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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Book launch, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Lights, camera. . .CAKE!


I ask a lot of my kids.

I ask them to read manuscripts and give me feedback. I ply them (and their friends) with questions about the age-appropriateness of certain (sometimes embarrassing) grade school behaviors. I make them stop what they're doing and quickly write down a story idea when I'm elbow-deep in potting soil or cooking dinner (or in the shower) and can't jot it down myself.

They put up with all of it, as I imagine most offspring of children's book writers do—and I'm grateful.

Recently though, I asked more of them than ever. "Um, girls how do you feel about standing in a hot kitchen in the middle of summer for four hours while three strangers make you crack and egg nine times in a row?"

Well of course, I didn't say it like that. 

It was more like, "Guess what?! You get to be on YouTube! Eating cake!"

As it happened, the experience was much closer to the latter than the former. With the help of a brilliant group of filmmakers—writer/ producer/director Leigh Medeiros, cinematographer JJ Rok, and sound tech Tebello Rose—we created a little piece of art, for our little piece of art.

Baking Day at Grandma's is a very personal story. It's based on memories of my Grandma Rose, as well as the baking traditions my mom began with our girls. The art is inspired by the Adirondack region of New York, specifically Lake George, where I spent summers (and quite a few winters weeks) as a child. Each spread contains a nod to our families—Grandma Bear's cabin, touches of her furniture, the cookbook, the victrola—all come from the people and places we love. It's a love letter to our family, and a celebration I hope many readers and families will enjoy. As we set out to make the book trailer, we hoped to capture the personal nature of the book, to let readers know that like Grandma Rosie's chocolate cake—the book was made with love.

When the day of the shoot came, I felt confident in our concept. Like any gifted documentarian, Leigh had spent a great deal of time getting to know my story. She'd browsed old photos with me, and listened as I recounted memories of baking with my grandma. She hadn't wanted to over-script it. Sure, we had a shot list and some talking points, but the real gems were going to be found in the unscripted moments, we decided.

If I had one concern going into the day, it was about the kids. Would they freeze up? Look at the camera too much? Get grumpy? Especially my little one. She's three and generally well behaved, but...well... she's three.

Both Leigh and JJ did a wonderful job making the kids (and all of us) feel comfortable. When I asked for some direction before we began, Leigh smiled and said to me, "Just bake a cake, and don't worry about us." I wasn't sure it would be possible, with the lights and the big boom mic and the camera pointing at us, but to my amazement, once the measuring and the mixing began, we did sort of forget about the camera. I was a mom, baking with my kids. It was fun! And messy. Flour dusted every surface; there were egg shells in the sink and splatters of chocolate cake batter on our aprons. It was the the real deal, not the scrubbed up version. (Ok, I admit, I cleaned my house for two days before the crew arrived, but the baking scene was authentic.)

The kids did great! And most importantly, they enjoyed it. Now, in addition to a lovely book trailer, I have a little time capsule to help me remember the sounds, spills, giggles, bloopers and joy of baking with my girls.

It's really a pleasure to get to share this heartfelt collaboration with the you. Thanks for cheering us on, spreading the word, and making the homestretch of this book's journey to publication so delicious! I'll say thank you in every way I can think of, including offering free baking day recipe cards and gift tags if you'd like to host your own baking day at home, or make a special treat with grandparents for Grandparent's Day on September 7th.

For bookstores, libraries, classrooms and home-schoolers, I'll soon be adding a downloadable story hour kit to my website, which includes a Baking Day at Grandma's song (!!!) composed and recorded by my talented friends at Little Hands, reading prompts, activities, posters, crafts, snack suggestions—everything you'll need to get kids, reading, dancing, singing and connecting with the book.

For bloggers, I'll have an extra-special Baking Day at Grandma's giveaway (to be revealed soon)!

I hope you'll stay tuned as we cook (and bake) up new goodies and giveaways! (One great way to keep up to date and connected is to join my new mailing list.)

Until then, happy reading and baking! Here's a peek at the book trailer. . .




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2. Picturebook Complete: 1,000,000 points!  Super exciting...
















Picturebook Complete: 1,000,000 points! 

Super exciting announcement! As some of you might have heard, the picturebook I have been working on from Feb- June has been printed and is (almost!) available for purchase. I just received my hardcopy this weekend, and it is beautiful!

When I was contacted by Plymouth Puzzles about creating a storybook to accompany their upcoming line of Christmas reusable gift bags I was thrilled! The book, Santa’s New Tradition, follows the story of a little girl as she discovers the waste caused by wrapping paper and decides to make a positive change. 

I really enjoyed working on this book and am super excited to see it up for sale (looks like late August/ Early September release).

More coming on my process of idea to final later- and thanks for reading!















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3. Celebrating Trans Bodies, Trans Selves

We kicked-off Pride Month early this year, celebrating the publication of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community in late May. Taking Our Bodies, Our Selves as its model, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is an all-encompassing resource for the transgender community and any one looking for information. Covering heath, legal, cultural and social questions, history, theory and more, the book weaves in anonymous quotes and testimonials from transgender individuals, adding hundreds of voices to share the diversity of transgender experience.  Contributors, allies, friends, family members and community leaders gathered in the lobby of Oxford University Press’ New York office to fête the book. Here are some highlights from the evening.



Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD, MA, is a psychiatry resident at New York University Medical Center. She is a board member of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, as well as the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists. She is a founding member of the Gender and Family Network of New York City, a group for service providers interested in the health of gender non-conforming children and adolescents. She is the editor of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community.

