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Results 1 - 25 of 2,000
1. Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty. Troy Andrews. Illustrated by Bryan Collier. 2015. Harry N. Abrams. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

Trombone Shorty is a picture book biography of Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, a jazz musician from New Orleans. It is illustrated by Bryan Collier. Perhaps I should say BEAUTIFULLY illustrated by Bryan Collier. I have a weakness for illustrations this beautiful. I do. I can't help it.

I also tend to read picture book biographies of jazz musicians. If you read a lot of picture books, you know that there are new ones every year. If you don't read a lot of picture books, well, you might just be surprised at how many picture books are biographies of musicians past and present--not just jazz musicians, but all sorts of musicians. I'm not sure why, but, I think it is perhaps because picture books lend themselves so very well to rhythm and rhyme.

So did I enjoy this picture book? Yes! Very much. I loved the illustrations, as I've mentioned. And I love the focus on mentoring and legacies and heritage. One of the points the author stresses is that musicians help younger musicians, they should help younger musicians. They can teach; they can inspire; they can provide opportunities. He was helped along from a very young age. And this picture book pays tribute to those who helped him, who influenced him, who guided him. The author's note also mentions how he is eager to do the same for a new generation of musicians.

This one is definitely easy to recommend.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. A Favor

I hate to ask a favor
‘Cause it puts somebody out.
Of course, to help another
Is what friendship’s all about.

But being self-sufficient
Is the way I like to be,
When all that I require
Is attended to by me.

Yet circumstances sometimes
Interrupt with booming voice,
Creating situations where
I really have no choice.

So I’ll quietly inquire
Of a relative or friend
If what I need taken care of
Is a hand that they could lend.

If they acquiesce, I’m grateful
For their trust I’ve surely earned
But I’ll never be relaxed until
The favor is returned.

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3. Audrey Vernick on The Kid from Diamond Street

vernick_kid from diamond streetIn our January/February 2016 issue, reviewer Dean Schneider talked with author Audrey Vernick about her clear love of America’s favorite pastime. Read the full review of The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton here.

Dean Schneider: You’ve written a few books about baseball. Have you always been a fan? Or did you become one after you started writing about the sport?

Audrey Vernick: One of my favorite things about being a grownup is no one can make me write about explorers. I write about baseball because I truly love it and have for decades. While I am a devoted fan of a team I’ll not mention by name in a Boston-based publication, I also love the game’s rich, textured history and the individual stories folded within it.

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Audrey Vernick on The Kid from Diamond Street appeared first on The Horn Book.

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4. Spotlight on Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy, Plus Giveaway

  Breaking Sky (Now in Paperback!) By Cori McCarthy   February 2, 2016; Tradepaper, ISBN 9781492621126   Book Info: Title: Breaking Sky Author: Cori McCarthy Paperback Release Date: February 2, 2016 Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire   Praise for Breaking Sky “Breaking Sky is an action-packed thrill ride that smashes through all kinds of barriers...

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5. Scholastic to Publish a Book With the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Script

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Art (GalleyCat)Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint at Scholastic, will publish a hardcover book based on the special rehearsal edition script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II. The release has been scheduled for 12:01 a.m. on July 31; fans will recognize that this significant date is both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthday. Pottermore will publish the eBook edition.

Here’s more from the press release: “It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.”

Jack ThorneJohn Tiffany, and Rowling worked on the story for this theatrical production together. Back in October 2015, Rowling announced on Pottermore that this project will serve as the eighth story of her beloved book series. The opening date for the West End show has been set for July 30, 2016.

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6. Kickstarter Has Funded 100K Projects

Crowd-funding site Kickstarter has successfully funded 100,000 projects.

The 100,000th project to reach its goal is a photo piece called “Falklands/Malvinas: One War, all Wars”.

Several of these successes were in publishing, comics and journalism. For instance, the site helped to fund 3,521 comic books and comics related events. In addition, Kickstarter fund a collection of lost poems by Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda which will be published by Copper Canyon Press. Follow this link for more interesting facts about Kickstarter successes.

