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Meet the Authors of a Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree
Dicksy Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and grew up in the 70’s and 80’s with some really great parents and a pretty cool little brother. She always enjoyed writing as a child and would sometimes write puppet skits for her and her brother to perform for their parents. After she had children of her own, she thought it would be fun to write a children’s book. One day while she and her brother were watching the kids swim, she came up with the line, “In a quiet backyard quite a bit like your own… a little green caterpillar crawled all alone.” This line later became the opening line of their book, A Caterpillar, A Bee and a VERY Big Tree. Soon after, she and her brother began collaborating on their book, which would take several years to complete. Dicksy lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with her daughter Hannah, who is a senior in high school, her husband Scott, and her dog, Nash. Her son, Hayden, is grown and married, and has a child of his own.
Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 70s and 80s, D.B. Sanders had an early interest in art. Beginning with a love of cartoons, he started designing his own comic book characters at the age of 10. By his early teens, he became increasingly aware of his ability to draw in his own unique style. After obtaining his degree in art, he has utilized his passion for multiple artistic endeavors. This is his first children’s book to co-author and illustrate. Sanders lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with his wife, Ashley and their children: Zach, Zoe and Leaf. More art can be found on Facebook at “The Art of D Sanders”.
Initially tested in pet dogs with bone cancer, a new drug that delays metastasis now helps children with the same disease in Europe. The immune modulator, which mops up microscopic cancer cells, has not been approved in the United States, researchers say.
One of the tasks of a Canadian ambassador to the United States is persuading his audiences that Canadians really are distinct from Americans. One ambassador commented that if he asked an audience The Question – was there a difference – Americans would politely say no, not really, and Canadians would say the opposite. What is the correct answer to The Question – or is there a correct answer?
What do America’s most famous novelist and the world’s largest purveyor of paperback romances have in common? More than you would think. Jack London (1876-1916), author of The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and other classics, was published in the UK and overseas by Mills & Boon, beginning in 1912.
Today we're super excited to celebrate the trailer for THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE by Kristen Kittscher, releasing January 5, 2016 from HarperCollins. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Kristen:
When this hilarious secret footage for a marketing meeting for The Tiara on the Terrace leaked, Vroman’s bookseller Josh Crute helped me gather the lemons and make lemonade! Or should I say cake? (You’ll see…)
But in all seriousness: I am so excited to share this little digital short with you – and even more excited to sharing Young & Yang’s spy hijinks in The Tiara on the Terrace on January 5. I’m so proud of this book!
~ Kristen Kittscher (THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE, HarperCollins)
Ready to watch?
Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!
Here it is!
THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE
by Kristen Kittscher
Release date: January 5, 2016
About the Book
In this funny, clever novel, perfect for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch and Gordon Korman and a companion to The Wig in the Window, tween sleuths Sophie Young and Grace Yang go undercover at Luna Vista's Winter Sun Festival to catch a murderer before he—or she—strikes again.
Sophie Young and Grace Yang have been taking it easy ever since they solved the biggest crime Luna Vista had ever seen. But things might get interesting again now that everyone is gearing up for the 125th annual Winter Sun Festival—a town tradition that involves floats, a parade, and a Royal Court made up of local high school girls.
When Festival president Jim Steptoe turns up dead on the first day of parade preparations, the police blame a malfunctioning giant s'more feature on the campfire-themed float. But the two sleuths are convinced the mysterious death wasn't an accident.
Young and Yang must trade their high tops for high heels and infiltrate the Royal Court to solve the case. But if they fail, they might just be the next victims.
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.
About the Author
KRISTEN KITTSCHER is the author of bestselling tween mystery The Wig in the Window (Harper Children’s, 2013) which garnered a starred review from School Library Journal and was on ten Best of the Year lists. A graduate of Brown University and a former middle school Enligh teacher, Kristen was named the James Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence in 2014. She presents frequently at schools, libraries, and festivals and is active in promoting community literacy initiatives in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, Kai. When Kristen is not reading, writing, or teaching, you’ll find her spending time with friends or hiking in the foothills near Pasadena with her dog, Mabel. Visit kristenkittscher.comto investigate more about her and Young & Yang's next adventure, The Tiara on the Terrace or follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@kkittscher).
