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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Hero's Guide Heroes Guide (Now With Villains!) Blog Tour AND Giveaway!

Did someone say giveaway...? YES! Each day from May 6 through May 26 - the first THREE entrants in
our Facebook giveaway will each receive a SIGNED copy of THE HERO'S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE. ALL entrants will also be eligible to win a $200 GIFT CARD to a BOOKSTORE of his or her choice.

The SECRET CODE to enter the GIVEAWAY is: Prince Charming


You know what else is happening in May? The characters from The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle will be traveling around the blogosphere. Did you know Prince Gustav (Rapunzel's Prince Charming) likes to sit in trees when he's feeling sad? Or that Prince Liam (Sleeping Beauty's Prince Charming)'s signature move is The Double-Flip Half-Twist Disarming Sword Thrust?

Find out more about your favorite characters all month!:

Monday, May 6th - Cari Blogs hosts Prince Liam
Tuesday, May 7th - Ms Yingling Reads hosts The Gray Phantom
Wednesday, May 8th -Bookalicious hosts Rapunzel
Thursday, May 9th - Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia hosts Deeb Rauber
Friday, May 10th - Kid Lit Frenzy hosts Prince Frederic
Saturday, May 11th - The Write Path hosts Cap'n Gabberman
Sunday, May 12th - Flashlight Reader hosts Mister Troll
Monday, May 13th - Mundie Kids hosts Snow White
Tuesday, May 14th - Candace's Book Blog hosts Ella
Wednesday, May 15th - Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers hosts Little Taylor
Thursday, May 16th - Novel Novice hosts Ruffian the Blue
Friday, May 17th - The Hiding Spot hosts Lord Rundark
Saturday, May 18th - Mod Podge Books hosts Lila
Sunday, May 19th - Poisoned Rationality hosts Wrathgar
Monday, May 20th - Buried in Books hosts Vero
Tuesday, May 21st - Small Review hosts Frank
Wednesday, May 22nd - Book Rat hosts Briar Rose
Thursday, May 23rd - Alison's Book Marks hosts Prince Gustav
Friday, May 24th - There's a Book hosts Prince Duncan
Saturday May 25th - Bunbury in Stacks hosts Madu
Sunday, May 26th - A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust hosts Stanislav Flimsham

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

We're Celebrating #IndieThursday at Malaprop's Bookstore

In honor of #IndieThursday, today we welcome Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe to the Walden Pond Press blog. 

We had the pleasure of chatting with Laura Donohoe, the Assistant Bookstore Manager and Receiving Manager, and Caroline Christopoulos, Book Buyer and Community Events Coordinator, at Malaprop's about what makes their store so special. In addition to all the great commentary about their very special store, Laura and Caroline also emphasize that Malaprop's has a fantastic website as well (as do many indie stores). For those of you who have recently lost a store in your area, consider purchasing from Malaprop's.

Welcome Laura and Caroline!

Tell us about your store, what makes Booksellers at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe unique?

Malaprop's is a unique store in a unique town.  Asheville, NC is a quirky hotbed of liberals, radicals, punks, spiritualists, hippies, hipsters, nerds, mountain folk, lesbians, and academics (much of our community is several of these groups put together.)  Malaprop's has the AWESOME opportunity to bring books that might appeal to these folk- our regional selection, general fiction, poetry, children's and young adult, and graphic novel sections are particularly impressive.  The booksellers range in age from their early 20s to their early 60s and our tastes are broad.  We like cute books, romantic books, scary books, serious books, intense fiction, fluid poetry, radical politics, and pretty pictures.  We celebrate each other like a family would- enjoying each others’ gifts and the things each of us bring to the store, and forgiving each others’ weaknesses.  Our events are awesome- we have lots of them and we feature never before heard of poets with their new chapbooks, and New York Times bestselling authors who bring crowds of hundreds.  Some of us are extroverts and some are introverts.  We love to talk lots with our customers, authors, and coworkers regardless.  We each love Malaprop's like it's our motherland.

Give us a virtual tour – what do we see when we first walk in? Is there a certain section that jumps out at us? Where do we find the children’s section?

