Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!


Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough was a Junior Library Guild selection. The only YA biography of the founding father, it covers his life from his ignoble birth to his tragic end, and is the perfect read for fans and people who want to understand more about the issues and personalities of the Revolutionary Era.


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Lisa L. Owens is pleased to report that her 100th children’s title launched last month. Attack on Pearl Harbor is part of Lerner’s new Heroes of World War II series. It’s geared toward ages 8–12 and features exciting narrative accounts of heroism by military personnel fighting in the war and civilians living in its wake. Lisa enjoyed writing this book and is looking forward to an August 2018 publication of her three additional series titles.
Pearl Harbor
In other news, School Library Journal recently reviewed Lisa’s August 2017 biographies about world explorers, A Journey with Hernán Cortés and A Journey with Sieur de La Salle, saying, “The writing is simple and direct, though rich with detail. Potentially problematic topics, such as the treatment of Indigenous people by invaders, are handled sensitively and honestly. . .These are first-rate research materials presented with much care for reluctant readers.”
explorers covers
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Dori Hillestad Butler is thrilled to announce that her King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats was awarded a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award.

Inkedking and kayla and ted_LI

Also, the fourth book in the series, King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth is now available. Kirkus says, “Each page includes illustrations that are often humorous and highlight the affection between King and Kayla… This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers.”

Dori will be launching King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth at Brick and Mortar book store in Redmond at 7:00pm, Friday, March 2. March 2 is also Dr. Seuss’s birthday! Seems appropriate given the Geisel honor award for the first book in the series, but the launch was planned before the award was announced. Dori will also be launching her 7th Buddy Files book, The Case of the P-O-U-N-D Pet, which was illustrated by OAV member, Dana Sullivan. If you’re in the area, please stop by Brick & Mortar on March 2 and help Dori celebrate!

march 2018 launch party image

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Sunday, February 11, was Dana Sullivan’s birthday and launchday for his latest picture book, My Red Velvet Cape!


SeattleOpolis’s newest bookstore, Brick and Mortar Books in Redmond, WA, hosted the launch and the place was packed!


Dana enlisted the help of his award-winning Red Velvet Cape Players to act out the book, followed by a kids-only trivia contest (brilliant kids!), a drawing demo, and some tough questions by the audience (Q: “What do you do about mistakes in your art?” A: “Celebrate them!”). There were Super Selfies with Mateo and Alonzo and yes, there was Red Velvet CAKE! Dana wants to make it clear that although his name is on the cover, a book is truly a team effort, with family, critique groups, agents, editors, publishing teams, friends, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and cake bakers ALL contributing to make it SUPER!!! A Red Velvet Thank You to all of you!



Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor displays true awesomeness in this response to being included in Joan Holub‘s board book This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer.

This Little Trailblazer_Sonia Sotomayor

Also new from Joan and Suzanne Williams in December: Goddess Girls: Medea the Enchantress for ages 8–12.

Goddess Girls Medea the Enchantress Joan Holub Suzanne Williams copy

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Dori Jones Yang had a busy fall season with 25 book talks at schools, bookstores, museums, and teacher workshops, introducing her new book, The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball. The book won three awards: the Freeman Award for children’s books about Asia (winner, high school), USA Best Book Award (winner, children’s fiction), and Moonbeam Award (gold, historical/multicultural). A happy season!


Pub Day Dori

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Dana Sullivan is super excited to see the jacket of My Red Velvet Cape, which launches February 11, 2018, ON HIS BIRTHDAY!!! The birthday/launch party will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Brick and Mortar Books, 7430 164th Ave NE, Suite B105, Redmond, WA 98052There will be CAKE!



Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Patrick Jennings‘s new book, Naughty Claudine’s Christmas, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, will be published by Random House on October 24. Claudine doesn’t approve of Santa’s methods — surveillance, judgment, breaking and entering — so she decides to ward him off with naughtiness.

Naughty Claudine Cover

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Martha Brockenbrough will be speaking at NCTE in November with Laurie Halse Anderson. Please say hello if you’re there!

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Dana Sullivan  is happy to report that he completed and sent ALL of his final art for My Red Velvet Cape to Sleeping Bear Press. He’s also ecstatic that MRVC will launch on HIS BIRTHDAY, February 11, 2018!!!

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Dori Hillestad Butler reports that her middle grade novels Do You Know the Monkey Man and Yes, I Know the Monkey Man are getting new covers!

Do You Know the Monkey Man was originally published in 2003, so Dori also revised and updated the text to go with the new cover. She intends to revise and update Yes, I Know the Monkey Man as well. Both will publish in 2018.