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The post Celebrating Trans Bodies, Trans Selves appeared first on OUPblog.

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4.

I've been a bad, slow, blogger lately (even more than usual!) but my excuse, apart from having a wonderful four weeks of travel, inspiration and, yes, even a holiday – is that I was copyediting, rereading, proofing and driving my editors crazy with last minute fiddling around with commas and words in Rescue on Nim's Island, right up to the time I left.

A month later, when I got home, my advance copies were waiting for me. Some have already been mailed to the winners of the Name the Character competition. But most of the books are on their way to bookstores now, for release at the end of the month, and so I'll be doing some running around to share them.

So here's a list of some of the events I'm doing in the next few weeks. (Though just if you were wondering, the NSW Writers' Centre Festival and CYA conference weren't organised around my book's release - just a very happy coincidence for me.)

                        Panel on Page to Stage and Screen
                        Panel on Writing, Pitching and Publishing a Series
  
July 1, 2014:  RESCUE ON NIM'S ISLAND  published (Australia)
  
July 3, 2014:  Carindale Library AuthorEvent, Carindale, QLD, Australia,
                    2:00 pm
  
July 4, 2014 Black Cat Books, Paddington, QLD, Australia
                 Launch of Rescue on Nim's Island                 11:00
  
July 8, 2014: East Melbourne Library Author Event, with the Little Bookroom              2:00pm
Address: 122 George Street, East Melbourne, VIC, 3002
Library Contact: Fiona Campbell, Events Manager, P: (03) 9658 9658
  
July 9-11, 2014: Mornington Peninsula Library Author Events 
July 9: Mornington Library, 2:30 
July 10, Rosebud Library, 2:30
July 11, Hastings Library, 11:00
  
July 26, 2014, Petersen's Books, Hastings,  launch of Rescue on  Nim's Island -launched by Sue Flockhart, commissioning editor, Allen & Unwin.
          2:00 pm           
Come dressed as one of the new visitors to Nim's Island!
           Colouring competition
           RSVP to info@teachersresource.com.au by 23 July


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5. Launch and award …

I’m a bit late in congratulating our CAT artist Martha Aviles (in Mexico) for her SILVER MEDAL Honor from the SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD  presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries.  This award for STONES FOR GRANDPA from KarBen/Lerner publishing, is in the younger readers category. CONGRATULATIONS all!

Stones Aviles

ALSO, Priscilla Burris illustrated a wonderful trade picture book that just launched…. EDGAR’S SECOND WORD written by Audrey Vernick from Clarion.  It’s so endearing and might help an older impatient sibling should you know one!  congratulations Priscilla!

edgar COVER (3).jpgBurris


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6. Review – The Croc and the Platypus

The Croc and the Platypus I commented recently on the Further Adventures of the The Owl and the Pussy Cat by Julia Donaldson and Charlotte Voake. Donaldson’s ineffable lyrical style does indeed take Edward Lear’s nonsense tale one step further and is a jolly expedition for the reader to navigate through. As you’d expect, it’s a very good picture book. Then I found an even better one.

Jacki HoskingWith ute-fulls of respect to Donaldson and Voake, Jackie Hosking’s and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s debut creation of The Croc and The Platypus is a very, very good picture book.

Fans of Lear’s will relish the lilting musical quality of Hosking’s verse as she transports us as effortlessly as Julia Donaldson through the Australian outback with as an incongruous couple as the Owl and Pussycat; Croc and Platypus.

Hosking is spot on with this ingenious retelling of a childhood classic however, somehow makes it feel much more loose and flowing and bizarrely, even easier to read than the original. Her narrative sings with a down-to-earth gritty realism but is delivered with Lear’s same congenial, nonsensical joie de vive. Hub caps ring and didgeridoos blow as Platypus and Croc ‘play up a hullabaloo…baloo.’

I love Hosking’s incorporation of recognisable Aussie icons; Uluru, tea and damper and lamingtons to name a few as Croc and Platypus trundle across the plains eventually camping under the Southern Cross after cleverly procuring their tent. For those not so familiar with ‘click go the shears’ terminology, there’s even a neat little glossary.

Extra applause must go to Marjorie Crosby-Fairall for her truly epic acrylic and pencilled illustrations. The outback is vast and engulfing as are the illustrations of this picture book with gorgeously generous helpings of full colour, movement and sparkle on every single page.

Hosking’s appreciation of, commitment to and finesse with the rhyming word are self-evident. She works them all to perfection in this richly Aussie-flavoured celebration about embracing unlikely friendships and sharing stellar moments with those closest to you whilst enjoying a good old Aussie road trip.

The Croc and the Platypus has every reason to glow proudly alongside The Owl and the Pussycat, and dare I suggest outshine it. Croc and Platypus launch invite June 2014

Discover and rediscover all three books here. For those in Sydney around early July, make sure you don’t miss Jackie’s launch of The Croc and the Platypus.

Walker Books Australia June 2014

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7. OUR PLEDGE…..BOOK LAUNCH!

CATugeau Agency is so proud to announce the launch today of I Pledge Allegiance written by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez and illustrated by our own PATRICE BARTON for Random House Children’s Books (Knopf).  Seems a wonderful time to remind ourselves how lucky we are who can make that pledge…and share it with our children. ENJOY!

