Around the Web with OAV Authors: October 2015

It’s the fourth Thursday in October, which means it’s time for our monthly roundup of links to a few interesting tidbits featuring Online Author Visits members:

Mother Daughter Book Reviews enjoyed Goldilocks Breaks In, a book in the Grimmtastic Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams.

Looking to schedule a Skype visit with one of our terrific authors? As always, we encourage you to visit our Author Profiles page to see bios, presentation topics, fee structures, and contact information!

Speaking of virtual visits, a reminder that OAV’s author of the month, Trudi Trueit, is running a contest through October 31 — and one of her prizes is a FREE half-hour Skype visit. You’ll find details about how to enter that giveaway online here.

In this Sounders FC video, Clare Hodgson Meeker discusses her inspiration for the chapter book Soccer Dreams: Playing the Seattle Sounders FC Way.

Registration is still open for Dana Sullivan’s fall graphic novel workshops scheduled at several Seattle-area King County Library System locations.

Ooh, here’s a super-fun find: the trailer for I Remember the Sky, Sony Japan’s film version of Janet Lee Carey’s novel Wenny Has Wings.

And, we’ll close with this wonderful photo of Dori Hillestad Butler and one of her adorable young fans, taken during last weekend’s Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival.


Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Here’s a peek at what our members are up to this month:

Martha Brockenbrough’s Game of Love and Death is a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. It was also an ALA Booklist pick for Top Ten Romance for Youth, and is a finalist on the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list. If you’re in the Seattle area, she’ll be speaking with Nancy Pearl and Steve Scher this Sunday at Town Hall about grammar.



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Dori Hillestad Butler has online author visits scheduled with schools in Kansas, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Iowa this month. She will also be participating in the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival in Eureka, CA from October 15-17, and she’s looking forward to promoting her new Haunted Library #6: The Ghost at the Fire Station in early November. She’ll be traveling to schools and bookstores near Denver, Chicago, Miami and around the Seattle area.

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Joan Ho-Ho-Holub “launched” her new picture book, The Knights Before Christmas at Quail Ridge Books with cake and catapults! Publisher’s Weekly called her book’s premise “great”: On Christmas Eve, three young knights guard the king’s castle against a red-and-white invader–Santa Claus!

And more jolly reviews just in for The Knights Before Christmas:
“This rousing, ridiculous Medieval “Night Before Christmas” parody jingles with castle and holiday wordplay. Cheeky digital illustrations brim with good cheer.” – Horn Book

“An excellent interplay between the amusing illustrations and the polished text, with lots of clever jokes for readers to discover in the art. These knights know how to keep the castle safe and readers entertained.” –Kirkus Reviews

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Dana Sullivan is hard at work on final art for Digger and Daisy Plant a Garden, the sixth in the Digger and Daisy early reader series, written by Judy Young. He reports that this book has not improved his attitude toward kale, but the unusually hot summer in Seattle did produce some delicious cherry tomatoes in his own garden.

He’s also teaching graphic novel workshops for the King County Library System. They are for all ages and FREE to library patrons. If you’ve always wanted to create your own graphic novel or comic book in two hours, check out the details and schedule here.

This coming weekend Dana will travel to Beaumont, Texas to speak at a literacy conference at Lamar University. His talk focuses on his path to diversity and inclusion, but Digger and Ozzie are really more excited about Beaumont being the reputed home of hte world’s largest fire hydrant. We’ll give you a full report upon their return.

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Praise for Trudi Trueit’s new middle grade novel, The Sister Solution (Aladdin M!X):”An insightful, engaging tale that celebrates the relationship that sisters share.” –Kirkus Reviews

Tween bloggers 5GirlsBookReviews “recommends this book for anyone that has sisters.” To learn more about The Sister Solution (for ages 9 and up) and download the reader’s guide, head to Trudi’s website:

If you live in the Seattle area, you’re invited to THE SISTER SOLUTION Book Release Party tomorrow night, Friday, Oct. 16th, from 7 – 8 pm at University Books in Mill Creek, WA! There will be an author chat/signing, food, a trivia contest w/prizes, a student writing display, and more!

