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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Kirkus Reviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 27
1. I have proof! Dragons ARE Real!

Breaking News! Proof that Dragons are indeed REAL!

Maybe this news prompted you to drop your sandwich or even roll your eyes with disbelief….but I am here to tell you; Dragons are Real! How do I know? I have proof. In fact, I have MORE than proof! As a child I had a Dragon friend for two whole summers in Gotland, Sweden.

I shared this story with Rocco during an interview at the wonderful KitLit TV.

My newest book, Dragons are Real  tells this story in vibrant color and I am so honored that I was able to team up with reknown children’s book illustrator, .

Michael Welply was born in London, England ad raised in Winnipeg, Canada. He studied art in Winnipeg and Paris. He has illustrated over 80 books in Europe and in North America ranging from historical work to fantasy and fairy tales. He has two grown children, three grandchildren and currently lives in central France with his wife. It was Michael’s talent and vision that allowed us to accurately (and magically) capture what my brother and I experienced with our dragon friend for two summers.
Michael Welply

Dragons are real
SO basically what I am trying to tell everyone is that all of the fairy tales, myths and legends that have been told about dragons over the years are WRONG!

Dragons are not only Real, they are different than you’ve ever imagined.

Dragons are Real
This book isn’t for everyone. It’s only for those BRAVE enough to go looking for dragons in the most usual of places.

Once you find your nearest dragon you’ll need to know a few basic skills.

Are You:
 – Good at finding hidden things, like dragons in disguise ?
 –  Wanting a best friend who will take you for rides on their back ? OK we missed
      an important detail….riding on their backs while flying through the air ?
 – Good at telling jokes and riddles ?
 – Good at roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in a constant stream of fire. Don’t
     worry no fire protective gear needed.
 –  Willing to be a dance partner ?
 – Willing to listen and share poetry, especially rhymes ?
 – Are you clever enough to read a Dragon’s secret message? And then of course
     be able to send one back your local and friendly dragon ? Just a reminder that
     Dragon’s don’t text. They love to send secret messages.
If you’ve said a loud “YES” to even half of the above questions, chances are this book is just right for YOU!

As readers turn the pages and learn the truth about Dragons, they will see that the fiercest beasts in known history can actually be the best of friends. It’s a lesson in finding companionship in the most unusual of places. Dragons are Real is a magical book filled with stunning illustrations and hints that dragon are indeed all around us :)

Dragons are Real

Dragons are Real is now available for purchase on both Amazon and Gumroad. We are also offering a special free bonus gift of a Dragons Are Real Inspiration Activity Guide when you purchase your copy of this enchanting picture book.

I also received exceptionally exciting news a few weeks ago and keeping the news of this huge honor has been hard! Here is the email that popped into my inbox that had me doing the Happy Dance for weeks:

Hi Valarie,
I hope you are well. I’m following up to let you know that your review for “Dragons are Real” was selected by our Indie Editors to be featured in Kirkus Reviews 7/1 Issue. Congratulations! Your review will appear as one of about 35 reviews in  the Indie section of the 7/1 Kirkus Reviews magazine which is sent out to over 5,200 industry professionals (librarians, publishers, agents, etc.) Less than 10% of our Indie reviews are chosen for this, so it’s a great honor. The digital version of this issue will be available for me to send to you on July 5th, and the print version will be available in a week or so after that.
All the best & congratulations again,
Crystal Timbeross

Client Promotions & Advertising Associate 

Dragons are Real
To everyone who helped make this book not only a huge success, but let the story of Dragons among us be told, THANK YOU!

The post I have proof! Dragons ARE Real! appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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2. One Thing Stolen: A Booklist Star and a Goodreads Giveaway

Maybe the pre-publication months are the hardest months on writers. Best to shrug them off, develop distractions, think on next stories, next things, new recipes.