I PledgeSmall (4).jpg BARTON


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8. LAUNCH: Maggie and Milo: frog hunters

Just in time for spring, a grandma (!) sends a surprise package of JUST what you need to Frog Hunt…so off go Maggie, a wee lively gal, and Milo, a huge loving dog!  Our Priscilla Burris brings the characters alive in her usual adorable and spunky way:  do check it out…. and it just begs for more adventures!  Kirkus Review loves it! as do others…. go Maggie and Milo!  and happy Spring finally to all….

A Maggi and Milo pic (3)cover, and below author reading to class….

milo author

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/juli-brenning/maggi-and-milo/

 

KIRKUS REVIEW

What do you need for a frog hunt? Big polka-dot boots, a book about frogs and one giant border collie best friend.

Maggi, a wisp of a girl with spindly legs and a large, wobbly head, is an excellent adventurer. She can’t wait to try out her new boots and search the pond for frogs. After a good night’s rest—and imparting forbiddingly specific instructions to her brother at the breakfast table (“Please keep the chitchat to a minimum. I’m in a hurry!”)—Maggi and her shaggy sidekick, Milo, are ready. However, after waiting “a million minutes” (or three) in the water, they haven’t found a single frog. With shoulders slumped and head bent low, Maggi declares frog hunting to be capital B-O-R-I-N-G. Until…Milo finds a frog! And another. And another. After 16 frogs total, Maggi and Milo rest. (Frog hunting is hard work.) As the sun sets and the palette changes to a dusky blue, the frogs quietly croak “good night” to their new friends. Debut author Brenning has created a charming duo; Milo’s steadfast loyalty (and joyful, lolling tongue, courtesy of Burris) fully balances Maggi’s quirky proclivities. A simple, everyday adventure is always better when shared with a friend.

Move over Ladybug Girl (2008), there’s a new spunky gal-and-canine twosome in town. (Picture book. 3-6)


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9. Reading under the Stars

photo (2)

Yesterday I read PLEASE, LOUISE aloud with students of The Wilkes School at Grace & Saint Peters and Midtown Academy. It was an enchanting afternoon sitting under the stars of Enoch Pratt’s Night Room chanting aloud the text from PLEASE, LOUISE. After we read together, I shared a bit of my journey as a young reader and artist along with a conversation about where ideas come from and how long it takes to make a book. And of course, there were plenty of questions that followed. At the end, I did a live draw of Patrick, a second grader I believe. Unfortunately, though, most of the students didn’t think that I nailed his likeness. Tough crowd ;-). Afterward, I signed about 60 books and gave away posters and bookmarks to all of the students who attended. What a great celebration of PLEASE, LOUISE and the power of reading!

A SUPER THANK YOU goes to the amazing Deborah Taylor, Coordinator of School and Student Services, who graciously offered her support of this launch and a second super THANK YOU to Dr. Carla Hayden, who provided each child with their very own  copy of Please, Louise. Dr. Hayden believes that children should not only have books available at their neighborhood library, but that they should also have books in the home. I concur! Thanks also to Selma Levi, for all of her support and for sharing the space with us!

photo (5)
Exchange of the day:
After passing out books to everyone at the beginning of the presentation, one young man just couldn’t believe his luck.
Him: “I can keep this?”
Me: “Yes, it’s yours.”
Him: “FOREVER?”
Me: “Yes, forever.”
Him: “Whoa.”

photo (9)

Special shouts out to the two big kids against the wall, literary homies, Mathew Olshan, and Jonathan Bean who came to show their support!

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10. Book Birthdays, Sick Kids, and Selling the House

If you don't want to listen to a writer who is completely overwhelmed go on and on about being completely overwhelmed, then stop reading now. Don't read one more word. But if you want to read and find out why this really nice writer is feeling stressed out and why she posted on Facebook, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade or use them to squeeze into your vodka tonic," then please keep reading.

Full disclosure: I am a very lucky girl. I know this with all my heart. But sometimes, sometimes, life is so overwhelming.

On with the story. . .within one week, actually within four days, these events did and/or will occur:

  1. My 3-year-old has the stomach flu.
  2. The young adult novel I worked on for 7  years is finally born into the world. (Title is Caught Between Two Curses, and you can check it out here: http://www.rockinghorsepublishing.com/new-release.html)
  3. The closing date of the house we have been trying to sell for 3+ years is finally going to occur, and we are thankful we didn't lose "too much money."
  4. A book launch party 
 Here's the deal. I'm just going to admit it. I have a hard time with balance anyway. Being a writer and editor and a stay-at-home mom are all full-time jobs. I have help from my husband and grandparents, but it's still difficult to balance and keep the guilt in check. When I have a thousand things to do this week with the closing of our house and the book launch party--both happening at 4:00 on Friday!--I am well. . .feeling a little crazy.

What can I do?

Here's the part of this post where I am supposed to come up with some words of wisdom for you. Something like: take care of my family first, ask for help with the closing and book launch party, do as much as I can and focus more on book markeing next week, etc. This is good advice, right? This is what I am telling myself; but really, did you come to this blog post to get advice from me? OR would you like the opportunity to give advice? How often do you really get asked for your two cents?

I am asking you for your two cents! What do you do when you are feeling overwhelmed with your writing career and your personal life? How do you manage? Please share with me. I will be forever grateful. I will try your advice! I bet others will benefit from your advice, but they are just too scared to ask.

And if you want to check out Caught Between Two Curses--well, that would just make my day. It's a young adult novel for ages 14 and up. It's about:


Seventeen-year-old Julie Nigelson is cursed. So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular curse, either—it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy Goat” on the Chicago Cubs.

