#HPBteensREAD: The Best Teen Reads This Summer

Hey TEENS! These final days of summer mean one of two things: either you are soaking up the sun and enjoying those last moments of being carefree, or you’ve procrastinated and are now furiously cramming your summer reading and projects into the wee hours before you have to head back to____… I promise not to say the “s” word! Whether you’re reading for enjoyment or obligation, we’d love to hear from you! Check out #HPBteensREAD and tweet us your review. (Plus, learn about how you can win a Teen Reading Prize Pack.) Also, follow the #HPBteensREAD hashtag to get some great recommendations!

Our good friend and librarian Kristen at the Irving Public Library, (organizers of the first-ever North Texas Teen Book Festival, coming in March 2015), gave us a quick list of the best teen reads this summer. Have you had the chance to pick these up? –Becky

Hey HPB Booklovers!

Here’s a list of authors and books we can’t keep on the shelves!

  1. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  2. The Living by Matt de la Peña
  3. Noggin by John Corey Whaley
  4. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (movie coming out September 19!)
  5. Unwind series by Neal Shusterman
  6. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  7. Divergent series by Veronica Roth
  8. Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (this title has been super hot, especially with the movie coming out on August 22!)
  11. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles series) by Marissa Meyer
  12. The Selection series by Kiera Cass
  13. The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han – perpetual teen summer reading fave!
  14. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- another teen summer reading fave!
  15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin (the final installment comes out in November and interest for this series has seriously rekindled lately)

I could go on and on with teen books, but I should probably keep the list short and sweet. 😉 Take care and happy reading! 

–Kristen, Teen Services, Irving Public Library-Central Library

21 Comic Book Challenges You Won’t Believe!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Half Price Books is committed to buying and selling anything printed or recorded, except yesterday’s newspaper! Did you know that HPB carries a great selection of comics, graphic novels and comic-related merchandise?


This year, we’ve teamed up with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, our super heroes at protecting our right to read comics! Enjoy this post from our friend, Charles Brownstein, Executive Director at the CBLDF and we’ll see you this weekend! — Becky

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization that protects the freedom to read comics, and we’re proud to welcome Half Price Books to our roster of Corporate Members.  Many people ask whether censorship is still a problem facing comics, and the answer is a shocking yes.  In 2013 the year’s tenth most challenged book was Bone by Jeff Smith.  Last year also saw the Chicago Public Schools attempt to ban Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis.  The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund fights these challenges when they happen, getting involved at the first sign of trouble and assisting communities to help keep comics on the shelf.  We also create proactive resources to help increase understanding of comics before challenges occur.

Today we take a look at 21 surprising comics challenges, providing the title, where the challenge occurred, and the allegations brought against the book.  To read the full story of these challenges, or to learn more about the CBLDF’s important work, come on over to our website.

 1. Amazing Spider-Man: Revelations by J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita, Jr., and Scott Hanna

• Location of key challenge: A middle-school library in Millard, Nebraska

• Reason challenged: Sexual overtones

The parent of a 6-year-old who checked out the book filed a complaint and took the story to the media; the parent also withheld the book for the duration of the review process rather than returning it per library policy. Read more here.

2. Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley

• Location of key challenge: Stark County District Library in Canton, Ohio

• Reason challenged: Sexism, offensive language, and unsuited to age group

Despite the challenge, the library retained the book and now holds two copies, which are shelved in the Teen section. Read more here.

3. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Boland

• Location of key challenge: Columbus, Nebraska, Public Library

• Reason challenged: Advocates rape and violence

The library review board members present voted unanimously to retain the book when it was challenged by a single patron.  Read more here.

4. Blankets by Craig Thompson

• Location of key challenge: The public library in Marshall, Missouri

• Reason challenged: Obscene images

CBLDF wrote a letter to the Marshall library on behalf of Blankets and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, playing a key role in keeping both books on shelves. Read more here.

5. Bone by Jeff Smith

• Location of key challenge: Independent School District 196 in Rosemount, Minnesota

• Reason challenged: Promotion of smoking and drinking

A letter from Jeff Smith decrying the attempted ban of his book was read aloud at the library review committee’s hearing, and the challenge was ultimately rejected by a 10-1 vote, to the praise of Smith and the CBLDF. Read more here.

6. Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

• Location of key challenge: All public school libraries in Wicomico County, Maryland

• Reason challenged: Violence and nudity

The library review committee recommended that the books in the Dragon Ball series, which were recommended by the publisher for ages 13+, be removed from the entire public school library system, including at the high school level. Read more here.

7. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

• Location of key challenge: The public library in Marshall, Missouri

• Reason challenged: Obscene images

CBLDF wrote a letter to the Marshall library on behalf of Fun Home and Craig Thompson’s Blankets, playing a key role in keeping both books on shelves. Read more here.

8. Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes

• Location of key challenge: A high school in Guilford, Connecticut

• Reason challenged: Profanity, coarse language, and brief non-sexual nudity

A high school teacher was forced to resign from his job after a parent filed both a complaint with the school and a police complaint against the teacher for lending a high school freshman a copy of Eightball #22, which was later published as the graphic novel Ice Haven. Read more here.

9. In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

• Location of key challenge: Multiple locations

• Reason challenged: Nudity

In the Night Kitchen was not often removed from shelves; instead, librarians censored it by painting underwear or diapers over the genitals of the main character, a precocious child named Mickey. Read more here.

10. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill

• Location of key challenge: Jessamine County Public Library in Kentucky

• Reason challenged: Sex scenes

Two employees of the Jessamine County Public Library in Kentucky were fired after they took it upon themselves to withhold the library’s copy of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier from circulation because they felt it was pornographic. Read more here.

11. Maus by Art Spiegelman

• Location of key challenge: Pasadena Public Library in Pasadena, California

• Reason challenged: Anti-ethnic and unsuited for age group

Nick Smith of the Pasadena Public Library describes the challenge as being “made by a Polish-American who is very proud of his heritage, and who had made other suggestions about adding books on Polish history… The thing is, Maus made him uncomfortable, so he didn’t want other people to read it. That is censorship, as opposed to parental guidance.” Read more here.

12. Neonomicon by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

• Location of key challenge: The public library in Greenville, South Carolina

• Reason challenged: Sexual content

Despite giving her 14-year-old daughter permission to check out the book, which was appropriately shelved in the adult section of the library, a mother filed a complaint, claiming the book was “pornographic.” CBLDF wrote a letter in support of the book, but it remains out of circulation pending review. Read more here.

13. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

• Location of key challenge: The public school system in Chicago, Illinois

• Reason challenged: Profanity, violent content

Furor erupted when Chicago Public Schools sent an email to local principals, directing them to remove all copies of Marjane Satrapi’s award-winning graphic novel Persepolis. CPS backpedalled on the initial email, sending a second email clarifying that the book was to be retained in libraries. It was removed from Grade 7 classrooms and remains under review for use in Grade 8 -10 classrooms. Read more here.

14. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn and Niko Henricho

• Location of key challenge: Various

• Reason challenged: Sexual content

Despite receiving high praise from the ALA and Booklist and featuring a cast consisting of animals, the book has been challenged at libraries for sexual content. Read more here.

15. Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists

• Location of key challenge: Various

• Reason challenged: Anti-family themes, offensive language, and unsuited for age group

When asked about how he felt when Sandman was labelled unsuitable for teens, Gaiman responded, “I suspect that having a reputation as adult material that’s unsuitable for teens will probably do more to get teens to read Sandman than having the books ready and waiting on the YA shelves would ever do.” Read more here.

16. Side Scrollers by Matthew Loux

• Location of key challenge: The public school district in Enfield, Connecticut

• Reason challenged: Profanity and sexual references

The school district removed the book from non-compulsory summer reading lists, possibly violating its own review policy, which states in part that “no parent nor group of parents has the right to negate the use of educational resources for students other than his/her own child.” CBLDF wrote a letter in support of the book and is still awaiting a response from the school board. Read more here.

17. Stuck in the Middle, edited by Ariel Schrag

• Location of key challenge: The public school system in Dixfield, Maine

• Reason challenged: Language, sexual content, and drug references

CBLDF wrote a letter in support of the book, and the school board voted to leave the book on library shelves with the caveat the students must have parental permission to check out the book. “While we’re pleased to see the book retained in the library’s collection, we’re very disappointed that it is retained with restrictions,” said Executive Director Charles Brownstein. Read more here.

18. Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse

• Location of key challenge: Montgomery County Memorial Library System, Texas

• Reason challenged: Depiction of homosexuality

The book was challenged alongside 15 other young adult books with gay positive themes. The book was ultimately retained in the Montgomery County system, but was reclassified from Young Adult to Adult. Read more here.

19. Tank Girl by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett

• Location of key challenge: Hammond Public Library in Hammond, Indiana

• Reason challenged: Nudity and violence

The Tank Girl books are meant to entertain an adult audience, frequently depicting violence, flatulence, vomiting, sex, and drug use. After the 2009 challenge, the Hammond Public Library chose to retain the book, and it remains on shelves today. Read more here.

20. The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa

• Location of key challenge: Various

• Reason challenged: Nudity, sexual content, and unsuited to age group

When the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom released their list of the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011, the second-most challenged book on that list was The Color of Earth, the first book of a critically-acclaimed Korean manwha, or comic book, series. Read more here.

21. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

• Location of key challenge: Various

• Reason challenged: Unsuited to age group

Watchmen received a Hugo Award in 1988 and was instrumental in garnering more respect and shelf space for comics and graphic novels in libraries and mainstream bookstores. The inclusion of Watchmen in school library collections has been challenged by parents at least twice, according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Read more here.

Charles Brownstein is the Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Best Children’s Books to Turn Reluctant Readers into Bibliophiles

Do you remember your first chapter book? That first book you read that was more pictures than words and was thicker than half an inch?

I actually don’t, but, oddly enough, I do remember my sister’s. While she was a straight-A student and a teacher’s pet, she just wasn’t that into reading. The first book she got excited about was Island of the Blue Dolphins. She was so proud, and while her habit for reading didn’t start as early as mine and she struggled to keep the habit going, she slowly found inspiration and entertainment in books.

While studies show that most reluctant readers are boys, girls are not immune to the affliction. Many times, it is just a matter of finding the right read for the reader.

Like my sister, it may be an award-winning novel that wins your reluctant reader over, but for lots of kids, just finding the right book to tap into their interests is all they need to get a good habit going.


From graphic novels to historic tales, these are a few books that can make learning fun.  Whether they like science, history, art or sports figures non-fiction addictive for young readers!

Elementary School

The Who Was…? series by various authors 

The What was…? series by various authors 

The Baseball Card Adventures series by Dan Gutman 

Investigating the Scientific Method with Max Axiom, Super Scientist by Donald B. Lemke 

Middle School and High School

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson

A.D. New Orleans: After the Deluge Josh Neufeld

Eagle Blue: A Team, A Tribe and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska by Michael D’Orso

Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey by Julia L. Foulkes

The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography by Katherine Harmon

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer


While some of these Newbery Award winners might be hard to tackle or overwhelming by oneself, reading award-winning classics like these together can really get a reluctant reader’s habit started, and they might just bring back some fond memories for the adult reading buddy! Here are just a few:

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1959)

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (1961)

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (1972)

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1978)

The Giver by Lois Lowry (1994)

Holes by Louis Sachar (1999)

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering (2004)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illus. by Dave McKean (2009)


Elementary School

Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osbourne 

Animorphs by Katherine Applegate 

Goosebumps by R L Stein 

Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon

Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene 

Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder 

Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney 

Matt Christopher Sports Classics series by Matt Christopher

The Great Brains series by John D. Fitzgerald

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell 

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket

Middle School and High School

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan

The Princess Diary series

The Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card 

The Chronicles of The Black Company series by Glen Cook 

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton 

Grendel by John Gardner 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

Back to my sister —  when she was in third grade, she had to get glasses, and it was a pretty strong prescription for a little kid. It’s important to consider all the reasons why a child doesn’t take to reading. Sometimes it is not just that they are not exposed to books — it could be he has difficulty distinguishing characters, or, like my sister, it could be her eyesight isn’t perfect and reading is uncomfortable. Creating habits early is key to creating a lifelong reader, so parents and teachers can help by reading together and working to solve the mystery of the reluctant reader. Ah…a mystery, time to revisit those Nancy Drews!

Want more tips on getting kids reading? Here is a great article from KidsHealth. Have fun reading this summer and all year long! Any great books for reluctant readers you would recommend? — Becky

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.

