Calling All Texans!

Everything in Texas is bigger, including the size of the state itself; It’s ginormous! That means y’all who live there are not afraid of doing a little driving. Right?

You should drive to Dallas this Saturday!!

Why? For the First Annual Arts & Letters Live BooksmART Festival!! This Saturday, from 11 am to 5pm, for FREE!

Who will be there? I’m glad you asked:

Rick Riordan
Norton Juster
Laurie Halse Anderson
David Wiesner
Jerry Pinkney
Gene Luen Yang
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Duncan Tonatiuh
Antonio Sacre
Joe McDermott
Jan Bozarth and Faeren
Ann Marie Newman
John Bramblitt
Gretchen Goetz
Dallas Theater Center

Doesn’t that make all of you who don’t live near Dallas want to start driving or flying now? If you need further encouragement, check out the day’s schedule of events!

::raises right hand:: I solemnly swear to try my best not to whine about the heat. Honest. (I do love the South, but cannot fathom how you survive summer!) If you see me looking like I’m going to swoon, please hand me some ice.

See you there!!

Hey, Big Apple!

I am coming to New York City!!

On Sunday, March 20 at 4pm, I’ll be speaking at Symphony Space.

I am VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!!!! (so excited, I find myself pounding the caps lock and spitting out exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!)

It gets better.

I will be chatting with the One, the Only, Maureen Johnson, who is a great writer and quite possibly the funniest woman in the world.

This is a ticketed event, so you’ll want to buy your tickets as soon as possible. Bring your book club. Bring your mom. Dad. Bring the whole family!!!

And also….

Please bring some ibufrofen and bags of ice. And a few bananas. I wouldn’t mind a bagel, either.


Because that morning I will be running (i.e. shuffling with great purpose) the New York City Half-Marathon. So, no, I will not be demonstrating any tap dancing routines at Symphony Space. But come anyway. We’re going to have a blast.



And about that suitcase…

Given that many of you will soon be packing for end-of-year travels, I thought I’d let you know how my experiment with travelling lightly went.

(You remember – I only took a carry-on for my five week book tour. Details here.)

In a word – fantastic!!

It helped that all of my travels were complete before the snow started to fly. And that the clothes I brought rolled up tiny. I would like to nominate the person who invented Dri-Fit fabric for a Nobel prize in something. In everything.

I did have laundry done in a couple hotels, which was expensive, but not as expensive as checking a suitcase on every flight would have been.

But I will never again hesitate to bring only the bare minimum. It was very freeing, physically and mentally, to travel so lightly.

A couple of you wondered where I got the suitcase and the purse that turned out to be so incredibly durable and easy to clean. Plus they looked cool. I bought them at Sherpani. In addition to being the best bags I’ve ever owned, they are largely made from recycled materials.

Travel lightly, my friends!



Winding my way to San Jose

I really dislike 3:30 am wake-up calls.

But sometimes, they’re necessary. I’m at the Syracuse airport, waiting for the flight that will take me to the flight that will take me to San Jose, CA. I’ll be speaking in the area thanks to the San Jose Writing Project.

If you live around San Jose, please gather up everyone you know and join me at 4 pm, Friday, May 2nd (i.e. tomorrow) at Hicklebee’s bookstore.

A question came up in the Comments this week about what music I listen to when I’m running. They’re about to call my plane, so I can’t give you my playlist right now – I will as soon as I get a chance.

But I’d love to know about you. What are your favorite songs to listen to when you run or exercise?

My NCTE & ALAN schedule

I am packing again – this time for a trip to New York City for the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention and the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents. These are the conferences organized and attended by the best of the best English/Language Arts/Literature/Reading teachers *** in the country. They are the smart ones – the passionate ones, the ones who get to school early and stay wicked late to help their students. I love them.

*** note: some of the best of the best can’t make it to this critically important professional development conference because their school districts won’t pay for it. Some folks pay out-of-pocket (on a teacher’s salary!) because that’s how important this conference is.

Will any of youse guys be there? Here is where you will find me:

Thursday, November 15th
Spending the day in comfort riding the train and writing instead of suffering the hassles of the airport.

Dinner with a group of teachers.

Friday, November 16th
9:30–10:45 a.m. Panel: “Adolescent Literacy at the Crossroads: Redefining Sex and Sexuality in YA Fiction”. Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street (at 11th Avenue) | Room TBA

This panel has a YA killer line-up: me, Brent Hartinger, E. Lockhart, Laura Ruby, Tanya Lee Stone & Lara Zeises, and will be chaired by She Who Knows Most Everything, Teri Lesesne. You really, really, really want to come to this one. I imagine the conversation will continue in the hall long after the session is over.

2:00–3:00 p.m. Book signing at Penguin Young Readers Group, Booth #202, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street (at 11th Avenue) | Hall C, Level 1

3:00–4:00 p.m. Book signing at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Booth #442, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street (at 11th Avenue) | Hall C, Level 1

Dinner with a group of teachers.

Saturday, November 17th
9:00–10:00 a.m. Book signing at Anderson’s Bookshop, Booth #479, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street (at 11th Avenue) | Hall C, Level 1

10:00–11:30 a.m. Book signing at PermaBound, Booth #357, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street (at 11th Avenue) | Hall C, Level 1

12:30–2:15 p.m. Books for Children Luncheon at the Marriott Marquis Times Square, 1535 Broadway | Westside Ballroom Salon ½. Andrea & Brian Pinkney will be speaking – this should be awesome.

Afternoon – I might hang at the convention or I might run in Central Park (if the weather is decent). Anybody want to join me? I’ll run 6-7 miles, probably at a 10-minute mile pace. You are welcome to join me for some or all of it. If you’re interested, let me know in the comments section and I’ll get more details to you.

Evening – I need to write.

Sunday, November 18th
Daytime – holed up in hotel, writing. Might sneak out to attend a few sessions. We’ll see.

6:00–7:30 p.m. ALAN Reception, Marriott Marquis Times Square , 1535 Broadway (at 45th Street) | Astor Ballroom, 7th Floor – I think I am going to wear my new shoes, so I will be the one limping.

Dinner with my publishers.

Monday, November 19th

Breakfast with my agent.

Daytime – hanging out at ALAN and meeting with an editor

Evening – a party and dinner

Tuesday, November 20th
10:30–11:05 a.m. ALAN Program: “Brown-Bagging It with Mattie and Hank: What does Testing have to do with lunch?” Marriott Marquis Times Square, 1535 Broadway | West Side Ballroom, Salon 1, 5th Floor

This should be really interesting. Professor Denise Ousley will demonstrate a fascinating classroom technique – giving students brown paper bags that are filled with objects that relate to a historical novel, and allowing students to respond to the objects. L.M. Elliott will talk about how this technique works with her book, UNDER A WAR-TORN SKY. I will be talking about it in relation to FEVER 1793. I’ll also be talking about the research for my new historical CHAINS (it will be published September, 2008). Please join us!

11:15–11:45 a.m. “Silent book” signing (as other authors will still be speaking) Marriot Marquis Times Square, 1535 Broadway | Room TK

Afternoon – fight the mid-town crowds trying to escape the city for Thanksgiving. If the Turkey God smiles on me, I will make my train and I will get a seat and I will trundle on home where our brood and all of their beloveds and the dog and my husband, who is the bestest Thanksgiving cook ever, will be waiting.