Dori is also publishing a 7th book in her popular Buddy Files series. The multi-talented Dana Sullivan provided art.

buddy 7

In other news, Dori was thrilled to learn that her King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats and King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code both appear on the 2017 Cybils award nominations list in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. And her Haunted Library appears on the 3rd-grade Source Books list for the Scripps Spelling Bee.

Finally, if you happen to be at AASL in Phoenix this year, Dori is on the Reading on My Own! Beginning Reader Series panel Saturday, November 11, at 10:40 am. Look for her there or visit the Publisher Spotlight (Booth 101) Friday, November 10, from 2:30 until 3:30.

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Laurie Ann Thompson was honored to learn that both Be a Changemaker and Emmanuel’s Dream have been chosen as Community Book Reads by Bartholomew County Public Library in Columbus, IN! To celebrate, she’ll be doing a Skype visit with them about both books at the end of this month.

Laurie was also thrilled to see that Two Truths And a Lie: It’s Alive! is nominated for a Cybils award in the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category! Laurie has been a Cybils judge several times in the past, so this is a very special treat.


And, in the “How cool is that?” department, Laurie learned that Emmanuel’s Dream is on the list of sources of words for the 2nd-grade level of the Scripps Spelling Bee!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Martha Brockenbrough has two new books coming out in September: ALEXANDER HAMILTON: REVOLUTIONARY, which School Library Journal gave a starred review, and LOVE, SANTA, a picture book about the deeper magic of the holiday.


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Need a new back-to-school picture book for 2017? TOOL SCHOOL sends Hammer, Screwdriver, Pliers, Saw and Tape Measure on the tool bus to Ms. Drill’s class, where cooperation is the key to building friendships and a surprise project! New from Joan Holub, James Dean and Scholastic, creators of the New York Times bestseller, MIGHY DADS!

1 Tool School Joan Holub James Dean Scholastic image

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fairy_tale_largeSuzanne Williams’s chapter book, A FAIRY TALE GONE WRONG, a personalized book that accompanies the fabulous American Girl-like dolls at Starpath Dolls, has just been published.

Story summary: After making the exact same birthday wish, you and your best friend accidentally find yourselves inside the Cinderella fairy tale! Now it is your job to keep the story on track so Cinderella will wind up with her prince and you can return home safely to your family. A visit by the Fairy Godmother, a trip to the Royal Ball, and a ride on a magic swan await you on your adventure.

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Dori Hillestad Butler‘s  THE UNDERGROUND GHOSTS just launched on August 15. She wrote about the significance of that here. This book, set in Seattle, completes her Haunted Library series. If you’re in the Seattle area, come to her book launch party at Secret Garden Bookshop (2214 NW Market St. in Ballard) at 2:00pm Sunday, August 20. Everyone is invited!

KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF THE MYSTERIOUS MOUSE, book 3 in her King & Kayla mystery series for beginning chapter book readers, launches on September 1.


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Dana Sullivan has gotten approval on all sketches for his book, MY RED VELVET CAPE, which means he now has to create FINAL ART! Dana reports that this always freaks him out, so he’s doing a lot of deep breathing. His media is Sharpie Ultra Fine Point and watercolor and his plan is to ink a bunch of illustrations and then color them in batches. We’ll check in with him later to see how he’s doing. Publication is scheduled for spring of 2018, so he’d better start painting faster than a speeding bullet!




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Forbidden Temptation coverDori Jones Yang is delighted to announce the publication of her new middle grade novel, The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball, on August 15th. A novel for readers aged 10 to 14, it tells the story of two fictional Chinese boys who were sent to the United States by their government in 1875. It is based on a real historical event and deals with cross-cultural adaptation and how Americans respond to foreigners in our midst. Dori is currently planning school events in the Seattle area for the fall and a book tour of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York Oct. 14 – 31.


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Lisa L. Owens wrote two biographies in Lerner’s brand-new-for-fall Primary Source Explorers series: A Journey with Hernán Cortés and A Journey with Sieur de La Salle. The hardcover and publisher e-book editions launched August 1, and special Kindle versions of each title will become available August 22 through Written for ages 8–11, these books encourage young readers to consider point of view and context while learning about each explorer’s life (and life’s work) through the lens of primary source materials such as letters, journals, maps, and other period-specific artifacts. To learn more and read a recent Q&A with Lisa, visit her author page at the Lerner site.

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twotruthsandalie-hc-convertedLaurie Ann Thompson is thrilled to announce the release of Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! (co-authored with Ammi-Joan Paquette). It’s a Junior Library Guild selection and received a starred review from Booklist.