#Bookbeard — Let’s make it a thing (also, a giveaway!)

We’ve all seen Catbearding — admit it, many of you have done it. In fact, we know you’ve done it, because otherwise the Internet wouldn’t be full of people using their cats to make beards

Well, we think it’s time for a new spin, so without further ado, may we introduce:


Fun, right? It’s a “here’s what I’m reading” + a selfie in one. What’s better than that? Nothing, that’s what. So let’s do, this, booklovers. #Bookbeard. Let’s make it a thing. (Oh, and also, there’s a giveaway associated, so that’s a bonus reason to participate.) 

Giveaway Details:

1) The #BookBeard giveaway will take place on Instagram. To enter the giveaway, you must: 

  • Follow Half Price Books on Instagram
  •  Upload a picture of yourself Book Bearding* to your personal Instagram using the hashtags             #bookbeard #giveaway, and tag @halfpricebooks in the picture.
  • If you tweet your Instagram picture mentioning @halfpricebooks and #bookbeard, you will be entered twice

(*Book Bearding is defined as someone who holds a book (cover art facing out) over his or her mouth, but below the nose (like a beard)). 

2) We will do one giveaway (for a $10 HPB gift card) a week for four weeks in August. Each week will have a different theme and a winner will be announced by 4 pm CST on August 9, 16, 23, and 30.

  • Week One (August 2-9): Book of Your Choosing, and/or Favorite Childhood Book 
  • Week Two (August 9-16): Required Reading You Didn’t Hate
  • Week Three (August 16-23): Favorite Book of All Time
  • Week Four: (August 23-30) What You’re Reading Now 

Giveaway entry periods will be:

  • Week One: 3:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 — 3:00 p.m. CST Friday, Aug. 9 (winner announced at 4 p.m. CST)
  • Week Two: 3:01 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9 — 3:00 p.m. CST Friday, Aug. 16 (winner announced at 4 p.m. CST)
  • Week Three: 3:01 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16 – 3:00 p.m. CST Friday, Aug. 23 (winner announced at 4 p.m. CST)
  • Week Four: 3:01 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23- 3:00 p.m. CST Friday, Aug. 30 (winner announced at 4 p.m. CST)

UPDATE: Week Four Deadline has been extended to Tuesday, September 3 at 3:00 p.m. CST. Winner will be announced at 4 p.m. CST. 

Fine print: 

No purchase necessary to enter or win. Entrants must follow HPB on Instagram, and pictures must be uploaded to Instagram tagging @halfpricebooks and using the hashtags #bookbeard and #giveaway to enter. If Instagram pictures are tweeted mentioning @halfpricebooks and #bookbeard, entrants will be entered into giveaway twice. No limit on number of entries per week (i.e. people can submit 5 book beard pics and be entered to win 5 times). Employees and family of employees may participate but will not be eligible to win giveaway. Gift card prizes are only valid in-store and may not be used online at hpbmarketplace.com or at the HPB Outlet.

What are you waiting for? Go #BookBeard!


Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.



ELIGIBILITY: The Half Price Books, Records and Magazines, Incorporated (Half Price Books) $10 Gift Card Giveaway for the 2013 Book Beard Giveaway (the “Giveaway”) is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Employees of Half Price Books and their respective parent companies, affiliates, promotion and other vendor agencies involved in this Giveaway, as well as the immediate family members (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members of each such employee, are not eligible to win the gift card. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Giveaway is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. 

GIVEAWAY TIMING: The Giveaway entry period begins Friday, August 2 at 3:01 p.m. CDT and ends Friday, August 30 at 3:00 p.m. CDT (the “Promotional Period”). Four (4) winners will be chosen during that time (one per week). 

Week One: 3:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 — 3:00 p.m. CST Friday, Aug. 9 (winner announced at 4 p.m. CST)

Week Two: 3:01 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9 — 3:00 p.m. CST Friday, Aug. 16 (winner announced at 4 p.m. CST)

Week Three: 3:01 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16 – 3:00 p.m. CST Friday, Aug. 23 (winner announced at 4 p.m. CST)

Week Four: 3:01 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23- 3:00 p.m. CST Friday, Aug. 30 (winner announced at 4 p.m. CST)

DESCRIPTION OF GIVEAWAY: Via online method only, entrants will have the opportunity to win four (4) Half Price Books Gift Cards for use at Half Price Books retail locations (not valid online at HPB Marketplace or at Half Price Books Outlet locations). Entries will be accepted starting at 12:01 AM CDT on Monday, July 15, 2013 until 11:59 PM CDT on Monday, July 29, 2013. Gift Card Giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced after Monday, July 29, 2013.

