Books & Authors

Today Everyone is Reading RHCB’s QUACKERS for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record

Random House Children’s Books is the official publisher for today’s Read for the Record and QUACKERS, written and illustrated by first-time author Liz Wong,  published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, is this year’s book choice.  Jumpstart’s 12th annual RFTR campaign is a national effort to raise awareness about the need for high-quality early learning for all children while also raising funds to support the important work Jumpstart does in communities across the United States.  Children and adults across the country are gathering together to celebrate Read for the Record Day by reading QUACKERS and attempting to beat the world record for most people reading the same book at the same time.   

Liz Wong’s debut picture book features a kitten who grows up thinking it is a duck and highlights themes that are sure to resonate with young children everywhere, such as acceptance, fitting in, and embracing our differences. Random House Children’s Books President and Publisher Barbara Marcus said, “We are so excited that QUACKERS by Liz Wong has been selected by Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. It is a perfect book to read together, and one that celebrates acceptance, inclusion, and friendship. We have seen firsthand the incredible impact this initiative has on children, classrooms, and communities. We look forward to partnering with Jumpstart again and reaching even more young readers together to inspire a lifelong love of books and reading.”  Since 2006, this 24-hour celebration has mobilized over 17 million people in support of early education and literacy, including celebrity ambassadors such as Josh Duhamel, Bridget Moynahan, LL Cool J, Maya Angelou, Mandy Moore, Julianna Margulies, and more. A limited number of special-edition copies of QUACKERS are being sold exclusively by Jumpstart. Special editions are available in paperback in both English and Spanish and feature reading tips, vocabulary words, reading comprehension questions, and activity guides developed by Jumpstart’s team of early education experts. All proceeds help bring Jumpstart’s program to preschool children in under-resourced communities across the country. “Read for the Record highlights the invaluable connections and learning gains that are made when caring adults, be it parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, or mentors, read with young children,” explains Naila Bolus, President and CEO of Jumpstart. “QUACKERS is a wonderful story of self-identity, trying new things, and being whoever you want to be. I can think of no better way to celebrate Jumpstart’s mission and Read for the Record than with this inspiring and uplifting story.”  To learn more about Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, visit

TSP Editor Kaitlin Ketchum on Producing CHASING LIGHT

CHASING LIGHT: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer by Amanda Lucidon, was published by Ten Speed Press, a Crown Publishing Group imprint, on Tuesday, October 17.   This collection of striking and intimate photographs of Michelle Obama—many never before seen—is coupled with personal reflections and behind-the-scenes stories from former Official White House Photographer Amanda Lucidon, presented in a deluxe format. 

Ms. Lucidon, who spent four years covering the First Lady, shares a rare insider’s perspective, from documenting life at the White House to covering domestic and overseas travel. Ten Speed Press Editor Kaitlin Ketchum opens a number of windows into the process of creating and publishing CHASING LIGHT in her responses to the following questions: What was involved in the process of working with Amanda Lucidon and your TSP colleagues throughout the editorial, design and production process? [caption id="attachment_8129" align="alignright" width="150"] Kaitlin Ketchum[/caption] Ten Speed’s book-making process is super creative and highly collaborative—it’s one of the reasons I love working here.  Since CHASING LIGHT was a highly illustrated book on a very tight schedule—I acquired it in April, the manuscript was due in May, and we went to print in August to go on sale in October—working closely and collaboratively with Amanda, Creative Director Emma Campion, Senior Production Designer Mari Gill, and Production Manager Jane Chinn,  was crucial to our ability to move fast.  Thankfully, Amanda was a joy to work with, and her background as a White House Photographer meant she was fearless in the face of tight timelines and quick turnarounds! In addition to working long-distance throughout the book-making process, we were fortunate to have Amanda spend a week at the Ten Speed office in California to work side-by-side with our team on the manuscript, photo selects, layout, cover, and color testing. We spread out every photo we were considering for the book on a huge table, and Amanda, Emma, and I spent hours and hours moving them around, debating the selects and order for each chapter. Amanda and I even reviewed the copyedit of her manuscript at my desk, sitting hip-to-hip and making edits together. It was fantastic—if a bit tiring for us all—to be able to spend that time working so intensively with the author, brainstorming, bouncing ideas off of each other, and poring over Amanda’s incredible archive of photos from the Obama White House. [caption id="attachment_8130" align="alignleft" width="225"] Amanda Lucidon[/caption] Amanda was involved in every decision we made about the book, and she and I were talking almost daily—sometimes many times a day—for months, hammering out every detail. It was definitely the most challenging and the most rewarding book I’ve edited in my six years at Ten Speed, and the hard work was so worth it— CHASING LIGHT is a beautiful and moving book, and a lovely tribute to Mrs. Obama. What were the most rewarding aspects of bringing this book to publication? On a large scale, it’s rewarding to see CHASING LIGHT exist in the world, especially in these dark times. Mrs. Obama was, and still is, a source of light and inspiration to so many people around the world, and celebrating her legacy isn’t just nostalgic—it’s hopeful.  It’s also rewarding to see Ten Speed publish such an important book. We may be small, and we may not be in New York, but we have some West Coast magic and produce books that are truly gorgeous and distinctive. It’s an honor to have CHASING LIGHT on our list. On a personal and professional level, it was a joy and an honor to work on this beautiful tribute to Mrs. Obama, and with an author as inspiring as Amanda. I’m constantly inspired by my authors, and it was wonderful to collaborate with Amanda, who is such a warm, brilliant, and genuine person (plus, she’s got some amazing stories from her time at the White House). Helping artists like Amanda shape their vision and bring it into the world is one of the reasons I love what I do.

