Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Harrison Ford Sought for Ender's Game

Harrison Ford Sought For Ender's Game
Source: Variety , Asa Butterfield
November 29, 2011

Recently rumored for the role, Hugo star Asa Butterfield confirmed earlier today via Twitter that he's officially joined Summit Entertainment's big-screen version of Ender's Game. Now, Variety has word that the next major bit of casting is the role of Colonel Hyrum Graff and that the producers are keen on getting Harrison Ford for the part (though there are said to be other unnamed possibilities as well).

To be directed by Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Ender's Game is based on the science fiction novel series by Orson Scott Card,

Read more: Harrison Ford Sought For Ender's Game -

Dotti Enderle
* * *
CROSSWIRE (Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek)
* Texas Institute of Letters Young Adult Award Recipient
* June Franklin Naylor Award for Best Children’s Book on Texas History
* WWA Spur Award Finalist

Interview with Mitali Perkins

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Berlin Boxing Club

Richie's Picks: THE BERLIN BOXING CLUB by Robert Sharenow, HarperTeen, April 2011, 416p., ISBN: 978-0-06-157968-8

"All of Germany got swept up in Max Mania. He flew home in grand style on the Hindenburg, the largest airship in the world and the pride of the Nazi fleet. Thousands turned up to greet him when he landed in Frankfurt, and the event was covered on live radio. Every newspaper and magazine featured photographs of Max and stories about the fight. Almost instantly Max's name and face appeared on products all over Europe as he endorsed everything from his favorite brand of almonds to shirt collars to motor oil. Max also acquired the rights to distribute the film of the Louis fight in Germany, and it quickly became the number one box office hit across the country under the title Max Schmeling's Victory--A German Victory."

Ten months ago, I wrote about a great new picture book for older readers, A NATION'S HOPE: THE STORY OF BOXING LEGEND JOE LOUIS. That lyrical, true story is centered around the historic second boxing match between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. In their first meeting two years earlier -- which led to the Max Mania described in THE BERLIN BOXING CLUB -- Schmeling scored an upset, knocking out Louis in twelve rounds. But in Yankee Stadium, on June 22, 1938, Louis got even by disposing of Schmeling in the first round.

Having previously assumed that Max Schmeling was a racist Nazi pawn, it is a shock to learn from the author's note in THE BERLIN BOXING CLUB that Schmeling was no such thing. In fact, he never joined the Nazi Party and he heroically rescued two Jewish boys on Kristallnacht.

Thus it was that author Robert Sharenow was inspired to write a tale about a Jewish boy to whom Schmeling becomes a mentor. That boy is Karl Stern.

THE BERLIN BOXING CLUB is the story of how young Karl Stern, who does not "look" Jewish, and who has two parents who do not practice that religion, is nevertheless labeled as such and victimized by his Berlin schoolmates during the rise of the Nazi Party. But because his art dealer father is old friends with Max Schmeling, it come to be, in the wake of being forcibly disrobed by schoolmates (to find evidence of his Jewishness), and then badly beaten up, that Karl is offered tutoring in boxing by Schmeling -- at the Berlin Boxing Club -- in exchange for a piece of art (by a Jewish artist) that Max desires.

Over several years, as Karl's skills steadily develop (both as a boxer and as an aspiring cartoonist), life otherwise becomes worse and worse for him and his family. His little sister Hildy clearly has a Jewish "look," and so is singled out by her schoolmates. The family business is failing, thanks to art censorship and laws enacted against Jewish artists and businesses. Then, being defined as Jewish results in Karl being expelled from school, losing his sympathetic and beautiful non-Jewish girlfriend, and his family being evicted from their longtime apartment.

All through these horrors, it is the discipline resulting from the endurance and skill training dictated by Schmeling that keeps Karl believing in his ability to develop fearlessness rather than simply becoming a passive victim of the Nazi atrocities.

THE BERLIN BOXING CLUB is an excellent and exciting sports story that ties right into all the same old bullying issues and hate mongering we are still dealing with today. It is essential that adolescents have the opportunity to define themselves rather than being defined -- and defiled -- by others.

This great historical fiction sports story also enlightened me about Max Schmeling not being a two-dimensional, dumb Nazi shill.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Neil Gaiman in The Simpsons

On Sunday a special guest star will lend his voice to his yellow-skinned Springfield doppelganger on The Simpsons: bestselling author and comics writer Neil Gaiman.

Speaking with Spinoff Online and other members of the press about his role, Gaiman began by admitting that although the episode, “The Book Job,” centers on Homer’s attempt to write a young-adult novel akin to Twilight, the author has never read Stephenie Meyer’s wildly popular books.