Julie must figure out this mystery while her uncle lies in a coma and her entire love life is in ruins: her boyfriend Gus is pressuring her to have sex, while her best friend Matt is growing more attractive to her all the time.

Somehow, Julie must figure out how to save her uncle, her family’s future, and her own love life—and time is running out!


I'll owe you one! 

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11. Book Launch Party for St. Louis Folks

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12. LET THE STORM BREAK Launch Day Celebration

Wow, I can't believe LET THE STORM BREAK's launch day is finally here.

These last few years have been a crazy whirlwind of a ride (see what I did there? Yeah, that probably won't be the only wind pun in this post) and I can't believe my fourth book (second in my YA series) is now hitting shelves. No wonder I haven't slept in 2 years!!!

ahem.

Anyway, I know you all have so very many books you could choose to read, so I wanted to do something to show how much I appreciate those of you who give that time and love and support to Vane and Audra and all their adventures. (and the haboobs!)

So I've put together a very special giveaway, with three very special prizes,  I think you're really going to love. Here's what's up for grabs:


In case you can't tell, whan't you're looking at are signed hardcovers of LET THE SKY FALL and LET THE STORM BREAK, all featuring original artwork drawn by me. Three winners will win one of each book, which can be signed and personalized if they would like*
*If you're wondering if you can request which drawings you win specifically, the answer is unfortunately "no." That would make things way too complicated. But I promise, they all look awesome, and I made them each different so you'd know you have a prize that's truly unique.
Since these are very special, very time consuming prizes for me to make, I want to make sure they go to true fans of the series. So like I've done in the past, I'm going to make you guys put in a *little* extra work to enter--but I've still done my best to also keep it as simple as possible. So here's the details.

To enter, you MUST complete these two simple steps.

STEP NUMBER ONE:

You must either:

  • Post a review of LET THE STORM BREAK on amazon / goodreads / B&N / youtube / your blog or website / ANYWHERE ELSE YOU POST YOUR REVIEWS
  • Tweet / Instagram / FB / tumblr / google+ / ANY OTHER WAY YOU ATTACK THE INTERNETS with a photo of LET THE STORM BREAK somewhere in the wild (could be your own personal copy in your hands, or a shiny copy on display in a store or library--doesn't matter to me. And if the store you go to is sold out, you can always request they bring in another copy. In fact, I would love you FOREVER for doing that!)
  • Tweet / Instagram / FB / tumblr / google+ / ANY OTHER WAY YOU ATTACK THE INTERNETS with your own Sky Fall series fan art (Anything goes here--feel free to be as creative as you want.

You only have to do one--though you are welcome to do as many as you want. I'll reward you with an extra entry for everything you do (and every social media platform you post it on)--you'll just need to tell me what you've done so I can count your entries accordingly. Which brings me to:

STEP NUMBER TWO: 
  • Fill out the form at the bottom of this post, along with links to anywhere you posted the pictures/reviews. Form must be filled out by 11:59 pm pacific on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014*
*I'm giving you more time for this contest, because I know some of these things might be slightly time consuming (especially the reviews, since you'd probably, yanno, wanna read the book first) So I'm giving you two full weeks to enter. 

Step two is an absolutely essential step, because it's the only way I will see your entry. So don't forget to fill out the form. And International entries ARE accepted. 

I'm pretty sure that's everything, but if I missed something you are welcome to ask in the comments. 

Okay, here's the form! And if you can't access it for some reason, click HERE.

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13. Heidi Heckelbeck greets her creator!

Sometimes characters are just climbing the walls to say HELLO! …and for Priscilla Burris  on a visit to Little Simon offices after the SCBWI Winter Conference, Heidi Heckelbeck, most popular child ‘witch’, did JUST THAT!  (written by Wanda Cloven)  Here are Ciara Gay (designer) Chani Yammer (Executive. AD) and Sonali Fry (Ed. Dir.) and many of the Heidi series books greeting Priscilla as she gets off the elevator!  Such moments aren’t forgotten…. ever!

Heidi and Friends SS (3)


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14. I Love My Cat – Now Available to Download to Kindle!

Hello.

The wait is over and I’m happy to let you know that my 10th children’s book is now live!Cat Book for Kids

I Love My Cat is now available to download to your kindle app on your tablet, PC or phone.

One of the things I’m really excited about this book is that I worked with a very talented illustrator – Diana, who I’ll be working with on more projects as  .

This fun animal book for kids shows different breeds of cats and fun facts about them. To make this book more interesting and one that your and your loved ones will love reading again and again, the book is formatted in such a way that you get to guess the name of the cat by looking at a cartoon image of the cat accompanied with some fun facts. When you flip the page, you then see a real photo of the cat.

You’ll have to get your copy to see what I’m talking about. Children will enjoy the illustrations in this book and also learn about the different breeds of cats and their unique idiosyncrasies.

It’s only 99 cents for this launch period and I would greatly value a review from you once you’ve read it.Birman Cat

Thanks for all your support and I really do hope you enjoy reading this book with your loved ones.

Click the link below to get a copy

US - http://amzn.to/1kqQnGB

UK - http://amzn.to/1fBUvf1

Thank You.

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15. The Christmas Owl

OwlCover_Kindle_optimized

We are thrilled to announce the release of our latest children’s book, The Christmas Owl.  This ebook is available at a special discounted price of $.99 through November 14th on Amazon.  We have also released this book on Barnes & Noble.  A Barred owl becomes injured and must ask others for help. He promises to give back to those who have a generous heart and he is true to his word.


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16. another launch!

