (for Grades 5 - 8), Open eBooks High School Collection (for Grades 9 - 12). An All Ages code will also be available.

The registrant will receive a confirmation email with the codes and a letter for families and caregivers with instructions on how to download the Open eBooks app and input the code and PIN combination for their child. The app requires a device with an iOS 8.0 or later operating system or Android equivalent. 

The Open eBooks app allows users to instantly borrow up to 10 eBooks at a time to their digital device. Each borrowed eBook will be available for 56 days before it must be renewed, or the eBook will be automatically returned. Because of this automatic return process, there are no late fees or penalties for Open eBooks users. Students and their families can choose eBooks based on the topics that get them excited about reading and learning, and sort by reading level, grade level, or title. The app can be used anywhere with an Internet connection.

The First Book Help Team can be reached at help@firstbook.org or by phone at (866) 732-3669 (8am - 6pm EST).

Information and updates on the initiative will be shared on the Open eBooks website and on Facebookand Twitter.

About the Digital Public Library of America  
Launched in April 2013, the Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America's libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. Connecting digital collections of a growing network of the nation's libraries, archives, and museums, the DPLA provides access to this collection, free to all, through its website and API. Learn more about the DPLA by watching this brief video or by visiting their website at http://dp.la.

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New Yorkand beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx,Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources atnypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support

About First Book
First Book is a non-profit social enterprise that has distributed more than 135 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. By making new, high-quality books and educational resources available on an ongoing basis to its network of educators and program leaders, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook or Twitter. 

About Baker & Taylor
Baker & Taylor, LLC is the premier worldwide distributor of books, digital content and entertainment products. The company offers cutting-edge digital media services and innovative technology platforms to thousands of publishers, libraries, schools and retailers worldwide. Baker & Taylor also offers industry-leading customized library services and retail merchandising solutions. Charlotte, N.C.-based Baker & Taylor is majority owned by Castle Harlan Partners IV, L.P., an institutional private equity fund managed by Castle Harlan, Inc., a leading private equity investment firm. For more information, please visitwww.baker-taylor.com.

The Open eBooks team is proud to support President Obama's ConnectED Initiative. Learn more at www.wh.gov/ConnectED.

SOURCE Baker & Taylor

BookFuel launches FundMyBook.com as a crowdfunding source for authors

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

DENVER, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- BookFuel provides professional self-publishing services to aspiring authors, announces the launch of FundMyBook.com to help authors publish with the help of sponsorships and other support by friends and family. FundMyBook.com provides a viable option to any writer who may have been intimidated by the effort required by other crowdsourcing sites or the expense of self-publishing.

Authors participating in FundMyBook.com should have a goal of raising a minimum of $5,000. This covers not only the cost of publishing their book through BookFuel, but also the fulfillment of the finished book or other rewards, which the backers choose. BookFuel offers extra support by promoting their authors' campaigns through BookFuel's own social media channels – something other crowdfunders do not offer.

"This is giving authors who want to professionally self-publish their material another option they didn't have before," said Bill Van Orsdel of BookFuel. "There are stories out there that deserve to be told and shared, and we're helping authors do that with the involvement of the people in their lives who most want to help make that happen."

While other crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow authors to crowdfund their projects through separate publishing and writing sections, these sections are included in a plethora of other categories, making it difficult for writing projects to stand out. These other crowdfunding sources also don't provide the social media exposure or the help planning for the costs of the reward fulfillment that FundMyBook.com does for aspiring authors.

Van Orsdel explained that the idea for FundMyBook.com came about as a result of seeing authors struggle to cover the costs of self-publishing, which can typically amount to thousands of dollars when professional services such as cover design, editing, printing, distribution and marketing are taken into account. Many self-publishing companies also take a percentage of every book sold, which needlessly reduces the author's income.

Authors who use FundMyBook.com are charged a 5% platform fee if they apply their funds to publishing through BookFuel. If they decide to take the money raised and use it elsewhere, there is a 10% service fee. Any author who uses BookFuel, whether they use FundMyBook.com or not, keeps 100% of their rights and royalties for every book sold.