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7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Scholastic will publish the eighth Harry Potter book, HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, on Harry's birthday--July 31, 2016. Check out all the details here.   Join the rest of the YA book world as we hyperventilate and mark our July calendars with shiny stars and lightning bolts!    

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8. Behind-the-Scenes of the 11/22/63 Mini-Series

Hulu has unleashed a behind-the-scenes video for the 11/22/63 mini-series. In the video embedded above, Stephen King, the author behind the 11/22/63 novel, talks about the inspiration behind his alternative history story.

Members of the cast include James FrancoChris Cooper, Josh Duhamel, Lucy Fry, Sarah Gadon, and Cherry Jones. Franco’s character embarks on a time-traveling quest to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the air date for the first of eight episodes has been scheduled for Feb. 15. Follow these links to watch the first teaser, the second teaser, and the full trailer. (via Slash Film)

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9. SE-YA Book Fest Press Release

  Young Adult Book Festival Launching in Rutherford Co.   MURFREESBORO, Tenn., January 25, 2016 – A one-of-a-kind book festival will connect area teens and the general public to authors of young adult literature with its launch in Murfreesboro March 11-12, 2016.   The details for the 2016 SE-YA in the...

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10. Doug the Pug Inks Book Deal

51XRBqWk3HL._SX390_BO1,204,203,200_Internet sensation Doug the Pug has inked a book deal.

His owners Leslie Mosier and Rob Chianelli are working on a photo book called, Doug the Pug: The King of Pop Culture, for St. Martin’s Griffin. The title will feature shots of the popular Internet dog in his living room and out on the town with celebrities, among other things.

The book is slated for a November release, but is already attracting presales on Amazon. The title is already No. 1 in Dog Care books. The pug has more than 5 million social media followers across the various networks.

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11. Team Blog's Jolie Stekly Interviews Award-Winning Author (And #NY16SCBWI Faculty) Gary Schmidt

It's concise, intriguing, and packs some good advice. Check out Jolie's pre-#NY16SCBWI interview with Gary Schmidt here.



Illustrate and Write On!
Lee

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12. Most College Students Prefer Print to E-Books

Ninety-two percent of U.S. college students prefer print books to e-books, according to new research.

The numbers come from a four year study led by American University’s linguistics professor Naomi Baron who is also the authors of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World.

The research includes feedback from more than 420 university students from the U.S., Slovakia, Japan and Germany in 2010 and 2013. Tech Times has more:

The team also found that the main reason why students used e-books was because they were cheaper than the traditional paper book versions. It wasn’t always because it was easier to use or lighter to carry but some of the survey’s open answers included space saving reasons and convenience. When it comes to preference, paper trumps the screen.

(Via The Los Angeles Times).

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13. A Pre-#NY16SCBWI Interview with Publisher Megan Tingley

Here's the interview I did with Megan Tingley, Executive Vice President and Publisher at Little, Brown and Company Books For Young Readers.



We talked about the increasing visibility of trans and other LGBTQ stories in children’s literature, what makes her say about a submitted manuscript not only, "YES, this is a Little Brown Book," but "I want this for MY list!”, and Megan even shared her favorite piece of advice for authors.

Thanks, Megan!







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14. FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #227: The New Technology Embedded in this Letter Just Made My Head Explode!

-

This letter from Madison in Chicago was particularly amazing because it included a video message:

Scan 5

Fortunately my wife, Lisa, was home to help me with it. She downloaded a “QR Reader” app on her phone, we scanned the blobby thing, typed in the password, and instantly a video of Madison appeared on the phone. There she was, reading from my book! Incredible.

