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1. Melissa Marr: BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU


BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU by Melissa Marr; Illustrated by Teagan WhiteMelissa Marr reads Bunny Roo, I Love YouYesterday, I got to spend a delightful morning at Blue Willow Bookshop for a special story time with Melissa Marr. Melissa’s young adult novel WICKED LOVELY took the YA world by storm when it debuted eight years ago. Since then, she’s successfully ventured into the world of MG fantasy as well as books for adults. Now she’s breaking into what may be the toughest challenge for  a writer, picture books.

Bunny PicHow do you tell a beautiful, funny and touching story in under three hundred words? Take a look at BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU, from Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin.

That’s how.

There is so much love in this book, maybe because Melissa wrote it while she Little Artistsstayed in the hospital with her newborn son for forty days. The beautiful hand painted illustrations by Teagan White are warm and sweet.

To put whipped cream and sprinkles on top, Melissa was great at story time. Her little listeners had a blast making animal noises (along with Melissa) and creating bunny pictures, complete with googly eyes and fluffy puff tails. She brought stickers of the VKNoseimages in her book which the children used to decorate their pictures when they were through drawing.

Blue Willow’s owner and manger, Valerie Koehler, was in top form, too, as she led the little ones in a song and then a hilarious game of Simon Says.

Melissa also just announced Nancy Paulsen Books will be publishing her new picture book. BABY DRAGON, BABY DRAGON is about a day in the life of an adorable, hyperactive baby dragon, who finally simmers down when he meets his match. This book is scheduled for release in May 2017, but you can start getting excited about it now by visiting the website of the chosen illustrator, Lena Podesta.


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2. Mo Williams Stands Up to Support First Book

Bestselling children’s author Mo Williams has written an email to help support the non-profit First Book, a charity that brings books to underserved kids.

In the message, which went out today to First Book supporters, Williams asks recipients to donate money to the charity. “My family and I have been proud supporters of First Book for many years,” reads the email. “Now we’re asking you to join us to get as many books in as many hands as possible by matching your donations, dollar for dollar, up to 50,000 smackers. The importance of books in the home cannot be overstated. A book is more than a gateway to a brighter future — it is a friend right now.”

Follow this link to donate.

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3. Linda Gregerson: ‘The internet chips away at the barriers between solitary writing and solitary reading.’

Poet Linda GregersonHappy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. Recently, we spoke with award-winning writer Linda Gregerson. (Photo Credit: Nina Subin)

Q: How did you publish your first book?
A: I was actually very lucky. Gwen Head, who was at the time launching a new press in Port Townsend, Washington, solicited the manuscript and offered to publish it. I was working on my PhD at the time and, without this incentive, would have been much slower to complete the book.

Q: Has the Internet changed the way you interact with readers?
A: Certainly. I don’t know how many readers encounter my poems for the first time or primarily online, but surely it’s one of the major ways in which we all discover new work these days. I’m still very wedded to the printed page: I like the discipline and the restriction of it; I like the visual architecture of lines and stanzas bounded by material white space. When I discover new poets online or in journals, and find those that most compel me, I want to follow up by buying and holding in my hands and reading and rereading their books. That said, there’s wonderful immediacy to the internet: readers can contact me, and do, electronically; I can respond. The internet chips away at the barriers between solitary writing and solitary reading.

Q: What type of research process do you undergo when you’re writing poems?
A: For me as for most poets, I think, the process of research can mean a thousand things. I found myself two days ago trying to find out what I could about the geometrical structure of robins’ nests. For a series of lyrics in the voice of Dido several years ago, I reread the Aeneid and researched other, later treatments of the Dido narrative. Sometimes I find myself looking up the background to a troubling story I’ve read in the morning paper. Once I called upon a colleague in neurobiology to explain to me the workings of a Nomarski microscope (that colleague was generous beyond all measure). Another time, for a sequence on slate mining in the north of England, I studied an online compendium of interviews with miners, a series of geomorphological maps, and diagrams explaining the construction of slate roofs. Sometimes I simply stare out the window.

Q: Do you have any tips for people who want to read and perform poetry in front of an audience?
A: By all means go to as many poetry readings and performances as you possibly can. The ones in auditoriums and public libraries, the ones in coffee shops and bars, poetry performed to music, poetry performed in slams. You’ll begin to get a feel for what you like and don’t like, mannerisms you want to avoid, forms of audience engagement that appeal to you. Read to your friends; read at open mics. Some of these modes and venues will feel to you like an enlargement of your work, true to what you do. Others may be a poor fit.

Q: What advice can you share for aspiring poets?
A: Read read read. And exchange your work with other writers who are passionate about poetry.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is publishing my New and Selected Poems in September. And I’m writing an epithalamion for two dear friends who are getting married later this month.