Please enjoy the wonderful illustration above by Anna Gavrilyuk, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of CITY. Thanks to everyone who participated with drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more. We love seeing it all!
When I wrote my first book about MirrorWorld I thought it would be one journey. I should have known better! I thought the same about Inkworld – to find myself still writing that story six years later. To realize that these two worlds are indeed the same, just 500 years apart, bound by a book with silver covers, took me a few years too.
Which teaches one thing: stories don’t reveal their secrets easily. They are labyrinths that lure us in with a whisper to then distract and fool us, to lie and trap the writer who tries to find their heart. And the better we get in our craft the bigger the labyrinth grows!
I was in Moscow when I realized how big a labyrinth I had stumbled into through a mirror. I stood on the Red Square looking at St. Basil and its otherworldly towers when I suddenly got a glimpse at the Mirrors’ maker – and his involvement with this world. I rushed back to my hotel to write it all down. And then I lay in the dark, with Moscow’s golden roofs outside of my hotel window and thought: ‘Heavens! This will be a fairy tale journey around the world!’
When I wrote Book 1 – Reckless, as it is called in the US (I’ll soon re‐publish it under the original title Reckless: The Petrified Flesh) I was still on familiar ground. I wrote about a world inspired by the tales of my German childhood. Most of us associate the Grimms’ tales when we hear ‘Fairy Tale’. I decided to play with their motives in a world closely resembling ours around 1860, a time, when the modern times were born, with no chance of going back. But how would it change the world if there is old and new magic (as they call science behind the Mirrors)? What if all Fairy Tales were historical truth, preserving a long forgotten past?
The next step was to take the local origins of the tales seriously. No trolls outside Scandinavia, except emigrants. What are Heinzelmen called in France? Follets. And Hobs in Albion.
You see? I was lost behind the Mirrors as soon as I stepped through them!
The second book – Fearless in the US, Reckless: Living Shadows in most other countries – brought me to France. Where I met Bluebeards and learned a few things about giants, mal de mer and puss in boots. Those tales are still quite familiar to us, but the Golden Yarn‐ my third journey behind the Mirrors – led to lesser known tales. My heroes head East, to find creatures and treasures from Russian and Ukrainian tales, from Siberia and Kazakhstan. The tales I discovered for this book were mostly not familiar. They tasted of far away landscapes, of a Shaman tradition almost forgotten, they had powerful women characters in them, who probably once were goddesses….
The Golden Yarn is my most exciting adventure behind the Mirrors so far. But the next one is taking shape already in equally exciting ways. I am currently reading fairy tales from Japan and India, which make me feel as if I know nothing about this world!
I plan to travel to the Americas in Book 5 and to Africa in Book 6, but let’s see. Only the story knows where this will go. It enchants me with every step I take and every tale I read. It feels like exactly the right journey in a time when we realize every day how little we know about each other and how dangerous this ignorance and lack of understanding is.
About: Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father's abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and friends, from his brother, Will to the shape-shifting vixen, Fox, are on a collision course as the two worlds become connected. Who is driving these two worlds together and why is he always a step ahead?
This new force isn’t limiting its influence to just Jacob’s efforts – it has broadened the horizon within MirrorWorld. Jacob, Will and Fox travel east and into the Russian folklore, to the land of the Baba Yaga, pursued by a new type of being that knows our world all too well.
Release Date: December 1, 2015
One winner will receive a copy of The Golden Yarn, US only.
Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. During this giveaway, Cornelia Funke has a question for you to answer in the comments below for more chances to win his book! What folklore inspired the writing of this latest book in the MirrorWorld series?
*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*
Cornelia Funke is a multiple award-winning German author, best known for writing the Inkworld trilogy as well as The Thief Lord. The Inkworld books, which have won the 2003 Mildred L. Batchelder Award as well as the 2004 and 2006 BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature Awards, have gained incredible attention and Funke has been dubbed the "German J.K. Rowling” This November, she will launch her own publishing company, Breathing Books. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Last week, my publisher sent me an email inquiring if I would write a guest post for YA Books Central and promote my new YA/dystopian book, Nirvana.
