Tag Archives: Heather Vogel Frederick

Spy Mice Blog Hop & Giveaway with Heather Vogel Frederick

Books for boys…I’m not ashamed to admit as a children’s librarian it’s probably my Achilles heel…somehow very early in my career I became a certifiable princess expert within the library scene. I was always sought out when the need for girly books was crucial especially when the treasured few princess books were checked out or falling to pieces from so much child love. And while I never minded because I got to do Daddy Daughter Tea Parties and wear a ball gown skirt and tiara for programs….this became much more complicated when I was blessed with my beautiful BOY. That’s right…the Mom who knew it all for girls was blessed with the bouncing baby boy! What’s a librarian and a Mom to do? Call in the expert…a favorite children’s book author who just happens to have raised two boys. Did I mention she also happens to be fabulous at writing for girls as well? All right it must be said…she’s just plain fabulous.

Who is she you ask? Well…I always had my go-to books for boys that I trusted every time and the Spy Mice series by Heather Vogel Frederick was always one of those that I went to for reader’s advisory for boys. Spies…mice..adventure…intrigue…what’s not to like? So how wonderful is it that they are now all new in paperback with covers meant to make them irresistible to even the most persnickety of young readers both boy and girl. Lucky for me author Heather Vogel Frederick decided to drop by and answer questions about her favorite mice and their risky adventures. Not only that Stiletto Storytime and The Styling Librarian get to give three lucky readers entire newly released sets of the series. Now that’s something to celebrate! It’s a series I will no doubt be stocking for my boy for on down the reading road. So read on and learn more about this great series and remember to enter to win on the form below by simply sharing your favorite fictional spy.

SPY MICE Q&A

 Author Heather Vogel Frederick

 Q:  What’s the best part about the relaunch of your SPY MICE books?

 A:  Knowing that new readers will have a chance to discover them!  These books are dear to my heart, and I had a blast writing them.

 Q:  What do you think of the new look?

 A:  Fabulous!  I couldn’t be happier.

 Q:  Can you tell us how the books came about?

 A:  Sure.  Not that long ago, in a galaxy not that far away, I had a bright idea. I’d write a story that would pay homage to my misspent youth, or at least the part of it misspent in the living room watching television. I grew up during the heyday of spy-fi TV, addicted to such shows as Get Smart, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, and The Avengers.  My 12-year-old self loved them all.  I loved the glamour, the gadgets, the whole cool factor of espionage, at least as Hollywood portrayed it.

 Grown-up me knew exactly where to set the story. The seed for that idea had been planted when I’d filed away a newspaper clipping about the building of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., along with a scribbled reminder.  (Note to self: Great setting for a story, à la E. L. Konigsburg’sFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.”)

 I noodled around with the concept for a while, came up with a great main character (an aspiring fifth grade spy whose James Bond moves were seriously lacking), but something was missing.  And so I set the story aside and waited for that je ne sais quoi.  And waited.  I’ve learned to trust my muse—she often makes me wait, but she always comes through.  One day, the words “spy mice” drifted into thought, and I was off and running.

 Q:  Do you have a favorite character?

 A:  Mouse or human?

 Q:  Let’s start with mouse.

 A:  Well, the evil rat mastermind Roquefort Dupont is really fun to write, and I have a soft spot for Bunsen (Burner, a shy lab mouse).  I love it when he blushes—which he does often, because he has a crush on secret agent mouse Glory Goldenleaf.

 Q:  And the humans?

 A:  There’s a lot of me in fifth grader Oz Levinson, alas.  When I was his age, we both shared the same awkwardness, the same Walter Mitty-esque delusions of grandeur, complete with deflating reality checks. And we were both bullied.

 Q:  Really?

 A:  Yep.  I was plump, shy, and wore glasses, the trifecta of bully bait back then, at least in my particular corner of suburbia.  Nowadays, schools talk much more openly about bullying, and really make an effort to both prevent the problem, and give kids the tools to deal with it more effectively when it does crop up.  Back then, it was just something to be endured.

 Q:  Would fifth-grade you have appreciated a mouse ally?

 A:  Are you kidding me?  I would have been ecstatic.

 Q:  Who’s your favorite fictional spy?

 A:  Oz may dream of being James Bond, but when I was his age I dreamed of being Emma Peel from The Avengers.  No one wears a black leather catsuit like Emma does.