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Laurie Ann Thompson has just wrapped up a slew of in-person events for all three of her books, especially Be a Changemaker.
She is soon heading off to Austin to read Emmanuel’s Dream at the Texas Book Festival, where she gets to meet illustrator Sean Qualls for the first time ever!
And, she was tickled to see this new review of My Dog Is the Best pop on Goodreads:

“I just hugged this book. It may be because this dog looks like my dog. But the text is cute and the dog is cute and the little boy is cute. I love it. Hug Hug Hug”  —Laela

Trudi Trueit, Author of the Month: Weaving a Writer’s World

Last week, as I stepped out the door, I noticed a little brown and gold mottled garden spider hanging from the corner post of our porch. She had built her web on an angle by attaching one side to the highest part of the post, the other side to the eaves and the bottom to my fading geraniums. As the morning sunlight hit the web, I could see all of the different support strands and the intricate way she had strung them together to ensure the strongest possible structure in the best possible place. It was brilliant. Functional. Extraordinary.

Each day, as I came I went, I looked for the spider. She was always there, either wrapping up dinner, repairing a torn section of the web, or just chilling in the center of her masterpiece. One day was particularly windy, yet she did not abandon the web and it held fast. I thought, how did she know how to construct this amazing creation? It didn’t come with instructions. Certainly no one taught her. No. The knowledge was always within her from the day she climbed out of the egg sac. It was something she knew she had to do. Her very survival depended on it. I wondered, does she even know how spectacular her handwork is? Does she ever sit in the web at night and say to herself, “Wow, I’m good.” Probably not. She just does what she must. It’s her destiny. 

Doing a hard-hitting interview!

Like the spider, I have always felt writing was an innate part of who I am. I am a storyteller. Over the course of my life, I’ve written all kinds of stories about all kinds of topics. First, as a television news reporter, I told stories about other people, places, and things. Later, as a children’s author, I was able to tell my own tales. Now, I write fiction and nonfiction for children, so I get to do a little of both, which is a great fit for my personality. I enjoying connecting with students, doing Skype visits, and visiting classrooms. I am, on the whole, happy when I am hard at work. It’s only when I sit on my web late at night, when my mind has too much free time, that the doubts begin to seep in. I think things like: 
– I haven’t won a single award this year. I must not be a very good writer.
– A royalty check for $22? I really must not be a very good writer.
– How could the reviewer say my plot, “lacked depth and originality?”
– It was standing room only at Suzy’s book launch. What if no one comes to mine?
Then the dawn comes. And with a fresh day, there is a new web to spin and my fears vanish with the morning mist. 

When I do online visits with students, they will sometimes ask me questions such as:

A. How rich are you?
B. How can I be famous?
C. Do you sell a million books a year?
I gently answer their queries:
A. Oprah has nothing to worry about.
B. Start your own software company?
C. Uh … a little less than that. Yeah. A little less.
I try to delicately explain while these things may be what society values, if a writer spends time focusing on them or she can lose the joy in what she does (except the money part – we have to eat, too). Of course, I would like to be successful, but it’s not really why I write. And I think most authors would agree. We write for so many reasons, but fame, glory, and material gain aren’t usually an inherent part of those reasons. We write because we want to bring important issues to light. We write to change minds and hearts. We write because it’s fun. We write to learn about the world and ourselves and how we fit in it. We write because it fulfills us like nothing else can or ever could. We write because we love stories and we need more storytellers on this planet. We write because, like the spider, we are doing what we are born to do. 

We write, I suppose, because we must.

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Trudi Trueit is the author of nearly 100 fiction and nonfiction books for children and teens. Look for her new middle grade novel, The Sister Solution (Aladdin MIX, for ages 9 to 12).

Trudi conducts Skype workshops for students and writers of all ages from her secret lair near Seattle, WA, and can tailor a presentation to fit the needs of your class, book club, or writers group. To learn more about booking a Skype visit with Trudi, head to the virtual visit page of her website,