P a u l   F l e i s c h m a n

Winner of the Newbery Medal

N   E   W   S

Eyes Wide Open has been named a finalist for the Los Angeles Time Book Prize in the young adult literature category. You can see the complete list of nominees here.


The science teachers of the National
Science Teachers Association and the
Children's Book Council have put Eyes
Wide Open on their list of Outstanding
Science Trade Books for Students K-12.

Eyes Wide Open is a finalist for one of
the 2015 American Association for the
Advancement of Science/​Subaru Science Book and Film Prizes. Complete list.


March 11, 2015
San Jose, CA

College Connection Academy

April 15, 2015
Mountain View, CA

Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School

April 18, 2015
Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
and Book Prize ceremony

May 18, 2015
San Francisco, CA

Brandeis-Hillel Day School

May 27, 2015
New York City

School Library Journal Day of Dialog

July 31-August 3, 2015
Los Angeles, CA

Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators Summer Conference

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Going Behind

the Environmental Headlines

THE GOAL: Giving readers 14 and up the briefing they need to comprehend their moment in history.

And a riveting moment it is. We've grasped the dangers of civilization-as-usual and are laboring to alter our course, veering away from fossil fuels and switching our thinking from short-term to long.

Entrenched interests are resisting. It's a time of bold advances and shameful retreats, apathy and stunning innovation. Adolescence is dramatic and untidy; so are periods when societies change.

THE MEANS: Searching out the principles that decode a thousand headlines at a swoop--vested interests, the lifestyle ladder, defense mechanisms, big-country syndrome . . .

Because power and money are as important as molecules in this story, I've featured history, politics, and psychology as prominently as science. Because information sources vary in reliability, readers are shown how to look critically at the media and their own opinions and how to test for trustworthiness. Using my own town as an example, I've tried to show them how to see the global in the near-at-hand, looking behind and beyond their own local headlines. Read the first chapter.

"For high schools that assign one book for all students to read and discuss:
This is the one."

     Starred review, Kirkus

Candlewick Press has just released Eyes Wide Open simultaneously in hardcover, paper, e-book, and audio. The book's website--EyesWideOpenUpdates.com--continues the coverage of this breaking story with the latest news, an updated list of resources, my own evolving thoughts, and reports from readers in the field documenting how the big picture is playing out on their blocks. We're present at one of history's great turning points. What better time to have our eyes wide open?

Los Angeles Times Book Prize nominee

Starred review, Booklist

Starred review, Publishers Weekly

Starred review, School Library Journal

Read the Publishers Weekly interview

Read the School Library Journal interview

Read Candlewick's teachers' guide to the book


SEEDFOLKS now available

for the school stage

Schools can now perform Seedfolks as well as read it. My school-friendly adaptation is large-cast (11M, 12F minimum), single-set, and well-supplied with female and nonspeaking roles. It's one-act, technically simple, and at 40 minutes fits into a single class period. The play is a spoken musical of sorts--for a taste of one of the "songs" see the opening scene. There's lots of dialogue, action, and new material, including the answer to the question "What happened with Curtis and Lateesha?"

Playscripts will handle licensing and the publication of an acting edition in September 2015. Until then, groups can work from the current perusal version. To get a copy, contact info@playscripts.com. Let me know at paul@paulfleischman.net if you're planning to stage the play.


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illustrated by

Bagram Ibatoulline

The Matchbox Diary is an Italian immigrant's account, a hymn to literacy, an enticement to collectors, and a celebration of the box. It came from many points in my past, all of them converging at an unexpected meeting.

It was two decades ago that my friend and inspiration Kathy Chilton introduced me to her fellow artist Gary Hamel, who proceeded to lift the lid off one of his matchbox journals. My eyes expanded. The cigar box contained several dozen matchboxes brought on one of his trips, each dated and holding a few objects found on that day. Though we'd never met before, I was bold enough to ask if he might let me play with the idea. He agreed. My mind began whirring.