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Filed under Author Interviews & Posts, Blog Tour, Children's Literature, Heather Vogel Frederick, Middle Grade, New Books

It’s Another Happy Birthday Dearest Jane!

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Happy Birthday to Jane Austen!

I am always reminded as I trim my tree with one special ornament flown in all the way from Bath, England ….It’s that time of year again. Once again it is time to celebrate the birth of my favorite and undoubtedly one of the most influential and talented authors in all of history: Ms. Jane Austen herself. I always love talking about Jane especially with other Janeites who love her just as much as I do…mostly because she seems to cross all barriers and holds such a dear place in my own heart. She is beloved around the world and even non-readers know her name and work through various forms of media that now make her even more immortal. She continues to inspire and create for one simple reason: she is truly timeless. Her work is such an exquisite study of human nature that it can fit in  any time period or place in history in which one might try and place it. Beyond that she continues to inspire writers today in amazingly large numbers whether their work be connected to her characters, herself or her memory. To help commemorate Ms. Austen’s birthday here at Stiletto Storytime I have invited two of my favorite Austen loving authors to share what Jane has meant to them personally. So fellow Janeites enjoy and do light a candle tonight in celebration while your peruse your favorite Austen masterpiece, giggle along with Bridget Jones or dream of Colin Firth….in any case have a fabulous Austen evening!

Happy birthday, dear Jane!  I wish I could give you a gift, for you’ve given me so many over the years, from six of the best novels a girl could ever ask for, to one of the best pieces of writing advice a girl could ever wish for:  

“Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on,” you counseled your niece a long time ago.  I hope you don’t mind that I took your words to heart, too.  They helped steer my Mother-Daughter Book Club series, which I set in my old hometown of Concord, Massachusetts — a village of which you would have heartily approved.  I had such fun writing those stories that I’m diving in all over again with a new book set in another village, the fictional town of Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire.

So thank you, Jane, for blazing a trail for so many of us who have followed you, pen in hand.  We may never measure up to your inimitable genius, but we’ll nevertheless delight in every step of the way.

Respectfully yours,
Heather Vogel Frederick

What Jane Austen Means To Me…

Hmmm…tough question.  What Jane Austen means to me is almost indefinable, perhaps because she is so many things that I simply can’t consolidate.  She is wit, silliness, and romance—lovely, memorable romance—and certainly, she is comfort.  Her own novels bring back a simpler time, even with all the rules and restrictions.  And the fictions written by all of her fans offer another connection to that charming setting that was never truly imaginary: The World of Jane Austen.  She has infused her novels with such substance that they feel real and relevant even centuries later.  That is magic—she is magic, perhaps that’s the best way to describe what she means to me.  Jane has a sparkle that I hope will never dim in the eyes of the world’s readers.

Happy Birthday Jane!  No candles necessary—you’re glowing! ~Alyssa Goodnight

Jane Austen Birthday Celebration Giveaway

What would a birthday be without gifts? And thanks to these two truly fabulous ladies two lucky Stiletto Storytime winners will walk away with a little Austen themed literary goodness to help celebrate the occasion. One lucky winner will receive a copy of Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick and another lucky winner will receive a copy Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight.

To enter please share below what Jane Austen has meant to you. When did she first come into your world? How did she make her entrance….do you think she’ll ever leave? 

Giveaway will end on December 23, 2012 at midnight EST. This giveaway is open to US/CAN addresses only please. Winners will be chosen by random number generator and notified by e-mail.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway at Stiletto Storytime (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Classic Literature, Events, Heather Vogel Frederick, Jane Austen

Christmas Books Giveaway Hop with Author Heather Vogel Frederick

christmas books hopIt’s that time of year again folks! I’m not going to lie…I love Christmas. I always have and having a three year old now who is literally obsessed with Christmas has only made it more special. One of my favorite things about Christmas has also always been that extra reading time and if I am lucky bookstore gift cards coming my way or even that one special book under the tree on Christmas morning. So to celebrate I am participating in the Christmas Book Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer & Laurie Here. This great giveaway hop has over 120 blogs participating and giving away one or more Christmas themed tomes. Make sure to check out the participating blog list here.

This holiday season I decided to team up with the always lovely, talented and extremely generous Heather Vogel Frederick so we could provide some very lucky reader with copies of her fifth installment in the fabulous Mother- Daughter Book Club series:  Home for the Holidays. It’s the perfect read for Mom or Daughter…or even better Mom and Daughter together. It would also make a fantastic Christmas present and I know Heather would be more than happy to sign it to that special someone if you’d like. She’s just that kind of person. A true gem of an author indeed. I have honestly enjoyed every book in this series and each can be read alone or in order so don’t worry if you’re not all caught up!