HOW TO ENTER: The Book Beard giveaway will take place on Instagram. To enter the giveaway, entrants must: 1) Follow Half Price Books on Instagram 2) Upload a picture of themselves “Book Bearding” to their personal Instagram using the hashtags #bookbeard and #giveaway, and tag @halfpricebooks in the picture. Book Bearding is defined as someone who holds a book (cover art facing out) over his or her mouth, but below the nose (like a beard)). If entrants tweet their Instagram picture mentioning @halfpricebooks and #bookbeard, they will be entered twice. All entries must be received by 3:00 PM CST on the last day of Giveaway. No limit on number of entries per week. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

WINNER PRIZE SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION: This is a game of chance. Odds of winning are based on the number of eligible entries. Winners will be selected at random using a.n independent auto-generated selection process available at http://www.random.org/integers/. Prize notification will be announced on Instagram and will be completed by 4 p.m. on August 9, 16, 23 and 30 (after the entry period for the prior week has ended). The prize is not transferable; no prize substitutions or cash alternatives are allowed except as may be determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Entrants who live outside of the United States or fail to complete all required entry rules will be disqualified. One randomly selected winner will be chosen among the entrants.

PRIZE AND RETAIL VALUE: Four (4) winners will receive one (1) $10 Half Price Books Gift Card (the “Prize”) valid for purchases at Half Price Books retail locations. Gift cards are not valid as a payment method online, nor at Half Price Books Outlet locations. Prize is valued at $10 (US). Sponsor will not replace any lost, mutilated, or stolen gift cards. All federal, state, and local taxes and fees are the sole responsibility of the winner. Sponsor will comply with all income tax reporting obligations.

AGREEMENT TO OFFICIAL RULES: Participation in the Giveaway constitutes full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding. Winning a prize is contingent on fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.

BY ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY, participants release and hold harmless Sponsor, and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, and agents from any and all liability for any injuries, loss, or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Giveaway or any prize won, including any injuries, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with participation in the Giveaway. Sponsor is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of this offer, administration of the Giveaway or in the announcement of prizes. In the event Sponsor is prevented from continuing with this Giveaway, or the integrity and/or feasibility of the Giveaway is undermined by any event including but not limited to fire, flood, epidemic, earthquake, explosion, labor dispute or strike, act of God or public enemy, satellite or equipment failure, riot or civil disturbance, war (declared or undeclared), terrorist threat or activity, hacking, or any federal, state or local government law, order or regulation, order of any court, or other cause not reasonably within Sponsor’s control (each a “Force Majeure” event or occurrence), Sponsor shall have the right, in its sole discretion, to abbreviate, modify, suspend, cancel, or terminate the Giveaway without further obligation and, if so, Sponsor reserves the right, but not the obligation, to award the prize from among all valid and eligible entries received up to the time of such Force Majeure event. All entries are the property of Sponsor and are not returnable. 

ONLINE REGISTRATION: This Giveaway is intended for viewing in the United States only and shall be construed and interpreted according to U.S. law. Do not enter this Giveaway if you are not a resident of the United States. Repetitive automated electronic submission of entries is specifically prohibited, and any such entries will be disqualified. Entries will be deemed made by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. In the event of a dispute, the potential winner may be required to provide proof that he/she is the authorized account holder of the identified Instagram account, and Sponsor’s decision will be final. Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries, including any error that may result in an erroneous appearance of qualification for a prize. Sponsor is not responsible for any problem or technical malfunction of any computer equipment or software that results in loss of entry. WARNING: ANY ATTEMPT BY ANY PERSON TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY COMPUTERIZED SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE GIVEAWAY IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

USE OF ENTRANT’S PERSONAL INFORMATION: Information collected from entrants is subject to the HPB privacy policy.

