Hi Kid Lit friends, I’m so thrilled to introduce you to Remy Lai’s new non-fiction g...
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Jul 18, 2021

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Wayside School is back in session! Your favorite students and teachers are all here in this newest installment in Newbery Medal-winning author Louis Sachar’s bestselling series.

That includes Sharie, who loves her striped-and-spotted umbrella more than anything; Kathy, who has a bad case of oppositosis; Jason, who has to read the longest book in the world; and the rest of Mrs. Jewls’s class on the thirtieth floor, who are busily collecting toenail clippings.

Everyone is scrambling to prepare for the all-important Ultimate Test, but meanwhile, there is a mysterious Cloud of Doom looming above them…

Hi Kid Lit friends,

I’m so thrilled to introduce you to Remy Lai’s new non-fiction graphic novel series for younger readers! I have found that young readers particularly love this genre, and there aren’t enough books out there to satisfy their thirst. 🙂 That is why I was so thrilled to hear that Remy’s new books will hit bookstores and libraries next year. And if you haven’t heard of Remy yet, please look at her books! Her illustrations are full of mischief and fun and whimsy. Check out Pie in the Sky, Fly on the Wall, and Pawcasso.

Here is my interview with Remy about her new nonfiction series:

1. Your new young reader graphic novels all have a conservation message. Is conservation something you have always been passionate about?
Because I love animals, I have always loved reading National Geographic since I was a kid, especially their features on animals. I also watched plenty of Animal Planet and Discovery Channel. While I know a little about animal conservation, I don’t think I’m doing enough about it, but I’m trying!

2. Each graphic novel follows a species whose habitat is being threatened. How do you decide which animal to feature?
The idea for the series came about when I decided I wanted to write something inspired by a true story I had read about some years back. It was about a few elephants who lost their homes due to deforestation and swam across an ocean to another island. That story naturally became the first book. The second book is about a koala trying to survive a bushfire because I live in Australia, and the summer of 2019-2020 was one of our most severe bushfire seasons. For the third book, I decided we should have a change of scenery and head to the ocean, especially because the health of our oceans has a great impact on us.

3. How many books do you plan to make in this series?
Currently, there are 3 books planned.

4. What type of research goes into each book?
I read up all I could on the true stories that inspired the books. I also had to read up facts about the different animals—for example, their habitats, whether they’re territorial, and if and when they leave their herd. Even though the books are fiction, and some of the animals’ thoughts and actions are anthropomorphized, I wanted the core of the stories, the heart of what drives the animals to do what they do, to be as true as possible.

5. What message do you have for young people who are growing up in a world that is being harmed by climate change, habitat destruction, and species elimination?
To have hope. While we are destroying the earth, we are also working hard to save it. Every little bit we do counts!

Look for Remy Lai’s Surviving the Wild series on April 5, 2022! The books are designed by Lisa Vega and Sharismar Rodriguez.

Surviving the Wild: Star the Elephant by Remy Lai

Star the Elephant and his herd are searching for a new home. But when Star is separated from his family, he must journey alone into the great unknown. He’ll come face to face with giant spiders, the vast ocean beyond his island, and strange humans. Can Star find his way back to his family?

Surviving the Wild: Rainbow the Koala by Remy Lai

Rainbow the Koala is ready to go off and live on his own―or so his mom says. But Rainbow is scared! The kookaburra bird cackles at him and he struggles to find a tree to call his home. As scorching heat takes hold and Rainbow runs out of water, he’ll soon face his most dangerous test: surviving a bush fire.

Hey YA Extra Credit: Do These Early YA Reads Hold Up?

This week, Tirzah re-reads two early YA books and talks about whether or not she would still recommend them today!...

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