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.

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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.

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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!

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Trudi Trueit, Author of the Month: For All the Champions

My mom was my champion. She believed in me long before I believed in myself. For a chubby, near-sighted, shy kid, her faith became my heartbeat. My mom gave me the precious gems of wisdom every child should possess: find your passion, follow your gut, never away give your power, persevere through hard times, pick yourself up when the world kicks you down. Plus, she was my best friend. I could tell her my secrets and know they would be safe.

Three years ago, when my mom died, my spirit turned gray. I tried telling myself all the things we say when a loved one dies: she wouldn’t want me to wallow, take comfort in the memories, grieve at my own pace. Still, I had trouble tapping into my creative core. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write, but I couldn’t figure out what to say. I was a jumble of emotions. Which ones should I pick? And how should I express them? Was there a right way? A way that would help me heal? One day, while looking at a picture of Mom and me I kept on my desk, I thought, ‘I feel like you took a piece of me when you left.’ And the answer came back, ‘Maybe so, but I also left a piece of myself behind.’

Me. I was, of course, that piece.

I knew I needed to write. Anything. Everything. Just write. So I did. I let my feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, and loss pour out onto the page, even if the things that came out made no sense, especially if they made no sense. I wrote short poems or jotted down memories of us; sometimes, the best I could do was scribble a sentence or two about how I was feeling that day. It took time but ever-so-slowly, the color came back into my soul. I am a firm believer that writing is cathartic. If you are willing to be honest and write about the messiness, it can save you.

Some of my work during that difficult time later became the seeds for a middle grade novel. I found myself writing a story about a 12-year-old girl named Kestrel (my mom loved birds) whose family travels to Canada after the death of her grandfather to help her grandmother save the family business. For many children, like Kestrel, the loss of a granddaresdontsssparent will be the first time they come face to face with death. Kestrel wants to be there for Grandma Lark (another bird) but isn’t sure how. Is there a right way? A way to help her grandmother heal? Or will she only make things worse? (Sound familiar?) The two begin a journey to find the answers together and, in the process, forge a powerful and lasting bond. MY TOP SECRET DARES AND DONT’S will be released next month from Aladdin MIX.

A few years before my mother passed, she told me she had her first inkling I would be a professional writer when I was seven years old. This surprised me, because we’d had many conversations about my career over the years. “You never said anything to me about it,” I said. “No,” she said. “It was your path to choose, your path to walk.” True enough. She had always supported me, but never steered me. She’d taught me to make my own choices then stepped back and let me do just that – another one of her gems.

Each day, as I sit down to write, I think how blessed I was to have a champion like her. We all need them in our lives. If I can be that for even one young writer than I will have fulfilled my artistic purpose. I think Mom would agree.

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

The giveaway of an Advanced Reviewer Copy (ARC) of MY TOP SECRET DARES & DON’Ts is now over!  Congrats to our winner: LYNN A.

truditrueit2016Trudi Trueit is an award-winning author of more than 100 fiction and nonfiction books for children. She enjoys giving online presentations and leading writing workshops for elementary through middle school students. Click HERE to find out how you can bring her into your classroom via Skype or Google Hangouts. To read more about Trudi and her books, visit her website at www.truditrueit.com.

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Around the Web with OAV Authors: January 2017

Happy 2017, readers! It’s time for our first “Around the Web” post of the new year. We hope you enjoy this roundup of a few random OAV-member sightings online. You just never know WHAT cool tidbits you might find stored up there in the cyberspace attic.

Dori Jones Yang poses by the poster announcing her November 2016 author talk in Beijing
Dori Jones Yang poses by the poster announcing her November 2016 author talk in Beijing

Anyone wishing to keep up with Dori Jones Yang’s latest happenings can easily do so by subscribing to the “What’s New” RSS feed on her author site.

“The Calm Before the Storm,” a recent guest post by Deb Lund, offers inspiration for writers participating in this month’s Storystorm idea-generation event. Her advice also applies to just about any creative endeavor you may be pursuing, so don’t miss it!

Animal and story lovers will enjoy Patrick Jennings’s “Beasts,” a fun roundup of “Likely, though not necessarily confirmed, facts about the animal kingdom as relayed by a children’s fiction writer, a.k.a., a professional teller of stories to kids.”

Here, Dori Hillestad Butler reminisces about the special teacher who started her on the path to becoming the writer she is today. Her touching post will hit home with both adults and kids.

