R.A. Montgomery, publisher and sometime author of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of novels for grades 3-5 has died at age 78, at his home in Vermont. Montgomery started a small publishing house, and in 1977 Ed Packard submitted Sugarcane Island, the first “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Selling more than 250 million books in the series, the series has continued to be popular and inspired others to follow the model that encouraged readers to choose different outcomes in the story. Actor Neil Patrick Harris followed the model for his recent memoir, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography. For more information, see: www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/14/ra-montgomery-dead_n_6161414.html .
The first-ever Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature goes to Kate Samworth for Aviary Wonders Inc. (Clarion, 2014). This innovative picture book resembles a mail order category, combining humor with information on birds and environmental issues. The prize winner receives $50,000. www.slj.com/2014/10/awards/the-winner-of-the-2014-kirkus-prize-in-young-readers-literature/ .