Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AGATHA CHRISTIE Trivia Answers Revealed!

Congratulations to our winner @CarolYemola! Thank you to everyone who came out to play Agatha Christie trivia today! Below are the questions and answers from today's quiz. Be sure to check back with us for more information on Agatha Christie titles.

Questions and Answers

1. Which of Christie's novels did she describe as "easily the worst book I ever wrote?"
-Mystery on the Blue Train

2. In which of these novels does Agatha mention herself by name?
-The Body in the Library

3. Agatha Christie was 76 when she wrote which of these novels from the point of view of a young man?
-Endless Night

4. Which of these novels did Agatha Christie dedicate to the first cinema actress to play Miss Marple?
-The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side

5.Which of these novels inspired the play that would later become the 1st sound film based on a Christie work?
-The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

6. For which of these novels is Thirteen at Dinner an alternate title?
-Lord Edgware Dies

7. In which of these novels is the child Josephine obsessed with being a detective?
-Crooked House

8. Which of these novels' ending was re-written for the stage because Agatha and her producer felt the original was too grim?
-And Then There Were None

9. In which of these novels is the nursery rhyme "Ding Dong Dell" used to describe the fate of one of its characters?
-Hallowe'en Party

10. Which of these novels' ending did Agatha's publishers try and make her change because they felt it was "too shocking?"
-Ordeal By Innocence

11. In which of these novels was crime writer Ariadne Oliver's 1st appearance?
-Mrs. McGinty's Dead

12. Which of these novels was the last to feature Inspector Japp?
-One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

13.Which of these novels was featured as a copy printed from the year 5,000,000,000 in an episode of Doctor Who?
-Death in the Clouds

14. Which of these novels did Agatha say she regretted including Poirot in?
-Sad Cypress

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Want to win a copy of AGATHA CHRISTIE'S Autobiography?

Well then you've come to the right blog! Agatha Christie is the Queen of Mystery for a reason: her ability to define characters, detail a mystery, and keep readers guessing has made her a staple of classrooms all over the world. After learning that my grandmother and father have both read (and loved) all her novels I decided it was time I, too, should explore the depth of Christie's imagination. In the interest of highlighting more than just Christie's most adopted titles (and some of my personal favorites), tomorrow we are holding a Twitter contest to find out which of our Twitter followers knows the most about Agatha Christie's novels!

Stick with us all day and be sure to check in every half hour for an Agatha-themed trivia question. At the end of the day (5pmEST) the person who has answered the most questions correctly will win a copy of Agatha Christie: An Autobiography. Learn from the Queen of Mystery herself about how she became the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. If it comes down to a tie I will decide based on how quickly the answers came in--That is to say the winner will be whoever gives the most correct answers in the fastest manner! Please remember: No Googling! See you at 10am EST @HarperAcademic

Note: We can only ship within the US

Friday, April 25, 2014


"Intern Queen" Lauren Berger's new book Welcome to the Real World gives workplace novices all the information they need to turn their first job into their dream career. Featured in several publications over the past couple of weeks, including and, Welcome to the Real World is at the center of a very important conversation--are the students today ready for the workplace tomorrow? Berger delves into all the important topics for students in their first job including:
  • Thinking about "The Big Picture"
  • Dealing with rejection and using it to your advantage
  • Effectively managing your time
  • Navigating "sticky situations" in the office and communicating with different personality types
  • Embracing entrepreneurship regardless of position, rank, or title
  • Organizing your finacial situation and personal life
  • Getting promoted and (one day) taking your boss' job!
 To hear more of Lauren Berger's tips and strategies, see her interview with Fox News here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Common Core Cluster - COMING OF AGE

There is no more relevant topic for students today than growing up. Coming-of-age stories have been cornerstones of education for years. Often these stories, like To Kill A Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye, become students' favorites. Common Core standards encourage the use of non-fiction alongside these classic literary staples, and HarperCollins has a rich backlist of non-fiction relating to the difficult time between childhood and adulthood. 

Guyland, Ophelia Speaks, The Beauty Myth, Coming of Age on Zoloft and The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager each offer a unique perspective on the difficult issues that arise in that time between childhood and adulthood. These thought-provoking books will make great additions to classroom discussions of literary classics like The Alchemist, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Bell Jar, Round House, A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Graveyard Book

Sample Discussion Questions

How do the male/female dynamics in each of the fiction titles reflect the ideals and issues represented in Ophelia Speaks and Guyland?

Many of the non-fiction titles discuss the role of society on shaping adolescents' sense of self, how can this be related to Bod's experience among ghosts in The Graveyard Book?

The Bell Jar was published in the early 60s, how do Esther's major conflicts relate to the more contemporary stories from Ophelia Speaks? What has changed in the past 40 years? What hasn't changed? 