One problem: I hate promoting stuff so I’m going to get that out of the way first so I can talk about what’s really on my mind:
The Hunger Games.
Until the end the day, Nirvanawill be just $3.99 on Amazon for Cyber Monday.
I’m also supposed to let you know that I will be doing an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Friday, December 4, 2015, from 2‐4 pm on the r/books subreddit. So, if you have any questions on topics related to the consequences of virtual reality, the decline of the bee population, or anything I write about in Nirvana, please join me there.
Okay, let's get back to The Hunger Games.
Yes, that’s right. Despite all of my corporate and government projects that keep me quite busy, the only thing I'm thinking about lately is The Hunger Games. Is it because the final film, Mockingjay Part II, came out last Friday?
With Nirvana receiving four and five star reviews, some reviewers have compared it to
George Orwell’s 1984 (I'm flattered!)
The Matrix (great films),
and, perhaps most quizzically, The Hunger Games.
I get it. There's a dystopian element to The Hunger Games and Nirvana.
Now, I’ll admit my knowledge of The Hunger Games isn't as extensive as yours might be. I have never read the books, nor seen the movies. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer! However, it is my understanding that the books and films depict a world run by a monarchical government that requires each “district” to choose a female and male youth to fight to the death in the annual Hunger Games event. The last person standing is crowned the victor (and gets to live).
Could events described in The Hunger Games happen in our lifetime? I hope not. The majority of us live in a modern society, where violence isn't the only answer. In Nirvana, however, I write about very real issues ‐ ones that we will need to confront in our lifetime. The Hunger Games is completely fictional while Nirvana, through a fictional cast of characters, is grounded in modern day truths.
How do I know this? Well, I research these "modern truths" every day. The technology described in Nirvana does exist. I've seen it and I've used it ‐ that "floating sensation" didn't just come from anywhere! And, most importantly, I've seen the damage that it can cause, both psychologically and socially. Hexagon, the government institution featured in Nirvana, is intended to shed light on what may happen once this virtual reality technology falls into the wrong hands.
The second modern truth I touch on inNirvana is the decline of the bee population. It's very likely that this epidemic could lead to an Extinction event in our lifetime. Bees and other pollinating insects have an essential role in our ecosystem. In fact, at least a third of our food depends on their pollination. A world without these wonderful little creatures would simply be devastating for food production.
The best thing that we can do right now is be aware of the issues. If more of us are informed, and we're spreading the word, maybe we can protect ourselves. For this reason, I invite you to pick up a copy
of Nirvana and tell people about it.
Do you believe in these "modern truths" like I do? Comment below ‐ I'll read every single one.
Your Friend, J.R.
PS ‐ My publisher would also be very happy if you entered the Nirvana GIVEAWAY attached to this blog. Now, if you win, you have to promise to tell people about these issues. Okay?
About: When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?
Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized ‐ even visits with Andrew.
Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.
Nirvana is a fast‐paced, page‐turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so.
Release Date: November 10, 2015
One winner will receive a copy of Nirvana, US and Canada only.
Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. During this giveaway, J.R. Stewart has a question for you to answer in the comments below for more chances to win his book! When J.R. Stewart is not writing, which field does the author work in?
*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*
has worked on many corporate projects throughout a prolific IT academic and consulting career, and is involved with many confidential virtual reality projects. After working on advanced "VR" technologies for over a decade, Stewart grew concerned about the implications of this work and the possible psychological effects that it may have on its users.
Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases!
For fans of Simone Elkeles and Courtney Summers, this haunting debut novel is about two teenagers battling their inner demons as they fall in love for the first time.
When Marion Taylor, the shy bookworm, meets sexy soccer captain Kurt Medford at a party, what seems like a sure thing quickly turns into a total mess. One moment they’re alone in the middle of a lake, igniting sparks of electricity. The next, they’re on dry land, pretending they’ve never met. But rather than the end, that night is the beginning of something real, terrifying, and completely unforgettable for them both.
As Marion and Kurt struggle to build a relationship from the fractured pieces of their pasts, every kiss they share uncovers memories both would rather keep buried. Marion desperately wants to trust Kurt and share the one secret she’s never told anyone—but some truths aren’t meant to be spoken out loud. Kurt is also still haunted by his mother’s death, by the people he hurt, and by the mistakes he can never take back.