Featured Author Event: Nathan Englander in Washington, DC

Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author Nathan Englander will be in Washington, DC on Thursday, October 19, to lead a discussion about his second novel, DINNER AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (Knopf), a political thriller that unfolds in the highly charged territory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pivots on the complex relationship between a secret prisoner and his guard.  The event takes place at Politics & Prose Bookstore and begins at 7:00 pm.  

Englander has woven a powerful, intensely suspenseful portrait of a nation riven by insoluble conflict, even as the lives of its citizens become fatefully and inextricably entwined–a political thriller of the highest order that interrogates the anguished, violent division between Israelis and Palestinians, and dramatizes the immense moral ambiguities haunting both sides. Who is right, who is wrong–who is the guard, who is truly the prisoner? Simply put by NPR, DINNER AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is a “glorious…devastating…a beautiful masterpiece.” NTK Network also highlights, “The ability to see the world from both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives is what gives DINNER AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH its optimistic moral center. Both Israelis and Palestinians are faithful to the righteousness of their own cause, but at times, characters can see a way past this most charged of conflicts to a future of peace… Yet while the novel is optimistic, it is also realistic. The violence, and the historical memory of past violence, keeps both sides addicted to carrying out further attacks in the name of retribution. Englander’s ability to capture the almost pathological nature to ‘get even’ shines.” Nathan Englander’s first novel was The Ministry of Special Cases, and he is also the author of the story collections For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank—winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His short fiction has been widely anthologized, most recently in 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories. Englander’s play, The Twenty-Seventh Man, premiered at the Public Theatre in 2012. He translated the New American Haggadah and co-translated Etgar Keret’s Suddenly a Knock on the Door. He is additionally a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University.

Two Books by Astronaut Scott Kelly on His Year in Space Published Simultaneously

Scott Kelly was the first NASA astronaut ever to spend a year in space. He writes about his record-breaking experience in two books, ENDURANCE: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery (Knopf) and MY JOURNEY TO THE STARS (Crown Books for Young Readers), both published on Tuesday, October 17. While it is not uncommon for an author to write books on the same subject for both adult and young readers, it is extremely rare when the two titles are published simultaneously.