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4. Gayle Forman & Jay Asher Team Up For a Mental Health Benefit

Gayle & JayAuthors Gayle Forman and Jay Asher, will appear at “We Are Here: A Benefit to Raise Hope and Awareness for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion.” The two young adult novelists have both written books that deal with the subject of suicide.

A Great Good Place for Books, a California-based independent bookstore, and the Montclair Presbyterian Church will team up to host this event. Attendees will enjoy music, discussions, and a signing session. For those who can’t make it in-person, the event will be livestreamed.

The organizers hope to raise $5,000 which will be given to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Should that goal be met, Forman pledges to personally match every dollar. Follow this link to learn more details about this event.

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5. Haruki Murakami & Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Make TIME’s 100 Influential People List

Authors Haruki Murakami and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie have been named on TIME 100, the publication’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Yoko Ono commented on Murakami designation. Here is an excerpt:

He deserves the honor. He is a writer of great imagination and human sympathy, one who has enthralled millions of readers by building fictional worlds that are uniquely his. Murakami-san has a singular vision, as informed by pop culture as it is by deep channels of Japanese tradition. And he’s a Japanese writer—while Murakami-san spends much of his time in the U.S. and has earned acclaim internationally, he and his books are very much a product of Japan.”

Radhika Jones commented on Ngozi Adichie’s addition to the list. Here is an excerpt:

It’s the rare novelist who in the space of a year finds her words sampled by Beyoncé, optioned by Lupita Nyong’o and honored with the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. But the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is just that sort of novelist. A MacArthur \"genius\" grant recipient, Adichie writes of the complex aftermath of Nigeria’s colonial history and her nation’s rise to prominence in an era when immigration to the West no longer means a one-way ticket.

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6. Karin Slaughter Inks Deal With HarperCollins

K. SlaughterCrime fiction writer Karin Slaughter (pictured, via) has landed a deal with HarperCollins. The company will oversee the publication of the English and foreign language editions for four Slaughter books.

Here’s more from the press release: “This marks the first time the publisher has simultaneously acquired both world English and foreign language rights with the intent to publish across all HarperCollins locations worldwide. The deal was negotiated with Victoria Sanders at the Victoria Sanders & Associates agency.”

Pretty Girls, the first Slaughter title that will be released under this new agreement, is slated to come out in September 2015. HarperCollins will publish a version of this book in almost every country it operates in; the exceptions include the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Holland.

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7. At Literacy Partners Gala, Bestselling Authors Share Personal Stories

Barbara-Taylor2Liz Smith, the “patron saint of literacy,” was unable to host Tuesday night’s gala at Cipriani in New York for Literacy Partners, the organization she helped found in 1974. Though Smith felt under the weather, her fellow board of directors, as well as honorees Robert Thomson and Barbara Taylor Bradford (pictured, at right), along with writers Tom Brokaw and Ali Wentworth (pictured, below), aptly filled in for her. Resilience emerged as the recurring theme of the evening, much like Smith herself.

Literacy Partners student Matthew Brown represented one of the evening’s highlights. The 75-year-old detailed his lifelong struggle to read, which he overcame with the organization’s help. He then sang his own resounding rendition of the Sinatra hit, “My Way,” to a standing ovation.


Taylor Bradford received the Lizzie award for her devotion to literacy in the U.S. and the U.K. She spoke about her prolific writing career, starting at a regional newspaper in England. “I had a little bit of toughness, even at age 16,” she said. By age 20 she headed to Fleet Street, and never forgot the lessons of needing to answer the \"who, what, where, when and why’s.\"

Thomson was honored for his philanthropy and commitment to the literacy cause, and joked that he also wants “numeracy partners for fiscally challenged executives.” On a more serious note, he spoke about the challenges that those who can’t read face every day, when words become enemies, leading to social isolation. “No one among us can always find the right words. Cracking the code of language is crucial,” he added.

Thomson also piqued the audience’s curiosity by bringing a book to the stage that he said was Harper Lee’s much anticipated ‘prequel sequel’, though it turned out to be her bestseller, To Kill A Mockingbird. “I’ve read the manuscript, and I think it will resonate,” he told the crowd.

Brokaw and Wentworth read passages from their upcoming books, both due out later this spring. Wentworth’s tale, Happily Ali After, describes humorous scenes from her life based on well-known sayings. She disagrees with the famous Love Story quote about never having to say you’re sorry. “Love has always meant saying I’m sorry repeatedly,” she said. An example: when her family planned a trip to Spain but upon arrival at JFK airport discovered that their girls’ passports had expired.

