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Chris Barton writes about Chris Barton's writing ... and other, more fascinating elements of the world of children's book publishing.
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1. Another Kind of Hurricane and ways to support New Orleans

Tamara Ellis Smith, featured in the August issue of Bartography Express for her debut novel, Another Kind of Hurricane — — has asked me to share this with you. I’m so glad she did, and I’m happy to pass it along: HELPING NEW ORLEANS lowernine.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the long-term recovery of […]

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2. In which I give away Don Tate’s Poet — and a little behind-the-scenes info

One week from tomorrow, you can buy this beauty — the first book that my friend Don Tate has both written and illustrated: In the meantime, you can get in the running for a copy of Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peachtree) that I’ll be giving away. More on that in a […]

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3. See you soon, Mississippi! And thank you, Black History Channel!

I remember the excitement of the first Texas Book Festival twenty years ago, as well as my more personal enthusiasm two years later when I had the honor of shepherding Mississippi author (with deep Texas ties) Willie Morris around the annual event. This week, it’s Mississippi’s turn for its inaugural book festival, and I’m delighted […]

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4. Revisiting Reconstruction (Week of August 9, 2015)

Here are the most timely and intriguing items about Reconstruction that I found this past week. (What did I miss? Let me know in the comments…) From The Chronicle of Higher Education: For scholars of African-American studies, the police killings of unarmed black men in several cities over the past year have been personally searing […]

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5. More news from Mississippi (and 51 other states and territories)

Says the Library of Congress: Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. The pick for Mississippi this year is The Amazing Age of […]

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6. Revisiting Reconstruction (Week of August 2, 2015)

Here are the three most notable items pertaining to Reconstruction that I found this past week. Or, at least, two notable items preceded by one blatantly self-promotional one. (What did I miss? Let me know in the comments…) In advance of this month’s inaugural Mississippi Book Festival, this interview with me from Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger: Question: […]

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7. “Prince Valiant soon realized this was a bad idea”

I felt like making something today, and then several Sundays’ worth of newspaper comics unexpectedly arrived, along with some cardboard, so…

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8. A reminder to myself (and maybe to you, too)

This #TenThingsToSayToAWriter contribution by author Jen Malone (Maps to the Stars) — I just put a review of your book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble *and* Goodreads and requested from my library. #TenThingsToSayToAWriter — Jen Malone (@jenmalonewrites) July 30, 2015 — was a welcome reminder for me. And a needed one, too. Each time recently […]

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9. Revisiting Reconstruction (Week of July 26, 2015)

Here are the most timely and intriguing items about Reconstruction that I found this past week. (What did I miss? Let me know in the comments…) From the University of South Carolina Beaufort: The University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB), in partnership with the City of Beaufort, Penn Center, and the University Of South Carolina […]

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10. Bartography Express for July 2015, featuring Lindsey Lane’s Evidence of Things Not Seen

This month, one subscriber to my Bartography Express newsletter will win a copy of Evidence of Things Not Seen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Lindsey Lane. If you’re not already receiving Bartography Express, click the image below for a look. If you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll […]

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11. Huffington Post review of ‘The Nutcracker’ Comes to America

Those of us who write for kids don’t write only for kids. We want our books to be shared and enjoyed widely. That’s why it’s so gratifying to me when one of my books for young readers gets acknowledged and appreciated by folks outside of the children’s literature world. It doesn’t happen all that often, […]

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12. The lineup for the inaugural Mississippi Book Festival…

Mississippi Book Festival logo

…is taking shape. And I’m pleased to say that I’m among the authors who will be participating in Jackson on August 22.

Where better for me to share The Amazing of Age of John Roy Lynch with the public than in the city where he began his political rise?

In 1868 the US government

“In 1868 the U.S. government appointed a young Yankee general as governor of Mississippi. The whites who had been in charge were swept out of office. By river and by railroad, John Roy traveled to Jackson to hand Governor Ames a list of names to fill those positions in Natchez. After John Roy spoke grandly of each man’s merits, the governor added another name to the list: John Roy Lynch, Justice of the Peace.”

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13. Bartography Express for June 2015, featuring Jacqueline Kelly’s The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

This month, one subscriber to my Bartography Express newsletter will win a copy of The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate (Henry Holt and Co.) by Jacqueline Kelly.

If you’re not already receiving Bartography Express, click the image below for a look. If you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway at the end of this week.

20150622 Bartography Express

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14. The latest (great!) reviews for The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

bookcover-johnroylynch

I’m excited to the see the word get out — and the favorable reviews come in — for my book with Don Tate, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). Here’s a sampling of the latest batch:

From Kendal Rautzhan’s nationally syndicated column:

“This inspirational story of John Roy Lynch, going from a teenage slave to a U.S. Congressman in just 10 years, should not be missed.”