ENDURANCE is a stunning, personal memoir from the veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space. He offers a candid account of his remarkable voyage aboard the International Space Station, of the journeys that preceded it, and of his colorful and inspirational formative years. Watch and hear Scott talk about ENDURANCE in this Knopf book trailer: Speaking about his book for young readers, Scott said, “MY JOURNEY TO THE STARS is a story about when I was a kid; I wasn’t the best student – I couldn’t pay attention in class or do my homework – and, eventually, wound up spending a year in space.” He added, “I think it’s critically important to get little kids to become the future scientists and engineers of tomorrow.” Watch and hear Scott talk about MY JOURNEY TO THE STARS in this Random House Children’s Books video: Scott was at our distribution center in Westminster recently and signed 13,000 copies of MY JOURNEY TO THE STARS. “Scott was a work-horse and was relentless in the work of signing so many copies of his book in such a short timeframe,” said Customer Service’s Holly Fetting, who was on hand and took photos. “Scott also made sure the team took short breaks on the hour so everyone remained fresh and focused on the task at hand.” Scott even asked to sign some copies of ENDURANCE while he was in Westminster. Joyce Slaughter, VP, Director, Customer Service, didn’t hesitate in fulfilling Scott’s request and had some stock brought right up from the warehouse. scottwestm  

100 Book Covers by Penguin Random House Designers Featured at Torino Graphic Days Festival in Italy

Penguin Random House celebrates its heritage and creativity internationally through the designs of its book covers, at the heart of the company’s tradition of enduring quality and innovation. An exhibit of 100 of our notable book covers, created by a select group of Penguin Random House creative designers and art directors, is being presented in a special “Be My Cover” exhibit at Torino Graphic Days, October 12-15, in Turin, Italy.  The exhibit’s visuals transcend geographic borders – from the United States to Sweden, from the U.K. to Italy – while presenting a variety of styles and trends of cover-visual design.   

“Be My Cover” presents the best among thousands of book covers designed, commissioned, and produced every year by Penguin Random House worldwide through its publishing houses, featuring a galaxy of more than 200 imprints. Acting within the cultural and visual communication of its time, a book cover design’s quality contributes to the definition of our present-day society, besides being a practical instrument of commerce. Many of the covers maintain a healthy tradition of care towards elegance and innovative design. Books on display range from classics such as MOBY-DICK by Herman Melville and WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy to contemporary titles such as THE STRANGE LIBRARY by Haruki Murakami and THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett, with brilliantly created covers by current and former Penguin Random House designers representing several publishing groups and imprints. From the US: Jason BooherChristopher BrandPaul Buckley, Pablo Delcán, John Gall, Elena Giavaldi,  Janet Hansen,  Chip KiddEmily Mahon,  Peter Mendelsund, Oliver Munday, Robbin SchiffHelen YentusManuja Waldia, and Rachel Willey. From the UK: Coralie Bickford-Smith, Suzanne Dean, David Pearson, and Jim Stoddart. The exhibit was curated by Roberto Maria Clemente, principal of Belisimo and the Beast, a design firm, and professor of Graphic Design History NaBA (Milano) and Design professor at MADE (Siracusa), with Fabrizio La Rocca, Creative Director, Corporate Design, Penguin Random House.  And it was organized by Mr. Clemente and Mr. La Rocca. “We are proud of our exceptional talent in cover design, which we share across regions,” said Mr. La Rocca. “Over the years, among the best creators of inspiring and innovative covers have worked among us and have reshaped the way we see and choose the books we read.  Every day arresting covers are designed at Penguin Random House. This creativity is a foundational attribute of our company.”  
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Tim Tebow Launches SHAKEN: The Young Readers Edition with Book Report Contest

Tim Tebow’s newest book, SHAKEN: The Young Reader’s Edition – Fighting to Stand Strong No Matter What Comes Your Way, was published by WaterBrook, a Crown Publishing Group imprint, on September 12, and launched with a book report contest that is running through January 8, 2018.  The Heisman Trophy winner, former NFL quarterback, professional baseball player (in the New York Mets minor league system) and author is  very enthused about this contest, which is aimed at youth ages 10 to 15 years old, to encourage reading and writing while reminding them of their identity in Jesus. 