Brokaw’s forthcoming memoir, A Lucky Life Interrupted, recounts his deeply personal journey battling multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable form of cancer. He spoke about first experiencing symptoms and then being diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic. “I went from the delusion of being ever young. It was a way of life that I couldn’t believe was slipping away from me,” he said. He ended on a more upbeat note now that his cancer is in remission, citing “renewable cycles of life.” The book concludes with these words: \"Life–what’s left–bring it on.”

(Photos courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency)

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8. Author Ben Parr to Send Book to Space

Journalist and author Ben Parr is an expert on how to get noticed, which is why his book publicity push should come as no surprise. Still, it’s pretty creative: he is sending his book into space.

The book,”Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention” will head into orbit as part of a program developed by members of the Columbus Space Program, a Georgia-based high-altitude balloon science platform DREAMS (Doing Research at Extreme Altitudes for Motivated Students). The organization is sending its 24th mission into outer space on Saturday, April 18th and the ship will include a number of student-led experiments, as well as Parr’s book.

Here is more from the press release:

DREAMS and their high-altitude balloon will go into \"near space\" from the surface. Somewhere outside Columbus, Georgia, Ben Parr will be in a rental car, using GPS to track down and retrieve a payload that will descend from space with science-focused students and teachers.

Parr is running a raffle to promote this effort with the hashtag #SpaceBook. Winners will get the chance to win the book after its trip, as well as the opportunity to meet astronaut Buzz Aldrin and actor John Travolta at an event at Kennedy Space Center in Florida this July.

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9. James Patterson Defends Collaborative Writing

James Patterson is one of the bestselling authors of all time. According to Forbes, Patterson earned $90 million on book sales in 2014 and more than $700 million over the last decade.

Patterson’s success stems from publishing numerous bestsellers a year with the help of a team of writers, a practice that he has been criticized for as focusing on quantity versus quality. In an Adweek interview Patterson defended the practice of working with multiple writers to flesh out his books. Here is an excerpt:

“It’s an interesting thing in that I don’t think people get it,” he says. He thinks of himself less a mass-market taskmaster as chief of an art studio that produces frescoes. “You go around to the cathedrals of Europe and you start looking around and realize there were 20 painters working on this,” he says.

Patterson, who came up in advertising co  “In advertising, obviously, it tends to be teams,” he says. “People think it’s, like, so strange, but it really isn’t that strange. What I do is write a 60- to 80-page outline. I mean, last year I wrote two books by myself, and then over a thousand pages of outlines. And the outlines are a lot of the imaginative work. Not all of it, but a lot of it.”

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10. J. K. Rowling News

rowling130More Proof That J. K. Rowling ROCKS!

Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling appeared on the Today Show this morning. There is good news and bad news. The bad news for Harry Potter fans is that she said she is definitely not working on another Harry Potter book. “Harry Potter 8, as in what happened next to Harry, Ron and Hermione — I don’t think that’s going to happen.” Oh well . . .

But the good news is pretty amazing! J. K. Rowling has started a charity called Lumos. (Awesome name, right?) According to the Lumos website, the goal is to eliminate all orphanages and replace them with “community based services that provide children with access to health, education and social care tailored to their individual needs.”

As you probably know, Lumos is the spell to make light, so this name has a special meaning. This charity will help bring the problem of orphanages to light, and hopefully inspire people to change that system. And it will also be a light of hope to the children living in them and can hopefully make their lives much better.

In the Today Show interview, J. K. Rowling said, “I definitely will write for children again, ’cause I love writing for kids. So that will definitely happen, and that will sit comfortably alongside this work [Lumos]. And maybe I’ll get to read that new work to some of these children.”

Did you even need more proof that J. K. Rowling is a goddess? Well, there it is! Do you love her even more now? Leave your reactions in the Comments!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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11. Weinstein Books to Publish English Edition of Agnes Martin-Lugand’s Novel

Les gens heureux lisent et boivent du cafeWeinstein Books will publish an English translation of Agnes Martin-Lugand’s Happy People Read and Drink Coffee. The Weinstein Company has also picked up the movie rights to this novel.

The English edition is slated for publication in Spring 2016. The French author self-published the book, originally entitled Les gens heureux lisent et boivent du café, back in 2012. TheWrap.com reports that it topped the French Kindle bestseller lists in 2013.

