Second Star to the right!

Publisher’s Weekly has also graced FORGE with a star!

“Second in the Seeds of America trilogy, this sequel to the National Book Award finalist Chains is narrated by Curzon, the slave Isabel freed from prison while escaping her own enslavement in 1777 New York City. Curzon immediately explains how he and Isabel lived in New Jersey for a few months, before she ran away with their meager funds in hopes of finding her sister, a quest Curzon refused to support. Months later, Curzon is doing his best to forget Isabel, though the depth of his feelings is made evident in flashbacks of their time together. After Curzon saves the life of Eben, a young rebel soldier, he joins the army and suffers through the winter at Valley Forge; tension mounts when Curzon’s former owner arrives. Anderson includes meticulous details about the lives of soldiers and, with just a few words, brings readers deep inside Curzon’s experience (“My belly voted louder than my wits”). Her masterful storytelling weaves themes of friendship, politics, love, and liberty into a deeply satisfying tale that will leave readers hungry for the final volume.”


Sarah, a sixth grade Language Arts teacher (and incredible book slogger) weighs in on the book’s classroom potential and calls it a “MUST READ.”

It’s going to be very hard to get any work done today.

You Can Come to the Best BookFest ever

One of the stops I am most looking forward to on this fall’s book tour takes place in New York City on Saturday, October 30th.

It’s much, much, MUCH more than one silly author excited about her new book.

It is an extravaganza for teachers, librarians, educators and other people who care deeply about books for kids and teens. It’s a bookaganza. A day-long festival with authors, illustrators, editors, children’s literature experts, librarians and reviewers. (And lunch!)

It’s BookFest @Bank Street!!!!

A short list of guests:

Leonard Marcus, author of Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon

Wendell Minor, illustrator of Nibble, Nibble

Diane Muldrow, Editorial Director, Golden Books

Stephen Savage, illustrator of The Fathers are Coming Home

Mac Barnett, author, Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World

Jon Scieszka, author, editor, Guys Read: Funny Business

David Yoo, author, Stop Me If You’re Heard This Once Before

And me! I’ll be talking about FORGE!

Check out the entire, earth-shaking schedule!!

This is how the official website describes it: “BookFest @ Bank Street is an event devoted to the celebration, discovery, and discussion of books for children and teens. This event, designed for adults, features luminaries from the children’s literature community. Authors, illustrators, editors, reviewers, and scholars will take part in panel discussions and breakout sessions.”

Personally, I think the word “bookaganza” should have been used in there.

But here’s the thing. You must pre-register. And the registration deadline is this Friday, September 17th.

Do it now, OK? And spread the word!

What is book tour really like?

A few book tour questions came in last week:

How does the tour work exactly? Are you responsible for paying for everything or does the publisher do that? Do you drive everywhere yourself or take planes?

The upcoming FORGE tour will be my fifth book tour in six years. (This could be why I am on my third suitcase.) They have all been structured along the same lines: lots of plane rides, school visits, super-nice people, and not enough sleep.

The publisher sets up the entire thing. They also pay for it, thank goodness! This is awesome, but not posh. I fly coach. I stay at ordinary hotels. I don’t touch the minibar. Authors are not paid to go on book tour. The theory is that the publicity will boost sales which will someday translate into a royalty check. (The school visits are done for free, btw.)

The publicity department decides how long the tour will be and which areas of the country to visit. They factor in things like the author’s sales history, cities the author has or has not visited before, the other authors that are touring that season, the marketing budget, relationships with booksellers, phases of the moon, and the size of the dark stripe in the middle of a woolly bear caterpillar.

Sometimes I think that darts are thrown at a map, too. (A healthy element of luck and uncertainty makes for the best adventures, don’t you think?)

My tour days are generally structured like this:

Wake up at an obscenely early hour & take hotel shuttle to the airport.

Fly to the next city on the tour. Greet the sun as it rises.

Meet author nanny.*

(Except when there is no author nanny)**

Spend the morning and afternoon giving school presentations. Use time in-between presentations to drive around region and sign stock in bookstores.***

Late afternoon and/or evening give a public presentation at bookstore or a public library. (Between the schools and public appearances, I try to limit it to four presentations a day. Sometimes this works.)

Catch late flight to next city, or crash in hotel near airport.

Next day: repeat.****

* An author nanny is sometimes called a “media escort.” “Author nanny” is closer to what they really do. This is the person who drives the author around and makes sure she is fed and watered at regular intervals. Author nannies are amazing people. Imagine your favorite aunt combined with an emergency management specialist, a doctor, and a large bouncer. That’s an author nanny. I have begged several of them to adopt me.

** Some regions of the country don’t have author nannies. That’s when I rent a car and pray to the GPS gods. Always entertaining.

***This is what I am doing when it appears that there are empty hours in my schedule. That’s why, when friends and other nice people write and say, “Hey! I see you have some free time in (fill in the blank)! Let’s get together for (fill in the second blank)!” I have to politely decline.

****I am told that authors who write for adults have much easier schedules. If this is true then they are weenies.

Yes, it is very hectic. And exhausting. It could not be any farther removed from the reason I became a writer. (What was that reason again? To write stories. Alone. In silence.) As a matter of fact, if you wanted to design a lifestyle that was as far removed from my quiet life in the woods, you would come up with something that closely resembles a book tour. But….