Earlier this week, through the nervous silence (and a search for tea for two guests at Penn), came news of a Booklist star for One Thing Stolen, as well as some very generous words from School Library Journal. I also learned that Chronicle will be sponsoring a Goodreads giveaway, beginning on March 1st. More on that can be found in the sidebar on my blog.

For now, I share highlights from the book's three early trade reviews:

Fans of Jandy Nelson’s dense, unique narratives will lose themselves in Kephart’s enigmatic, atmospheric, and beautifully written tale.  — Booklist, Starrred Review

“Kephart’s artful novel attests to the power of love and beauty to thrive even in the most devastating of circumstances.”—School Library Journal

"Kephart has crafted a testament to artistry and the adaptability of the human mind.  Set in Florence, Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance, Kephart transports readers across the ocean from Philadelphia, Pa., to the cobbled streets of Italy." Kirkus Reviews 

 In other publishing news: This kind review of Handling the Truth, in Assay Journal, by Renee D'Aoust.

And Love: A Philadelphia Affair (Temple University Press, August 2016) has an official cover and flap copy, which I will share here when the time is right.

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3. Relief: The Kirkus Review of One Thing Stolen

“Rivetingly captures the destructive effects of mental and physical illness on a likable, sweet-natured teen.”—Kirkus Reviews

Something very bad is happening to 17-year-old Nadia.Ever since her family relocated to Florence for her father's sabbatical, she's been slipping out at night to steal random objects and then weave them into bizarre nest-shaped forms she hides from her family, and she's losing her ability to speak. The first section of the novel is related by Nadia in brief, near-breathless, panicky sentences that effectively capture her increasing disintegration. Switching smoothly between entrancing flashbacks of her promising past—"It was so easy, being me"and her painful, confusing present, which includes visions of a "fluorescent" boy with a pink duffle, real or imagined, Nadia relates her story in fragments. Her parents, remarkably slow to realize Nadia isn't just having trouble adjusting, finally contact wise, nurturing Katherine, a doctor, for help. The narrative switches to the voice of Maggie, Nadia's beloved friend and soul mate, who joins the family in Italy to help Nadia and to find the duffle boy, whose existence—or not—has become critically important. It is he who narrates the final brief section. With Nadia's jumbled personality slipping away, the change of narrative voice is especially disquieting, offering few guarantees of a happy outcome. Disturbing, sometimes unsettling and ultimately offering a sliver of hope, this effort rivetingly captures the destructive effects of mental and physical illness on a likable, sweet-natured teen.

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4. Watch for it: HIT

Lorie Ann Grover swings by readergirlz to chat with Janet Lee Carey  about her new book HIT on its launch day! Welcome Lorie Ann.

JLC -- HIT is a riveting read! Tell us what inspired you to write it.

LG -- Thank you, Janet! HIT was inspired by a true story. Ten years ago, my daughter's best friend was hit in a crosswalk on the way to school. With her life threatened, her urgent brain surgery sent her family and friends spinning through a dark wait. Inspired by her experience, my novel tells the story of one girl struck down by the very grad student she is crushing on. Plans, goals, and dreams are shattered, as everything comes screeching to a halt. 

JLC – You chose to write the book in two viewpoints: Sarah, the girl who’s struck by a car, and Mr. Haddings, the young man who was behind the wheel. I was amazed by your choice which worked beautifully! Can you tell us when you decided to write the book this way and share some of the challenges faced?  

LG -- Well, it was originally six voices!

JLC -- Wow, six?

LG -- :~)

JLC -- Who were they?

LG -- Sarah, Haddings, Cydni, Luke, Janet, and Mark. Different editors along the publishing journey suggested reducing it to four, then finally two. Without introducing some sort of fantastic element, like Sarah wandering the hospital in spirit form, I needed at least two voices to tell the story as she is so long in surgery.

JLC – You write so deeply and truly about family and family relationships in HIT. Can you give us a peek into your process for this?