I almost forgot to mention the Sept. launch of another fun fun Jewish story from KarBen, Lerner and illustrated by our Ann Iosa… A WATERMELON IN THE SUKKAH! 

Watermelon_in_theSukkah_Cover IOSA


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17. more launches! ….

Xmas cover Kornacki

so pleased today to also note the launch of Christine Kornacki’s illustrated new book THE FIRST CHRISTMAS NIGHT written by Keith Christopher and published by Ideals Children’s Books ((a Guideposts company). Her lush finished oils are amazing!

 

And thought I’d mention that Stacey Schuett’s newly illustrated HANUKKAH IN ALASKA written by Barbara Brown and published by Henry Holt is also newly launched.

Priscilla Burris’s newest HEIDI HECKELBECK series book   “and the Christmas Surprise” is out now as well from Little Simon…a MOST popular series indeed.  Written by Wanda Coven.

and why not mention a couple of other nice mentions in PW I missed before! Aug. 19 edition of the magazine noted DON’T SNEEZE AT THE WEDDING by Pamela Mayer, and illustrated by our Martha Aviles!  both “find broad appeal and comedy in each of their vividly imagined vignettes.”  This book is just launched in Sept.

The Aug. 26th edition nicely reviewed THE INVISIBLE BOY written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by our Patrice Barton for Knopf.  These two “understand classroom dynamics (Baron is especially good at portraying how children gauge the attitude of their peers and act accordingly) and wisely refrain from lecturing readers….”  Wow. It launches in Oct.      congratulations all! most exciting!  board INV BARTON


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18. Launch of RULES to live by…..

 

Because I was at the dentist for 2 hrs this morning…this RULE seemed appropriate!

1385266_10151772393158001_645715645_n[1]

EXCITING that this new book from Little Simon/Simon Spotlight is hitting the stores today!!   ISABELLE AND ISABELLA’S LITTLE BOOK OF RULES  illustrated by our own Priscilla Burris!  Sure you saw and read about how one of them dropped the book in a parking lot and it was rescued by an employee and the news got a hold of it…then Little Simon jumped on it!  We’re ever so glad….. READ and enjoy!


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19. Just follow THE RULES…..

borrowed from PW on-line…. this an announcement of our artist Priscilla Burris and her work on THE RULES BOOK~ for Little Simon,  fast and furious and oh so adorable.  Great story all around…and the PERFECT illustrator!

Just about done so watch for it in late FALL????  kudos Little Simon and Priscilla!

 

 

Home > Children’s > Book News

Lost and Bound: A Misplaced Notebook Finds a Publisher

By Sue Corbett |
May 23, 2013

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Cousins Isabella Thorsden (l.), and Isabelle Busath.

 

Earlier this year, Lisa Rao, an editor at Simon & Schuster, saw a segment on Good Morning America moments before she walked into an editorial meeting.

 

“I had my iPad and pulled up the clip and told them, ‘You have to watch this,’ ” Rao recalled about a story that involved a Walmart employee in suburban Sacramento, Calif., who found a spiral-bound notebook that contained 157 rules handwritten in a childlike scrawl. The book had nothing in it to identify the owner; Raymond Flores, a Walmart associate charged with corralling shopping carts, had found it in the parking lot. But he flipped through it and decided it could not have been discarded intentionally after reading rule no. 154: “Protect this rule book.”

So Flores, 20, posted a photo of the book on his Facebook page, hoping to reunite book and author. No luck. Then he contacted the local Fox TV affiliate. That story got picked up nationally.

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By the time Rao and the rest of the S&S editorial team watched the GMA report, one thing was abundantly clear. “Our publisher, Valerie [Garfield], said immediately: ‘We must find the owner!’ ” And when Rao did, she offered the – co-authors, it turns out – a contract. And this October Simon & Schuster will publish Isabelle and Isabella’s Book of Rules, a jacketed hardcover in a “gifty” trim size, written by Isabelle Busath, age 10, and Isabella Thordsen, age 8, with illustrations by Priscilla Burris.

 

“The minute I saw the handwriting and heard all the hysterical and the sweet rules these two had written, I knew I wanted to publish it,” Rao said. “ ‘Don’t bite the dentist?’ How could you not want to publish that?”

Isabelle and Isabella created the rule book last Christmas break as an attempt to teach their younger siblings the ropes. “They had been coloring with crayons and one of the younger kids wrote on Isabelle, so one of the rules became ‘Don’t color on PEOPLE,’ ” Rao noted. “They had the sweetest of intentions.”

 

The text will be recreated pages from the girls’ journal in their own handwriting and original spelling. “We felt like it made it even more sincere if we kept their misspellings,” Rao said. “One of the rules is something like, ‘If you want something, don’t wine.’ Who would want to take that out?” Rao did edit out a few duplicates. The girls had taken turns making entries and both thought “Don’t waste paper” was a good rule to live by.

 

Once reunited with their book, the cousins immediately added rules they had thought of since they’d lost it. Rao says the published book will contain about 200 rules. Will one of the new ones be, “Let your mom check Facebook whenever she wants?” (Stories about Flores’s quest to find the book’s owner eventually appeared in Isabelle’s mother’s Facebook feed, which is how the book finally found its way back to its authors.) Or “Don’t trust the rule book with just anybody?” (After her pen exploded, Isabelle gave the book to a friend to hold while she went to wash her hands. The friend accidentally dropped it getting into the car in the Walmart parking lot.)

Maybe it will even include the one rule the girls let somebody else write in their book – their new hero, Raymond Flores. His rule was simple: “Stay in school.”

