Biblio Links welcomes author Jennifer Nielsen!
Biblio Links: Welcome, Jen! Can you tell us a bit about the series that keeps flying off of our school library’s shelves?
Jen Nielsen: Thanks for having me here on your blog, Natalie! There are three titles in The Underworld Chronicles series: ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR (Sourcebooks `10), ELLIOT AND THE PIXIE PLOT (`11), and ELLIOT AND THE LAST UNDERWORLD WAR (Apr `12).
ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR is the first in the Underworld Chronicles series. It tells the story of 11-year-old Elliot Penster, who accidentally becomes King of the Brownies and launches an interspecies war with the Goblins. As the series develops, Elliot is also tricked into awakening a sleepy demon named Kovol, whose revenge comes in the form of a plan to destroy planet earth. Well, that’s all Elliot needs – to be forever known as the kid who got earth destroyed. It will take all of his Underworld friends and every lesson he’s ever learned to defeat Kovol once and for all.
Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think, “That kid needs a copy of one of the Underground Chronicles books.” Who is this kid?
Jen Nielsen: Every teacher and librarian has their handful of reluctant readers – those wonderful children who might need a little more persuasion to stay invested in a book. The ELLIOT series will probably work very well for them. The book’s size is manageable and the artwork by my illustrator, Gideon Kendall, is wonderful and can be found in nearly every chapter. The humor and adventure should keep the reluctant reader engaged, and because it’s a series, if the child completes one story, another one can quickly be placed in his hands.
Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson, what might we see?
Jen Nielsen: Hopefully we’d see a lot of kids laughing! The series is designed to be full of adventure and humor, so that something interesting is always happening.
There should also be opportunities throughout the book for the teacher to ask questions or to open a discussion. For example, throughout the book are segments that start with “Dear Reader…” Here is an excerpt from Book 3, ELLIOT AND THE LAST UNDERWORLD WAR.
Dear Reader, if the reporter had said a sinkhole had appeared in Guatemala, this would not be much of a surprise because they already have a giant sinkhole right in their capital city. It’s over a hundred feet deep and big enough that it swallowed a three-story building. Nobody is sure exactly what is causing that sinkhole, although scientists have managed to eliminate the possibility of caved in tunnels from freak-sized worms larger than rockets. Apparently, freak-sized worms don’t exist.
From this, a teacher could easily challenge students to research more about sinkholes around the world and suggest theories about what might be causing them.
There are teachers’ guides on my website for the first two ELLIOT books. (I may develop one for the third, but perhaps not for a while) Each guide has per chapter vocabulary words and definitions, questions about the reading, and suggested activities. I think for any elementary grade level, a teacher should be able to find wonderful ideas in the guides to accompany the books.
Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?
Jen Nielsen: The best place to learn more about me and my books is at my website, http://www.jennielsen.com or you can follow me on Twitter @nielsenwriter. There is a book trailer for ELLIOT AND THE PIXIE PLOT on YouTube (or on my website), and you can find other interviews with me from a simple Google search.
In addition to the ELLIOT series, I am also the author of The Ascendance Trilogy beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE (Scholastic) in April 2012. I will also be writing the sixth book of THE INFINITY RING series (Scholastic), with Book 1 launching in September 2012.
Biblio Links: Thanks for stopping by, Jen! I look forward to putting more of your books into students’ hands.
For all you Underworld Chronicles fans out there, here’s a sneak peek at one of the illustrations from the third book in the series, ELLIOT AND THE LAST UNDERWORLD WAR illustrated by Gideon Kendall. Kendall’s detailed illustrations in all three books make great springboards for predicting and inferring with students–not to mention thrills, chills and giggles.
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~The Nitty Gritty~
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication Dates: 2010 (Book 1); 2011 (Book 2); April 2012 (Book 3)
ISBN: 978-1402240195 (Book 1)
978-1402240201 (Book 2)
978-1402240218 (Book 3)
Number of Pages: 208 (all three books)
Interest Level: Ages 8 and up