LG -- I think the real event was so charged and poignant, gestures, words, and phrases became haunting notes in my mind. It was simple to stream those straight into the novel. I also include the struggles I’m having or have had in the past: how to mother and let go, how to love the right person, how to separate your identity from another, etc. By digging deeply and bringing battles to light, there’s a chance the work will ring with a reader.

JLC—They say every story is about character change. Sarah’s accident forces not only the central characters but every character in the book to change. How did you determine the way each of these unique personalities would change through the events of the story?

LG -- Thank you for noticing, Janet! I started from a place where everyone was caught up in the everyday. They were selfishly focused. The accident arrests each of them, giving them a chance to stop and assess where they are and what is important. So often, this is one of the gifts within a hardship. I naturally landed on their starting points, riffing off my friends and my own traits. I amplified every facet to better the tale. Seriously, my friends are blessed with so much grace, I had to work hard to weaken them. :~)

JLC— What would you like readers to take away from this book?

LG --’d really like readers to consider the concept that within every hardship there are sweet red seeds. Like Dottie tells Sarah, under the leathery pomegranate skin, there is beauty. We just have to look for it. The truth lines up beautifully with Hit-and-Run: the Gratitude Tour. We're doing. Both Justina Chen and I tend to write about this.

JLC-- The tour will bring out HIT and Justina Chen's A BLIND SPOT FOR BOYS.
JLC -- Tell us more bout the tour!
Hit-and-Run: The Gratitude Tour:
When trials hit, how do we run in triumph? When we have a blind spot for blessings, how do we embrace gratitude? Award-winning authors and readergirlz co-founders, Lorie Ann Grover and Justina Chen, share the trials and triumphs within their own lives and their books’ characters, inspiring teens and adults to #hitwithgratitude.

What we now realize is that our message is going to stretch beyond this tour across four states. We will continue to hit the road, encouraging readers to #hitwithgratitude now and in the years to come. For example, how about a 30 Day Challenge to #hitwithgratitude daily through the month of November? Why not tweet, fb, and Instagram shout-outs for those you are grateful for? Who are the people who have crossed your life that you’d like to #hitwithgratitude?

JLC -- I love this idea!

LG -- There are so many ways we can encourage each forward, right? Let’s do it.
I officially #hitwithgratitude: readergirlz and Janet Lee Carey!


JLC -- :~) 
By Lorie Ann Grover
Blink, 10/07/2014

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5. ‘Maggie’ is a Sunny Summer Read!

Looking for a sunny summer read? Maggie Vaults Over the Moon lets the sunshine in. The young adult novel about a courageous farm girl, Maggie Steele, who overcomes tragedy and rises to new heights as a pole-vaulter, has brightened the … Continue reading

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6. La Crosse’s July 4th River Vault Features High-Flying Athletes, Fireworks, and All-American Maggie!

Fireworks will be flying high this Friday, the 4th of July, and so will pole-vaulters at the 5th Annual River Vault competition in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Joining in the patriotic celebration will be All-American Maggie Steele, storybook heroine of the … Continue reading

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7. Journey Upward With ‘Maggie Vaults Over the Moon’

Maggie says, “I’m knowing the Highest and Best for the brave and daring pole-vaulters competing in league, regional, and state championships this week. Believe in yourself! Hang on tight! Have fun! And I will see you, over the moon!” ABOUT … Continue reading

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8. The Unsung Hero Who Helped Maggie Vault Over the Moon and Into Our Hearts

The person who brought Maggie Vaults Over the Moon to our sport belongs on the award’s stand! I can say this without boast or brag, because that person isn’t me, Grant Overstake. The man who helped storybook heroine Maggie Steele … Continue reading

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9. Gift Idea: ‘Maggie’ Brings Readers with Rural Roots Back Home

A former rural newspaper editor has created a teen novel that’s harvesting praise from readers of all ages for its realistic view of life on a family farm. The novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is a perfect gift idea … Continue reading

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10. You Can Inspire Them With a Maggie Christmas!