"We wanted to make self-publishing even easier and more accessible to a greater number of people," stressed Van Orsdel. "This furthers our mantra of eliminating the gate-keeper mentality pervasive in the publishing industry and giving authors the tools and resources they need to be in control of the work they are passionate about."

About BookFuel
BookFuel was founded in 2011 to offer aspiring authors a self-publishing alternative that would allow them to keep all of the rights and royalties for every book they sell. The company's subscription model delivers all of the services authors need to help them reach their publishing goals. BookFuel launched FundMyBook.com in 2016 to help authors crowdfund the cost of publishing their book.

SOURCE BookFuel

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II to be Published in Print by Scholastic in the United States and Canada at 12:01 a.m. on July 31, 2016

NEW YORK, Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, announced today that it will publish a script book based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II, a new play by Jack Thorne. The Special Rehearsal Edition of the script book will be published in print in the United States and Canada at 12:01 a.m. on July 31, 2016. Published in hardcover under Scholastic's Arthur A. Levine Books imprint, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth Harry Potter story, will be priced at $29.99 U.S. and $39.99 Canada. The script eBook will be published by Pottermore simultaneously with the print editions by Scholastic in the US and Canada, and Little, Brown Book Group in the UK.

In making the announcement, Ellie Berger, President of Scholastic Trade, said, "As the U.S. print publisher, Scholastic introduced Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World to American readers nearly 20 years ago and experienced firsthand the anticipation and excitement of the publication of each of the books over the years. We are thrilled to publish Harry Potter and the Cursed Child this summer."

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth Harry Potter story, and the first to officially be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London's West End on 30th July 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn't much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

The first seven Harry Potter stories, published by Scholastic in the U.S. between 1998 and 2007 have sold more than 160 million copies in the U.S., over 450 million copies worldwide, and are distributed in more than 200 territories, translated into 79 languages, and have been turned into eight blockbuster films.  

To learn more about the Harry Potter books, visit http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/harrypotter.

About J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series of seven books, published between 1997 and 2007, which have sold over 450 million copies worldwide, are distributed in more than 200 territories and translated into 79 languages, and have been turned into eight blockbuster films. 

She has written three companion volumes in aid of charity: Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in aid of Comic Relief; and The Tales of Beedle the Bard in aid of her children's charity Lumos. 

In 2012, J.K. Rowling's digital entertainment and e-commerce company Pottermore was launched, where fans can enjoy her new writing and immerse themselves deeper in the wizarding world.

Her first novel for adult readers, The Casual Vacancy, was published in September 2012 and adapted for TV by the BBC in 2015.  Her crime novels, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, were published in 2013 (The Cuckoo's Calling), 2014 (The Silkworm) and 2015 (Career of Evil), and are to be adapted for a major new television series for BBC One, produced by Brontë Film and Television. 

J.K. Rowling's 2008 Harvard commencement speech was published in 2015 as an illustrated book, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination, and sold in aid of her charity Lumos and university–wide financial aid at Harvard.

In addition to J.K. Rowling's collaboration on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II, an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, she is also making her screenwriting debut with the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a further extension of the wizarding world, due for release in November 2016. 

SOURCE Scholastic Corporation

MasterClass Provides Aspiring Writers A Once-In-A Lifetime Chance To Co-Author A Book With New York Times Bestselling Author James Patterson

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- MasterClass (masterclass.com), the premiere online education platform offering classes taught by the world's best, announced today a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to collaborate with acclaimed author James Patterson. Aspiring authors from around the country can compete for the chance to co-author a novel with the New York Times bestselling writer.

The idea was proposed by Patterson after seeing the quality of work students were submitting in his MasterClass. "There are a lot of people who have the talent, but haven't been shown the door to walk through. I've been surprised and impressed by the passion, devotion and talent of my students. They inspired me to want to help guide one of them through the publishing process. I'm looking forward to reading the submissions that are skillful, fast-paced and unpredictable," said Patterson.

