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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Kidlit Author/Illustrator Events, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 76
1. KidLit Events September 16-23

We have a lot of exciting events this we, from early readers to young adult, authors and illustrators. There is also a free writing workshop, so take notes and mark your calendars. While you’ve got your calendar out, be sure to put a big circle around September 27th for Tweens Read 2014!

September 17, Wednesday, 5:00 PM  LOUISE LOVES ART by Kelly Light
Blue Willow Bookshop
Kelly Light, Author/Illustrator

Kelly will also be appearing at Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands, September 18, Thursday, at 7:00 PM

For fans of Olivia and Eloise, this stunning debut from Kelly Light is an irresistible story about the importance of creativity in all its forms.

Meet Louise. Louise loves art more than anything. It’s her imagination on the outside. She is determined to create a masterpiece–her piece de resistance!

Louise also loves Art, her little brother. This is their story.


September 18, Thursday, 5:00 PM THE ODD SQUAD, KING KARL by Michael Fry
Blue Willow Bookshop
Michael Fry, Cartoonist/MG Author

Michael Fry will discuss and sign KING KARL (Disney-Hyperion), his newest novel in the ODD SQUAD series for kids. Nick, Molly, and Karl have nowhere to turn but to each other in KING KARL, the latest Odd Squad adventure, and they’ll need every ounce of wit, resourcefulness, and help they can get in order to rise above their biggest challenge yet.

Visit Michael Fry’s website to read the first four chapters of KING KARL.

September 18, Thursday, 6:30 PM MADE FOR YOU by Melissa Marr
Murder By The Book
Melissa Marr, MG, YA & Adult Author

Melissa Marr will sign and discuss MADE FOR YOU (Harper Collins). Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital to discover an attempt has been made on her life. But who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? Before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive.

Visit Melissa Marr’s website to read an excerpt of MADE FOR YOU.

September 20, Saturday, 10:00 AM
The Houston YA/MG Writers
Writing Workshop: “More Than Words: Crafting Dialogue with Impact”

Join the Houston YA/MG Writers and YA author Kathleen Bagley for this free workshop! Dialogue is the backbone of character, but it is also notoriously hard to get right. It can be too long, too short, too wordy, too sparse, and, worst of all–sometimes dialogue just doesn’t work. But how does one know if one’s dialogue is working? In this hands-on workshop/lecture, Kathleen will show you several examples of dialogue that DOES work, and we’ll focus on what is done right. I’ll also show you how to cut out lengthy, unnecessary dialogue, and, most importantly of all, how to work with the most important aspect of dialogue: what is left unsaid. (Bring a writing utensil, because you’ll definitely be writing and sharing.)

September 20, Saturday, 1:00 PM SHATTERED by Mari Mancusi
Blue Willow Bookshop
Mari Mancusi, YA Author

Mari Mancusi will discuss and sign SHATTERED ( Sourcebooks Fire), her newest novel for young adults. Trinity, Connor, and Caleb are holed up in an abandoned West Texas farmhouse. Their only problem is Emmy, a baby dragon who is growing like crazy. When Emmy is caught on tape and the video goes viral, they find themselves on the run again. Their only hope comes from an old map leading to a man who has come from the future to help them.

September 23, Tuesday, 5:00 PMHALF A WORLD AWAY by Cynthia Kadonata
Blue Willow Bookshop
Cynthia Kadohata, MG Author

 Cynthia Kadohata—author of the Newbery Medal–winning book KIRA-KIRA, the National Book Award winner THE THING ABOUT LUCK, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner WEEDFLOWER—will discuss and sign new novel for children HALF A WORLD AWAY. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers).

Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.” He’s sure that’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him. And he gets it. He is incapable of stopping his stealing, hoarding, lighting fires, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels…nothing.

But when they get to Kazakhstan, it turns out the infant they’ve chosen has already been adopted, and literally, within minutes, they are faced with having to choose from among six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden is more interested in the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, spies Jaden and barrels over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Already three years old and barely able to speak, Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn’t pure blinding fury, and there’s no way to control it, or its power.

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2. KidLit Events September 9-15

There are three exciting events happening this week, including two writing workshops and a much-anticipated YA event with three popular authors—all on the same day! Eek! Choose wisely!

Sept. 13, Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-Noon
Maud Marks Library, Katy
Katy Kritique Group and The Space City Scribes
Writing Workshop—Story Structure 101
Price: FREE

Join the writers of the Katy Kritique Group and The Space City Scribes for a free workshop! They’ll cover plotting, beginning with a discussion of the three-act structure and moving into the story needs of various genres. This is the first in a series of free writing workshops from these authors.

Sept. 13, Saturday, 1:00-3:00 p.m.REBORN (Shadow Falls: After Dark Series #1) by Christie Craig writing as CC Hunter
Houston Writers’ Guild
Grace Methodist Church, 1245 Heights Blvd., Houston
Price: $35 for members, $45 for non-members

New York Times Best Selling author, Christie Craig, will cover two topics in her upcoming 2 hour workshop. The topics are “Rejection” and “Blame it on the Parents: Characterization and Motivation.” Christie Craig writes her popular SHADOW FALLS Young Adult series under the name CC Hunter.

Sept. 13, Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ILLUSIONS OF FATE by Kiersten WhiteISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Stephanie Perkins
Blue Willow Bookshop
YA Panel: Three YA Authors
Price: FREE

Kiersten White and Stephanie Perkins will be in conversation with THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE author Jennifer Mathieu to discuss and sign their newest novels for young adults.

Kiersten White will be discussing ILLUSIONS OF FATE. Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets the gorgeous, enigmatic Finn, who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status . . . and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, and the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess them. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits, can stop him.

Stephanie Perkins will be discussing ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.


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3. YA & KidLit Author Events July 15-21

Sometimes even big events sneak up on me. The Mississippi Mud Bash happening at Murder By the Book this week took me by surprise. So here’s a heads up for a major event coming up in September; Tweens Read 2014 will be held September 27 at South Houston High School in Pasadena, Texas.

This week’s events:

July 19, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
Three YA Authors, plus sci-fi workshop for kids

Solar Nova Author Panel: Join us for signings from local authors Brandy Truly  (THE SONAR TRILOGY), Jacqueline Patricks (FAIRYTALE APOCALYPSE ) and K.M. Montemayor  (THE CIRCLE). The authors will supply helpful advice for aspiring authors. Includes a sci-fi workshop for kids ages 8 and up.

SONAR: THE CRASHING by B. Truly FAIRYTALE APOCALYPSE by Jacqueline PatricksTHE CIRCLE by K. M. Montemayor



July 19, Saturday, 4:00 p.m.THE PROVIDER: Katie Lea Yates
Katy Budget Books
Katie Lea Yates, YA Author 

Katie Lea Yates signs her young adult book, THE PROVIDER.
The book: Finishing eighth grade and getting ready for high school is hard enough. Finding out that you can jump into the pictures you’ve drawn and become ruler of thousands of people makes it just a tiny bit tougher. Thankfully, I’m not alone. There’s a whole group of us. They’re very cool, and I love living with them. But it seems that I brought back a little more than my memories when I jumped into that first drawing-now I’m able to create things, or bring things from somewhere else, or . . . well, it’s complicated. And unfortunately, somebody might want us all dead.

July 20, Sunday, 3:00 p.m.THE MURDER COMPLEX by Lindsay Cummings
Murder By the Book
Mighty Mississippi Book Blast, Six YA Authors

Lindsay Cummings: THE MURDER COMPLEX (HarperCollins), an action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller. Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot thickens when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or is it part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES by Rachel HarrisRachel Harris: A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES (Entangled). Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, Alessandra D’Angeli is lost. Until the stars hear her plea. One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything BURN OUT by Kristi Helvigshe’s come to love?

Kristi Helvig: BURN OUT (Egmont). The last girl on Earth…just got company. Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth’s final years, a teenage girl yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns “red giant,” but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Julie Murphy: SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY (HarperCollins) WhatSIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now Alice must face the consequences of all she’s done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

THE BREAK-UP ARTIST BY PHILIP SIEGELPhilip Siegel: THE BREAK-UP ARTIST (Harlequin Teen). Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash.
Some work at the mall. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. Becca knows from experience the damage that love can do. After all, it was so-called love that turned Huxley from her childhood best friend into a social-world dictator, and love that left Becca’s older sister devastated at the altar. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Becca strikes back—for just one hundred dollars via PayPal, she will trick and manipulate any couple’s relationship into smithereens. One night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and the football team’s star player, Steve. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date—starting rumors, sabotaging cell phones, breaking into cars…. No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy.

THE ART OF LAINEY by Paula StokesPaula Stokes: THE ART OF LAINEY (Harper Teen). Soccer-star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back. And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. and decide to use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

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4. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events July 29-August 4

Our local bookstores are hosting several events this week to keep us reading and out of the heat, plus there may still be room in Houston’s new writers’ workshop venue, Write Space, for this week’s class. Here’s the details:

July 30, Wednesday, 30, 10:00 a.m.  MY BROTHER BOUGHT A PET SNAKE by Deborah Masterson
Katy Budget Books
Deborah Masterson, PB Author/Illustrator

Deborah Masterson joins Storytime to read MY BROTHER BOBBY BOUGHT A PET SNAKE. Bobby buys a pet snake, and now he has a big problem. Can you help him figure out what to do?