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20. A Monstrous Book Launch Story in GIFs

So the release date for THE MONSTORE finally arrived!

Dude, I was bustin’ out!

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OK, I wasn’t that hot to trot. After all, I had been waiting for three years. So my excitement was more, um, subdued.

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But inside, I was like this.

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And this.

snoopydance

And this.

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But I soon found out Barnes & Noble wouldn’t be carrying THE MONSTORE.

At first, I thought it was no biggie.

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I would overcome!

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But then, I slept on it.

nooooo

Somehow, I didn’t break down.

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With a little help, I kept it together.

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In fact, I had something to say to that brick-and-mortar behemoth.

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So I rallied the troops.

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And people went to bat for me. For me?!

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They’ve even told me funny stories about how B&N has been ‘splainin’ the book’s absence. (Yeah, they got a lotta ‘splainin’ to do.)

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They said: “It’s with a small publisher.”

whaaat

“It has to be reviewed first.”

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“It’s a Halloween title.”

duh

So, maybe this means it will be there in October?

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Doesn’t matter, though. My peeps got my back.

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These peeps, too.

peeps

Yeah, the response to THE MONSTORE has been pretty insane.

bynes

Oops, not Bynes insane. Stone insane.

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And the fun has only just begun.

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Because, remember…

musicmakers


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21. In Pursuit of the Perfect Storm

In Pursuit of the Perfect Storm (Part 1):

Planning and Promoting a Book Launch and Signing
Guest Post by Karen Spafford-Fitz

karen-vanishI was thrilled when Orca released Vanish, my second middle-grade novel, in March 2013. As with my first book, I planned to hold a book launch and signing in Edmonton, where I have lived for 20 years. Upon realizing that many friends and family members living in eastern Ontario also wanted to help celebrate the release of my new book, we decided to launch Vanish in my hometown of Kingston as well.

In both instances, I was pleased with the strong turnout and the enjoyable launch days—especially when it can be challenge to pack a bookstore. I thought other authors might be interested in how I planned my book launches and signings

This “warts and all” account includes not just the steps that I found effective, but also those that possibly amounted to time-wasters. I offer them all in the hope that these strategies—or variations on them—might work beautifully for other authors.

To that end, here are some ideas for how to plan and execute a successful book launch:

 Seek Out the Best Venue (three to four months before launch)

  • karen-kingstonlaunchI prefer working with independent bookstores as they are so supportive of local authors and are experts in connecting the right books to their ideal readers. I was delighted that Audreys Books in Edmonton and Novel Idea Bookstore in Kingston agreed to host my launches.
  • As the launches approached, I updated the bookstores as best I could about the approximate number of guests. They then estimated the number of books we would require for the launch days.
  • Since Vanish would likely spark renewed interest in my previous title, both stores brought in copies of Dog Walker, which also sold well.
  • The bookstore owners were pleased with the number of people who visited their bookstores. They continue to take a personal interest in hand-selling my book.

Results: Highly effective

Choose a Strategic Launch Date (three to four months before launch)

  • Mid-April was my preferred date for the Edmonton launch and I began inquiring before Christmas. Audreys especially has ongoing commitments with book clubs, Stroll of Poets, etc and I was glad we pulled out our calendars early.
  • I chose Sunday afternoons for both launches as families sometimes have more downtime then. Timing the launch for the weekend was especially important for my Kingston launch as guests were travelling in from the Ottawa and Toronto areas—something they couldn’t have readily done on a weeknight.
  • I was careful to avoid long weekends but realized belatedly that my Edmonton launch fell on the final day of the Masters’ Golf Tournament. I know of one person who did not attend for that reason. (Thankfully it was not my husband.)

Resluts: Highly effective

Prepare a Guest List and Send Invitations (six weeks before launch)

  • karen-eviteI sought the advice of the marketing manager at Orca to determine which types of promotional materials would best support the launches. Orca created an e-vite that could be sent by email and a poster that could be printed and distributed.
  • This was not the time to grow shy about whether to invite this person or that person! I widely emailed the e-vite that Orca prepared. I included out-of-town people whom I thought might order a book even if they couldn’t attend.
  • I reached many people by email and replied personally as they responded with acceptances or declines. I did not use snail mail at all.

Results: Highly effective

Spread the Word via Social Media (four or five weeks before launch)

  • I relied extensively on Facebook, posting the e-vite plus creating a Facebook event for both launches. I responded personally as people replied with acceptances or declines.
  • Every week or 10 days, I reminded people about my launch. And because I wanted to avoid repetitions of “Please come to my book launch,” I looked for creative ways to do this. For example, I tied the reminders to food updates for my launch days or to wacky wardrobe choices I was presumably considering.
  • I also posted the invitation in the various writing associations to which I belong. In some instances, you can to post with other writing groups and associations that you have “liked.”

Results: Highly effective

Gear the Book Talk Toward Connecting Guests to the Characters and Story

  • karen-edmontonlaunchI provided guests with some back-story on Vanish so the characters and storyline would hopefully resonate on a personal level with them.
  • I chose readings that I hoped would encourage guests to want to hear more. My first reading was the opening chapter, which introduces my central characters and the basic situation (thereby avoiding the need for lengthy explanations to set the stage). My second reading was from a high-action scene where my protagonist realizes that a crisis is unfolding.
  • I wanted my book talk to last approximately 20 minutes (it was slightly longer)—long enough to make the event feel worthwhile for guests, but not so long they grew tired of listening. In that time, I acknowledged the bookstore, Orca, my immediate family, and the guests in general; shared some back-story; and did two readings, which were approximately eight minutes in total.

