Sunday 29 January 2012

News Roundup: Reading App, New Covers & More

Well the exciting news just keeps on coming so I think I'm just going to do a regular roundup with some of the press releases I get sent from various publishers.  Some of this I'm sure you'll have already come across but hopefully there will be something new to catch your interest!


If you're anything like me you'll have had a collection of the Ladybird Classics when you were a child (I'm pretty sure I've still got most of mine in a box in the loft somewhere!).  I loved these books and read them over and over again, a particular favourite was Mick the Disobedient Puppy and there was another one about a carousel horse that came to life but I can't remember the title of it.  Anyway, kids today don't have to settle for just the books, they can now have a fully interactive reading experience with the Ladybird Classic Me Books App.  Here is the press release to give you all the details:

Sir David Jason joins Adam Buxton and Josie Lawrence for an exciting new update to the award-winning Ladybird Classic Me Books App

London, UK – 26th January 2012 - Due to popular demand Penguin Children’s Books is delighted to announce additional titles in its No1 hit, Ladybird Classic Me Books App, along with an exciting new SAVE feature! Me Books is an innovative picture book app that allows parents and children to interact with and personalize picture books in an entirely new way. The Ladybird Classic Me Books App is available from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch for £0.69.

Sir David Jason joins the voice talents of Adam Buxton and Josie Lawrence; the well-known personalities that made the initial launch so popular. New titles include Puss in Boots, Rumpelstiltskin, Cinderella ‘Well Loved Tales’, Tootles the Taxi and Nursery Rhymes. These tales will join the existing 13 titles that are available as In-App purchases through the App Store, at £0.69 each.

Sir David Jason explains:
"The first time I clapped eyes on Me Books I was blown away. I knew these beautiful little Ladybird books very well, as we all do, but this new technology really brings something special to the table. It's storytelling with super powers. I thoroughly enjoyed narrating these stories and was so impressed by Me Books I've just bought an iPad for my family."

The additional titles follow on from the critically acclaimed launch of the app in August. Accolades include:

- The Telegraph’s ‘Top 10 kid’s apps, 2011’
- Winner of the Lovie Award 2011
- Apps Magazine - Best Entertainment App 2011 Award
- Shortlisted for the FutureBook Awards – Best Children’s App

The app includes a range of innovative features that create unique and engaging reading experiences, including:

READ. Me Books brings the picture book app experience back to reading and telling stories. We’ve added nothing to the books themselves, just a new way to bottle the creativity and imagination they inspire.

LISTEN. Classic stories are brought to life with charming narration from well known voices along with enchanting sound effects. Simply touch the words and pictures to hear them.

RECORD. We all know you tell the best stories and do the best voices so Me Books lets you do just that. Add your very own narration and sound effects by drawing audio ‘hotspots’ anywhere on the page.

PLAY. Playing with books is a brilliant way for children to develop their creativity, language and literacy. Me Books allows them to express themselves which isn’t just important, it's a downright hoot.

SAVE. You can now save up to three versions of each book making it possible to cherish your favourite stories time and time again.

Me Books comes with the beloved Ladybird Classics title “The Zoo” and is available for £0.69 from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Eric Huang, Publishing Director Media & Entertainment Penguin Children’s Books, said: “When we launched the Me Books App in August it was an instant success, topping the UK iPad Book App charts in September. Parents who read the same story over and over again to their children naturally start to personalize the story – or focus on details in the illustrations that aren’t in the text. Me Books offer interactive tools to enhance this family reading experience.”

“The response to Me Books has been incredible and the enduring popularity of these classic Ladybird books has been at the heart of it. We're excited to be building on a great start with this update as well as lots more Me Books apps for 2012!" James Huggins, co-Founder of Me Books.


I have been looking forward to reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio ever since I first heard about it, I think this is going to be one of those books that will make me cry my eyes out but hopefully it will leave me feeling good by the end.  This book is being published for both the YA and the adult markets with two very different covers.  I thought I'd share both covers here & see which one you all prefer.  Personally I love the YA cover and am not a big fan of the adult one but do you agree?

YA Cover

Adult Cover

Just in case you've not heard of Wonder before here is the blurb:

The most poignant, moving and heart-warming tale you will read this year; a book to devour in one sitting and press urgently into the hands of your friends and family. A true wonder of a book.