Kirkus says, “This cleverly illustrated picture book will have readers pondering their own endings and possibly inventing further adventures for Bobby and Sue.”

August 1, Friday, 3:00-7:00 p.m. THE DRY by Rebecca Nolen
August 2, Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Kroger #017, 1440 Studmont St.
Rebecca Nolen, MG Author

Multi-age group author Rebecca Nolen will be signing books, including her middle grade fantasy, THE DRY. West Virginia, 1895. A deadly dry spell has left the earth parched and souls desperate. Crops are failing. Cities are starving. A missing newspaper man doesn’t account for much in times so terrible, except to the twelve-year-old son he left behind. When Elliot Sweeney discovers the search for his father has been called off, he boards a train alone to find him.

His quest leads Elliot into the depths of an abandoned mine, with a peculiar pocket watch, a blind burro, and a gutsy girl at his side. He discovers a world he never dreamed of, even in his worst nightmares, and lands smack in the middle of a war between two kingdoms. Monstrous insects, smiling villains, and dark riddles are everywhere. Deciding who to trust may prove to be his greatest challenge, while the fate of the world above hangs on Elliot’s choice.

August 2, Saturday, 10:00-5:00 p.m. I'M NOT SAYING, I'M JUST SAYING by Matthew Salesses
Write Space
Workshop: Revision Made Simple
Matthew Salesses, Author
Cost: $95.00

This revision workshop is led by Matthew Salesses, author of I’M NOT SAYING, I’M JUST SAYING (Civil Coping Mechanisms). Revision is often held up as the key to good writing. But rarely does an author or editor walk you through concrete strategies for how to revise. There are, however, some real steps one can learn. In this 6-hour course, we will go over 20 of these steps and will emulate some of them with our own stories in class. Students should bring with them the first two pages of a story they want to work on.

August 2, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. UNHINGED: SPLINTERED BOOK 2 by A.G. Howard
Murder By the Book
A.G. Howard, YA Author

A.G. Howard will sign and discuss her young adult novel, UNHINGED (Amulet). In this second book of the Splintered series, Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole. She was crowned Queen of the Red Court and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the boy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly appealing Morpheus. Now all she has to do is graduate high school. That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland–where she (partly) belongs. Could she leave Jeb and her parents behind again, for the sake of a man she knows has manipulated her before? Will her mother and Jeb trust her to do what’s right? Readers will swoon over the satisfying return to Howard’s bold, sensual reimagining of Carroll’s classic.

August 4, Monday, 7:00 p.m. LUX: OPPOSITION by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jennifer Armentrout, YA Author

Jennifer Armentrout will kick off her tour for OPPOSITION, the fifth book in the LUX series from Entangled Teen. Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came. She can’t believe Daemon stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred. Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

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5. KidLit Author Events Aug. 19-25

Things are a little quiet while we all gear up for getting back to school, but here are a couple of things worth spreading the word.

There’s still time to enter the 2014 Houston Writers Guild Fall Contest! Entry fee $35 for fiction/nonfiction. $25 for poetry. Open to all writers, regardless of publishing status. Winners will be announced at the annual Fall Conference. $75 prize awarded to first place in each category. Entering is easy. For more information visit http://houstonwritersguild.org/contests. Deadline is September 1. Stay tuned to their facebook page for information on the Fall Mini Conference on November 8.

August 23, Saturday
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. TAKING OFF by Jenny MossSPACE STATION SCIENCE by Marianne Dyson
Clear Lake Freeman Library
Multi Author Event

Marianne Dyson and Jenny Moss  will join fourteen other authors for a day of celebration at the Clear Lake Freeman Library 50th Anniversary Event. Panel discussions and presentations by local authors will cover topics such as, “Finding Your Own Voice”, “What’s new in Publishing/Self-Publishing” and “How I Got Published” just to name a few. Representatives from four of the library’s book groups will be here so you can meet with and learn more about them. Ten percent of the proceeds from book sales will go to the library.

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6. KidLit Events Sept. 2-9

Fall events are off and rolling! Here’s what’s going on this week:

September 6, Saturday, 2:00 PMTHE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS by Skylar Dorset
Blue Willow Bookshop
Skylar Dorset, YA Author

Debut author Skylar Dorset will discuss and sign her novel for young adults, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS. In Selkie’s family, you don’t celebrate birthdays. You don’t talk about birthdays. And you never, ever reveal your birth date. Until now. The instant Selkie blurts out the truth to Ben in the middle of Boston Common, her whole world shatters.

Because her life has been nothing but a lie—an elaborate enchantment meant to conceal the truth: Selkie is a half-faerie princess. And her mother wants her dead.

September 8, Monday, 7:00 PMARMY CAMELS: TEXAS SHIPS OF THE DESERT by Doris Fisher
Tracy Gee Community Center
SCBWI Houston
Doris Fisher, Children’s Author

Doris Fisher, won the Crystal Kite Award for the Texas/Oklahoma Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators region this year for her book, ARMY CAMELS, TEXAS SHIPS OF THE DESERT. Doris will talk a little about her writing journey, so don’t miss hearing her story. Also, local writers who attended the National SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles this month will share what they learned from the many breakout sessions and keynotes.

September 9, Tuesday, 6:00 P.M.A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by Sandy Hall
Katy Budget Books
Sandy Hall, YA Author

Teen librarian Sandy Hall signs her debut YA romance novel, A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT, which was selected as the first novel to be published by Swoon Reads, a crowd-sourced teen romance imprint. This sweet romance between two college students is told from 14 different viewpoints. The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together.

Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it.

Please remember to check the website of the sponsoring bookstore or organization for the most up-to-date information on these events.


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7. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events May 13-20

Kristin Rae's LaunchWow, what a turn-out debut YA author Kristin Rae had for the launch of her teen romance, WISH YOU WERE ITALIANBlue Willow Bookshop was packed with friends, family and YA fans. I was thrilled to see so many members of the Houston SCBWI, the Houston YA/MG Writers and the Houston Writers Guild show up for this event. I even spotted author Lindsey Lane, an author from Austin whose debut YA novel EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN comes out this September.

There’s so much going on this week, starting tonight with another event featuring Kristin! Please remember to check the sponsoring bookstore’s or organization’s website for the latest, most accurate information on these events.

May 13, Tuesday, 6:00 p.m.First Loves Books
Three YA Authors: Lindsey Leavitt, Emery Lord and Kristin Rae

Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands
Join three exciting teen authors, Lindsey Leavitt, Emery Lord and Kristin Rae in the First Loves YA Event as they discuss and sign their books upstairs in the seating area.

May 17, Saturday, All DayBooks Alive
Central Library
Books Alive! 5th Annual Children’s Book Celebration

Children of all ages are invited to enjoy all the fun and exciting activities scheduled for the Houston Public Library’s Books Alive! 5th Annual Children’s Book Celebration.

The Children’s Book Celebration kicks off with a full day of exciting performances, hands-on arts and crafts activities, and special appearances. The highlight of the celebration is the appearance of Jennifer Holm, the author and illustrator of the Babymouse graphic novel series

May 17, Saturday, 10:00 a.m.Indies First Authors
Blue Willow Bookshop
Indies First Storytime, Four Children’s Authors

Four Texas authors will help us celebrate the inaugural Indies First Storytime by reading their favorite picture books. Crystal Allen, Varsha Bajaj, Kathy Duval and Nikki Loftin will join us – you should too!

May 17, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. CIA Cats
Barnes & Noble, Deerbrook Mall
George Arnold, Children’s Author

Come meet local multi-genre author George Arnold, author of the Cats of the C.I.A. series. Mr. Arnold is a well-known author of young reader and mystery novels. Each title is packed with his signature humor.

May 17, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.
Blue Willow Bookshop
Joy Preble, YA Author

The A WordJoy Preble will discuss and sign her newest novel for teens, THE A-WORD. It’s been almost a year since fifteen-year-old Jenna’s stoner brother, Casey, died and returned as her guardian angel, along with his twenty-something “angel boss,” Amber Velasco. Almost a year since Casey and Amber used up their one-time-only angel power of flight to save Jenna from the evil Dr. Renfroe. Now Casey’s wonders why he’s still hanging around—not that he minds protecting Jenna, but there’s got to be a bigger picture, right? Something to distract him from his doomed relationship with cheerleader Lanie Phelps, who has no idea her boyfriend is, well, dead. After all, he can’t use his angel wings anymore. Neither can Amber. Enter Bo Shivers, Amber’s “angel boss.” Whiskey-guzzling, handsome and unpredictable, Bo lost his angel wings in an earthly flight a long time back, and he’s been a thorn in Angel Management’s side ever since. But Bo knows something big is coming. Something worth forfeiting his wings for Jenna… something that might change everything for everyone.

Saturday May 17, 5:00 p.m.The Thickety
Barnes & Noble, College Station
J. White, MG Author

Join author J. White for a discussion of his debut novel THE THICKETY: A PATH BEGINS.  A dark, forbidden forest. Vicious beasts. Deadly plants. An evil spell book. Secrets. Mysteries. Demons and witches both fair and foul. Welcome to the world of The Thickety.

