Around the Web with OAV Authors: January 2016

Our authors show up in all kinds of interesting online spaces. Here’s a fresh batch of random cyber-sightings for the first month of this new year — enjoy!

Presidential Polar Bear Post Card #72 by Erik Brooks

Have you heard about Erik Brooks’s Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project in support of protecting the Arctic? Read all about it here and see post card templates students can use if they want to participate. And, here you can view the full selection of beautiful custom-illustrated post cards Erik has sent to President Obama since October 2015. It’s all really cool!

Don’t miss Martha Brockenbrough’s terrific recent essay, “The Surprising Truth About Novel Ideas.”

Watch Dori Hillestad Butler and other authors discuss “Turning Kids into Readers” in this short video.

Suzanne Williams wrote a blog post about the small moments in life that bring her joy.

Dia Calhoun offers a handy — and FREE! — downloadable guide created for classrooms and reading groups wanting to take a deeper dive into her novel After the River the Sun.

Clare Hodgson Meeker dished about her experiences researching and writing her forthcoming title from National Geographic KIDS, Rhino Rescue! And More True Stories of Saving Animals.

If you’re looking for a fun Friday-morning distraction (and who isn’t?), follow “Story Time with Pippin” on Pippin J. Shenanigans, Esq., the Facebook page of Trudi Trueit’s Snowshoe cat. Check the page for a new story installment tomorrow and most Fridays!

Until next month!


Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

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

Martha Brockenbrough worked with aspiring novelists and poets at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, where she was a guest faculty member for their winter master’s degree residency. She likes working with grownup writers almost as much as she likes working with students (and is available to Skype with groups of teachers as well).

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Dori Hillestad Butler thought she was ending her Haunted Library series at book 8, but two days after she turned in the final revision, her editor offered her two more books. She had to quickly do a little more revision to book 8 so she could continue the series, but now she’s prepared to keep the series going indefinitely. Here’s a sneak peak at the cover of book 7, The Ghost in the Tree House, which comes out the end of March.

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Dia Calhoun and Lorie Ann Grover are excited to announce the upcoming publication of The Magic Cup by Howard Behar. The two critically acclaimed authors collaborated in the writing of the corporate fairy tale with Behar, former president of Starbucks International. The book encapsulates the values he has held as a leader throughout his life, such as truth, courage, compassion, and responsibility. The Magic Cup helps us discover that only by acting on sound moral values can we fill our lives with the personal and professional success and satisfaction we seek.

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Joan Holub has two new books out this month. This Little President: A Presidential Primer is a board book with simple information and facts for your little leaders-in-training. Perfect for Presidents Day and Election Year 2016. What Was Woodstock? is a groovy new chapter book for ages 7 and up about the 1969 rock music festival in New York.

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The ALA Youth Media Awards were announced last week, and Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson received a Schneider Family Book Award! This award is for books that “embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.” Emmanuel’s Dream was also included in the ALA Notable Children’s Books list for 2016.

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center announced its CCBC Choices list for 2016, which included Emmanuel’s Dream and My Dog Is the Best.

And, Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something that Matters won a Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in the Helping Others & Philanthropy category.


Deb Lund, Author of the Month: Resolutions in the Sand

Each year, my family writes resolutions on a beach. This year, we were on Long Beach in SW Washington, a bit cooler than last year’s version on Kauai. The premise for this ritual is simple. As the tide comes in, the resolutions we carve into the sand are either carried off to become reality, or there’s no sign left of them. Either way works for us!  
It doesn’t matter if you write resolutions or not, but your goals have a better chance of being achieved if you first acknowledge them and then support them with persistence, passion, and play. Let me explain…


Have you ever been called stubborn? Good! But let’s call that quality persistence, okay? So many creative people stop when they hit the wall. When they think they’re not good enough. When they think, “I can’t!” We’ve all had our walls. If you’re a teacher or parent, you might want to share this insight the next time you see someone slumped at the bottom of their wall. Hitting the wall means you’re close to breaking through. Pick yourself up, walk away if you need to, but continue to pick away at that wall.


Passion is contagious. Put yourself in the path of passionate people. Identify who can help you. When past students look me up to tell me I was their favorite teacher, I know they’re responding to my passion for helping others reach their potential. What’s your passion? Don’t hide that light. Let it ignite passion in others. Claim it and watch it spread. Add that to your persistence, and you’ll have a much better chance of checking off your list of resolutions this year.



Play sounds easy, right? This one is the most difficult for me. Creative work is play. Play is not wasted time. It’s part of the creative process. It’s where you discover your gifts, your best ideas, your best techniques. I need to remind myself continually that play is not wasted time. If I focus on completing a project without putting in time playing with it, it may be close to “perfect” but there’s no sparkle, no joy. Play is practice, pleasure, and process. It’s pure expression and exploration. (Did you see how I got a few more P’s in here?) Allow—No, require—more play time! Productivity is important, but it must be paired with play.


What are your goals? Write them down. List the tiniest baby steps you’ll take to achieve them, write down names of people, classes, or organizations that can help you. Contact them. Set out your supplies. Take one step now with persistence, passion, and play in mind. Your dreams need more than sand and tide to become reality. 
Happy New Year!