Discuss how the role of the "teenager" has evolved over the course of history using The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager and any of the novels discussed. 

Discuss the role of parents as they are portrayed in the novels and in the non-fiction titles. 

Write a fictionalized scenario where one of the novel characters (Jem, Scout, Esther, Joe, Bod, Santiago, Owen or John) is faced with the present day issues discussed in the non-fiction titles.

To see more information on these titles and more visit our Common Core website!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

50 CHILDREN On Sale Today!

Journalist Steven Pressman's new book 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany is on sale today! Writer and director of the documentary of the same name, Pressman tells the astonishingly true story of an ordinary American couple's journey into Nazi-occupied Austria to rescue fifty Jewish children in 1939--the largest group of children brought to American during the Holocaust. Drawing from Eleanor Kraus's unpublished memoir, rare historical documents, and interviews with more than a dozen surviving children, and illustrated with period photographs, archival materials, and memorabilia, 50 Children is a remarkable tale of personal courage and triumphant heroism that offers a fresh, unique insight into a critical period of history. 

For more information on the Kraus' heroic journey click here; and for more information on 50 Children click here.

THE ALCHEMIST 25th Anniversary Edition!

This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most influential coming-of-age tales of all time, Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. The Alchemist is an inspirational classic that has been adopted into classrooms all over the world for over two decades. The young protagonist Santiago embarks on an unforgettable journey that takes him from Andalusia to Egypt in search of wisdom. Twenty-five years later, The Alchemist is still adopted into courses daily, and our easy-to-use and thought-provoking study guide enables instructors to get the most out of this moving tale. 

We encourage instructors and fans alike to take a look at the new study guide here and click here for more information on The Alchemist 25th Anniversary Edition.

Monday, April 21, 2014

On Using ORPHAN TRAIN to Teach History and Tolerance

Orphan Train By Christina Baker KlineChristina Baker Kline’s #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train has been having a wonderful year in academic adoptions: to date, it has been chosen as a common read at Richard Stockton College, Edgewood College, and a high school in Waynesville, Missouri! And now Teaching Tolerance—a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center—has posted tips on how to use Orphan Train to teach history and tolerance in high school classrooms.

They write:

"In the classroom, this book can be used to illustrate discrimination against the Irish in the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century, and to reveal the complexity of a period of midcentury history that is often overlooked. The book can be used to teach about why understanding the past is relevant—and necessary—to understanding the present. . . . Additionally, it offers two strong female protagonists who forge their own ways despite the odds stacked against them. Orphan Train is ripe with opportunities for discussion, further research and developing the complex thinking necessary to draw historical parallels."

To check out student comprehension and research prompts for language arts and social studies classrooms, please click here!


"Why do some of the world's most successful women still struggle with self-doubts and feelings of inadequacy?" In The Confidence Code, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman examine the concept of confidence and how believing in yourself--or not--can impact leadership and success. 

Perfect for including in discussions on gender equality, women's studies and ambition, The Confidence Code has already gained a lot of attention in many important conversations. 

For more on The Confidence Code:

Charlie Rose
USA Today
New York Magazine's The Cut
The Diane Rehm Show
MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner

Friday, April 18, 2014


David McCulloughauthor of the now-famous "Your Are Not Special" speechhas just published a new book, which elaborates on his commencement speech as a call-to-arms for parents and students alike. Based on his own observations as a father and English teacher, McCullough poses many important questions regarding the current teenage landscape, and the theory, function and outcome of education today. 

To hear more about David and Your Are Not Special check out his interviews with USA Today and The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.


Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez passed away yesterday at the age of 87. One of the most influential authors of the 20th century, Márquez is best known for his seminal novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. The Colombian novelist is credited with popularizing magic realism, and One Hundred Years of Solitude has become a classroom classic.

For those of you who haven't read One Hundred Years of Solitude, here's a wonderful introduction to the novel by Thomas C. Foster, professor of English at the University of Michigan-Flint and author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor. 

To read more on Gabriel García Márquez and his influential work click here

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Students React to THE LANGUAGE OF LIFE

The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine by New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned geneticist Francis S. Collins blends personal stories with eye-opening science to bring readers a comprehensive look into the ever-changing arena of the DNA revolution. Adopted in biology courses all over the country, The Language of Life is making a more lasting impression on students than the traditional textbook. 

One biology teacher was kind enough to share her students' reactions with us. Many of the students found the personal stories relate-able and made a larger connection with the science being presented:

"Dr. Collins makes everything personal and easy to understand which makes you want to keep reading"
"The chapter that had the most significant effect on me was 'Getting Personal with the Big C.' I have lost loved ones to breast cancer and know how hard it is to cope with the loss of them."
"I have a younger sister that is now thirteen years old, as I read those first paragraphs I thought to myself 'what if that was my sister?'"

