Come Find Me at Buttonwood Books Tomorrow Night!

Tomorrow I’ll be at Buttonwood Books in Cohasset, MA (just outside of Boston) for a panel and signing with my fellow 2014 debut YA author the lovely Skylar Dorset!

Come for the discussion about YA writing, stay for the signing and smiles.

The details:

YA Author Panel and Signing
August 13, 7pm at Buttonwood Books
Cohasset, MA 02025

The weather is supposed to be kind of gross, but hopefully by 7pm things will have calmed down. And what better way to spend a rainy day than by hitting up a local bookstore?

Upcoming Events: Buttonwood Books and the Boston Teen Author Festival!

A couple of new and excellent events to add to the calendar!

On Wednesday, August 13 at 7pm, I’ll be at Buttonwood Books in Cohasset, MA with fellow 2014 debut YA author (and all around delightful person) Skylar Dorset. We’ll be BrOEEmsCAAAGCN2talking about writing, being debut authors, how awesome YA is, and more.

And then on September 27, I’ll be part of the 2014 Boston Teen Author Festival at the Cambridge Public Library. Other authors on this year’s schedule include local favorites like A.C. Gaughen, Sashi Kaufman, Diana Renn, and Erin Dionne; and I might just fangirl myself into a frenzy over fellow Candlewick author M.T. Anderson.

Check out the Appearances and Interviews page for more info, and mark your calendars now!


Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m psyched to head into the long weekend, and psyched to share this week’s book reviews in fifteen words or under.

1. King Rollo and the Bread by David McKee
The adorable, illustrated version of “let them eat cake.”

2. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
I like a girl with vengeance in her heart. Well crafted, lots of feels.

3. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Try not to fall in love with this one. A classic for so many reasons.

4. United States of Pie: Regional Favorites from East to West and North to South by Adrienne Kane
Fun to learn about lots of regional favorites–from shore to shore, pie’s a winner.

5. The Baby-Sitters Haunted House (Baby-Sitters Club Super Mystery, 1) by Ann M. Martin
What I think of every time I see/hear about a widow’s walk.

Wood Sculptures, Books That Make You Cry, and Writing Sympathetic Characters: A YA Panel in Barrington, RI

photo 1 (1)

The Panel!

Last night I was part of my first YA author panel, hosted by the Barrington Bookstore and the Barrington Public Library. Having grown up in Rhode Island, this was a really fun and exciting opportunity for me.

On the panel with me were Tara Sullivan, author of Golden Boy, Katie Cotugno, author of How to Love, Bianca Turetsky, author of The Time-Traveling Fashionista series, and Katie Davis, author of Dancing with the Devil. Our moderator was the wonderful Alyisha Foley, librarian and blogger and kidlit enthusiast. Alyisha had great questions, and I loved hearing my fellow panelists talk about their own experiences writing books for teen readers and about their own young reading experiences.

A few favorite moments from the panel:

  • All of us agreeing that middle/high school are so freaking hard and basically when you need books the most.
  • Also agreeing that sometimes spoken communication is hard–long live the text/email!
  • Talking about what why flawed characters are compelling and real.
  • Tara Sullivan sharing an ebony wood sculpture. (Made me flash back to all those good Habo and Kweli moments!)
  • Bianca Turetsky’s shoutout to the Baby-Sitters’ Club.
  • Getting to sign The Chance You Won’t Return for RI family and friends, including the parents of some of my friends from high school.

photo 2Thanks so much to Anika Denise and Barrington Books for organizing such a great panel, to the Barrington Library for letting us use their wonderful space, and to everyone who came out on a Wednesday night to hear us talk about the awesomeness of YA!

Tonight! YA Authors at the Barrington Public Library

My first panel event as an author is tonight in my very own home state of RI! I’ll be talking with fellow YA authors about how we became writers, what YA is for us, and more. The details:

Voice. Heart. Connection. An Evening with 5 Extraordinary Authors of YA Fiction
May 14th, 6pm at the Barrington Public Library
184 County Rd
Barrington, RI 02806

Thanks so much to Barrington Books for organizing this event and more as part of Children’s Book Week. If you’re in the RI area, make sure to check out this fantastic local bookstore. And come to the panel at the Barrington Library tonight!