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr’s Realm. But mostly it’s called the Thickety. Illustrated by Andrea Offermann.

May 20, Tuesday, 5:00 p.m.Peanut Butter Jellyfish
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jarrett Krosoczka, PB Author/Illustrator

Award-winning picture book creator Jarrett Krosoczka will sign his books, including PEANUT BUTTER JELLYFISH, his latest picture book—a funny and touching story of friendships old and new, and about being brave enough to apologize. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are best of friends and swim up, down, around, and through their ocean home. Crabby is their neighbor. He is not their best friend. But when Crabby gets in trouble, will Peanut Butter and Jellyfish come to the rescue? You bet they will!

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8. KidLit Events May 20-27

Read Aloud Authors

In celebration of the 95th annual Children’s Book Week, authors and illustrators showed up at local indie bookstores nationwide to read stories aloud. I’m so glad I had the chance to see the four Texas authors—Crystal Allen, Nikki Loftin, Kathy Duval and Varsha Bajaj—at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston as they shared their favorite picture books. This event was big fun! All four authors were amazing laugh-out-loud readers and the diversity of the books they selected added so much flavor to the event. Kathy Duval shared SOPHIE’S SQUASH, written by her friend Pat Z. Miller. Nikki Loftin read one of her favorite books from her own childhood, FREDERICK, while Crystal Allen chose a new favorite MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD and Varsha Bajaj read a book her children had loved, SIXTEEN COWS.

A Word LaunchI barely had time to run home and get a few errands done before it was time to be back at Blue Willow for the launch of Joy Preble’s new YA novel, THE A WORD. As usual for Joy’s events, it was a packed house. I think nearly every YA author in Houston (and one from Austin!) was there. After Joy’s lively discussion and book signing, we all headed to Ooo La La for cupcakes, gelato and coffee. A yummy day!

The only downside was that with everything else that was going on, I missed the Houston YA/MG Writers meeting where Jessica Capelle was talking about world building. The good news is that this summer, Jessica will be giving a full day workshop on this topic at Houston’s new hot spot for writers, Writespace.

Coming up this week…

May 20, Tuesday, 5:00 pm PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLYFISH by Jarrett J. Krosocza
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jarrett Krosoczka, PB Author/Illustrator

Award-winning picture book creator Jarrett Krosoczka will sign his books, including PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLYFISH, his latest picture book—a funny and touching story of friendships old and new, and about being brave enough to apologize. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are best of friends and swim up, down, around, and through their ocean home. Crabby is their neighbor. He is not their best friend. But when Crabby gets in trouble, will Peanut Butter and Jellyfish come to the rescue? You bet they will!

Wednesday, May 21, 5:00 p.m. DOG vs CAT by Chris Gall
Blue Willow Bookshop
Chris Gall, Author/Illustrator

Illustrator and author Chris Gall will discuss and sign his newest picture book for kids, DOG vs. CAT. Dog and Cat do not get along. But when they’re forced to share a room, they agree to be on their best behavior…until Dog won’t stop “sniffing.” Cat won’t stop “primping.” Dog won’t stop “howling.” Cat won’t stop “scratching.” And when it comes to the litter-box…sharing is “not” an option! What will it take to bring Dog and Cat together? Find out in Chris Gall’s comic clash that brings out the best (and worst) in two very different pets.

Wednesday, May 21, 7:00 p.m. Dangerous Creatures
Brazos Bookstore
Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, YA Authors

Join the coauthors of the #1 New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl in conversation with author Sophie Jordan about their YA novel DANGEROUS CREATURES, a dangerous new tale of love and magic.

Thursday May 22, 5:30 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, Town & Country Village
Rummel Creek Elementary School Young Authors’ Night

Rummel Creek Elementary School presents Young Authors’ Night. The students will read their writings.


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9. KidLit Events May 27-June 3

I’m in a rush today, but here’s what’s going on this week:

May 27, Tuesday, 6:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands
3 YA Authors: Joy Preble, Varsha Bajaj, Christina Mandelski

Join three teen authors as they sign and discuss their newest books. Joy Preble, Varsha Bajaj and Christina Mandelski will all be in-store in the seating area. Don’t miss out on this chance to meet three fantastic YA authors!
The A WordChristin MandelskiABBY SPENCER GOES TO BOLLYWOOD by Varsha Bajaj








May 30, Friday, 7:00 p.m. THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jennifer Mathieu, YA Author

Blue Willow Bookshop is thrilled to help Jennifer Mathieu launch THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, her debut novel for young adults! This stunning debut is told in unique, multiple voices with flawless structure, intense pace, and fabulous writing. Though this story is set in the right-here-and-now, the overall message, and especially the end of the book insights from Alice, will make this a timeless read.


May 30, Friday, 3:00 p.m. MacGyver The Best Big Black Dog
French Cuff Boutique
Quinn Holladay, PB Author

French Cuff Boutique presents MACGYVER—THE BEST BIG BLACK DOG by Quinn Holladay.



May 31, Saturday, 4:00 p.m. Dream Write
River Oaks Bookstore
Sheri Kiss

Join us for a fun and entertaining puppet show based on Sheri Kiss’s children’s book, DREAM WRITE. An engaging book signing (with puppets!) will follow.

The A WordJune 1, Sunday, 2:00 p.m. Reborn
Katy Budget Books
Two YA Authors: CC Hunter and Joy Preble 

Join three of KBB’s favorite local authors as they sign and discuss their latest releases: CC Hunter with REBORN, and Joy Preble with THE A WORD, plus Sophie Jordan with her NA novel.

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10. Jennifer Mathieu’s Debut! + YA Events June 3-10

THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE by Jen MatthieuI’m sorry i didn’t get this post up yesterday. I was having trouble staying connected to my website. The past few days here have been so much fun. Friday night, I got to go to a book launch for a local author’s debut novel. And talk about launching, this author is going to skyrocket!

Write down this name:

Jennifer Mathieu

I predict you’ll be seeing it on all kinds of literary lists soon, including the New York Times Bestsellers list. Her debut YA novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, was pitched as “Easy A” meets “Friday Night Lights,” about small town teens who spread rumors Jen's friends form Johnston Middle Schoolabout a former friend that may or may not be true.

Jen’s launch at Blue Willow Bookshop was a huge event. Jen teaches at a high school in this area, and formerly taught at a Houston middle school, so many of her friends and coworkers showed up to help her celebrate. A lot of her students and Cathy Berner, Jen Mathieu, Valerie Koehlerformer students showed up, too. The bookstore was packed to the walls.

We got to hear a bit about Jen’s journey to publication. Nineteen agents turned her down before she signed with Sarah LaPolla. Like most writers, Jennifer didn’t hit success with her first book, or her second. At one point she talked with her husband about giving up, but he told her that if she got pleasure from writing, she should keep Me and Jendoing it. She did keep writing, and her third book, THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, sold at auction to a brilliant editor named Nancy Mercado, with Roaring Brook Press.

Follow Jen on twitter, and enjoy her blog tour for THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, starting with this interview on Ex Libris.


SEVERED by Dax VarleyAnother cool event I got to attend was our monthly Houston SCBWI meeting where one of our traditionally published children’s authors talked about her adventures in self publishing young adult books under the name Dax Varley. I think the cat may be out of the bag as to this author’s true identity, but in case I’m mistaken, I won’t spill it here. Dax shared a wealth of information about all the technical aspects of SP, including the unexpectedly tricky aspects of designing book covers, proofing, formatting, reviews and the importance of choosing the right title. And her final caution: Hire a professional copyeditor! To keep up with Dax, follow her on twitter or catch up with her news on her blog, I Bleed Ink.


Now for this week’s events!

June 8, Sunday, 3:00 p.m.SPECIAL EFFECT by Russell Sanders
River Oaks Bookstore
Russell Sanders, YA Author

Russell Sanders will be signing and discussing his new novel SPECIAL EFFECT. Graduating Senior Nick Fortunati works as a lighting tech in a creepy old theater. Out of the shadows steps mysterious Steve Stripling. Nick must decide if he wants to help Steve solve the mystery surrounding him and perhaps lose his newfound friend forever.


June 10, Tuesday, 7:00 p.m.TROUBLE by Non Pratt
Blue Willow Bookshop
Non Pratt, YA Author

Non Pratt will discuss and sign TROUBLE, her debut novel for young adults. From Publishers Weekly: Friendship, betrayal, lust, and love are recurring themes in U.K. editor/publisher Pratt’s first novel exploring the trials of a British teen after she finds out she is pregnant. Reluctant to reveal the identity of the baby’s father, 15-year-old Hannah is surprised and relieved when her new friend, Aaron, offers to pretend he is responsible. But Aaron’s motives run deeper than wanting to help Hannah: part of him hopes that acting nobly might make up for previous actions that ended in tragedy…

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11. Kidlit Events June 10-16

We have two events happening this week, one YA and one picture book. But this isn’t any ordinary picture book signing—this is a very special event in support of the Ronald McDonald House featuring a special book from Newbery Honor and National Book Award Finalist Kathi Appelt. Your place in line will be assigned when you purchase the book from Blue Willow Bookshop, so if you don’t want to wait in what I expect will be a very long line, hurry to buy your copy ahead of time! See you there!