WINNERS LIST: The name of the Prize winner may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope postmarked by August 30, 2013 to: Half Price Books Corporate Office, 5803 E. Northwest Hwy. Dallas TX 75231, Attention: 2013 Book Beard $10 Gift Card Giveaway. SPONSOR: The Half Price Books, Records and Magazines, Incorporated, 5803 E. Northwest Hwy. Dallas TX 75231

Feed Your Brain Q & A with a Half Pint Summer Reader

It’s time to learn a thing or two! My summers were either filled with lots of Texas heat or long camping vacations, all perfect opportunities to read. I long for the days of lazy book-filled summers and am always so happy to see that the tradition continues in the next generation! I found one first grade graduate who is excited about her summer full of reading.

I hope Mary Pope Osborne gets a chance to see this! Series books, like Magic Tree House, can be a great way to catch young readers’ attention and get  them excited about starting the next book!

Our little bookworm’s recommendations:


Are the little readers in your life busy feeding their brains? It’s not too late to get started! 

What do you think about these recommendations? Do you have any series books for young readers to add to the list?

 Have a great summer and don’t forget to FEED YOUR BRAIN!  — Becky 

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.

Introducing the latest in retro-nostalgic holiday fun — “Halfy Call-A-Days,” the Half Price Books Holiday Hotline!

Our talented Bibliomaniacs are at it again! They sing, they write poetry, they give great book, music and movie recommendations . . . and they can really spread the holiday cheer! So this year HPB created a toll-free line where you can dial in for holiday greetings any time, any place, straight from our Bibliomaniacs to you! Hurry, don’t delay! Call 1-855-HPB-FONE right now!

Our HPB Halfy Call-A-Days Kazoo Crew gives you a special preview!

So, grab a cup of holiday tea or cocoa at your desk, at home by the fire or even while you wait in line at the grocery store and take a moment to relax and enjoy the holidays. Dial up Jim Swayze at 1-855-HPB-FONE that’s (toll-free) 1-855-472-3663.

Add it to your contacts and call back often!

If you are wondering what you might hear, some options include:

  • A special greeting from the Half Price Books Santa Claus
  • T’was the Night Before Christmas in the Bookstore, an original poem written by Elizabeth E. on the HPB Development team (and read by Tim, our HR director)
  • Up On the Housetop performed by the Buy Guy
  • A Holiday Funny brought to you by Our Customer Service Department
  • Auld Lang Syne  performed by some Caroling Marketeers
  • And a bonus track from Jim Swayze!

Our warmest wishes to you this festive season! – Becky

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.

Another Thanksgiving Tradition — Family Games & Puzzles

It’s THAT week again, and if your table isn’t set and ready to go, I am here to assure you, you still have plenty of time. Dig into the inner reaches of your closets and playrooms and dig up all the fixin’s…for November 18-21 is National Games and Puzzles Week! Oh, you thought I meant that other thing that is happening this week?

 I know, everyone is thinking about turkey and pie and early morning trips to your favorite retailer for Black Friday deals, but the folks at The Million Minute Family Challenge encourage, nay, beg you to spend a few precious moments playing this week!

If your family growing up was anything like mine, a few minutes of play often ended in intense challenges, plotting, scheming, team-picking and utter ridiculousness with the likes of: all-ages charades, a 42 dominoes tournament, a dining room table-turned jigsaw puzzle station- all non-digital, no technology necessary and memories 100% guaranteed to last a lifetime. Why, it seemed like the food and stress of the holiday was all but forgotten. 


Need some suggestions? Check out some of the great selections in the puzzles and games section at your dear ol’ Half Price Books! Go forth, choose a few games or puzzles you love, old and new, and GET PLAYING!

Are you a jigsaw junkie? Here’s a record of one personal jigsaw journey which keeps me laughing to this day:


So which game or puzzle is your family’s favorite? — Becky

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.

Top 11 Family-Friendly Aliens

Regarding alien invasions . . . not every alien probes your eyeball or pops through your intestines in a gory mess! I find it deplorable to assume that those from another universe are just up to no good. As a matter of fact, once I started to think about it, we’ve grown up with a lot of pretty funny and friendly aliens in our time here on this planet. Here is a “nice list” of intergalactic beings that have made us smile, hoot and holler — and some we have even bought the stuffed toy to hug on forever and ever. Do you remember all of these?