Results: Highly effective

Distribute Posters to Schools, Libraries and Small Businesses

  • Orca made posters to advertise the launches and I took them to schools, libraries, and various small businesses (eg. vet clinic, bakeries, small, local supermarkets).
  • I received particularly warm responses at the schools, whose responses included posting my invitation in visible places (parent drop-off spots, in libraries, by the front office), sharing it at staff meetings or morning announcements, and scanning it to the school’s website.
  • I drew in some people this way, especially at schools where teachers and students knew me personally from school visits.

Results: Moderately effective

Prepare Promotional Emails for Area Schools

  • Because Vanish is written for 10- to 14-year-old readers, I targeted both elementary and junior high schools within Edmonton Public School Board.
  • My email included a book synopsis and link to Vanish on Orca’s website, along with the e-vite to my launch. I also mentioned my past work within EPSB in the hopes that this might recall some previous teaching connections.
  • The only schools that replied back to me were those where someone in the front office or the principal knew me. Did the others simply hit the ‘delete’ key? Perhaps.

Results: Minimally effective

Submit Invitations to Online Community Postings

  • I relied on this step for my “away” launch in Kingston, posting the e-vite on an online guide in nearby Napanee. Because I am a Queen’s University graduate, I was also permitted to post on Queen’s Community Events page.

Results: Somewhat effective

Engage with your Audience:

This leads me to the final factor, which I feel was most significant in creating a successful book launch and signing. (Warning: This last factor is not splashy or sexy and can take years to accomplish. But the good news is that many people can put it into practice immediately.)

Talk to students. Engage with others. Tell people what you do.

  • In large part, the people who supported me at my launches are those whom I have come to know personally and professionally over the years.
  • My guests were primarily from the following groups: friends from my current and former communities; my daughters’ friends; my writing colleagues; my husband’s colleagues; friends from the dog park; students from my writing workshops plus friends they brought with them; family members; my grade 13 English teacher; my grade ten history teacher; and my high-school friends who gathered from the surrounding areas and treated my launch as a mini high-school reunion. I am grateful to all of them.

Results:  HIGHEST EFFECTIVENESS

Conclusion:

So did I create the ideal conditions for a successful book launch and signing? Did I find that “perfect storm” that I referenced in the title?

Yes and no….

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of Karen’s blog post, “In Pursuit of the Perfect Storm.” Tomorrow, Karen will reflect on the success of her launches and what she’ll focus on next time.

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22. In Pursuit of the Perfect Storm: Part 2

In Pursuit of the Perfect Storm (Part 2):

Planning and Promoting a Book Launch and Signing
Guest Post by Karen Spafford-Fitz

In part 1 of “In Pursuit of the Perfect Storm,” Karen Spafford-Fitz described the planning and promotion that contributed to the success of her launches for Vanish. In part 2, Karen reflects on which steps were most effective.

In my previous post, I mentioned that several steps seemed highly effective while others did not appear to have a particular impact. But I am glad I undertook all of them. Each represents part of my personal learning curve in preparing for a book launch and signing.

And when planning my launches, my objectives further extended to promoting my book beyond the book launch. I wanted to place Vanish solidly in people’s minds such that they would remember it in the months ahead when book shopping for themselves and for the young readers in their lives. As a result, the steps that seemed only slightly effective in generating a strong turnout at my launches might have long-term benefits.

In the meantime, I suggest that authors connect with others whenever possible—at the dog park, at zumba classes, at block parties, at their children’s taekwondo classes and hockey games. And whenever possible, share the fact that you write children’s fiction. There is a good chance that you are the first children’s author they have met. They will probably want to know more. Tell them. I realize this is easier if you are extroverted; but hopefully it is not impossible even if you are more introverted.

As for me, I have put this challenge to myself: to broaden my reach personally and professionally by participating in more school visits and arts activities in the months ahead. I also plan to expand my social media practices in a manner that feels as genuine as possible. This combination of building trust face-to-face, along with further embracing the broad reach of social media, feels like a solid course of action. And while it may not create the absolute perfect storm when I am planning and promoting my next book launch, I am optimistic that it will be another positive step in that direction.

To learn more about Vanish and Dog Walker, Karen’s first book published by Orca, visit www.orcabook.com.

Visit Karen’s profile on Goodreads for author info and reader reviews.

 

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23. A Trip to the Zoo with Animal Helpers: Meet Austin Zoo Director Patti Clark

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in a zoo? In the newly released Animal Helpers: Zoos, author Jennifer Keats Curtis worked with four zoos to learn more about the duties of a zookeeper and what it takes to care for so many different types of animals. This week we meet Patti Clark of the Austin Zoo and learn what it is like to be the director of the zoo, and why everyday brings a new adventure.

Patti Clark never fails to play the Texas Lottery.

As Director of the private, nonprofit Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary—a volunteer position that occupies her 364 days a year—she hopes to someday use those winnings to construct a new keeper building that would include keeper office space, food prep space, an infirmary, and onsite vet clinic for the animals.

austinzoo1Despite the tremendous number of hours she puts in, Patti never takes a vacation. “There is something magical about this place,” says Clark, who somehow manages to also serve on four other nonprofit boards in her “spare” time, “I’m afraid I’ll miss something exciting and fun!”

What began as a goat ranch nearly three decades ago has become a permanent home to more than 350 animals including big cats; primates; birds; reptiles; amphibians; mammals, such as llama and deer; and one marsupial—a big red kangaroo initially misrepresented as a much smaller wallaby.

