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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Kidlit Author/Illustrator Events, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 59
1. 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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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. Fierce Reads Tour: Spotlight on Ann Aguirre

Fierce Reads

I hope everyone enjoyed getting a peek at ONE DAY I WENT RAMBLING by Kelly Bennett and Terri Murphy. Now back to the Fierce Reads Tour, coming to Blue Willow Bookshop tomorrow night! Today’s spotlight is:

EnclaveAnn Aguirre: Enclave

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning. Read more…

Here you can read an interview with Ann Aguirre about worldbuilding on

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8. Fierce Reads!

Fierce Reads Author Panel

To start off the evening, Blue Willow Bookshop’s owner and manager Valerie Koehler gave us the good news that the keynote speaker for the 2012 Tweens Read festival on October 20 will be Heather Brewer! The last time Heather was in Houston was for her launch of ELEVENTH GRADE BURNS. Watch the Tweens Read site  for updates!

Macmillan publicist Allison Verost (@aecverost) was the moderator for the panel of five YA authors. The evening started off with each author introducing her book. I couldn’t write down all they said, but over the past two weeks, I’ve put up posts about each of these authors and the book she was presenting at this event, so I’ll list those here:

Jennifer Bosworth: STRUCK; Anna Banks: OF POSEIDON; Anne Aguirre: ENCLAVE; Leigh Bardugo: SHADOW AND BONE; Emmy Laybourne: MONUMENT 14.

Emmy LaybourneAllison asked the authors to tell what they found most surprising about being a YA author and what they found most exciting. Emmy Laybourne’s response to most surprising: “You guys!” the time it takes between getting the contract for the book and the book hitting the shelves. Six months to two years? What’s wrong with it? Most exciting was that

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9. Jodi Piccoult and Samantha Van Leer: Between the Lines

Blue Willow Bookshop hosted a really special event this week—New York Times best-selling rockstar Jodi Piccoult and her teenage daughter Samantha Van Leer with their new co-written middle grade/young adult book. Jodi Piccoult says Samantha (Sam) pitched the idea for the book to her while she was on tour in L.A. and Jodi knew at once that out of Samantha’s many story ideas, this one was a winner.

Here’s the pitch from Jodi Piccoult’s website:

Between the LinesBETWEEN THE LINES is about what happens when happily ever after…isn’t. Delilah, a loner hates school as much as she loves books—one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler than cool classmates, she’d be sent to social Siberia . . . forever.To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is not just a one-dimensional character in a book. He’s real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

Jodi PiccoultSam Van LeerJodi and Samantha took turns reading excerpts from the two main characters points of view. Both gave excellent readings, then the event was opened up to questions. Since Jodi Piccoult is such a big name, many questions were about her novels for adults, but I’m going to focus on the questions about Samantha and BETWEEN THE LINES.

As usual, I wrote as fast as I could, but I’ve ended up paraphrasing both questions and answers. None of these are verbatim, but I’m trying to be as accurate as I can. So here goes:

Question: Jodi, some of your books have controversial topics. Sam, do you read them? Jodi, are you comfortable with that?

Sam: Yes, I’ve read four of them.

Jodi: We have a very open household. I don’t think there’s any topic off limits. The more controversial my books are and the more upset people get about them, the more I am convinced I am doing the right thing.

Question: Are the two of you planning to write any more books for teens?

Sam: The first thing we are going to write is my college applications! But we do have an idea for a sequel to BETWEEN THE LINES.

Jodi: When Sam was in second grade, her teacher called and asked if she could send home Sam’s story to typed. When I said yes, the teacher said she needed to warn me—it was forty pages!

Question: Did you both discuss how this book would be written?


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10. Author Events: July 3-9

Good stuff coming up this week, including a mega-Google hangout event with ten debut authors!

Just For FinsFriday, July 6, 7:00 pm
Blue Willow Bookshop
Tera Lynn Childs, Author

Tera Lynn Childs will celebrate the debut of her newest book for young adults, JUST FOR FINS. When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mer kingdom of Thalassinia, she knew she couldn’t just coast along in the current. But since she’s spent the last couple of years on land, Lily’s not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom… Just when Lily thinks her double life on land and sea can’t get any more complicated, an ancient mer law might separate Lily and her human boyfriend, Quince, after all. It feels as if the pair is up against a solid tsunami wave! In JUST FOR FINS, Lily will have to find a way to balance safety and justice for the mer people and for the humans she loves.

