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. 

Emmanuel prepares for another ride in Ghana!

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah reports “Para Cyclist Emmanuel Ofo­su Yeboah To Ride For Peace­ful Elec­tions In Ghana.”
Emmanuel is prepar­ing once again to cir­cle Ghana, as he did in Emmanuel’s Dream, but this time it will be a peace tour to pro­mote a peace­ful gen­er­al elec­tion. At a press con­fer­ence, he point­ed out that dis­abled peo­ple are among soci­ety’s most vul­ner­a­ble, along with chil­dren and the elder­ly, and they often have no place to go if war erupts.
The Ghana­ian elec­tion is set to take place on Decem­ber 7, 2016, so Emmanuel’s “Rid­ing For Peace 2016” event will start on Novem­ber 7, 2016, in Accra, the cap­i­tal of Ghana. He’ll ride with ten oth­er para cyclists on a route to Cape Coast and Tako­ra­di, up through Ashan­ti and the north­ern region, down through Vol­ta, and final­ly to Emmanuel’s home­town, Koforid­ua, where he will cast his own vote. By the time they are fin­ished, they will have biked to pro­mote peace through 240 dis­tricts in one month. Rid­ing for Peace 2016 is ask­ing for sup­port from com­pa­nies, orga­ni­za­tions, and all who want peace for Ghana.
Good luck, Emmanuel!

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!

Eureka! Nonfiction Honor Award for Emmanuel’s Dream


I’m thrilled to announce that Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Sto­ry of Emmanuel Ofo­su Yeboah has been select­ed to receive a 2015 Eure­ka! Hon­or Book Award from the Cal­i­for­nia Read­ing Asso­ci­a­tion.
The Cal­i­for­nia Read­ing Asso­ci­a­tion has estab­lished this award to cel­e­brate and hon­or non­fic­tion children’s books. The Eure­ka! Non­fic­tion Children’s Book Award will assist teach­ers, librar­i­ans, and par­ents in iden­ti­fy­ing out­stand­ing non­fic­tion books for their stu­dents and children.
And, it means a shiny new stick­er for the cover! 🙂
Eureka Honor AwardEmmanuel’s Dream is in some excel­lent com­pa­ny, too! Click here for the full list of win­ners. I guar­an­tee you find some great non­fic­tion for kids (which means it’s great for adults, too!).

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.

Summer 2015 roundup

The days are (final­ly) get­ting cool­er and damper here in the Pacif­ic North­west and most of the kids are back in school, so it seems like a good time to reflect on the summer.
I typ­i­cal­ly don’t get to do much writ­ing-relat­ed work over the sum­mer, since the kids are home from school and the sun is shin­ing, but this sum­mer was filled with fun and excit­ing author events!

2015-07-11 Andersons Bookshop kids books extravaganza 2First, I got to par­tic­i­pate in a huge author pan­el at Ander­son­’s Book­shop in Naperville, IL. The kids’ books extrav­a­gan­za on July 11th includ­ed some of my best friends in the indus­try, includ­ing Chris­tine Hayes, Ruth Bar­shaw, Lyn­da Hunt, Keyan Atte­ber­ry, Jen­nifer Cham­b­liss Bert­man, Tara Dair­man, Janet Fox, and Amy Finnegan. It was even more won­der­ful because I got to meet the very spe­cial some­one who wrote one of my all-time favorite reviews Emmanuel’s Dream, Kee­gan Knott, and it was her birth­day, too! I got a hug. It’s a day I won’t soon for­get, let me tell you. Thank you Ander­son­’s and Kee­gan for the won­der­ful mem­o­ries! =D

EMLA costume partyNext I head­ed to the Erin Mur­phy Lit­er­ary Agency client retreat at The Abbey Resort at Lake Gene­va. I can’t even begin to explain what a pow­er­ful, amaz­ing this annu­al event is for me, and this year was no dif­fer­ent. We do lots of fun, sil­ly things like the cos­tume par­ty, but we also do a lot of learn­ing, net­work­ing, shar­ing, con­nect­ing, grow­ing, and more. I feel so blessed to be a part of this community!
2015-07-12 Mustard Museum2015-07-12 St LouisIMG_2675From there I con­tin­ued on down to St. Louis to sign books at ILA and con­duct a research trip. Our first stop was the Nation­al Mus­tard Muse­um.