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To enter to win just comment below and let us know your favorite book to read during this time of year…it doesn’t have to be Holiday related whatsoever. For instance I often re-read my favorite classics this time of year simply because I have the time. This year I am re-reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo in preparation for the release of the movie musical. So…as you sip hot cocoa, sit by the fire and maybe just maybe…watch it snow ( who am I kidding…I live in Georgia)…what book will you have in hand?

Three lucky winners will be chosen here at Stiletto Storytime to win their own copy of Home for the Holidays by Heather Vogel Frederick. This Giveaway Hop will end on December 9, 2012 at midnight EST. This giveaway is open to US/CAN addresses only. Winners will be chosen by random number generator and notified by e-mail.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Check out Heather Vogel Frederick’s Website & Share Something You Learned/Found Interesting

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway at Stiletto Storytime (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Book Blogs, Contests, Girly Books, Heather Vogel Frederick, Middle Grade, New Books, Reading Fun, Young Adult Books

2nd Annual Holiday Read-a-Thon

It’s that time of year again. Time for the second annual Holiday Read-a-thon! So cozy up with a nice big pile of your favorite reads and let’s get going! And while diving into your very own favorite books might seem like a holiday treat in and of itself…make sure to check out the all the details and the awesome mini-challenges that Liza at WhoRuBlog has put together including one from moi! That’s right a fantastic mini-challenge and prize pack giveaway from one of my favorite authors who just happens to be a spectacular person as well. And don’t fret…it’s not too late to enter.

Stiletto Storytime Mini-Challenge

What better way to celebrate holiday reading than with a great holiday book. Enter the latest addition to The Mother Daughter Book Club Series titled Home for the Holidays where the girls get introduced to none of than the Betsy-Tacy books! So for this mini-challenge what better prize than to win your very own autographed copy of Home for the Holidays, the newly released Betsy-Tacy Treasury, the first two Betsy-Tacy High School Books and a special Betsy-Tacy tote bag! What a haul! Big thanks to the always generous Heather Vogel Frederick for making this giveaway not only possible but wonderful as well.

So what’ the challenge? It’s really easy- just share your favorite holiday read? It doesn’t have to be a classic or even holiday related…just let us know in the comments below what you enjoying reading this time of year and most importantly why? It can be from a cherished childhood memory, a yearly personal tradition or just your own preference…just let us know why it’s important to you. That’s all it takes. Simple right?

 Giveaway ends midnight EST December 5th 2011. This giveaway is open US/Canada shipping addresses only. Winner will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail address or Twitter. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter (Leave Name)

Be/Become a Follower of Liza of WhoRuBlog on Twitter (Leave Name)

Like the new “Mother Daughter Book Club Page” on Facebook (Leave Name)

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Books for Girls, Challenges, Children's Literature, Girly Books, Heather Vogel Frederick, Middle Grade, New Books, Reading Challenge, Young Adult Books

Review & Giveaway: Babyberry Pie by Heather Vogel Frederick

http://www.ci.oswego.or.us/library/youth/literacy/images/babyberrypie.gif “Take one wiggly baby, scrubbed clean. Add sugar to his nose and toes. Tuck him into a warm pie crust. Don’t forget a kiss good night! That’s the perfect recipe for a babyberry pie- and a peaceful bedtime. (Just don’t let that little giggleberry wiggle away!)”

Babyberry Pie is a delightful picture book that’s just perfect as that special way to help say goodnight. A playful rhyme to share one-on-one with your little one or to read aloud to a group, it’s lullaby rhythm makes it a winner either way.  As we ready baby for bed…we go through the normal motions of bath time and tucking in…however we are also making baby into a pie. This tale pairs a sweet rhyme with perfectly matched illustrations from Amy Schwartz to create a great bedtime read. While my little man does not sit still for much, he did sit still through all of Babyberry Pie. He especially enjoyed the part where baby gets sugared from his head to his toes!

As a librarian I can’t help but think about what a great addition this book would be to any storytime collection. Perfect for a “bedtime” themed storytime or even lap sit. The easy rhythm and theme will make it a much used treasure.

Also remember to keep a watch out for Hide and Squeak coming in February of 2011 from Heather Vogel Frederick and C.F. Payne.