Looking for a motivational gift this holiday season? Inspire them with a Maggie Christmas! Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is the story of a courageous teen, Maggie Steele, who finds the strength to overcome a tragedy and rise to new … Continue reading

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11. Maggie Soars to Sunny California for Valley Vaulters Halloween Vault

Storybook heroine Maggie Steele is winging her way West for the fourth annual Valley Vaulters Halloween Vault this weekend in beautiful Murrieta, California. The event, sponsored by the Valley Vaulters pole-vault club will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 … Continue reading

1 Comments on Maggie Soars to Sunny California for Valley Vaulters Halloween Vault, last added: 10/28/2013
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12. Homegrown Heroine Maggie Steele to Appear at Kansas Book Festival

Maggie Steele is headed to the Statehouse! Author Grant Overstake will introduce his young adult novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, to the book-loving people of Kansas at the Kansas Book Festival, to be held Saturday, Sept. 7th, on the … Continue reading

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13. Win a Pole-Vaulting Adventure at Maggie’s Book Signing, Friday July 12th at The Bookshelf in McPherson!

Three Cheers for Maggie! She’s vaulting into The Bookshelf bookstore in sports-crazy McPherson, Kansas! And to celebrate, author Grant Overstake will sign copies of his nationally acclaimed sports novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon Friday July 12, from 6 p.m. … Continue reading

1 Comments on Win a Pole-Vaulting Adventure at Maggie’s Book Signing, Friday July 12th at The Bookshelf in McPherson!, last added: 7/17/2013
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14. Come on Down! Maggie Travels to Texas River Vault Championship!

Didya hear the BIG news? Maggie is headed to Texas! The fictional pole-vaulting farm girl from Grain Valley, Kan., will be ridin’ high atop the awards stand Saturday, June 15th, at the Texas River Vault Championship. As many as 300 … Continue reading

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15. ‘Maggie’ Fans Flock to Book Signing and Reading at Watermark Books!

An overflow crowd of nearly 70 Maggie Steele fans gathered at Watermark Books & Cafe Thursday night, April 11th, to hear Grant Overstake read from his new sports novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon. It was an overwhelming show of … Continue reading

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16. rgz Newsflash: Justina Featured in Kirkus!

This, rgz, this is Justina Chen's heart which conceived our community. Read the Kirkus Feature by her and be inspired. Then, read Return to Me.



LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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17. Guest Post: Richard Hebert

Okay, here is a fun guy, witty and sharp. I had the pleasure of meeting Richard at the annual Florida Writer's Association banquet. We shared a few laughs and talked shop (writers do that, ya know). So, I tell Richard that I write fiction, mostly fantasy. He tells me he writes metafiction.

What? What is that?

Oh, it's fiction that is aware of itself. As the kids say these days, "Mind=Blown". I must be living a sheltered life, I've never heard of it before that night. It sounds fascinating and I want to try it. In the meantime, here is Richard telling about his novel and a little about himself. 

MINDWARP, A Novella …And Other Strange Tales

A committee of muses sits about the living room of my brain, discussing matters of no great import. A motley group they are, having just finished their pizzas—one pepperoni, one vegetarian, one combo—hold the anchovies.
“Why in the world is he doing this?” asks the chair-muse, finger-flicking crumbs from her robe….

Thus begins a journey into the mind of a “deranged author” (it says so on the back cover!) and his collection of short fiction, MindWarp, a Novella…And Other Strange Tales. Kirkus Reviews, the self-described “World’s Toughest Book Critics,” described the novella and accompanying eight short stories by author Richard Hébert this way:

This scintillating collection…uses offbeat character studies to wrestle with snaky issues of identity and self-knowledge. Hébert’s loquacious, usually anonymous narrators are obsessed with penetrating the riddle of the people around them.
In “MindWarp,” a nameless writer battens for inspiration on Guy, a working-class barfly who is almost elemental in his beaten-down ordinariness. Things get complicated when Guy begins an affair with the feisty, appealing Yolanda; the couple pushes back against the writer’s determination to “warp” their reality into a fictional celebration of heroic failure—until the writer himself seems to become the unstable, increasingly desperate creation of his own story.
Quirky, opaque figures abound in other stories; “Ana, Always,” about a Yugoslavian youth’s efforts to fathom the tragic mystery of a middle-aged woman, is a meditation on family and exile; “Silence,” a somewhat affected tale about a guilt-burdened war veteran who acquiesces in his wife’s affair with an ex-comrade, finds power in the evanescent fracturing of its hero’s personality. Only in “Azazel,” a comic gem about a mythical desert herdsmen who tends the world’s scapegoats until the powers that be decide he needs a ritzy California estate in which to receive humanity’s atonement, do we meet a man who thoroughly knows himself.
The author delights in mind games; the title novella is as much a commentary on the conundrums of fictional representation as it is a fiction. Fortunately, Hébert’s writerly conceits are rescued by the quality of his prose; his deadpan realism, mordant wit and acute powers of description ground his flights of abstraction in the soil of experience.
A beguiling blend of high-concept narrative and old-school literary chops.
Kirkus subsequently named the collection to its top 50 list of 2011 “Indie” books.
Hébert is a former award winning investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize nominee; a media relations manager and consultant; a nationally published magazine feature and documentary film writer, and world traveler. Many of his works of fiction, including the stories in MindWarp, were inspired by incidents encountered during his travels in Europe, Africa and North, Central and South America. He currently also writes a political blog – Richard’s Take – from his retirement home in St. Augustine, Florida.
His other published books include a memoir, Life Is Good; a novel, The Questing Beast, and Highways to Nowhere: The Politics of Urban Transportation

Mindwarp is available on Kindle: http://goo.gl/sr1zT

It is also available in paperback, BN Nook, and directly from the publisher, Author House.

Signed copies are available directly from the author: [email protected]

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18. Troll Hunters!

Our very own Michael Dahl has truly outdone himself this time. His epic fantasy tale involving trolls, teens, and the stars isn’t set to run wild until August 1st, but I thought I’d give our blog’s readers a sneak peek at what’s to come.

First off, we’ve already received a handful of glowing reviews, including this testimonial from School Library JournalKirkus Reviews cited the story's “Compulsive plot, non-stop action … fast-moving narrative [with] lots of suspense ... A page-turner.”

Another review compared the book to a younger version of the His Dark Materials series of books by Phillip Pullman (The Golden Compass, The Amber Spyglass, etc.). Good company, to say the least.

Last but definitely not least, nearly every review thus far has mentioned the amazing illustrations done by Ben Kovar. But don’t take my word for it, or theirs—judge for yourselves.

Make sure to mark August 1st on your calendars! In the meantime, keep your eyes on the skies!
Sean Tulien, Editor

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19. Kirkus on WHITE WATER

Another solid review of WHITE WATER.  I am thrilled that the reviewer mentioned the mirroring that the black and white characters showed in the illustrations. Even as a child, racism was so odd to me because of just how similar we all are in our basic instincts and mannerisms as human beings. I hope that children take that idea away from this book as well. Thanks for a lovely review~
WHITE WATER (reviewed on July 5, 2011)

Young Michael’s desire for refreshment at the whites-only water fountain teaches him about truth and the power of imagination.

Narrator Michael normally accepts the familiar trappings of the Jim Crow South—giving up a seat at the bus stop and on the bus and drinking from separate water fountains. When Michael drinks from his assigned fountain, he finds the water warm and nasty. Next to him, a white boy drinks for a long time, convincing Michael that the white water is superior to his. Michael cannot stop thinking about that delicious white water and comes up with a way to taste it for himself. When reality hits—the same pipe feeds water to both fountains—Michael begins to wonder what other lies he has believed. Strickland’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations extend the story, visually demonstrating the similarities between these two boys. Michael’s grandmother and the white boy’s mother both hold their hand to their foreheads in the heat; the boys sit at the bench with their legs extended the same way; they leave the bus through different doors but their bodies move with the same motion; their drinking stances are identical. Inspirational in tone, this is a strong introduction for young listeners and readers to the American Civil Rights movement.

