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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Wendy Mass, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 10 of 10
1. Book Expo America: Part I

Like many others I attended Book Expo America, but unlike many others I needed another week to recover before writing about it. I also needed a full week to get my voice back, but that's another part of the story.

Being from the Washington, DC area I was able to take advantage of a full range of choices of express bus services to New York, including Bolt Bus which drops off and picks up a block from Javits. We had a winner! The easy drop off before 2:00p.m. on Wednesday got me registered at BEA with my suitcase checked and still in time to make one of my priority author signing sessions, Tim Federle at 2:30p.m. I love his books, his Twitter feed, and - from the one time I chatted with him in Alexandria - him, so I was excited to get his new picture book, Tommy Can't Stop. Though I thought I would miss it, I had enough time to get Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight signed by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer. I also hopped in line to pick up Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet, by Nick Bruel - who signs with a little kitty drawing. I had added a book selection for my singer teen, VIP: I'm With the Band, by Jen Calonita.

With four great author signings done so quickly, I couldn't believe my luck when a book that I had seen online and hoped to purchase happened to be available at the next table. That was pretty cool. So I brought home a little bit of self-help in Healthy Brain, Happy Life by Wendy Suzuki. I also picked up an abandoned copy of The Song Machine, just because I could.

I had allotted myself time to wait in line for Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi, and wait I did. But it wasn't as bad as I expected - especially given that I ran into blogger and online buddy Emily Mitchell. We chatted a bit, the line moved quickly, and I got my book, poster and photo opportunity. The Story of Diva and Flea takes place in Paris, and the poster has that French feeling to it. Mo looked good from his year on sabbatical, which I believe I told him. Afterwards I got to talk more with Emily and her co-workers, and even got another brief chat with Mo about our kids. Almost like a normal person would do.
I'm sure I picked up a few more books along the way, but I was trying to stick to the signings where I wouldn't talk as much and save my strained vocal cords. My evening was a low-key visit with my rookie Liz Burns and our friend Jackie Parker-Robinson and her husband, Kyle. Then an early bedtime for two big days coming...

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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2. Stay Home, Please. Don’t Celebrate Children’s Book Day at “Sunnyside” in Tarrytown, NY, 9/25

Just stay home. Please.

Find something else to do.

Each year I do this event, which features more than 60 amazing children’s book authors and illustrators, and it’s always such a disappointment. For starters, check out some of the people who’ll be there, and you’ll understand why I’m so bummed:

Tony Abbott, Nora Raleigh Baskin, Nick Bruel, Bryan Collier, Katie Davis, Bruce Degen, Jean Craighead George, Charise Mericle Harper, Susan Jeffers, Peter Lerangis, Gail Carson Levine, Carolyn MacCullough, Rafe Martin, Wendy Mass, Matthew McElligott, Helen Perelman, Wendell Minor, Gloria Pinkney, Lizzy Rockwell, Todd Strasser, Mark Teague, Jean Van Leeuwen, Eric Velasquez, Sarah Weeks, Ed Young, and more.

Why so down-in-the-dumps you ask? Because I never get to talk to any of them. I never get a chance to meet the new (to me!) people, like Will Moses (Mary and Her Little Lamb), Lena Roy (Edges), Daniel Kirk (Library Mouse), Peter Brown (You Will Be My Friend!) . . .

. . . and Jerry Davis (Little Chicken’s Big Day). Who are these people? Might they become my new best pals? Um, not likely! Because they are sitting at tables forty feet away, surrounded by happy children, shopping grandparents, and strong-armed educators, hauling bags of books like Sherpa guides.

Best I can do is throw rocks at ‘em.

And, oh, hey, look over there, it’s Jean Craighead George. She’s only a freakin’ legend. I can’t throw rocks at Jean Craighead George. She’ll throw them back — and her arm is a bazooka.

