Jacket Art for Deadly Wish!

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Book: Deadly Wish, Ninjas | 0 comments

jktDeadly Wish, the sequel to Deadly Flowers, has a glorious brand-new jacket. When I see jacket art for a novel, it always feels startling–oh, they’re really going to make this into a book? Gosh. I had no idea.

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What I’ve Been Reading

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Race, What I've Been Reading | 0 comments

51vnbkgbal-_sx334_bo1204203200_Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Rita Williams-Garcia got a lot of attention for One Crazy Summer but I think this follow-up is even stronger. Three sisters, growing up in the sixties, head down to Alabama to spend the summer with their grandmother and great-grandmother.

With the election and the news and the Black Lives Matter movement and the bewildering fact that, in 21st century America, armed white men can be acquitted for taking over public property while black teens can be shot for wearing a hoodie while buying Skittles, race has been much on my mind lately, especially since I’m a white mother raising a child of color. Maybe that’s why this book struck such a deep note with me, as Fern, Vonetta, and Delphine learn more and more about exactly what their family is–African-American, sure, but also Native American and white and complicated and painful and flawed and lonely and ever-changing, in the end, together no matter how much it hurts.

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Read, My Child. Read.

Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 in American History, Educators & Librarians, Race | 0 comments

Let’s be thankful for libraries, for heroes who marched, for books that share experiences and emotions and lives. John Lewis, thank you.


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A Year Later

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Educators & Librarians, Race | 0 comments

Patrons doing what libraries make possible--read, gather, think, hope, plan, dream, create!

Patrons doing what libraries make possible–read, gather, think, hope, plan, dream, create!

It’s been a tumultuous year since the events in Ferguson, Missouri sparked outrage and a growing social movement. Remember how the Ferguson Library stayed upon, providing a refuge for kids and adults to come together as a community, to learn, to grow, and to stay strong? Many of us donated to that library, and I just received word of how much those donations have helped the community.

You are amazing!

Two years ago, we at the Ferguson Municipal Public Library were doing everything we could think of to help our community at a time of overwhelming need. You cared enough to notice, and cared enough to help. You recognized the special role we, as a library, can play in helping our community heal, and in bringing our community together. There is a well of gratitude in me that I cannot begin to express. Thank you.

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What I Can Do

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Children's Literature, Race, Writing Process | 0 comments

Around the Neighborhood

I love the art for this book–it’s warm and clever and bright and joyful and energetic. But oh, I do wish that the mom and baby were not both pink.

I don’t usually do politics on this blog (I’ve got Facebook for that!) but, like a lot of us, I’m dismayed, to put it mildly, by the election and the rhetoric swirling around us. And I’m thinking about what I can do. This is not all I have planned, but for the record:

  • I’m not going to write a book with only white characters ever again. I’m sorry for the times that I have. I’m sorry for the times that I thought I’d write a more inclusive, more representative, more accurate book “later,” after I got this or that particular idea finished. It’s later. I’m on it.
  • I’m going to ask my illustrators not to paint/draw/pixelate only white characters. There is a touchy etiquette dance between authors of picture books and their illustrators, and we word people have to be careful not to tell the picture people how to do their work. I’ve erred on the side of being too polite here. I’m not going to do that anymore.
  • There will be gay characters in my books. There will be gay parents who are trying to do right by their kids. There will be gay boys kissing their sweet boyfriends, lesbian girls kissing their adorable girlfriends.
  • There will be immigrant characters in my books who are trying hard to adapt to a new place and a new language and to the loss of a homeland and who are not taking anything away from anybody else just by existing.
  •  I will try my hardest to make every book that I write an exercise in empathy, in getting into another person’s mind and heart. Because I’m pretty darn sure that’s the only thing that’s going to save us.
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Imagine a Read Aloud!

Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 in Educators & Librarians, PIcture Books | 0 comments

Imagine a Night

Imagine a Night

Got to love the Sevier County Public Library System in Tennessee…they periodically post videos of the librarians reading aloud to kids, as a service to far flung patrons who have difficulty making a trip to the library. I’m honored that they’ve chosen Imagine a Night and Imagine a Place!

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Posted by on Nov 2, 2016 in Ancient Animals, Early Reader, Illustration | 0 comments

Didn't illustrator Andrew Plant do a stunning job with this fabulous prehistoric aquatic beasties?

Didn’t illustrator Andrew Plant do a stunning job with these fabulous prehistoric aquatic beasties?

It’s always a good day when proofs arrive! Suddenly that collection of sketches and artwork and facts and sentences and “did we put that page break in the right place” anxiety is–a book! An actual book that actual people will actually read! Very, totally exciting.

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