June 10, Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. TROUBLE by Non Pratt
Blue Willow Bookshop
Non Pratt, YA Author

Non Pratt will discuss and sign TROUBLE, her debut novel for young adults. From Publishers Weekly: Friendship, betrayal, lust, and love are recurring themes in U.K. editor/publisher Pratt’s first novel exploring the trials of a British teen after she finds out she is pregnant. Reluctant to reveal the identity of the baby’s father, 15-year-old Hannah is surprised and relieved when her new friend, Aaron, offers to pretend he is responsible. But Aaron’s motives run deeper than wanting to help Hannah: part of him hopes that acting nobly might make up for previous actions that ended in tragedy…

June 14, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. MOGIE THE HEART OF THE HOUSE
Blue Willow Bookshop
Kathi Appelt, Children’s Author

Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist author Kathi Appelt  will discuss and sign her newest picture book, MOGIE: THE HEART OF THE HOUSE.

Mogie is a real-life Labradoodle with a special talent: he always knows just what a sick kid needs! Give that dog a puddle and he’d splash. Give him a whistle and he’d roll over. Give him a rule and he’d break it.

One day a passel of puppies was born. Each puppy was designated for a Very Important Job, like Service Dog, or Search and Rescue Dog, or Groomed for the Show Ring Dog. Each puppy, that is, except Mogie. Mogie was a ball-chasing, tail-wagging, moon-howling pup. Not the kind of pup for any of those jobs! But there is a place that is just right for Mogie: a very special house where sick children and their families can stay while they undergo long-term treatment. A place with children who NEED a ball-chasing, tail-wagging, moon-howling pup. And there’s one little boy in particular who needs Mogie. And Mogie is about to prove he’s the best darn pooch in the passel. Based on a true story, this heartwarming picture book is published in conjunction with the Ronald McDonald House.

Note: In order to go through the signing line and meet Kathi Appelt for book personalization, please purchase MOGIE: THE HEART OF THE HOUSE from Blue Willow Bookshop. At the time of your purchase, Blue Willow will issue a signing line ticket that indicates your place in line. Your book and signing line ticket can be picked up at the event.

June 14, Saturday, 4:00 p.m. 
River Oaks Bookstore
Quinn Holliday, Author & Ryan Shaw, Illustrator

Join the Quinn Holliday, author of MACGYVER THE BEST BIG BLACK DOG for a reading and signing. Ryan Shaw the illustrator will be drawing for the kids as well!

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12. Kathi Appelt and Mogie + KidLit Events June 17-24

MogieThis weekend was the occasion of a very special event at Blue Willow Bookshop. Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist author Kathi Appelt held the Houston launch for Ronald McDonald House Houston’s tour for their picture book celebration of MOGIE, THE HEART OF THE HOUSE. Kathi was accompanied by three other celebrities, the RMHH Executive Director Leslie Bourne, the RMHH Director of Development Mikki Donnelly, and the RMHH Key Comfort Ambassador himself, Mogie!

Before Kathi got started telling about meeting Mogie Mogie the Ambassadorand writing his story, Mogie put his ambassador skills to work. He graciously greeted each person who walked through the door, making us all feel welcome and wanted.

Blue Willow Bookshop was fill to the brim with Kathi’s fans, Mogie’s fans and people who love picture books. After Kathi’s brief, sweet talk about Mogie and the wonderful kids she met at the Ronald McDonald House, everyone filed into line to get their copies of the book personalized. Every book was signed by Kathi and stamped with Mogie’s PAW-tograph.

The book: Mogie is a real-life Labradoodle with a special talent: he always knows just what a sick kid Celebritiesneeds! Give that dog a puddle and he’d splash. Give him a whistle and he’d roll over. Give him a rule and he’d break it.

One day a passel of puppies was born. Each puppy was designated for a Very Important Job, like Service Dog, or Search and Rescue Dog, or Groomed for the Show Ring Dog. Each puppy, that is, except Mogie. Mogie was a ball-chasing, tail-wagging, moon-howling pup. Not the kind of pup for any of Signature and Pawtographthose jobs! But there is a place that is just right for Mogie: a very special house where sick children and their families can stay while they undergo long-term treatment. A place with children who NEED a ball-chasing, tail-wagging, moon-howling pup. And there’s one little boy in particular who needs Mogie. And Mogie is about to prove he’s the MOGIE, THE HEART OF THE HOUSEbest darn pooch in the passel. Based on a true story, this heartwarming picture book is published in conjunction with the Ronald McDonald House.

For more adorable pictures of Mogie and his RMHH family take a look at this article from The Houston Chronicle.

Follow Mogie: Twitter Facebook Website
Follow author Kathi Appelt: Twitter Facebook Website
Follow illustrator Marc Rosenthal: Twitter Facebook Website
Follow Ronald McDonald House Houston: Twitter Facebook Website
Follow Blue Willow Bookshop: Twitter Facebook Website

And now, this week’s event:

June 21, Saturday
THE TINY PRINCESS AND THE MISSING CHOCOLATES by Nancy Shakespeare, Illustrated by Katie ClouetteThe Storybook Cottage, Katy, TX
Nancy Shakespeare, PB Author

Join Nancy Shakespeare at The Storybook Cottage to celebrate the release of her new picture book, THE TINY PRINCESS AND THE MISSING CHOCOLATES. When the Tiny Princess’ chocolates go missing, it is up to Tatum to find them. On a quest to find her sweets, she discovers something even more important than her delicious chocolates.

This is a free event and the Princesses will enjoy one hour of pampering; including brush-on glitter, nail painting, a tea party with pink lemonade & Princess cookies and story time with the Author. To register, please send an email to shakespearestories@gmail.com. Space is limited.

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13. Book Release: DEADWOOD + KidLit Events June 23-July 1

DEADWOOD by Kell Andrews (Spencer Hill Press)Book Release Day!

 Kell Andrew’s


Sometimes a lucky ritual becomes a curse.

Seventh-grader Martin Cruz hates his rotten new town, Lower Brynwood, but with his mom fighting a war in Afghanistan, he has no choice but to live with his crazy aunt. Then he gets a message from a tree telling him it’s cursed—and so is he.

It’s not just any tree either, it’s the Spirit Tree, an ancient beech the football team carves for good luck before the season opener. But every year they lose. Now the Spirit Tree is dying, and the other trees in the park are toppling around it like dominoes. The town is plagued with unexplainable accidents and people begin to fade, drained of life.

Martin must team up with a know-it-all soccer star, Hannah Vaughan, if he has any chance of breaking the curse. If they fail to save the Spirit Tree, it could mean the destruction of Lower Brynwood and a permanent case of bad luck.

BIZZ AND BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS by Dee LeoneJune 26, Thursday, 10:00 a.m.
Blue Willow Bookshop
Dee Leone, PB Author

Join author Dee Leone for a special story time/book launch for BIZZ AND BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS! Bizz and Buzz are two bees who want to make honey buns. So, they ask their friend Bear for his recipe. Although the directions seem simple, Bizz and Buzz make mistake after mistake, like finding a little “flower “instead of adding a little “flour.” What will “bee”-come of the honey buns?

RIVER ROYALS by Katie Clark & Sarah Wynne

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14. KidLit Author Events July 8-14

VOICES OF PEARL HARBOR by Sherry Garland, Illustrated by Layne JohnsonI hope everyone enjoyed celebrating our Independence Day. My family had a great time in Fredericksburg at the National Museum of the Pacific War. Although I expected it to be there, it was still a thrill to see Sherry Garland and Layne Johnson’s gorgeous book VOICES OF PEARL HARBOR prominently displayed in the children’s book section.

Here’s what’s going on this week:

July 8, Tuesday, 7:00 p.m.UNCAGED by John Sandford and Michelle Cook
Murder By The Book
John Sandford and Michelle Cook, YA Authors

John Sandford and Michelle Cook will sign and discuss UNCAGED (Knopf for Young Readers) the first book in their new Singular Menace series. In UNCAGED, Shay Remby arrives in Hollywood with $58 and a handmade knife, searching for her brother, Odin. Odin’s a brilliant hacker but a bit of a loose cannon. He and a group of radical animal-rights activists hit a Singular Corp. research lab in Eugene, Oregon. The raid was a disaster, but Odin escaped with a set of highly encrypted flash drives and a post-surgical dog.

When Shay gets a frantic 3 a.m. phone call from Odin—talking about evidence of unspeakable experiments, and a ruthless corporation, and how he must hide—she’s concerned. When she gets a menacing visit from Singular’s security team, she knows: her brother’s a dead man walking.

What Singular doesn’t know—yet—is that 16-year-old Shay is every bit as ruthless as their security force, and she “will” burn Singular to the ground, if that’s what it takes to save her brother.

Sneak a preview peek here!

July 9, Wednesday, 10:00 a.m.BIZZ AND BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS by Dee Leone
Katy Budget Books
Dee Leone, PB Author

Local author Dee Leone will visit KBB for a special story time with her new book BIZZ AND BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS (Grosset & Dunlap). Bizz and Buzz are two bees who want to make honey buns. So, they ask their friend Bear for his recipe. Although the directions seem simple, Bizz and Buzz make mistake after mistake, like finding a little “flower “instead of adding a little “flour.” What will “bee”-come of the honey buns?