According to Deadline.com, the story “centers on Diane, who is still mired in grief after losing her husband and daughter in a car accident the year before, and her cafe is no longer a sanctuary. Searching for a way to remain close to her husband, she takes a trip to a place he always wanted to visit — Ireland. Once there, she discovers a whole new sanctuary in the form of a bitter and mysterious neighbor, and must decide whether she is ready — or able — to love again.” (via )

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12. Classroom Connections: LOVE TWELVE MILES LONG by Glenda Armand

Last summer at SCBWI‘s national conference, I struck up a conversation with another attendee while standing in a winding sandwich line. It was absolutely my pleasure to befriend a fellow former teacher turned author, someone who also writes historical fiction and picture books and has even tried her hand at verse. That night I bought a copy of Glenda Armand’s Love Twelve Miles Long, a beautifully moving story. I’ll let Glenda tell you more.

genre: historical fiction
setting: Maryland, 1820s
age range: 6-11
teacher’s guide
Glenda Armand’s website

This poignant story, based on Frederick Douglass’s childhood, tells how his mother, a slave, would walk twelve miles at night for a brief visit with her son. Soothing text describes how she overcomes the monotony and loneliness through songs (joyful and sad), the solace of prayer, and love. Emotional paintings capture moods, especially the joy of reunion that wipes away weariness. — Horn Book

Starting with the boy’s elemental question, “Mama, why can’t I live with you?,” the words and pictures tell the family separation story in all its heartbreak and hope. — Booklist

Share this with young readers as a series of homilies on dreams and a family love strong enough to overcome any adversity. — Kirkus Reviews


Please tell us about your book.

Frederick Douglass was born a slave, escaped and went on to become a great orator and writer who championed the cause of freedom for his fellow African Americans. In his autobiography, Douglass showed the cruelty of slavery from his unique perspective as a former slave. It is a testament to Douglass’s remarkable life that President Abraham Lincoln called this former slave, “my friend Douglass.”

Love Twelve Miles Long takes place long before Frederick Douglass has become famous and successful. The setting is a farmhouse kitchen on a Maryland farm. It is evening and 5-year-old Frederick’s mother, Harriet, a slave who lives on different farm on their master’s plantation, has come to visit. The story allows the reader to peak in on mother and son as they share a few precious moments.

What inspired you to write this story?

When I read his autobiography, I was struck by Frederick Douglass’s strong feelings for his mother despite his having spent so little time with her. In fact, he only remembered seeing his mother at night on the few occasions that she was able to walk the twelve miles to spend time with her son. I believed that there was a story in those visits that spoke to the universal bond between mother and child.

Could you share with readers how you conducted your research or share a few interesting tidbits you learned while researching? 

I read Frederick Douglass’s autobiography while preparing to teach eighth grade US history after many years of teaching in the elementary grades. The passage in which Douglass mentions his mother’s night time visits touched my heart. I could just imagine the love it took for her to walk twelve miles (one way!) to spend time with her son, who lived with the cook who served as babysitter for the slave children who were too young to work.

After reading his other autobiography written later in life, I came up with the way I would tell the story of Frederick and his mother.

I decided to envision Harriet and Frederick in their master’s kitchen, the place where the visits occurred. Then, with pen in hand (literally), I “listened” in on their conversation. There were times when I felt that Harriet was guiding my pen as I wrote. For instance, at one point Frederick asks, “Why did God make us slaves?” After writing the question, I crossed it out because I really didn’t have an answer. But then I heard Harriet’ voice saying, “Let him ask the question.” So I did.

What are some special challenges associated with writing historical fiction?

I love the challenge of writing historical fiction. I like taking events that I know happened to real people (like the visits Harriet paid to Frederick) and imagining things that could have happened (their conversation) and mixing them together to make a story. To me, this makes historical figures interesting, accessible and human. 

My books are introductions to real events and people that I hope invite the reader to find out more about the subjects.

What topics does your book touch upon that would make it a perfect fit for the classroom?

Love Twelve Miles Long lends itself to many classroom discussions/topics:

  • United States History/African American History/Black History Month
  • Mother’s Day/Families/Mother-child relationships/Love
  • Childhood experiences/Memories/Separation
  • Frederick Douglass/Abraham Lincoln/Slavery/Civil War
  • Dreams/Aspirations/Empathy/Compassion/Esteem/Confidence
  • Realistic Fiction/Historical Fiction

The post Classroom Connections: LOVE TWELVE MILES LONG by Glenda Armand appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

0 Comments on Classroom Connections: LOVE TWELVE MILES LONG by Glenda Armand as of 1/1/1900
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13. Twitter Inspires T.R. Richmond to Write a Mystery Novel

What She Left CoverWriter T.R. Richmond wrote a mystery novel, entitled What She Left, that is told with tweets, Facebook posts, emails, playlists, web forum comments, letters, and diary entries. According to The Telegraph, the lead characters are charged with cracking a murder case using clues from the deceased person’s online life.

The inspiration for this story came to Richmond as he was browsing through his Twitter feed. Penguin U.K. will release the eBook edition on April 23, 2015. Simon & Schuster U.S. will publish the hardcover version on January 05, 2016.