Book Giveaway

One lucky Stiletto Storytime reader will receive their own copy of Babyberry Pie from the delightful Heather Vogel Frederick herself. To enter simply leave a comment below sharing your favorite bedtime picture book. US/Canada addresses only. Giveaway ends at midnight on January 5, 2011. Good luck and happy reading to all.

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Filed under Children's Literature, Children's Picture Books, Heather Vogel Frederick, New Books

Review & Giveaway: Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick

“Right before the start of their freshman year, the mother-daughter book club faces yet another challenge when Emma’s family unexpectedly moves to England. Leave it to the resourceful girls, however, to find a way to continue meeting and discuss a particularly fitting choice, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

In England, Emma encounters a new queen bee, Annabelle, who sets out to make her life miserable. Back in Massachusetts, meanwhile, Annabelle’s cousins swap homes with Emma’s family and are causing some major distractions. Cassidy clashes with moody Tristan, a modern day Mr. Darcy, while her friends swoon over Tristan’s younger brother Simon. As the year progresses, the girls each discover new talents, and when they cook up a plan to bring Emma home for a visit by holding a bake sale, it grows into a thriving business, Pies & Prejudice. After their sweet scheme looks like it’s going to fall short, though, they’re left wondering if the club will ever all be together again.”

It’s no secret that the The Mother Daughter Book Club series is one of my favorites for girls and now for teens as well since the girls are growing up and so are their book selections.  Best of all they are finally discovering my favorite author: Jane Austen. From the very first book in the series, we saw Austen connections with Emma whose mother just happens to be an Jane Austen loving librarian. She even named her son Darcy (something I tried and my husband nixed by the way). So it was only a matter of time before the girls aged and encountered Jane among other things such as boys and the pressures of starting of high school.

In Pies & Prejudice we get all the things we love about the series and much much more. One of my favorite aspects of the books has always been the girls themselves. Each girl is so unique that almost any reader can identify and connect with a character on a personal level. As the girls have grown older, readers may find themselves connecting with another or multiple characters as well. No matter what there is a girl for each reader to find something in common with. With a great story, fantastic characters and the immersion into the true classic Pride and Prejudice, this book has become my favorite of the series so far. I loved how each chapter began with an Austen quote which connected with the upcoming happenings in that chapter. Austen lovers, teens and mothers will all enjoy this special book.  Read it with The Mother Daughter Book Club Series, read it as a stand alone or even read it along with Pride and Prejudice. No matter what you choose you’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget to share it with all the mothers and daughters in your life.

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Series Giveaway

Thanks to the fantastic Heather Vogel Frederick two lucky winners will receive a copy of all four books in The Mother Daughter Book Club series by simply leaving a comment below sharing their favorite Austen themed book or series. Remember to leave your e-mail address. US/Canada addresses only. Giveaway ends on December 31, 2010. Merry Christmas & Good Luck to All from Heather Vogel Frederick and Stiletto Storytime.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Books for Girls, Children's Literature, Girly Books, Heather Vogel Frederick, Jane Austen, Middle Grade, New Books, Young Adult Books

Happy Birthday Dearest Jane

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Today marks the 235th anniversary of the birth of British author Jane Austen. Austen was born on December 16, 1775. 1775: How amazing is it fact that a woman who lived in a time so removed from our own, can still remain one of the most beloved writers to ever put ink to page?

I came upon my Austen devotion quite early thanks to the abundance of classics in my great grandmother’s bookshelves. She never believed in limiting me or my reading choices by my age. Looking back on this her reasons were probably two-fold: first her library consisted of mostly classical works which were very unlikely to damage my young mind and secondly my reading level was near that of your average English major by middle school. I don’t think anyone knew what to do with me at that point since I had exhausted all the reading options that were age designated. I literally grew up on books, my family never pushed me to read in an unhealthy fashion although of course they never discouraged my book addiction either. I simply had a book in my hand as soon as I was capable of it. To me reading was as necessary as breathing. It was the same to my Granny.

Years later after her death my mother and I went through her boxes of books that she had always claimed would someday come to me. As we opened each box, I waited barely breathing. As I looked over the treasure of classics and old books that showed my Grandmother’s reading library in all it’s detail, I hoped just one was contained within. Meticulously as my Granny would read a book inside she would write her name and the year she had read the book. Most of the books showed this distinctive habit but many did not. As my mother finally pulled out the treasured book I had wished with all my heart was in the box…I took it in my hands and took a deep breath. It was her copy of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. And as I opened the cover I saw the inscription that brought tears to my eyes.

