ALA pics & recovery

Do not lean to close to the screen whilst reading this; I have a Summer Death Cold and don’t want to infect you. I ran this post through the anti-virus thingie, but you know viruses; always mutating.

Wash your hands when you are finished reading. And increase your Vitamin C intake.

And now to my ALA recap. (I did shoot some video footage, but my brain is too fuzzy to piece it together now. Watch this space next week.)

My hotel was delightfully near the White House, so I ran past it nearly every morning. Did not see the First Dog or the First Garden, sadly.

Simon & Schuster held a wonderful dinner in honor of FORGE (comes out October 19 – mark your calendars!)

Another shot from the dinner. We ate at a suitably 18th-century room in the Hotel Tabard Inn. It was very exciting to be able to talk about FORGE finally!

  The highlight of the trip was signing the Advance Reading copies of FORGE (tho’ I was bummed that they did not contain the backmatter – you’ll find that in the finished book.) I also stole a few minutes to walk around the floor. Here is Tony DiTerlizzi about to ravish the BoundTo Stay Book 90th birthday cake. The cake was made by Charm City Cakes, of course!

Tony’s newest masterpiece, The Search for Wondla, comes out on September 21. Click through the link to see art from the book. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS ONE!!

I did a fair amount of stalking on the exhibit floor. Here are Kacy Cook, Catherine Balkin, and Arnold Adoff.

Judith Viorst and Lane Smith.

Mo Willems!

John Green and David Levithan. (I heard raves about their book, WILL GRAYSON,WILL GRAYSON, from teen readers.)

I also caught up with one of my favorite book clubs in America…

The Eva Perry Mock Printz Club from North Carolina.

There seemed to be more teens than usual at ALA this year, and I think that is a Very Good Thing. Here I am hanging out with Charley from Vermont, whose parents write The Jaguar Stones books. (Photo courtesy of J & P Voelkel and Elizabeth Law of Egmont.)

One of the best parts of ALA is running into old friends and celebrating their new books. On the left, my FORGE editor, Caitlyn Dloughy talks to my pal, Mitali Perkins, about Mitali’s wonderful new book, Bamboo People.

Linda Sue Park!!!

And my buddies David Gill and Tanya Lee Stone, both with new books out.

Many, many, MANY thanks to all the readers and librarians who came our to hear all of us speak and to share in our passion for creating books for kids and teens.

Now go wash your hands!

My ALA schedule

Where will I be during the American Library Association conference in Washington DC this week?

Friday June 25th – I’ll be hanging around the YALSA Preconference all day long, worshipping librarians and thanking them for being such an important part of the lives of teen readers.

I’ll also be speaking on the Author Panel from 1 – 2pm, along with Ellen Hopkins, Nina LaCour, David Levithan, and Benjamin Alire Saenz.

Friday night I’ll be talking about FORGE at a dinner hosted by Simon & Schuster. (There should be FORGE ARCs available at the S&S booth.) I might try to make the SCBWI party after dinner. Or I might fall asleep in the shower, as I am an early bird and ALA is a serious night-time kind of gig.

Saturday June 26th – I have an interview in the morning.

11am – 12pm –  signing at the S&S booth, #2644

2 – 3pm – signing at the Penguin booth, #2500

Saturday night I’ll be talking about all kinds of things at the Penguin dinner.

Sunday June 27th –

9 am – 10am – YALSA YA Author Coffee Klatch in room 209C of the Convention Center. Speed dating with librarians.

1- 1:30pm – I’ll be reading from FORGE at the ALA LIVE! Stage in Aisle 2600

1:30 – 2pm – signing FORGE & CHAINS after the reading. Not sure where.

Afternoon – record some PSAs for the American Librarian Association

Evening – cheer and feast at the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder dinner.

Monday – come home and weed the garden and make nice with the chickens. And kiss my husband.

Will I see you in DC?


Taking advantage of the longest days & WFMAD anyone?

Sorry to have been to absent from blogging, my friends. We’ve been taking advantage of the long days in the garden. A very generous friend showed up with a pick-up truck filled with herbs. The herb garden by the cottage that I was going to work on this fall is now on an accelerated schedule! We’ve been eating peas and watching the tomato plants. The basil is ready, too.