Oh,  wait.  Here’s old friends like Mark Teague and Helen Perelman and Peter Lerangis. Can I talk to any of them? Can we hang out? Maybe shoot the breeze? Commiserate?

Nooooooo. I’m too busy signing books, meeting young readers, gabbing with families, prostrating myself before the cheerful & smiling hordes.

Writing is a solitary business, folks. And it’s frustrating for me to sit there at gorgeous Sunnyside . . .

. . . just feet away from my peerless peers, and never have a free minute to chat with them.

So my dream is for just one year, nobody comes. No book sales, no signings, no musicians, no storytellers, no-bah-dee. Just us authors, finally (finally!) enjoying a few moments when we can hang out and complain about the crappy jobs our publishers do with publicity and marketing. It’s how we bond. We bitch and moan about Kindles.

So this coming Sunday, clean the garage, watch football, wax the car. But if you insist on coming . . . click

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3. 2011 Children’s Choice Book Awards

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: March 25, 2010

May 2-8, 2011, is Children’s Book Week. Each year, during this week, The Children’s Book Council hosts the Children’s Choice Book Awards. These are the best awards because the children are given a voice! I highly recommend checking out the thirty books that have been nominated for the six categories: k-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, Teens, and author of the year. Then, along with your kids or classroom, go and vote for their favorite(s)—you have until April 29. The winners will be announced on May 2 at the Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala.

This year’s Children’s Choice Book Award finalists are as follows:

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year

Shark vs. Train

by Chris Barton (Author), Tom Lichtenheld (Illustrator)

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1, 2010)

Publisher’s synopsis: Shark VS. Train! WHO WILL WIN?!

If you think Superman vs. Batman would be an exciting matchup, wait until you see Shark vs. Train. In this hilarious and wacky picture book, Shark and Train egg each other on for one competition after another, including burping, bowling, Ping Pong, piano playing, pie eating, and many more! Who do YOU think will win, Shark or Train?

Add this book to your collection: Shark vs. Train

How Rocket Learned to Read

by Tad Hills

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; 1 edition (July 27, 2010)

Publisher’s synopsis: Learn to read with this New York Times-bestselling picture book, starring an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird. Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally . . . learns to read all on his own!

With a story that makes reading fun—and wil

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4. Fusenews: Of gigs and dreck

It's the bellbottoms on the hippy dippy minstrel that I love.

  • Comic book bloggers and children’s literature bloggers are two sides of the same coin.  Our interests often run parallel.  The degree to which the academic world regards us is fairly similar (though admittedly we get to have Norton Anthologies while they are sorely lacking any such distinction).  I don’t read my comic book blogs as frequently as I might, but once in a while the resident husband will draw my attention to something particularly toothsome.  Such a case was this series on Comic Book Resources.  A fellow by the name of Greg Hatcher makes a tour of the countryside each year, finding small towns with even smaller bookshops and thrift shops.  This year his has posted his finds and the children’s literature goodies are frequent.  In part one he pays homage to a surprise discovery of Kieran Scott’s Geek Magnet and shows the sad state of Sacagawea-related children’s literature in gift shops today (though I sure hope the Lewis & Clark gift shop also has the wherewithal to carry Joseph Bruchac’s Sacajawea: The Story of Bird Woman and the Lewis and Clark).  In part two Greg discovers the oddly comic-less Janet Townsend novel The Comic Book Mystery, finds the name Franklin Dixon on a book that ISN’T a Hardy Boys novel, and waxes eloquent on the career of illustrator Kurt Wiese. In part three he locates some very rare and pristine Trixie Belden novels (which I adored as a kid).  And finally, in part four he introduces us to the Danny Dunn series, shows us a hitherto unknown Three Investigators cover, and discusses Henry Reed (with illustrations by Robert McCloskey, of course).  If you enjoy bookscouting in any way, these posts are a joy.  Take a half an hour out of your day to go through them.  Greg writes with an easy care that I envy and hope to emulate.  Plus I loved the idea of giving photographs inserted into posts colored notations the way he does.  I’ve already started to try it myself.  Thanks to Matt (who, I see, recently credited Better Off Ted, for which I am grateful) for the links.
  • I sort of view agent Nathan Bransford with the same wary respect I once bestowed upon a toucan I found in the London department store Harrods.  I’m grateful that he’s there and I can’t look away, but there’s something unnerving about running across him.  And now he appears to have a book coming out with Dial in 2011, which is nice except that I keep misreading the title as Jacob Wonderbra and the Cosmic Space Kapow.  For the record, I would give a whole lot of money to any author willing to name their titular character (childish giggle) after a bra, a girdle, or even a good old-fashioned garter.  Okay . . . why am I talking about Nathan Bransford again?  Oh righ