Here’s the letter in full, with my reply below:

Scan 2

My answer:

Dear Madison,

Wow, that was so cool. I’ve received many letters before, but yours was the first to include a QR Code. Is that what you call it? Amazing and wonderful to see you in that video. You read very well, and I liked where you were standing with those funky planks in the background, giving your video an artistic touch. Bravo! I appreciate all the work you put into it, and my guess is that your teacher — this “Schiller” person, male or female I couldn’t tell — helped a great deal in bringing this new technology into the standard “letter to the author” format. Very cool.

61ZJfCfXgSL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Thanks for reading four out of the six books in my “Scary Tales” series. Good point about Malick in One-Eyed Doll. He really did show a tremendous amount of courage. I liked that aspect of the story, that he was an older brother who looked out for his younger sister, Tiana.

You asked about six billion questions, so let me get those:

* Correction: I’m now 55 years old. Rats.

* Correction #2: Thank you, but I do look at least several days older than 30. Weeks even. Months, years. Let’s put it this way: If someone thinks I’m 53, I smile, say thank you, and explain that I’ve been eating right and exercising.

* I have given up my dream of playing for the New York Mets. They don’t need me. But just this morning I signed up with a men’s hardball baseball team. I managed a team for years, then gave it up when I decided to coach my son’s All-Star and Travel teams. He just turned 16 and doesn’t need me in the dugout anymore, so now it’s my turn. I guess the lesson there is that if you enjoy something, keep doing it . . . even if it’s not for the New York Mets.

CourageTestFrontCvr* New books? Yes, for sure, that’s my job. I have a new book coming out this October that also touches on the theme of courage. It’s called The Courage Test. It’s about a father who takes his son on an unexpected trip — the entire time, the boy, Will, wonders what’s really going on — and they travel from Fort Mandan in North Dakota west along the Lewis and Clark Trail. So there’s a lot of history built into the story, about the Corps of Discovery, the native people they encountered, Sacagawea, York, and more. They meet new people along the way and have various camping and whitewater adventures. And they do encounter a bear, both literally and metaphorically. I hope you read it! I am also writing a new Jigsaw Jones book. 

* I’ve won some awards over the years, nothing too spectacular, usually by making state lists and whatnot. Books that have won something include: Along Came Spider, Wake Me In Spring, Six Innings, and Bystander

* I can write a Jigsaw Jones book, or a Scary Tales, in two months. Longer books for older readers tend to take more time. Six months, nine months, even years. 

Illustration by Iacopo Bruno from Scary Tales #5: ONE-EYED DOLL.

Illustration by the great Iacopo Bruno from Scary Tales #5: ONE-EYED DOLL.

* My brothers are named Neal, Bill, Al, and John. My sisters are Barbara and Jean. Sadly, I have lost two brothers, Neal and John. Both are gone but not forgotten. My children are Nicholas, Gavin, and Maggie. The boys don’t like scary stories or movies, but Maggie is more like you. She loves to feel a sense of suspense, fear, and anticipation where her heart is racing, going boom, boom, boom. I think I wrote that series for readers like my Maggie.

* Cats are Midnight and Frozone. Our dog is Daisy.

Thank you for your fabulous letter. You really knocked it out of the park.

James Preller

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15. Giveaway: Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy (US & Canada Only)

Breaking Skyby Cori McCarthyPaperback Release Date: February 2, 2016Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire   Praise for Breaking Sky “Breaking Sky is an action-packed thrill ride that smashes through all kinds of barriers at a Mach 5 pace.” -- Carrie Jones, New York Times bestselling author of the Need series “Breaking Sky had me in its...

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16. Lee’s Comics in San Mateo to close in March

The Californian comics scene is losing a store that lasted 29years, as the Lee’s Comics store in San Mateo is closing. The Mountain View location will remain open.Owner Lee Hester revealed the closing in his newsletter: I’m very sorry to tell you this, but after 29 years, due to adverse business conditions, we must close […]

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17. A Talk With Pat Scales

Photo courtesy of Pat Scales

Photo courtesy of Pat Scales

Pat Scales is the 2016 recipient of the ALSC Distinguished Service Award, and we’re thrilled to have her share some memories of her years of working with children, families, librarians, and educators across the country. ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee member Miriam Lang Budin chatted with Pat via email:

Miriam Lang Budin: First of all, congratulations on receiving the 2016 ALSC Distinguished Service Award! What a well-deserved recognition of your many years of dedicated school librarianship, professional leadership, and continuing guidance to those of us in the trenches.