Explosive together and hollow apart, Marion and Kurt seem totally wrong for each other—but could they turn out to be more right than they ever thought possible?
When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden’s parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she’s about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler’s group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can’t understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t – her step-brother.
Throw in Tyler’s clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there’s secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?
Did I Mention I Love You is the first book in the phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, following the lives of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce as they try to find their way in an increasingly confusing world.
In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She’s told that Eli, the young man she’s attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village’s secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author’s note gives the historical inspiration for this story.
Years before, a gateway opened between their world and ours. Sending one young woman through may be the key to survival for the kingdom of Fourline.
Strapped for cash, college student Natalie Barns agrees to take a job at a costume shop. Sure, Estos—her classmate who works in the shop—is a little odd, but Nat needs the money for her tuition.
Then she stumbles through the mysterious door behind the shop—and her entire universe transforms.
Discovering there’s far more to Estos than she ever imagined, Nat gets swept up in an adventure to save his homeland, an incredible world filled with decaying magic, deadly creatures, and a noble resistance of exiled warriors battling dark forces. As she struggles with her role in an epic conflict and wrestles with her growing affection for a young rebel, Soris, Nat quickly learns that nothing may go as planned…and her biggest challenge may be surviving long enough to make it home.
A world on the brink of war.
All Avaline Hall wants is to enjoy her senior year at Blythewood Academy, the boarding school where she’s been trained to defend humankind from forces of dark magic. But when Ava is shown a glimpse into the future in the enchanted Blythe Wood, she discovers that the evil Judicus van Drood is rallying nations into a war that seems destined to destroy both the human and faerie worlds. Only Ava and her allies have a chance at stopping van Drood, but how many must die in the process? And how can Ava and the boy she loves be together when everything around them is falling apart?
From the author of the Escape from Furnace series, an explosive new horror trilogy about an ordinary American kid caught up in an invisible war against the very worst enemy imaginable.
There is a machine from the darkest parts of history, concealed in an impossible location, that can make any wish come true, and the only price you have to pay is your soul. Known as the Devil’s Engine, this device powers a brutal war between good and evil that will decide the fate of every living thing on Earth. When a 16-year-old asthmatic kid named Marlow Green unwittingly rescues an ass-kicking secret soldier from a demonic attack in the middle of his Staten Island neighborhood, he finds himself following her into a centuries-old conflict between a group of mysterious protectors and the legions of the Devil himself. Faced with superpowers, monsters, machine guns, and a lot worse, Marlow knows it’s going to be a breathless ride—and not just because he’s lost his inhaler along the way.
In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.
Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again.
But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.
And it’s been waiting for Ella.
Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.
Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.
Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.
Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.
When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.
Freedom comes at a cost…
Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet—graceful, demure…and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one’s safe, least
of all the other pets. But she’s trapped, unable to get back
to Penn—the boy she loves—or help the girls who need her.
Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she’s lucky, she’ll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives
of everyone she’s tried to save…
Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father's abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and friends, from his brother, Will to the shape-shifting vixen, Fox, are on a collision course as the two worlds become connected. Who is driving these two worlds together and why is he always a step ahead? This new force isn’t limiting its influence to just Jacob’s efforts – it has broadened the horizon within MirrorWorld. Jacob, Will and Fox travel east and into the Russian folklore, to the land of the Baba Yaga, pursued by a new type of being that knows our world all to well.
A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.
Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.
Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.
When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.
First crush, first love, first kiss—Chloe must choose between her virtual almost-boyfriend and her best guy friend in this addition to the sweet and clean Flirt series.
Chloe has the best almost-boyfriend ever. Trevor is smart, talented, witty, and good-looking. Basically, he’s the perfect guy for her—except for one tiny detail. He lives hundreds of miles away. Chloe met Trevor at music camp when they were kids and was so excited when they reconnected in an online music forum a few months ago. And they’ve been flirting non-stop ever since.
