June 2023 news

You Are a Honey Bee! headband craft

Get your free activity kit!

There is now an activ­i­ty kit/curriculum guide for the first two books in the Meet Your World series, YOU ARE A HONEY BEE! and YOU ARE A RACCOON!, and it is adorable! The guide fea­tures cre­ative art projects, games, and writ­ing and sci­ence-relat­ed activ­i­ties to extend both the fun and edu­ca­tion­al val­ue of the books. You can down­load it HERE. Huge thanks to Deb­bie Gon­za­les at Guides by Deb for cre­at­ing these won­der­ful resources for par­ents and educators.

You Are a Honey Bee! headband craft You Are a Honey Bee! board game You Are a Raccoon! mask craft Habitat survival skills charades game

Recent appearances

I’ve been doing so many excit­ing school vis­its, sto­ry­times, and vir­tu­al and online events. Here are just a few!

  • Watch the #GreenPB2023 Cel­e­brate Earth Pic­ture Book Par­ty excerpt for You Are a Hon­ey Bee! here
  • Watch the #GreenPB2023 Cel­e­brate Earth Pic­ture Book Par­ty excerpt for You Are a Rac­coon! here
  • Click here to watch the SCBWI-WWA spring 2023 Inside Sto­ry excerpt for both books in the Meet Your World series
  • I pre­sent­ed an inter­ac­tive in-per­son storytime/signing event at the love­ly Invi­ta­tion Book­shop in Gig Har­bor, WA
  • I was fea­tured in this fun inter­view on YA and Kids’ Books Central
  • I was on the fac­ul­ty for SCBWI-WWA’s Great Cri­tique event
  • I pre­sent­ed a vir­tu­al You Are a Hon­ey Bee! read-aloud on Stream­able Learning
  • I was delight­ed to par­tic­i­pate in a pan­el called Full STEAM Ahead for SCBWI-Oregon
  • I was pleas­ant­ly sur­prised that Two Truths and a Lie was fea­tured in a list of “The best books to improve kids’ crit­i­cal think­ing” on Shepherd.com
  • I pre­sent­ed sev­er­al vir­tu­al and in-per­son author vis­its at schools, plus an in-per­son sto­ry­time event for preschool­ers at a local library. I wish I could show you their adorable faces and match­ing shirts, but to pro­tect their pri­va­cy you’ll have to set­tle for this:

I was also for­tu­nate to be able to attend Kin­dling Words West at the Whid­bey Insti­tute and spend a week work­ing on my mid­dle-grade fan­ta­sy nov­el in com­mu­ni­ty with oth­er indus­try pros. Here’s what my room looked like. Isn’t it cute?

What I’ve been reading… that you should, too!

Here are some of my favorite recent reads:

  • The Girl from Earth’s End by Tara Dair­man: Wow! This book blew my mind in the best kind of way. There is so much packed into this mid­dle-grade nov­el, but some­how it doesn’t feel over­whelm­ing. Instead, it feels just right, like a warm hug from a dear friend.
  • Shermy and Shake, the Not-So-Nice Neigh­bor by Kir­by Lar­son: A sub­tly sweet chap­ter book about an unex­pect­ed friend­ship, served up with equal parts humor and heart.
  • ALL of the #GreenPB2023 releas­es! Seri­ous­ly, if you have any inter­est in sci­ence, nature, ani­mals, or the envi­ron­ment (or know a young read­er who does), check out these won­der­ful new pic­ture books.

Writing (or life in general, really) advice

I was read­ing this inter­view with Abi Cush­man, author/illustrator of Wom­bats Are Pret­ty Weird, and came across this per­fect lit­tle tid­bit of writ­ing advice:

“…the impor­tant thing to real­ize is that feel­ing uncom­fort­able in the process just means you’re chal­leng­ing your­self, and that’s a good thing.”

I’ve always tried to live my life by that mantra, and I think it’s such a good thing to remem­ber. Dis­com­fort doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean you shouldn’t do the thing, or that you’re doing it wrong. It just means you’re push­ing your­self out­side of your com­fort zone, which is nec­es­sary for growth.

Emmanuel’s Dream wins CA Young Reader Medal!