(Have you ever made mozzarella cheese? I think I need to try that.)

(Second random comment – my experiment with clover and buckwheat as a cover crop is still very experimental. Have any of you used it in between rows of veggies to crowd out weeds?)

I’ll post my ALA schedule later today. I’m really looking forward to the conference – both to see old friends and to start talking up FORGE, which comes out it 118 days. (Gulp.) Have I shown you the cover yet?

What do you think?

In other book news, WINTERGIRLS has been translated in Spanish and published in Spain.

Any thoughts on this cover? I’m told it should be available soon in Mexico. Here’s an early synopsis en español.

::shifts gears::

For as much fun as I know ALA is going to be, I must admit I am very impatient to get home and get back to writing. I hope to fill a lot of pages between now and mid-October, when the FORGE booktour gets underway. And since I’ll have the writing process on my mind, are there any of you who want me to the Write for Fifteen Minutes A Day Challenge? (Link takes you to the first day of last year’s challenge.)

The rules are simple. In fact, they aren’t even rules. They’re more like guidelines, the Pirate Code of Writing.

1. Commit to write for 15 minutes a day for the entire month of August.
2. Just do it.

Seriously. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to sign up anywhere, or meet minimum word count goals or complete a whole freaking novel in 30 days.

Anyone up for it? Leave me a message in comments or on my Facebook page or on Twitter, please.

My to-do list for the next 12 hours has now exceeded two pages, so I must either start crossing things off or set fire to it. Or maybe shred for use in the chicken coop.

Gardening with chickens & ingenious bookstore event

A bunch of you have written asking for chicken update pictures. Earlier this week, BH and I took a couple of the girls out to help us weed the flower beds.

They are bug-eating machines.

A man and his chicks.

Along with the garden (we’ve been eating the first peas this week) and the chickens, we’ve been busy in the Forest preparing for ALA and this fall’s book tour. I’ll post my ALA schedule early next week. I’m not sure when I’ll have the tour details… certainly by August. I’ll be on the road a LOT, so I will probably be showing up wherever you live. If you bring your chickens to my booksigning, I will pet them.

On Monday night, we enjoyed a special book event, courtesy of the river’s end bookstore. Author Michael Perry is on tour promoting his new book, COOP, as well as his other titles.

   (His books make EXCELLENT Father’s Day gifts, btw – funny and heartfelt.) Michael is a small-town guy, like us, and is interested in encouraging people to buy local and live sustainably. Instead of the standard booksigning, for his event the bookstore took over a new restaurant in Oswego – La Parrilla.

    The restaurant was chosen because of its commitment to buying from local farmers. Guests had to buy tickets ahead of time – cost of book was included in the price of the ticket, as well as dinner.  The event sold out, we all enjoyed a very yummy dinner, and left with sore ribs from laughing so much because Michael Perry is a very funny guy.

Michael is posting on Shelf Awareness every day on his tour. His blog entry about Oswego gives his take on the evening.

   I’ll be spending Father’s Day with these two guys – my husband and my dad. I am in charge of deviled eggs and potato salad. They are in charge of the beer.

See you on Monday!

Writing about race for kids

Back in January, bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle and I had a conversation about white privelege and issues of race in children’s publishing and children’s literature, two topics that had been much on our minds.

Elizabeth kept pondering and talking to people in the industry and has now published a post called "The Elephant in the Room," complete with illustrations by a bunch of artists.

I hope you all read the article and check out the links.

After you do, come back here so we can continue the discussion. What do you think of what she said?

In a similar vein, a children’s literature scholar recently reviewed CHAINS. In the review (which was positive) she said she found some anachronisms, which made my heart stop. I wrote and asked her what they were. She graciously responded; she had not found true anachronisms, but was unsure about the historical validity of some of the choices I made. I wrote back and explained my sources.

The original review and short discussion thread are a great example of how authors, reviewers, and readers can connect to discuss story in a constructive way. I was honored to see that Debbie Reese was following the discussion. (Be sure to check out her blog if you haven’t yet.) If you have any thoughts on that, I’d love them, too!