Here’s more from the article: “Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has been lined up to voice protagonist Alice Salmon in the audiobook. Fellow GoT star Charles Dance is providing the voice of Professor Cooke – an ageing anthropology professor fixated on solving the mystery of his former student’s death. In a real-world extension of the book, both leading characters have their own social media presence – Alice has a Facebook page and Professor Cooke a tumblr blogand Twitter account.”

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14. Cover Revealed For Humans of New York: Stories


Brandon Stanton has unveiled the cover for his forthcoming book, Humans of New York: Stories. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?

Stanton shared a photograph with the jacket design on the HONY Facebook page; the post has drawn more than 155,000 “likes.” St. Martin’s Press will release the book on October 13th.

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15. KidLit Author Events April 14-21


Art by Diandra Mae

It’s finally here! This weekend is the SCBWI Houston conference! All the details are in place, agents, editors, authors and illustrators will be flying and driving into Houston for the big weekend. If you haven’t registered, there is room for walk-ins Saturday morning. Come to the Westin at Memorial City and find out what it takes to be an author or illustrator for children’s and young adult literature! (Art by Diandra Mae.)

The Houston Public Library is offering an exciting opportunity:

Win a Lunch with Jon Scieszka!FRANK EINSTEIN AND THE ANTIMATTER MOTOR by Jon Scieszka

Create an art masterpiece inspired by one of the many books written by the award-winning, world-famous author Jon Scieszka! Fifty winners and one adult guest each will be treated to a catered lunch 
with Jon Scieszka and receive an autographed copy of “Frank Einstein & the Antimatter Motor!” This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is scheduled to take place prior to the kickoff of the 6th Annual Books Alive! Children’s Book Celebration on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Deadline: Friday, May 1, 2015
Winners will be notified by Friday, May 8, 2015.

For more information visit the Books Alive! Contest.

Now for this week’s author visits:

April 14, Tuesday,  5:00 PMDEAR HANK WILLIAMS: Kimbrely Willlis Holt
Blue Willow Bookshop
Kimberly Willis Holt, MG/YA Author

Kimberly Willis Holt will discuss and sign her newest novel for kids, DEAR HANK WILLIAMS. It’s 1948 in Rippling Creek, Louisiana, and Tate P. Ellerbee’s new teacher has just given her class an assignment–learning the art of letter-writing. Luckily, Tate has the perfect pen pal in mind: Hank Williams, a country music singer whose star has just begun to rise. Tate and her great-aunt and -uncle listen to him on the radio every Saturday night, and Tate just knows that she and Hank are kindred spirits.

Told entirely through Tate’s hopeful letters, this beautifully drawn novel from National Book Award-winning author Kimberly Willis Holt gradually unfolds a story of family love, overcoming tragedy, and an insightful girl learning to find her voice.

April 16, Thursday, 10:00 AM BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU: Melissa Marr; Illustrated by Teagan White
Blue Willow Bookshop
Melissa Marr, PB Author

Melissa Marr, author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novels GRAVEMINDER and THE ARRIVALS, joins Blue Willow Bookshop for a very special story time with her debut picture book, BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU!

The world can seem like a big, bewildering place for new babies—fortunately, their mamas know just how to soothe and comfort them. Through enchanting scenes portraying all kinds of mama animals looking out for their little ones, the mother in this story reassures her baby, and young children everywhere, that their caretakers will always love them and keep them safe. This beautiful picture book has the feel of a classic and its heartwarming premise should make it a family favorite.

April 16, Thursday, 6:30PMTHE FINISHER: David Baldacci
Murder By The Boook
David Baldacci, YA Author

Worldwide bestselling novelist David Baldacci will sign and discuss THE FINISHER (Scholastic). Vega Jane has never left the village of Wormwood. But this isn’t unusual, nobody has ever left the village of Wormwood. At least not until Quentin Herms vanishes into the unknown. Vega knows Quentin didn’t just leave, but that he was chased. And he’s left behind a very dangerous trail of clues that only she can decode. The Quag is a dark forest filled with terrifying beasts and bloodthirsty Outliers. But just as deadly are the threats that exist within the walls of Wormwood. It is a place built on lies, where influential people are willing to kill to keep their secrets. Vega is determined to uncover the truth. But the closer she gets, the more she risks her life.

Thursday, April 16, 7:00 PMI AM HER REVENGE by Meredith Moore
Brazos Bookstore
Meredith Moore, YA Author

Houston author Meredith Moore will sign her debut YA novel, I AM HER REVENGE. She can be anyone you want her to be.
Vivian was raised with one purpose in life: to exact revenge on behalf of her mother. Manipulative and cruel, Mother has deprived Vivian not only of a childhood, but of an original identity. With an endless arsenal of enticing personalities at her disposal, Vivian is a veritable weapon of deception.