A few weeks ago I was hon­ored to trav­el to Pasade­na, CA, to the Cal­i­for­nia Library Asso­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence to receive the Cal­i­for­nia Young Read­er Medal for Emmanuel’s Dream. This is a very spe­cial award because the win­ning book in each cat­e­go­ry is cho­sen by the kids themselves.
First, the award tea itself. There were teas and sand­wich­es and all kinds of yum­mies, and look at the love­ly decorations:

stage decorations
The edge of the stage, with the book cov­ers and oth­er images inspired by the stories.

cup and saucer with tiny bicycle and horse
Bicy­cles for Emmanuel’s Dream, hors­es for The War that Saved My Life.

It was fun hear­ing the oth­er speak­ers and get­ting to chat with the librar­i­ans dur­ing the book sign­ing. And it all came with an hon­est-to-good­ness medal!

front of medal
The front of the medal.

back of medal
The back of the medal.

After the cer­e­mo­ny, I had some time to walk around and explore the city. The weath­er was per­fect, and Pasade­na is lovely.

Quote on electrical box
I loved the quotes paint­ed onto the elec­tri­cal boxes!

I stum­bled upon a street fair in hon­or of Day of the Dead. There were many tal­ent­ed artists sell­ing their wares, ven­dors, music, danc­ing, a pup­pet show, and chalk art! There were a lot of peo­ple out and about enjoy­ing the fes­tive atmosphere.
chalk artist at work
A chalk artist at work dur­ing the street fair.

A beard­ed drag­on named Robert, enjoy­ing the street fair with his pet boy.

I, of course, had to vis­it the local inde­pen­dent book­store, Vroman’s!

bookstore shelves
A nice dis­play at Vroman’s

The nice young women work­ing there rec­om­mend­ed Tre­jo’s Can­ti­na for din­ner, and it was so delicious!
Mexican rice bowl
Deli­cious din­ner at Tre­jo’s Cantina!

The Vro­man’s gals also told me not to miss the new ice cream shop in town, Wan­der­lust, which fea­tures fla­vors based on exot­ic trav­el des­ti­na­tions. They had me at ice cream! It was well worth the walk. I chose hon­ey laven­der, and it was divine.
So many inter­est­ing flavors!

As you can see, it was an amaz­ing trip. Thank you so much, Cal­i­for­nia young readers! 🙂

What I’ve Been Up To This Month

The month isn’t even over yet, but so much has been packed into the last few weeks it feels more like two months already! That’s not exact­ly an excuse for neglect­ing the blog, but, you know, life hap­pens. Anyway…

Beachside Nonfiction Workshop

I start­ed out the month at the Beach­side Non­fic­tion Work­shop with Can­dace Flem­ing & Jen­nifer Swan­son. It was amaz­ing! The fac­ul­ty were all stel­lar, the loca­tion was gor­geous, and the atten­dees were love­ly. It was fun hang­ing out with oth­er non­fic­tion geeks for an entire week­end. We all strug­gled to answer the “So, what do you write?” ques­tion, how­ev­er, since we can usu­al­ly just get away with “Non­fic­tion,” and have that be the end of it! I did­n’t take near­ly enough pho­tos, but here’s the view from my hotel balcony…

Yes, it was hard work. There were a lot of ses­sions, and they were most­ly mas­ter lev­el, plus net­work­ing and cri­tiques. I came away with so much use­ful infor­ma­tion and new ideas to apply to my works in progress. There were obvi­ous­ly some oth­er perks, too! 

Seattle Reading Council Appearance

In the mid­dle of the month, some of the mem­bers of my cri­tique group (and all agency-mates at Erin Mur­phy Lit­er­ary, as it turns out!), did an appear­ance at the Seat­tle Read­ing Coun­cil. It was a billed as a “Books and Choco­late” event… what could be bet­ter?! We each talked about our books and process and then took ques­tions. The crowd was most­ly teach­ers and librar­i­ans, so it made for a won­der­ful evening of shar­ing book love (and choco­late!) among like­mind­ed new friends. 

