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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!

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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 Amazon.com. 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.

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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:

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And this:

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And my husband and I looked like this:

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

Pike Place Market:

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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:

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And the Seattle Underground:

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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:

 

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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.

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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!

*UPDATED AUGUST 16, 2017

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.

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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:

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Congratulations, Denise!

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

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Around the Web with OAV Authors: July 2017

Our latest roundup of OAVer cyber sightings is best described as a virtual Cool Covers Show-and-Tell, featuring images from our talented members’ publication histories that make you want to dive into all the books!

This striking cover is from Trudi Trueit’s extensive nonfiction list.

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Here’s the adorable cover of a chapter book from author-illustrator Patrick Jennings.

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How about this beauty covering a novel by Dori Jones Yang. (It’s brand-spanking NEW, by the way — the book comes out next month.)

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This covers the German edition of Martha Brockenbrough’s The Game of Love and Death.

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The cover of this picture book by Deb Lund is a monstrous delight.

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Lisa L. Owens counts this piece of cover art from her retold-classics series as a fave.

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Video alert! Watch author-illustrator Erik Brooks preview his picture book Polar Opposites. (Naturally, he starts with the cover!)

 

Here’s the spooky-cute cover of a picture book by OAV’s founder, Suzanne Williams.

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An evocative entry from a reprint edition of a David Patneaude novel.

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What an engaging image on Clare Hodgson Meeker’s retelling of a classic Buddhist folktale.

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This stunner is from one of Dia Calhoun’s novels.

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Dana Sullivan created a darling illustration for the cover of Digger and Daisy Go to the Zoo, shown here on the book’s French edition.

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Audio alert! A YouTube reading of Janet Lee Carey’s Wenny Has Wings features a sweetly spare cover image. (Note: To listen to the reading, you’ll need to head on over to YouTube, an option you’ll see and be able to click on in the lower right when you view the file embedded below.)

 

The photo on this Dori Hillestad Butler novel really sets the scene for the story to come.

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This early reader by Joan Holub sports a fun depiction of the Woodstock setting.

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And, finally, here’s another perfect representation of the story within, this time on a sweet picture book by Laurie Ann Thompson.

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

 

That covers all of us here at Online Author Visits!

Reminder: The back-to-school season is right around the corner — so be sure to check out our Author Profiles page to learn more about hosting an illustrious OAVer for a future Skype visit in your classroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick Jennings, Author of the Month: Correspondence is Bliss!

I get letters.

Handwritten letters, mostly, written by readers, teachers, and parents. I get emails now, too, of course, which come to me through my website. I’ve always answered all of the mail I’ve gotten regarding my books. I read once that Maurice Sendak answered all his and figured if he could do it, so could I. The letters I get are blissful to read. I currently have a few bulging pouches and some loose letters on my desk, waiting for replies.

Some of the letters come after online visits. They really help anchor those virtual experiences for me. I’ve been doing school visits for over twenty years, online visits for a few. During the latter, I don’t get the pleasure of meeting readers in person, wandering their halls, dropping into their classrooms or cafeterias, or popping outside to the playground, nor can I sign books for them. The letters help make up for all this. (I do offer to sign and send books, though, through my local bookshop—the glorious Imprint Books, in Port Townsend.)

I “visited” a school in Seattle in April,  and later received a manila envelope bursting with letters from second graders. As I read through them, I found exquisite bon mots in each, and thought a post consisting of them might delight others as much as they do me. I’ve added remarks from letters from a reading group composed of fourth and fifth graders in El Cerrito, California, to boot.

Note: These are all as-is. I did spruce up some spelling and punctuation. Otherwise they’re completely sic.

“I really liked reading and meeting you, especially asking you questions.”

“Can you please send me a picture of Guinea Dog 2 and 3?”

“My favorite part was everything. It was very cool.”

“I was one of the people who talked.”

“I love your whole book.”

“How old are you?”

“My author question is do you have a dog or a guinea pig?”

“Have you ever cleaned up guinea pig pee and poo?”

“Why did you want your book to be funny?”

“I loved your book. It inspired me to make a book, too.”

“I have a lot of favorite books, and this is my third place favorite book.”

“I really like Guinea Dog because that book is the first book I have ever read that made me laugh out loud.”

“I would like to ask you if you would like to do stuff in Guinea Dog.”

I would also like to ask, ‘Is one of your brothers an author, too, and did he make Actual Size’?”

“How much have you read this book yourself?”

“I liked you book since it was so funny! Oh and did I tell you that I’m the funniest person in my family?”

“I want an author when I grow up. I want a guinea pig now.”

“I love to write and read. What’s your favorite thing to do?”

“P.S. We had you as a spelling word.”

“I think you did a really good job on basically all your books even though I haven’t read all of them.”

“Can you make There’s a GIRL in the BOY’s Bathroom?”

“Did your parents inspire you or did the sounds or looks of nature?”

“My teacher is so funny, silly, and cool. Do you remember how your teacher was?”