    3 Comments on Fusenews: Of gigs and dreck, last added: 8/26/2010
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5. What Makes a Middle-Grade Novel Timeless?

How can books I loved as a child remain popular, when society changes so quickly? Nobody had cell phones or internet when I was in elementary school. So how can books written at that time still appeal to today’s kids? I believe the books that stand the test of time have unique characters readers can relate to, cheer for, and fall in love with, combined with situations that kids still have…like annoying siblings, school issues, fights with friends, and trying to see where you fit in our world.

I blogged about this on the Mixed-Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors site today. I'd love to know why you think some middle-grade books remain popular for over thirty years, and which current books you believe will become timeless.  Hop on over and see which book I believe will become timeless, and find out what amazing authors like Lauren Myracle, Wendy Mass, Bruce Hale, Laurie Friedman, and Lisa Yee think about timeless middle-grade books.

Don't forget to check out our second summer giveaway, where one lucky reader will win these three fabulous middle-grade books:

The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman (ARC)
Mallory Goes Green by Laurie Friedman (hardcover)
A Dog's Way Home by Bobbie Pyron (ARC)

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6. Every Soul a Star

Every Soul A StarEvery Soul A Star Wendy Mass

Ally (short for Alpha) lives in the middle of nowhere, on a campground dedicated to amateur astronomers. For most of her life, her family has been preparing for this week, when they have the best place in the world to view the upcoming solar eclipse. And after that, she will be moving away.

Bree wants to be a model when she grows up. She isn't like her scientist parents and geeky sister. She likes makeup and clothes and being popular and only wishes her family understood that. She is not happy to find out that they're moving to the middle of the woods, at least an hour away from anything else.

Jack isn't sure what his science teacher was thinking-- why would he pick him to assist on the eclipse tour? Jack is fat, doesn't have any friends, and just sits in the back of class drawing aliens and wizards, which is why he failed science, but... if assisting on this tour will get him out of summer school...

There lives are thrown together during a major astronomical event. Although there are only three narrators to the story, it's actually six kids that form a group of friends-- Ally, Bree, Jack, Ally's brother Kenny, Bree's sister Melanie, and Ryan who comes to the camp every summer with his grandparents. While the friendships are unlikely, there isn't a lot of drama surrounding them. Mass makes each of these kids multi-faceted and likable, even Bree. It's so easy to make the pretty, popular girl be mean and horrible, but I really liked Bree. (I have some further thoughts on how her story ended here. SPOILERS!) I was NOT such a fan of the parents (really, dropping huge 'we're moving!' bombshells on your kids days before the fact? NOT COOL. And yet both sets of parents did it! What the what?

I also like the way Mass handled all the science (and there is a lot of science.) She explains a lot of astronomical things without letting the explanations bog down the story or the text. There's also a great further reading list at the end of the book if you want to know more.

Overall, a great book about eclipses and friendship and change and life and the big and little things that make up the in-between.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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7. FINALLY by Wendy Mass

So I want to tell you how much I loved this book.  

But first I need to tell you a story.

