9780385494229Erin Gruwell, author of The Freedom Writers Diary (Broadway Books, October 1999) reflects on her recent trip to Israel

I am on the plane, heading home from Israel, and I feel compelled to share. My trip to Israel was inspiring and eye-opening. I did over 20 events on behalf of the US Embassy and 7 events for Palestinians in the West Bank (and Gaza) on behalf of the US ‎Consulate General. All told, I worked in over a dozen cities, addressed thousands of people and hugged hundreds. I will never forget the faces, nor the stories they shared.

I was fortunate to present workshops at every major university, engage in difficult discussions with thought leaders, motivate high school students, ask and answers complex questions with NGO’s and banter with both Israelis and Palestinians–many of whom are talented teachers, intellectually curious students and passionate people who are hungry for peace. It is possible. (more…)

9780307464972A letter of appreciation from Sara Brown, Library Media Specialist at Portage High School in Portage, Michigan.

It is my honor to write in behalf of Mr. Max Brooks, the guest speaker at our first ever Portage CommuniTEEN Read event on November 12, 2015.

We asked Mr. Brooks to be part of this inaugural event in our community to help lay a solid foundation for years to come. He is a fantastic speaker who engages his audience by lacing important topics with humor. We had almost 1,000 students attend his presentations; many were 9″‘ graders. Max kept them engaged and interested which was evident by the 20-30 hands that were raised anytime he asked if there were more questions. Based on participation, adults were no less engrossed. (more…)

9780812995411By Wayne Maines, father of Nicole Maines. The Maines family is the focus of Amy Ellis Nutt’s Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family (Random House, October 2015)

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Maine. Before the lecture I spent an hour walking around their beautiful campus, thinking about how to frame my discussion about equality, harassment and my family without getting too emotional. I was concerned that breaking into tears might distract from my message, which acknowledges that we have indeed come far these past five years, but further stresses that there is still a great deal of work to be done.

I am the proud father of identical twins: one is a boy and one is a girl. My beautiful daughter Nicole is transgender. This talk was important to me, a chance to meet with senior staff, middle management and students and have a conversation about transgender rights in schools. (more…)

9780767901260By Ron Suskind, author of A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League (Broadway Books, 1999)

Two decades ago, I went to the toughest school I could find in America. It happened to be in my hometown, Washington, DC, where I was the national affairs reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Bill Clinton was President, an economic boom was beginning, and despite the OJ Simpson verdict and Rodney King’s plea to “just get along,” there was reasoned optimism that progress in race relations was underway, slow but steady, with a growing African-American middle class and opportunities borne of affirmative action. I found a young man, a big dreamer with a dad in jail and a struggling mom, and followed him, his family, and an ensemble of characters, several of them white and privileged, for four years. The yield-a Pulitzer Prize­ winning series and then best-selling book, A Hope in the Unseen-were works that I hoped would last, and they did. Like The Other Wes Moore or Bryan Stevenson‘s Just Mercy, Hope was a favorite of the common reading experience and went on to sell a half-million copies. (more…)

teachereventCOVERCalling all Tri-State Area Educators! You are invited to the Penguin Random House Seventh Annual Author Event for NYC Educators. Please RSVP as soon as possible to reserve your spot; space for this event fills up quickly!

Held at the Random House building in midtown Manhattan on Monday, October 12th from 1-4pm, the event will feature nine authors who will each discuss and sign free copies of their book.

The featured authors are: Ian Doescher, Shakespeare’s Star Wars series; Dana Alison Levy, The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher; David Lubar, Sophomores and Other Oxymorons; Naomi Novik, Uprooted; Robert Repino, Mort(e); Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, Choosing Hope; Lance Rubin, Denton Little’s Deathdate; Jon Scieszka, Frank Einstein series & Guys Read/Guys Listen; Rachel Swaby, Headstrong; and Clive Thompson, Smarter Than You Think.

Click here for the official invitation. Click here to RSVP.

Questions? Email teacherevent@penguinrandomhouse.com.

9780553446791By Rachel Swaby, author of Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—And the World (Broadway Books, April 2015)

A programmer examines a computer as massive as a room and finds the first computer bug—a moth stuck in the machine’s relays. A 10-year old is hunting for treasure and discovers a Dinosaur skeleton. Hidden in a pile of data, a woman finds the inner core of the earth, another reveals nuclear fission, and another spots evidence of continental drift in the ocean floor. Who are these incredible scientists? Most of us can’t even name one.

I wrote Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—And the World to help reveal the hidden history of women in STEM fields. The desire to write these stories was three-pronged. First, I was dismayed at the way women in science were being covered. When the New York Times obituary for the rocket scientist Yvonne Brill started with, “She made a mean beef stroganoff,” I was as disappointed as the rest of the internet. I wanted to rewrite Yvonne Brill’s profile and find a way to more appropriately honor the exceptional work of other women in science. (more…)

Photo credit by Isabelle Dervaux

Photo credit by Isabelle Dervaux

By Jessie Hartland, author of Steve Jobs: Insanely Great (Schwartz & Wade, July 2015)

Dear Reader,

Steve Jobs. He was willful and rebellious and did NOT like to follow rules. He dropped out of college after just one semester, grooved on psychedelic drugs, and delved into meditation. Then, at age twenty-one, he started a little business in his parents’ garage that became the world’s most valuable company. Who was this guy? I had to know more. Who wouldn’t want to know more?!

The result of that curiosity is my new graphic biography. No need to get crushed by a cinder block of a book—STEVE JOBS: Insanely Great is a quick but complete read, taking you from Steve’s roots in the early days of Silicon Valley to his ouster from and triumphant return to Apple to his role in creating all the cool iProducts everyone wants. (more…)

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