WONDER is the funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial deformity, this shy, bright ten-year-old has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the stares and cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. The thing is, Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

The YA edition is being published in the UK on the 1st of March and the adult edition will be available on the 7th of June.  You can visit the Wonder Facebook page for more information.


I had an exciting email from Faber and Faber about their new project aimed at 13-16 year olds.  Check out the press release below for more information:


Faber and Faber has launched THE SPARK, a place for 13 - 16 year olds who have an interest in creativity and reading. During 2012 THE SPARK, hosted on Facebook, will invite young people to take part in some exciting projects around acting, film-making, writing and music, each linked to and inspired by a Faber Young Adult title. Whilst students aren’t obliged to read the books to take part, we hope that they will not only be inspired to produce some creative work, but will also be encouraged to engage with the related books, and develop a greater interest in reading generally. Our aim is that THE SPARK will become a vibrant community where young people who love reading and creating can meet, talk and share. We have been extremely impressed by the entries for our recent project, run in association with the GUARDIAN, to find a talented young artist to create a new, iconic cover image for William Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES and we hope that we can discover a similar level of creativity in each of the new projects to be launched this year.

Launch Project

ACTING – THE GLIMPSE by Claire Merle publishing June 2012

Launching in January 2012, we’re looking to find a young actor to play one of the characters in Claire Merle’s debut YA novel, THE GLIMPSE, in a series of web films. Entrants are invited to film themselves performing one of two audition scripts available at and all entries will be showcased on THE GLIMPSE You Tube Channel.

The competition is open to anyone aged 13-18 years old (see terms and conditions) and the winner will be announced in March 2012

Coming soon…

Over the next few months we’ll be launching further projects for musicians/composers, film-makers and writers.

Music – THE CREWEL by Gennifer Albin publishing October 2012
We’re calling on musicans, band-members and singer-songwriters to produce an original music track inspired by Gennifer Albin’s novel CREWEL, to feature in the official book trailer. Launches February

Writers – THE THINGS WE DID FOR LOVE by Natasha Farrant
To coincide with publication of Natasha Farrant’sTHE THINGS WE DID FOR LOVE, we are looking for aspiring writers to submit stories, poems or articles inspired by the themes of love or war. Launches March 2012

Filmmaking – THE FURY by Alexander Gordon Smith publishing April 2012
Alexander Gordon Smith's terrifying new book THE FURY is sure to keep readers awake at night. We’re looking for a young filmmaker to make a trailer for it. Launches April 2012

We hope THE SPARK will inspire creativity and conversation around books and plan to continue with further book-related creative projects in the future.

Find out more at Follow THE SPARK @thesparkfeed


I'm a massive fan of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (you can read my review here) so I've been waiting to find out more about the next book in the series.  I was very excited that Laini has announced the title of book 2 along with a teaser that you can read on her blog here.  Obviously this isn't the finished cover but it is a nice way to announce the title:

So what do you think?  I absolutely love it and Days of Blood and Starlight is at the top of my wish list!  Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet?  If you haven't you really should get to it ASAP because it's a fantastic read.


I'm loving the trend of using modern technology to add extra features to books and think this is something we're just going to see more and more of now that smartphones are so popular.  Have a look at this press release from RHCB to see what they have done with the cover for Lauren Kate's new book Fallen In Love.


Random House Children’s Books (RHCB) and Transworld Publishers (TWP) have teamed up with Aurasma, the world’s leading augmented reality platform, to bring bestselling authors Lauren Kate and Sophie Kinsella’s book jackets to life.

When fans download a free app on their Smartphone then hold their device over the front cover of the book, the jacket images will come to life. Special video messages from the author can also be viewed by ‘scanning’ the author photos on the book jackets. The app, which works on iPhone and Android Smartphones, as well as iPad 2 and iPod touch, uses Aurasma’s ‘virtual browser’ to recognise trigger images through the phone’s camera, which then generate video content directly onto the device’s screen.

Fans of Lauren Kate can download the FALLEN BOOKS app and bring the front cover of Fallen In Love to life. The SOPHIE KINSELLA app will activate Sophie Kinsella’s new novel I’ve Got Your Number.