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

Inprint House Poetry FestFriday, July 6, 8:30 pm
Inprint House
Meta-Four Youth Poetry Slam Team

First Friday Reading Series, will feature the 2012 Meta-Four Youth Poetry Slam Team. Meta Four Houston is a nonprofit organization that encourages self-expression and literacy among Houston’s youth through creative writing and performance. Meta-Four Houston grew out of the Young Houston Writers 2007 -2008 collaboration between the Houston Chronicle daily newspaper and three local arts non-profits – DiverseWorks, Voices Breaking Boundaries and Writers in the Schools – that formed to identify and support the nascent youth spoken-word community in our city.

Inprint House is located at 1520 West Main, one block south of the Menil Collection, one block east of Mandell, in the Museum District of Houston. Always free, open to the public, always an open reading after the featured poet. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Quest for the Secret KeeperSaturday, July 7, 1:30 pm
Bellaire Public Library, hosted by Murder By the Book
Victoria Laurie, Author

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11. Mid-July Events

Last night’s Houston SCBWI event was so much fun! It was great to hear from the ten debut authors who participated in our Google+ Hangout. Their comments about their journeys to publication were enlightening, inspiring and in some cases, a reality check. Occasionally success comes quickly, but usually it is a long hard climb. You’ve got to love it, because the journey is not for the faint of heart. A big Thank You! to Claire Legrand, Megan Miranda, Joanne Levy, Ame Dyckman, Tiffany Strelitz Haber, Anne Greenwood Brown, Lizzie Foley, J. Anderson Coats, Jennifer Wolf, and Lynne Kelly for sharing their stories and hard-earned knowledge with us.

And in case you missed the announcement, the winner of the ARC for FRACTURE by Megan Miranda, was Millie Martin.

Thanks to Blue Willow Bookshop, we have another YA author event this coming week:

InsigniaJuly 12, Thursday, 7:00 pm
Blue Willow Bookshop
S.J. Kincaid, Author

S.J. Kincaid will discuss and sign INSIGNIA, her debut novel for young adults.

More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?

Thanks for stopping by. And by the way, isn’t all this rain amazing?

12. August Author Events

I hope everyone has been having a fun summer, and it’s not over yet! I want to tell you about local two events coming up next weekend. All the fans of Joy Preble’s magical trilogy will be gathering for the grande finale of Russian history, romance, magic and mythology with Anne, Ethan and Anastasia.

August 11, Saturday, 7:00 p.m.
Blue Willow Bookshop
Joy Preble, Author

Join Joy Preble as she launches ANASTASIA FOREVER, the final installment of her young adult trilogy, Dreaming Anastasia. Thanks to Joy’s publisher, Sourcebooks, we also have a chance to sneak preview the first three chapters

From Joy’s website: Secrets within secrets. Truths within lies.
Anastasia—She was the darling of the glittering Winter Palace while her half brother Viktor was relegated to the shadows. Now he’s ready to take his turn in the spotlight…and revenge on the world that shunned him.
Anne—The visions won’t stop. One minute she’s in her bedroom on her cell phone. And the next she’s in the past witness to the private moments of the royal Romanov family.
Ethan—He’s been eighteen for nearly century and finding Anne is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. But the magic in his blood is turning darker, forcing him to wonder whether he’s the most dangerous threat of all.
History Doesn’t Tell Us Everything….

For important information about this event, visit Blue Willow Bookshop’s Upcoming Events page.

August 11, Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Multiple Author Visit

Fifteen of authors from Fort Bend are meeting to sign your copy of their book! This event includes authors of many genres, including Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of THE CONCH BEARER and authors of other children’s books.

If you are interested in learning more about writing nonfiction for children and teens, don’t miss this month’s meeting of the Houston Society of Children’s Bo

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13. 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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14. 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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15. Weekly Author Appearances December 14-21

2011 is winding down, and what a fantastic year it has been for author visits in Houston! We had our first ever Tween Reads Festival, which is now planned as an annual event. If you missed seeing Mary at Blue Willow Bookshop last week, you have two more chances! Scroll down for the info. I hope to go see her again, but in case I don’t write about it, you can read my post about Mary’s launch at Blue Willow Bookshop.