Students can visit http://www.masterclass.com/jp to signup and enroll in James Patterson's writing class, where those who wish to enter the competition can submit an original book hook, story summary and a sample chapter. Each stage of the competition is designed to help writers learn how to craft and pitch their novel.  Students submit their initial submission through MasterClass' website. The initial submission period begins February 16, 2016 and ends Tuesday, March 22, 2016. The top 10 semi-finalists will be awarded $1,000 and, from there, 3 finalists will be awarded $2,500 and given the opportunity to write an outline for their idea. Patterson will select the winner by May 24, 2016 and offer to co-author a future book with them. See Official Rules for details. There is no additional fee after enrollment and submissions are limited to one per student.

In the past year, MasterClass launched a series of popular courses, including those taught by Patterson (writing), Dustin Hoffman (acting), Serena Williams (tennis), and Usher (performance). Each of these classes make it possible for anyone to learn directly from the world's best.

"The goal of MasterClass is to educate and inspire people around the globe by creating classes from the very best" said David Rogier, CEO and co-founder at MasterClass. "I don't know if this sort of opportunity has ever been available in history before, and I can't wait to see it unfold. It's incredible that James wanted to select a student from his MasterClass to co-author a book with him," Co-founder, CTO, and Creative Director Aaron Rasmussen added,

About James Patterson's writing class: 
Class synopsis: James Patterson, the author of a record breaking 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times Best Sellers, teaches you everything he knows about writing a bestseller.

Class Includes:

  • 22 video lessons (3.5 hours)
  • A workbook filled with writing exercises
  • A complete outline of Patterson's book Honeymoon
  • Additional class materials like excerpts from Patterson's first drafts.
  • Collaborative learning: students can upload writing samples and receive feedback from other students (and sometimes even James himself!). When James gives feedback, he shares it with the whole class so everyone can learn from it.
  • Class discussions via an online community forum
  • Q&A: James answers select questions submitted by students the whole class can access.

About MasterClass:

San Francisco-based MasterClass was founded by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen on the idea that everyone should have access to genius. MasterClass makes it possible for anyone with an Internet connection to learn from the best through immersive online classes from the world's most esteemed authors, actors, performers, athletes and more. Learn writing from James Patterson; acting from Dustin Hoffman or Kevin Spacey; tennis from Serena Williams; performance from Usher; or singing fromChristina Aguilera. MasterClass pairs world-class instructors with Hollywood directors and Silicon Valley engineers to create a brand new type of learning experience. For more information, please visitwww.masterclass.com.

SOURCE MasterClass

Northern California McDonald's To Provide Books To Local Families Through Happy Meal Promotion

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In time for Valentine's Day, McDonald's restaurants of Northern California are inviting families throughout Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto to celebrate the "love" of reading with the launch of new Happy Meal Books focused on Valentine's Day-themed storylines and punch-out valentines.

Beginning February 2 through February 15, McDonald's will offer books in print for Happy Meal customers in partnership with HarperCollins Children's Books, one of the leading publishers of children's books.  The books offered this year include Pete the Cat, Paddington, Clark the Shark, and Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! The launch of this year's Happy Meal Book program will allow McDonald's USA to distribute more than 50 million Happy Meal Books to children through both sales and donations since the program began in 2013 – enough to provide a book to every child in America under the age of 12.  Since 2013, McDonald's USA has distributed 32.5 million books through sales and donations.  In comparison, the Library of Congress (the largest library in the world) has 23.9 million cataloged books in its classification system. 

"We're excited to invite families to spend time together and celebrate the love of reading through these fun Happy Meal Books," said Courtney Ristuben-Escalante, a Sacramento-area McDonald's owner and operator.  "This is one step in our ongoing efforts to enrich the lives of families, and part of a broader book strategy with an outstanding literacy partner to combine the fun of the Happy Meal with more family reading time."

