August 7, 2009 Jon Scieszka, Team of Authors to Create Yearlong, Serial Online Story, Launching Site; "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure" will begin at National Book Festival

Press Contact: Jennifer Gavin (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Guy Lamolinara, (202) 707-9217
Contact: NCBLA contact: Mary Brigid Barrett, (508) 533-5851

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jon Scieszka—the author of “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” and the “Time Warp Trio” series—is the first in a chain of celebrated authors writing a serial adventure story for initial exclusive publication on the Library of Congress’ new website. Co-sponsored by the Library’s Center for the Book ( and the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (, “The Exquisite Corpse Adventure” will bring young and old together, providing rollicking family entertainment for free through the most contemporary of media: the Internet.

Joining Scieszka in creating this madcap adventure are authors and illustrators M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate Di Camillo, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire, Megan McDonald, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, Katherine Paterson, James Ransome and Chris Van Dusen.

The initial installment of “The Exquisite Corpse Adventure” will premiere—along with the updated website—at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival, on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, on the National Mall. In the festival’s Children’s Pavilion, Scieszka and fellow contributors Kate Di Camillo, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Steven Kellogg and Megan McDonald will launch “The Exquisite Corpse Adventure” in a special presentation moderated by children’s author Mary Brigid Barrett, founder and president of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance. Using his own unique brand of zany humor, Scieszka will read the first riveting episode aloud, challenging his esteemed colleagues to pick up the tale where he leaves off—if they dare.

Scieszka’s episode begins:

"This story starts with a train rushing through the night.
"The full moon lights the silver rails winding around dark mountains, through deep woods, and over steep gorges of jagged rock and one freezing cold rushing black mountain river.
"I wish there was enough time to describe all of the funny (and touching) twists and turns – especially the Elephant Clown Party – that led up to now. But there isn’t. Enough time. Because there is a ticking clock. And the two passengers we care most about don’t know anything about it. …"

Attend the National Book Festival or go to on Sept. 26 to read the rest of the episode!

“The Exquisite Corpse Adventure” will be completed in one year, with new illustrated episodes released every two weeks on the website, just in time for the 2010 Library of Congress National Book Festival. “Exquisite Corpse” educational support materials for families, teachers, librarians and community leaders will be provided throughout the year on both the Library’s website and The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA) website at

Writers and illustrators slated to make presentations at the 2009 National Book Festival include children’s authors Mary Brigid Barrett, Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, Kate DiCamillo, Shannon Hale, Craig Hatkoff, Nikki Grimes, Steven Kellogg, Lois Lowry, Megan McDonald, Charles Santore (illustrator of the festival poster), Jon Scieszka and David Shannon, and Mo Willems; and teens and children’s authors Judy Blume, Pat Carman, Sharon Creech, Paula Deen, Carmen Agra Deedy, Liz Kessler, Jeff Kinney, Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, James Patterson, Jerry Pinkney, Rick Riordan, Sharon Robinson and Kadir Nelson, James L. Swanson and Jacqueline Woodson.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website,, and via interactive exhibitions on

The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit education and advocacy organization created in 1997 by award-winning children’s book authors and illustrators. The NCBLA acts as a freelance, nonpartisan advocate, creating and developing special projects and events that promote literacy, literature, libraries, humanities, and the arts; educating the public about practical literacy and education solutions; and ensuring young people’s right to read. The NCBLA believes that literacy is essential to the development of responsible citizens in a democracy. The NCBLA’s project, “Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out,” is an award-winning book for young people designed as an engaging solution to help confront historical illiteracy. Through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the NCBLA has also created a companion educational website for “Our White House” at For more information about the NCBLA, go to


PR 09-151
ISSN 0731-3527