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The Montgomery County Book Festival is now partnering with Lone Star College – Montgomery. This year the festival is being expanded from a teens only format to include authors of children’s and tween books, young adult authors who cross over to the adult market and authors who write specifically for adults. However, as this blog focuses on children’s and young adult’s literature, I’ve only listed the names of authors who write for these age groups. For a complete list, visit the Montgomery County Book Festival website.
Chinese New Year Storytime! Join author Mary Wade in celebrating the Chinese New Year with the reading of NO YEAR OF THE CAT.
The Emperor has a problem. He wants his people to remember the year in which his son was born. But there is no way to keep track of the years. So the Emperor devises a race in which animals will cross a river. The first twelve animals to reach the opposite side will have a year named after them. Thus, the people will be able to remember the years and the events that occurred. And so the race is set. Rat, knowing he is no match for the rushing water, schemes with Cat on how to cross the river. Together the two convince Ox to carry them across. But halfway across the river, Rat shows his true colors. Will Cat make it to the other side? Which animals will have a year named after them? Accompanied by exquisite watercolor artwork, this charming story explains the origins of the Chinese calendar.
February 5, Tuesday, 6:00 PM Barnes & Noble, College Station Janet Fox and Joy Preble, YA Authors
Join Janet Fox and Joy Preble for an exclusive young adult Q&A session of their latest books and what it takes to be a YA author. We will be celebrating the release of Janet’s newest book, SIRENS, and Joy will talk about her upcoming book, THE SWEET DEAD LIFE.
Houston playwright Kathleen Tolan’s regional premiere of MEMORY HOUSE, directed by Claire Hart-Palumbo.
As Katia struggles to finish her college essay by tonight’s midnight deadline her mother Maggie tries to motivate and encourage her while baking a pie. Mother and daughter wrestle with lingering issues from Katia’s adoption from Russia, her parents’ divorce and her fear of leaving home as they pick their way through the very human, very honest, and sometimes very funny struggle of how to connect with each other and face the future.
Post show discussions: Following the Sunday matinee on February 3, the audience is invited to join the artists involved with the production as well as a diverse panel of adoptive families, who will reflect on the play and share their own experiences.
Ally Carter, New York Times best-selling author of the five books in the Gallagher Girls series, will discuss and sign her young adult novel PERFECT SCOUNDRELS.
Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting—or stealing—whatever they want.
No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir—this time, Hale might be the mark.
Our beautiful park suffered severely from last year’s drought. Money raised through ticket sales for this event and 30% of artists’ sales will be donated to The Memorial Park Conservancy for park reforestation.
Come enjoy the wine, dessert and snacks at the cocktail reception featuring the founder of Paws on Patios, Patrick Walsh, Jim Porter– chairman of The Memorial Park Conservancy, Brian Kalinec– singer/songwriter, Suzanne Marsh– silhouette artist, and the amazingly tall Walking Tree Of Life performer as well as many wonderful artists who will be selling tree-themed art. Visit www.theartfullumbrella.com/art_benefit for the details and to purchase tickets. Art which is not purchased at the event will be for sale online from December 12th-18th at www.theartfullumbrella.com/art_gallery/. Photo credit: Steve Lathem
For those of you in the West Houston/Katy/Fulshear areas, I wanted to pass on news of the 3rd annual “Stuff the Sleigh of Katy”, an all-volunteer holiday toy drive benefiting pediatric cancer patients treated at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) – West Campus, and their siblings. Santa Claus will present the children with toys collected in his Santa’s Sleigh at a family holiday party. The community toy drive is accepting donations to purchase holiday gifts through Wednesday, December 12. Those interested in sponsoring a child’s gift may stop by the Firethorne Community Center to select a ‘sleigh’ gift card with a wish list item on it from a young cancer patient or their brother or sister. Photo credit: Ginny Lund
We have several fun events happening this weekend! Remember that the information here is from the sponsoring bookstore or organization’s website and changes do happen. Please check their websites for the latest, most up-to-date information on these events.
Join Rachel Harris as she discusses and signs her new book MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY.
Armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat is thrust into the Renaissance on the eve of her sixteenth birthday where she soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But romance takes an unpleasant turn when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around. Can Cat find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
Illustrator Nancy Binford presents her new book, THE LAST CHRISTMAS TREE. The story of a not-to-handsome tree that has watched all the other trees on the lot get taken home. Will The Last Christmas Tree get a home?
