Happy Birthday, Brian Selznick!

July 14th, 2012 by


Photo from Selznick’s publisher’s website

If you were awestruck by Wonderstruck or intrigued by The Invention of Hugo Cabret, then now’s the time to celebrate the creative force behind those two beautiful books: author/illustrator Brian Selznick!

That’s right — today is his birthday! So throw confetti in the air! Bake a cake! Put on a party hat! Pin the tail on the donkey!

Or, you know, you could do something a little more low-key… Like maybe:

  • Watch the movie Hugo, based on Selznick’s book
  • Get the inside scoop on Hugo Cabret from Selznick himself, on his jam-packed website
  • Play games at the official sites for Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck (FYI, I contributed to those sites and still work for the publisher of the books, so I hope you like what you find there!)
  • Eat ice cream (okay, yes, sometimes I just use author birthdays as an excuse for ice cream — you caught me…)

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot — you can also celebrate by sending in YOUR review of one of Selnick’s books! Or just leave a comment and tell me your thoughts on Hugo, Wonderstruck, or anything else by the birthday boy!

— Karen

One of the greatest moments Karen has ever experienced on the subway = when a teen dude sitting next to her yelped upon seeing Wonderstruck in her hand, because Hugo Cabret is his favorite book. One of the few times Karen didn’t mind talking to a stranger on the train!

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Happy Birthday, Will Shakespeare!

April 24th, 2012 by

william_shakespeareBreak out the streamers and decorate the place with balloons, because yesterday was William Shakespeare’s birthday! Actually, it might be tomorrow. Or today. Who knows? No one, because there were no birth certificates back when he was born in 1564!

At any rate, Shakespeare’s birthday is sometime around now… so let’s celebrate! [cue party music and confetti cannon]

Okay, fine, maybe the idea of honoring Shakespeare with a rockin’ party sounds pretty strange. Usually, we think of the legendary writer in a serious light. But why should we be so formal? Shakespeare didn’t write dull lectures; he wrote about the crazy drama we all experience in life, and some pretty extreme emotions! Jealousy that drives people over the edge, ambition that leads to catastrophe, love that turns everyone into fools, friendships that enable growth and greatness… Nothing stuffy or boring about that!

So that’s why I want to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday by sharing some fun videos with you guys — all of which approach Shakespeare in a decidedly non-stuffy and non-boring way…

First, up Macbeth as a rap! Yep, that’s not a mistake. Macbeth as a rap!

For something a little more light-hearted, check out these animated takes on potential sources of inspiration for Shakespeare as he was writing The Tempest (about a ginormous storm and its aftermath) and Hamlet (in particular, the famous scene where Hamlet holds up the skull of a deceased court jester):

And I’ll leave you with this fan-made video — a heartfelt original song using the prologue from Romeo and Juliet as the lyrics:

All the videos are pretty awesome, right? Just goes to show: Shakespeare may have been born centuries ago, but he’s still alive today!

— Karen

Strangely, one of Karen’s favorite Shakespeare plays is Macbeth. She normally doesn’t like violent and dark stories, so it’s a surprising choice! Then again, she also loved The Hunger Games

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