Budding author Dori Hillestad Butler in Grade 6
Budding author Dori Hillestad Butler in Grade 6

That’s it for this month’s collection efforts. To learn more about all of our wonderful author members — and to consider booking one of us to give a Skype or in-person talk for your classroom, library, or other event — be sure to check out the updated Online Author Visits Author Profiles page, where you’ll find each member’s bio, presentation terms, and contact information.

Translations

Back in the days before the emergence of Skype and other magical methods for getting a writer’s face in front of young readers (and writers), back when school budgets and curricula had more room for “frivolous” stuff like hearing from and talking to the author of a book that students have read and enjoyed, I did a lot of in-person school visits. I got to see places I would never have otherwise gone. I got to experience all kinds of towns, neighborhoods, schools, teachers, librarians, administrators, parents. But the most enjoyable and memorable part for me, unsurprisingly, was meeting the kids.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that although the schools wanted their students to “get” something from my presentations, and I wanted to accommodate them, most of the kids just wanted to have fun. So I developed ways to wrap the “serious” information I gave them—writing stuff, research stuff, book stuff, publishing stuff, even personal stuff (“How old are you, anyway?”)—in fun activities. I put together slide shows that were (and are) partly tongue-in-cheek, I came up with skits, and lighthearted exercises, and games, and audience participation activities, and book giveaways, and question-and answer sessions. All the while, of course, I’d be sneaking in “real” writer-related inside information for the students who were seriously interested and the adults who were just plain serious.

Part of my slide show presentation has always touched on briefly showing and talking about my books. This was true even in the early days, when slides were really slides, riding around on a Kodak Carousel. Not long after my first book, SOMEONE WAS WATCHING, was published, the German rights were bought by a German publisher. Soon the book was published in Germany with a new cover and a German-language title. A box of the German editions arrived on my doorstep one day. So in my presentations I began showing photos of the US and German covers and telling the kids that it was exciting to know that my book was being read thousands of miles away across the ocean by young readers who read and speak only German. I’d ask them to tell me which cover they liked better, and tell them that the German title, NEIMAND HAT ETWAS GESEHEN, was obviously German for SOMEONE WAS WATCHING. Serious writer information.

It wasn’t until after several years of using this self-assured bit of show-and-tell that I visited a middle school where a teacher in the audience brought me up short and caused me to revise my future presentations. In a good way. More story. More humor. And I still got to use my two book cover slides. It turned out that the teacher was a German-language speaker. And reader. So she didn’t have to take the word of a know-nothing author about what NEIMAND HAT ETWAS GESEHEN means. She raised her hand and stood up and told me (and the audience) in her authoritative teacher-voice that the German publisher had pretty much turned the title of SOMEONE WAS WATCHING upside down. What those four foreign (to me) words actually mean, she said, is NOBODY SAW ANYTHING.

Funny, right? The audience (kids, especially) thought so. So did I. And from that point on, the story I told was still about the German edition and the two covers and the two titles, but it was also about what I’d mistakenly assumed and what I learned from a teacher that set me straight, because that’s what teachers do. And that’s one of the great things about being a writer and writing and doing research and figuring out how it’s all going to come together. Sometimes you think you know something about the world or a story or a character or yourself and then all of a sudden you realize you don’t. The truth lies somewhere else. And you need to go another direction. And serendipity happens.

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Much like the sometimes imprecise translation of one language to another, the format and content of in-person school visits don’t translate precisely to the format and content of online visits. But that’s not necessarily a criticism. For instance, a prima donna author (there are a few) on the other end of a Skype connection can’t demand a lunch of organic greens and line-caught Chinook salmon sushi and French sparkling water served at exactly thirty-eight degrees. More important, the kids still “get” something from online visits. The information comes through; the inspiration comes through; the smiles come through; the fun comes through. And if that prima donna author begins tooting his own horn too loudly, the teacher/librarian can simply turn down the volume.

 

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Skype school visits have been a terrific way for author/illustrator Erik Brooks to expand the participation in his Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project. After some terrific in-person conversations in Boston at ILA, Erik just did his first PPBPC Skype visit of the new school year with a fantastic group of second graders in Maryville, TN. You can read about it on the classroom blogspot here. With much thanks to teachers Alyson and Courtney for the awesome write up!

Erik also has a new cover reveal for his fist board book project, If I Were a Whale by Shelley Gill (Little Bigfoot, Feb. 2017) and a newly published paperback version of last fall’s The Runaway Tortilla (by Eric Kimmel) that published on Sept. 1st.

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For those attending the upcoming Write on the Sound Writers’ Conference in Edmonds, WA, Lisa L. Owens would love to see you at her session “Exploring Your Voice As a Children’s Writer.” The content is appropriate for writers at all levels, whether you’re already actively publishing or just starting to think about writing for the children’s market. It’s scheduled for Sunday, October 2, at 1:45 p.m.
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my-dog-japaneseLaurie Ann Thompson was thrilled to receive her author copies of the Japanese version of My Dog Is the Best! She’s also looking forward to reading the English version at the Seattle Public Library’s Central Library storytime on October 1st from 11am to noon.

 

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In addition, she’s excited to be joining the incredible team of authors at iNK (Inter­est­ing Non­fic­tion for Kids), which “pro­motes the use of non­fic­tion in classrooms through pro­grams that help teach­ers use real books to teach to cur­ricu­lum stan­dards in ways that excite and inspire students.” Stay tuned for more!
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Suzanne Williams and Joan Holub are going to be writing a new series together! THUNDER GIRLS (tentative title) will be their fourth co-written series. This time they’ll be delving into the world of Norse mythology and writing about tween-age gods and godesses at Asgard Academy, which is located in the top one of nine worlds under the sheltering branches of the World-Tree, Yggdrasil. Books 1 and 2 (of an initial four) will pub Spring 2018. Suzanne is especially excited about this new series as she visits Norway often. Her daughter (and now a granddaughter too!) live in Oslo.

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The Norse god, Odin, rides on his eight-legged horse, Sleipner, in this painted wooden frieze, one of many depicting Norse myths on the side of Oslo’s town hall.
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And if you’re attending the Washington Library Association’s conference on October 15 at Highline College in Des Moines, WA, come hear OAV members Erik Brooks, Dori Hillestad Butler, Martha Brockenbrough, Janet Lee Carey, Clare Hodgson Meeker and Dana Sullivan talk about their new books at two “Behind the Books” sessions. Deb Lund will be moderating the elementary session and Laurie Ann Thompson will be moderating the middle and high school session.

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Gator_jktDRAFwebErik Brooks happily welcomed his newest picture book, Later, Gator! (Sterling) into the world on July 19th. He was also excited to participate in the recent International Literacy Association Conference in Boston, MA, both as an exhibitor for the Alaska Wilderness League (continuing to share his Polar Bear Post Card Project with teachers and librarians around the country!) and as a presenter for the Children’s Book Council’s “Humor in Children’s Literature” discussion. Erik and fellow Children’s Choices selection recipient Paul Czajak, both talked about the role of humor in their work in advance of the Council’s official presentation of the 2016 Children’s Choices list. More specifically, Erik’s artwork in The Runaway Tortilla (Graphic Arts), by Eric Kimmel was the subject of his talk.

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Haunted Library 8

The Hide & Seek Ghost, which is book 8 in Dori Hillestad Butler‘s Haunted Library series,  releases on August 16. Book 8 was originally supposed to be the end of the series, but Dori is happy to report there will be a book 9 (The Ghost at the Movie Theater, which will be out February, 2017) and a Haunted Library Super Special (The Underground Ghosts, which will be out July 2017)

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Laurie Ann Thompson traveled to Orlando last month for the ALA Annual Conference, where she was presented with the Schneider Family Book Award for Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.

She was also the keynote speaker, via Skype, at f893c-be2ba2bchangemakerthe Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies, a one-week summer camp program held in West Seneca, NY, dedicated to providing in-depth human rights education for local high school students and teachers. This summer’s theme was “What You Do Matters—Be a Changemaker.”

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Ta da! It’s a cover reveal for Trudi Trueit‘s new tween novel, MY TOP SECRET DARES & DON’Ts (Aladdin MIX). It’s the story of 12-year-old Kestrel Adams, an American, who heads north of the border to help save her grandmother’s ski lodge from developers. To succeed, she’ll have to battle a pair of evil twins, save a rock star dangling from a ski lift, and hope a little luck hops her way. DARES & DON’TS is set for publication in the spring of 2017 and is Trudi’s third title for Aladdin MIX. To read more about the book or see Trudi’s other MIX and middle grade titles, visit www.truditrueit.com

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Suzanne Williams and Joan Holub have two new books out in August in their co-written Goddess Girls and Grimmtastic Girls series: Goddess Girls #20: Calliope the Muse and Grimmtastic Girls #8: Gretel Pushes Back.

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And if you happen to be at the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) Writer’s Conference this weekend, come hear Dori Hillestad ButlerDia Calhoun, Clare Hodgson Meeker, and Lisa L. Owens at noon on Saturday. We’ll be sharing our own personal tales of struggle and triumph on a panel entitled “Warrior Stories: True Tales of Survival in the Writing Biz.”

 

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.”
 

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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.

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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.

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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 www.truditrueit.com

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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!