“There is nothing more empowering, more life-giving and more exciting than having a strong identity,” says Tebow. “My prayer is that, no matter what you’re facing today, this book will help you discover an unshakable identity and a God-designed purpose for your life!” Participants are invited to write a report, limited to one page with a maximum of 750 words, on how the SHAKEN: The Young Reader’s Edition inspired or challenged them in their lives. The grand prizewinner will receive a limited edition, signed Tim Tebow “TT-15” baseball bat, a signed copy of the book, and a Skype call with Tebow. The two runners-up will receive a signed, game-played baseball from Tebow and a signed copy of Shaken: The Young Reader’s Edition. For official rules and details, visit  (As with all of our consumer-facing promotions, employees of Penguin Random House, their immediate families, and persons living in their households are not eligible to enter this contest).
[caption id="attachment_8072" align="alignleft" width="180"] Tim Tebow at Catalyst[/caption] Young readers of SHAKEN will be captivated and motivated by Tebow’s personal stories of highs and lows. With the enthusiastic voice and contagious positivity that he’s known for, Tebow inspires his young readers to believe that God is ready to do great things through them—in their families, their schools, and around the world. Last week Tebow appeared at Catalyst – a two-day conference to help leaders build great churches, grow strong teams, and be a catalyst for change – in Atlanta.  He spoke about a number of the themes found in SHAKEN, such as identity and courage.

Sarah Jessica Parker Selects Mohsin Hamid’s EXIT WEST as ALA Book Club Central SJP Fall Pick

The latest American Library Association (ALA) Book Club Central SJP pick, chosen by Honorary Book Club Central Chair Sarah Jessica Parker, is EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid, published by Riverhead.  EXIT WEST has been shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, longlisted for the ALA Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and is a finalist for the 2017 Kirkus Prize. 

Ms. Parker’s second book selection for Book Club Central will be part of the kickoff of the 12th annual National Friends of Libraries Week, an initiative of United for Libraries to be held October 15-21, 2017. The celebration recognizes the advocacy and fundraising efforts of Friends of the Library groups across the country. Ms. Parker is an Honorary Lifetime Board Member of United for Libraries, a division of ALA. “United for Libraries is excited to feature Sarah Jessica Parker’s pick, EXIT WEST, as part of National Friends of Libraries Week,” said United for Libraries President Steve Laird, president of the Reference Division of Infogroup. “Friends groups do so much on behalf of their libraries, from funding summer reading programs to hosting author events and sponsoring book clubs. As a board member of United for Libraries and honorary chair of Book Club Central, Sarah Jessica Parker is raising awareness about the integral role of Friends groups in the library.” Book Club Central, designed in consultation with expert librarians, provides the public with the very best in reading. It debuted this past summer and since that time has become a place for engaging content and helpful information for book clubs and readers everywhere. [caption id="attachment_8059" align="alignleft" width="243"] Mohsin Hamid[/caption] Ms. Parker said, “Mohsin Hamid's EXIT WEST gives a deeply real, beautiful, intricate and electrifying look at what it means to be an immigrant right now. This tale of two people forced from their homeland and searching for a home elsewhere is transporting and illuminating. I was swept away by this gorgeous, otherworldly novel and I'm so excited to offer it as our second selection for Book Club Central, as I'm convinced every reader will feel the same.” As honorary chair of ALA’s Book Club Central, Ms. Parker will make her next book selection this winter. Ms. Parker’s inaugural pick for Book Club Central was No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts. “I might not have become an avid reader in my childhood if it were not for the libraries where I spent countless hours, and so I might not have become a writer either,” said Mr. Hamid. “I owe libraries a great deal. I am honored that Sarah Jessica Parker and the ALA have chosen EXIT WEST.” EXIT WEST is a timely love story that imagines the forces that transform ordinary people into refugees — and the impossible choices that follow — as they’re driven from their homes to the uncertain embrace of new lands. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, this book tells a story of love, loyalty and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times wrote, “Writing in spare, crystalline prose, Hamid conveys the experience of living in a city under siege with sharp, stabbing immediacy.” In a starred review, Booklist stated, “Caught in the whirlpool of refugees from around the world, Saeed and Nadia are tossed around like flotsam, the necessity of survival binding them together more than any starry-eyed notion of romance ever could…spellbinding writing.” The New York Review of Books wrote, “Skillful and panoramic from the outset… [A] meticulously crafted, ambitious story of many layers, many geopolitical realities, many lives and circumstances.” Ms. Parker launched SJP for Hogarth in partnership with Molly Stern, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Crown, Hogarth, Broadway, Crown Archetype, and Three Rivers Press. SJP for Hogarth will selectively publish high-quality works of fiction by both established writers and distinctive emerging voice with critical and commercial promise. In this role, Ms. Parker will be involved in all aspects of the publication process, from their selection and acquisition to cover design and promotion with her vision providing the editorial foundation for each publication. SJP for Hogarth’s first acquisition is  A PLACE FOR US, a debut novel by Fatima Mirza to be published in 2018. For more information, visit and for SJP for

