Sara's debut YA novel Harbinger came out on Feb. 2nd, 2012, and I had the privilege of attending her first book launch for it on Saturday, Feb. 4th, at Children's Book World in L.A.
Sara Wilson Etienne mingling at the book launch for Harbinger
at Children's Book World in Los Angeles, CA, Feb. 4th, 2012
Click here to view all 53 photos on Flickr.
(Photos by both me and my husband, because I had fractured my foot and needed help. Thank you, D!)
I've included some favorite photos here, and they should speak for themselves (especially because I wrote captions for them). This book launch was phenomenal. Children's Book World was packed to silliness, and Sara delivered a silky smooth, perfect talk, and then friends and family and fans from all over the country lined up to get their copies signed.
Sara's proud writing group—me (Rita Crayon Huang) and Lee Wind—at the book launch for Harbinger
Sara receives a warm welcome. "Author! Author!"
Sara shows off Harbinger's beautiful endpapers, illustrated by artist husband Tony Etienne
Author Kristen Kittscher listens appreciatively to Sara's talk
Let the autographing begin! Sara Wilson Et
Check check CHECK it out! Ken Min's upcoming picture book has already gotten an awesome review from Fuse #8 on SLJ!! Read all about it! I've had my copy preordered for MONTHS.
You can also find this excellent review--which includes special praise of Ken's delicious artwork, and a few samples--on GoodReads.com here (whence I lifted this cover image).
Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji
By F. Zia
Illustrated by Ken Min
Lee & Low Books
For ages 4-8
On shelves May 2011
Congratulations, Ken!! I can't wait to get my hands on the real book!!
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (Newbery Medal winner)
rating: 5 of 5 stars
Good grief. Everyone has read and loved Sarah, Plain and Tall, so I thought I had read and loved it, too. Trouble was, I couldn’t remember a thing about it, which, well, troubled me over the years.
Turns out, I’ve never read Sarah, Plain and Tall. Ever.
Took about half an hour, and I teared up every other chapter—plus the last. That’s five chapters out of nine.
Good grief. I love Sarah, Plain and Tall!!
View all my reviews.
Speaking of books getting made into movies (a la my last post), I just heard a rumor, super recently, that another children's book I love is getting made. In a major way. With someone suitably awesome at the helm. =)
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
rating: 5 of 5 stars
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve has been one of the bright spots in my reading year so far—along with the third Bartimaeus Trilogy book, by Jonathan Stroud! (What took me so long to read either??) I loved this to an irrational degree throughout, which is my criteria for five stars. But I sure would love to discuss it with more people . . .
My husband got so into this book, he actually started moping around the apartment a couple days after, asking if there were sequels. That's high praise coming from someone who only grudgingly admits that the few, carefully selected children's books I pass on to him are "all right" and "pretty good." Now he's reading Predator's Gold before me. It's torture.
The whole time I was reading this book, I was like, Why hasn't anyone made this into a movie? They make everything else. This would be amazing!
Well just recently, we got news . . . *huge grin*
So hurry up and read it yourself, today! And then email me please.
View all my reviews on GoodReads.
Please, please, Hollywood, don't drag my heart through the mud.
(Unless it's marsh mud criss-crossed with traction marks, and Hester Shaw and Tom Natsworthy are with me!)
P.S. And don't forget to check out all the books in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud, which are fun and do keep getting better as they go, just as has been reported! Both my husband and I were wild about this third installment, Ptolemy's Gate. I've seen him just let it fall open and start rereading from there—more than once! My review of Ptolemy's Gate
Some of my favorite reads (and examples of Voice!) this year: Agnes Parker . . . Girl In Progress, by Kathleen O'Dell; The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, by Rodman Philbrick; I Am A Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want To Be Your Class President, by Josh Lieb; Hold Still, by Nina LaCour; Gorgeous, by Rachel Vail; The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey. (All images from GoodReads.)
All right. So here's the promise Lee and I made to the world in our latest e-blast about the SCBWI Westside Schmooze.
Subject: The SCBWI Westside Schmooze -- Wednesday, October 13th at 7 PM
Does October mean thrills, chills, and suspense to you? Well, it should if you attend the next meeting of the SCBWI Westside Schmooze! Because on October 13th, at 7 PM, we will meet to unmask . . .
VOICE: The End-All Definition
That's right. Editors and Agents often say that while they can fix everything else in a manuscript, Voice is that one special quality a manuscript must have from the start, for them to fall in love. Yet when it comes to defining what Voice IS, even the greats flounder, with many falling back on the axiom "You know it when you see it."
What is THAT about? Are we in the business of describing things or aren't we?? At the next Westside Schmooze we aim to settle this mystery once and for all--AND come up with an End-All Definition--by showing great examples of Voice, analyzing WHAT IT IS, and sharing exercises that will help each of us find and perfect our own. For Picture Book through Young Adult, fiction and non-fiction. Let's do this. It's time.
Now, I'll admit I've been frustrated in my life lately, and I wrote this email with a mad gleam in my eye when the weather had taken a turn for the worse.
I think it's hilarious to set out to do "impossible" things--especially because (in my experience) 60-65% of the time, it totally works. Most of the time, the only
Everybody happy? Everybody shiny? Everybody all revved up, ready for the New Year??
What? You thought the New Year started a month ago?? Silly Tiger! Trix are for Rabbits! (Something like that.)
Every year I like to take Chinese New Year as a fresh opportunity to get that fresh start I didn't have time to get during the holidays. So.
Here are my personal, Top Five Picks for Picture Books from
2010 the Year of the Tiger. I gave out lots o' copies of these during the holidays, and have plenty more ready on my shelf for the upcoming year. (Those of you who haven't gotten yours yet; here's upping your anticipation!)
In New Year's Eve countdown fashion:
(drumroll, please . . .)
OH NO! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Dan Santat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So brilliant, so fun, so design-y gorgeous in every way! Damon and I have had tons of fun investigating these illustrations, and the story is super empowering--for school science fairs everywhere! Also for well-meaning geniuses. Bonus points that our scientist burdened with saving the world from her own creation is a girl. (Minus points for me, for being the only person I know of who has pointed this out. Please ignore I said anything, and give this book to all the boy children you know immediately.) (And to the girls, too!!) It's giant robots battling giant toads, with robot-controlled dogs in the mix!
Although I haven't yet, I'm thinking of pairing this in future presents with Tuesday, by David Wiesner--which I also feel requires a somewhat more sophisticated audience. OH NO! is spare in words--in a graphic-novel-meets-crazy,-dubbed-Japanese-movie way--while Tuesday has (nearly) none, and spreads into your life via eerie, silent-movie magic. Both feature frogs (ok, amphibians) and appeal to your sci-fi exploring instincts (i.e. imagination + smarts).
Tuesday by David Wiesner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Near and dear to my heart since I first discovered it in college--along with my college roomates and friends! Still wondering when to spring this on my friends with kids. How old do you think these energetic toddlers need to get before I introduce their parents to wordless picture books?
Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch by Mary Peterson and Jen Rofe, illustrated by