“I am a terrible person because I still have not read the Twilight books, and I’m the only one in my house,” he laughed.

Explaining that his daughters loved the series, Gaiman said the last time someone asked his opinion on the popularity of teen literature was shortly after he won the Carnegie Medal for his children’s fantasy novel The Graveyard Book.

“I said I thought there were too many vampires around, it was probably time for something else — and the universe obviously agreed with me because zombies turned up by the busload at that point,” he said. “Now I’m just waiting for the next thing with absolute fascination to see what it is.”

With a laugh he added, “In The Simpsons episode we did I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say Homer decided it was trolls!”

Gaiman said that playing himself on The Simpsons was “great fun,” and something he had been thinking about a lot recently.

“The thing that took me by surprise was they had been asking me for a while to do a cameo on the show and I said yes, when the right script came along,” he said. “But truthfully, what I expected was the normal kind of Simpsons celebrity cameo. You know, Homer says, ‘Not even Neil Gaiman could come up with something as weird as this!’ and then it would cut to me stroking my chin going, ‘You’re right, I couldn’t!’ and the scene would continue.”

However, when Gaiman received the script, “I started to read it and discovered that I was in it all the way through and I was actually having to act and that stuff happens! It was enormously fun and kind of weird and kind of wonderful.”

The author contrasted his Simpsons role with his other television cameos. “In the past year or so I’ve got to play myself several times, and they’re always very different me’s I was doing,” he said. “The me I did in Arthur, the PBS cartoon, was very different from this version of me. It’s kind of weird!”

“I think if they ever hand out Oscars for Best Person Playing Neil Gaiman, I have a shot!” he added.

In addition to Gaiman’s Simpsons debut, this year also marks the 15th anniversary of Neverwhere, his short-lived BBC fantasy series that he adapted as a companion novel. Looking back to his start in the 1990s, Gaiman said he thought the biggest difference in the literary and genre-fiction world was that the doors had opened up to admit teen readers.

“Quite honestly the biggest change in teen horror is there wasn’t any. The biggest change in teen lit is that it exists,” Gaiman said, adding, “If you go back even 15 years there was definitely a tendency at that point to go from kids’ books to adult books. The idea that people would be writing books aimed primarily at a teen audience is really cool and really new, and the idea of YA books being genre books is, again, cool and new.

Returning to Neverwhere, the author continued, “Fifteen years ago, when things like Neverwhere were coming out, everything I did was published as adult fiction, which it still is. [Now] winning the Young Adult Library Association Award for adult books that kids and teens would like, I’m really glad that teens have their own books.”

However, Gaiman also emphasized he feels teens should be free to read “adult” books as well. “On the other hand, I’m still a huge believer in books, and I hate the idea of anybody being cut off from books that they’d like because they think they aren’t ready for them yet,” he said.

Going back to his episode, Gaiman playfully compared the Neil Gaiman on The Simpsons to the “Neil Gaiman in real life.”

“Truthfully, the real-life me almost never hangs around in Barnes & Noble-like bookstores waiting to find a group of local townsfolk who have decided to write a pseudonymous young-adult fantasy series, offering my services — and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t be doing the catering!” he joked.

He said the biggest difference, and challenge, for acting in the episode was adopting an American accent — not because he had to do a good American accent, but because he had to do a spectacularly bad one.

“I think that was the hardest thing in the studio, because they asked me to do one line in a really bad American accent,” Gaiman said, “and I did what I thought was a bad American accent, and I was told no, it has to be to Americans the equivalent of what Dick Van Dyke’s accent in Mary Poppins is to the English.”

“I was pushed to achieve those sort of heights — or depths!” the author added with laugh.

Gaiman also promised that “The Book Job” contains many in-jokes and references to his works, although he said the biggest surprise is just how much acting he was required to do.

“The weird thing, honestly, in this was I actually had to act, which I wasn’t expecting!” he said. “Unfortunately, or fortunately, Matt Selman was the executive producer of the episode, which was written by Dan Vebber from Futurama, and written brilliantly, and I think it was Matt’s idea that I do it because Matt loves my audio books and assumed I could actually properly act because I do it in my audio books!”

Turning away from The Simpsons for a moment, Gaiman touched on his recent West Coast book and music tour with with his wife and ex-Dresden Dolls musician/songwriter Amanda Palmer.

“We had 10 days with nothing planned, and we had to get from Los Angeles to Vancouver, so we decided instead of doing this sort of ambling, vacation drive up the coast we’d take to the cities and do ‘An Evening With Neil Gaiman And Amanda Palmer’ in each one,” Gaiman said. The author added that the tour quickly sold out as fans on the West Coast got to see Gaiman, “read stories and Amanda sang, and strange and glorious things happened every night.”