Please click here to see the Aurasma-enabled Fallen In Love cover in action:

Gavin Hilzbrich, Head of Digital Marketing at RHCB and TWP comments: “Increasingly our readers are looking for new ways to interact with authors and we’re always looking for innovative ways to market and enhance our publications. Innovation and development is at the heart of what we do and this project is an example of how we can use cutting edge mobile technology to engage our readers. We’re delighted with the outcome and have had a very positive reaction from retailers and have already set the wheels in motion for incorporating AR into future publications.”

Martina King, Managing Director of Aurasma said; “We are delighted to be working with two of the biggest publishing houses, Random House and Transworld Publishers, in the world’s first use of Aurasma on a book. Both Lauren Kate and Sophie Kinsella have millions of loyal followers around the world who we know will love to use their mobile devices to get closer to the story and their favourite authors. Aurasma offers readers the best of both worlds, bringing together the joy of owning a new book with the excitement of watching it come to life with digital content.”

FALLEN IN LOVE, publishing 2nd February 2012 is a riveting collection of four intertwined love stories featuring the Fallen characters. Since the publication of the first book, Fallen, in December 2009, Kate’s series has become a bona fide smash hit with close to half a million copies sold in the UK alone. All bestsellers in the United States, the novels of the Fallen series: Fallen, Torment, and Passion, have become international sensations, hitting No.1 slots in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, rights have sold in 33 countries and counting. The final novel in the series, Rapture, will be released in the UK in June 2012 taking readers on a journey that will close the chapter on Luce & Daniel’s love forever. Hilzbrich comments ‘With almost 50% of teenagers in the UK owning a Smartphone (and an even greater number having access to an iPod touch) we knew that a large percentage of Lauren Kate’s fans would have one of these devices close at hand, and mobile phones play a very central role’

Random House Children’s books will also be creating augmented reality covers for two further titles this year; broadcaster Simon Mayo’s debut ITCH in March and Starters, a futuristic thriller by Lissa Price in April.

I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER is published in hardback on 16th February (priced £18.99) and is the eagerly-awaited new standalone novel by Sophie Kinsella. It is the hilarious story of a young woman who loses her mobile phone and stumbles across another discarded phone. Through emails, text messages and mysterious phone calls, she becomes mixed up in the life of the owner in a way she could never have expected. With a mobile phone at the heart of the storyline, augmented reality is the perfect method to allow readers to connect with the author and the plot. Sophie Kinsella is the author of 11 number one bestselling novels including the fabulously popular Shopaholic series; her novels have sold over 6 million copies in the UK and Ireland.


Last but not least if you're looking for a little pre-apocalypse fun make sure you check out the new 13th Horseman blog.  I'm really looking forward to reading Barry Hutchison's next book - I'm sure it's going to be a really fun read!  It releases in the UK on the 1st of March so look out for my review towards the end of February and in the meantime here is a bit more information about the book and the new website:

The apocalypse is coming. There’s no way out of I’m afraid. Nope, not even through that sneaky door labelled “exit” – it’s fire and brimstone for us all.

But hey! Let’s not be downbeat about it! Why not laugh your way to the end of the world with some commentary from one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse himself? Ok so he might not be the most mysterious or powerful of the four, but he’s probably not the ugliest anyway. Pestilence has set up his very own blog to document the lead up to the end – which you can read at

Conveniently the countdown to the end of the world coincides with the publication of the hilarious new book from Barry Hutchison, The 13th Horseman on the 1st of March. Barry has created this innovative blog to feature all sorts of extra information on the lives of the horseman. You can now learn why exactly Toxie the Hellhound owes them one, where Pest got that nasty rash and watch Death descend into madness (well, waiting for an apocalypse for thousands of years can be pretty boring). The end of the world has never been so entertaining.

You can find out more about Barry and his books here:


Drake is surprised to find three horsemen of the apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed. He's even more surprised when they insist that he is one of them. They're missing a Horseman, having gone through several Deaths and they think that Drake is the boy for the job. At first he's reluctant to usher in Armageddon but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?

An apocalyptic blend of riotous comedy, heart-stopping action and a richly imagined fantasy adventure.


So that's all the news I have to share with you today, hopefully you found it interesting!


  1. Great, long post today. I prefer the YA cover for Wonder too!

    Jessica from Booked Up!

    :) x

  2. Hi Jessica, there seems to be so much exciting news happening at the moment! I love the YA cover for Wonder - it's so much better than the adult one :o)



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