While you’re out doing your holiday shopping, don’t forget to stop by the Houston area fine independent bookstores which frequently sponsor author and illustrator events:
Blue Willow Bookshop hosted a really special event this week—New York Times best-selling rockstar Jodi Piccoult and her teenage daughter Samantha Van Leer with their new co-written middle grade/young adult book. Jodi Piccoult says Samantha (Sam) pitched the idea for the book to her while she was on tour in L.A. and Jodi knew at once that out of Samantha’s many story ideas, this one was a winner.
BETWEEN THE LINES is about what happens when happily ever after…isn’t. Delilah, a loner hates school as much as she loves books—one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler than cool classmates, she’d be sent to social Siberia . . . forever.To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is not just a one-dimensional character in a book. He’s real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?
Jodi and Samantha took turns reading excerpts from the two main characters points of view. Both gave excellent readings, then the event was opened up to questions. Since Jodi Piccoult is such a big name, many questions were about her novels for adults, but I’m going to focus on the questions about Samantha and BETWEEN THE LINES.
As usual, I wrote as fast as I could, but I’ve ended up paraphrasing both questions and answers. None of these are verbatim, but I’m trying to be as accurate as I can. So here goes:
Question: Jodi, some of your books have controversial topics. Sam, do you read them? Jodi, are you comfortable with that?
Sam: Yes, I’ve read four of them.
Jodi: We have a very open household. I don’t think there’s any topic off limits. The more controversial my books are and the more upset people get about them, the more I am convinced I am doing the right thing.
Question: Are the two of you planning to write any more books for teens?
Sam: The first thing we are going to write is my college applications! But we do have an idea for a sequel to BETWEEN THE LINES.
Jodi: When Sam was in second grade, her teacher called and asked if she could send home Sam’s story to typed. When I said yes, the teacher said she needed to warn me—it was forty pages!
Question: Did you both discuss how this book would be written?
Tera Lynn Childs will celebrate the debut of her newest book for young adults, JUST FOR FINS. When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mer kingdom of Thalassinia, she knew she couldn’t just coast along in the current. But since she’s spent the last couple of years on land, Lily’s not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom… Just when Lily thinks her double life on land and sea can’t get any more complicated, an ancient mer law might separate Lily and her human boyfriend, Quince, after all. It feels as if the pair is up against a solid tsunami wave! In JUST FOR FINS, Lily will have to find a way to balance safety and justice for the mer people and for the humans she loves.
First Friday Reading Series, will feature the 2012 Meta-Four Youth Poetry Slam Team. Meta Four Houston is a nonprofit organization that encourages self-expression and literacy among Houston’s youth through creative writing and performance. Meta-Four Houston grew out of the Young Houston Writers 2007 -2008 collaboration between the Houston Chronicle daily newspaper and three local arts non-profits – DiverseWorks, Voices Breaking Boundaries and Writers in the Schools – that formed to identify and support the nascent youth spoken-word community in our city.
Inprint House is located at 1520 West Main, one block south of the Menil Collection, one block east of Mandell, in the Museum District of Houston. Always free, open to the public, always an open reading after the featured poet. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.
S.J. Kincaid will discuss and sign INSIGNIA, her debut novel for young adults.
More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.
Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?
Thanks for stopping by. And by the way, isn’t all this rain amazing?
I hope everyone has been having a fun summer, and it’s not over yet! I want to tell you about local two events coming up next weekend. All the fans of Joy Preble’s magical trilogy will be gathering for the grande finale of Russian history, romance, magic and mythology with Anne, Ethan and Anastasia.
From Joy’s website: Secrets within secrets. Truths within lies. Anastasia—She was the darling of the glittering Winter Palace while her half brother Viktor was relegated to the shadows. Now he’s ready to take his turn in the spotlight…and revenge on the world that shunned him. Anne—The visions won’t stop. One minute she’s in her bedroom on her cell phone. And the next she’s in the past witness to the private moments of the royal Romanov family. Ethan—He’s been eighteen for nearly century and finding Anne is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. But the magic in his blood is turning darker, forcing him to wonder whether he’s the most dangerous threat of all. History Doesn’t Tell Us Everything….
August 11, Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. THE BOOK NOOK Multiple Author Visit
Fifteen of authors from Fort Bend are meeting to sign your copy of their book! This event includes authors of many genres, including Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of THE CONCH BEARER and authors of other children’s books.