However, because Palmer is recording and Gaiman is beginning work on a new novel while being involved in the HBO adaptation of American Gods, he said they wouldn’t do another tour. However, he and Palmer might hold individual events in the future. “For us it’s kind of like a meeting of the clans as the fans get together,” he said.

Gaiman, who also wrote a well-received episode of Doctor Who, laughed when asked if, after HBO and The Simpsons, there were any pop culture spheres left for him to conquer.

“You know, there was actually a point where you look around and you go, ‘OK, I’ve written a Doctor Who episode, been on The Simpsons, that’s pretty much it!’ I would really like to be a head in a jar in Futurama,” he said. “I love these weird little playing Neil Gaiman things that occasionally come up.”

However, as much as he loves doing cameos, the author confessed he now has to say no to “very peculiar things.”

“You know, like ‘Come onto the Food Network and be a judge on a show!’ No, why would they think I’d want to do that? ‘Well, they saw you on Craig Ferguson!’ I definitely don’t want to be a personality,” he said. “I’m a writer. I love doing goofy stuff, too, but it’s time to go back to being a writer now.”

This led the author back to the recent explosion in teen lit as he expounded upon what he saw as the problem that plagues fiction when a genre becomes hugely successful.

“Whether it’s wizards or vampires, whether it’s zombies or werewolves, and for that matter right now you got fairy tale characters and a whole lot more — when the stuff happens and it’s created by people who believe in them and other people look around and go, ‘Ah, this is a way to make money,’ things mean less and less,” Gaiman said. “It’s like old-style photocopies. When you photocopy a photocopy and then photocopy a photocopy, pretty soon you wind up with a gray sheet of paper with faint lines on it. I worry that you do end up fairly rapidly with the gray sheets of paper.”

However, the author said the most important thing is not the quality of the material but the ability to spark an interest in reading.

“On the other hand, I also know having grown up as a devoted reader that, as a kid, your first exposure to anything, whether it’s a good book or a bad book, whether it’s written with care and love or just tossed off by somebody who really doesn’t care, the truth is that when kids encounter books they bring themselves to them, and the place you find the magic can be anywhere,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be in a great book, it can be in a terrible book.”

Gaiman admitted he’s happy with the way his career has progressed, and that if he could go back in time to give his younger self advice, he wouldn’t do it.

“I would hate to go back and try and change anything,” he said. “It might be like the Ray Bradbury story where a guy steps on some bark and crushes a butterfly and the entire course of human history is changed. I really like it where I am and would be incredibly loathe to change anything.”

Pausing, the author then admitted the only advice he would give to his younger self was something Stephen King said to him in the early ‘90s, just as Sandman was beginning to take off.

“I think probably my only piece of advice to myself would probably be a piece of advice that Stephen King tried to give me, and given that I more or less ignored it from Stephen King I would probably ignore it from me, which is, he told me to enjoy it more. He said, ‘You’re on this great ride, just enjoy it,’” Gaiman said. “I enjoy it a lot more now.”

“The Book Job” episode of The Simpsons airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
Tags: featured, Fox, Neil Gaiman, The Simpsons

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Japanese Culture Program

Thanks to Ms. Sandy Ho, our Anime Club thoroughly enjoyed our Japanese Culture Program.
The club sampled Japanese food, browsed through samples of Japanese Anime, sampled Japanese Science magazines, learned about some of the history (such as the robots or "dolls" used to serve the emperors in the 1700's) and learned some basic Japanese, such as how to write their names in that language. Enjoy some of our snapshots above.

Catching Fire Movie--Are You Ready?

Simon Beaufoy to Draft Hunger Games Sequel?
Source: Deadline

November 16, 2011

With the first film's full trailer hitting earlier this week and hopes high for a top-tier franchise, the producers of The Hunger Games are already eyeing the sequel, which will adapt Suzanne Collins' second book, Catching Fire. Deadline reports that a new writer is likely to be brought into the mix and the studio's current choice is Slumdog Millionaire scribe Simon Beaufoy.

Gary Ross, the director of the first film, wrote the screenplay with Collins, but it is suggested that his busy post-production schedule precludes him from following suit with Catching Fire. He is planning, however, to return as director.

Following Slumdog, Beaufoy re-teamed with director Danny Boyle for 127 Hours. His next work, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, is being directed by Lasse Hallström and will hit theaters March 2, 2012.