Chloe’s boy-crazy best friend Vanessa thinks it’s the most romantic thing she’s ever heard, though her other best friend, Kazuo, isn’t so sure. Turns out Kaz actually has a crush on her! Chloe can’t imagine her life without him, but she’s never thought of him that way. Still, Kaz talks Chloe into giving him a chance and going to the big school dance together. Chloe is almost ready to agree when she gets the most amazing news—Trevor is coming for a visit!
But when Trevor shows up, things don’t go quite as well as Chloe was expecting, and by the time she realizes her old camp buddy has changed—and that he might not be Mr. Perfect (for her) after all—Kaz has already asked Vanessa to the dance. Did Chloe just miss her chance at true love?
If there are any new YA books we missed, let us know in the comments below, and we'll add them to the list!
Greetings, YABC! Today we are pleased to welcome Lauren Morrill, author of The Trouble With Destiny. Their book presents a unique YA science fiction experience through an eclectic collection of literary mediums. Lauren was kind enough to answer a few questions about her book!
Lauren Morrill is the author of Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, and the forthcoming The Trouble With Destiny. She lives in Macon, Georgia with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, she spends a lot of hours on the track getting knocked around playing roller derby. Follow Lauren on Twitter at @laurenemorrill.
Now meet Lauren's book, The Trouble With Destiny.
With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.
Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.
But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.
With introductions in order, it's time to CHAT!!
Joanne Mumley: As a proud former HS concert band member, I was impressed with the voice you gave your characters. It definitely brought me back to high school. What did you do to help keep that Liza’s voice authentic throughout the story?
Lauren Morrill: I’m so glad you think so! This book was inspired by my own experiences in high school marching and concert band, so I definitely thought back to high school Lauren and my fellow bandmates to try to nail the voice. While the book is 100% fiction, there’s a lot of callbacks to my my time playing flute for the Maryville High School Red Rebel Marching Band. I’m expecting to get a few emails from my old classmates after this one!
JM: What is one thing you want your readers to take away from The Trouble with Destiny?
LM: What I love about Liza and Huck and the rest of the band kids is how unabashedly in love they are with their nerdy band selves. While Destiny is a romance, it’s also about finding your people, having their back and knowing they have yours. You don’t ever have to be ashamed of your tribe.
JM: Who are some of the authors that inspire you?
LM: Sarah Dessen is probably my biggest inspiration, and not just her writing, either (though her books are among my very favorite YA novels of all time). I love how honest she is about how scary/difficult/wonderful writing can be. Her tweets and blog posts have really helped get me through some rough writing days. I’ve had the privilege of meeting and get to know her over the last couple of years, and she is absolutely one of the kindest, most generous people in the YA community. I’ll read anything she writes (but my favorites are The Truth About Forever and Along for the Ride!).
JM: There are tons of music competitions around the country, what made you decide to choose a cruise ship as the major setting of The Trouble with Destiny as opposed to music competitions that happen on the main land?
LM: Remember how I said the book is 100% fiction? Ok, so maybe it’s more like 99%, because when I was in high school my band took our annual spring trip on a cruise ship to Nassau, where we played in a competition (and that’s where the similarities end, I promise!). Setting the novel aboard a cruise ship might have been more fun than taking the actual cruise. As a writer, it’s fun to put your characters in inescapable situations, and what’s more inescapable than being trapped on a boat in the middle of the ocean with your closest friends, your biggest enemies, and your ultimate crush? Cruise ships may be huge, but they start feeling a lot smaller when the stakes get raised!
JM: What are some of your current favorite books? Do any of them influence your writing?
LM: This is a throwback, I just finished binging the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. I checked out all six books from the library and read them in under two weeks (which is pretty fast for me these days, what with chasing a toddler around). They’re shippy and funny, which is my favorite kind of read, while also totally thrilling. They made me want to write a teen spy novel for sure. I’m also always trying to get people to read Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle and its sequel, Vivian Apple Needs A Miracle. Those books are so funny and so subversive and so unlike anything else on the shelves right now. I’m always here for a book with some seriously witty snark (so if anyone has any recs, please let me know!).
JM: I hear you are active in roller derby. Could there be a story surrounding roller derby in the future?