R. Welch 1971.

Of all the books I have held in my hands and perused with my mind…this is one that means the most. Pride and Prejudice has always been a favorite of mine. It’s always been a book that I could fall into and live in again and again. But what means the most is not only that it is Jane but it is a connection to a woman who made me who I am today. A woman who led me on my path not only to reading but to Jane and eventually librarianship and a desire to spread the classics to others… most of all children.

Sometimes we have “kindred spirits” in this world and just rarely I believe we are lucky enough to find them. Heather Vogel Frederick is no doubt one of mine. Her passion to spread the love of classic literature with children including dear Jane is one I share with all my heart. I am so pleased to share below a little bit about her love of Jane Austen, her newest Jane inspired work and her much coveted pilgrimage. Welcome Heather once again to Stiletto Storytime!

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For Austen fans, all roads eventually lead to Jane, don’t they?

“When The Mother-Daughter Book Club was first published several years ago, I had absolutely no idea that my tale of four middle-school girls reading Little Women would spark a sequel, let alone what has now become a full-blown series (as of this writing, there are two more books in the works).  And yet, somewhere in the back of my mind I must have been open to the possibility, because in retrospect all the seeds for Pies & Prejudice, my just-published tribute to Jane, were planted right from the start (including Phoebe Hawthorne, the librarian mom who is such an Austen nut that she names her daughter and son Emma and Darcy.)

Once it was clear that there would be more than just the one book, I knew right away that at some point the girls would read Pride and Prejudice.  It is, after all, my favorite book, narrowly edging out Persuasion and Charlotte’s Web.  The question was, though, when would my club be ready for it?  I didn’t want to spring it on them too early and risk spoiling the experience.  As difficult as it was, I had to wait a few books while my girls grew up a little.  And so they went on to read Anne of Green Gables in Much Ado About Anne and Daddy-Long-Legs in Dear Pen Pal.  Finally, as ninth grade and the fourth installment rolled around, I deemed that they were ready for Jane.

Christmas came just as I was preparing to launch into the research for what would become Pies & Prejudice. Wanting to get me a meaningful gift, my husband presented me with a glorious set of the Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen.

“I had hoped to find first edition Austens for you,” he confided.  “But they were, um, expensive.”

“Really?” I replied, somehow managing to keep a straight face.  “I had no idea.”  I waited until he left the room to fall on the floor laughing.  Bless his heart, he is such an innocent.

I’m thrilled with the new set, of course, which joins my Everyman’s Library edition and Penguin Classics edition and several dog-eared paperback editions on the shelf.  And of course Jane is on my Kindle in her entirety as well.  One simply cannot be without one’s Austen, and I don’t leave home without her.  And leave home I did, at the earliest opportunity.  Travel for research is one of the perks of a writer’s life, and I take full advantage of it whenever I can, in this case hightailing it to England, where Bath and Chawton and all the other Austen sites awaited.  You can read about my pilgrimage here.

But I can sum it up in one word for you right now:  Sublime.

(Pictured: Heather Vogel Frederick and Jane Austen’s Writing Desk)

My goal for Pies & Prejudice, as with all the other titles in this series, is two-fold:  first and foremost, to tell a good story, because it is a truth universally acknowledged that a good story is the beating heart of any book.  Beyond that, however, I also hope to inspire my readers to seek out the originals and read them, too.  There are certain books that deserve to be known and loved by a new generation, and nothing could make me happier than if my Mother-Daughter Book Club series was single-handedly responsible for a spike in sales of Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Daddy-Long-Legs, Pride and Prejudice, and whatever classic novel my fictional book club ends up tackling next.

My plan appears to be working.  “Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorites now,” wrote one young reader recently, her words echoed by numerous others in the letters and emails I receive.  And really, what better reward is there for a writer, and an Austen fan, than that?”

~Heather Vogel Frederick

Coming up on Stiletto Storytime:

Review and Giveaway of Heather Vogel Frederick’s Pies & Prejudice which has been praised by School Library Journal: 

“With interesting facts about Austen interspersed throughout, and a visit to relevant sites in England incorporated, this book makes an excellent introduction to one of the most masterful—and popular—writers of all time. Don’t be surprised if 12-year-olds start checking out Pride & Prejudice after reading this teen-tailored adaptation.”

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Filed under Author Interviews & Posts, Classic Literature, Heather Vogel Frederick, Jane Austen