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! 🙂

Good news for Emmanuel's Dream

It is so hard for me to believe that I’m still getting good news about Emmanuel’s Dream more than three years after it was published! I thought I’d share some of the most exciting bits with you here:
LittleFreeLibrary Action Book Club logoFirst, you’ve heard of little free libraries, right? Have you heard about the Little Free Library organization? If not, definitely check them out, here. They are doing all kinds of great things, but perhaps my favorite is their Action Book Club™. In a new twist on the traditional book club, this partnership between Little Free Libraries and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) invites participants to read books on timely topics, engage in lively discussions, and take part in meaningful—and fun—group service projects to benefit their communities. How is that for combining two of my favorite things: reading and social engagement!? Plus, Action Book Club members can share their experiences online, which helps spread a ripple effect of positive activity across the country and around the world. I love everything about this idea, so it was super exciting to learn that Little Free Library selected Emmanuel’s Dream for their current Action Book Club theme of Everyday Heroes, “which celebrates acts of bravery, character, and kindness that transform our world in ways big and small.”
Illinois Monarch Award logoSecond, the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) announced that Emmanuel’s Dream is included on their 2019 Monarch Award Master List. This means that students and their teachers in participating schools will be encouraged to include Emmanuel’s Dream and the 19 other titles on the master list in their reading or listening experiences during the school year, and then students will vote for their favorite! The author and illustrator of the book receiving the highest number of votes in the statewide balloting will be declared the winners of the Monarch Award and will be invited to attend the ISLMA conference and participate in programs to feature and honor him or her. Squee! I love the ones where students get to vote. Everyone wins!
El Sueno de Emmanuel coverLast, but not least, I’m thrilled that the Spanish edition of Emmanuel’s Dream is not only available, but it’s available for readers of Spanish who live here in the U.S., too! A huge thanks to Mensajero for making this edition possible and spreading Emmanuel’s inspiring story.
That’s all for now. Thanks so much for reading. =D
 

Great news for TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE!

2018 is off to a great start so far with a bevy of awards and accolades for Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!, and I’m so excited to share the latest good news with you here!

TLA Topaz list logoFirst, the Texas Library Association include it on their 2018 Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List. According to TLA, the Topaz List “highlights recently published nonfiction gems for readers of all ages. Adult services and youth services librarians serve on separate committees that consider hundreds of nonfiction titles for adults and youth respectively. The librarians debate the merits, appeal, and importance of the works to curate a list of engaging nonfiction titles intended to reveal new or little-known information, open doors to other worlds, or introduce fresh voices. With titles for adults and children PreK-grade 12, there is something for everyone on the Topaz list!”
Texas librarians ROCK, and being on this list is an incredible honor!
Nerdy Book Club bannerNext, the Nerdy Book Club announced their 2017 Nerdies for Long Form Nonfiction. I love reading this blog, and their passion for children’s books really comes through. Plus, some of my favorite books and authors are on this list, so I literally gasped out loud when I scrolled down far enough to see the cover of Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! Thank you, Nerdy Book Club! So exciting!!
Cybils 2017 bannerThen, the Cybils announced their 2017 Elementary/Middle Grade Non-Fiction Finalists, and Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! was on their list, too! Again, there are some amazing books here (including Zoo Scientists to the Rescue and Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, which I reviewed in past posts here), and I have been a Cybils judge in the past (so I know how seriously they take their work!). Being a Cybils finalist is an unbelievable thrill!
Booklist Lasting Connections bannerFinally, Booklist shared some love, in both their Special Feature: Lasting Connections 2017 and Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 2017.
Lasting Connections highlights their top 30 choices for the K–8 classroom, all published in the previous year and all selected for their natural connections across the curriculum and to the Common Core State and Next Generation Science Standards.
Booklist Editors' Choice bannerAnd the Editor’s Choice list is selected by the Books for Youth editorial staff, who are “committed to providing a broad selection of outstanding books that mixes popular appeal with literary excellence,” as best-of-the-year nonfiction and fiction books and picture books. Wow!

Having a book that you’ve worked hard on appear on lists like these is truly a dream come true, and I couldn’t be happier with this news. Cheers to 2018!

More good news for Emmanuel's Dream!

Great news: Emmanuel’s Dream has been selected to the 2017 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities!
2017 IBBY Selection catalog cover
Every two years, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) chooses outstanding books for and about children and young people with disabilities. This biennial selection draws attention to books published around the world, in an extensive variety of languages and formats, that address special needs and situations and which encourage inclusion at every level. Books selected as 2017 outstanding titles are featured in a print catalogue that will be launched at this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy on Monday, April 3rd. Outstanding titles become part of The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities, a one-of-a-kind resource. Consisting of 4,000 multilingual books, the IBBY collection is located at North York Central Library in Canada, part of the Toronto Public Library.
Thanks, IBBY!!

Great news for TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE!

Two Truths and a Lie cover
Two Truths and a Lie cover Junior Library Guild Selection seal

I’m thrilled to be able to share that the first book in the TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE series, IT’S ALIVE!, has been chosen by the Junior Library Guild as a Fall 2017 selection for the Elementary Nonfiction category (for grades 2-6).
This is very exciting news, because it means the book will be heading to libraries across the country for kids to check out and enjoy!
It’s also really encouraging, because, according to their website, the JLG editorial team reviews over 3,000 new titles each year and selects only around 800 for the program. The Junior Library Guild Selection designation is unique in that it is typically awarded far in advance of publication. As one of the first awards given throughout the life of a book, it is often viewed as a bellwether of future success, with more than 95 percent of JLG selections going on to receive awards and/or favorable reviews!
So, keep your fingers crossed. Here’s hoping for even more good news yet to come!
 