Literacy continues to be a critical issue for American children, which is why McDonald's is trying to increase access to books.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 93 million adults inthe United States read at or below the basic level needed to contribute successfully to society.  Book ownership in the home is low.  One study found that in middle income neighborhoods the ratio is 13 books per child; in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one book for every 300 children (https://www.firstbook.org/images/pdf/Statistics-on-Literacy.pdf).

As part of the launch of Happy Meal Books in 2016, families in Northern California are invited to the McDonald's restaurant located at 7632 Sunrise Blvd. in Citrus Heights on Saturday, February 13 from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. for a "Reading with Ronald" event.  All children in attendance will receive a free edition of one of the Happy Meal Books, will listen to stories read by Ronald McDonald and will learn about the importance of reading.

About McDonald's in Northern California

There are over 170 McDonald's Restaurants in the Greater Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto Area, owned and operated by more than 54 franchisees. McDonald's USA, LLC, is the leading foodservice provider inthe United States, serving a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to millions of customers every day.  More than 80 percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local franchisees.  For more information, please visit www.mcdonalds.com

Chicken Soup for the Soul Launches Anti-Bullying Program in Schools Nationwide

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

COS COB, Conn., Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- For more than 20 years, educators have used

Where other programs react to bullying situations that have already occurred, Chicken Soup for the Soul Hallway Heroes is a proactive anti-bullying program—aiming to promote respect and compassion and to stop bullying behaviors before they even start. Chicken Soup for the Soul Hallway Heroes teaches important social and emotional learning skills to students through literacy-based lesson plans, making it easy to integrate the program into an already busy school day.

This character building turnkey program uses the power of storytelling to promote literacy at the same time that it fights bullying behavior. There are 12 lesson plans per grade (initially available for grades 1-6), aligned both nationally and to all 50 states' specific literacy and social emotional standards. Chicken Soup for the Soul Hallway Heroes was developed with Resources for Learning, a leading education consulting firm with more than 25 years experience, and has a teacher training program presented byAlex Kajitani, a California Teacher of the Year who was a finalist for National Teacher of the Year and is best known as "the rappin' mathematician."

Chicken Soup for the Soul Hallway Heroes is on sale now nationwide for first through sixth grades. The curriculum will be expanded to seventh through twelfth grades during the next two academic years. For more information or to contact a Chicken Soup for the Soul sales representative, visitwww.chickensoup.com/hallwayheroes.  

"Teachers have been using Chicken Soup for the Soul in the classroom for 20 years, but this is the first time that we have created a comprehensive curriculum using our stories. Chicken Soup for the Soul Hallway Heroes is one of the most important projects we have ever undertaken and we are excited and proud to be part of the solution to the bullying behaviors that plague our schools today. We look forward to helping create heroes not only in our school hallways, but also in classrooms, on playgrounds, in homes, online, and in our communities," said William J. Rouhana, Jr., CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

"I have been reading Chicken Soup for the Soul books for years and I am excited about the impact these stories can have on our schools. Our new anti-bullying program, built around these real-life stories about young people, will help promote the good values in students that will crowd out the behaviors that lead to bullying. This is part of our foundation's larger mission to create more tolerance, respect, compassion, and kindness in all segments of society," said Dr. Milton Boniuk, founder of The Boniuk Foundation.

ABOUT CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL
Chicken Soup for the Soul, the world's favorite and most recognized storyteller, publishes the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. With well over 100 million books sold to date in the U.S. andCanada alone, more than 250 titles, and translations into more than 40 languages, "chicken soup for the soul" is one of the world's best-known phrases and is regularly referenced in pop culture. Today, 23 years after it first began sharing happiness, inspiration and hope through its books, this socially conscious company continues to publish a new title a month, but has also evolved beyond the bookstore with super premium pet food, television shows and movies, and a variety of other digital content and licensed products, all inspired by stories, as it continues "changing the world one story at a time®."