July 12, Saturday, 2:00 p.m. OVETA CULP HOBBY: COLONEL, CABINET MEMBER, PHILANTHROPIST by Debra Winegarten
Blue Willow Bookshop
Debra Winegarten, MG Nonfiction Author

Join author Debra Winegarten for a discussion of her new biography OVETA CULP HOBBY: COLONEL, CABINET MEMBER, PHILANTHROPIST. Oveta Culp Hobby (1905-1995) had a lifetime of stellar achievement. During World War II, she was asked to build a women’s army from scratch – and did. Hobby became Director of the Women’s Army Corps and the first Army woman to earn the rank of colonel. President Eisenhower chose her as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, making her the second woman in history to be appointed to a president’s cabinet. When she wasn’t serving in the government, Hobby worked with her husband, former Texas governor William P. Hobby, to lead a media empire that included the Houston Post newspaper and radio and TV stations. She also supported the Houston community in many ways, from advocating for civil rights for African Americans to donating generously to the Houston Symphony and the Museum of Fine Arts.

This first biography of a remarkable woman has been written for middle school readers. It traces her life from her childhood in Killeen to her remarkable achievements in Washington, DC, and Houston. Debra Winegarten provides the background to help young adult readers understand the times in which Hobby lived and the challenges she faced as a woman in nontraditional jobs. She shows how Hobby opened doors for women to serve in the military and in other professions that still benefit women today. Most of all, Oveta Culp Hobby will inspire young adults to follow their own dreams and turn them into tangible reality.

July 13, Sunday 2:00 p.m. KATHY'S ADVENTURES by Ricci Ivers Casserly
Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands
Ricci Casserly, Children’s Author

Join Ricci Casserly  as she signs KATHY’S ADVENTURES  (Tate) the story of a little girl named Ricci and her favorite doll, Kathy. Ricci and Kathy are the best of friends, and Ricci will do anything to care for Kathy. But as time passes, Ricci plays with Kathy less and less. One day when Ricci goes to her grandmother’s house to see Kathy, Kathy is gone. Come along with Ricci as she learns never to give up hope and follows her dreams of reuniting with her best friend.

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15. Author/Illustrator Events Dec. 3-10

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving; I certainly did.

Though the next two items are not book related, I wanted to pass on information about two charitable events going on in the Houston area right now:

Treeman, Photo taken by Steve Lathem December 11, Tuesday, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Mixed Emotions Fine Art and Frame, 95 Tuam St.
Art For the Trees If You Please – Art Benefit

Our beautiful park suffered severely from last year’s drought. Money raised through ticket sales for this event and 30% of artists’ sales will be donated to The Memorial Park Conservancy for park reforestation.

Come enjoy the wine, dessert and snacks at the cocktail reception featuring the founder of Paws on Patios, Patrick Walsh, Jim Porter– chairman of The Memorial Park Conservancy, Brian Kalinec– singer/songwriter, Suzanne Marsh– silhouette artist, and the amazingly tall Walking Tree Of Life performer as well as many wonderful artists who will be selling tree-themed art. Visit www.theartfullumbrella.com/art_benefit for the details and to purchase tickets. Art which is not purchased at the event will be for sale online from December 12th-18th at www.theartfullumbrella.com/art_gallery/. Photo credit: Steve Lathem

For those of you in the West Houston/Katy/Fulshear areas, I wanted to pass on news of the 3rd annual “Stuff the Sleigh of Katy”, an all-volunteer holiday toy drive benefiting pediatric cancer patients treated at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) – West Campus, and their siblings. Santa Claus will present the children with toys collected in his Santa’s Sleigh at a family holiday party. The community toy drive is accepting donations to purchase holiday gifts through Wednesday, December 12. Those interested in sponsoring a child’s gift may stop by the Firethorne Community Center to select a ‘sleigh’ gift card with a wish list item on it from a young cancer patient or their brother or sister. Photo credit: Ginny Lund

We have several fun events happening this weekend! Remember that the information here is from the sponsoring bookstore or organization’s website and changes do happen. Please check their websites for the latest, most up-to-date information on these events.

Llama Llama Holiday DramaDecember 8, Saturday, 11:00 a.m.
McGovern-Stella Link Houston Public Library
Anna Dewdey, PB Author/Illustrator

Best-selling picture book author and illustrator Anna Dewdey will visit Houston to kick off the Houston Public Library’s annual Season’s Readings program. Anna is the author of the LLAMA LLAMA picture books as well as ROLY POLY PANGOLIN, GRUMPY GLORIA and NO BUNNY’S PERFECT.

My Super Sweet Sixteenth CenturyDecember 8, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands
Rachel Harris, YA Author

Join Rachel Harris as she discusses and signs her new book MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

Armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat is thrust into the Renaissance on the eve of her sixteenth birthday where she soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But romance takes an unpleasant turn when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around. Can Cat find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

December 8, Saturday, 1:00 p.m.
Murder By The Book
Joy Preble and Sophie Jordan, YA Authors

Joy Preble will be signing her DREAMING ANASTASIA along with Sophie Jordan who will be signing the FIRELIGHT series.

December 9, Sunday 2:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands
Nancy Binford, Illustrator

Illustrator Nancy Binford presents her new book, THE LAST CHRISTMAS TREE. The story of a not-to-handsome tree that has watched all the other trees on the lot get taken home. Will The Last Christmas Tree get a home?

While you’re out doing your holiday shopping, don’t forget to stop by the Houston area fine independent bookstores which frequently sponsor author and illustrator events:

Blue Willow Bookshop: Houston
Katy Budget Books: Katy
Murder by the Book: Houston
Brazos Bookstore: Houston
Kaboom Books: Houston
The Book Nook: Brehnam
The Book Nook: Sugarland
Good Books in the Woods: Spring
The Book Attic: Tomball

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16. Author/Illustrator Events January 22-29

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Here’s this week’s roundup of events for children’s and young adult authors and illustrators. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Montogmery County Book Festival on February 2! If you write or illustrateor are interested in learning about writing or illustratingchildren’s literature, there is still time to sign up for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators spring conference here in Houston on April 13. Critique slots for our guest speakers are filled, but there are still opportunities for critiques from several of our wonderful local authors, including Kathy Duval, Warren Hanson, Sherry Garland, Joy Preble, and Ana Maria Rodriguez.

Chachalaca ChaquitaJanuary 26, Saturday, 1:00 p.m.
Katy Budget Books
Melanie Chrismer, PB Author

Melanie Chrismer, author of more than a dozen books, including the Phoebe Clapsaddleseries, presents her newest picture book, CHACHALACA CHIQUITA. In a Southwestern spin on the Chicken Little tale, Chachalaca Chiquita, a colorful southwestern bird, is on a mission to tell the jefe (boss) that the sky is falling after a pebble falls from the sky and hits her right on the head. Chachalaca Chiquita joins the feathered flock-Lina Gallina, the prairie hen, and her chicks-and heads to the mountain, passing bugs buzzing, birds flying, lizards snatching, and animals moseying, collecting more animals along their journey. Their adventure takes a turn when they meet sly Tacito Ocelote and they learn that he is the jefe—the one who started it all and has been expecting the odd flock for dinner.

January 26, Saturday, 3:00 p.m.MEECE FOR MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY
River Oaks Bookstore
Kip Cosson, PB Author/Illustrator

New York artist/author Kip Cosson’s newest picture book, MEECE FOR MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, follows the adventures of Meece Mouse, who decides to run for Mayor of New York City. As part of his campaign, Meece and his campaign manager, Ned Penguin, visit all five boroughs of New York City. Mayors from all across the country are reading this book to children and teaching them about our electoral system in an entertaining way.

Continuing Now through February 10
Main Street Theater Main Street Theater
Memory House, Play by Kathleen Tolan YA/Adult

Houston playwright Kathleen Tolan’s regional premiere of MEMORY HOUSE, directed by Claire Hart-Palumbo.

As Katia struggles to finish her college essay by tonight’s midnight deadline her mother Maggie tries to motivate and encourage her while baking a pie. Mother and daughter wrestle with lingering issues from Katia’s adoption from Russia, her parents’ divorce and her fear of leaving home as they pick their way through the very human, very honest, and sometimes very funny struggle of how to connect with each other and face the future.

For very important information about this event including pricing and age restrictions, see Main Street Theater’s website

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17. Author Events Jan. 29- Feb. 5

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Hold onto your socks! February is busy!

February 2, Saturday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Lone Star College – Montgomery
Montgomery County Book Festival
Admission: FREE

The Montgomery County Book Festival is now partnering with Lone Star College – Montgomery. This year the festival is being expanded from a teens only format to include authors of children’s and tween books, young adult authors who cross over to the adult market and authors who write specifically for adults. However, as this blog focuses on children’s and young adult’s literature, I’ve only listed the names of authors who write for these age groups. For a complete list, visit the Montgomery County Book Festival website.

