If everyone else is still as disorganized after the holidays as I am, you may have forgotten that there is still time to sign up for the SCBWI-Brazos Valley conference coming up March 4 in College Station. Author of over twenty books Donna Cooner will be speaking. Her newest book, WORTHY releases March 28. Other speakers are Karen Boss from Charlesbridge, Jennifer March Soloway from Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Caldecott Honor illustrator E.B. Lewis, and Newbery Honor author Kathi Appelt.
Happy Book Birthday
Last week, I missed congratulating Joanne Levy for her new novel for tweens. Joanna is the author of the fun and funny middle grade novel, SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE. Congratulations, Joanna! You can follow her on twitter, @JoanneLevy!
This week we get another adorable picture book from Diana Murray, one of the regular members on the SCBWI Discussion Board. Diana’s career is on fire! She had three picture books published in 2016, one each from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, and Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan. The first of her FOUR (so far) books for 2017 is from Sky Pony Press. Later this year she has another from Little, Brown, another from HarperCollins, and one from Imprint, part of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. (And there’s more with dates still to be determined!) Go Diana!
By Joanne Levy
Published by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
From the publisher: Twelve-year-old Kat is already so over seventh grade. It doesn’t help that her best friend and cousin, Olivia, grew a foot over the summer and won a spot on the school’s dance team, shooting her up on the popularity scale. In the jungle that is middle school, Olivia is a gazelle. Braces-wearing, manga-loving, uncoordinated Kat is a warthog. Plus, Tyler, Kat’s next-door neighbor and buddy since birth, morphed into a really cute boy over the summer. Suddenly the person Kat’s used to playing Xbox with is causing her stomach to do cartwheels.
When Olivia confesses that she has a crush on Tyler and wants to ask him to the Fall Ball dance, Kat knows there’s going to be a problem: Tyler thinks Olivia is just another ditsy girl who only cares about lip gloss and boy bands. But since Kat’s one of Tyler’s oldest friends, Olivia’s sure she ll know how to get his attention.
Trying to be a good friend and squash her own feelings, Kat makes it her mission to get the two of them together. From writing Tyler cheat sheets listing his favorite things, to feeding Olivia lines through her headphones during Tyler-focused study sessions, Kat devises schemes by which Tyler will fall for Olivia. And to her delight or maybe horror her plan begins to work. Now that Olivia’s caught Tyler’s attention, Kat has to wonder if she’s fooled Tyler into falling for the wrong girl. But what boy would ever choose a warthog over a gazelle?
By Diana Murray
Illustrated by Bats Langley
Published by Sky Pony Press
From the publisher: Groggle has been up all night making a Valentine’s Day card. This isn’t just any Valentine, though, and it has to be perfect—it’s for Snarlina, his beast friend in the whole wide world.
Searching in the dark forest, he finds just the right heart-shaped leaves. He collects some bog slime and squirts everything he wants to say in bold, gooey letters. Groggle’s creation looks horribly good. But there’s just one problem—gobble, crunch, crunch, slurp! He has a monster appetite!
Groggle tries again, this time writing poem after poem to make sure he has some extras just in case. He picks skunk flowers, carefully ties on snake bows, and sprinkles shiny beetle glitter. He decorates each card with care. But . . . gobble, crunch, crunch, slurp! Groggle’s monster impulses foil his efforts and he’s run out of time.
Will Groggle ever be able to give his toothsome, stomping, monstrous friend Snarlina a Valentine? Find out in this monster of a tale.
Local Author Events
JANUARY 17, 7:00 PM: JAMES RILEY, MG AUTHOR
COST: FREE; Admission: In order to go through the signing line and meet James Riley for book personalization, please purchase SECRET ORIGINS from Blue Willow Bookshop.
James Riley will discuss and sign his STORY THIEVES series for kids. In the newest installment, SECRET ORIGINS, Owen and Bethany have sworn off jumping into books for good. But they didn’t make any promises about not jumping through strange portals that lead to a comic book world.
Jupiter City was once filled with brightly costumed superheroes and villains, but nowadays, there’s nothing left but the Dark. Even the villains are terrified of the Dark’s shadows, and most of the heroes have either disappeared or been lost to mind control. The one hero who might have stopped all of this, Doc Twilight, has been imprisoned by the Dark.
But who is Doc Twilight really? And how can Bethany and Owen defeat the Dark without superpowers of their own? They’ll definitely need the help of some old friends and new allies to bring the light back to Jupiter City, and find out the truth behind the Dark.
It all comes back to Bethany’s own secret origins. What really happened when her fictional father disappeared years ago? Who is Nobody, and why is he writing these Story Thieves books? And what kind of supervillain name is The Rotten Banana?
JANUARY 21, SATURDAY, 9:00 AM-12:30 PM: BOOKWORM: A FESTIVAL FOR YOUNG READERS
Spring Oaks Middle School, 2150 Shadowdale, Houston
Begun in 2014, the Bookworm Festival is a fun morning that celebrates emerging readers, and those who write for them. Librarians and language arts teachers from across Houston comprise the steering committee for this event. Their goal is to connect emerging readers with authors to foster the joy of reading. This year’s featured authors/illustrators are Adam Rex, Mary Sullivan, Heidi Schulz, and Varsha Bajaj.
JANUARY 17, TUESDAY, 7:15 PM: HOUSTON BAY AREA ROMANCE WRITERS: JULIE GLOVER
Young Adult author Julie Glover discusses Using Grammar to Enhance Your Voice.
JANUARY 21, SATURDAY, 3:00-5:00 PM: BAWL MONTHLY WRITE-IN
Cafe Express, 19443 Gulf Fwy, Webster, TX
COST: Members-Free, Nonmembers, $5.00
Join fellow writers for the first BAWL (Bay Area Writers League) Monthly Write-In. Get inspired with writing prompts or work on your own projects. All genres welcome. Bring computer or pen/paper.
JANUARY 21, SATURDAY, 3:00-6:00 PM: WRITESPACE: WORKSHOP
COST: Members Only $15
Members Only First Page Critiques: Writespace members, come meet the founding director of Writespace and share fellowship with your fellow writers as we enjoy an encouraging and supportive roundtable of first page critiques. In three hours we will embark upon a fast and fun, yet in-depth adventure in which we explore the fundamentals and subtleties of dozens of craft elements essential to composing great stories. By the end of our session, attending writers will have attained greater clarity about what questions good writers ask as they work, as well as a clearer sense of what editors and agents look for when they receive a pitch or a submission. Also, each writer will be assigned an exercise or prompt customized to the page we critiqued and designed to vitalize both the specific work and the writers’ development.
JANUARY 24, TUESDAY, 6:30 PM: HOUSTON WRITERS HOUSE SOCIAL: DEBORAH FRONTIERA
Local author Debbie Frontiera, who is in charge of the Kroger Bookseller Program, will explain how to can sell your books at Kroger.
For more conference information, visit the main conference pages. If you’d like to be notified of these weekly updates, please use the Subscribe to Updates form on the sidebars!
MARCH 10-11: JAMBALAYA KIDLIT CONFERENCE, NEW ORLEANS, LA
EDITORS: Cheryl Klein/Scholastic; Nina Kooij/Pelican Publishing
ART DIRECTOR: Kevin Johnson/Pelican Publishing
JULY 10-15: WRITING FOR CHILDREN, LANDGROVE, VT
Esther Hershenhorn—Author/Writing Coach
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