School visits

I had an ele­men­tary school vis­it where I got to talk to sev­er­al third-grade class­es about my writ­ing jour­ney, grit, and writ­ing with emo­tion, as well as sev­er­al fifth-grade class­es about eval­u­at­ing sources and spot­ting fake news. It was an awe­some vis­it with super-engaged audi­ences, but alas, no pho­tos. You’ll have to take my word for it!

I have anoth­er vis­it com­ing up ear­ly in June (the last one of the school year!), so I’ve been mak­ing sure every­thing is ready for that one, too. 

SCBWI-WWA Spring Conference

Final­ly, I attend­ed and helped with the SCBWI West­ern Wash­ing­ton’s spring con­fer­ence, Imag­ine That! It was a great week­end: hear­ing from inspir­ing speak­ers, get­ting feed­back on one of my works in progress from a pow­er­house edi­tor, and catch­ing up with author and illus­tra­tor friends in the indus­try. I’m still soak­ing it all up and pro­cess­ing what was said! Good stuff.

Book Releases!

Along with all of that I’ve been get­ting ready for the Two Truths and a Lie: His­to­ries and Mys­ter­ies paper­back release on May 21 AND prepar­ing for the upcom­ing new release of Two Truths and a Lie: Forces of Nature on June 25th! I’ve designed and ordered post­cards and swag, sched­uled social media announce­ments, and made oth­er plans to get the word out. 

TTL: Histories and Mysteries cover
TTL: Forces of Nature cover

Works in Progress…

And, of course, there are those works in progress, too! Ear­li­er this month I sub­mit­ted both a non­fic­tion pic­ture book revi­sion and a graph­ic nov­el pro­pos­al to my agent. I’m cur­rent­ly revis­ing a non­fic­tion pic­ture book, a fic­tion pic­ture book, and a mid­dle-grade non­fic­tion man­u­script. I’m also work­ing on a brand-new non­fic­tion pic­ture book draft and a young-adult non­fic­tion pro­pos­al. Busy, busy!

Yes, I do love my job. More so every day, in fact! =D

Photos from the Two Truths and a Lie launch party

Okay, so it’s been more than a month since the launch par­ty for Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!, and this post is _way_ over­due. In my defense, we’ve been hard at work on the sec­ond book in the series, and a writer has to have her pri­or­i­ties, right? Alright, so per­haps there’s no rea­son­able excuse for how neglect­ed my poor blog has been late­ly, but I’m vow­ing to try to do bet­ter going for­ward. And I def­i­nite­ly want to share some of the high­lights from the launch par­ty, so in the bet­ter-late-than-nev­er cat­e­go­ry, here we go! =D
First, the cake! In the flur­ry of activ­i­ty get­ting ready for a launch par­ty, I always for­get to take a pic­ture of the cake at the actu­al event, so this time I took a pic­ture of it in the shop­ping cart when I picked it up. It’s a good thing, too, because this is, sad­ly, the only pic­ture I have of it.
the launch party cake
There were also gluten-free cup­cakes with dec­o­ra­tions that said, “The cake is a lie.” (That’s a geeky gamer ref­er­ence, in case you haven’t heard it before.)
Before we even start­ed the actu­al launch par­ty event, I got to sign a book for a brand-new fan who just hap­pened to be in the store when we start­ed set­ting things up. Fun!
signing for a new fan
After thank­ing every­one who helped make this book pos­si­ble (in broad strokes, because I could go on all day!), I did a lit­tle read­ing from the book. (You can’t have a launch par­ty with­out a read­ing, right?) Since we were in a book­store sur­round­ed by books, I select­ed the sto­ry about book scor­pi­ons and book lice. What are those, you ask? You’ll have to read the book! And then you’ll have to decide if they’re real or not. 😉
a reading from chapter 4
Then we played a game show-style quiz game, using our smart phones. To my immense relief, it worked! Peo­ple could answer using their devices and the sys­tem would let me see who answered the most ques­tions the fastest.
setting up the game
Kevan won the first prize–a Big­foot Air Fresh­en­er for his car. (Is Big­foot a truth or a lie?)
Kevan wins a Bigfoot air freshener
She looks wor­ried! I won­der what was in her bag? Ah, yes… I think it was the Grou­cho Marx Dis­guise Glass­es (so she can fake her identity).
what will she win?
Dan was so excit­ed to see what he won that he ripped open the bag and sent his prize fly­ing halfway across the store! For­tu­nate­ly, it did­n’t hit any­one. If I recall cor­rect­ly, he got the Enchant­ed Uni­corn Ban­dages. (Are uni­corns real?)
Dan launched his launch party prize
This young guest was clear­ly thrilled to win the Glow-in-the-Dark Jel­ly­fish Orna­ment! (It’s as close as I could get to a Pacif­ic North­west tree octo­pus (see chap­ter 5) or the Praya dubia (chap­ter 6).
winner of the glow-in-the-dark jellyfish
What did Lau­ra Moe win? Was it the Dr. McPhee’s Snake Oil Soap? I think so!
what did Laura win?
And, final­ly, the grand prize win­ner… Alan won his very own Mike the Head­less Chick­en (see chap­ter 5)! For­tu­nate­ly, this one is just plas­tic and does­n’t require food and water through an eye dropper.
Alan with Mike the Headless Chicken
It was a great launch par­ty and such a mem­o­rable day. Thank you again to every­one who helped make this book hap­pen, to Secret Gar­den Book Shop for host­ing my launch par­ty yet again, to Cur­tis Man­ley for catch­ing all of these fan­tas­tic pho­tos for me (except the cake in the shop­ping cart, of course), and to every­one who came to the event. I love being part of such a sup­port­ive com­mu­ni­ty of writ­ers, book­sellers, and readers! 💙