Links Galore

It’s Monday; we need a few good links.

Links Galore

A few good links to get you through the day:

Tanzania, Children’s Lit, and Book Cake: the GOLDEN BOY launch party

photo 7It’s not every Thursday night you get to wear an awesome t-shirt, see pictures of African wildlife, learn about Albinism activism, eat cake, and hear a reading of a debut novelist’s awesome book. Fortunately, last Thursday was that kind of night, thanks to the Golden Boy launch party at Porter Square Books.

Tara’s in my critique group, so I was really looking forward to this event. Plus, this was the first official launch party I ever attended. As a ’14 author, I made sure to make major mental notes. Tara did a fantastic job, so I definitely have a lot to add to my “to do” list. A few things from Tara’s launch I particularly liked:

  • IMG_3099Hearing Tara talk about her own childhood growing up all over the world and dealing with the accompanying social and medical issues (like almost losing her sight from the UV rays while living in Bolivia). I love hearing about author’s backgrounds and connecting their experiences to their work.
  • Seeing photos from Tara’s Golden Boy research trip to Tanzania. She showed us what would have been the map of Habo’s group and photos of the real life places that inspired his journey.
  • Tara reading aloud from Golden Boy and hearing the crowd react to the lovely writing. So excited for people to read this one!
  • The swag table, complete with bookmarks, info on how to help people with albinism, a Golden Boy guest book, and real African carvings like the ones Kweli makes in the book.
  • A delicious cake, complete with the Golden Boy cover. (Seriously, guys, what event isn’t made better by the addition of cake?)

So many people came out for the launch and were so enthusiastic. In case you couldn’t make it , here are a few more pictures from the launch party (photos either by me or–if they’re good photos–by Julia’s husband):

Swag table

Swag table

Fellow critique-ers and Golden Boy enthusiasts Lisa and Katie

Fellow critique-ers and Golden Boy enthusiasts Lisa and Katie

Walt and me, getting psyched with funny faces

Walt and me, getting psyched with funny faces

The beautiful cover cake

The beautiful cover cake

Tara signs books (eeee, author signings!)

Tara signs books (eeee, author signings!)

I had a blast and am psyched for lots of friends’ future launch parties. Now go read Golden Boy!

Happy Release Day, GOLDEN BOY!

9780399161124_medium_Golden_BoySome books make me wish I had a middle school class so I could share them with readers. Tuck EverlastingThe Giver. And Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan, which launches today! A little about the book:

“Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different— light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists…When the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.

Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti…Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete. To survive, Habo must not only run but find a way to love and accept himself.”

I first heard about Golden Boy in 2011, when Tara and I were co-winners of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. At the reception, Tara read a little from her manuscript and I was blown away by the quality of the writing and the sensitivity to the characters. Plus, Golden Boy deals with international human rights issues; I can’t imagine that most young readers know what people with albinism face in Africa (or anywhere). When Tara finished reading, I was more than a little intimidated to go after her. Golden Boy was so good and important!

When I joined Tara’s critique group, I got to read the whole manuscript and guys–Golden Boy is still so good and important. Tara tackles a very challenging issue from the perspective of a rich, compelling narrator and cast of characters. And the book world agrees! From some Golden Boy reviews:

  • “Readers will be caught by the contemporary story of prejudice, both unspoken and violent, as tension builds to the climax.”–Booklist
  • “A moving novel that explores finding the worth of an individual as they see themselves, not as the world sees them.”–VOYA
  • “A riveting snapshot of one Tanzanian boy who makes himself matter.”–starred Kirkus (why yes, that is a starred Kirkus review)

Today is the first day you can officially add Golden Boy to your bookshelves! And if you’re in the Boston area, you can come to Porter Square Books for the official launch party and buy a copy there! Which also means you get to hear Tara talk about the book and Tanzania, get a signed copy, and eat celebratory cake. (Yes, books and cake. Thursday just got awesome.)

So come out to Porter Square books tonight, or snag your copy from another local bookstore, or buy it online, or ask your favorite librarian for a copy. Because this book will give you all the feelings and make you want to share it with your favorite young reader.