Goodreads giveaway for Be a Changemaker ARCs

Goodreads buttonGood news: There’s a giveaway going on right now on Goodreads for two ARCs (advance reader copies) of Be a Changemaker! This is a pleasant surprise, because a) I didn’t know there were any ARCs left, and b) the publisher set this up without me having to do anything (thank you, Simon & Schuster)!

If you’d like to try to win a copy for yourself, just click here. Hurry, though… the giveaway will close to entries on August 19th. Good luck!

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It’s the Be a Changemaker launch party!

Please come celebrate the release of my first book:

BE A CHANGEMAKER cover

Sunday, September 14th, at 2 p.m.

Seattle Creative Arts Center
2601 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107
(Click here for directions and parking information.

Eat, drink, mingle, hear more about the book from the author, and—best of all—meet some local teens who are already changing the world!

I hope to see you there!

If you can’t make it and would still like a signed copy, you can order from Secret Garden Books here (please indicate how you’d like it personalized in the “other notes about your order” field and leave an extra week or two for delivery).

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First reviews for BE A CHANGEMAKER

BE A CHANGEMAKER coverI’ve had great feedback from friends all along (you know who you are–thank you!), but I’ve been anxiously awaiting that first third-party judgement of BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS. The first professional reviews feel huge to me, kind of “make or break” moments, where the tone gets set for all that may follow for that particular book. I doubt that’s actually true, as most reviewers probably pride themselves on boldly stating their own opinions no matter what others before them have said, but it sure feels that way me. If nothing else, you can always point back at those first positive reviews if subsequent reviews are less than favorable, right? So, you can imagine my huge sigh of relief when that first major professional review landed in my inbox, and it wasn’t completely dreadful!

For me, the first one to come in was from Kirkus, somewhat notorious for not pandering to authors’ fragile egos. I prepared myself for the worst and opened the email. If you’d like to read their full review, click here, but here’s an excerpt:

“Teens looking to make a difference will find inspiration as well as real-world strategies for realizing their dreams of being the change they want to see in the world…. Inspirational as well as practical.
Kirkus ReviewsKirkus header

That one was soon followed by a second positive review, from Compass Book Ratings. Their full review can be read here, but here are some quotes from it:

“Thorough, complete, organized, on-target–pick an adjective, because they all apply in this case….

A superb reference book that should be a staple of libraries, school counselors, and anyone who rubs shoulders with young people.”
Compass Book Ratings

I’m honestly grateful to anyone who takes the time to read and review the book, regardless of his or her opinion of it, but it is extremely encouraging to have great reviews like this under my belt moving forward. Thank you, Kirkus! Thank you, Compass Book Ratings!

 

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EMMANUEL’S DREAM popping up in some exciting places!

My upcoming picture-book biography, EMMANUEL’S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH, has been popping up in a few exciting places lately!

First, I recently got to see–for the first time–how the illustrations by Sean Qualls are progressing, and the artwork is nothing short of amazing! I was sitting in a quiet coffee shop working on my laptop when I got my first glimpse, and it literally brought tears to my eyes, in all the best ways. I wanted to dance around the place and scream with excitement! I love the bold color palette he’s using, the expressions on the characters’ faces, and the way he chose to show parts of the story in silhouetted background images. It’s breathtaking! Unfortunately, I can share any of it with you just yet, but I can’t wait to be able to. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Second, the book is now listed on Goodreads! I hope you’ll click on this link or the button below and add EMMANUEL’S DREAM to your “Want to Read” shelf.

Goodreads button for Emmanuel's Dream

Third, the book is available for pre-order! If you’d like to reserve a signed copy, you may now order EMMANUEL’S DREAM from Secret Garden Books (please leave an extra week or so after the publication date for delivery, and indicate how you’d like it personalized in the “other notes about your order” field). It Is also available for pre-order on Amazon.comBarnes & NobleIndieBoundPowell’s, or directly from the publisher, Schwartz & Wade/Random House.
Keep an eye out for more exciting news!

