Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Martha Brockenbrough will have a biography of Alexander Hamilton for young adults coming out next fall. Meanwhile, The Game of Love and Death made the International Literary Association’s Young Adult Choices 2016 list.

♥ ♥ ♥

New on the drawing table for illustrator Erik Brooks? His first board book project with Sasquatch Books! Stay tuned for additional news in future posts, but here is a cover sketch and some sample color for IF I WERE A WHALE by Shelley Gill:


♥ ♥ ♥

Dori Hillestad Butler skyped with classrooms in Texas, Maine and Hawaii this month and shared some behind-the-scenes stories about  Haunted Library #7: The Ghost in the Tree House (Grosset & Dunlap), which was published this Spring. She also learned that Japanese, Portuguese and Czech language rights have been sold to the first three books in the series and that book club rights to book 2 were sold to Scholastic.

Dori was excited to hear that the Washington Library Media Association has created a new transitional chapter book award (the Otter Award) and her Haunted Library #1 is on that first list. Washington kids will vote on their favorite chapter book starting in 2017.

♥ ♥ ♥

Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams are happy to announce that film/TV animation rights to their Goddess Girls series have been optioned to Universal Home Entertainment.

♥ ♥ ♥

Clare Hodgson Meeker‘s Rhino Rescue! just got a great review from Booklist (May 1, 2016). Here are a few excerpts:

“Featuring three stories of dramatic, inspiring rescues and rife with color photos, this National Geographic Kids Chapter series entry offers and engaging, accessibly written addition to animal-rescue-themed books….”

“…Word pronunciations, including locations, are helpfully embedded within the main text, and factoid-rich sidebars add helpful bonus information…”
“…Throughout, the featured animals provide a personalized account of the challenges facing endangered animal species while highlighting their human rescuers. The back matter includes information on rescue organizations.”

♥ ♥ ♥

At the end of April, Lisa L. Owens had the great pleasure of Skyping with Grade 5 students from Konawaena Elementary in Hawaii. At the students’ request, she discussed the making of her graphic novelizations of the classic tales Black Beauty and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, then answered the kids’ insightful questions about the writing life. In early May, she donned her editor’s persona to give an in-depth talk for the Northwest Independent Editors Guild on her extensive experience doing developmental editing in the children’s market. And, just last week, she learned that her forthcoming elementary-level biographies about explorers Hernán Cortés and Robert de la Salle have a publication date. Look for them from Lerner in Fall 2017.


♥ ♥ ♥

Laurie Ann Thompson is thrilled to share that Emmanuel’s Dream is a Notable Book in the Children’s Africana Book Awards!

It has also appeared on several more state lists, including being a Star North Nominee in the Minnesota Youth Reading Awards, a nominee for the 2016-2017 Black-Eyed Susan Book Award by the Maryland Association of School Librarians, a nominee for the the 2017 Children’s Literature Association of Utah (CLAU) Beehive Award, and a Transitional Non-Fiction Honor Book in the 2015 Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Awards.

 ♥ ♥ ♥

TTrueit3 (1)Trudi Trueit is currently writing a pair of nonfiction books for the Detecting Disasters series: Detecting Avalanches and Detecting Volcanoes (ages 8 – 10). A former TV weather forecaster, she’s written a number of books about weather watching, storm chasing, and the water cycle for classroom and library use across North America. The disaster books will be published in the summer of 2017. In the meantime, look for her new nonfiction children’s titles later this summer, Mother’s Day Crafts and Birthday Crafts (both from The Child’s World). Trudi worked in a craft store through high school and college and loves all things crafty! For more of her nonfiction titles, visit her website at

♥ ♥ ♥

Suzanne Williams had a great time speaking to K-5 students at Eastgate Elementary’s 27th annual Young Author’s Day in Bellevue on May 20th. She also signed 162 books!


Erik Brooks, Author of the Month: “Hello” from the North Cascades!

Sadly, Gator waves goodbye to his good friend Crocodile…

About half way through 1st grade, I moved to a new house and changed schools. After 5th grade I moved to a new state – from Alaska to Colorado – which felt, I will tell you, like moving to a new country! And then I moved again – and then again – after 8th and 9th grade, to Texas and Minnesota respectively.

I didn’t enjoy this, any of it, especially that move to 9th grade during a time when peers and personal friendships had just started to take priority over those with my immediate family. It was hard. It was disruptive. And I felt adrift right at a critical time for developing anchors. Plus, I was powerless to do anything about it — the moving anyway.

That being said, with whatever resolve and optimism that a 15 year old boy can muster, I also eventually realized that I was able to start again. That making new friends was very much up to me, and that through the simplest and most natural of connections, I actually DID have the footing to find my way.

Surprisingly, old friends – the ones I’d left behind and the things we’d done together – those things still mattered in these new places – even if the kids and the setting had changed – because they mattered to me. I began to understand the threads of “self” that could carry over to new places and new experiences – that my previous external friendships were connected just as importantly to my internal needs.


I liked sports and being outside. I liked dogs. I liked ART! Simple things, yes, but touchstones that nonetheless related (and still relate!) to helping me navigate the seemingly scary and more complex dynamics of saying saying ‘hello”. Those “goodbye” relationships and interests, the ones that I was missing so terribly much, might also assist with making new people and situations feel a little more “me” than I’d realized.

As the font endpapers indicate, Gator played ball with Crocodile, read books with Baboon, skateboarded with Mongoose, and built things (like birdhouses) with Buffalo. He misses all of these things of course, but if you stay tuned for the end of the book you’ll get to see all of the NEW things that happen in the end!

OK, so this “awareness” happened in my sophomore year of high school and NOT at the age of your typical picture book audience. But still, this simple realization has trickled down through the years to become the underpinnings of my newest picture book, LATER, GATOR!.

And if I’m perfectly honest, its also great reminder to the everyday adult me of what makes bravery possible for many things – from submitting new stories to editors, to sharing my enthusiasm for drawing with a room full of sixty 2nd graders – or 200 high school students (which happened a few years back in Spokane!) People and experiences, the things we leave behind when we say “good bye” – they matter. They help us communicate. They inform our self expression — whether that’s in the way you kick a soccer ball, write a poem, or draw a picture — and they help you say “hello.”


Thank you to the Online Author Visits community for giving me yet another way to to interact with the world!

Gator_jktDRAFwebPS: I DO like this whole book give away idea. You’ll have to be patient because LATER, GATOR! doesn’t arrive until July 19th, but I would LOVE to draw a name from the comments section and/or from any Skype visit in the remaining 2015-2016 school year and send you a book. Say ‘hello’ below and we’ll make it happen. THE CONTEST ENDS ON MAY 31st! Take care, Polar Bears!

Erik Brooks is the author and/or illustrator of 20+ books for children and their most excellent parents and teachers. Look for his newest picture book, LATER, GATOR! (Sterling Children’s Books) in July 2016.

Erik writes, draws, coaches, and visits schools from his fine little home in Winthrop, WA. It’s in the middle of the mountains, so Skype is an amazing resource for bringing together these far-flung but amazingly interconnected parts of the world! To learn more about booking a Skype visit with Erik, head to the school visits page of his website at:

PPS: Enjoy the book trailer!