And she can destroy anyone.
When it’s time to strike, she enrolls in a boarding school on the English moors, where she will zero in on her target: sweet and innocent Ben, the son of the man who broke Mother’s heart twenty years ago.

Anyone…except for the woman who created her.
With every secret she uncovers, Vivian comes one step closer to learning who she really is. But the more she learns about herself, the more dangerous this cat and mouse game becomes. Because Mother will stop at nothing to make sure the truth dies with her.

April 16, Thursday, 7:00 PM Image from THE CROODS
Texas A&M, Langford Building
The Neuland Concept Designers
Cost: FREE!

SCBWI Brazos Valley Illustrator Event: The Neuland Concept Designers

Concept designers Margaret Wuller and Patrick Hannenberger will discuss their work for film projects such as The Croods, Rise of the Guardians, Monsters vs. Aliens, and How to Train Your Dragon. The free public lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Geren Auditorium at the College of Architecture on the A&M campus.

Houston YA/MG Writers
Writespace: Silver Street Studios – Studio 212

Cassandra Clark: Workshop: Engaging Your Reader Through Tension
Cost: FREE!

Tension may be a bad thing in our personal lives, but it’s a necessity in our writing. Nothing engages a reader like tension! This month, YA and adult science fiction and fantasy writer Cassandra Rose Clarke will show us how writers can effectively build tension throughout their work. We’ll consider how to up the tension through the internal and external elements of the story, from cliff-hangers to pacing and from character motivations to story stakes. We’ll leave with the tools to keep readers turning pages until late into the night!


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16. John Green Moved to Tears by Shailene Woodley’s Speech

John Green & Shailene WoodleyOver the weekend, actress Shailene Woodley received three honors at the MTV Movie Awards: MTV Trailblazer, Best Kiss (shared with actor Ansel Elgort), and Best Female Performance.

During her acceptance speech for the Female Performance award, she offered both gratitude and praise for The Fault in Our Stars author John GreenBuzzFeed reports that the award-winning young adult writer and movie producer was brought to tears by Woodley’s complimentary words.

Here’s an excerpt: “So John Green, beyond The Fault in Our Stars, I just want to thank you for being the human that you are. And for every single day, living a life with integrity and again, compassion, on your sleeve. Because you change the lives of millions of people around the world.”

This is not the first time that Woodley publicly expressed her admiration for Green. Last year, she wrote a piece about the “teen whisperer” for TIME magazine when Green was named one of 2014’s top 100 most influential people. (via The Washington Post)

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17. Günter Grass Has Died

grassAward-winning writer Günter Grass has died. He was 87 years old.

Grass (pictured, via) won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999. Throughout his writing career, Grass produced more than 30 plays, novels, poetry anthologies, essay collections, and autobiographies. The Guardian reports that he became especially well-known for his debut novel, The Tin Drum.

Here’s more from NPR.org: “After his initial success with The Tin Drum, Grass went on to write dozens of plays, memoirs, poems and novels — including fable-like tales called The Flounder, The Rat and The Call of the Toad — a comic romance between a German widower and Polish widow in the city of Gdańsk. Grass became known as the conscience of Germany, a liberal who engaged in politics and spoke his mind.” (via The New York Times)

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18. Eduardo Galeano Has Died

Uruguayan author and journalist Eduardo Galeano has died. He was 74 years-old.

Galeano was the author of dozens of books both fiction and nonfiction, most of which dealt with the imperialist history in Latin America. Former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez gave President Barack Obama a copy of his popular book “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” in 2009, after which book sales soared.

Galeano’s most recent work, published in 2012, was “Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History.” The title is a short story collection about human survival set in various days of dictators.

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19. What ELSE do you do?: five questions for T. A. Barron

Author T. A. Barron instituted the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes in 2000. Named for the author’s mother, the Prize is given annually to fifteen young people “who have made a significant positive difference to people and/or our environment.” Each winner receives $5,000 toward his or her work or higher education.

Barron’s latest fantasy novel, Atlantis in Peril, will be published in May by Philomel Books, and look for his thoughts about his main man Merlin in the forthcoming May Horn Book Magazine, a special issue on the theme of Transformation. Nominations for the 2015 Barron Prize can be made through the website linked above, but the deadline is April 15th so burn rubber, jk.

This is the first in a series of interviews with children’s book people about what else they do with their time.

Author photo 2014 for Horn Book 1.  RS: Over the fifteen years the prize has been awarded, have you seen any shift in the kind or focus of activism from the nominees? 