Laurie has also been doing a lot of speaking lately. She appeared in person as a member of the faculty of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, at the Seattle Central Library to present a Seattle Writes workshop, to a class of students visiting from Japan, and to a summer class of young reluctant readers in Everett, as well as via Google Hangouts to a group of teachers in WI!

Dori Hillestad Butler, Author of the Month: The Underground Ghosts

August is a pretty good month. I celebrate a birthday in August. So does my son Ben. This year I’m also celebrating publication of The Underground Ghosts, which concludes my Haunted Library series.

It’s a “Super Special,” which is the technical term for a book that’s half again as long as all the other books in the series. But The Underground Ghosts is also a “super special” book to me because it’s a sort of “love letter” to the city of Seattle.


I just moved to the Seattle area three years ago, and the day we pulled in I felt at home in a way I’d never felt before. There’s something about the Pacific Northwest, and the Seattle area in particular, that speaks to me.

When I started The Haunted Library, I knew how the series would end. I knew what would happen in the final scene, but that element was just a moment. I still needed a story to carry me to that final moment. And because this was the series finale, I felt like this story needed to be bigger than the other stories in some way. But how?

My editor said she wanted this book to be a “Halloween Super Special.” A super special is automatically bigger, and Halloween centered seems appropriate for a ghost series. That helped…but I still felt like I needed something more for a series finale.

otter award logo color_180Then, right before it was time to start outlining this book, I found out my first Haunted Library book was on Washington State’s first Otter Award list. The Otter Award is sponsored by the Washington Library Association’s School Library Division and celebrates transitional chapter books. Students in Washington state vote on the winner from this short list of contenders. I was thrilled that Washington librarians created an award for transitional readers, and even more thrilled when they put one of my books on that first list. It’s what prompted me to bring my characters to Seattle for their final story.

Somewhere along the way I realized that maybe this search for a bigger, more special end to my series wasn’t about my characters so much as it was about me. I started this series when I lived in Iowa. So it’s set in Iowa. But now I live here…and maybe instead of saying good bye to my characters (and, in a sense, to Iowa, too) what I was really looking for was a way to say, “Hello, Seattle!” in one of my books. This book is my Hello, Seattle!

It comes out August 15, which is Ben’s birthday, and I couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate pub date because Ben is the one who led us all here. He was an intern for Microsoft in 2008 and then got a permanent job offer for the following summer.

Our younger son Andy came out here in 2012 to go to the University of Washington.

Every time my husband and I came out to visit, we fell a little more in love with Seattle. Finally, in 2014 we decided to follow our kids.

As I began plotting my “Seattle Haunted Library” book in early 2016, I thought back to a family vacation we took in 2007. It was our first trip to Seattle. One year before Ben’s internship. Back when we thought, “Gee, this is a nice city,” but none of us had any idea we would all be living here one day. Back when our kids looked like this:


And this:


And my husband and I looked like this:


What were the highlights of that trip? Where did we have the most fun?

Pike Place Market:

pike place

The science fiction museum. Well…that’s what it was called then. You had the science fiction museum on one side of the building and the experience music project on the other. Today it’s all one big museum, the Museum of Pop Culture:


And the Seattle Underground:


Until we took the tour, we had no idea what lay beneath those purple squares in the sidewalk. It’s a fun tour! I’ve been on it several times because I’ve taken most of our out-of-town visitors on it.

I started thinking about some of the things I’ve seen down there…and a plot began to form.

So the book is called The Underground Ghosts, but the series is The Haunted Library. I couldn’t possibly set a Haunted Library book in Seattle and NOT have any scenes that take place in the Seattle Public Library. Especially when the Central Library looks like this:



It’s even more interesting on the inside. Take a tour if you’re in the area! Or take the virtual tour right now.

My friend Linda Johns is a librarian there. She’s also the author of the Hannah West mysteries, which are also set in Seattle. Check them out! Linda was kind enough to give me a behind-the-scenes tour of the library when I was still plotting out my story, which brought everything together for me.

FullSizeRender (9)

I wrote most of the book right there in the library. They have a writers room, so I had a quiet place to work every day. Whenever I was stuck on a particular scene, I could just walk around my setting for a while until I got unstuck.

The parking attendant got a little suspicious when he caught me wandering back and forth in the parking garage one day. We had a conversation (parts of which ended up in the book).

Seattle friends…Seattle kids…I hope you have as much fun reading this book as I had writing it!