Jonathan Maberry * Sherrilynn Kenyon * Jill Alexander * E. Kristin Anderson * Kathi Appelt * Kendare Blake * Rachel Caine * Suzanne Crowley * Lindsay Cumming * Carolee Dean * Tracy Deebs * Wendy Delsol * Brian Falkner * Janet Fox * Bethany Hegedus * C.C. Hunter * Sophie JordonJacqueline Kelly * Mary Lindsey * Kimberly Griffiths LittleNikki Loftin * Diana Lopez * Mari Mancusi * Lisa McMann * Anna MyersJenny Moss * Mike Mullin * Joy Preble * Cory Putnam Oakes * Bettina Restrepo * Victoria Scottya * Janni Lee Simner * Cynthia Leitich Smith * Greg Leitich Smith * Dom Testa * Jo Whittmore *

NO YEAR OF THE CATFebruary 2, Saturday, 3:00 PM
River Oaks Book Store
Mary Dodson Wade, Children’s Author

Chinese New Year Storytime! Join author Mary Wade in celebrating the Chinese New Year with the reading of NO YEAR OF THE CAT.

The Emperor has a problem. He wants his people to remember the year in which his son was born. But there is no way to keep track of the years. So the Emperor devises a race in which animals will cross a river. The first twelve animals to reach the opposite side will have a year named after them. Thus, the people will be able to remember the years and the events that occurred. And so the race is set. Rat, knowing he is no match for the rushing water, schemes with Cat on how to cross the river. Together the two convince Ox to carry them across. But halfway across the river, Rat shows his true colors. Will Cat make it to the other side? Which animals will have a year named after them? Accompanied by exquisite watercolor artwork, this charming story explains the origins of the Chinese calendar.

SIRENSSWEET DEAD LIFEFebruary 5, Tuesday, 6:00 PM
Barnes & Noble, College Station
Janet Fox and Joy Preble, YA Authors
Join Janet Fox and Joy Preble for an exclusive young adult Q&A session of their latest books and what it takes to be a YA author. We will be celebrating the release of Janet’s newest book, SIRENS, and Joy will talk about her upcoming book, THE SWEET DEAD LIFE.

Main Street TheaterNow-February 10
Main Street Theater
Memory House, Play by Kathleen Tolan: Mature YA/ Adult

Houston playwright Kathleen Tolan’s regional premiere of MEMORY HOUSE, directed by Claire Hart-Palumbo.

As Katia struggles to finish her college essay by tonight’s midnight deadline her mother Maggie tries to motivate and encourage her while baking a pie. Mother and daughter wrestle with lingering issues from Katia’s adoption from Russia, her parents’ divorce and her fear of leaving home as they pick their way through the very human, very honest, and sometimes very funny struggle of how to connect with each other and face the future.

Post show discussions: Following the Sunday matinee on February 3, the audience is invited to join the artists involved with the production as well as a diverse panel of adoptive families, who will reflect on the play and share their own experiences.

For very important information about this event including pricing and age restrictions, see Main Street Theater’s website.

Perfect ScoundrelsFebruary 5, Tuesday, 7:00 PM
Blue Willow Bookshop
Ally Carter, YA Author

Ally Carter will also be appearing at Murder By The Book  on Tuesday, February 6 at 6:30 PM.

Ally Carter, New York Times best-selling author of the five books in the Gallagher Girls series, will discuss and sign her young adult novel PERFECT SCOUNDRELS.

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting—or stealing—whatever they want.

No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir—this time, Hale might be the mark.

For important information about this event, please see Blue Willow Bookshop’s Events page.

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18. KidLit Events Sept. 10-17

This week is going to be so exciting! I am thrilled that Houston made it into Susan Cooper’s tour stops for her new MG novel GHOST HAWK. I expect a crowd at Blue Willow Bookshop that evening, so I’ll get there early, hoping to get a seat. Tera Lynn Childs is back in town to talk about SWEET LEGACY and two authors from Austin—PJ Hoover and Mari Mancusi—are here to launch their hot new YA novels SOLSTICE and SCORCHED.

September 12, 5:00 p.m. Ghost Hawk
Blue Willow Bookshop
Susan Cooper, MG Author

Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor author Susan Cooper presents a fascinating tale of friendship in the intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely in her newest novel for kids, GHOST HAWK.

Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone one winter day, taking only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and a unique look at the history of our nation.

September 12, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. SB Logo
UH-Sugar Land
Literacy Council of Fort Bend County 4th Annual Great Grown-up Spelling Bee

All proceeds from the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee will support programs of the Literacy Council of Fort Bend

September 13, 7:00 p.m.  SweetLegacy
Blue Willow Bookshop
Tera Lynn Childs, YA Author 

Tera Lynn Childs, award-winning author of books about mythology, mermaids, and monsters, will discuss and sign the final book in her monster-hunting descendants of Medusa trilogy, SWEET LEGACY.

The three sisters Greer, Grace, and Gretchen cannot hesitate as they seek the location of the lost door between the realms, even as monsters and gods descend on San Francisco in battle-ready droves. In this exciting conclusion to the Sweet Venom trilogy, these teenage heirs of Medusa must seek the truth, answer the ancient riddles, and claim their immortal legacy.

September 14, Saturday, 2:00 p.m. Solstice
Blue Willow Bookshop
P.J. Hoover & Mari Mancusi, YA Authors

Blue Willow Bookshop welcomes Texas YA authors P.J. Hoover and Mari Mancusi. P. J. Hoover will be discussing and signing her debut YA novel SOLSTICE, and award-winning author Mari Mancusi will be presenting her YA novel, SCORCHED.

Solstice trailer:

Scorched trailer:

September 14, Saturday, 2:00 p.m. Shoo Fly Shoo
Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands
Danielle Dail, PB Author

Come and meet author Danielle Dail   as she presents her new children’s book, SHOO FLY SHOO. Everybody wants friends to play with, especially Buzz! There’s only one little problem…nobody wants to play with an annoying fly. Follow Buzz on his search for a friend who will accept him for who he is.

September 15, Sunday 2:00 p.m. SCORCHED
Katy Budget Books
Mari Mancusi, YA Author

Mari Mancusi signs her new YA novel SCORCHED. Sixteen-year-old Trinity longs for a stable family: her father died before she was born, her mother committed suicide two years ago, and now her eccentric grandfather has wasted what little money they had on what he claims is a dragon egg. But when government agents attack her house looking for it, Trin realizes the egg might not be a hoax at all.

Soon she finds herself torn between Connor and Caleb, twins brought back from a future razed by a fiery dragon war. Loyal soldier Connor says the only way to save the world is to destroy the egg. Caleb, sent by a rebellious pro-dragon group, claims the beasts are the key to Earth’s salvation. All the while, a third voice whispers to Trinity, telling her the dragon inside her egg is not ready to give up without a fight.

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19. Susan Cooper: GHOST HAWK

Susan CooperAmong the many stunning author events we’re having here in Houston this month, we were amazingly lucky to have Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor author Susan Cooper visit at Blue Willow Bookshop Thursday evening. While she was here, Ms. Cooper spoke with 12oo children during school visits. It was such an honor to have her here!

When Susan Cooper wrote OVER SEA UNDER STONE, she didn’t know it would be the first in a series. Ten years later after moving to the United States from her home country of Britain, she reread OSUS and got an idea for a series of five THE The Dark Is RisingDARK IS RISING Sequence. For each of the next four books, she wrote the title, when it was, and where it was. She also wrote the last half page of the final book, then spent the next six years writing them. She used that original last half page.

Susan Cooper was at Oxford, her lecturers were J.R. R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis! And like the works of these famous authors and educators, the thing all Susan Cooper’s books have in common is a strong sense of place. Place (a mysterious Scottish castle) made her write two books about a boggart: BOGGART and THE BOGGART AND THE MONSTER.

Place (an island in the Bahamas) also made her write a book called GREEN BOY.
The Boggart
Besides place, a strong sense of good and evil imbues Susan Cooper’s works—the dark and the light instilled from her childhood in England during WWII, particularly memories of her mother reading to Susan and her little brother in the air-raid shelter by candlelight. When bombs fell, the candle flame flickered.

In GHOST HAWK, a salt marsh island in Massachusetts bewitched her imagination. It had looked the same since the ice age. She researched the land and found the records of English ownership.

She continued her research and this time the Green Boybattle of good and evil took realistic form. King Phillip’s War changed everything. She thought of Little Hawk, at age eleven, going through the rite of passage with only three items to help him survive. When he survived, a greater danger would be waiting.

From Susan Cooper’s website: “Although we talk of learning from history, we do not learn. And even a ghost cannot explain to the living why this should be so.”

When asked about how she planned her novel, Cooper responded, “A book is a voyage of discovery for the writer as well as the reader.” Writing a historical novel was different than Ghost Hawkwriting a fantasy, making endless timelines and knowing what she wanted her character to do. It was a slower process. She said, “It’s not history; it’s a story.”

The story:

In the winter of his eleventh year, Little Hawk goes deep into the forest, where he must endure a three month test of solitude and survival, which will turn him into a man.

But outside the woods, the world is changing. English settlers are landing on the shores of the New World, and tensions between native tribes and the invaders are rising.
Susan Cooper
Little Hawk’s fate becomes irreversibly entwined with that of John, a young English boy who dares to question intolerance.

He is witness to a secret murder—will he now be witness to bloodshed between nations?