TAB: The quality and diversity of these kids has always been extraordinary – they blow my mind every single year. But there have been dramatic shifts in what kinds of activism motivate them. For example, there’s been a big increase in young people helping other people and the environment at the same time – such as one recent winner who invented solar lanterns to replace dangerous and polluting kerosene or dung ones in developing countries. Another change is that nearly all our nominees these days have created their own activism websites and have a real social media presence, which definitely wasn’t the case when we started!

2.  RS: Where do you see the intersection between your work as a novelist and as a conservationist?

TAB: Both are about young people – their struggles, ideals, and surprising power to change the world. Every day, I’m worried about the terrible planetary mess we are handing to our children. Yet every day, I’m amazed by the honesty, freshness, energy, dreams, humor, and courage of young people. So in my writing, I try to authentically earn the idea that every kid, of any description, has a special magic down inside – magic that could change the world. Add to that “hero’s journey” core how much I like to weave ecological ideas into my books…and you have the two themes that flow through all my stories.

Similarly, in my conservation work, I try to share stories of real people who have made a difference to creating a more healthy environment – people like Jane Goodall (visionary), John Muir (activist), Rachel Carson (writer), and Johnny Appleseed (tree planter). We actually do have the power to give Mother Nature the space and flexibility she needs to survive – but we have to believe that before we can do it. The stories we tell young people – the seeds we plant metaphorically as well as physically – can help us get there.

3. RS: Could you describe one of the most surprising or inventive projects you’ve seen submitted for this prize?

TAB: I’m still waiting and hoping for the bright young kid out there who will invent a way for me to write books faster (as a community service, of course)! Alas, that isn’t going to happen. Some of my most favorite recent projects are: (1) Waste No Food, linking food donors with charities that feed the hungry, thus helping people and keeping food waste out of landfills. (2) Literacy for Little Ones, providing new books and early literacy information to nearly 10,000 families with newborn babies. (3) Project TGIF (Turn Grease Into Fuel), collecting waste cooking oil from residents and restaurants and refining it into biodiesel to help New England families with emergency heating needs.

4. RS: What do you think is the key to growing a lifelong idealist?

TAB: Here’s what I hope to convey to any kid from any background: See your life as a story – a story of which YOU are the author. So make it the very best story you can! Tell it with courage; tell it with passion. And also find a way to have a chapter or two where your dreams for how to make the world a better place are made real by the small, everyday things you do in your life – as well as the broader causes you support.

5. RS: If I told you I wanted to save the world, what would you give me to read first?

TAB: I’d give you three books: (1) Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman (on the power of every person to make a difference). (2) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (on the power of love). And (3) The Hero’s Trail (the new 2015 edition) by T. A. Barron. (I know it’s shameless of me to include that last title…but this new edition is so packed with inspiring stories of real young people who have shown amazing courage and compassion that I just can’t resist.)



The post What ELSE do you do?: five questions for T. A. Barron appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on What ELSE do you do?: five questions for T. A. Barron as of 1/1/1900
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20. J.K. Rowling on the Future of Harry Potter

Author J.K. Rowling may have retired from writing Harry Potter books, but don’t count it out entirely in the future.

In an interview on TODAY this week, Rowling hinted that she could possibly return to the series one day if the mood struck her.

“I’m afraid I haven’t been writing the next Harry Potter. I have always said never say … well, not never say never,” she said in the interview. “I’ve always said I’m not going to say I definitely won’t because, because I don’t see why I should say that. You know, it’s my world and I might choose to step back into it. And in a way, I am stepping back into it.”

In the meantime, she is working on the script for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

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21. Penguin Young Readers Group & Ruta Sepetys Host the Out of the Easy Essay Contest

Out of the EasyYoung adult author Ruta Sepetys and her publisher, Penguin Young Readers Group, will host the 3rd annual Out of the Easy essay content. The winner will receive $5,000 in prize money towards the college of his or her choice.

Eligibility is limited to high school students in the 11th and 12th grade. Participants must write a three-page piece in response to this Charles Dickens quote: “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

Follow this link to learn more about all the rules. A submission deadline has been set for May 30th.

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22. Madeleine Kuderick: ‘Try to perform the poem in a conversational voice…’

Madeleine KuderickHappy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. Recently, we spoke with young adult novelist Madeleine Kuderick.

Q: How did you publish your first book?
A: I allowed this story to channel through me and it came out in short, emotional bursts that had a poetic, lyrical feel to them. I didn’t set out to write a novel in verse. Not intentionally. But this story knew what it wanted to be and that strong, driven voice kept speaking out in verses. Ultimately, it was the power of that voice that connected with my first agent, George Nicholson of Sterling Lord Literistic, and my editor Antonia Markiet of HarperCollins that led to KISS OF BROKEN GLASS being published.

