May 31, 2012

Books Out Loud with Bill Watkins: Part 3

And now, it's time for the last video of author Bill Watkins reading from his memoir, A Celtic Childhood. If these excerpts just aren't enough, remember you can always get his book online through Barnes&Noble,, and IndieBound.

May 24, 2012

A Rating System for YA Books: Yea or Nay?

A few days ago there was an article from the U.S. News and World Report about the issue of rating young adult books for mature content. According to a new report from researcher Sarah Coyne at Bingham Young University, the top 40 best-selling children's books on the New York Times list between June 22 and July 6, 2008 had over 1,500 profane words. Because of this, she suggests that a rating system be put into place to warn parents about the books they're letting their children read.

The article quotes Beth Yoke, from ALA, saying, “Books can be a safe way for young people to explore edgier, sensitive, or complicated topics, and they provide parents the opportunity to help their teens grow and understand these kinds of sensitive issues.” She argues that if a large, outside organization were allowed to rate books based on mature content, it would end up forcing authors to edit their books so as not to be placed in an R-rated category. It’s also pointed out that some books, just because of their subject, would automatically be placed in an adult category. Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines is an important book on drug use that by no means encourages teen readers to use, but is still full of profanity. Any effort to censor books like this for content would be to portray the situations inaccurately, and thereby lessen their impact.

May 17, 2012

An Overdue Introduction

You may have noticed that someone new has been updating our blog recently, and my apologies for not introducing myself sooner. I’m Nora, and I replaced Ashley as the literary marketing assistant here at Scarletta Press (I fondly call myself Ashley 2.0, which I’m sure she appreciates). I’m really excited about coming on board, so I thought I might take this time to tell you a little about myself and what I do for Scarletta.

May 15, 2012

Books Out Loud with Bill Watkins: Part 2

A couple weeks ago, we posted a video of Scarletta author Bill Watkins reading an excerpt from his memoir A Celtic Childhood, accompanied by Tom Dahill on accordion. And now--because we know that one excerpt just isn't enough--we decided to post another for your listening pleasure.

May 10, 2012

It's also National Music Week!

There’s been a lot of talk this week about Children’s Book Week, but did you also know that it’s National Music Week? First observed in 1924 and sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs, this week is marked by concerts, festivals, and musical events of all sorts in libraries, businesses, and schools across the country. In the words of National Music Week’s founder, Mr. Charles M. Tremaine,

“Music Week is, to some extent, different from all the other special ‘weeks.’ It is a ‘drive’ for music by the friends of music, but is also the occasion for participation in and receiving of pleasure, thus making it independent of any propelling force from behind. It gathers its momentum as it goes along from the enjoyment it brings…. Music, permeating the atmosphere, enters many new places where it is welcome.”

In celebration of National Music Week, we thought it only fitting to provide some fun facts about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most influential composers in history. It’s also especially fitting because Mozart happens to be featured prominently in Pendred Noyce’s upcoming book, Ice Castle. In the latest book of the Lexicon series—out this August from our Scarletta Junior Readers imprint—Daphne and Ivan, along with their cousin Lila, travel to the Land of Winter where social status is based on musical talent. The three children must endure slavery, hunger, illness, and injustice before they can spark a revolution to return spring to the Land of Winter.

May 8, 2012

Celebrate Children's Book Week!

In case you haven't heard, it's Children's Book Week! And we're celebrating with a Nalah and the Pink Tiger event this Saturday at Boneshaker Books in Minneapolis. Local puppeteer and children's book author/illustrator Anne Sawyer-Aitch will read from her new book, Nalah and the Pink Tiger. Afterward, everyone will make wild and crazy animal puppets, and Anne will sign books. The event starts at 11:30 am.
If you're interested in finding more Children's Book Week events, you can check out the Children's Book Council's official events list here.
Back in March, we blogged about the decline of picture books in favor of young adult books (you can read it here) and about how sad that made us feel. So, we're proud to announce that Scarletta Kids will be releasing two more picture books in the near future.
The first is a storybook that focuses on lake activities for children. It uses sensory and rhyming techniques to describe a typical day at the lake. The second book is for a slightly older age group (6 to 10) and is about a grandfather sharing his love of baseball with his granddaughter.
We're also excited to announce that a musical is being created about our first children's book Lost in Lexicon, and we hope to see it performed as early as spring 2013 at Meadowbrook School in Massachusetts. The first song of the Lost in Lexicon musical has already been produced. Watch our Twitter during Children's Book Week (May 7-13) to find out how you can receive a free download of the song "Girls Can't Do Math."

May 3, 2012

Books Out Loud with Bill Watkins

If you haven't had the opportunity to meet author Bill Watkins, you're missing out! So here's the next best thing: Bill Watkins reading part of his memoir A Celtic Childhood. Accompanied by Tom Dahill on the accordion. Enjoy!