Michael’s examination of the myths that rule his world should inspire modern readers to do the same. (Picture book. 4-10)

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20. Kirkus Reviews likes The Summer of Moonlight Secrets

This just in--Kirkus Reviews likes The Summer of Moonlight Secrets! Or to put it in their words:

A quick pace . . . a magical frisson . . . The mix of fantasy and light mystery makes for an entertaining read. Kirkus Reviews


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21. Kirkus calls Escaping The Tiger "essential."

So Kirkus is alive and well! Their review is below, as well as a review from Booklist. Thanks for dropping by!

Kirkus: “After fleeing across the Mekong River and nearly drowning in the process, 12-year-old Lao Vonlai, his older sister, Dalah, and his parents are confined to an overcrowded refugee camp in Thailand in 1982 to wait for resettlement in a Western country. Food is scarce, and camp conditions are horrific, with little to sustain the family but a sense of community and dwindling hope, as months of confinement become years. Vonlai befriends an aging Lao colonel who teaches him woodcarving and determination, and he valiantly protects his sister from the ever-present danger of sexual assault. Even after eventual resettlement, it is clear that many challenges remain for the teen and his family. Basing the story on her husband’s childhood experiences, the author documents the refugees’ harrowing plight in riveting episodes that capture the hardships endured by these too-often forgotten people and also illustrate Vonlai’s difficult coming of age. A sad afterword that pairs perfectly with the fictionalized tale summarizes the real-life experiences of Anousone Manivong, adding further depth to an already moving tale. Essential.”

Booklist: “Based on the author’s husband’s experience, this first novel about escape from Communist Laos in 1982 is told from the viewpoint of Vonlai Sirivong, 12, who flees with his family across the border to Thailand. The focus is on his four years spent in a cramped, miserable UN refugee camp, where he is unable to attend school after sixth grade, and he waits for admission to the U.S. Brutality is always present: in one scene, Vonlai protects his older sister from attempted rape. He also bonds with an older man who lost everything and dreams of life in America . Finally, his family is interviewed, they say good-bye to the camp, and they travel to Kansas, where Vonlai hates the food, loves the snow, and plays sports. The specific details about camp life may be too repetitive for some readers. But refugee families and their friends everywhere will recognize the cruel dislocation, the interminable wait, and the search for home.”

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22. No more Kirkus reviews

Sad news today. Kirkus Reviews is closing up shop. Parent Nielsen is closing the trade magazine, which has become an institution in publishing, as well as Editor & Publisher.

For all aspiring authors who have for years read about debuting books and their Kirkus reviews, they won’t have the opportunity to get a Kirkus review of their own. The cost of progress? I don’t know.

Thank you to the staff of the magazine for all they have done for authors over the years.

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23. What Kirkus Leaves Behind

If you’ve been following the latest publishing news, you know that Kirkus Reviews is closing its doors. This is yet another result of the economy more or less.

I’ve always known Kirkus to review all types of books from both small and big publishing houses. I also remember how some of my writer friends had a love/hate relationship with the publication. A good review was great. But a bad review? No one could do it like Kirkus. It was almost like a rite of passage.

But it’s what Kirkus is leaving behind that has most people in the industry wondering. With new media, technology, and social networking—there isn’t a dearth of resources to find book reviews, but Kirkus was considered “professional” and also the source for many librarians and other book buyers to gauge whether to put a book on their shelves.

Lee and Low talks about the affect on their blog, What Kirkus Closing Means for the Average Reader:

“Without Kirkus and other review journals you’d still have bloggers, but you’d have to send a lot more books out to reach the same number of readers. At least right now. Getting rid of print review journals won’t make much of a difference for, say, Twilight. But it will make the small books by debut authors and independent publishers harder to find––and, consequently, harder to make.”

