I have a couple of tidbits I’ve been wanting to share with you, so get your pens and paper ready.

1. Congratulations to Professor Annette Gordon-Reed for winning prize after exquisite prize for her incredible, important, must-be-read-by-all-Americans book, The Hemingses of Monticello. In addition to taking last year’s National Book Award for Non-Fiction, and the Pulitzer for History earlier this year, it was recently announced that Hemingses was awarded the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, awarded for the best book written in English on slavery or abolition.

2. Christopher Moore, curator of the Schomberg Center and one of the generous vetters for Chains, has written a book with his eight-year-old son Matthew based on a 400 million-year-old boulder that is now in a park near their home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The book is not published yet, but the story has been turned into a musical, Matthew Takes Mannahatta, which opened last weekend. Bravo!

3. An independent bookseller (who is NOT my daughter) has written an open letter to all authors about the vital bookseller-author relationship. Please read it.

4. The first two books of my Vet Volunteers series have been translated into Japanese!!! Squeeeeeeeee!



  They have ILLUSTRATIONS!! How cool is that?

And that is all the Tidbits from the Forest today.


I know you guys are getting sick of this, but the contest is almost over. Zoe still needs one vote a day, every day, if she is to stand a chance at winding up in abox of Cheerios next year.

When I was a kid, I lived in a house that had the most ridiculous rule in the world: no reading at the breakfast table. This meant that I read the cereal box obsessively. I can still recite way too many lists of ingredients.

When I grew up and became The Boss, I made a new rule: you MUST bring a book to the breakfast table. And now, because all the stars are lining up, one my books – THE HAIR OF ZOE FLEEFENBACHER GOES TO SCHOOL – could be the book that winds up on a million breakfast tables. This is most important to me because a lot of the kids who get a book in their cereal live in families who don’t have the extra money for books. Because of this fun contest, if they eat a good breakfast, they get a free book. That is pretty cool.

But Zoe still needs your vote. Please!


1. Go to the voting page.

2. In the bottom right corner, click on MORE BOOKS twice. (Yes, this is the tricky part. No, I don’t know why Zoe is buried at the absolute back of the pack. Kind of makes you feel sorry for her, huh?) That will take you to ZOE.

3. Click on the yellow box that says VOTE!

4. Notify all of your friends, neighbors, family members, the folks at church or temple or mosque or other house of faith, the rest of the PTA, the people at the firehouse, everyone in your classroom, and tell them all pretty, pretty please with a headful of unruly red hair, PLEASE VOTE FOR ZOE.

5. Do this every day until the end of October. That is only a few more days!



Book Tour Day 4 – catching one’s breath

Saturday! There is no school on Saturday! This is both the bad and good news for me. Bad news because I have been having a blast at the schools I’ve visited. Good news because I have a massive mountain of email to deal with, and – oh, that’s right – I want to write. That is, after all the point, right? Write?

Before I share my Denver highlights, three exciting headlines.

Headline 1: Awesome review in the Chicago Tribune compares and contrasts CHAINS and OCTAVIAN NOTHING, VOL. 2. I have been waiting for a reviewer to do this and I am so happy with the result!

Headline 2: The teens of America voted TWISTED onto the 2008 ALA Teen Top Ten List!!! It was one of only three non-fantasy/alternate reality titles on the list, which is very interesting. I keep thinking I should try my hand at a fantasy, but there are so many people out there writing imaginative and gripping books, I think I’ll stick to my corner of the sandbox.

Headline 3: Vet Volunteers is going to be translated into Polish! OK, maybe it’s not quite as exciting as the first two headlines, but I had such a lovely time in Poland last year that I am totally stoked my books are going to be available to Polish readers.

TODAY’S EVENT: Saturday, October 25 at 1:00 pm: The Bookstall of Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL 847-446-0882

TOMORROW’S EVENT: Sunday, October 26 at 2:00 pm: Center for Teaching through Children’s Books, National-Louis University, Skokie, IL. This is at 5202 Old Orchard Road – 3rd Floor Public Forum Room. Sorry, I don’t have a contact phone number, but I do know that lots of teachers and grad students are expected to attend. There is also a discussion group meeting about teaching historical fiction at 1 pm, so you might want to come early to be a part of that.

And now, the Denver summary. The people in Denver are so nice, they arranged the weather patterns so that everytime I stepped outside, I could see the mountains. I can’t imagine a person would ever get tired of that sight.

My last Denver day was simple: One school, one stock signing, one bookstore event.

The school visit was a 2-hour visit to the 7th-grade creative writing classes at the Denver School of the Arts. We can all rest easy knowing that there is a very talented generation of young writers rising up behind us, preparing to supply us all with great stories well into our dotage.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic They play with word magnets when bored.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic A good sentiment to live by.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The evening event was at Tattered Cover, a legendary independent bookstore.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The crowd was a mixture of teachers, librarians, and a cool mother-daughter book club. The girls in the club promised me they’d email me their comments about CHAINS. It’s very nice to have reviewers like the book, but the true test is the opinion of real readers. I’ll let you know what they think.

So Many Reasons to Celebrate…

If you are younger than 40, please, please read this so you’ll know how far we’ve come. We still have a long way to go, but there is hope ringing in my heart. Can’t remember the last time I felt this way.

Do you have any plans for Saturday? No? Let me make some for you.

In the morning, head to downtown Syracuse and jog or walk in Paige’s Butterfly Run. It is held in the memory of Paige Yeomans Arnold who died of leukemia when she was in first grade. I am friends with her amazing parents, Ellen and Chris, who have turned their tragedy into hope for other children with cancer by raising a small fortune for research with this run, now in its 12th year.

After you run, enjoy the food and music at the Taste of Syracuse, a downtown celebration that will feature the food of local restaurants and bands that will make you dance.

Then head west to the gorgeous village of Skaneateles to hear me speak at Creekside Books at 1pm. I’ll be bringing folks up to date on my Vet Volunteers series, talking about Independent Dames and might drop a few hints about next year’s YA novel. As always, I am happy to write notes to English teachers begging for extra credit for any students who come out to hear me talk. See an author, raise your GPA!

But the biggest celebration today is with my Beloved Husband, for this is the day we wed. Happy Anniversary, baby, got you on my mind….