ABOUT THE BONIUK FOUNDATION
The Boniuk Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Milton and Laurie Boniuk, believes in the simple principle that all religions, cultures, and ethnicities have a unique contribution to share with the world. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is all the more important for differences among individuals to be celebrated and not feared. Their mission beckons us to believe in a bettertomorrow. Through strategic program development and partnerships with organizations that share in that belief, they seek to establish a new status quo in which diversity is cherished and compassion is valued. The Boniuk Foundation supports the development of innovative and research-based techniques, geared towards educating young and adult populations, in hopes of producing universal tolerance, respect, and compassion among all individuals.

ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP
The Boniuk Foundation is working with Chicken Soup for the Soul to promote tolerance, respect, and compassion, inspiring young people and adults to embrace their differences, reject stereotypes, and make good choices. Chicken Soup for the Soul Hallway Heroes, a literacy-based anti-bullying program, brings these messages to the classroom. This proactive educational program uses stories from Chicken Soup for the Soul books to improve literacy while teaching social and emotional learning skills to students. The result is that students learn to accept and respect people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, and culture—one story at a time. A related half-hour weekly TV series, www.chickensoup.com/hallwayheroes.

SOURCE Chicken Soup for the Soul

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment & Scholastic Donate 20,000 Books to Be Distributed by Save the Children

Photo Credit: PRNewswire

Photo Credit: PRNewswire

CULVER CITY, Calif., Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- On the heels of the Goosebumps movie release on Blu-ray™ and DVD, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) has joined together with Scholastic, the global children's publishing and education company, to donate 20,000 books to children in underserved communities as well as those recovering from crises or natural disasters in the United States. The books, featuring a selection of Goosebumps books by bestselling author R.L. Stine, are being donated through the Scholastic Possible Fund and will be distributed by Save the Children.

"These books will make a lasting difference in the lives of young children in some of our nation's most under-resourced communities.  We work to give children in need the best opportunity to succeed in school and life, and encouraging reading together as a family early in a child's life is critical to that goal.  Sadly, many families we serve have no children's books in the home when we start working with them. We thank Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Scholastic for this generous donation," said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children CEO.

Scholastic is the global publisher of Goosebumps, one of the best-selling children's book series of all-time.  Today, there are more than 400 million Goosebumps books in print, 350 million in English and another 50+ million internationally in 32 languages.  Goosebumps continues to be a powerful force in children's lives for decades, making voracious readers out of reluctant ones.  The motion picture adventure grossed $112 million worldwide and is now available on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital.

"We are happy to partner with Scholastic and support Save the Children's efforts to promote literacy nationwide.  Just as the Goosebumps creatures were brought to life in the movie, we hope children are inspired to use their imagination and continue to bring R.L. Stine's beloved stories to life," said Lexine Wong, Sr. EVP, Worldwide Marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

"R.L. Stine has brought delighted chills to millions of young readers around the world through his scary and funny stories, and we are so happy to work with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Save the Children to help even more children around the world have the opportunity to own a book and discover the joy and power of reading," said Ellie Berger, President of Scholastic Trade Publishing. 

The Scholastic Possible Fund was established as part of the Company's Open a World of Possible reading initiative to provide donations of quality books to children who need them most.  Books from The Scholastic Possible Fund are distributed through non-profit partner organizations that work to help children and families understand the importance of books and reading with the goal of improving global literacy. To learn more about Scholastic and The Scholastic Possible Fund visit Mediaroom.scholastic.com.

GOOSEBUMPS is now available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in Blu-ray and other formats. It stars Jack Black (School of Rock) as Goosebumps author R.L. Stine, along with Dylan Minnette (Prisoners), Ryan Lee (Super 8) and Odeya Rush (The Giver). The plot begins as Zach (Minnette) unwittingly unleashes magical monsters on the town, and must team with his new friends Champ (Lee), Hannah (Rush), and Stine (Black) to send the ghouls back into their books before it's too late.

SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.