 When you first walk in to Malaprop's you see a round table full of teetering stacks of "new and notable" paperbacks...local favorites and national bestsellers often comprise the selections on this table.  You smell the delicious coffee brewing away in the cafe to the left of the front door (this is also where our amazing and very deep Regional collection of titles can be found), and see the sun streaming over author event tables in the front windows to the right of the front door.  The first section you will walk past is our staff picks (Malaprop's bestselling section!) which always features big colorful children's picture books marching across the top...after the staff picks, folks must go past all the less interesting areas of the store to the very back, where kids books live!  They take up the whole back wall of the store, plus a little of the north wall (we're taking over!!!).

How do you match a child or a parent with a book? What questions do you ask?

When both parent and child are in the store, I try to talk to the child directly.  Some kids are shy, some are too little, some just don't know what they want...but I think it is important to give a child agency in the book selection process by including them directly.  When they ask for a book, I try to first guess their age and ask if I'm right (I'm often off by 1 year...) then I ask what kind of books they like - or which books are their favorites.  Then I can find some comparable titles that maybe they haven't heard of. It is the best feeling in the world when I can send a young person or a family home with something new that they were not expecting and can’t wait to read!

What are your favorite titles to hand sell right now?

How much space do you have for this one!  Currently, some of our favorite things to hand sell are Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz, Who Done It? edited by Jon Scieszka, Colin Fischer by Ashley Miller, The Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne Valente (I really could go on and on).  I am answering this as one of the Children’s Book Buyers, but our entire staff loves YA and Children’s books to such an extent that we all fight to help anyone asking for recommendations!!

Does your bookstore coordinate school visits with authors?

Or do you work with local teachers and librarians in some other way? Currently we do not coordinate school visits, but we do work with many local teachers and librarians.  We frequently have large groups of kids come with their teachers to shop the store for books they would like for themselves and their classrooms.  Librarians from both local schools and area public libraries come and purchase what they need to keep their shelves stocked with the latest and greatest or to replenish those titles that get too worn and torn from so much use.  We really enjoy those interactions and the dialogue they allow us to have about all sorts of things with the students, teachers and librarians.
Why are children’s books an integral part of your store?   

Malaprop’s Bookstore/CafĂ© is such a critical part of the local community.  We are currently in our 31st year under the original ownership and our vision and mission has consistently been to be there for this community in all ways possible. We have customers who literally grew up in this store. We sold them their favorite books as children and now we are helping them select books for their children.  We wouldn’t be able to play such a large role in the community without our children’s section. Plus…kid’s books are just the absolute most fun to sell!! 

Can interested parties buy books from your website?   
Yes they can!!!! We have an amazing website. You can purchase anything - from the books you expect to find to our Malaprop’s Exclusive items that you can only find here. Our entire event schedule is available for months in advance and, when the events are ticketed, you can purchase tickets online as well. You can see all of our staff favorites if you need recommendations and we also post the store bestsellers each week – including our bestselling Children’s Books!  I wish more people realized that many Independent Bookstores have very, very good websites and that they can easily support a local bookstore even if they no longer have one in their immediate neighborhood simply by shopping on line with a great Indie they have discovered while traveling or heard about from a friend.

Why are independent bookstores so important to the future of reading?  

Books are about great ideas, and great ideas should be discussed and shared.  When you walk into an independent bookstore, you are walking into a place where the people have come together for the love of these ideas.  Anyone can open the newspaper and find the “bestseller” lists, but the fact that a book sold enough copies to make those lists does not necessarily indicate that it is best book out there (and, in my opinion, frequently, means just the opposite!). There are thousands of wonderful books and authors you have no chance of discovering without the help of someone whose lifelong passion it is to make sure you do.  If those books don’t sell, the publishers will stop publishing them and that will be such a heartbreaking loss to everyone. Helping people find those books iselpin what we are here for and that is something that a corporately controlled operation will never have the flexibility (or desire) to do.  Books are much more than just another commodity – they can be life changing and their care and feeding should be entrusted to people who genuinely want them to stay around for the long run!

How to find Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe

Location: Asheville, NC
Contact Info:828-254-6734;

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway for SIDEKICKED!

We're giving away copies of SIDEKICKED on Goodreads! Enter to win your own copy right here: 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sidekicked by John David     Anderson


by John David Anderson

Giveaway ends April 25, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


"A super book! will make you wish you could turn pages faster than a speeding bullet, just to find out what’s going to happen next.  Whether you see yourself as a hero, a sidekick, or just an OC (ordinary citizen), you’ll find a lot to love in this funny, suspenseful book."
- Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of the Shadow Children series

"the perfect training manual for superheroes everywhere."

