Category Archives: Best Middle Grade Books

The Germans are NOT fooling around

I’d been wondering what the deal was with the German edition of Deadweather and Sunrise, because I hadn’t heard anything about it in the more than two years since the rights sold to the lovely people at Carlsen. 9782021089677

Which is a pretty long time–I mean, the French rights didn’t sell until almost a year after that, and Le Trésor des Okalus has been available in fine French bookstores (and hopefully the less fine ones, too) for a couple of months now.

The lack of news from Germany was actually starting to worry me. Not to engage in cultural stereotyping, but you wouldn’t ordinarily think the Germans would take second place to the French in the speed-and-efficiency department.

Turns out I shouldn’t have worried. Apparently, Carlsen just needed the extra time to get a running start at the truly Teutonic levels of Sturm and Drang that are going on with this cover: German cover

Seriously! Right? I mean, if covers could talk…

Hey, let’s imagine they can. Here’s what I’m figuring is on their minds:

las-cronicas-de-egg_11814

 

Spanish cover: Wheeee! What an adventure!

 

 

 

 

9782021089677

 

 

 

French cover: Ah, bonjour! Let us bake a cake!

 

 

 

German cover

 

 

 

German cover: YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.

 

 

 

Dreckswetter und Morgenröte won’t be out until October 2nd — which is probably a good thing, because it’s going to take a while for the schoolchildren of Germany to prepare themselves for the onslaught.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 4 Comments

The Chronicles of Egg: Now Internationally Awesome

What’s that you say? Can’t get enough of The Chronicles of Egg? Tired of re-reading the first two books while pining for the release of Blue Sea Burning next April? 

Why not try reading it in Turkish? Or Italian! Or French! Or Spanish!

Not that you would. But you could! Just look at these:

9782021089677 las-cronicas-de-egg_11814 Mortaria images


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You could even read it in British English, which is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE!

Okay, that’s not actually true. The text of the U.K. editions is basically the same, except for a couple of innocent-seeming American words that turn out to be totally filthy in England… But the covers make them look like a whoooole different series: 

UK cover NewLandsArt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crazy, right? I mean, are these really the same books as these?

Deadweather_and_Sunrise pb art New Lands cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, yeah. They are. Covers are funny things.

Speaking of funny things, if you haven’t seen the Turkish TV ad for Deadweather and Sunrise, it’s worth checking out.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 10 Comments

How To Lose A Major Literary Award

The winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize was just announced in London, and as I predicted on the day the shortlist came out, Deadweather and Sunrise got its scruffy little butt kicked by R.J. Palacio’s Wonder.imgres

Earlier this morning, my British editor emailed me to request that I write an acceptance speech for her to deliver on my behalf at the announcement ceremony in the event that I won.

While I more or less knew this was a complete waste of time (I mean, have you read Wonder? It is heartbreaking), I complied. Because, really, who wants to let down their British editor? I feel lucky to even have a British editor.

But as I wallow in the bitter tears of defeat, it occurs to me that, well, I have this blog…the whole point of which is to post things that are a complete waste of time. So here’s the speech my British editor never had to give on my behalf:

TO BE READ IN THE EVENT OF MY WINNING THE WATERSTONES CHILDREN’S BOOK PRIZE

I am flattered, honored, eternally grateful, and thoroughly convinced that you are all out of your minds.

I can only hope that you do not come to your senses until tomorrow morning at the earliest, so that I can enjoy the spectacle of reading more headlines like the one that appeared in the Telegraph when Deadweather and Sunrise was first short-listed. That particular headline, “Beavis and Butt-head Writer Short-Listed For Literary Award,” provided me no end of joy — irrespective of how relatively minor my two co-written episodes of Beavis and Butt-head were in the context of that show’s several hundred OTHER episodes, none of which I had anything to do with.

This honor also comes as a great relief from a purely nativist perspective. For nearly as long as the United States of America has existed, our domestic writers have received the lion’s share of the blame for the decay of English-language culture, while the United Kingdom has held itself up as the last bastion of eloquence and civility in an increasingly barbarous world.

Having grown up watching repeats of The Young Ones, listening to the Sex Pistols, and quoting Monty Python’s Wink-Wink-Nudge-Nudge sketch from memory, I have never fully understood this affectation.

Which is why it gives me great pleasure to see that you stepped over such a touching and frankly high-class work of genuine, American-bred art as R.J. Palacio’s Wonder in order to recognize a book in which unpleasant young boys employ foul language while bashing each other on the head with cannonballs.

This seems, at long last, to be incontrovertible evidence that Western civilization’s headlong rush off a cliff and into an apocalyptic abyss is, while still arguably America’s fault, at least being abetted by our more putatively cultured forbears across the Atlantic.