Riverhead Reveals Spring 2018 Catalog as Colorful Flip Book

Readers across the country are flipping over Riverhead Books’ latest collaborative catalog. To launch the Spring 2018 list, Riverhead Design Labs partnered with renowned illustrator Grace Helmer, beloved for her bright, beautiful oil paintings which bring everyday life to vivid, colorful life, on a clever and charming flip book. Paging forward and backwards reveals two different narratives, with every detail – a musical turtle, a perilously discarded coffee cup – representing a title on Riverhead’s spring list. 

Paste Magazine recently unveiled the flip book with exclusive stop-animation video of the narratives and a behind-the-scenes peek at Helmer’s process. Paste offered this praise: “Riverhead Books has a reputation for publishing fascinating nonfiction and literary fiction titles. Riverhead titles such as Patricia Lockwood’s PRIESTDADDY and Mohsin Hamid’s EXIT WEST are already rocking spots on Paste’s list of 2017’s best reads so far, and it looks like 2018 is shaping up to be a knockout year for the publisher as well.” This is the latest in Riverhead’s ongoing series of conceptual “catalogs,” seasonally partnering with artists to create beautiful works of art. In past seasons, Steve Powers brought one list to life as a mural on a local grammar school; Lorraine Loots made “drawings for ants,” with a tiny magnified box of brilliant illustrations; and Riverhead joined forces with the powerhouses of Ladies Drawing Night to host a collaborative evening of champagne and drawing lessons.  Each season’s catalog becomes a coveted art object and source of industry buzz.

Featured Author Event: Yrsa Daley-Ward

Celebrated poet Yrsa Daley-Ward will appear at The Strand to discuss, read and sign copies of BONE (Penguin Books), her poignant collection of poems about the heart, life, and the inner self.  The event will be held  in The Strand’s Rare Book Room on Tuesday, October 10, 7:00 – 8:00 pm. 

From navigating the oft competing worlds of religion and desire, to balancing society’s expectations with the raw experience of being a woman in the world; from detailing the experiences of growing up as a first generation black British woman, to working through situations of dependence and abuse; from finding solace in the echoing caverns of depression and loss, to exploring the vulnerability and redemption in falling in love, each of the raw and immediate poems in Daley-Ward’s BONE resonates to the core of what it means to be human. Among the high praise the author and her book have received: [Yrsa Daley-Ward] is at the realm of a new wave of contemporary poets who inspire an unprecedented level of empathy and accessibility through their honest and raw approach. . . . [A] powerful collection of a woman facing tumultuous inner and external battles head on, delivered with a hard-hitting directness, yet with inflections of optimism throughout that are bound to touch readers to their core.” i-D Magazine “Yrsa’s work is like holding the truth in your hands. It sweats and breathes before you. A glorious living thing.” —Florence Welch, of Florence + the Machine   Yrsa Daley-Ward is a writer and poet of mixed West Indian and West African heritage. Born to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father, Yrsa was raised by her devout Seventh Day Adventist grandparents in the small town of Chorley in the North of England. She splits her time between London and Los Angeles.

Trevor Noah Wins 2017 Thurber Prize for American Humor

Penguin Random House author and Comedy Central Network Daily Show host Trevor Noah has won the 2017 Thurber Prize for American Humor, sponsored by Thurber House, for his bestselling memoir, BORN A CRIME: Stories from a South African Childhood (Spiegel & Grau/Random House).  Mr. Noah received a $5,000 prize and a commemorative crystal plaque Monday, October 2, at a ceremony in New York City.   

In BORN A CRIME, told during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed, Mr. Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. He weaves his stories together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love. Congratulations to Mr. Noah, his editor, Chris Jackson, and everyone at Spiegel & Grau and the Random House Publishing Group. The Thurber Prize for American Humor was founded by Thurber House in 1997 in honor of James Thurber, one of the foremost American humorists of the 20th century, author of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and creator of numerous cartoons for The New Yorker  magazine. This prize annually recognizes excellence in humor writing.