I know we are all excited about TeenBookCon and happy that next week it’s Houston’s turn to host TLA, the Texas Library Association’s annual conference. But though these are the biggest events rocking Houston’s children’s literature community, they aren’t the only events. Check out what’s happening in the next few days:
Children’s Author/Illustrator Laurie Knowlton signs I KNOW A LIBRARIAN WHO CHEWED ON A WORD. Miss Devine, a bun-wearing bibliophile, has a passion for literacy that reaches new heights. She has actually chewed on a word, claims one small witness to this outrageous event. In the manner of “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” she has downed a book shelf, table, chair, cart, and a copy of Peter Pan trying to chase down a savory assemblage of letters. What is that word?
April 14, Saturday, 10 a.m.-4p.m.
Alief Taylor High School TeenBookCon
Orson Scott Card will be the keynote speaker for the 3rd annual Houston-area TeenBookCon. TeenBookCon is FREE, though attendees may want to bring money for books and snacks. Along with Card, over 20 authors and artists of teen books from all over the U.S. will participate in author panels, signings, and activities at the free event. Authors’ works include graphic novels, paranormal and dystopian fiction, fantasy and romance. This is a great opportunity for teens and other fans of YA literature to interact with a variety of authors and graphic novelists! TeenBookCon’s major sponsor is the Blue Willow Bookshop. For details on the event schedule and other sponsors, please visit
TeenBookCon is over for this year, and what a great turnout they had! Now TLA is in full swing and everyone is posting pictures on facebook and twitter. Last night, Blue Willow Bookshop had such a fun event—a panel of five MG authors with author/editor David Levithan as moderator. Now we’ve got a whole ‘nother batch of author/illustrator events to take us through the end of the month.
Starting with a bang (drumroll…)
April 20, Friday, 7:00 p.m. West Houston Community Center, 725 Bateswood, Houston, TX Veronica Roth, Author
Blue Willow Bookshop hosts Veronica Roth as she discusses and sign DIVERGENT, her debut novel for young adults. We hope she will give us some hints about the upcoming INSURGENT as well!
Staff from Blue Willow Bookshop will begin handing out line numbers at 6:30 pm.
Herman Parish, nephew of Amelia Bedelia’s creator, Peggy Parish, and the author of many books about Amelia Bedelia, will discuss and sign AMELIA BEDELIA’S FIRST VOTE, the newest book in the Amelia Bedelia series.
For important information about this event, please see
Saturday we got to celebrate the long awaited launch of Lynne Kelly’s debut novel CHAINED with the good people at Blue Willow Bookshop. Lynne started off telling us a bit about the evolution of this story which started life as a picture book, and the first version is one that, thankfully (she says), no one else ever saw. Lynne took it to a critique group where Charles Trevino suggested it should be a novel. She said she thought, wow, a novel—that’s a lot of words!
Lynne said she started writing one chapter at a time, not knowing what was going to happen in the next chapter. She says she did know how it would end though, sort of. She joined a critique group and says they didn’t run her off, so she stayed and wrote the book. Uma Krishnaswami gave her an early critique, then gave it a final read before publishing to make sure it was all culturally correct. Revision took the storyline from three years to one and a half years to one year. CHAINED sold to MacMillan two years ago this month.
The publisher asked Lynne to suggest illustrators for the cover, so she researched book covers she loved and came up with some suggestions. One book, Elephant Bill, became the mentor’s backstory. She brought a poster to show
The big YA event for June is the Fierce Reads Tour, which will be coming to Houston on June13 at 7:00 p.m. at Blue Willow Bookshop.This tour from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group features Jennifer Bosworth, Ann Aguirre, Anna Banks, Emmy Laybourne, and Leigh Bardugo. For those who may not be familiar with all of these authors and their books, I’m going to run a short spotlight post for each of them. Today’s spotlight is:
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion a
Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen’s not fully convinced that Emma’s the one he’s been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help–no matter what the risk.