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On overnight success (Surprise! It’s a lot like failure.)

I posted over on the Emu’s Debuts blog yesterday about what makes an “overnight success.” If you missed it, here’s a little excerpt:

Both of last week’s posts here were about failure, or at least the constant perceived threat of failure that so often makes it hard for us to move forward. I’m going to continue the theme, but on a slightly different note. Our own Emu Empress, Erin MUrphy, once said something along the lines of, “For every success, there is a waiting period that feels like failure.” And in a post on this very blog almost three years ago, she followed that up with, “But it’s NOT! It’s just waiting!”

Roosevelt quote about failure and successWhen she wrote that post back in 2011, I’d only been with the agency for a few months. One year from now, I’ll have three books published. That doesn’t seem like very much waiting, especially to those familiar with the pace of the publishing industry. Many of my writer friends have walked up to me and said something to the effect of, “Wow, you’re on FIRE!” Some say things like, “I guess you’ve been busy lately!” Others ask, “So, what’s your secret?” as if I’m holding out on them. A few say, “Boy, did you get lucky!” never thinking that some authors might be a little bit offended by that. (I never am: Yes, indeed, I have gotten very, very lucky!)

So, in the interests of dispelling myths and keeping things real, I thought it might be helpful to break down my “overnight success:”

You can read the rest of that post here.

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The writing process blog tour is here!

You may have seen this meme going around on various author and/or illustrator blogs where people answer questions about their writing process. I’ve been enjoying reading other people’s answers and learning from their thoughts about process, so when I was tagged by my talented author/illustrator friend, Jennifer K. Mann, I decided to add a post about my process here. Enjoy!

Jennifer K. Mann
Jenn and some feathered friends

Jenn has been on a roll lately! Her first illustrated book, TURKEY TOT, written by George Shannon, just came out last October. TWO SPECKLED EGGS, her first author/illustrator debut, just came out in April. And she’s just finishing up the final art for I DEFINITELY WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS BENSON’S BLACKBOARD, which will come out next year. You can read about Jenn’s writing and illustrating process here. Thanks for tagging me, Jenn! Let the Q&A begin…

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Meet Changemaker Edward Jiang, founder of StudentRND

This is the second post in the series introducing the amazing young people who are profiled in my upcoming book, BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS (Beyond Words/Simon Pulse, September 2014). Today I’m introducing Edward Jiang, founder of StudentRND, and giving some behind-the-scenes details about our in-person interview.

Edward Jiang
Edward Jiang

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I am not my book… Or am I?

Emu's Debuts headerEarlier this month over on Emu’s Debuts, I blogged about the importance, and difficulties, of separating the creator (ourselves) from the works created. Since some of you may not follow that blog, I thought I should post it here, too. Here’s an excerpt… Continue reading

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Review: ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA

ABAYOMI cover
Published by Mims House
ISBN-10: 1629440019, ISBN-13: 978-1629440019

Darcy Pattison and Kitty Harvill have teamed up again, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. You might remember when I reviewed their previous collaboration, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS, here.

Unlike Wisdom, the main character in ABAYOMI,  THE BRAZILIAN PUMA, is a mammal, a feline, not a bird. Unlike Wisdom, Abayomi lives in South America, in Brazil, not on an island in the North Pacific Ocean. Unlike Wisdom, Abayomi is a baby, an orphan, not a wise, old mother. Yet their stories have much in common. Continue reading

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Meet Changemaker Charles Orgbon III, founder of Greening Forward

Today, I’m kicking off a series of blog posts that will introduce you to some of the amazing young people who are profiled in my upcoming book, BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS (Beyond Words/Simon Pulse, September 2014). Each of the 18 chapters in the book includes a short piece about how one or more young people changed the world and their experiences with the chapter topic, in particular. I was able to interview most of them in person, via Skype, by phone, or by email, and I have so much more great stuff about them than would fit in the book–sort of like out-takes, only better! I hope you’ll enjoy “meeting” them here and reading more about them and their work.

Charles Orgbon III
Charles Orgbon III

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