Launch Party for Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!

Two Truths and a Lie cover
Two Truths and a Lie cover

Please join me for the West Coast Launch Party for


Sunday, June 25th, at 2 p.m.

A trivia-style game-show challenge… with prizes!

Q&A, exclusive behind-the-scenes gossip, and outtakes!

Book swag!

Charitable giving!

Free snacks and drinks!

Books, books, and more books!


Where, you ask?

Secret Garden Books
2214 NW Market Street
Seattle, WA 98107

(Click here for directions.)

** Come ear­ly to enjoy the fab­u­lous Bal­lard Farm­ers Mar­ket before the event!

If you can’t make it to the par­ty but would like to pre-order a signed copy, please vis­it http://www.secretgardenbooks.com/book/9780062418791 and put the ded­i­ca­tion info in the Order Com­ments box. Thanks! =D

Upcoming appearance: Nonfiction Writing Workshop for Tweens

I’m busy doing lots of pri­vate talks and appear­ances at schools and con­fer­ences this spring, but here’s one that is open to the pub­lic (espe­cial­ly tweens)!

On April 20, I’ll be pre­sent­ing a work­shop on non­fic­tion writ­ing for tweens (ages 8–12) in Both­ell, WA. Here’s the description:

Where do you find ideas and how do you decide what to write about? How do you get from there to the fin­ished prod­uct? This work­shop, pre­sent­ed by award-win­ning non­fic­tion author Lau­rie Ann Thomp­son, will answer those ques­tions and more! Thomp­son will explain the process of writ­ing com­pelling non­fic­tion, includ­ing research, plan­ning, draft­ing, revis­ing and edit­ing. The pre­sen­ta­tion will be inter­ac­tive and all par­tic­i­pants will have a chance to craft an engag­ing non­fic­tion piece of their own.

For more infor­ma­tion and to reg­is­ter, please vis­it the King Coun­ty Library Sys­tem’s event page. I hope I’ll see you there!

Emmanuel’s Dream as an all-school read

Last year, Emmanuel’s Dream made its way to Cum­ber­land Road Ele­men­tary in Fish­ers, Indi­ana, as their all-school read, a book select­ed to be incor­po­rat­ed across the cur­ricu­lum in all grade lev­els. The school describes itself as “a school com­mit­ted to inclu­siv­i­ty and glob­al con­nect­ed­ness,” and they thought Emmanuel’s true sto­ry would be a good fit. Stu­dents and teach­ers read the book. I did vir­tu­al vis­its via Skype to answer the stu­dents’ ques­tions and hope­ful­ly deep­en the expe­ri­ence for them. And then every­thing came togeth­er in a serendip­i­tous but impact­ful event for the entire school com­mu­ni­ty! Here’s a pho­to from their event:

Emmanuel in front of a sign the children made
Yes, Emmanuel him­self showed up, mid-way through his ride across the U.S.!