SCHOLASTIC
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, a leading provider of print and digital instructional materials for pre-K to grade 12, and a producer of educational and entertaining children's media. The Company creates quality books and ebooks, print and technology-based learning materials and programs, comprehensive classroom magazines and other products that, in combination, offer schools customized and solutions to support children's learning both at school and at home. The Company also makes quality, affordable books available to all children through school-based book clubs and book fairs. With a 95 year history of service to schools and families, Scholastic continues to carry out its commitment to "Open a World of Possible" for all children. Learn more at www.scholastic.com.

SAVE THE CHILDREN
Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we are dedicated to ensuring every child has the best chance for success. Our pioneering programs give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Our advocacy efforts provide a voice for children who cannot speak for themselves. As the leading expert on children, we inspire and achieve lasting impact for millions of the world's most vulnerable girls and boys. By transforming children's lives now, we change the course of their future and ours.

SOURCE Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Cricket Media Releases Digital App Featuring Library of Congress Rare Books

Free new edition of Story Bug App enables adult and children to read the digital editions together, even when they're apart

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Cricket Media, an education media company and global learning network, announced today a collaboration with the Library of Congress to make freely available four rare 19th and early 20th century children's books in an all-new electronic format.

The collection – The Slant Book (1910), The Rocket Book (1912), Gobolinks or Shadow Pictures for You and Old (1896) and The Song of Sixpence Picture Book (1909) – are available on Cricket Media's Story Bug app.  The iOS app combines video chat with a shared reader so two people can enjoy virtual story time anywhere, anytime.  It is available at http://bit.ly/1whBUU3.

"It is a privilege to have the opportunity to bring these rare and historic children's books into the digital age," said Katya Andresen, CEO of Cricket Media.  "We are very excited about our partnership with The Library of Congress and are looking forward to making more of these classic books available to young readers through our Story Bug app."

Two of the books are by the American humorist and illustrator Peter Newell. The Slant Book is a rhymed, fully-illustrated novelty book.  The text, illustrations and the book itself were produced on a slant, and it follows the sequence of disasters caused by gleefully-naughty Bobby in his run-away baby carriage.   The Rocket Book is a rhymed nonsense tale of a rocket fired by naughty Fritz in the basement of his apartment building, and the story follows the rocket's raucous flight through a series of slapstick situations.

Gobolinks or Shadow Pictures for Young and Old, created by Ruth McEnery Stuart and Albert Bigelow Paine, is a collection of shadow images of goblins, elves and other "eccentric creatures" that were produced by placing ink blots between sheets of folded paper.  Each image is accompanied by limerick-style verses.

The Song of Sixpence Picture Book contains "The Song of Sixpence," the well-known nursery rhyme, "Princess Belle Etoile," a fairy tale and "An Alphabet of Old Friends," a collection of alphabetically–arranged nursery rhymes. It was illustrated in full color by Walter Crane, a leading British picture book illustrator of his day. 

All four books appear in the Story Bug library.  Users of the Story Bug app see and hear each other while viewing the books. They also share controls for turning pages and interacting with the content. So when a page is turned on one device, the page simultaneously turns for the user of the other device. In addition, a digital "shadow hand" shows where each person is pointing, so grown-ups can challenge their young readers to point to illustrations on the page or sound out specific words. In addition to enabling real-time story time, the App also allows users to record themselves reading for later viewing.

In addition to making the titles available in Story Bug, the books can be viewed at the Library of Congress's website at loc.gov.  Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation's first federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions.

About Cricket Media

Cricket Media is an education media company that provides award-winning content on a safe and secure learning network for children, families and teachers across the world. Cricket Media's popular media brands for toddlers to teens include Babybug, Ladybug, Cricket® and Cobblestone® and digital apps in English and Chinese. The Company's innovative web-based K12 tools, for school and home, include the ePals virtual classroom for global collaboration as well as In2Books®, a Common Core eMentoring program that builds reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Cricket Media serves millions of teachers, students and parents in over 200 countries and territories through its platform and NeuPals, its joint venture with China's leading IT services company Neusoft. Cricket Media also licenses its content and platform to top publishing and educational companies worldwide. For more information, please visit www.cricketmedia.com.

SOURCE Cricket Media Inc.