In all seriousness, folks, thanks much. If I seriously believed I had a snowball’s chance in Bermuda of winning this award, I would have spent more than three minutes composing my speech. I might even have gotten on a plane to deliver it. If you get a chance, please send an email and let me know if the canapés would have been worth the price of a ticket.

And please do let all the schoolteachers and librarians in the U.K. know that I’m available for school visits and Skype talks.

Thank you again!

Sincerely,

Geoff Rodkey

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg, Less Than Completely Serious | 3 Comments

The Chronicles of Egg blog tour!

So, this is exciting: Deadweather and Sunrise comes out in paperback on Tuesday, and to mark the occasion, I’m going on a blog tour!

How special is this? Special enough to have its own logo!

Egg - Horizontaltourbutton

Those of you who are new to the world of middle-grade book marketing may be asking yourselves what a “blog tour” is. Turns out it’s exactly like Led Zeppelin’s 1977 tour of America, only without the, um…or the, y’know…and definitely none of the, uh…

Okay, it’s got nothing in common with Zeppelin in ’77. Or even Bieber in ’12. The truth is, I’m not even leaving my desk to go on this tour, although I might play Physical Graffiti while I type. Not sure yet.

What the blog tour REALLY is…is an eleven-day virtual tour of eleven different middle grade and YA book blogs — all of them run by thoroughly awesome bloggers to whom I am very grateful for the hospitality. (In this respect, the blog tour actually IS kind of like a fledgling punk band’s van tour, because I will be effectively sleeping on these fine bloggers’ virtual couches for the duration.)

Each day, I’ll visit a new site, write a guest post, and give away a signed copy of the Deadweather paperback. The posts will cover all manner of topics relating to Deadweather and the rest of the Chronicles of Egg series: character spotlights, origin stories, writing insights, and even a sneak peek at book 2, New Lands, which arrives in stores on May 2nd.

Here’s the full schedule, which I’ll update every time a new post appears. In the meantime, check out the sites! They’re awesome:

Tuesday, March 5th: Green Bean Teen Queen “Meet Egg Masterson”

also Tuesday: special bonus author Q&A at Bibliognome!

Wednesday, March 6th: Wanted Readers — “A Tale of Two Islands”

Thursday, March 7th: The Write Path — “Percy: The World’s Worst Tutor”Egg - verticaltourbutton

Friday, March 8th: I Read Banned Books — “The Story Behind Deadweather and Sunrise”

Monday, March 11th: A Thousand Wrongs — “Meet Millicent”

Tuesday, March 12th: Geo Librarian — “Action Sequences: Like Jokes, Only With More Blood”

Wednesday, March 13th: Chaos Is a Friend of Mine — “Meet Guts”

Thursday, March 14th: Buried in Books “Q&A With the Author”

Friday, March 15th: Book Sake — “Meet Roger Pembroke”

Monday, March 18th: Shannon Messenger — “Not Funny At All: The Real History of the Pirates of the Caribbean”

Tuesday, March 19th: There’s A Book — “An Excerpt From New Lands (Book 2 of the Chronicles of Egg)”

Some of these are real keepers, by the way. See you next week! Virtually, I mean.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 10 Comments

Deadweather and Sunrise: a great read at any age

Now that there’s a critical mass of Deadweather and Sunrise fan testimonials on Youtube (and by “critical mass,” I mean two), I thought I’d collect them in this handy anthology.

Taken together, they’re strong evidence that while the Chronicles of Egg books are being marketed as middle grade, there’s no such thing as too young or too old to enjoy the series. Augie and Bruno loved Deadweather even though, at six and seven, they were young enough to have it read aloud to them.

And the older teenage girl who goes by the Youtube handle TheOtakuSakura15 is adamant that Deadweather is “both a kids’ book and a teen book,” and a thoroughly satisfying read even if your tastes are more YA than middle grade (“the romance is…ohmygosh, it’s PERFECTLY balanced…”).

I’ve also lost count of the number of adults who told me they bought the book for their kids, only to wind up reading it themselves and loving it. None of them have posted a Youtube video (yet), but most had a similar reaction to that of the stay-at-home mom in New Jersey who wrote, “It’s a wonder I cooked any meals or did any laundry once I started reading the book. It is just so much fun! I found myself sneaking time to read it any chance I could, staying up late to finish a chapter, and then another…”

Nice, right? It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon — Deadweather and Sunrise comes out in paperback on Tuesday, and its sequel, New Lands, arrives May 2nd.

No matter how old you are, you’ll like them. I promise.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 1 Comment

Why I Love The British

So, this is exciting: Deadweather and Sunrise was just shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in the U.K.