LM: Funny you should ask that, because I *might* be writing a roller derby novel as we speak … we’ll see if it ever sees the light of day, but I’m having so much fun writing about a world I’ve spent the last eight years immersed in as a player, a coach, and a league owner (I was a co-owner of the Boston Derby Dames for 3 years before I moved to Georgia). I love writing tough female characters (like the Sloanes from Being Sloane Jacobs), and you’ll find no one tougher than the girls and women who strap on skates and play one of the most intense contact sports out there.
JM: Do you have any current book projects you can tell us about?
LM: I’ve got a 4th YA contemporary romance coming out in October 2016 called My Unscripted Life that’s inspired by my time working as an extra on The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. It’s really swoony and fun, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it. I’m hoping I’ll get to reveal the cover soon!
A big thank you to Lauren Morrill and Joanne Mumley for this enlightening interview! Now read on for the latest giveaway below!
One winner will receive a signed copy of The Trouble With Destiny plus swag, US only.
Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. During this giveaway, Lauren has a question for you to answer in the comments below for more chances to win her book! In the Trouble With Destiny, the band kids love a good round of karaoke. What’s your karaoke song of choice?
*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*
Joanne Mumley is a middle school Language Arts teacher, who loves tweeting about the things she loves; books, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Marvel movies, and Pop Culture, and how to make reading a passion not something tedious you do in school. Back in high school, Joanne loved going to sports events, being a percussionist in the school concert band, and making memories with friends. Now, outside of work, she loves performing music, playing video games, and archery. Joanne especially loves having the opportunity to go to San Diego Comic Con this year and finding out more about favorite authors and sharing all the cool information with my students!
A Caterpillar, a Bee and a VERY Big Tree is the story of a little green caterpillar named Gus. While out on a stroll, Gus meets Shoo Bee, a bee who suffers from pollen allergies! Gus and Shoo Bee become fast friends, and when a storm threatens to send all the other caterpillars tumbling from the great tree, they team up to save the day. With help from wise Councilor Cricket, an Army of Ants and several fire flies – the friends are able to not only work together, but also teach a great lesson on what it means to be different and the way that we are all unique.
When they got the idea for Gus, they decided that this was their chance to teach share with readers how to:
• Develop courage to overcome obstacles;
• See the value in true friendship;
• Understand that everyone is different and differently abled;
• Value teamwork;
• Be aware of the value of communication;
• and Cherish diversity.
Alexandra St. Germaine is dreading going back to school.
The Pine School is not a typical school and her sixth-year teacher, Miss Blueberry, is not typical either. And things get off to a rather disastrous start, leading to some shocking changes in Classroom #6.
At home, the elegant Chadwick Manor, Alexandra’s constant companion is a blue and gold macaw parrot named Taco. He is a kind-hearted and intelligent bird, with an impressive vocabulary and very definite opinions. All is well until one dark and stormy night, when Taco and Alexandra find their world quite upended. Two wet and windswept figures are standing in the Chadwick foyer–with their pets–and the winds of change begin to blow.
Mystery and magic sweep into Dark Harbor, along with the chilly fall weather . . . a teacher whose face is hauntingly familiar, the bewitching night of All Hallows’ Eve, time travel to a Salem Witch Trial, strange Miss Ima from the Book Nook, and a magical key which unlocks a tragic past.
The Time Seekers is a children’s novel for elementary (grade four and above) through middle school age children. In the tradition of Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Wind in the Willows, The Time Seekers takes flight with two anthropomorphized birds: a macaw parrot and a common raven (who only speaks French), yet remains grounded in authentic human emotions and experiences . . . friendship, love, redemption and forgiveness, and never giving up.
With more than 500 pages (64 chapters, Prologue and Epilogue), some French language, The Time Seekers’ Map, and over 30 pen and ink illustrations, as The Time Seekers is opened, so, too, is a portal to a classic adventure story. An alchemy of magic and human emotion, woven into a tapestry of New England locales (Maine and Cape Cod), The Time Seekers truly belongs on the family bookshelf to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
“You have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins . . . it is all endless and all one.”
Kicking off the holidays on December 4th, it’s National Cookie Day! Last year, you guys posted awesome ideas for the dream cookie you would make if you had to Invent the Most Amazing Cookie Ever.
This year, we’re heating up the oven for a battle of the cookies. Who do you think would win if these cookies went head to head?