Others were excited by the hopeful look Dr. Collins presents for the future:
"Every discovery made through research is one step closer to a healthier life for the current and future generations."
"I hope that Dr. Collins continues his groundbreaking research and I thank him for the opportunity that he gave my class in being able to read his amazing book."

Some students were even struck by the implication this science has on society as a whole:
"The most influential and eye opening part of The Language of Life is that biologically there is no such thing as race. All throughout history individuals have been discriminated against due to their race, when in reality all humans belong to one family, DNA."
It is always inspiring to see students connecting with a subject matter. 

Click here for more information on The Language of Life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ASTORIA is Perfect for Pacific Northwest History Classes

Dr. James B. Hunt, a retired professor of history from Whitworth University in Spokane Washington submitted a glowing review of Peter Stark's new book Astoria:John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire, a Story of Wealth, Ambition and Survival. 

Peter Stark, author and correspondent for Outside magazine, has uncovered a pivotal moment in American history when the Eastern establishment -- John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson -- turned their sights on the West Coast and turned America into a global power. Astoria is a story of adventure, hardship and the beginning of a harrowing era in American exploration. Students will be riveted by the spellbinding tale as they learn about the forgotten first attempt in settling the West from the explorers' journals. 

Dr. Hunt says he recommends this book "for anyone interested in Pacific Northwest History," especially "for college level history classes in the Northwest. It is sure to spark wonderful class discussion." 

For more on Astoria, visit our website!

Monday, April 14, 2014


New Yorker columnist George Packer published a captivating article on genocide this month where he poses many thought provoking questions on the difficult topic, focusing on the mass slaughter of millions of Cambodians under the rule of the Khmer Rouge in the 70s. In the article, he highlights Thierry Curvellier's new book The Master of Confessions: The Making of a Khmer Rouge Torturer, which details the trial of Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, the director of the Khmer Rouge's central interrogation center and death camp. 

The Master of Confessions delves deep into the mind of a killer who shocked the world by pleading guilty to war crimes and against humanity. Curvellier's in-depth look at Duch -- who provided perhaps "the most complete testimony by a mass murderer in history"-- offers a unique perspective on genocide and the devastation caused by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Packer affirms the importance of books like The Master of Confessions in continuing the conversation, to both remember and discuss what actions should be taken when these horrors are happening so far from home. 

The full article can be read here.

Frances Goldin Discusses Socialism in the US

The full transcript of Frances Goldin's interview with Democracry Now! -- regarding her new book Imagine: Living in a Socialits USA is available on their website. 

Imagine is a collection of original essays that examines the misconceptions and fears related to socialism and what socialism would look like in the US. Contributors to the anthology include Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, incarcerated journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, Hugo Award-winning author Terry Bisson, NY Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez and Julian Assange's attorney Michael Ratner. 

Read the full transcript here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Common Core Update - Civil War Cluster

One of the most tumultuous periods in American history, the Civil War remains an important topic of discussion for students. Whether they are exploring the political storm that led to the secession, or the tragedy of the lengthy war, there are so many learning opportunities that balance well with the Common Core standards. Our new Common Core book cluster for the Civil War blends thought provoking fiction with powerful non-fiction titles designed to give students the tools necessary for in-depth critical discussions. 

The Secrets of Mary Bowser is based on the harrowing true story of a former slave who risks her freedom to spy on the Southern President, Jefferson Davis. After reading The Secrets of Mary Bowser and Lincoln, students can compare the personal stories of both Mary Bowser and Abraham Lincoln. How did each individual deal with the immense responsibility placed upon them? In what ways did both Mary and Lincoln sacrifice personally to achieve their goals? What themes are present in The Secrets of Mary Bowser that echoes the overall turmoil of the war?

Paradise Alley focuses on the Draft Riots in New York, a pivotal event that stirred up issues of class, race and immigration. Use Throes of Democracy to compare the living conditions and events in Paradise Alley with the important events taking place elsewhere in the nation in 1863. In what ways did the Draft Riots in New York affect the country at large? What choices did the author make in Paradise Alley to represent the tumult of the Civil War as a whole?

Using The Impending Crisis, Throes of Democracy, Reconstruction, Sherman or Lincoln, students can compare the real life events with the fictionalized characters and tales from The Secrets of Mary Bowser or Paradise Alley. Through their examination of these titles, students will get a comprehensive view of the Civil War as a whole, and the imagined individual experience of the most difficult point in American history. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In Honor of National Poetry Month...

Dream Of The Unified Field By Jorie GrahamHappy National Poetry Month to all you verse-enthusiasts! In honor of this blessed month, check out these distinguished poets in the HarperCollins family:

Arthur Rimbaud: A French poet of the decadent movement, Rimbaud’s proto-surrealism influenced generations of artists, despite the fact that he retired at 20. We recommend Arthur Rimbaud: Complete Works.

