STORYTIME: Katherine Applegate reads her new middle grade novel Willodeen

Willodeen by Katherine Applegate
Ages 8-12

From #1 New York Times bestseller Katherine Applegate, a singular middle-grade novel about a girl who risks everything to help a handmade creature who comes to life.

The earth is old and we are not, and that is all you must remember . . .

Eleven-year-old Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land: strange beasts known as “screechers.” The villagers of Perchance call them pests, even monsters, but Willodeen believes the animals serve a vital role in the complicated web of nature.

Lately, though, nature has seemed angry indeed. Perchance has been cursed with fires and mudslides, droughts and fevers, and even the annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, has dwindled. For as long as anyone can remember, the tiny animals have overwintered in shimmering bubble nests perched atop blue willow trees, drawing tourists from far and wide. This year, however, not a single hummingbear has returned to Perchance, and no one knows why.

When a handmade birthday gift brings unexpected magic to Willodeen and her new friend, Connor, she’s determined to speak up for the animals she loves, and perhaps even uncover the answer to the mystery of the missing hummingbears.

A timely and timeless tale about our fragile earth, and one girl’s fierce determination to make a difference.


Praise for Willodeen:

“Employing flawlessly simple, candid prose that belies deeper messages, Newbery Medalist Applegate again considers the complex relationship between humans and the natural world. … Fiercely protective Willodeen is easy to champion, and her belief that “nature knows more than we do” is a message worth sharing.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Applegate’s gentle yet honest tale mixes magic with very real environmental messaging, both warning of human-caused harm and pointing to nature’s resilience and interconnectedness… Applegate empowers her young characters by not only granting them courage but also ensuring they earn the respect of their elders.”—Booklist, starred review

“An endearing fable that illuminates the importance of recognizing that all living things serve a purpose in our beautifully complex world and are worthy of care and dignity.” —BookPage


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Storytime: Author Emmy Kastner reads Nerdy Babies: Weather

Nerdy Babies is a picture book series that will ignite curiosity in even the youngest readers and encourage them to ask questions and explore the world around them. With bright colorful art and easy-to-read text, the Nerdy Babies series encourages the youngest readers to explore the natural world around them from the depths of the ocean to the farthest reaches of space!

In Emmy Kastner’s newest picture book, Nerdy Babies: Weather follow our intrepid babies into the eye of the storm. Experience sunshine, wind, rain, and other weather patterns. Plus, learn about how we predict the weather in this simple text written in question and answer format. Watch Emmy read from the book below:

Download the Nerdy Babies Activity Kit here, for more STEM-filled fun!

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