For the whole arti­cle, click here.
More recent­ly, Brooks Glob­al Stud­ies in North Car­oli­na also chose Emmanuel’s Dream as their all-school read! Their mis­sion is to have their stud­ies lead stu­dents to “under­stand how their actions as indi­vid­u­als impact the larg­er com­mu­ni­ty of their class­room and the school, just as the actions of a sin­gle coun­try affects the world.” Again, stu­dents and teach­ers read the book, and I called in via Skype to answer ques­tions from stu­dents. And once again, stu­dents were in for an excit­ing sur­prise, when Emmanuel him­self arrived, this time all the way from Ghana! It was a spe­cial treat for me, too, since I had a chance to talk to him dur­ing one of the Skype sessions.
Here’s a video they made of the inspir­ing event:
I love see­ing how Emmanuel is con­nect­ing with kids and inspir­ing them to fol­low their dreams! Don’t you?

ALA Schneider Family Book Award… and photos!

It may have been announced more than six months ago, but the ALA Schnei­der Fam­i­ly Book Award was­n’t actu­al­ly pre­sent­ed until the end of June, at the ALA Annu­al Con­fer­ence in Orlan­do. I final­ly have some pho­tos to share from this won­der­ful event hon­or­ing Emmanuel’s Dream, along with three oth­er won­der­ful books by fab­u­lous authors.

None of my flights went as planned, but I final­ly arrived late at night and went straight to bed. I spent Sat­ur­day find­ing my way around the exhi­bi­tion hall and chat­ting with oth­er kidlit folks who I hap­pened to bump into, like these love­ly agency-mates!
Peter Salomon, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Nancy Day, and me
Peter Salomon, Lyn­da Mul­laly Hunt, Nan­cy Day, and myself

Laurie Ann Thompson and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Lau­rie Ann Thomp­son and Olugbe­miso­la Rhuday-Perkovich

Me, Nancy Day, Chris Barton, and Peter Salomon
Me, Nan­cy Day, Chris Bar­ton, and Peter Salomon
Then, that evening was the Ran­dom House “fam­i­ly din­ner.” I love these events, because they’re often the first time you get to meet–and thank!–many of the peo­ple who’ve been work­ing hard to make your book suc­cess­ful. This one was extra spe­cial, because it was the first time I got to meet my edi­tor, Anne Schwartz. Squee! She is just as love­ly in per­son as over email, and we all had a won­der­ful evening.
After­ward I met up with the fab­u­lous Miran­da Paul and we hung out at the We Need Diverse Books par­ty, the Simon & Schus­ter par­ty (I got a copy of Scraps signed by Lois Ehlert!!!), and the Nerdy Book Club par­ty. There were great peo­ple all around, and at every stop I was remind­ed that this is a very good busi­ness to be in. I could­n’t stay out too late, though, because Sun­day was the busy day!
First thing Sun­day morn­ing, I ran into the huge poster in the hall­way of the con­ven­tion cen­ter, and yes, I total­ly teared up, and yes, it was right before our signings.
Schneider award poster
The ALA Schnei­der Fam­i­ly Award poster

We start­ed out with back-to-back sign­ings on the exhi­bi­tion floor on Sun­day morn­ing, first for Ran­dom House, then for Follett.
Sean Qualls and I
Sean Qualls and I get­ting ready to sign

Then we went to the pho­to ses­sion for the Schnei­der Fam­i­ly Awards…
ALAannual2016 3440 Sean and Laurie
fol­lowed by the cer­e­mo­ny itself!
ALAannual2016 3138-stage
Shneider stage from audience
Then it was off to the Pres­i­den­t’s Recep­tion. (Thank you, Krista Mari­no, for the wine!)
That was fol­lowed by the New­bery Calde­cott Ban­quet. What a treat! Every one of the speech­es was pow­er­ful and mov­ing, and I got teary all over again. After­ward, I got to catch up with one of my favorite kidlit blog­gers, Michele Knott! 🙂
Michele Knott and Laurie Ann Thompson
Michele Knott and Lau­rie Ann Thompson