You can read an excerpt from OF POSEIDON, a great review on
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning. Read more…
Here you can read an interview with Ann Aguirre about worldbuilding on
Macmillan publicist Allison Verost (@aecverost) was the moderator for the panel of five YA authors. The evening started off with each author introducing her book. I couldn’t write down all they said, but over the past two weeks, I’ve put up posts about each of these authors and the book she was presenting at this event, so I’ll list those here:
Allison asked the authors to tell what they found most surprising about being a YA author and what they found most exciting. Emmy Laybourne’s response to most surprising: “You guys!” the time it takes between getting the contract for the book and the book hitting the shelves. Six months to two years? What’s wrong with it? Most exciting was that
Today we’re celebrating the launch of Maureen Johnson’s newest young adult novel, THE NAME OF THE STAR. Besides Books of Wonder in Maureen’s hometown, New York, Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston was the first stop on her tour. The house was packed with teenagers eager to get a first glimpse at this much anticipated Jack The Ripper thriller/ghost story/romance.
Earlier in the day, Maureen had a school visit in Pasadena, TX, and must have made some comment about special prizes for anyone who showed up at Blue Willow in costume. A couple of fans took her up on it, and got cool YA Saves shirts as prizes. I don’t think Maureen expected the staff to participate, but when she got there, look who greeted her!
VC: Your fans always hope that each of your books will be a series, yet many books are stand alone jewels, such as The Keys to the Golden Firebird, The Bermudez Triangle, and Devilish. I know everyone is thrilled to see the words SHADES OF LONDON BOOK ONE in the front of The Name of the Star. But which do you prefer writing, stand alones or series?
MJ: I like both, but with a series I can get into the world more. There were two books that I visualized as a series from the beginning—this one, The Name of the Star, and Suite Scarlet. I like to keep moving on world building. Suite Scarlet had the cast for a continuing series.
VC: During your event at Blue Willow Bookshop, many of your fans were eager to hear about your writing process. One asked if you ever participate in NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month).
MJ: No. Writing is my job. I write all the time, so writing all day in November is like asking a chef to cook every day in November. Plus, I can’t stop what I’m doing to follow NANOWRIMO’s rules. I think it’s great, and I support others who do it, but when you’re writing for a career it’s just not something you’d do.
VC: You mentioned that you came up with the idea for The Name of the Star
So many fantastic authors have come to Houston lately that I am backlogged on my blog posts. Today I want to tell you about a recent visit to Blue Willow Bookshop from Ilsa Bick, author of ASHES.
Ilsa, who started writing in 1997 on a dare, started off by asking if anyone was familiar with the term EMPs. A young man in the audience gave us a great definition but I’ll let you read it here. Ilsa said the reason she used this concept in Ashes is because she is a doctor and she likes the real science. A lot of horror isn’t believable, so she wanted to do something that might be possible.
“Science fiction is a literature of possibilities,” says Ilsa. She asked the teens in the audience to define dystopia. Totalitarianism, they said. Individuality is squelched, like school, like Mom and Dad.
“That,” said Ilsa, “is why these books are so popular with adolescents, because they are about living under someone’s thumb.”
Ilsa said she was thinking about those things while writing Ashes. “If you destroy the world as in Ashes, nothing will ever be the same. All elders must die. Kids are more plastic—if you can revive them, they end up being fine. In Ashes, all the older folks die so everyone who knows how to survive dies. Young kids all survive. Some of the older people survive. The teens change in ways that make you not want to be close to them.”
The main character, Alex, is seventeen, an orphan. Her parents died in a crash three years before. She has a brain tumor that is terminal. She decides she is tired of people telling her what to do. She takes off into the mountains on her own as one last thing to do before dying. Maybe she’ll walk out—maybe she won’t. But when the event happens, she meets a bratty eight-year-old, Ellie, and a twenty-year-old army guy, Tom.
Something special happens when people bond together in an emergency to keep other people safe.
Ilsa said she included an army person because the people in our military are young people and they are just as much a part of our young population as anyone. Plus, she was military and has been around military people all her life. Part of being a doctor is being able to take charge. This made it hard for her to learn to give up decisions to
I’m putting up the weekly author/illustrator events a day early for two reasons. First, this week is cram-jammed with events, including a major event on Saturday–the TweenReads Festival. The other reason is that last week I somehow missed posting a few events including one happening today that I’m sure a lot of my readers will not want to miss–Kate DiCamillo will be appearing at Blue Willow Bookshop TODAY! So, here we go:
Kate di Camillo Newbery-award winning author of A TALE OF DESPEREAUX, BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE and THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT among others, as well as BINK and GOLLIE and THE MERCY WATSON series for early readers, and the picture book LOUISE, THE ADVENTURES OF A CHICKEN will discuss and sign her books.