Q: Has the Internet changed the way you interact with readers?
A: Since KISS is my debut novel and it just came out in 2014, the internet has always been part of my reader interaction, so I can’t say that it has changed anything for me. But it certainly has made me accessible and I am moved by the many readers who reach out to express how the book impacted them personally or helped them to better understand a friend or family member who is struggling with self harm.

Q: What type of research process do you undergo for when you were writing your novel in verse?
A: In addition to what I observed in my own immediate family, I spent hundreds of hours on social media researching the blogs, tweets, and Tumblr pages of countless teens struggling with self harm. I sunk into their stories, looked at their agonizing photos, and tried to understand. In the end, my characters and the events they experience in KISS OF BROKEN GLASS are a fictionalized composite of all these brave and aching voices.

Q: What’s the difference between writing a novel in verse and writing shorter poetic pieces?
A: In many ways, the process is the same. Each poem in a novel in verse should be able to stand on its own, paint the scene, and conjure emotion, just as a shorter poetic piece would do. That said, a novel in verse must also build a character’s arc, show that character overcoming multiple obstacles, and reveal how that character changes over time. A short poetic piece would not be concerned with character development or plot points. So the trick with writing a novel in verse is that you have to deliver powerful poems that can stand alone but that also weave together to accomplish everything that novel would in terms of character and plot.

Q: Do you have any tips for people who want to read and perform poetry in front of an audience?
A: Try to perform the poem in a conversational voice that would be authentic for that particular poem. For example, when I read aloud from KISS, I become an angsty teen girl. When I read a poem I wrote about dyslexia, I become a frustrated eight year old boy. When I read a poem by Robert Frost, I speak like myself, wishing I could stop for just a minute by the snowy woods and let the world fall away, but sadly I have miles to go before I sleep and lots of promises to keep. The main tip I have about performing aloud is to let the natural voice of the poem flow through you.

Q: What advice can you share for aspiring poets?
A: Every once in a while, you’ll hear a phrase, maybe even just a word or two, and instantly you’ll feel something. For me, it’s like a tickle in my stomach. And right then and there I know that one day those words will find their way into a poem. It’s as though a seed has been planted. Pay attention to the words that make you feel something. That’s how poems begin to grow.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: I am writing another YA novel for HarperCollins and excited to be working with my tremendous and insightful editor Toni Markiet on this second book.

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We’re soon to touch down in one of our absolute favorite literary states for the Texas Library Association Conference in Austin! If there’s anything better than talking books, hanging out with authors and librarians, and enjoying sunshine and Shiners, then we don’t want to know about it.

If you’ll be in the Lone Star State, too, please swing by our booth, #1341, for galleys, giveaways, and face time with the HarperCollins Children’s Books School & Library team. We can’t wait to chat and put books in your hands.

But if you’re reading this thinking, “sure, you guys are nice, but we’re here to meet the AUTHORS, silly!” check out our top-notch signing schedule, here:

11:00am–12:00pm, Joy Preble, Aisle 7, Finding Paris
11:00am–12:00pm, Melissa Marr, Aisle 8, Made For You
12:00–1:00pm, Kiera Cass, Aisle 8, The Selection Series
1:00–2:00pm, Thanhha Lai, Aisle 8, Listen, Slowly
2:00–3:00pm, Dan Gutman, Aisle 8, Genius Files #5: License to Thrill
4:00–5:00pm, Lauren Oliver, Aisle 8, Vanishing Girls

10:00–11:00am, Sherry Thomas, Aisle 3, The Elemental Trilogy
11:30am–12:30pm, Neal & Brendan Shusterman, Aisle 1, Challenger Deep
2:00–3:00pm, Gordon Korman, Aisle 1, Masterminds
2:00–3:00pm, Julie Murphy, Aisle 2, Dumplin’ galleys
3:00–4:00pm, Becky Albertalli, Aisle 1, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

You don’t want to miss our coupon in the aisle by aisle guide, either! It points you to our booth for a free copy of BONE GAP, by Laura Ruby (*while supplies last), and a chance to enter to win a piece of framed original art by Jef Czekaj, from his upcoming picture book, AUSTIN, LOST IN AMERICA.

We can’t wait to see y’all!


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24. Writing Day and Night!

Check out Michigan author, Ruth McNally Barshaw and a peek at our family literacy night!

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25. Hillary Clinton Revises Epilogue For Hard Choices Paperback

Hard Choices PaperbackFormer secretary of state Hillary Clinton has written an updated epilogue for the paperback edition of her memoir, Hard Choices. According to CNN.com, Clinton opens up about becoming a new grandmother.

The Huffington Post has posted the revised piece in its entirety. Simon & Schuster will release the print paperback book with a new cover on April 28th.

Over the weekend, Clinton publicly declared her bid for the 2016 presidential race. Follow this link to watch the official video announcement.

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