Do you have any funny stories about your work as a champion of intellectual freedom?

Pat Scales: Yes.  I helped an elementary school in the late 1980s deal with a parent who complained about William Steig’s Sylvester and the Magic Pebble because “Sylvester has an out of body experience.”  She was, of course, referring to Sylvester turning into a rock.  I have used that book in teaching students about the freedom to read.  I told them about the complaint about the “pig policemen” in the 1970s, and then I told them about the later complaint.  They asked me to explain an out of body experience.  I had to say I didn’t know because I had never had one.

One of my favorite stories is the time I was teaching the First Amendment to eighth graders.  I told them that My Friend Flicka had been banned in Florida because of the word “bitch” in reference to a female dog.  I asked them to name other words that society has turned into slang.  A boy on the front row said, “pussy.”  The students didn’t hear him and asked me what he said.  I turned to the class and said, “John said pussy, and he’s absolutely right.”  I then recited ‘The Owl and the Pussy Cat.’ Not one student laughed. Later the teacher and I invited the principal to the class to hear the lecture.  He was amazed by the students, and said it was one of the best lessons he had ever observed.  I turned to him and told him that I was sorry he missed “pussy.”  He collapsed on the floor laughing.

MLB: Have you ever been afraid for your safety when working in the field?

PS: No, not ever.  There were two incidents that happened when I was at a residential high school for the arts, but they didn’t frighten me.

I served on a panel at ALA about privacy and the Patriot Act. What we didn’t know until later was that some very conservative organizations had planted people in the audience.  When I returned home I received some very threatening telephone calls at work. Someone even wrote to our governor complaining about my views.  I was called from the governor’s office just to inform me that the governor stood behind me.  Security guards escorted me to my car for about a week.  I never heard anything more after that week.

A woman appeared in the library one day around 5:00 and began pulling books, marking specific pages with strips of paper, and stacking them on tables.  Most were art books that had nude paintings.  There were a few graphic novels that she added to the stacks.  She quickly fled when I asked her if I could help her.  Then I spotted a magazine that had my name on the label.  She had circled my name and written “the problem.” I never knew who she was.

MLB: Can you tell us about a satisfying victory?

PS: I worked with a group of citizens in Fayetteville, Arkansas who were fighting a woman who was leading a campaign to get any books that dealt with “sex” out of the school libraries.  The group addressed the school board in a kind of town hall meeting, and won their battle.  It was wonderful to see a community group rise in support of books, the right to read, and the right to seek information.

I was also an expert witness to the Annie on My Mind censorship trial in Olathe, Kansas. High school students sued the superintendent of schools after he pulled the book from the library shelves.  Garden’s book had been in the library for ten years, and there had never been a question until a gay/lesbian group wanted to gift the book to the school library. That made the superintendent nervous, and he dismissed the selection policy and the materials review policy, and banned the book. The students were brilliant, and they won the case.

MLB: Have there been any crushing defeats?

PS: Yes.  The Miami-Dade Public Schools removed Vamos a Cuba because they didn’t think it accurately represented life in the Communist country.  They cited the cover of the book where a young boy is smiling.  “No child would smile under the Castro regime.” There were other complaints: “Only the rich would wear the festival dress.” “The boy pulling the oxen was too clean and neat and didn’t represent hard work.”  The Florida ACLU took the case to court, and they called me as an expert witness. We won the case in the federal district court, but the school district appealed.  The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is very conservative, and they ruled that the school board had not violated anyone’s First Amendment rights.  The book was permanently removed.