October 24, Monday 6:00 P.M. Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands Adam Gidwitz: Author Adam Gidwitz presents A TALE DARK AND GRIMM. Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm (and Grimm-inspired) fairy tales. An irreverent, witty narrator leads us through encounters with witches, warlocks, dragons, and the devil himself. As the siblings roam a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind the famous tales, as well as how to take charge of their destinies and create their own happily ever after. Because once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.
Rachel Caine will discuss the latest book in the Morganville Vampire series, LAST BREATH, in which college student Claire Danvers learns that three of the vampires in Morganville have disappeared without a trace, only to discover that the last person seen with one of the missing vampires is a mysterious new resident named Magnus. She begins to suspect that Magnus is not a fellow-human.
Laura Numeroff, author of many books for young readers, will discuss and sign IF YOU GIVE A DOG A DONUT. A portion of her royalties will be donated to First Book, a national nonprofit organization that promotes children’s literacy.
If you give a dog a donut, he’ll ask for some apple juice to go with it.
When you give him the juice, he’ll drink it all up.
Then, before you can say “Woof” . . . Dog is off on a backyard adventure!
In conjunction with this event, Blue Willow Bookshop is holding a supply drive for CAP, Citizens for Animal for Protection. Please bring dry kitten or puppy food, white paper towels, Ultra Clorox Bleach, dish detergent or new or used bath towels.
Here it is the third week of November, and I haven’t wished good luck to all the brave and determined people who are hammering out 50k words for NaNoWriMo. Best wishes to all of you and a Happy Thanksgiving, too! To help everyone around the Houston area have a great Thanksgiving week, here are the author/illustrator events around town:
Marianne Malonewill sign and discuss her debut middle grade book, THE SIXTY-EIGHT ROOMS. Housed in the deep inside the Chicago Art Institute is a collection of 68 exquisite miniature rooms, each set in a different historic period, and every detail is perfect. Some might even say, the rooms are magic. Imagine—what if on a field trip, you discovered a key that allowed you to shrink so that you could sneak inside and explore the rooms’ secrets? What if you discovered that others had done so before you? And that someone had left something important behind?
Sam E Bromleywill signHUNKA CHUNKA MONKEY SHAPES UP, an early middle grade tale of a curious but sedentary monkey who soon discovers it is refreshingly fun to make a new friend and join him in playful, active adventures of running, jumping and learning the fast paced game of basketball.
Annie Barrows will discuss and sign IVY AND BEAN: NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS, the latest in the IVY AND BEAN series. Ivy and Bean need some money. Ten dollars, to be exact. Never mind what for. Okay, it’s for low-fat Belldeloon cheese in a special just-for you serving size. Don’t ask why. How are Ivy and Bean going to make ten dollars? Hey, maybe they should write a newspaper about Pancake Court and sell it! Great idea! And easy, too. All they have to do is snoop around the neighborhood. Wow…It’s very interesting what they can find out. It’s even more interesting when the neighbors read about it in the newspaper.
This wonderful cold weather we’re having is getting me in the mood for the holidays. I’ve got Renaissance music playing on Pandora, a fire in the fireplace and a chocolate tart baking in the oven to take to our Houston SCBWI holiday meeting tonight. Of course, I may not be quite so merry tomorrow when I am chopping down my bougainvillea and hibiscus bushes to cover them for the freeze we are expecting in a couple of days, but those are the lumps.
This week, the fans and writers of young adult literature are gearing up for a long-awaited event. Mary Lindsey, one of the organizers of the Houston YA/MG Writers, is having her launch for her debut YA novel SHATTERED SOULS this Saturday! Scroll down for the info on Mary’s launch. See you there!
Holiday Open house featuring local children’s book authors Lauri Rosen author of Pixie and Trixie Bug, Wanda Dionne author of Little Thumb, Margaret McManis author of Ima and the Great Texas Ostrich Race, Debbie Frontiera, author of the Eric and the Enchanted Leaf series and Stacey Jata author of My Mom Has Eyes in the Back of her Head! After reading selections from their works, the authors will be available to autograph their books. Guests may bring these books from home or purchase them at the Open House.
Kim Bellini, owner and director of The Woodlands LearningRx, believes that the best gift parents can give a child is to spend time together reading aloud. “Reading is the best way to build cognitive skills in children,” Bellini said. She suggests that parents and family members place fun books at the top of their holiday shopping list.