Still, Mon­day was arguably the best day yet. We were treat­ed to the inti­mate Schnei­der Fam­i­ly Award lun­cheon, where we got to meet the award com­mit­tee, ALA rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the oth­er win­ners, and the agents and edi­tors asso­ci­at­ed with the win­ning books. The high­light of the lun­cheon was when we got to con­fer­ence call with the award’s spon­sor, Dr. Kather­ine Schnei­der. She told us she’d read, and loved, all of our books, and shared why the award was so impor­tant to her. We were all moved by the con­ver­sa­tion, and I’m extreme­ly grate­ful to have been able to participate.

Schneider winners and committee
Flights were a bit of a stress-induc­ing mess on the way home, too, but I did­n’t real­ly care: The whole ALA expe­ri­ence was 100% worth it! Huge thanks to ALA, Dr. Schnei­der and the com­mit­tee mem­bers, Anne Schwartz and the whole out­stand­ing team at Ran­dom House, Ammi-Joan Paque­tte and every­one at Erin Mur­phy Lit­er­ary Agency, the tal­ent­ed and classy Sean Qualls, and the inspir­ing Emmanuel Ofo­su Yeboah join­ing me on this incred­i­ble journey. 

Goals: looking back and pushing forward


I recent­ly wrapped up what I think will be my last in-per­son school vis­its of the 2015–2016 school year, and pro­mo­tion activ­i­ties for the three books that are out is start­ing to die down. This seems like a good time to pause and reflect on my goals and progress, espe­cial­ly since I was too busy at the begin­ning of the year to do my usu­al review and plan­ning exercises.
Since this time last year, I’ve done:

  • Done!1 high school presentation,
  • 13 mid­dle school presentations,
  • 4 ele­men­tary school presentations,
  • 6 Skype vis­its (includ­ing one to Hawaii, one to Brazil, and one more to go!),
  • 3 radio interviews,
  • 2 preschool storytimes,
  • 2 teen library events,
  • 1 adult library event,
  • 2 Girl Scout workshops,
  • 3 book­store sign­ing events,
  • 1 book launch party,
  • 1 blog tour,
  • 1 book trailer,
  • 1 sto­ry­time activ­i­ty kit,
  • the Texas Book Fes­ti­val in Austin,
  • the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of School Librar­i­ans (AASL) con­fer­ence in Columbus,
  • the Pacif­ic North­west Library Asso­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence (PNLA) in Portland,
  • the Inter­na­tion­al Lit­er­a­cy Asso­ci­a­tion’s (ILA) con­fer­ence in St. Louis,
  • one research trip to St. Louis,
  • Indies First! on Small Busi­ness Sat­ur­day at Secret Gar­den Books,
  • 1 guest lec­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Washington,
  • 2 appear­ances at a chil­dren’s museum,
  • 2 sum­mer camp visits,
  • 2 Twit­ter chats (includ­ing one for WWE moms!),
  • 2 record­ings for TeachingBooks.net,
  • 1 SCBWI Crys­tal Kite Award pre­sen­ta­tion at SCBWI-WWA’s Inside Sto­ry event,
  • 1 mid­dle-grade book writ­ten and submitted,
  • 3 pic­ture books revised (but not yet finished),
  • 1 YA project edit­ed and revised (still in progress),
  • pre­lim­i­nary research for 2 new book projects,
  • at least 2 major web­site over­hauls (one here and one for Online Author Vis­its),
  • vol­un­teer­ing for We Need Diverse Books,
  • vol­un­teer­ing for SCBWI West­ern Wash­ing­ton, and
  • 19 blog posts.