We’ve had so many great authors here this year. At times I was swamped with other work and didn’t get a chance to write posts about some of our wonderful author visits, but if you’d like to read about the ones I managed to write about, you can see their posts here:

Crystal Allen—How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy
Varsha Bajaj—T is for Taj Mahal
Ilsa Bick—Ashes
Jessica Brody—My Life Undecided
Tera Lynn Childs—Sweet Venom
Jay Epstein—The Familiars: Secrets of the Crown
Richard Paul Evans—The Prisoner of Cell 25
John Flannagan—The Ranger’s Apprentice: The Final Battle
Andrew Jacobson—The Familiars: Secrets of the Crown
Maureen Johnson—The Name of the Star
Sophie Jordan—Vanish
Gail Carson Levine—A Tale of Two Castles
Christina Mandelski—The Sweetest Thing
Alyson Noël—Riley Bloom: Dreamland
Mary Pearson—The Jenna Fox Chronicles: The Fox Inheritance
Joy Preble—Dreaming Anastasia: Haunted
Gabrielle Zevin—All These Things I’ve Done

Now, here are the events for this week:

December 16, Friday, 6:30 pm
Murder By The Book
Sophie Jordan & Mary Lindsey

Sophie Jordan will sign & discuss VANISH, the dramatic follow up to her debut paranormal young adult novel Firelight.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

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16. This Week’s Events

If I remember correctly, author appearances in Houston got off to a slow start last January. Not so this year! I hope a lot of you got to attend the Texas YAHous’s Whim2Weird event last weekend.  If, like me, you couldn’t make it, you can see pictures of the event with local authors Sophie Jordan, Christina Mandelski, CC Hunter, Crystal Allen, Joy Preble, and Mary Lindsey, courtesy of Blue Willow Bookshop. We have another huge event coming up this weekend:

Sunday, January 15, 3:00 P.M. Doors open  2:30 P.M.
Johnston Middle School
10410 Manhattan Drive, Houston, TX.
Sponsored by Blue Willow Bookshop and
Inprint’s Cool Brain Series
Christopher Paul Curtis, Author

Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis comes to Houston to discuss his newest book for children, THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE.

“We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful” is the motto of Deza Malone’s family. Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But the Great Depression hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother Jimmie go in search of him, and end up in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie’s beautiful voice inspires him to leave the camp to be a performer, while Deza and Mother find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will find Father. The twists and turns of their story reveal the devastation of the Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone.

Please be sure to check Blue Willow Bookshop’s website for the latest information on this special event.

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17. Weekly events: Neal Shusterman, Jennifer L. Holm, ADR3NALIN3, Divya Srinivasan!

Another great week of author and illustrator events is here! Something for everyone: a picture book author/illustrator, a Newbery honor winner, a popular author/screenwriter and a quartet of YA authors. Mark your calendars!

JANUARY 26, THURSDAY, 10:00 am
Blue Willow Bookshop
Divya Srinivasan Author/Illustrator

Divya Srinivasan, an illustrator and animator living in Austin, Texas, will lead a special storytime featuring LITTLE OWL’S NIGHT . It’s evening in the forest and Little Owl wakes up from his day-long sleep to watch his friends enjoying the night. Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. A full moon rises and Little Owl can’t understand why anyone would want to miss it. Could the daytime be nearly as wonderful? Mama Owl begins to describe it to him, but as the sun comes up, Little Owl falls fast asleep.

JANUARY 26, THURSDAY, 10:00 am
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jennifer L. Holm, Author

Jennifer L. Holm, New York Times bestselling children’s author and recipient of three Newbery Honors, will discuss and sign her books for children, including SQUISH, a tale of microscopic proportions.

Murder By The Book
ADR3NALIN3 , Four YA Authors
Katy Budget Books
ADR3NALIN3, Four YA Authors

Jordan Dane will discuss and sign ON A DARK WING
Ellie James will discuss and sign SHATTERED DREAMS
Tracy Deebs will discuss and sign TEMPEST RISING

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18. Around Town…and Beyond

Hey everyone, I want to pass on some tasty info:

Item #1

In case you missed her announcement, Lynne Kelly, author of the upcoming middle grade novel CHAINED, is offering a book club kit giveaway for teachers and librarians. The kit will go to a classroom or reading group and includes ten books, a tote bag, a Skype visit, and bookmarks and signed bookplates for each kid in the group. Lynne will also send bookmarks to everyone who enters. Details and instructions are here in this blog post. Lynne’s contest is open from now until May 1st.