It was reported last week that, to justify a sequel, the first film will have to gross over $100 million domestically, something that the studio has every confidence in.

Read more: Simon Beaufoy to Draft Hunger Games Sequel? -

Dotti Enderle

* * *

CROSSWIRE (Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek)

* Texas Institute of Letters Young Adult Award Recipient

* June Franklin Naylor Award for Best Children’s Book on Texas History

* WWA Spur Award Finalist

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Did you Enjoy Unwind--Sequel to be Published

There is even a title for the Unwind second book now- UnWholly.

Neal's mother just suffered a stroke but is recovering slowly. He is also working on a script for Unwind, which may actually become a movie!

Tim Burton in early talks to come aboard Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children,

In a match that seems ideal, Tim Burton is in early talks to come aboard Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the Ransom Riggs novel that 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment acquired last spring. Burton is in talks to develop the book as a potential directing project, and he would be involved in setting a writer to adapt the tale.

Dotti Enderle

* * *

CROSSWIRE (Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek)

* Texas Institute of Letters Young Adult Award Recipient

* June Franklin Naylor Award for Best Children’s Book on Texas History

* WWA Spur Award Finalist

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fictional Food--How About The Hunger Games recipes?

Does this sound good?
Everdeen Reaping Supper
Goat Cheese and Apple Tarts
Pale Purple Melon
Haymitches Basket of Love

Check out this link for the recipes and many more.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hunger Games Premiere on Good Morning America

On 11/10/2011 7:49 AM, Dotti Enderle wrote:
The Hunger Games Trailer to Premiere on Good Morning America
Source: Lionsgate

November 10, 2011

Lionsgate has announced that the trailer for The Hunger Games will premiere on Good Morning America this Monday, November 14th:

LIONSGATE®, a leading global entertainment company, today announced an exclusive partnership with ABC's Good Morning America to world premiere the highly anticipated trailer for THE HUNGER GAMES.

The debut will be hosted in person by actor Josh Hutcherson (THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT), who plays the pivotal character of Peeta Mellark in the film, in the top rated 8:00 hour of the show on Monday, November 14th. In addition to airing nationwide, the trailer will also be shown in its entirety on Good Morning America's jumbotron in New York City's Times Square.

The partnership, which further distinguishes the film as a major motion picture event, will mark the first time ever that audiences will be exposed to sights and sounds from the film such as Katniss' home District 12 and the opulent Capitol. With 16 million copies of The Hunger Games in circulation, a vast audience of book fans will also undoubtedly tune in for the first chance to hear the beloved characters speak iconic lines of dialogue from its pages.

Read more: The Hunger Games Trailer to Premiere on Good Morning America -

Monday, November 7, 2011

The R Word

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk about my young adult novel, The R Word, with John Drew for his Sci-Fi/Pop-Culture website, The Chronic Rift. The R Word explores contemporary attitudes about race through the eyes of a white, teen-aged girl who begins to think about race, and about her own position of privilege, for the first time.

Although The Chronic Rift usually highlights the otherworldly works of the science fiction/fantasy realm, John’s secret identity is that of a high school English teacher, which explains his interest in The R Word. Here’s the link to the interview for anyone who might be interests:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Davis Films Acquires House of Night Vampire Series

Source: Davis Films

November 2, 2011

Samuel Hadida announced today that his company, Davis Films, has acquired film rights from authors P.C. and Kristin Cast to their "House of Night" young adult fiction book series.

The ninth book in the series, "Destined," was just published on October 25. The series, from the mother-daughter writing team, has sold over 12 million copies in the United States, keeping it on The New York Times bestseller list for a record 140 weeks. The books have consistently debuted at #1 in the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia, and have been published in 39 countries around the globe.

The books chronicle the coming of age of 16-year-old Zoey Redbird, who learns she is genetically marked to either become a "vampyre" in adolescence, or be killed in the process. She leaves her family for the House of Night, a special boarding school for such "fledglings" to receive the training necessary to survive as an adult vampyre. At the House of Night, Zoey soon comes to experience a complex world where dark is not always evil, and light is not always good.

"We are thrilled to bring P.C. and Kristin's stunning series of books to worldwide film audiences," stated Samuel Hadida. "They have created a world of adolescent growth against a backdrop of supernatural suspense that resonates around the world with young readers immersed in 'Twilight' and 'Harry Potter.' House of Night connects on a profound level -- what growing up means today."

Davis Films is known for its film series, including "Silent Hill" and most notably the "Resident Evil" films. "We see with House of Night the same franchise potential," Hadida added.

Read more: Davis Films Acquires House of Night Vampire Series -