1. Chocolate chip vs. Oatmeal raisin
2. Sugar cookie with mint sauce and chocolate (posted by Hannah) vs. Fruitcake cookie?
3. Chocolate fudge vs. Peanut butter fudge?
4. Chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal, mocha cookie (posted by Zakuro) vs. Peanut butter and jelly cookie?
5. Fortune cookie vs. M&M brownie bar
6. Icing sprinkle layer cookie (posted by Elizabeth) vs. S’mores cookie
7. Oreo vs. Chips Ahoy?
8. Iced Christmas cookies vs. Cookie ice cream sandwich?
Let us know your winners, and any other favorite cookies, in the Comments below!
D. A. Squires began writing The Time Seekers story many years ago. The early chapters were set aside as she raised her two children and worked in various corporate jobs. However, the inspiration for this story was never forgotten . . . a blue and gold macaw parrot named Taco who steadfastly watched over her daughter’s crib (sadly, a silent sentinel).
Fifteen years later she was astonished when, one summer day, a blue and gold macaw named Taco and a common raven named Noir landed on her shoulders and insisted their story be written. So she wrote.
A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts in English, magna cum laude, and elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Ms. Squires grew up in Connecticut and now lives in Florida with her husband, two cats (one named Samuel Adams), a dapple dachshund named Mr. Chips, and a slightly faded blue and gold macaw parrot who remains ever vigilant.
In 2013, Rochester Public Library (MN) met with local organizations and community groups to figure out a way to work together to increase literacy rates. From these meetings a unique and sustainable program, called Rochester Reading Champions (RRC), was created.
This tutoring program reduces financial, transportation, and other barriers by training volunteers to offer free and targeted one-on-one Orton Gillingham tutoring to underserved individuals who are struggling to read. Orton Gillingham is a proven tutoring method requiring intensive training.
Through a partnership with The Reading Center/Dyslexia Institute of Minnesota, we currently have 13 volunteers actively working with students. Through September 2015, these highly trained volunteers provided 450 free tutoring sessions. To date, 18 youth and adult students have participated in RRC. Interim assessment results from 2015 show that students in RRC, who attended between 10-50 sessions made average gains of 20% in vowel sounds, 17% in consonant comprehension, and 32% in phonogram comprehension. This early RRC progress is very exciting!
Four innovative elements contribute to the success of RRC. First, Rochester Public Library worked with key partners to identify gaps, barriers, and local resources. Partnerships were created with local organizations committing staff time and other in-kind support. Second, RRC relies on volunteers willing to commit to the intensive training and two years of tutoring. By investing in training for 8-10 new volunteers each year, RRC increases the number of tutors to meet the needs of our expanding community. Third, to reduce financial, transportation, and other access barriers for the students, RRC provides unduplicated and free tutoring to underserved struggling readers at the sites they already visit. Fourth, RRC students receive individualized lesson plans, twice per week for 45 minute sessions. With a standard intervention plan of 80-100 tutoring sessions, this intensive strategy produces at least a 20% improvement of skills.
Partners developed RRC to be sustainable within five years. Any community with strong civic involvement can provide a similar system by adapting RRC’s methodology (i.e. volunteer recruitment form, student in-take criteria, parent questionnaire, partnership agreement, assessment process, and evaluation plan). RRC is designed to be scalable and replicable for any community!
And the first of our pre-conference faculty interviews is in (and it's awesome!)
Agent Sarah Davies talks with Martha Brockenbrough about middle grade fiction, what makes books "saleable," and when a writer can know their book is ready to submit.
Their interview is packed with great advice and suggestions, like,
"focus on developing the two big ‘C’ words — Concept and Craft."
"Don’t be frightened to be radical — rewriting can be far more powerful than tweaking, as it allows you to pull in fresh thinking in the strongest possible way so the new draft feels fully coherent."
Sarah Davies will be on faculty at the #NY16SCBWI conference, giving a breakout workshop Saturday morning and afternoon, "Saleable and Memorable Middle Grade Fiction," and participating in the Sunday main stage panel, "Acquisitions Today: Opportunities and Challenges."
You can see Sarah in person and learn from all the amazing faculty (and fellow writer and illustrator attendees) by joining us at the 17th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. Registration and details here.