I am, as you can imagine, honored, flattered, and beyond certain that when it comes time to pick an actual winner, I’m going to get curb-stomped in the 5-to-12-year-old category. Probably by R.J. Palacio and Wonder, because everybody loves that book, and it’s hard to see how its deeply humane message of empathy and kindness could lose out to a story in which even the good kids aren’t above bashing each other in the head with cannonballs.imgres

(Although I do think there’s a great deal of incisive social commentary buried in the pages of Deadweather and Sunrise, not to mention some rather piquant observations on the human condition as it pertains to 13-year-olds, so if you’re a Waterstones voter and you happen to be reading this, please don’t let my opinion prejudice you. Also: does Wonder REALLY need more publicity? I think not.)

But the absolutely coolest part of this news was the headline that England’s fourth-largest newspaper (yes, I googled that) chose to announce the shortlist:

“BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD WRITER SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES CHILDREN’S BOOK PRIZE 2013”

It would seem a curious editorial choice to elevate to headline status a minor, two-decade-old credit from just one of eighteen different writers on the shortlist.

Unless, of course, your sense of humor is keen enough–so keen, in fact, as to be positively British–that you not only notice the absurd juxtaposition of Beavis and Butt-head and a putative literary honor, but are willing to make that minor absurdity the main point of your story.

I think this might go a long way toward explaining why the British liked Deadweather and Sunrise enough to put it on the shortlist to begin with.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

I Would Send Rick Riordan a Fruit Basket…

…if only I knew his address. Because he keeps saying such nice things about Deadweather and Sunrise:

“Another brilliant middle grade debut, Geoff Rodkey’s Deadweather and Sunrise reads like Pirates of the Caribbean as written by Lemony Snicket. Our young hero Egg Masterson lives a miserable life on an ‘ugly fruit’ plantation until his father finds a mysterious parchment, which leads Egg on a dangerous quest with plenty of pirates, battles at sea, tricky twists of fate, and a beautiful plucky heroine named Millicent. A great mix of dry humor and good old-fashioned derring-do.”

Click here for prior instances of Rick Riordan saying nice things about The Chronicles of Egg.

At this point, all I really need is an efficient means of alerting the twenty million people who’ve enjoyed his books to the fact that Rick thinks they’d enjoy mine, too.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 3 Comments

Deadweather and Sunrise: The Turkish TV Ad

Every once in a great while, you come across something of such pure undiluted awesomeness that it cannot be explained. It must first be experienced. Like that baby panda sneezing on Youtube.

Or this:

 

Wow! Right? I mean, just…wow.

That was, as you’ve probably deduced from the title, an ad for the Turkish edition of Deadweather and Sunrise. I’m told it’s running on the Turkish versions of the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and the Cartoon Network.

Which immediately made me wonder just how cheap ad rates are on Turkish cable.

The enthusiasm of it is really something. That announcer sounds like he’s going to burst a vein in his neck. I have no idea what he’s saying, but he makes me want to log on to Turkish Amazon and buy a copy just to see what all the excitement’s about.

I will admit that the skeletons in pirate outfits gave me pause. While there are a couple of skeletons in the book, along with quite a few pirates, there are no actual instances of skeletons wearing pirate outfits. Nor, if such skeletons existed, would they be walking upright, in possession of live parrots, or given to flexing their knees like suburban housewives at an aerobics class.

Ultimately, it was the skeletons that convinced me I needed to get this thing translated.

As luck would have it, my son’s second-grade teacher is Turkish (this is one of the many benefits of sending your kid to an international school), and she was kind enough to translate the entire ad for me. Here’s the text of the voice-over:

Come on! Admit it!

You are dying to read other people’s diaries!

Especially if that diary is full of excitement and adventure!

You will love Egg’s diaries, too!

While you are reading, your heart will jump because in these diaries are mystery, murderous pirates, dangerous enemies, and a crazy young deckhand with one arm!

Non-stop entertainment! 

The first book of The Mysterious Diaries — The Fire King’s Treasure — presented by Epsilon Publishing House, your address for entertaining books — has come out!

Kind of interesting that The Chronicles of Egg is now The Mysterious Diaries. Particularly because there are no actual diaries in the book.

But I have to admit it’s a compelling hook: I actually am dying to read other people’s diaries, especially if they’re full of excitement and adventure.

These Turkish marketing people are pretty smart.

In fact, swapping out Deadweather and Sunrise for The Fire King’s Treasure is so smart it’s a little upsetting.

Don’t get me wrong. Deadweather and Sunrise is a fine title. Evocative, slightly mysterious, got a nice sort of lilt to it… But once I got the translation back, I ran it by my 12-year-old.

“So it turns out that, in Turkish, they’re calling it The Fire King’s Treasure.”

“Oh, geez, Dad!”

“What?”

“Why didn’t you call it that in English? That’s a much better title.”

This book is going to be huge in Turkey.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 5 Comments