This blog post ends with 20% off all pre-orders of Varian Johnson's The Great Greene Heist. You can skip to the end for details. . . but we hope you also read the middle part about why.
Let's start with reviews of the forthcoming book The Great Greene Heist. The words "fun caper" get tossed around a lot, and it is. Jackson Greene assembles a team of fellow middle school students in an elaborate scheme to steal the school election back from dishonest politicians (13 year old politicians . . . plus some less-than-scrupulous adults). It's funny, fast paced, reminiscent of classic con artist movies (Varian started the book after seeing Oceans 11) and we think Gordon Korman said it best in his quote: "A political heist page-turner set in middle school? Is that even possible? Varian Johnson shows us how it's done, expertly walking the tightrope between true-to-life school experiences and belly laughs." Plus, Varian Johnson is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts so we're claiming him as a sort-of local author even if he happens to live in Austin.
It's a book worth reading and perfect for summer (ALA and Publisher's Weekly agree, naming it a top pick for Summer 2014). It has also gotten a lot of attention recently as part of a call for greater diversity in children's literature. Why don't the characters in children's fiction reflect the diversity of. . . well, our children? There is no good answer. It makes us here selling books frustrated and disappointed. You can read more about this issue, and particularly the recent #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign from Publisher's Weekly, Salon, The Guardian, Book Riot (and basically all over the web).
So, the month of May started off with an acknowledged problem, diversity in children's books, and a social media campaign that brought attention to the issue. Author Kate Messner also added this observation: calling for diverse books is important, but so is actually buying them. She recommended starting with The Great Greene Heist. Her blog post kicked off the Great Greene Challenge (which also has a hashtag #GreatGreeneChallenge), challenging independent bookstores to sell this book! Which we're happy to do.
Bear Pond Books will be stocking The Great Greene Heist as soon as it's published (May 27th). In the meantime, you can pre-order the book at a 20% discount. Just go to our website www.bearpondbooks.com to order. We've discounted it automatically by 10% - to get the additional 10% off, enter Coupon Code GreatGreeneChallenge at checkout.
Teachers and school librarians will continue to get 20% off on all books purchased for classroom and library use (not just during the pre-order promotion).
And don't stop at The Great Greene Heist. Jane has put together a list of other middle grade books that introduce compelling and diverse characters. Check them out here in her childrens / YA staff picks.