Mary originally wrote the book in third person with both the male and female main characters’ points of view. Her agent asked her to rewrite it in first person, from just Lenzi’s (the female main character) POV. In one of our Houston YA/MG Writers meetings, Mary talked about how she wrote from the senses to create such a deep POV for her main character.
She rewote her novel in first person, and SHATTERED SOULS sold. The acquiring editor had made it clear that there would be significant revisions, so Mary was expecting to be busy with rewrites but she never expected what she called the “5000 word Letter of Doom.” For a great post on this fourteen page revision letter, read Mary’s blog tour post at I Am A Reader Not A Writer.
And for a real treat for all you writers, Mary’s editor, Jill Santopolo, posted some of her actual revision notes for SHATTERED SOULS on Books Complete Me.
Mary brought several photos of preliminary designs for the cover. The original plan for the cover was to have an origami rose on glass (pictured here). As is usual with a big publishing house, the author had no input on her book’s cover, but after going through many changes, SHATTERED SOULS ended up with a gorgeous cover.
For the launch of her debut novel, Mary did a whopping 123 stop blog tour I’ve posted links to a few of my favorites here, but here is the entire list if you’d like to catch up.
Review from Patricia’s Particuliarity
Review from Reading Vacation
Interview with Lenzi, the main character in SHATTERED SOULS on
“We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful” is the motto of Deza Malone’s family. Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But the Great Depression hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother Jimmie go in search of him, and end up in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie’s beautiful voice inspires him to leave the camp to be a performer, while Deza and Mother find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will find Father. The twists and turns of their story reveal the devastation of the Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone.
Another great week of author and illustrator events is here! Something for everyone: a picture book author/illustrator, a Newbery honor winner, a popular author/screenwriter and a quartet of YA authors. Mark your calendars!
Divya Srinivasan, an illustrator and animator living in Austin, Texas, will lead a special storytime featuring LITTLE OWL’S NIGHT . It’s evening in the forest and Little Owl wakes up from his day-long sleep to watch his friends enjoying the night. Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. A full moon rises and Little Owl can’t understand why anyone would want to miss it. Could the daytime be nearly as wonderful? Mama Owl begins to describe it to him, but as the sun comes up, Little Owl falls fast asleep.
We’re all getting excited about TeenBookCon coming up April 14 at Alief Taylor High School! Have you seen the lineup? So many great authors, all in one day. Meanwhile, we’re still having events at several bookstores in March. Here are the events for March 1-10.
The author will sign and discuss MY PRAYERS: A CHILD’S BOOK OF PRAYERS FOR EVERY DAY, featuring prayers that give religious expression to experiences in a child’s life. The Table of Contents enables the reader to choose the prayers that fit a mood or occasion the child is experiencing or reflects his or her interest.
Join author Natalie May Bolger as she reads her book GRAND FESTIVE PICNIC. Listen as Lulu the Lioness and Pinky Lucy Goosey embark on a celebration of friendship, then stick around for crafts and activities with Natalie!
Last week I thought I’d caught all the literary events for Houston up until March 10, but it looks like I missed a few. I’ve got them here now, plus a reminder for a couple more. This week’s line-up has a famous baseball player-turned-author, two virtual author chats, a story of a heroic librarian, a rising star of Young Adult literature AND a free writing workshop! Whew!
As always, this information is from the sponsoring bookstore or organization’s website. As times and events can change on short notice, please remember to check their website, or better, their stores, for the latest updates.
Meet and chat with Lauren McLaughlin author of SCORED and CYCLER about new books, past books, the writing process or the color of their socks. This author chat is the virtual equivalent of sitting and chatting with your favorite writer at a coffee shop. Don’t forget to check out her books from your local library!
NOTE ON VIRTUAL ONLINE CHATS:
Readers can view the broadcast from any computer, anywhere in the country! Or you can click here to view. You can also visit any of the listed Houston Public Library locations to participate in these virtual author visits. If you want to participate in the chat, please go to HPL’s Almost Totally Virtually Here!page, scroll down, and use the chat window there.
Cal Ripken, Jr., The Iron Man himself, stops by to sign his new book for kids. In SUPER SIZED SLUGGER , Cody Parker is the new kid in school. He’s overweight, scared and hates his new life in Dullsville, Maryland, aka Baltimore, where he’s a target–okay, a big target–for brutal teasing. But he loves baseball. And despite his size, he plays third base like a dream. Too bad he’s competing for the starting job on the Orioles of the Dulaney Babe Ruth League against budding hoodlum Dante Rizzo,