I didn't have any author obligations at ALA Midwinter last month, so I took my kids, both avid readers, to ogle the upcoming books in the exhibit hall.  My eight-year-old daughter knows enough about the publishing industry to know that one can sometimes snag advance reader copies of books by one's favorite authors at such events.  She also knows that ARCs have a job to do, that they actually cost more to produce than final books, and she understands that she shouldn't take an ARC unless she is quite sure that she will read it, like it, talk about it to her friends, and maybe even write a little review for me to share on my blog.

Which brings me to the Scholastic booth at ALA Midwinter, where E was hoping beyond hope that she might find an ARC of FINALLY by Wendy Mass.  It's a follow-up to ELEVEN BIRTHDAYS, which is one of my daughter's all-time favorites.  We found the book on display, but they were out of ARCs. The very nice Scholastic rep really wanted E to leave with a book, though, so she offered her two others that were there.  Here's what happens when very-kind-publisher-lady clashes with author's-child-who-does-not-want-ARCs-to-go-to-waste...

Nice Scholastic Lady:  Here, you can take both of these.

E:  *looks at books*  Oh, that's okay. Thank you, though.

Nice Scholastic Lady:  Really, you can have them. They're free.

E:  Thanks, but these aren't really my cup of tea.

Nice Scholastic Lady: That's okay. If you don't like them, you can give them to your friend.

E: *looks at books again*  I don't think they would be her cup of tea either.

Nice Scholastic Lady: It's really okay. You can take them.

E: No thank you.

I eventually jumped in to end the standoff by explaining our ARC discussion and why my daughter was so steadfastly refusing this poor woman's efforts to be kind. She understood, and then took a little notepad and asked for our address.  A few weeks later, E got a package in the mail.  She squealed and went running to her favorite reading chair.

Thank you, Nice Scholastic Lady!

After I managed to pry FINALLY out of her hands, I got to read it, too.  And really?  It was worth the wait and then some.   The main character, Rory Swenson, has been waiting forever to turn twelve. That's when she'll finally be able to do everything she's been waiting for. Buy a cell phone...get her ears pierced...go to a boy-girl party. She's about to have everything she's ever wanted.

Except that everything she's ever wanted manages to go horribly, horribly wrong in the funniest ways possible. FINALLY had me laughing out loud over and over again.  It's written in that fantastic, trademark Mass voice -- the one that would make you swear she's really twelve years old herself -- and the characters are real and wonderful.

FINALLY is set in the same world as ELEVEN BIRTHDAYS and has a touch of that same magical realism, but above all else, this is a warm, incredibly funny book about wanting to grow up and learning that it's also okay to be a kid. Loved, loved, loved it.  Every girl who's ever been impatient to be a little older will love it, too.  FINALLY is due out from Scholastic on March 1, 2010.

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8. Every Soul a Star

I LOVED this book! Wendy Mass has this wonderful way of bringing out every single emotion a reader could possibly have, all with one book. Quite the talent that lady possesses! From the cover to the storyline to the characters to the ending, Every Soul a Star had me hooked from the very beginning and loving every minute of time I spent with it in my hands. It's intelligent, realistic, and has such a unique subject at its center, you can't help but love it.

At a campground called Moon Shadow, three middle schoolers, Ally, Jack, and Bree collide into each others life. Ally and her family live at the campground and run the place, all of them very excited for the eclipse event that's bringing thousands of people streaming into the camp. Having spent almost all her life at the campground, being homeschooled and really connecting with nature, Ally loves her home and is ready to show it off to so many people.

One of those eclipse chasers is Jack, a chunky, nerdy kid that hasn't really done anything exciting with his life until his science teacher convinces him to chase the eclipse with a senior group. Though unsure and a tad bit nervous, Jack agrees and heads out to Moon Shadow, trying to gain confidence in himself along the way.

Our final player is Bree, prissy, popular girl from the Suburbs whose lives revolves around her dream of becoming a model. Her parents are dragging her to Moon Shadow campground for reasons that she simply cannot believe. And those reasons are going to change her life, Jack's life, and Ally's life.