Not too shab­by! It’s so easy in this busi­ness to feel like I nev­er get any­thing done. I have a stack of in-progress man­u­scripts that I des­per­ate­ly want to per­fect so they can go out and try to find their pub­lish­ing homes, and every day that they don’t quite get there (or worse, don’t make any progress at all!) feels like a big fat fail­ure. List­ing out all of the things that I have done makes me feel a lit­tle bit bet­ter. I haven’t just been spin­ning my wheels, after all! I did­n’t get to fin­ish every­thing I had hoped to by now, but I did check off some big goals and also did a bunch of things I had­n’t expect­ed or planned on. And, many of the things list­ed were firsts for me and/or major high­lights, so there’s a lot of per­son­al growth hid­den in that list as well as some major accom­plish­ments to be proud of. So, all in all, not bad!
Still, there’s so much more I want to do! My goals for the rest of the year include:

  • TKfin­ish­ing up revi­sions for the first book in the Two Truths and a Lie series: It’s Alive!,
  • com­plet­ing the pho­to research for It’s Alive!,
  • attend­ing the ALA Annu­al Con­fer­ence in Orlan­do to accept the Schnei­der Fam­i­ly Award,
  • revis­ing my non­fic­tion pic­ture book until it’s ready for submission,
  • revis­ing one of my fic­tion pic­ture books until it’s ready for submission,
  • revis­ing the mid­dle-grade non­fic­tion pro­pos­al until it’s ready for submission,
  • revis­ing the YA project until it’s ready for submission,
  • final­iz­ing the out­line for Two Truths and a Lie, Book #2, and begin­ning the writing,
  • and writ­ing more blog posts.

There are sev­er­al oth­er man­u­scripts I hope to fin­ish revis­ing, as well as a hand­ful of new ideas I’m real­ly excit­ed about research­ing fur­ther and begin­ning to write, but those will all just have to wait until I com­plete the above. Revi­sion is one of those things that’s dif­fi­cult to pre­dict how long it will take, so I’m not sure if this list is even any­where close to doable. I’ll check back in Jan­u­ary to let you know how I’ve done! 🙂

Texas Book Festival 2015

20151017_140152Last week­end I had the plea­sure of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Texas Book Fes­ti­val in Austin, TX. It was a huge event, with over 300 par­tic­i­pat­ing authors and spread out over the capi­tol area of down­town. I had the hon­or of read­ing Emmanuel’s Dream with illus­tra­tor Sean Qualls to a huge crowd in the Chil­dren’s Read Me a Sto­ry tent.
20151017_140202First, Sean and I were intro­duced by the most adorable (and well-rehearsed) class of kinder­garten­ers. They’d each mem­o­rized a line of our bios and had them print­ed on a card for the audi­ence to read as they recit­ed them in order. Best. Intro. Ever.
2015-10-17 IMG_2538 CynthiaThen, Sean and I read the book togeth­er, tak­ing turns with each alter­nate two-page spread. This was the first time we’d ever done this, and, in fact, the first time we had ever met! What a treat!
2015-10-17 Akiko 1The best part for me was hear­ing about Sean’s process for mak­ing the art. I love the art in the book, and it was fas­ci­nat­ing hear­ing the details behind it. I was able to share some of this new knowl­edge in a school vis­it a few days later!
2015-10-17 Akiko 2After the read­ing, our talks, and a Q&A ses­sion, we head­ed over to the sign­ing tent. We met some great peo­ple, includ­ing some of the kids who had intro­duced us and their par­ents, as well as local teach­ers, authors, and illus­tra­tors, includ­ing the tal­ent­ed Akiko White. Akiko has been get­ting her hat signed by illus­tra­tors for years, and it is quite a work of art, let me tell you! She was gra­cious enough to let me sign it… I tried to write small. 🙂
Many thanks to local author and friend Cyn­thia Levin­son for the hos­pi­tal­i­ty, cama­raderie, moral sup­port, and pho­tos. You all are in for a treat when her new book, The Lit­tlest Marcher, comes out (I got a sneak peek)!
Thank you, too, to Sean for being such a great co-pre­sen­ter and awe­some human being. I’m so hap­py we final­ly got to meet!
Thank you to Akiko and my friends Mike and Jeanne Dah­mus for tak­ing pho­tos and giv­ing me per­mis­sion to use them here, and for buy­ing books!
And thank you to the Texas Book Fes­ti­val orga­niz­ers and vol­un­teers for mak­ing it all hap­pen. It was such an hon­or to be a part of it all.