The Aliens from Toy Story (1995, 1999, 2010); The Ewok and Chewbacca from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983); E.T. and Gertie from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982); Sparks from Aliens in the Attic (2009); Lilo & Stitch (2002); Fred, Barney and The Great Gazoo from The Flintstones (1965); Alf and the Tanner family from ALF (1986-90); Evie from Out Of This World (1987-91); Mork & Mindy (1978-82); The Yip Yips from Sesame Street (first appeared, 1971); Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes (1948).

Which kid-friendly aliens did we miss? And who do you think are the best and funniest aliens in the universe?

Hugging my stuffed E.T. a little tighter tonight, Becky

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.

A Spec-CRAFT-ular DIY Halloween How-To

I might have mentioned before that I am a late-night quirky crafter. Think Amy Sedaris without the fame and fortune.

The fall season, specifically Halloween, has become quite the merry ol’ time for us pro-craft-inators. There are many, many guides to support our habit when creativity stumps you and they are most amply available at good ol’ HPB for cheaps!

But, one of my favorite past times is to dig in the old craft-drawer and develop a something-from-nothing quirky project all by myself. I present to you, my Paper-Maché Wine Toppers…just in time for the spooky season:

Supplies needed:

  • Old newspapers
  • School glue (All-purpose, white glue-all)
  • Paint brushes
  • Assorted paint colors
  • A couple of latex party balloons left over from someone’s birthday or that last summer water balloon fight
  • Random plastic containers (I like cottage cheese containers best!)

  1. Water down the glue a little in the cottage cheese container (make sure you washed it out!)
  2. Douse your strips of newspaper
  3. Here’s the fun part: blow up the balloons to about 6 in or so in diameter, try to avoid the impulse to throw a party.
  4. Coat your balloons in the soggy/gluey newspaper, leave the bottom portion un-papered so you can get the balloon out and use them as a proper-topper (I’m a poet and didn’t know it)
  5. You can go to sleep now; the paper needs to dry
  6. When you wake up you will have two crusty-paper coated balloons waiting for you!
  7. Paint the balloons as much or as little as you want and let the paint dry
  8. Here is the next fun part! Pop the balloons and enjoy your new craft!
  9. TA DA!

Notice how these Zombie and Alien paper-maché wine toppers hide the fact I am serving my guests extremely cheap wine! They won’t know until they have a headache in the morning!

Dream up a quirky craft of your own this fall-season! Tell me about it below and I will try it out, the fewer instructions you give, the more fun I’ll have!

Enjoy fall, y’all! — Becky

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.

Top 5 J.J. Abrams Television Series

When you think of fall, you may think of a pumpkin latte or baseball postseason, college football or a new pair of fashionable boots, and some of us may think of ALL THOSE THINGS. But for many, the fall season means one thing: time to dust off the ole DVR and get started on the next great TV series. Who will it be this year?

One that’s gotten us twirling in our office chairs these days is the debut of the new J.J. Abrams-produced drama, Revolution. But, c’mon, another end-of-the-world, futuristic blah-blah-blah? Haven’t we had it up to our cliffhangers in these suspense dramas? Clearly, the answer is no.

Maybe you never heard of the guy or maybe you haven’t had a chance to review his work. Where have you been? Well, now’s the time to get started! Many of the complete seasons of some of the last decade and a half’s best long-running series are available on DVD and BluRay and you should check them out! To get you started here is a brief look back at some of the shows that gave us the Abrams-itch and why Revolution might be something to watch.

Felicity: Our HPB Promotions & Direct Mail sweetheart and former Felicity fiend, Kate, says, “This four-season kick-off to Abrams’ TV career starred a young Keri Russell as the sweater-wearing, stalkerish UNY student who followed her high school crush, Ben, to college after he wrote little more than ‘HAGS*!’ in her yearbook. Unfortunately for Felicity, Ben wasn’t really that into her [at first], but cute Apple computer nerd & Resident Advisor, Noel, immediately fell in love. The next four years sought to answer the eternal question, ‘Ben or Noel?’ While Felicity also occasionally found time to befriend dorm-mate, Julie (former Pink Power Ranger, actress Amy Jo Johnson), hang out in her unbelievably swank dorm rooms, work at a coffee shop, and waver between practical pre-med vs. following her dreams to become an artist. Can we all just go back to school now? Wasn’t life easier then? Watch Felicity and you will see it most definitely was not. Did someone say Drama 101?