As I mentioned, Every Soul a Star takes you on quite the emotional ride. You'll laugh, be a bit sad, and cheer on each of the three main characters individually and together. Wendy Mass really gets middle grade readers, making this a great choice for library collections or, of course, for your own readers!

If you want to learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.

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9. The 2008 Winter Blog Blast Tour (and a tribute to hipwritermama)

Fourteen months ago, when I first went blogging, I knew nothing, I knew no one, I scratched about and made my way. I'd fall through the rabbit hole of GoodReads, for example, and trip up against some smart reviewers. I'd find a comment on one of my postings from, say, Miss Erin, and travel over toward her blog, only to encounter others about whom I would sigh to myself, Oh, wouldn't it be nice to know a little about them.

Hipwritermama was one such force. She seemed so smart. So, well, hip. She thought a lot about books—the ones she was writing, the ones she was reading. She took her time to say precisely what she thought and how she felt. When she disappeared at summer's end for a brief vacation she returned—refreshed, rejuvenated, ever thoughtful. I noticed this.

I dared, at last, to reach out to her. She took the time to come my own blog's way. She was generous, encouraging me on with a passage I was writing, or commenting on something I'd openly been struggling with.


I learned, about her, that she lives where I once did. She helped me locate (for my memory was fuzzy) the pond where I taught myself to skate (a memory I borrowed for UNDERCOVER). We talked about cooking, about expectations, about raising children, and recently, hipwritermama, who is also known as Vivian, took the time—she really takes the time—to read my books and to ask me questions for the Winter Blog Blast Tour.

I'm not the only one on whom she has showered such attention. I stand in the privileged company of Melissa Walker, Mark Peter Hughes, and Wendy Mass. All of us together being featured among many other wonderful writers over the course of this coming week.

I'm looking forward to reading these interviews. I invite you to take a look at the full line up, which is posted on the fabulous Chasing Ray.


8 Comments on The 2008 Winter Blog Blast Tour (and a tribute to hipwritermama), last added: 11/18/2008
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10. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

I often feel sorry for people who don't read good books;
they are missing a chance to lead an extra life.
                                                ~ Scott Corbett ~

When I think about why my favorite books are my favorites, Scott Corbett’s sentiments ring true. So many of them involve real-life places I’ve never been or fantasy worlds that I long to visit.  And some introduce me to worlds that I haven’t known well but suddenly find myself wanting to explore.  Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass (Little, Brown, October 1, 2008) is one of those books.

The book is set at the Moon Shadow Campground in the days surrounding a total solar eclipse, and three narrators tell the story of how their paths converge there, just as the moon’s shadow crosses the sun. There’s Ally, a self-confident, home-schooled kid who has grown up at the Moon Shadow, spending her time searching for alien signals and arranging rocks in the campground labyrinth.  There’s Bree, firmly entrenched in the life of an urban middle school social butterfly until her parents drop the bomb that she’s moving to the middle of nowhere so they can work on a research project.  And there’s Jack, who flunked science class and is sentenced to a summer project at the Moon Shadow with his teacher.  Often, when I read a novel with multiple narrators I end up liking one better than the others and wishing the whole book were written in that voice, but that wasn’t the case here; every voice was distinct and every character so well-developed that I loved them as individuals and felt like I cared about each of their stories.

As a middle school teacher, I always get extra excited about titles that connect to the curriculum and still maintain the rich characters, plot twists, humor, and tension that keep kids reading on their own.  Every Soul a Star is loaded with astronomy, presented in a way that’s accessible and compelling. It made me want to spend more time looking up at the night sky, and I found myself googling the time and location of the next total solar eclipse because this book convinced me this is something I need to see.  Every Soul a Star is a perfect choice for middle school teams connecting English and Science classes, but it’s also a terrific character-driven journey to the stars that kids will enjoy on their own.

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