-          - Kirkus Reviews

SYNOPSIS: With not nearly enough power comes way too much responsibility. Andrew Bean is a sidekick. Well, sort of a sidekick. To be a sidekick you have to have someone to stand beside know...kick with, but Drew's superhero counterpart is tucked away in a bar somewhere trying to forget his glory days. The result: Drew usually ends up being saved by someone else's hero. He knows he shouldn't complain. Not everybody is blessed with super powers (though admittedly his are pretty lame) or gets to be part of a super secret organization of crime fighters (though H.E.R.O. has too many rules) or gets to be best friends with a girl who can bench press a bulldozer (though lately she's been acting strange). It's just that it's hard to finish your history project when you are dangling over a vat of acid. And it's even harder when you're not sure what...or believe in.

AUTHOR BIO: John David Anderson is the author of one other novel for young readers, STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR. He lives with his wife, two kids, and whiny cat in Indianapolis. He hates sloppy joes, isn’t too fond of neckties, and has no notable superpowers to speak of. Yet.

Celebrate Willow Books in Acton, MA for #IndieThursday

We're back with another #IndieThursday post, this time featuring a local New England bookstore: Willow Books in Acton, MA. As you will see from the pictures below, the store has an expansive children's section and has been a part of the Acton community for sixteen years, so you can bet a lot of local kids grew up with them. Jill Cadogan, the merchandise manager, took some time out to tell us more about the store. 
How to find Willow Books: 
Location: Acton, Massachusetts
Contact Info: 978-266-0066;
Welcome Jill! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us about your store. Can you start by telling us what makes Willow Books so unique?

Willow Books is one of the largest independent bookstores in New England. We have been an integral part of our community for 16 years, so we know our customer base very well. Our staff is always ready to find books for any age and any interest. Our store is also a very comfortable place to shop. It is clean, well lit and easy to navigate.

Give us a virtual tour- what do we see when we first walk in? Is there a certain section that jumps out at us? Where do we find the children's section?

The first thing people notice when they come in is how expansive the store is—it is very wide in the front and the sight lines are very pleasing.  The children's section takes up the back third of the store and you will frequently find children scattered all around reading on the floor or sitting in the chair and being read to by a parent.

How do you match a child or a parent with a book? What questions do you ask?

We have such a good selection that  we can always find the right  book, even when someone is not sure what he or she is looking for. The staff members all have favorites that they love to point out, or we can find the right book by asking targeted questions about the child's interest or reading history.

What are your favorite titles to hand sell right now?

For Middle Grade we love the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio and for young adult we love anything by John Green. Poems to Learn by Heart edited by Caroline Kennedy is a favorite for all ages.

Does your bookstore coordinate school visits with authors? Or do you work with local teachers and librarians in some other way? 

We have worked with our local schools for a few author visits, but because children love to visit our store we prefer to host the authors here.  We always encourage our local teachers to let us know if they have a particular author or title that they would like us to feature in the store. The goal is to get as many kids reading as many books as possible! We find that it only takes one special book to get a child hooked on reading, so the trick is to get that special book into the child's hands.

Why are children's books an integral part of your store?

Our store is located in a suburban market with an excellent school system, so our main customers are families with young children. We love to inspire these young kids to read and enjoy the atmosphere that we create here.

Can interested parties buy books from your website?

We do have a searchable website ( A customer can request that a book be held or order for them through this site.

We can ship the book to them if they would like, but most people prefer to come in and see us to pick up their books.
Why are independent bookstores so important to the future of reading?

Browsing in a bookstore is one of the great pleasures in life, and it is sad to think that there are many areas of the country where this is just not possible right now. Our customers are always remarking that they feel lucky to live in a community that has a good bookstore. There are no more local small chains and fewer large ones too, so the fact that we have survived is a testament to how our customers feel about Willow Books. We have worked very hard to stay relevant!

Thanks for a fantastic interview! We hope those of you in Massachusetts will head over to Willow books to check them out! 
There are lots of fantastic stores out there, so please leave a comment on this blog or find us on Twitter or Facebook if you work for or shop at a store you would like us to consider for this feature.