An exciting bit of news!  Simon & Schuster Audio has announced that Jim Dale will read the audiobook of GHOST HAWK. The unabridged audiobook will be available in both CD and download formats.


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20. KidLit Good News & Events

Today, I’m delighted to have a guest post on Dear Editor! The question is about choosing an online writing class. I’d be thrilled if my readers hopped over and had a look.

We only have one event going on this week, but I’ve got other news to share, too:

KUNG POW CHICKEN #2: BOK! BOK! BOOM! by Cyndi MarkoHappy Book Birthday to Cyndi Marko’s



Fowladelphia is under attack by Dr. Screech. Can Kung Pow Chicken save the day?

The adventures continue! Featuring Gordon, an ordinary little chicken who fell into a vat of toxic sludge and emerged as Kung Pow Chicken, and his sidekick little brother Egg Drop (a.k.a. Benny), whose Stop, Drop, and Thunder Roll sends bad guys scrambling for cover.

Kirkus calls the KPC books from Schalastic “high-interest, fast reads for the just-ready-for-chapters reader.” Read the review from Kirkus here!

EXTREME BABYMOUSE by Jennifer HolmThe Houston Public Library is hosting an exciting illustration contest for children. The contest winners and one adult guest each will be treated to a catered lunch with Jennifer Holm, author of the BABYMOUSE  graphic novel series and an autographed copy of her newest Babymouse book, EXTREME BABYMOUSE. For submission guidelines, go here. The contest is open to children in 1st-6th grades. Contest Deadline May 1.


And this week we have an event for dog lovers of all ages!

March 30, Sunday, 2:00 p.m. Find Momo: A Photography Book by Andrew Knapp
Brazos Bookstore
Andrew Knapp (human/photographer) & Momo (dog/master of disguise)

FIND MOMO Meet Momo, a border collie who loves tagging along on adventures and getting his picture taken, and Momo’s photographer and blogger Andrew Knapp. FIND MOMO is more than a photo book: it’s a game, and it’s up to you to find out where the playful pup is hiding. Momo is in all-new adventures as he poses, peeks out, and camouflages himself in all kinds of places. From simple settings to more complex hide-and-go-seeks, there’s lots for dog lovers of all ages to discover.

One last item for friends of Gus, the bookstore cat at Galveston Bookshop. I wanted to pass along the news that Gus had to have drastic eye surgery and is recuperating at home. You can read about his situation here. Get well soon, Gus!

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21. KidLit Events April 1-8…and Beyond

Spring is moving fast, and the big events for readers and writers of children’s and YA literature are speeding toward us. If you haven’t yet signed up for at least one of the two big conferences, do not delay! On April 12, at the Houston Writers’ Guild Conference, Nikki Loftin—author of NIGHTINGALE’S NEST and THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY—will be delivering the keynote address. Other Houston children’s or YA writers who will be on the staff are Joy Preble, Jessica Cappelle, Sharon Morse and Elizabeth White, as well as literary agents Pooja Menon and Eddie Schneider.

SCBWI Houston Conference (art by Diandra Mae)The biggest event in Texas this year for children’s and young adult writers is the Houston Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 25th Anniversary Conference, taking place April 26-27. If you write or illustrate for young readers or have ever dreamed of doing so, register now! We will have agents from three agencies:

Stephen BarrWriters House
Stephen Fraser—Jennifer DeChiara Literacy Agency
Natalie LakosilBradford Literary Agency

Plus three editors from closed houses (this means they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts or queries to submit manuscripts) who will accept submissions from attendees of the Houston SCBWI Conference:

Kendra Levin—Viking Books for Children
Jocelyn Davies—HarperCollins
Julie Ham—Charlesbridge

PLUS, Jim Hoover, Associate Art Director at Viking Children’s Books.

And to top it off, two-time Newbery Honor winning author Gary Schmidt of THE WEDNESDAY WARS, OKAY FOR NOW and LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY will be delivering our keynote address! If you love youth literature, you will love this conference! Register now!

If for some reason you can’t make it to the Houston SCBWI Conference (say, for instance you are under eighteen), there is another fantastic event that day that will make you roll out of bed before noon—the Greater HoustonTeen Book Convention. Too many fabulous authors will be attending for me to mention here, but go to their website and check it out!

Now for this week’s events—the first event is not strictly a children’s author/illustrator event, but it is an event for some very special children who illustrate, so I wanted to share this news with you.

April 2, Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. MD Anderson Children's Art Project
Cornelius Nursery, Voss Rd.
Fundraiser Event for MD Anderson Children’s Art Project

Cornelius Nursery on Voss Rd is holding a painting party for pediatric patients of the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Please come by and join in the fun, enjoy the artwork, and be inspired, plus view wonderful new designs from The Children’s Art Project that are perfect for your garden. The newest collaboration is between Children’s Art Project and the Round Top Collection, which produces unique metal artwork for the garden based on the artwork from children in the Children’s Art Project. Shannon A. Murray, ED of Children’s Art Project and Jeff Krause the founder of Round Top will be on hand to celebrate and highlight this newest collection.

April 4, Friday, 6:30 p.m. KNIGHTLY AND SON by Rohan Gavin
Murder By The Book
Rohan Gavin, YA Author

In author/screenwriter Rohan Gavin’s new YA novel KNIGHTLY AND SON, the once highly in-demand detective Alan Knightley has just woken up after an unexplained incident kept him asleep for four years. While he was out cold, his son, Darkus, took it upon himself to read of all his dad’s old cases, and he’s learned “a lot” about the art of detection. It’s a good thing too–because suddenly the duo find themselves caught up in a crazy conspiracy that involves a group of villainous masterminds (who keep appearing and then vanishing), some high-speed car chases (that will have everyone fastening their seat belts), and a national, bestselling book with the power to make people do terrible, terrible things. But because Alan is still suffering the effects of his coma, he tends to, well, fall asleep at the worst possible moments, Meaning that young Darkus might just have to solve this mystery . . . by himself.

April 5, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.  SUGAR BUG ON THE TOOTH by Dr. Linda Sturrup
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
Dr. Linda Sturrup, Dentist/Author

Dr. Linda Sturrup presents A SUGAR BUG ON MY TOOTH, a great read for that first dentist visit for little ones. Natalie Jean’s visit to the dentist seems a little scary, but with help from Dr. Cork, she learns that a dentist checkup can actually be fun! Kirkus  says it’s “An approachable tale of a first dental visit with pictures and a tone that will provide a reassuring beginning lesson to preschool-aged readers.”

April 5, Saturday, 2:00 THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE by Jonathan Stroud
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jonathan Stroud, MG Author

Jonathan Stroud, author of the New York Times best-selling Bartimaeus Trilogy, visits to introduce his new series for middle grade readers. If you like ghost stories that are scary but not too scary, this is for you!  A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see—and eradicate—these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

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22. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events April 8-14

NIGHTINGALE'S NEST by Nikki LoftinThis week I’m excited about The Houston Writers Guild Annual Agents & Editors Conference 50 Shades Beyond Gray: Color Your Writing, Infuse Your Future. It’s going to be this Saturday in Sugar Land at the Marriott Town Center, and Nikki Loftin, the fabulous and energetic author of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy and Nightingale’s Nest, will be giving the keynote speech. There may still be time to register!

LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY by Gary D. SchmidtAnd speaking of conferences, registration is still open for the Houston Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 25th Anniversary Conference, taking place April 26-27. If you write or illustrate for young readers or have ever dreamed of doing so, register now! We will have agents from three agencies: Writers House, Jennifer DeChiara Literacy Agency , and Bradford Literary Agency, plus three editors:  Viking Books for Children, HarperCollins Children’s Books, and Charlesbridge, and the Associate Art Director at Viking Children’s Books. And the big bonus is that two-time Newbery Honor winning author Gary Schmidt will be delivering our keynote address! Register now!

Other events going on this week:

April 8, Tuesday, 5:00 p.m.LIKE CARROT JUICE ON A CUPCAKE by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
Julie Sternberg,  MG Author

I did a mean thing.
A very mean thing.
I HATE that I did it.
But I did.
This is worse than carrot juice on a cupcake or a wasp on my pillow or a dress that’s too tight at the neck.

In LIKE CARROT JUICE ON A CUPCAKE, the third installment from author Julie Sternberg and illustrator Matthew Cordell (the team who created Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and Like Bug Juice on a Burger) Eleanor’s relationship with her best friend, Pearl, experiences its first growing pains. When a glamorous new student transfers to school, at first Eleanor’s excited about the possibility of a new friend. But when Pearl is assigned to be the new girl’s buddy, Eleanor fears she can’t compete. To make matters worse, Eleanor’s been chosen for the lead role in the springtime musical, which means she has to sing a solo in front of the entire school!

April 9, Wednesday, 5:00 pmSKY RAIDERS by Brandon Mull
Blue Willow Bookshop
Brandon Mull, MG Author

Brandon Mull will discuss and sign his newest novel for kids, SKY RAIDERS. Cole Randolph is just trying to have fun with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level.

After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them—and ends up in The Outskirts, five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. It’s an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds. And once you come to the Outskirts, it’s very hard to leave.

Admission: In order to go through the signing line and meet Brandon Mull for book personalization, please purchase SKY RAIDERS from Blue Willow Bookshop.