Who knows what’s in store for the industry in the next few years. I have a feeling that the traditional paradigm for books (print vs. electronic) will change. The biggest question is what will its new form look like?

As a writer, it can be overwhelming at times. Thinking about the industry while you are trying to create your work can become a major distraction. But I do believe the industry will always be looking for interesting and captivating stories, so definitely keep your head up and keep writing.

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24. "The Day-Glo Brothers" sweep 2009!

Chris Barton's first book for children wowed 'em in Wooster. Ohio, that is.

Chris recently traveled to the great state of Ohio, the home of the Day-Glo Corporation--which was founded by Bob and Joe Switzer, the subjects of his book--to visit the Buckeye Book Fair. While there, he took the opportunity to visit the Day-Glo plant. Read all about it at his blog, Bartography.

From the photos, this factory looks like the most beautiful place in the world to work. But that broom is mostly useless, if you ask our Irish mother.

The Day-Glo Brothers has enjoyed a great run right out of the gate:

* Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of 2009
* Kirkus Reviews' Best Children's Books of 2009

"[T]hese . . . brothers shine even more brightly than the paints and dyes they created. "
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Barton takes on the dual persona of popular historian and cool science teacher as he chronicles the Switzer brothers' invention of the first fluorescent paint visible in daylight. "
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"This unique book does an excellent job of describing an innovative process."
--School Library Journal, starred review

Visit Chris Barton online.

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25. Introducing the Electrifying Ellen Booraem

This month we're thrilled to have three debut authors. Our first celebration is for Ellen Booraem and her MG fantasy, The Unnameables.

“The Unnameables” is a whimsical fantasy set on an island where everyone is named for what he or she does. The hero is a 13-year-old foundling boy named Medford Runyuin, whose meaningless name underscores his status as an outsider in a rigid, orderly society. Medford has a dangerous secret that just keeps getting worse as he gets older. A smelly, chaotic goatman shows up to expose the secret, kicking off a chain of events that changes Medford’s life—and his island—forever.

Ellen quit a job she loved—arts and special sections editor for the county newspaper—to take her third stab at writing a novel. This time, it worked! Before taking the plunge, she had been writing and editing for rural weeklies for nearly twenty years. Before that, she wrote and edited employee newsletters for corporations and college publications.

Ellen and her partner, artist Rob Shillady, moved to coastal Maine from southern New England in 1984. In the early 90s, they bought land in their tiny town (population: 800) and built a house with their own hands (mostly Rob’s, since one of his day jobs had been carpentry). They live there now with a dog named Calamity Jane and a cat named McGonagall, after the Harry Potter professor who can turn herself into a cat.

Ellen is a founding director of the Brooklin Youth Corps, a summertime work and self-esteem program for teens. She is a mentor and writing coach at the local school, and freelances for the newspaper where she used to work.

Here’s what Kirkus Reviews had to say about The Unnameables:

(Starred Review) On Island, “thou art thy name.” At age 14, residents receive their names and their vocations from the Council. A cook becomes Cook, a tanner becomes Tanner and everyone follows the rules set forth in Capability C. Craft’s Frugall Compendium of Home Arts and Farme Chores (1680). Thirteen-year-old foundling Medford Runyuin hopes to be designated Carver, like his foster father. He also hopes no one will discover the Unnameable objects he’s created and hidden under his bed: They could cause his exile to Mainland forever. The Council puts off naming him, however, and he must continue to work hard for acceptance. When someone nameless and possibly Unnameable enters his life, all his plans—and the islanders’ way of life—could be in for drastic changes…but after 300 years, is that necessarily a bad thing? Booraem’s debut is an ever-surprising, genre-defying page-turner. Realistic characters deal with philosophical problems in vivid, flowing prose that is evocative and often funny. A sort of combination of witch-trial-era Salem and The Giver, this book offers a treat with nearly every page turn.

5 Comments on Introducing the Electrifying Ellen Booraem, last added: 10/7/2008
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