From librarian Tasha Saecker’s Waking Brain Cells blog:

“An important book focused on an important figure in a dynamic time in American history, this picture book biography will inform new audiences about the potential for both progress and defeat during [Reconstruction].”

From the Mississippi Library Commission’s MLC Reference Blog:

“Growing up in Mississippi, we remember learning about John Roy Lynch in history class. We wish this book had been around then, because it is truly amazing.”

From WCMU’s Children’s Bookshelf:

“[A] powerful story … Chris Barton’s descriptions of the time period in which John Roy Lynch lived and the challenges and heartache that he experienced may have a profound impact on young people.”

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15. Comment on A first look at Jennifer Ziegler’s next book by Chris Barton

I’ll let her know, Sam. I hope you love Revenge of the Angels!

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16. Comment on A first look at Jennifer Ziegler’s next book by Samantha Snyder

Hi this is Sam. I’m emailing from my grandmothers adress.I love Jennifers books they really paint a picture in my mind. you should have one about Halloween

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17. Comment on A first look at Jennifer Ziegler’s next book by Samantha Snyder

Waiting for new book

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18. Coming from me & Ashley Spires in 2017: Book or Bell

This past Thursday’s PW Children’s Bookshelf included the news that I’ve got another new picture book on the way: Book or Bell, to be illustrated by Ashley Spires and scheduled to be published by Bloomsbury in spring 2017.

I bet whoever assembled that issue of the PW newsletter got a little chuckle out of how my author photo and Ashley’s illustrator photo fit together:

Barton Spires

It looks like I was mooning on one side of a wall and Ashley on the other, each of us thinking, “If only there were someone nearby that I could collaborate with on a picture book.”

That origin story for this project would have been a lot simpler than how things actually came about, which involves a YA nonfiction project that fell apart after the contract was signed and an entirely unrelated (or so I thought) picture book manuscript with a first draft that I saved on leap day in 2008.

It’s bonkers, really, but also sweet — sort of like the tale we tell in Book or Bell, about a schoolboy’s disruptive refusal to put down a captivating book, the outlandish means that the authorities resort to as they try to restore order, and the teacher who understands what’s really going on.

I can’t wait for you to be able to pick this book up. Maybe you’ll even refuse to put it down.

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19. Giveaway: a copy of John Roy Lynch signed by Don and me

bookcover-johnroylynch

Angie Manfredi, one of the most passionate librarians I know, is giving away a copy of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch that’s been signed by both illustrator Don Tate and me.

Here’s a bit of what Angie has to say about the book:

Everything about The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch is special. It’s a book that asks children to think big thoughts and ask hard questions about eras of history that are too often glossed over and about the era we live in now. It’s ambitious, interesting, original and very beautiful. It’s meant to be shared and discussed with kids and I recommend it as a first purchase for public libraries looking to enrich their children’s non-fiction collection and especially for elementary school librarians and classroom teachers working with 3rd-6th grades. It’s a great supplement for history lessons and will hopefully make young learners even more curious about our country’s history, all the parts of it — the amazing and hard ones.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is go to this blog post at Fat Girl Reading and leave a comment.

But you’ll probably want to do more than that, like stick around a while and read what Angie has to say about this book and other things, because did I mention that she’s one of the most passionate librarians I know?

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20. Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center on The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

bookcover-johnroylynch

[F]our reasons why most of us need to read this book” sounds pretty terrific to me. Thanks, APAC!

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21. Good news & good company for The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

bookcover-johnroylynch
This past week has brought a couple of happy developments for my new book with Don Tate, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers).

First, the book has received a Silver Honor from the Parents’ Choice Awards. Thank you, Parents’ Choice!

And another big thank you goes to Colby Sharp and Jon Samuelson for including The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (along with Bob Shea’s Ballet Cat and Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl) in the latest episode of the Booklandia podcast.

I love the surprise in Jon’s voice when he realizes that the story of Lynch’s 10-year rise from slavery to the U.S. House of Representatives during Reconstruction is nonfiction rather than historical fiction. I also appreciate the thorough notes on this episode — very helpful, guys.

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22. Comment on Good news & good company for The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch by EBYR All Over: June 12, 2015 | Eerdlings

[…] recommended the book as a remarkable story that will take many by surprise. As author Chris Barton mentioned in a blog post, you can hear the host’s suprise “when he realizes that the story of Lynch’s 10-year […]

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23. Comment on 6 tips from 6 years of school visits by Chris Barton

You’re welcome, Donna. And thanks for your tip, Jean — sounds like a great way to engage the kids.

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24. Comment on 6 tips from 6 years of school visits by Jean Reagan

Love your post. Greeting kids at the door and learning the “quiet” signal ahead of time. Perfect! Thanks. One thing I do is to ask the kids for ideas for the book I’m working on. Or I offer up two ideas I’m considering and have them vote on their preference.

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25. Comment on 6 tips from 6 years of school visits by Donna Janell Bowman

Great tips, Chris! Thanks for sharing.

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