With a meager staff of 26 employees, Clark and her crew ably manage to help these hundreds of exotic and animals, 95% of whom were rescued from neglect and abuse, unwanted by owners, or surrendered to Animal Control officers.

The Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary, one of four zoos featured in the new Animal Helpers: ZOOS, differs from traditional zoos because the rescued animals are on exhibit to unescorted visitors. Guests have a chance to see these animals, to learn about different species, and to get first-hand education and information about the harm that exotic pet ownership and roadside circuses can cause for these creatures. Patti jumped at the chance to be part of this new book because education is a crucial part of the Zoo’s mission.

Even though there are days when she feels chained to her desk, Patti’s day is never dull.

In January, she says, calls from the 4-H Clubs roll in, as children realize that the animals they have raised are going to be slaughtered.

Last month, they took in a two-foot-long alligator, who arrived in a tiny ferret cage.

This week, she was heavy on tortoise calls. “People buy these tiny cute tortoises in pet stores,” she explains, “That animal grows, and it grows fast until it becomes two feet across or more and no longer fits into that small glass aquarium. Once he gets in the backyard and starts eating all of the vegetation, the owner does not want him anymore. We currently have 15 tortoises here.”

Patti also answers a lot of calls about unwanted birds and snakes, mostly big pythons and boas that apartment dwellers can no longer keep.

Most of the eight tigers and five lions who now reside at the zoo were purchased as babies and hand-raised by folks who thought it seemed like a good idea at the time. One trucker kept his tiger cub in the truck cab with him for company…until the feline became too big and aggressive.

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Leroy the Lion (pictured) is one of Patti’s favorites, though he had a similarly troubled past. Leroy served as a “junkyard lion” until he was rescued and brought to his new home in Austin. At first, Leroy, who is maneless because he is neutered, was terribly thin and sick with mange, a skin disease. When he tried to stand, his anklebone shattered. Although scars from the mange still show under his coat, thanks to Austin Zoo vets and staff, Leroy is healed, happy and healthy. His favorite toys? Old tires, which he carries around the yard and guards as if they were prey. He then lunges at, bites and claws the durable rubber. “We get deer donated that have been culled from game management ranches and from a deer processor located close to the Zoo,” explains Patti, “Leroy is quiet while stalking his prey. It is amazing that such a large animal can move soundlessly across the enclosure yard. He does like to join in roaring with our two other male throughout the day.”

Since the Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary is currently at capacity for some species, Patti spends a portion of nearly every single day networking with other zoos and rehabilitation facilities to find permanent placement for these unwanted animals.

Despite some of the everyday frustrations that come with managing the staff and animals—and not having limitless funds—Patti clearly loves what she does. “In the Zoo, you won’t get rich with money, but your life will be rich,” she says.

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To learn more about the Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary, please visit their Facebook page and website, http://www.austinzoo.org/.

If you want to learn more about the book Animal Helpers: Zoos go to the Sylvan Dell book page http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=AH_Zoos


0 Comments on A Trip to the Zoo with Animal Helpers: Meet Austin Zoo Director Patti Clark as of 9/25/2013 9:44:00 AM
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24. Proudly we share PW review !

AllofMeFinalPWad TugeauCallie Grant, illus. by Jeremy Tugeau. Graham Blanchard (Spring Arbor, dist.), $8.99 (24p) ISBN 978-0-9854090-4-3

PW review in Sept 16th 2013 edition, page 59!! that’s my son and artist Jeremy and his model GEORGE, a grandson!  ;)

A boy introduces the idea of spirituality in this upbeat, rhyming board book. Though his outward appearance—“two eyes, two ears,/ one mouth, one nose”—is what the boy sees in the mirror, he embraces the belief that “something else,” even more important, grows inside him. He describes his heart, mind, strength, and soul as “all these parts of me that you can’t hold or hear or touch or see,” and offers examples of how they play a part in his life. In one of several inaugural titles for young children from Grant (including Mud Puddle Hunting Day and a pair of board books in the Knowing My God series), the brief text is inspired by Mark 12:30 and serves as a jumping off point for exploration of an often difficult-to-grasp concept. Tugeau’s sunny scenes of common family and childhood activities provide a sense of realistic accessibility for readers. Ages 3–6. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/13/2013 | Release date: 10/01/2013 | Details & Permalink

 


1 Comments on Proudly we share PW review !, last added: 9/25/2013
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25. I’ve noticed…..

 

I was just catching up with my HORN BOOK reading…love that magazine…. and noticed that Melissa Iwai has a nice review in the Sept Oct edition for TRUCK STOP, written by Anne Rockwell from Viking.  It’s a lovely story about noticing and caring, but is a must for any young truck lover!   “Iwai’s mixed-media collage art uses texture, bright colors, and a variety of perspectives to draw readers in.” It’s an honor to get a review in Horn Book.  Book deserves it….. Hope you’ll check it out. truck stop cover _300 (3)IWAI

Melissa’s also been busy doing signings…one today at Books of Wonder in fact! (NYC…favorite book store!)  And these will include the new full length board book of B IS FOR BULLDOZER written by June Sobel from Houghtin Mifflin Harcourt.  It’s been a trade book since 2003 but this is new….lovely to see new editions keeping a good book in print longer.  Again, for the truck loving child it’s such fun!

And if you haven’t yet visited Melissa Iwai’s blog THE HUNGRY ARTIST you are missing good food and insider artist tips….yummmm…..


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