*HAGS = Have A Great Summer 

Alias: Becky, HPB Marketer and recovering Alias addict, says, it appears that when some of those crazy kids from Felicity graduated, they went undercover — some familiar cast members showed up in this 5 season suspense series, which premiered in 2001. A muscular and gorgeous Jennifer Garner stars as CIA agent, Sydney Bristow, who could disguise herself just enough to get by the bad guys every time! And boy, could that girl speak with a foreign accent! The series turns from straight up action to serious sci-fi when Sydney and her gang start to delve deep into a Renaissance-era artist, inventor, writer, engineer and all-around dead-genius guy, Rambaldi, and his worldwide, sought after artifacts. Every episode was like a mini-movie and left you wanting more…and if you were like me, it left you thinking you needed to head to the gym for a work out. I wasn’t kidding, Ms. Garner was fit as a fiddle as Agent Bristow.

Lost: HPB Web Designer and self-proclaimed “Other,” Darek, says of Lost, “Abrams took the initial concept of Castaway: The Series, sprinkled in numerous sci-fi/mystery elements, added a cast of characters crippled with emotional baggage, and created a television phenomenon. Six seasons were spent answering the question posed in the pilot ‘Where are we?’ as the survivors faced smoke monsters, the mysterious DHARMA Initiative, cult-like Others, time jumping, and the island gods Jacob and the Man in Black. While survival and escape from the island seemed to be of the utmost importance, the characters were really coming to terms with themselves and mistakes they’d made in the past. While television was being taken over by cheap reality shows, Abrams’ idea and creation of Lost sparked a revolution (pun intended) in TV by showing that a series is capable of having more depth and substance than most two hour movies. Namaste.

Fringe: According to HPB programmer and Fringe-o-phile, DJ, “It all began in 2008 as the next ‘X-files’: a love interest between partners of an unconventional sort.  Fringe started off slowly, with an as-yet-to-be-determined nefarious villain behind all the mysterious occurrences.  It became somewhat harder to follow during the last season, when it ripped dimensional time apart by introducing a Deus Ex Machina transformer-like super machine that can only be powered by FBI agent Peter Bishop’s mojo, or something.  After this, we were treated to a series of ultimately interesting but shaky futures hinging on the villains being bald spacemen who like their food spicy. Fringe stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble as Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop and Walter Bishop, members of an FBI “Fringe Division.”

Person of Interest: Julie, our HPB Production Manager and lover of suspense drama with a handsome lead character (or at least THIS suspense drama with a handsome lead), tells us, “This is an awesome show, and not just because Jim Caviezel is one good looking guy (see, I told you).  He also gets to kick butt, as ex-CIA Special Operations agent, John Reese.  Reese, who is living as a homeless man when the show starts, is found by Harold Finch, played by the recognizable Michael Emerson of Lost fame, a computer genius who developed a machine for the government that can detect information leading up to any crime, but crimes that will not turn into acts of terrorism are deemed irrelevant.  Finch finds a way to bypass the government watchdogs and gains access to the machine who starts to feed him social security numbers from the irrelevant list. Since he is physically challenged, Finch convinces Reese to work with him to prevent these crimes.  The second season begins on Thursday, September 27 (That’s next week! I’m so excited!), and the big question is, Will Reese be able to find the kidnapped Finch? I have faith.  Cute men always win.”


Of course, there are a multitude of TV previews not in any way connected to J.J. Abrams to discuss this fall at the water cooler, not to mention to catch up on, like when people single you out and say “WHAT! YOU NEVER WATCHED LOST?! ARE YOU CRAZY?” (True story and I am on season 4 as we speak)

Anyway, don’t forget, HPB is the perfect place to browse through, grab a copy of a series you may have missed, and catch up with your cool couch potato friends. You can look for them in any HPB store to get your fix, or search HPB Marketplace. Why rush when you can take your time and enjoy a new-to-you series or recap an old favorite! Get your remote controls ready…and GO! — Becky

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.