And if you’re not going to Oregon for the eclipse on August 21, please come to my book launch at Secret Garden Bookshop (2214 NW Market St. in Ballard) on Sunday, August 20 at 2:00pm. Hear more behind-the-scenes stories of this book…brush up on your Seattle trivia…and purchase a signed copy of the Underground Ghosts! Sunday afternoons are a great time to visit Ballard because you can also visit the farmer’s market and you can park for free!

If you can’t make the book launch, leave a comment on this post to enter a drawing to win a FREE signed copy of the Underground Ghosts. I’ll draw the winner on August 15, pub day!


Okay, yesterday was August 15. Pub day for the Underground Ghosts as well as Ben’s birthday. So I thought it was appropriate to have him draw my winner.

Yes, we gave him dragon meat for his birthday. After we ate the dragon meat, I put all the names in the can, shook it up, and told Ben to pick a good one.





The dog wanted in on the action, too! (Actually, he wanted the dragon meat!) You probably can’t read the winner, so here’s a close up to prove we’re on the up and up here at OAV:


Congratulations, Denise!

And here they are together in one photo. My August 15 “babies”:


Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Martha Brockenbrough reports that BACK TO SCHOOL WITH BIGFOOT is out this month. Kirkus said it “will have readers in stitches.


ALEXANDER HAMILTON, REVOLUTIONARY comes out in September and received a starred review from School Library Journal, which called the book “highly enjoyable” and “well researched.”


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TTrueit3 (1)Trudi Trudi joins the faculty of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference in Sea Tac, WA this summer. On Saturday, July 22, she’ll be teaching a conference workshop on how to infuse your children’s manuscript with engaging, inspirational, and unforgettable characters. The conference runs from July 20 – 23 and features more than 30 agents and editors, along with 75 workshops on everything from the craft of writing to marketing your work. To learn more or to register go to

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Dana Sullivan had a fantastic visit to Horance Mann Elementary, in Redmond, WA last week. Librarian Shannon Leonard had painted a huge welcome poster for him, including a rendering of the title page from Kay Kay’s Alphabet Safari! The first assembly was for the younger kids, who were so well behaved and attentive, listening to Kay Kay and its inspiration ( For some reason, they got a big kick out of Dana ripping the paper off the flip chart he was drawing on. Big laughs. Next up was the graphic novel workshop with the older kids, where they drew along, making facial expressions and body language and then drawing their own stories and superpowers. Dana told them how much the little kids liked it when he ripped the flip chart, so they started giving him raucus applause every time, too. Dana says he wishes he’d known about this cheap trick for getting applause long ago! He’s ending all his presentations with a paper rip from now on.


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PatrickCharles Martin Smith, director of the hit kid’s movie Dolphin Tale, has signed on to direct the screen adaptation of Patrick Jennings‘s 1996 novel, Faith and the Electric Dogs. The film will be produced by Kaleidoscope Media.

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dog really did thatDori Hillestad Butler has a story about her dog in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: THE DOG REALLY DID THAT? 101 STORIES OF MIRACLES, MISCHIEF AND MAGICAL MOMENTS, which will be released on August 8.

If you’re at ALA in Chicago on Saturday, June 24, visit Dori at the Baker & Taylor booth at 9:30am, the Peachtree booth at 10:00am and the Grosset & Dunlap booth at 4:00. She will be signing copies of her King & Kayla books and her Haunted Library books.

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Suzanne Williams had a great Skype visit with fourth graders at Edinboro Elementary in Edinboro, PA on May 31st. Although she was in Oslo, Norway at the time, visiting her daughter and granddaughter, the magic of the internet (and, luckily, a good connection), made the distance unimportant. The students had terrific questions, and librarian Michelle Androstic did a fantastic job of moderating and keeping things moving along. Such fun!

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It’s been a busy time for Laurie Ann Thompson: She just finished two fulls days of school visits doing assemblies and writing workshops for grades K-5, the completed and revised manuscript for the second book in the Two Truths and a Lie series was just delivered to the publisher, and the promotion for the first book in the series (which releases on June 27th) has kicked into high gear! The blog tour officially started on June 5th at Librarian’s Quest and will continue right up until the launch with all kinds of fun interviews, reviews, and giveaways.

In other good news, Emmanuel’s Dream was nominated for Arizona’s 2018 Grand Canyon Reader Award. The book appears (in alphabetical order) right after The Cart That Carried Martin by Eve Bunting, who is one of Laurie’s all-time favorite authors, so it literally took her breath away when she first saw the list.

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!