Item #2

If you are in the Houston area, mark your calendars for Saturday, February 18. The Houston YA/MG Writers are hosting a FREE workshop by award winning, multipublished author, Kimberly Ivey.

Purpose, Power and Pizazz!
Learn to organize the components of your book, beginning with visualization of your story’s structure, followed by dividing those components into chapters with purpose and punch. Discover how to avoid trouble spots and fine tune tension, pacing, and hooks like the pros.

We start at 9:30 but come at 9 if you’d like to chat. The meeting is in our permanent location- the Community Room at the H.E.B. at 9710 Katy Freeway, on the north side of the freeway. For questions, please email Jessica Capelle at jessicacapelle@gmail.com.

IMPORTANT: Bring one full chapter of your work in progress for brief exercises, plus pen, paper and laptop for notes. If you don’t have a full chapter to work with, bring what you’ve got or just take notes- this will be valuable for us all.

Item #3

If, after the Austin SCBWI conference on February 17-19, the Houston SCBWI conference on March 31-April 1, and the Houston Writers Guild conference April 13-14, you are still hungry for more, check out West Texas A&M University’s Writers’ Academy on June 18-22. Sherry Garland, award-winning and best-selling author of thirty books for children, teens and adults, will teach Writing for Children and Young Adults.

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19. Children’s and YA Author Events March 1-10, 2012

We’re all getting excited about TeenBookCon coming up April 14 at Alief Taylor High School! Have you seen the lineup? So many great authors, all in one day. Meanwhile, we’re still having events at several bookstores in March. Here are the events for March 1-10.

March 1, Thursday, 5:00 PM
River Oaks Bookstore
Rabbi Roy A. Walter, Author

The author will sign and discuss MY PRAYERS: A CHILD’S BOOK OF PRAYERS FOR EVERY DAY, featuring prayers that give religious expression to experiences in a child’s life. The Table of Contents enables the reader to choose the prayers that fit a mood or occasion the child is experiencing or reflects his or her interest.

March 3, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Vanderbilt Square
Natalie May Bolger, Author

Join author Natalie May Bolger as she reads her book GRAND FESTIVE PICNIC. Listen as Lulu the Lioness and Pinky Lucy Goosey embark on a celebration of friendship, then stick around for crafts and activities with Natalie!

March 3, Saturday, 3:00 PM
River Oaks Bookstore
Erica Stidham, Author

Author Erica Stidham will present her children’s book THE SILLY SISTERS: SWIMMING IN THE RAIN, featuring Katie and Claire who absolutely love adventures,  but even more than adventures, they adore being silly.

March 10, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Deerbrook
Miriam King, Author

Miriam King’s book, LIBRARIAN ON THE ROOF is based on a true story of an adventurous Texas librarian who inspired the town of Lockhart to make some BIG changes to their historical library.

March 10, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Town & Country Village <

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20. April Showers: It Never Rains; It Pours!

I know we are all excited about TeenBookCon and happy that next week it’s Houston’s turn to host TLA, the Texas Library Association’s annual conference. But though these are the biggest events rocking Houston’s children’s literature community, they aren’t the only events. Check out what’s happening in the next few days:

April 13, Friday 4:00 p.m.
Katy Budget Books
Laurie Knowlton, Author/Illustrator

Children’s Author/Illustrator Laurie Knowlton signs I KNOW A LIBRARIAN WHO CHEWED ON A WORD. Miss Devine, a bun-wearing bibliophile, has a passion for literacy that reaches new heights. She has actually chewed on a word, claims one small witness to this outrageous event. In the manner of “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” she has downed a book shelf, table, chair, cart, and a copy of Peter Pan trying to chase down a savory assemblage of letters. What is that word?

April 14, Saturday, 10 a.m.-4p.m.
Alief Taylor High School


Orson Scott Card will be the keynote speaker for the 3rd annual Houston-area TeenBookCon. TeenBookCon is FREE, though attendees may want to bring money for books and snacks. Along with Card, over 20 authors and artists of teen books from all over the U.S. will participate in author panels, signings, and activities at the free event. Authors’ works include graphic novels, paranormal and dystopian fiction, fantasy and romance. This is a great opportunity for teens and other fans of YA literature to interact with a variety of authors and graphic novelists! TeenBookCon’s major sponsor is the Blue Willow Bookshop. For details on the event schedule and other sponsors, please visit

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21. Still Pouring!