I don't have a new review for you yet, but I do have this photo that I took while in Australia, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. Enjoy your wry yet biting art-world commentary:For more great stuff by the Guerrilla Girls, check out... Read the rest of this post
It all started with Marjorie Ingall’s Tablet article, Enough with the Holocaust Books for Children. As she says in the article, "if you dropped an alien into the children’s section of a library, it would think Jews disappeared after World War II.” Then Arthur A. Levine shared Marjorie’s article on Facebook, commenting that “this smart article says many things that I’ve been saying for a while.” Twenty comments later, Elissa Gershowitz and Yael Levy had thoroughly discussed the difficulties and triumphs of getting NON-Holocaust books for kids published, and Barbara Bietz and I (blogger and podcaster, respectively) had started wondering aloud how we could bring more attention to these issues. Thus, this podcast episode was born. AUDIO: Or click Mp3 File (63:19)
BOOK LIST of mostly non-Holocaust great Jewish kidlit (titles mentioned during the podcast or submitted later by panelists)
I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin
An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank by Elaine Marie Alphin
My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth
Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles
Samir and Yonaton by Daniella Carmi
Hush by Eishes Chayil
Deadly by Julie Chibarro
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier and Greg Salsedo
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, How Mirka Met a Meteorite, How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch
The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren
Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle
The Importance of Wings by Robin Friedman
Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser
The Path of Names by Ari Goelman
The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz
The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani
The Rabbi and the 29 Witches by Marilyn Hirsh
Feivel’s Flying Horses by Heidi Smith Hyde
Never Say a Mean Word Again by Jacqueline Jules
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel
Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too) by Leslie Kimmelman
About the B’nai Bagels by E.L. Konigsburg
Albert Einstein by Kathleen Krull
all books by Anna Levine
The Very Beary Tooth Fairy by Arthur A. Levine
Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy
Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust by Leanne Lieberman
Proxy by Alex London
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
Flesh and Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin
The Cats in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis McDonough
The Doll Shop Upstairs by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons by Alice B. McGinty
As Good as Anybody by Richard Michelson
Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King by Richard Michelson
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
Wonder by RJ Palacio
When Life Gives You OJ by Erica Perl
Rifka Takes a Bow by Betty Rosenberg Perlov
Beautiful Yetta, the Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater
Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins
Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff
Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin
Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen
Looking for Me by Betsy Rosenthal
The Mitten String by Jennifer Rosner
Gathering Sparks by Howard Schwartz
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
Zayde Comes to Live by Sheri Sinykin
Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind and Haveli by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Kindred by Tammar Stein (series)
All of a Kind Family (series) by Sydney Taylor
New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland
I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel by Caryn Yacowitz
The stakes cannot be higher for the EU. Currently, the total public expenditure directed by the Member States in procuring goods, works and services accounts for over €1 trillion. Public procurement in the Member States is a highly fragmented and complex process.
Welcome to YABC's first annual 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza! We're featuring some of the hottest titles of the year--perfect for the book lover on your holiday list!--with exciting prize packs every day for the first twelve days of December. Each giveaway will run for seven days. Giveaways are US only due to publishers' rights restrictions in other territories.
Are you ready to see the FABULOUS prize pack of books for today's giveaway?
This prize pack of best selling YA titles is brought to you by the wonderful people at Random House Children's Books. Click on each cover to learn more about that title and then enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page.
Good luck, and be sure to come back tomorrow for another 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!
PRIZE PACK from Random House Children's Books
Enter by clicking the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!
We are all coloring our heads off this holiday season. Check out these two beauties!
The first is Secret Garden, Artist's Edition, by Johanna Basford. There are 20 drawings to remove, color, and frame. The paper is heavy stock, and you are going to love the imagery collected from her two previous works, Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. These images were considered the most popular and the larger format awaits your color. Laurence King creates such exquisite works for readers.
The second is Christmas to Color from HarperCollins by Mary Tanana. This one has imagery on both sides of the pages. The holiday theme makes it perfect to leave out on the coffee table for any in the mood to relieve a little stress and express themselves. I had guests coloring during Thanksgiving. Such a fun way to bring together family and friends.