Teen Read Week and all kinds of voting

HAPPY TEEN READ WEEK! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite books!

Wouldn’t it be cool if some truly rich person (I’m looking at you, Bill Gates) decided to provide a gift certificate to every teenager in America to buy a book this week through an independent bookseller? If any of you are having dinner with Bill this week, try to work this suggestion into the conversation.

Sorry for being a day late with this, but check out the nightly author interviews at Readergirlz this week, put together in honor of Teen Read Week!

Today is the last day to nominate a book for the Cybils Award. If you read a book this year that you loved, click your way over there and share the title.

Speaking of voting and nominating type things, I am having a problem. I mailed in my application for my absentee ballot weeks ago. (I’ll be on book tour on Election Day.) The ballot has not arrived. We just called the Oswego County Board of Elections and they said the ballots haven’t arrived in their offices yet! What? WHAT? The ballots haven’t been printed up yet? When were they planning on doing this? How are they going to get to soldiers serving overseas in time? Is this incompetence or political shenanigans? I just fired off a few emails – stay tuned.

::takes deep yoga breath to calm self::

More CHAINS love! Language Arts teacher Sarah gives her opinion about the use of CHAINS in the classroom on her Reading Zone blog.

Don’t forget – I’m giving a sneak preview of my CHAINS tour presentation tonight at 7pm at the Barnes & Noble in Dewitt, NY, where I’ll be speaking at their Educators’ Appreciation Night.

I’ll leave you with a little more autumnal fire from up here on the tundra.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Getting antsy

Click on the video below and push the time bar to the 50 second mark.

Ready? Push play and sing along with me as loud as you can:


That’s my life right now. CHAINS will be released officially on October 21st, the day my book tour begins, two days before my birthday. The nice people at S&S have posted a CHAINS excerpt for you to read while you are waiting for the book.

The details of the book tour are in the last stages of being firmed up, but it looks like I’ll be visiting:
36 schools (these presentations are not open to the public)
19 bookstores (this includes 2 stores in December after the official tour is over)
3 presentations to groups of librarians and teachers. Maybe 4.

At the end of the tour, I head for San Antonio, TX for the NCTE/ALAN Conference. And then I go home, turn off the phone, and take a nap.

Right now I feel like a basketball player after the warm-ups are over and before the National Anthem has been sung. My stomach is a little jumpy, my hands are sweaty, and I can’t wait until the referee blows her whistle and throws up the ball to start the game.

I am doing something new on this tour. I am bringing a portable digital projector so I can show a visual presentation to everyone. The “show” gives a little background about me and my writing, then focuses on my research and writing of CHAINS. If you live in Central NY, you can see a sneak preview of this show next Tuesday at 7pm at the Barnes & Noble in Dewitt, NY, where I’ll be speaking at their Educators’ Appreciation Night.

While we were running this morning, BH and I saw a gorgeous red-tailed hawk sweeping over a meadow. When we got home (he cooked an awesome ham and egg breakfast), a second hawk about twice the size of the first one perched on the edge of our forest and allowed us to admire him.

It’s been quite a day.

betwixt with tweens

Bookavore has a wonderful post about a recent bookseller panel that discussed the challenges facing everyone when choosing books for kids in that very nebulous 11-13-year-old age bracket. You should click over and read the whole thing, but I wanted to highlight one bit. Bookavore and many booksellers are pondering the need to further segment the children’s/YA section of their stores to separate books that appeal to teens that have mature content and those that don’t.

She writes: “My store, and many others, have two sections: middle-grade fiction, and YA/teen fiction (and as I sit near the receiving desk, I can tell you that where we shelve a book when it could go either way, at this point, usually is determined by the level of mature content). What we need is a section in between for all these books.

This is where you come in. Just what do we call this section? The best suggestion I’ve heard so far is “young teen.” It appeals to tweens because they want to think of themselves as teens, but also connotes that content is conservative. We could also do the opposite, and follow the lead of some manga publishers, who have “teen” and “older teen.”

What do you think? What do we call this section? Should we make a new section? Do we need to worry about dividing books up too much? As a side note, too, Politics & Prose in DC has recently moved their YA to be with the adult books, rather than with the children’s books. Is this helpful?”

What do you think about this? I would love to hear your opinions about this – as readers, authors, editors, librarians, teachers, parents, booksellers – speak up!

It’s monday so I have to be organized, right?

First – I am blushing and squirming profusely as I do this, but Betsy Bird posted an incredibly detailed and generous review of CHAINS. Thank you, Betsy!

The weekend sort of didn’t exist for me because I spent most of it rushing hither and yon. Saturday morning I flew to Detroit and then took a cab to Dearborn for the Great Lakes Bookseller’s Association annual tradeshow. I hung out with Sarah Miller and ran into Jaime Adoff, who has produced both a new book and (with considerable help from his wife) a new baby this year.

Early galleys of David Macinnis Gill’s Soul Enchilada were there! (Click on the link to see the real cover, which is v. cool.) I toured the floor, signed a couple hundred copies of CHAINS, soaked my hand in ice-cold water, then spent a looooong time on the treadmill so my legs would be as tired as my signing hand.

The big event was Sunday – the booksellers gathered for one of the nicest conference breakfasts I’ve ever eaten, thanks to the generosity of Bookazine. While the booksellers enjoyed their sausage, eggs, and way too many pastries, I grabbed the microphone and talked about the reasons I wrote CHAINS, then Suzanne Collins talked about the writing of HUNGER GAMES, and Jerry Pinkney showed us his process and motivation for his new book, THE MOON OVER STAR.

We were all very happy when the speaking part was over.

I also got to meet Kathe Koja, seen here between Sarah Miller and me.

Two weeks from today I leave on the CHAINS book tour! Yikes! I need to write many, many pages before then. I also need to find the appropriate tour sneakers. Anyone know where I can find a pair of sizzling, baby-blue high-tops, women’s size 10 or men’s 8? Oh, and I need a couple of shirts that won’t wrinkle. But mostly I have to write oodles of pages.