TeenBookCon is over for this year, and what a great turnout they had! Now TLA is in full swing and everyone is posting pictures on facebook and twitter. Last night, Blue Willow Bookshop had such a fun event—a panel of five MG authors with author/editor David Levithan as moderator.  Now we’ve got a whole ‘nother batch of author/illustrator events to take us through the end of the month.

Starting with a bang (drumroll…)

April 20, Friday, 7:00 p.m.
West Houston Community Center, 725 Bateswood, Houston, TX
Veronica Roth
, Author

Blue Willow Bookshop hosts Veronica Roth as she discusses and sign DIVERGENT, her debut novel for young adults.  We hope she will give us some hints about the upcoming INSURGENT as well!

Staff from Blue Willow Bookshop will begin handing out line numbers at 6:30 pm.

April 21, Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
HPL Express Discovery Green
A Sweet 16 Celebration of El Día de los Niños


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22. May’s First Author Events

We still have a few days before the official start of National Children’s Book Week, which is May 7-13, but the wonderful bookstores in the Houston area aren’t going to make us wait for a great event. Speaking of great events, I want to remind everyone that Lynne Kelly’s debut novel CHAINED launches next week! Look for it in stores May 8. If you haven’t already done it, mark your calendars for her launch at Blue Willow Bookshop on Saturday May 12 at 2:00 p.m.

Now for this week’s events:

May 3– 9
Children’s Museum of Houston
Fiction, Fantasy and Fun

The Children’s Museum of Houston is getting a head start on National Children’s Book Week. You’re invited to join them in celebrating the enchanting world of reading. Ongoing activities include:

•Prince and Princess Crowns  •Gingerbread Man Decorating  •Magic Wand  •Invent with Ernest the Balancing Bear  •Fantasy Postcards  •Optical Illusion Exploration  •Flip Books  •Hidden Rainbow

Wednesday, May 2, 5:00 p.m.
Blue Willow Bookshop
Herman Parish, Author

Herman Parish, nephew of Amelia Bedelia’s creator, Peggy Parish, and the author of many books about Amelia Bedelia, will discuss and sign AMELIA BEDELIA’S FIRST VOTE, the newest book in the Amelia Bedelia series.

For important information about this event, please see

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23. Lynne Kelly’s Launch for Chained!

Saturday we got to celebrate the long awaited launch of Lynne Kelly’s debut novel CHAINED with the good people at Blue Willow Bookshop. Lynne started off telling us a bit about the evolution of this story which started life as a picture book, and the first version is one that, thankfully (she says), no one else ever saw. Lynne took it to a critique group where Charles Trevino suggested it should be a novel. She said she thought, wow, a novel—that’s a lot of words!

Lynne said she started writing one chapter at a time, not knowing what was going to happen in the next chapter. She says she did know how it would end though, sort of. She joined a critique group and says they didn’t run her off, so she stayed and wrote the book. Uma Krishnaswami gave her an early critique, then gave it a final read before publishing to make sure it was all culturally correct. Revision took the storyline from three years to one and a half years to one year. CHAINED sold to MacMillan two years ago this month.

The publisher asked Lynne to suggest illustrators for the  cover, so she researched book covers she loved and came up with some suggestions. One book, Elephant Bill, became the mentor’s backstory. She brought a poster to show

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24. Fierce Reads Tour: Spotlight on Jennifer Bosworth

The big YA event for June is the Fierce Reads Tour, which will be coming to Houston on June 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Blue Willow Bookshop. This tour from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group features Jennifer Bosworth, Ann Aguirre, Anna Banks, Emmy Laybourne, and Leigh Bardugo. For those who may not be familiar with all of these authors and their books, I’m going to run a short spotlight post for each of them. Today’s spotlight is:

Jennifer Bosworth: STRUCK

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion a

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25. Fierce Reads Tour: Spotlight on Anna Banks

Fierce Reads
Now that everyone is excited about STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth, let’s move on to the next author in this month’s big YA event, the Fierce Reads Tour, which will be coming to Houston on June 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Blue Willow Bookshop. This tour from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group features Anna Banks, Emmy Laybourne, Ann Aguirre, Leigh Bardugo, and  Jennifer Bosworth. Today’s spotlight is a debut author:

Of PoseidonAnna Banks: OF POSEIDON

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen’s not fully convinced that Emma’s the one he’s been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help–no matter what the risk.

You can read an excerpt from OF POSEIDON, a great review on

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