What am I research­ing there, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see! St. Louis was beau­ti­ful, ILA was a lot of fun, and I even got to go to
Cyn­thia Levin­son’s book launch par­ty for Watch Out for Fly­ing Kids while I was there. Plus, the research trip was a huge suc­cess. I can’t wait to get back to work on that manuscript!

I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to appear at sev­er­al sum­mer camps, includ­ing one on being a change­mak­er and anoth­er on ear­ly lit­er­a­cy, which I loved, and I did inter­views on two dif­fer­ent live radio programs.

IMG_2956Last but cer­tain­ly not least, I also spoke at the Pacif­ic North­west Library Asso­ci­a­tion (PNLA) annu­al con­fer­ence in Port­land with two of my favorite non­fic­tion authors, Mary Cronk Far­rell and Eliz­a­beth Rusch, and I did my first sto­ry­time for My Dog Is the Best at Uni­ver­si­ty Book­store in Bellevue.
It was a busy, ful­fill­ing sum­mer, and now I’m look­ing for­ward to some qui­et writ­ing time!

Texas Book Festival 2015 authors announced!

A record 300 authors will be appear­ing at the 2015 Texas Book Fes­ti­val, Oct. 17 and 18, and I’ll be one of them!
This is excit­ing for many reasons:
1) I get to talk about EMMANUEL’S DREAM!
2) I get to meet the illus­tra­tor of Emmanuel’s Dream, Sean Qualls, for the first time ever!
3) Many of my favorite authors and author friends will be there.
4) I love Austin.
5) I love readers.
I can’t wait!
Many thanks to the folks at Blue Slip Media and Schwartz & Wade/Penguin Ran­dom House for mak­ing it happen. 🙂

Radio Interview: Sister Jenna’s America Meditating

I had the great good for­tune to be on anoth­er radio show a cou­ple of weeks ago, this time with Sis­ter Jen­na on Amer­i­ca Med­i­tat­ing.
I come on at about 15:28, talk­ing about my writ­ing jour­ney, Be a Change­mak­er, and Emmanuel’s Dream.
I hope you enjoy listening!

Check Out Self Help Pod­casts at Blog Talk Radio with Amer­i­ca Med­i­tat­ing on BlogTalkRadio


Thank you to Sis­ter Jen­na and her assis­tant, Anto­nia, for the inter­view and also for their won­der­ful, pos­i­tive ener­gy through­out. It was a plea­sure to participate!


Radio Interview: Brooke Taylor’s A Special Connection

I recent­ly had the hon­or of being inter­viewed by Brooke Tay­lor on her inspir­ing radio show, A Spe­cial Con­nec­tion on WHKW AM1220 in Cleve­land, Ohio. Brooke just hap­pened to have stum­bled across one of my books at her local pub­lic library and was moved by it, so she reached out to me to talk about it.
The whole show is fan­tas­tic, but if you’re in a rush, we start dis­cussing Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Sto­ry of Emmanuel Ofo­su Yeboah at about the 31:58 mark, and Be a Change­mak­er: How to Start Some­thing that Mat­ters at about 45:37.
I hope you’ll enjoy listening!‑special-connection-with-brooke-taylor-july-25th-2015
What fun! Huge thanks to both Brooke and her pro­duc­er, Brett Crowe, for mak­ing it such a pleasure.
I’ve got a cou­ple more radio inter­views in the works as well, so please stay tuned for more audio in the com­ing weeks!