Trudi Trueit has a new book out for tween readers, MY TOP SECRET DARES & DON’TS (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin MIX). It’s the story of 12-year-old Kestrel, who travels to Whistler, BC to help her grandmother run the family ski lodge. However, Kestrel soon realizes the business is in dire trouble and it’s up to her to save it. SIGNED hard cover and paperback copies of the book are available through University Books in Mill Creek, WA. To order yours, call (425)385-3530.

Also, Trudi has inked a deal with National Geographic for a new middle grade fiction series, called EXPLORER ACADEMY. The books will focus on a twelve-year-old boy, who joins an elite group of young explorers. They travel the world, uncovering artifacts, protecting endangered species, and making new discoveries. Naturally, danger, intrigue, and more than a few family secrets give him plenty to tangle with in this illustrated action series with a dash of science fiction. The series will debut in 2018. Watch for more details or sign up for Trudi’s e-newelstter at

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twotruthsandalie-hc-convertedLaurie Ann Thompson‘s upcoming book, TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT’S ALIVE! (co-authored with Ammi-Joan Paquette) was chosen by the Junior Library Guild as a Fall 2017 selection for the Elementary Nonfiction category (for grades 2-6). It also received its first professional review, from Kirkus Reviews, which called it, in part, “An engaging, entertaining compendium that will inform and confound.”
And, there was good news for EMMANUEL’S DREAM, too. First, it was selected to the 2017 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities. Second, Brooks Global Studies elementary school in North Carolina chose EMMANUEL’S DREAM as their all-school read during the month of March, which included Skype visits with Thompson for every grade level and a surprise in-person visit from Emmanuel! You can read more about their event, and even see a video, here.
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Dana Sullivan is at work on revisions to his sketches for MY RED VELVET CAPE and apologizes to the legions of readers for keeping them breathlessly awaiting news about whether this book would be published or not. YES! It’s to be published Spring 2018 and the art is due in August. But first he’s got to get the sketches revised and approved. A book is really a team effort, with everybody pushing to make the book the best it can be. The team includes an art director and mine is helping me with pacing to get the most emotional bang for your book. (Ha! He says he’s gonna keep that one.) The revisions are not huge, just tweaks to make things clearer, especially to young readers. For instance, the art director asked that these two spreads
be combined into one to keep the flow moving along.
In this image he was asked to remove the teacher, because at this age, kids really do NOT want a teacher to help them get into the bathroom (even if they might need it).
Dana really loves that teacher, so he’s moved her to another page. Her name is Vanessa (“Vern”) Aquilaria, by the way.
Now it’s back to work on revisions for Dana!
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Here’s a covers reveal for Lisa L. Owens‘s titles in Lerner’s new Primary Source Explorers series. Both books will come out in August 2017.

LLO_PSE covers

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Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams are celebrating two new releases this month. NYX THE MYSTERIOUS (Book 22 in the GODDESS GIRLS series for ages 8 – 12), and HERNES AND THE HORSE WITH WINGS (Book 13 in the HEROES IN TRAINING, created by Joan and Suzanne and written by Tracey West for ages 6 – 9.)

In NYX THE MYSTERIOUS, Nyx, the bringer of night in Greek mythology hopes to convince the students and staff at Mount Olympus Academy of the importance of her job. But no one seems appreciate what she does until, quite by accident, they experience what it’s like to have unending day.

In HERMES AND THE HORSE WITH WINGS, Zeus and his fellow Olympians are on their most important quest ever; to find the winged horse that flew away with Zeus’s beloved magical thunderbolt.
Goddess Girls Nyx the Mysterious Joan Holub Suzanne Williams (1)
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Dori Hillestad Butler‘s brand new KING & KAYLA series has received nice reviews from Booklist (“This title is a delightful series start that will have kids returning to read more about Kayla and King. It’s also a great introduction to mysteries, gathering facts, and analytical thinking for an unusually young set.”), Kirkus (“Dog lovers will fall hard for this series.”), Hornbook (“Repetition both within and between books helps boost confidence in beginning readers, as do the generous, plot-reinforcing illustrations…Each book allows plenty of room for predictions and provides a glimpse into the great payoff reading can deliver.”) and YA and Kids Books Central (“It’s great to see books with diverse characters, and King is a very appealing dog, with his love of all things food and his devotion to Kayla.”). Both books were selected as Junior Library Guild selections this spring and both books will appear in the May Scholastic book orders.

Book 3, KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF THE MYSTERIOUS MOUSE will be out in September and it was also chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection for Fall 2017. Here’s a cover reveal:

king and kayla3 cover

In other news, Haunted Library #1 is now available in Czech and books #2 and #3 are now available in Japanese: