February 28, 2013 Long before James Prosek became a world-famous artist and naturalist, he was a kid who used art as a way to work through the ups and downs of childhood. "When I went into the woods, it was the first time that I felt like something was mine," he says.
February 25, 2013 Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck has the weight of the world upon him — no friends, an alcoholic father and a brother who has just been injured in Vietnam. But the protagonist of this NPR Backseat Book Club book finds solace in an unlikely place — the pages of Audubon's Birds of America.
February 1, 2013 NPR's Backseat Book Club takes the yellow brick road back to its origins with L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900.
December 19, 2012 Our latest pick for NPR's Backseat Book Club is The Red Pyramid, a tale of two kids who must rescue the world from Egyptian gods. Author Rick Riordan, a former schoolteacher, combined his obsession with books with his passion for mythology to write this book about ordinary kids doing heroic things.
November 2, 2012 In 1877, Anna Sewell wrote a novel about human kindness and cruelty — all from the point of view of a horse. In the decades since, Black Beauty has been embraced by generations of children, and has helped change the way we treat and think about horses.
November 1, 2012 Former schoolteacher Rick Riordan delivers a lesson in ancient Egyptian history cleverly disguised as a hair-raising kids adventure. Carter and Sadie Kane have no idea they are descended from age-old sorcerers until their archaeologist father accidentally unleashes ancient gods into modern society.
October 12, 2012 The Backseat Book Club returns from summer vacation with Anna Sewell's classic novel, Black Beauty. NPR's Michele Norris will talk with writer Jane Smiley who, in addition to winning a Pulitzer prize for adult literature, has written kids books starring horses.
June 29, 2012 Author Jeff Kinney is a rock star in the middle school literary scene. His Diary of a Wimpy Kid books follow the misadventures of sad-sack sixth-grader Greg Heffley, who just wants to fit in. Kids love the gross-out humor, but librarians and teachers say the books also help them laugh at the indignities of life.
May 31, 2012 Heart of a Samurai tells the true story of 14-year-old Manjiro, a boy who was shipwrecked, rescued by whalers and taken to America. It was the late 1800s, when Japan was cut off from the outside world — until Manjiro returned and influenced the shogun to open the country to diplomacy.
May 31, 2012 Back in 2009, our interview with author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney sparked the idea for a special NPR book club for kids. So it's only fitting that NPR's Backseat Book Club will read Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Kinney's beloved cartoon staring Greg Heffley, a beleaguered middle-schooler.
April 24, 2012 Margi Preus' Heart of a Samurai tells the story of Manjiro, a fisherman's son who dreams of becoming a samurai. When his boat is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan, he embarks on a series of adventures that turn his dreams into reality.
March 26, 2012 When it comes to what we read, we like to make sure our Backseat Book Club readers are in the driver's seat! We invite you to cast your vote in the Children's Choice Book Awards — and help us pick our book for June!
March 26, 2012 Seedfolks follows the interconnected stories of 13 people whose lives are changed when they begin to care for a neglected community garden. Author Paul Fleischman said he found inspiration for Seedfolks close to home; at his childhood home in Los Angeles, his parents were dedicated urban farmers.
March 26, 2012 Puzzle-solving genius kids form a pint-size crime-fighting Mod Squad in this month's Backseat Book Club pick. Trenton Lee Stewart, author of The Mysterious Benedict Society, takes questions from young readers about the book's twists, turns and creative conundrums.