“My little cousin likes your book. She laughed so hard I had to stop for her to stop laughing.”

“I’m Mexican, but I don’t speak Spanish that much. My mom says I have to learn Spanish but I don’t want to because I want to learn Japanese.”

“Do you want to be an only child?”

“What college did you go to and which colleges do you recommend?”

“Do you like art? What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Are most artists neat? Do you get a lot of time for vacation?”

“Can I call you Mr. J? I hope so because I like that name.”

“P. S. My oldest friend moved to Conneticut. It’s very sad. P. S. How do you spell Conneticut?”

“You are the best writer that I know.”

Okay. Time to get to answering the letters.
Bliss.

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.

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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 www.pnwa.org

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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 (www.starofhopecentre.org). 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.

Clare Hodgson Meeker, Author of the Month: Born to Love Animals

A few months ago, I wrote a guest post for Newbery Honor-winning author Kirby Larson’s Friend Friday blog about my latest book, Rhino Rescue!, and the amazing and risky work that animal-care specialists do to help endangered animals survive.

Shortly after the article was published, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, two National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence I interviewed for the book, had a close brush with death when a buffalo attacked Beverly near their camp one evening in the Okavango Delta. Beverly was speared by the animal’s horns, causing her serious injuries. Dereck was injured, too, but not as badly, and was able to rescue her. They then spent a long, perilous night waiting to be airlifted to a hospital.

Four surgeries later, Beverly has made a miraculous recovery and the couple was able to leave the hospital together earlier this month. Dereck’s comment on their Facebook page this week shows the true grit these Rhino rescuers possess as they look forward to getting back to work with Rhinos Without Borders airlifting these endangered animals to a safer home:

“You can anticipate more fire in our veins for this cause we appear to have been born to.”

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Around the Web with OAV Authors: May 2017

How about another themed edition of our “Around the Web” feature, this time with a Throwback Thursday flavor. Our Online Author Visits members are always busy creating new works, but their earlier ones are just as fun to discover (or rediscover, as the case may be). The following roundup offers a clickable gem from each OAVer’s storied past!

Erik Brooks wrote and illustrated The Practically Perfect Pajamas, an adorable picture book about being true to yourself. It came out in 2000, and one teacher reviewer noted that it’s a perfect read-aloud for Pajama Day at school!PerfectPajamas

Kirkus called Dia Calhoun’s 1999 YA novel Firegold (her first!), “A heartfelt, emotionally trenchant coming-of-age adventure with a lightly mystical bent.”

Speaking of first novels, Patrick Jennings published Faith and the Electric Dogs in 1996, and Publishers Weekly said he took “a soaring flight into magic realism in this captivating tale narrated with brio by a Mexican street dog.”

For the October 2011 issue of Odyssey magazine, Laurie Thompson wrote the super-fun science article “Wanted for Breaking the Law (of Viscosity).” (It’s about non-Newtonian fluids. Activity included!)

Visit Dori Jones Yang’s website to learn the story of her collaboration with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on their popular 1997 business book, Pour Your Heart Into It.

Did you know that Martha Brockenbrough wrote a humorous book chronicling her pregnancy (and more) in 2002? It’s called It Could Happen to You: Diary of a Pregnancy and Beyond.

Here’s where you can find Suzanne Williams’s first-ever book, Mommy Doesn’t Know My Name. It launched in 1996, and according to School Library Journal, “It’s a fun, crazy book that works extremely well.”

Clare Hodgson Meeker’s lovely picture book Who Wakes Rooster? was a 1997 Bank Street College Book of the Year selection.

Talon, published in 2007, was the first novel in Janet Lee Carey’s Wilde Island Chronicles series.

Dori Hillestad Butler is known for her mystery series. Check out her 2003 nonfiction title Whodunit: How the Police Solve Crimes for a glimpse at a real-world process that informs her work.

In 1995, Booklist said, “Readers too young for Stephen King will find satisfaction” in David Patneaude’s eerie book Dark Starry Morning: Stories of This World and Beyond.

Former weather forecaster Trudi Trueit wrote Storm Chasers — one of her many, MANY informational titles — back in 2002.

Deb Lund published the sweet Tell Me My Story, Mama in 2004. Visit her author site for help tracking down a copy for a young one you know who’s about to become a sibling for the first time.

This looks like lots of fun: a 2004 picture book by Joan Holub called Geogra-Fleas! Riddles All Over the Map.

Click over to Lisa L. Owens’s website, then scroll down to see Booklist’s turn-of-the-21st-century comments on American Justice: Seven Famous Trials of the 20th Century.

And here you’ll find info on 2013’s BOB Books: Rhyming Words boxed set featuring Dana Sullivan’s always fetching illustration work.

That covers our whole crew. If you’d like to learn more about our members and consider booking one of us for a virtual or in-person visit, be sure to check out our Author Profiles page.

Happy #TBT, everyone — hope to see you again soon!