Book tours are fun! Tiring, yes. But way more fun than tiring. I adore meeting my readers and the booksellers, teachers and librarians who have connected my readers to my books. The only downside is that it’s time away from my family. But I have a very, very patient family, and the FORGE tour is so made of awesome, so exquisitely designed that I will get to see several members of my clan on the road. So it’s all good.

Any other book tour questions??

FORGE Book Tour details!

The short version: Five weeks. Texas. AZ. MO. non-NYC New York.   New England. Mid-Atlantic (incl NYC). Texas, Round 2. West Coast. Mid-West and down the mighty Mississippi. Miami so I can drink Cuban coffee, which I will really need by the end of November. Final event at the bookstore closest to my house.

In some areas I will only be speaking in schools. Why? “Logistical requirements” was the answer I received from the Powers of the Booktour. (You thought authors had any control over these things? Ha!)

In the unlikely event that I am not coming to your region (hello Alaska and Hawaii and North Dakota), you can still get a signed copy of my book through the good graces of my local independent bookstore, river’s end bookstore in Oswego, NY. When you call them to order the book, be sure to give the name of the person for whom you want me to sign it.



Friday, October 15, 2010 – Reading Rockstars Webb Middle School, Austin, Texas  **Not a Public Event

Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17, 2010 – Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas

Monday, October 18, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Barnes & Noble, Dallas, Texas

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Arizona

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Reading Reptile Bookstore; 5pm-7pm public event at store, Kansas City, Missouri

Thursday, October 21 and 22, 2010 – NY State Council of English Teachers Conference ** Not a Public Event

Saturday, October 23, 2010 – Read-A-Thon Teen Book Festival Fundraiser @ Barnes & Noble – Pittsford – Rochester, New York (Public event 3PM)

Monday, October 25, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Red Fox Bookstore, Glens Falls, New York. Public event details to come.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 – School visit; Public event – Adult Panel discussion and book signing at The Bookstore Plus, Lake Placid, New York

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 – School visits; 4PM public event at The Flying Pig Bookstore, Shelburne, Vermont 4pm

Thursday, October 28, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts; public event at Brookline Public Library, sponsored by Children’s Bookshop, Brookline, Massachusetts

Friday, October 29, 2010 – School visits; 3:30 or 4PM Teachers/Librarians event Wellesley Booksmith. Wellesley, Massachusetts

Saturday, October 30, 2010 – Book Fest, sponsored by Bank Street College of Education, New York, New York

Monday, November 1, 2010 – School visits; Books, Bytes and Beyond Event Public event, Glen Rock, New Jersey

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 – Valley Forge National Historic Park; Evening event open to the public at Children’s Book World, Haverford, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 – School visits organized by Booktenders; Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation Middle School event at Parkway Central Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thursday, November 4, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Reading Is Fundamental; Washington, DC

Friday, November 5, 2010  – School visits; Afternoon event at Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Texas

Saturday, November 6, 2010 – Sam Houston State University Conference, Corpus Christi, Texas – ** not a public event**

Monday, November 8, 2010 – School visits sponsored by University Bookstore; public evening event at the Seattle Public Library, Ballard Branch sponsored by Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, Washington

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Powell’s Bookstore; 7PM public event at Powell’s Bookstore at Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton, Oregon

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Hicklebee’s; 7PM public event at Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, California

Friday, November 12, 2010 – School visits sponsored by The Bookworm, Omaha, Nebraska

Saturday, November 13, 2010 – Teacher event and public event at The Book Stall, Winnetka, Illinois

Monday, November 15, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop; 7PM public event at Anderson’s, Naperville, Illinois

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Pudd’nHead Books, Webster Groves, Missouri; Public evening event at St. Louis County Library, St. Louis, Missouri

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 – School visits; WKU Library, Warren County Public Library systems, Barnes & Noble, Bowling Green, Kentucky Details to come.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 – School visits sponsored by Octavia Books, New Orleans, Louisiana

Friday, November 19, 2010 and Saturday, November 20, 2010 – Miami Book Festival, Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 – 6pm Public event at river’s end bookstore, Oswego, New York

And then? And then???

Then I will take the Mother of All Naps.

A Star for FORGE!!

I’ve known about this for weeks and have just about exploded because I couldn’t say anything.


The first official review of FORGE is in, and it is decorated with a very shiny star, courtesy of Kirkus.

“At the end of Chains (2008), Isabel rescues her friend Curzon from Bridewell Prison and rows away from Manhattan in their escape from slavery. Now, in the second of the planned trilogy, Isabel goes her own way, and 15-year-old Curzon takes over as narrator. Passing as free, he joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78, where, against the most desperate of circumstances, he forges a friendship with fellow soldiers. When he is enslaved again and meets up with Isabel, he and she must once again take liberty into their own hands and find a way to escape. Weaving a huge amount of historical detail seamlessly into the story, Anderson creates a vivid setting, believable characters both good and despicable and a clear portrayal of the moral ambiguity of the Revolutionary age. Not only can this sequel stand alone, for many readers it will be one of the best novels they have ever read. A good match with Russell Freedman’s Washington at Valley Forge (2008). (appendix, glossary, acknowledgments) (Historical fiction. 10 & up)”

(bold-faced emphasis added by me. ‘Cause, ya know, I’m just the teeniest excited about this.)


FORGE should be showing up in bookstores in about five weeks.

::screams in terror and delight::