MLB: Is there an ongoing battle that you feel is especially important?

PS: We still deal with issues related to “labeling” of content in books, and restricting students to books on their “reading level” in school and public libraries.  This is extremely troubling, because this restricts young readers’ access to books they want, or information they need.  There are documented cases where books have been removed from a library based solely on a Common Sense Media review.  This site uses emoticons to label controversial issues in books and media.  It’s all taken out of context, and the folks working for them aren’t professionals. There are other websites that label in much the same way.

There have been many censorship cases related to “reading levels.”  Parents and teachers want their really “good” readers to read books that have “high reading levels.”  Sometimes these books are too mature for the reader.  For example, a newspaper in Arizona interviewed me when The Perks of Being a Wallflower was banned in an elementary school in Apache Junction.  The school had purchased the book because Accelerated Reader put it on the fourth-grade reading level.  This case prompted the State Superintendent to send a letter of “warning” to all school libraries in the state.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower isn’t appropriate for fourth-grade, and shouldn’t have been purchased for the elementary school.

No librarian should ever allow any company to determine what they purchase for their library.  We have a number of professional review journals to guide us.

MLB: What can we do to help?

PS: Talk the Talk.  Walk the Walk.  DO NOT succumb to pressure from organizations from the “right” or the “left.”  Review your selection policies and make sure they include statements related to “controversial” materials and cultural and historical accuracy.  Then stick to your policies.

Encourage state library associations to sponsor programs; enroll in webinars about the issues; write blogs and articles for journals and newsletters; and, sponsor Banned Books Week activities for kids and adults to make them aware of the issues.

Pat’s regular column in School Library Journal, Scales on Censorship, is a valuable resource for reasoned, practical responses to intellectual freedom concerns. Questions can be sent to pscales@bellsouth.net.

Thank you, Pat!

The post A Talk With Pat Scales appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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18. HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD!!

Extra!HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS I & II TO BE PUBLISHED IN PRINT BY SCHOLASTIC IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA  AT 12:01 A.M. ON JULY 31, 2016

Scholastic will publish a script book based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth Harry Potter story, will be priced at $29.99 U.S. and $39.99 Canada. The script eBook will be published by Pottermore simultaneously with the print editions by Scholastic in the US and Canada, and Little, Brown Book Group in the UK.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

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19. LIVROS LIVRES! Pra dar e vender!

Eu vendo e você dá!
; )


Estou em fase de arrumação de estante, e com um sério caso de muito livro e pouco espaço. Irei vender todas as cópias e com o dinheiro comprar livros novos pra não ter como guardar!

São o presente ideal, porque crescem junto com os leitores, carregam memória afetiva, e fornecem amplo material para construção das narrativas pessoais das crianças. Quem sabe construir a si próprio, transforma o mundo. Já diziam por aí.

Caso deseje, mando de carona uma linda dedicatória ilustrada.

Os lindos títulos que querem levantar vôo são:


Cobra-coral e Outros Bichos do Mal
O Livro do Cavaleiro
O Livro de Laura
O Livro de Lola
O Monge e o Macaco


Valor, instimável, mas para maior praticidade, se liga aí:

PREÇO DE CAPA + POSTAGEM (calcularei para cada cidade)



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20. Author Guest Post--Katherine Fleet

  Five Secrets You Didn’t Know About Katherine Fleet   Hi, everyone! I’m Katherine Fleet, and I’m so excited to be here on YA Books Central. I’m the debut author of The Secret to Letting Go from Entangled Teen. It’s a YA contemporary set in a fictional town on the Gulf...

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21. Review of The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton

vernick_kid from diamond streetThe Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton
by Audrey Vernick; 
illus. by Steven Salerno
Primary   Clarion   40 pp.
3/16   978-0-544-61163-4   $17.99   g

Edith Houghton was “magic on the field,” a baseball legend of the 1920s. Playing starting shortstop for the 
all-women’s professional team the Philadelphia Bobbies, she drew fans to the ballpark with her impressive offensive and defensive talent. Besides that, Edith was just ten years old; her uniform was too big, her pants kept falling down, and her too-long sleeves encumbered her play. But she was good, and the older players took “The Kid” under their wing. And that’s the real story here, told through Vernick’s conversational text. It’s not so much about the baseball action but the team — barnstorming through the Northwest U.S. playing against male teams; experiencing ship life aboard the President Jefferson on the way to Japan; playing baseball in Japan; and learning about Japanese culture. Salerno’s appealing charcoal, ink, and gouache illustrations evoke a bygone era of baseball with smudgy-looking uniforms, sepia tones, and double-page spreads for a touch of ballpark grandeur. An informative author’s note tells more of Houghton’s story — the other women’s teams she played for, her job as a major league scout for the Philadelphia Phillies, and being honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. An engaging story that reminds readers that “baseball isn’t just numbers and statistics, men and boys. Baseball is also ten-year-old girls, marching across a city to try out for a team intended for players twice their age.”

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Review of The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton appeared first on The Horn Book.

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22. Kelly Clarkson Inks Picture Book Deal With HarperCollins

Kelly Clarkson has signed a deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books. The singer has become well-known as a three-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist and the winner of the 2002 season of American Idol.

According to The Seattle Times, Laura Hughes will serve as the illustrator on this project. The publication date for River Rose and the Magical Lullaby has been set for October 2016.

Clarkson posted a video about this picture book on her social media page; we’ve embedded her Twitter post above. TIME reports that “the story follows a little girl who’s too excited about the next day’s zoo visit to fall asleep, until her mom sings her a lullaby that gives her dreams about playing with hippos, penguins and other zoo creatures.”

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23. 15th Printing!

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute has entered its fifteenth printing and got a spiffy new back cover. Thank you to everyone for supporting this little, yellowy book!

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24. Goethe's color theory


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25. New Voice: Melissa Gorzelanczyk on Arrows

On Twitter? Follow @MelissaGorzela.
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Melissa Gorzelanczyk is the first-time author of Arrows (Delacorte, 2016). From the promotional copy:

People don’t understand love.

If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. 

No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow.

Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. 

And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma.

But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

Could you describe both your pre-and-post contract revision process? What did you learn along the way? How did you feel at each stage? What advice do you have for other writers on the subject of revision?

Like Melissa on Facebook.
Revising post-contract is a lot different than pre-contract.

The best part about post-contract revision is you have a clear path set by someone you (hopefully) trust. Your editor!

When my edit letters come in, I like to allow the feedback sit for a day or two before diving into the changes. That feels long enough to let any emotions attached to what she is telling me disappear.

 I wouldn’t recommend writing from a place of feeling wounded or defensive. You need to be open.

Once I’m open to the critique, I go through her letter and write a list of all the problems in my manuscript.

After that, I brainstorm possible solutions, making sure my favorites work on a big picture level. The process breaks down to finding solutions within all of my story elements—plot, setting, character, theme—and then onto chapter/scene/sentence level from there.

One thing to remember when revising post-contract is that your book will actually be out in the world someday. While this seems obvious, it’s easy to forget when you’re focused on the work at hand. Mainly, you want your editor to continue liking your book, right? Do not forget that now, in revision, you should also fix the things that don’t ring true to who you are.

Because people are (for reals) going to be reading your book in the near future! Make sure you feel proud and certain about the changes you are making.

Pre-contract is much harder, especially if you don’t have a critique partner you trust. The key is to find at least one.

Trade samples of each other’s work, and see if you like what the other person is saying to help make your story better. See if they work on the same turnaround as you. See if you feel comfortable being yourself when you email back and forth.

Melissa's office
My second piece of advice is to trust your story and your gut. Long ago, a valued beta reader of mine suggested that I consider taking the teen pregnancy aspect out of my YA novel Arrows. I decided not to, and that ended up helping my book sell to Delacorte. In fact, my book was pitched as “MTVs 'Teen Mom' meets Greek mythology.”

I’m not saying the beta reader was wrong. Maybe my book would sell a million more copies without the teen pregnancy plotline. Who knows. I’m just saying you don’t have to revise according to every comment, especially pre-contract.

Before sending your manuscript to beta readers, I suggest doing at least a couple revisions on your own. One of my favorite revising methods is a modified version of Susan Dennard’s revision method (just scroll down). Take her ideas and adapt them to fit your style.

For me, a simplified approach works best. My plan always starts with printing my manuscript and reading it in one sitting. I might make notes in the margins, or I might not. Then, like Dennard, I paperclip my chapters together and figure out what is or isn’t working with the plot, characters and setting.

This takes time! And this isn’t the place for line edits! Because believe me, for those first revision passes, your deleted scenes file may end up as long as your manuscript. That is okay.

Shed no tears.

This is how all books are made.

“The only kind of writing is rewriting.”
Ernest Hemingway

How have you approached the task of promoting your debut book? What online or real-space efforts are you making? Where did you get your ideas? To whom did you turn for support? Are you enjoying the process, or does it feel like a chore? What advice do you have on this front for your fellow debut authors and for those in the years to come?

Promoting my debut has been both exhausting and interesting. I’m still a few weeks from publication date (I’m writing this on 1/4/16), but I truly feel I’ve done all I can leading up to this point.

I try to remember that promoting a book is a slow burn, kind of like the publishing process as a whole. It doesn’t happen all at once.

The things I’m doing pre-publication are the things I’ll be doing all of next year.

Promotion starts by figuring out two things:

1. How much time you can devote to promotion.

2. How much money you can/want to spend.

I think every author should plan to spend some time and some money on their promotion, but no one really knows the magic combo. Personally, I devote half of my work day to promotion, as well as some nights and weekends, which I started doing when my book was about four months from publication.

Up to that point, I was working on promotion as things came up. There wasn’t a set schedule or plan. So I guess you could say that about four months to publication, I panicked, created a master spreadsheet and worked really hard to meet my goals.

As far as money, my guess is that I’ll have spent about $1,500 to $3,000 on promotion by the end of 2016. This estimate includes postage (budget more than you think you need), thank you cards, thank you gifts, bookmarks, buttons, postcards, my book trailer, conferences and my launch party. All of this is tax deductible.

I have no idea if this is high or low as far as a marketing investment, but as a debut, when deciding where to spend money, it made sense to go “all in.”

I’m curious how I’ll feel at the end of 2016. My advice is do what feels right for you.

Melissa's office
If you’re wondering where to start with promotion, I’d highly recommend joining a debut author group. I’m a member of the Sweet Sixteens and the Class of 2k16.

Being able to ask fellow debuts questions has saved so much time in random Google searches/panicking. Plus it’s a safe place to share failures and successes, and well, meet people who “get it.” My author family is a whole new awesome kind of family.

Another thing you can do is study what successful authors are doing. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Add your personality and style to their ideas. For instance, if they are on Goodreads, you probably want to be there, too. If they are doing giveaways on Twitter, why not try one?

For your own sanity, stay organized. Write all of your ideas on a spreadsheet and add deadline dates so that you don’t feel completely overwhelmed.

Work on your promotion in bite-sized pieces. One blog post at a time. One bookmark order at a time. One Tweet at a time.

In my opinion, being a debut is a good time to say “yes”. Try all the blog articles you can. Answer every interview you can.

Yes, you want to make a book trailer? Figure out how to do that. Yes, create a professional website and blog, Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter. Yes, send a monthly newsletter (I use MailChimp). 

Yes, you can do this!

Cynsational Notes

Melissa recommends: Ten Things Nobody Tells You about Being a Debut Novelist by Tim Federle.

https://thesweetsixteens.wordpress.com/

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