Emmanuel's Dream a WA State Book Award Finalist!

Washington State Book Awards logoThe Washington Center for the Book announced the Washington State Book Award finalists for 2016, and I’m honored to say that Emmanuel’s Dream is among the three finalists for the Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Award in the Picture Book category!
The Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library announces the Washington State Book Awards finalists in eight categories for outstanding books published by Washington authors in the previous year. This is the 50th year of the program, formerly called the Governor’s Writers Awards. The book awards are given based on the strength of the publications’ literary merit, their lasting importance, and their overall quality to an author who was born in Washington state or is a current resident and has maintained residence here for at least three years.
Winners will be announced at the awards celebration, held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Central Library. The awards program will feature emcee Frances McCue, an award-winning poet and arts administrator who received the Washington State Book Award for poetry in 2011 for “The Bled.” The program also features brief readings from 2016 winning titles. A reception and book signing will follow in the Living Room on Level 3 of the Central Library. The awards and celebration are sponsored by The Seattle Public Library Foundation.
Congratulations to all of the finalists, especially to friends Deborah Underwood, Martha Brockenbrough, Kelly Jones, and Jessixa Bagley!

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.

Good news for MY DOG IS THE BEST!

MY DOG IS THE BEST cover

MY DOG IS THE BEST cover
I’m tickled to share some good news about MY DOG IS THE BEST with you today:

 
First, it was listed in the CCBC Choices 2016 by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center!

 
Second, it was also awarded a 2015 Blue Ribbon from The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (BCCB)!

 
My Dog Is the Best activity kit coverThird, I worked with Curious City to develop a free storytime and canine craft kit for educators, librarians, and parents, and I think it turned out beautifully. Just download and print, and you’ve got a ready-made activity plan to go along with the book. Enjoy!

 
Finally, I can’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but now that the date is approaching, I’m getting more and more excited… My Dog Is the Best will soon be published in Japan! It is expected to release this summer, and in an even smaller (and cuter!) trim size. I’ll keep you posted!

 

Wonderful news for Emmanuel's Dream!

There’s been a bunch of exciting news regarding Emmanuel’s Dream lately, and I wanted to share it all with you…

First, it was recently selected as a Notable Book in the Children’s Africana Book Awards! One of my all-time favorite picture books—One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul—was similarly recognized, which makes this honor even more special.

 
Emmanuel’s Dream was also listed in the CCBC Choices 2016 by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center and in the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year for ages 5-9!

It was a finalist for the 2015 CYBILS (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary) Awards in the Elementary/Middle Grade Non-Fiction category. I’ve helped judge this category several times, but obviously had to bow out this year! Since I know firsthand what a thorough, careful job the judges do to select the finalists, it was truly a thrill to have my book recognized for this award.

 
Emmanuel’s Dream has started showing up on some state lists around the country, too, which means even more kids will be reading it. That’s super exciting! Some of the state honors I’m aware of so far include:

 
Last, but certainly not least, I’ve learned that Emmanuel’s Dream will be published in Korean! One thing I always dreamed of was having my books published in another country, and now I’ve got two (a Japanese version of My Dog Is the Best should be coming soon, too).

An ALA Schneider Family Award for Emmanuel's Dream

Schneider Award
This is old news at this point, but I’ve been so busy that I’m just now FINALLY getting around to posting it here. So, just in case you’ve been too busy to keep up with the news in the children’s literature industry, Emmanuel’s Dream has won the Schneider Family Book Award from the American Library Association! The purpose of this special award is to “honor an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences,” so I’m extremely honored that the committee selected Emmanuel’s Dream.
Emmanuels Dream cover with stickerThis and other Youth Media Awards were announced on January 11, 2016, during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston and via live stream. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have to get up at 5am to catch them, but it was definitely worth it! The award itself will be presented in Orlando during the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in June, and both Sean and I are both expecting to be able to attend.
Recipients are selected in three categories: birth through grade school (age 0–8), middle grade (age 9–13) and teens (age 14–18). Emmanuel’s Dream won the award for young children, which was the very first award to be announced in the entire program. Next up was Fish in a Tree, which won a middle-grade award. This only added to my excitement, as it was written by my friend and agency sister Lynda Mullaly Hunt!
Schneider Award flowersThank you to all of the members of the 2016 Schneider Family Book Award committee, including Alyson Beecher (committee chair), Nancy L. Baumann, Betsy Fraser, Beth McGuire, Elsworth Rockefeller, Joanna Tamplin, Caroline Ward, and Jill Garcia! I’m especially grateful to Katherine Schneider and the Schneider family for sponsoring this important award. It is such a huge honor to receive it, and I hope it will help the book find its way into the hands of more kids who need to hear its message. Thank you also to my fantastic agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, for believing in this story; to Sean Qualls, for illustrating it so beautifully; and to everyone at Schwartz & Wade/Random House for all of their hard work and dedication, which made it into the book it is today. And look, they even sent me some gorgeous flowers to celebrate!
Notables SealOn the heels of the Schneider Family Award, it was also announced that Emmanuel’s Dream was included on the ALA ALSC’s Notable Children’s Books list. Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways. It’s an incredible honor to see Emmanuel’s Dream on that list of amazing books! Thank you, ALSC!
 

NEWSLETTER
SIGN-UP