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Kids and Teen Blog

Tag: Cecil Castellucci

New Releases: Kids and Teen Highlights February 2015

by Dan
Kids + YA Fiction / January 22, 2015

February brings science fiction from Kristen Simmons, Cecil Castellucci and Jessica Brody, as well as a new colouring book from Johanna Basford, and a Baby-Lit Spanish Primer! Here are some of next month's new releases available from Raincoast Books:



The Glass Arrow 

Kristen Simmons

In the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale, a haunting, yet hopeful, stand-alone novel from the author of the Article 5 trilogy.

Once there was a time when men and women lived as equals, when girl babies were valued, and women could belong only to themselves. But that was ten generations ago. Now women are property, to be sold and owned and bred, while a strict census keeps their numbers manageable and under control. The best any girl can hope for is to end up as some man's forever wife, but most are simply sold and resold until they're all used up.

Only in the wilderness, away from the city, can true freedom be found. Aya has spent her whole life in the mountains, looking out for her family and hiding from the world, until the day the Trackers finally catch her...

Ages 13-18

Available February 10

Stone in the Sky 

Tin Star #

Cecil Castellucci

In this thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky.

After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star Café on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it's discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula's worst enemy.

Ages 12-18

Available February 24


The Unremembered Trilogy #3

Jessica Brody

In this mesmerizing conclusion to the Unremembered trilogy, Sera will fight those who have broken her.

After returning to the Diotech compound and undergoing an experimental new memory alteration, Seraphina is now a loyal, obedient servant to Dr. Alixter and the powerful company that created her. Happy and in love with Kaelen, another scientifically-enhanced human designed to be her perfect match, Sera's history with a boy named Zen is just a distant memory from a rebellious past she longs to forget.

But as Sera and Kaelen embark on a nationwide tour to promote Diotech's new product line-a collection of controversial genetic modifications available to the public-Sera's mind starts to rebel. She can't stop the memories of Zen from creeping back in.

Ages 12-18

Available February 24


Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula

Andi Watson

Princess Decomposia is overworked and underappreciated. This princess of the underworld is always running behind and always buried under a ton of paperwork. Oh, and her father (the king) just fired the chef, so now she has to hire a new cook as well. Luckily for Princess Decomposia, she makes a good hire in Count Spatula, the vampire chef with a sweet tooth. He's a charming go-getter of a blood-sucker, and pretty soon the two young ghouls become friends.

Princess Decomposia has to sort out her life, and with Count Spatula at her side, you can be sure she'll succeed. Andi Watson (Glister, Gum Girl) brings his signature gothy-cute sensibility to this very sweet and mildly spooky tale of friendship, family, and management training for the undead. 

Ages 13-18

Available January 13



Enchanted Forest

Johanna Basford

This stunning new colouring book by Johanna Basford (Secret Garden) takes readers on a inky quest through an enchanted forest to discover what lies in the castle at its heart. As well as drawings to complete, colour and embellish, there are hidden objects to be found along the way including wild flowers, animals and birds, maps, lanterns, keys and treasure chests. Beginning at the entrance to the forest, the journey progresses through woodland, rocky caves and tree-lined mazes, over streams and a waterfall, across the trees tops, to finally reach the castle.

Available February 17



Spring Walk

Virginia Brimhall Snow

After a long winter's sleep, the soil is springing to life. Spring flowers break through the ground to welcome warmer days. Come with Grammy and her grandchildren as they explore and learn all about 24 different flowers. Once home, she teaches them how to plant their own flowers from seeds and make beautiful bouquets.

Ages 4-8

Available February 15

Don Quixote

A BabyLit Spanish Primer

Jennifer Adams; illustrated by Alison Oliver

BabyLit® is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar's Alison Oliver, these books are a must for every savvy parent's nursery library.

Ages Infant-3

Available February 15

Guest Post: Cecil Castellucci, Author of Tin Star

by Dan
Fiction + Science Fiction and Fantasy + YA Fiction / March 31, 2014

In a special guest post for Raincoast, Cecil Castellucci, the author of Tin Star, explains why she created a role playing game based on her novel.

When I wrote my new novel, Tin Star, I knew that the story of Tula Bane was only going to be two books. It's a duet! But the universe that she lives in and all of the aliens and moving parts of the book were still interesting to me. So much stuff goes into world building. What's a nerdy girl to do? Write a game!

I am a gamer. I like to play all kinds of table top games and video games. And my favorite kind of game to play is a Role Playing Game (RPG). I don't play them often enough. In Los Angeles, I have a regular D&D game that I play with a group of friends once a month. We tweet about it, so if you follow me @misscecil, you've likely seen the mini figure—I'm a rogue—light up my twitter feed on the occasional Friday or Saturday night. 

I've played a lot of games and I've read a lot of books. This past fall I took a Coursera class on the transmedia of narratives where we read The Lord of the Rings, watched the movies and then also played the MMRPG (Massive Multiplayer Role Playing Game). What I love about transmedia is that it lets you engage with a story in many different ways.

Lucky for me, I have a friend Chris who is the publisher of Green Ronin and they created the True20 open license system which I used to create the game TIN STAR: A SIMPLE FAVOR.  

I recruited my brother and we wrote an adventure where you play some aliens who come aboard the Yertina Feray and go on an adventure where you have to interact with Tula, Tournour, Heckleck and Thado. 

Now perhaps some of you have never played a RPG before. Or you feel intimidated by the word "multi sided dice." Never fear! We wrote the adventure so that it's really easy to play. What you need is a group of friends who are fun and want to go on an adventure. A Game Master who will lead the group through the adventure and run the game. It helps if this person is a great story teller! A 20 sided die. You can get these at any gaming store. Or ask your gaming friends or relatives if you can borrow one. Maybe order a pizza! 

The Game Master will tell the players the story and lead them through the action of the game. You never know what is going to happen because dice are rolled and actions either succeed or fail and random events may occur.  Basically you're making up a story that stars you and has some guidelines as to make the story fun. 

The TIN STAR True20 Quick Start rules (PDF) give a detailed overview of the True20 rules and they describe the feats that the characters have. The TIN STAR: A SIMPLE FAVOR adventure  has all the stuff that the Game Master needs to run the adventure plus a player hand out and the pre-generated characters that your players will play. If you're an experienced gamer this will all make sense. True20 is pretty simple system. If you are not a regular gamer and are intimidated by all the percentiles, then just think of it like this. Roll the dice, if something is hard to do, then the players have to roll high. If it's easy, they can do it with a lower roll. You decide what's hard and easy. Trust me. You'll get the swing of it!

For me, writing the game in the universe of Tin Star was a way that I got to hang out with Tula some more. So I hope you'll enjoy playing the game and hanging out with Tula Bane and the gane. Reading the book will make parts of the game more fun, because you'll get some of the references and you'll know who is who. But if you or your friends haven't read it yet, that's cool too!  I think playing the game will make your eventual hanging out with Tula in the book fun too because you'll have already met her. Please let me know how your game goes!