Mark Doty: Known for his plain-spoken and unflinching writing across genres, Mark Doty won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008, and is currently the Distinguished Professor and Writer-In-Residence in the Department of English at Rutgers. We recommend Fire to Fire.

Louise Gluck: Gluck is a former U.S. Poet Laureate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award  for Poetry, and the PEN/Winship Award for Poetry. We recommend The Wild Iris.

Patti Smith: Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock. Her memoir, Just Kids, won National Book Award for Nonfiction. We recommend Auguries of Innocence

Nikki Giovanni: American writer, activist, and educator, Giovanni’s early work was inspired by the Civil Rights and black power movements. She is a five-time NAACP Image Award-winner, holds the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry, and is the University Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech. We recommend The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni.

Jorie Graham: Called "one of the most celebrated poets of the American post-war generation” by The Poetry Foundation, Graham won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1996, and has served as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She recently became the first female Boylston Professor at Harvard, replacing Seamus Heaney. We recommend Dream of the Unified Field.  

Hebert Zbigniew: A Polish poet, essayist, dramatist, and moralist, Hebert was a member of the Polish resistance movement during World War II, and is one of the most translated post-war Polish writers. He is the winner of many international prizes, and was, according to a note made by the secret police agent in the Polish Union of Writers, a candidate for the 1968 Nobel Prize in Literature. We recommend The Collected Poems.

Robert Hass: One of contemporary poetry’s most widely-read voices, Hass served as US Poet Laureate from 1995-1997, won the 2007 National Book Award for Poetry, and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. We recommend Time and Materials

UPDIKE - The Biography of a Great American Writer

Today marks the release of Adam Begley's Updike, a comprehensive and deeply personal examination of the life and work of writer John Updike. Over the course of his prolific career, Updike was known for exploring modern American life through his work. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he is considered one of the most influential 20th century American writers. A family friend of Updike, Begley focuses on the career and influence of the legendary writer through in-depth research with family members and friends. Central to Begley's depiction is the degree to which Updike's own tumultuous personal life was reflected in his fiction. Begley's career as a literary critic and his personal connection to John Updike blend to create a candid and intimate portrait of a prominent American writer. 

Praise for Updike:

"Adam Begley's literary biography of John Updike comes about as close to perfection as a work of its genre can."
           Shelf Awarness

"A beautifully written, richly detailed, and warmly sympathetic portrait of a great American writer."
           Joyce Carol Oates

"Adam Begley's Updike is a model of what literay biography should be: rich with penetrating insights not only about the life but also about the work. It will enthrall long-time Updike fans and help create generations of new ones."
           Francine Prose

Friday, April 4, 2014

Course Suggestions for Thornton Wilder's THE EIGHTH DAY

The Eighth Day By Thornton WilderWinner of the 1968 National Book Award for Fiction, The Eight Day is a tale about two families in “everytown” USA blasted apart by the apparent murder of one father by the other. The miraculous escape of the accused killer, John Ashley, on the eve of his execution triggers a powerful story tracing the fate of his and the victim's wife and children.

Course Suggestions
Following the escalation of the Vietnam War and JFK’s assassination, Sixties culture exhibited a marked decline of Puritan ideals in America—especially the widespread notion that America was essentially a grander version of John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill.” Partially in response to this, Wilder began to write The Eighth Day, a novel that reaffirms the optimistic Puritan vision of America as a nation chosen by God, and the continued possibility of its citizens achieving the “American dream.”
Wilder was certainly not the first to promote American Exceptionalism in literature, with authors like James Fennimore Cooper (The PioneersThe Last of the Mohicans) and Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass) supporting his view. Increasingly, though, the 20th century saw an influx of literature refuting this national myth—from Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, to Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Miller’s The Death of a Salesman, and O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find. And while references to “the city upon a hill” have remained a perpetual part of our political discourse (especially by Republican candidates in the post-Reagan era [see Gingrich’s A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters]), Wilder’s unironic view of American privilege it is harder to find in the 60s and beyond, particularly post-9/11. In postmodern literature, the American dream seems either hopeless (McCarthy’s The Road) or unlikely at best (Vlautin’s The Free).
In your course, you may want to examine the ways in which American literature has increasingly rebelled against the idea of American Exceptionalism, with Wilder’s The Eighth Day serving as one of its last bulwarks. In doing so, it may be helpful to examine 20th century literary movements, particularly the shift from modernism to postmodernism. Is the ironic nature of postmodernism inherently at odds with American nationalism? And what does this say about the role of literature in society, when literary trends seem at odds with the majority of American’s continued thinking (see the Jones 2010 Gallup Poll, which reveals that 80% of Americans agree with the statement “the United States has a unique character because of its history and Constitution that sets it apart from other nations as the greatest in the world”)?