A writer's toughest task isn't finding an idea, but figuring out what to do with it. This germ overflowed with personal connections and possibilities. My mother had long ago given me a tiny sliding cardboard box she'd made and covered with paper she'd marbled, a work whose craftsmanship I aspire to whenever I write. I'm a lover of boxes and made a series of matchbox theaters some years back (see below). The smallness of matchboxes might be tied to the smallness of children and their knack for spotting little objects; I'd been the smallest kid in my class year after year. The urge to record where we've been was a possible focus. Or the way we live on through our objects--the reason my father kept his tailor-father's heavy shears close by his desk. Or a diary-in-objects might be kept by a character longing to communicate, a thread that's run through my work and my life, leading me to study instruments and languages and tutor new immigrants in English.

With so many choices, it should have been easy, but every use comes with problems. It took fifteen years of periodic attempts before I found one whose problems I could solve, weaving several of the above themes around a story of immigration in my grandfather's era, letting the similarities to my immigrant students' lives hover in the air. What a pleasure it was this summer to visit Gary Hamel in his home town of Orange, NH, to have him give his blessing on the book his idea spawned, then to have him bestow upon me one of his matchbox journals. My eyes jumped again. I love this job...

2014 Christopher Award

Finalist, Children's Choice Book Award

Starred review, Publishers Weekly

Starred review, Booklist

Starred review, Kirkus

Starred review, School Library Journal

IRA Teacher's Choices reading list

Keystone To Reading Elementary Book Award list

A Junior Library Guild selection

Best Childrens Books of 2013, Kirkus

Best Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education

New York Public Library's "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing"

Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

"If you can't read or write, how do you remember the important moments of your life?...A powerful introduction to the American immigrant story."    --Publishers Weekly

"The illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline can create images so exquisitely realistic that they could be mistaken for photographs."    --The Wall Street Journal

Candlewick Press

A Spanish edition with the same stunning artwork is available from Lectorum.


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Paul Fleischman's comic campaign-trail novel for adults

A president walks into a country....But it's no joke for the rich and removed American leader fighting for reelection during the second coming of the Great Depression. Far behind in the polls, with the radio ringing with Bruce Springsteen's "Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime," the president has no choice but to follow his handlers' advice: cross the country incognito, living and working among his people for two weeks in a desperate bid to seem attuned to their plight. Hadn't Peter the Great done something vaguely similar? What's the worst that could happen?

Find out, as the presidential entourage hits the road with hidden cameras and bickering speechwriters composing his diary--He Walked Among Us--to be served hot at the convention. From hobo jungles filled with middle management to the mysteries of Omaha and the political punch of New Mexico's green chiles, truth and truthiness collide as a president steps far off the red carpet and into the nation he nominally governs. You gorged on politics through all of 2012, with another serving on the way. Here's the literary Alka Seltzer.

Available as an e-book for Nook, Kindle, iPhone and iPad, Kobo and for all devices from eBooks.com.

Available in paperback from Amazon.







The U.S. Board on Books for Young People named Paul Fleischman the United States' author nominee for the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award, an international award given every other year to an author and illustrator for a body of work judged to have made lasting contributions to children's literature. Twenty-seven countries submitted nominations, reduced to a short list of five that included Paul Fleischman. The winner was Marķa Teresa Andruetto of Argentina.

Sid Fleischman was the U.S. author nominee in 1994. Peter Sis, the illustrator of The Whipping Boy and many other Sid Fleischman titles, was the 2012 winning illustrator. You can see information about the nominees and the list of past winners at ibby.org.



L I V E !

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices may be the only Newbery book never to be translated into another language--but composers rushed in where translators feared to tread. Quite a few have set selections from the book to music over the years, captivating works I can now share with you. Did you think all composers are dead or that questions have only one right answer? Listen to these very different treatments of the same poem.

The first is the work of Shirley Hoffman Warren, one of five Joyful Noise poems she set to music, all performed at SUNY in New Paltz, NY, where she lives. "I often strive for a slightly off-balance feel," she says--wonderfully evident here. To hear more of her work, visit her website at www.washalee.com .

The second was composed by Brian Holmes and was recently performed by the Peninsula Girls Chorus in Burlingame, CA. To learn and hear more, go to myspace.com/brianwholmes.

EYES WIDE OPEN: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines. Text copyright © 2014 by the Brown-Fleischman Family Trust. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

THE MATCHBOX DIARY. Text copyright © 2013 by Paul Fleischman. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Bagram Ibatoulline. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.