April 10, Thursday, 7:00 pmSTAY WHERE YOU ARE THEN LEAVE by John Boyne
Blue Willow Bookshop
John Boyne, MG Author

John Boyne will discuss and sign his newest novel for children, STAY WHERE YOU ARE THEN LEAVE . The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight–but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be, other than that he’s away on a special, secret mission. Then, while shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father’s name on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realizes his father is in a hospital close by—a hospital treating soldiers with shell shock. Alfie isn’t sure what shell shock is, but he is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place. . . .

Admission: In order to go through the signing line and meet John Boyne for book personalization, please purchase STAY WHERE YOU ARE THEN LEAVE from Blue Willow Bookshop.

April 12, Saturday, 2:00-4:00 pm
Missouri City Branch Library, Missouri City, TX
Poetry Slam Competition for Young Adults

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Missouri City Branch Library will present a Poetry Slam Competition in the Meeting Room of the library. Local high school and college-age students are invited to compete in the event by reading original works they have created themselves. Prizes will be awarded. The Poetry Slam is free and open to the public. For more information, call the branch library at 281-238-2100.

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23. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events April 22-28

SCBWI Houston Conference (art by Diandra Mae)This is a big, BIG week! We are celebrating the Houston Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 25th Anniversary Conference!

Online registration for this fabulous event is closed, as are all critiques and the dinner event. But we still have availability for registration by check or cash at the door for the main events on Saturday, as well as both workshops on Sunday. If you haven’t yet registered but hope to attend, please come by the Westin Houston Memorial City Hotel on Saturday morning.

I can’t believe it’s Tuesday already and I haven’t figured out what to wear for the Paint the Town Read party on Saturday night. I’ve made a list of literary (or semi-literary) characters who have at least one prominent red feature: Little Red Riding Hood; Clifford; The Little Red Hen; Dorothy; The Queen of Hearts; Scarlet (Cinder); Scarlet (Robin Hood); Waldo; Elmo; Fox in Sox; Olivia; Angry Birds; Lady Bug Girl; Raggedy Ann/Andy; Cat in the Hat; Thing One & Thing Two; Pippi Longstocking; Curious George; Paddington Bear; Winnie the Pooh; Santa Claus;  Superman; Spiderman; Rafael the Ninja Turtle; Mickey Mouse; Matilda; anyone from Gryffindor.

I’ll figure something out. And I’ll try to wipe off all remaining smudges of silliness in time for the Sunday morning workshop with two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary Schmidt.

And the other big event, which I will have to miss this year, TEEN BOOK CON!

April 26, Saturday, 9:00-5:00 THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY by Laurie Halse Anderson: Keynote Speaker for the Houston 2014 TeenBookCon
Alief Taylor High School

There will be almost 40 authors at this year’s TeenBookCon. You will be choosing from 7 panel sessions which will repeat only 4 times. So spend some time studying the panel sessions before TeenBookCon to make sure you get to see those authors you are most excited about!

Blue Willow Bookshop is the official bookseller of TeenBookCon. All featured authors’ books will be available for purchase throughout the day. All authors will be available to sign only books. You must purchase a book at TeenBookCon to get into the signing lines.

All fans of YA literature are welcome, but TeenBookCon is first and foremost an event for teens. In all panel sessions, teens will be given the chance to ask questions of our authors first and also, if a panel session becomes full, any seated adult will be asked to give up their seat. Due to the tight schedule of TeenBookCon, there will not be an opportunity to conduct interviews with TeenBookCon authors.

April 28, Monday, 5:00 p.m. WHATEVER AFTER: BAD HAIR DAY
Blue Willow Bookshop
Sarah Mlynowski

Sarah Mlynowski, author of the WHATEVER AFTER series, the MAGIC IN MANHATTAN SERIES, GIMME A CALL, and TEN THINGS WE DID (AND PROBABLY SHOULDN’T HAVE), will celebrate the launch of BAD HAIR DAY, the newest book in the WHATEVER AFTER series. In this fractured fairy tale, the magic mirror sucks Abby and Jonah into the story of Rapunzel. When the siblings get the famous tale all tangled up, they have to find a way to set things right . . . with hilarious results!

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24. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events: April 29-May 5

I’m still wiped out from the three-day celebration of the Houston SCBWI’s 25th Anniversary conference. I wish I could spend more time with all the amazing folks I got to hang out with this weekend. Thank you to all our guests and to the volunteers who made this such an awesome conference. And thank you to Blue Willow Bookshop for doing such an outstanding job for us!  I’d like to post pictures of all the wonderful writers, illustrators, agents, editors and our visiting art director, but I’ve been away from my work in progress for three days and it’s really nagging at me. Back to work!

But first I want to give a shout out to Lynne Kelly and Crystal Allen, wishing them a wonderful experience at Kindling Words, and also, a big congratulations to Joy Preble over the announcement of the sale of her new YA novel, IT WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THIS, to Soho Teen.

Now for this week’s events:

May 1, Thursday, 5:30-7:00 p.m. The Library's Hat's Off to Reading!
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands
Hats Off to Reading Celebration

Join the Hats Off to Reading Celebration, with tent activities, including crafts, free hats, a coloring contest, book walk, and more! Every child will receive a free book and goodie bag! This free event promoting student literacy and a love of reading is sponsored by the Reading Odyssey Committee, a partnership between Montgomery County Memorial Library System, Conroe ISD librarians, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School Library, Chick-Fil-A, Scholastic Books and The Pavilion. A family friendly concert  will follow!

May 3, 2:00 p.m. SLEEPYHEADS by Sandra Howatt; Illustrated by Joyce Wan
Blue Willow Bookshop
Sandra Howatt, PB Author

Join picture book author Sandra Howatt as she celebrates her debut, SLEEPYHEADS. This sweet, snuggly, and silly bedtime book with irresistible illustrations is sure to prepare little ones for a cozy night’s sleep.

The sun has set, and sleepyheads all across the land are tucked into their cozy beds.
Rabbit is snoozing in the weeds, and Duck is snuggled in the reeds.
Bear is nestled in his cave, and Otter is rocking on a wave.
But there’s one little sleepyhead who’s not in his bed.
Where, oh where, could he be?

A perfect bedtime read-aloud!

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25. Happy Book Birthday to WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN, plus KidLit Events May 6-13

WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin RaeHappy Book Birthday

to Kristin Rae’s debut YA novel


Seventeen-year-old Pippa Preston, sent to Italy for a three-month art history program, decides instead to see the country on her own, armed with a list of such goals as eating an entire pizza and falling in love with an Italian, but soon finds herself attracted both to a dangerous local boy and an American archaeology student.

Join Kristin at her launch party at Blue Willow Bookshop Saturday, May 10 at 2 PM!

Here’s more events happening this week:

May 5-9, 5:00 p.m.Little Miss Molly
Hahn Gallery
Read3zero Literacy Extravaganza

Hanh Gallery and The Hanh Collection are hosting a week long extravaganza featuring the works of children’s author Melissa Williams. All proceeds will benefit the READ3Zero Literacy Foundation, inspiring kids to read and write. RSVP to eric@hanhgallery.com for the dates you are attending.

May 7, 5:00 p.m. President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath
Blue Willow Bookshop
Mac Barnett, Children’s Author

Mac Barnett’s latest picture book is PRESIDENT TAFT GOT STUCK IN THE BATH. George Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of night. Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. And President William Howard Taft, a man of great stature — well, he got stuck in a bathtub. Now “how “did he get unstuck? Author Mac Barnett and illustrator Chris Van Dusen bring their full comedic weight to this legendary story, imagining a parade of clueless cabinet members advising the exasperated president, leading up to a hugely satisfying, hilarious finale.

May 10, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.SLEEPYHEADS by Sandra Howatt; Illustrated by Joyce Wan
Barnes and Noble, The Woodlands
Sandra Howatt, PB Author

Join picture book author Sandra Howatt as she celebrates her debut, SLEEPYHEADS. This sweet, snuggly, and silly bedtime book with irresistible illustrations is sure to prepare little ones for a cozy night’s sleep.  The sun has set, and sleepyheads all across the land are tucked into their cozy beds.
Rabbit is snoozing in the weeds, and Duck is snuggled in the reeds.
Bear is nestled in his cave, and Otter is rocking on a wave.
But there’s one little sleepyhead who’s not in his bed.
Where, oh where, could he be?

A perfect bedtime read-aloud!

May 10, Saturday, 2:00 p.m. The Vintage Contessa & Princessa
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, Children’s Author

Join Tootsies for a Mother-Daughter Tea Party and Book Release party for THE VINTAGE CONTESSA & PRINCESSA by Donae Cangelosi Chramosta. Celebrate beauty from within on a fashionable and luxurious adventure full of love, hope and friendship. The Princessa dreams of helping her mother plan the perfect charity event to honor her BFF! When the night of the festivities arrives, a major disaster turns the two little girls fabulous celebration upside down. Even the prettiest dresses and most fashionable hats can’t fix this dilemma. The Princessa discovers that life is not always perfect, and it is in our greatest challenges where we find the true beauty of love.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Vintage Contessa & Princessa will go to cancer charities in communities around the world. Please RSVP to sue@longtalepublishing.com.

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