First Book selects Emmanuel's Dream for #StoriesForAll

Emmanuel's Dream cover

FirstBook logoFirstBook.org is an organization that helps kids in need get access to new books of their very own. I’m a huge fan of what they do and have personally supported their mission for a long time, so it’s an incredible honor to have one of my books selected for their marketplace. It’s an even bigger honor to have one of my books selected for their new diversity campaign, called Stories for All. According to their webpage,

First Book’s Stories for All Project™ Arms Educators with Diverse, Inclusive Children’s Books to Fuel Learning, Promote Educational Equity.

With Support from Top Business Leaders, Nonprofit Launches 60,000 New-to-Paperback Books, as Part of its Market-Driven Solution to Make Diverse Stories Affordable and Relevant for Those Serving Children in Need.

Emmanuel's Dream coverWhat that means is that teachers and other professionals who work with underprivileged children can now request a special edition of Emmanuel’s Dream for just $3.30, which means more children will get a chance to read about Emmanuel’s story and hopefully be inspired to follow their own dreams!
Shortly after the announcement, FirstBook hosted a Twitter chat about diversity in children’s books with fellow #StoriesForAll author Jessixa Bagley and I. You can read the transcript here.
Please help me cheer on FirstBook, along with their sponsors and partners, for recognizing the need for diverse books for kids and their ongoing commitment to getting books into the hands of the children who need them most. And, if you wish to make a financial contribution, you can do so here. Thanks!

The Emmanuel's Dream blog tour wrap-up

Emmanuel's Dream cover

Emmanuel's Dream cover
This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time now, but just never got around to doing. Better late than never, right? Here’s a roundup of all the fabulous blogs that featured Emmanuel’s Dream a few months (gulp) ago for the blog tour. If you want to read reviews of the book, guest posts from me, or interviews with me about the book, look no further! Here they are gathered all in one place to make things easy for you.

Mon, Jan 12 Great Kid Books Review and interview
Tues, Jan 13 5 Minutes for Books Review
Wed, Jan 14 Unleashing Readers Review, teachers’ tools, and interview
Thurs, Jan 15 Sharpread Interview
Fri, Jan 16 Cracking the Cover Interview
Sat, Jan 17 Booking Mama Review
Mon, Jan 19 Once Upon a Story Review and interview
Tues, Jan 20 Proseandkahn Review
Wed, Jan 21 Geo Librarian Review and interview
Thurs, Jan 22 Nonfiction Detectives Review
Fri, Jan 23 The Fourth Musketeer Review
Fri, Jan 23 Kirby’s Lane Guest post, Friend Friday
Mon, Jan 26 NC Teacher Stuff Review
Tues, Jan 27 Teach Mentor Texts Review and writing prompt

Many thanks to these fantastic bloggers for their dedication to promoting great books for kids! I hope you’ll check them out for their other reviews and posts, too.

Announcing the book giveaway winners!

Be a Changemaker cover

A couple of weeks ago I announced giveaways here and on Goodreads for both Be a Changemaker and Emmanuel’s Dream. We have winners!
From my list of newsletter subscribers, chosen by Random.org, the winners are…
Be a Changemaker coverJim McGinley wins a signed copy of Be a Changemaker! I swear it was completely random, but this is just so perfect. Jim was one of the very first people to help and encourage me on my quest to write this book, and his early support meant a lot to me. He’s even mentioned in the acknowledgements. Sometimes fate is hard to deny, you know?
Emmanuel's Dream coverThe winner of a signed copy of Emmanuel’s Dream is Lindsay Fouts! This seems like a great fit, too, since Lindsay is both a picture book writer and the mother of a young son. I hope they enjoy the book.
And on Goodreads, the winners were far flung: Adage from Romania won Be a Changemaker, and Jessy from India won Emmanuel’s Dream. Yes, it’ll cost me a little extra in postage, but it’s exciting to know that my books will be traveling around the world!
Finally, in case anyone is curious, some giveaway stats from Goodreads…

  • 1004 people requested Emmanuel’s Dream and 464 added it to their To-Read shelf, and
  • 1441 people requested Be a Changemaker and 610 added it to their To-Read shelf.

 
 
 

Let's celebrate with a giveaway (or four)!

MY DOG IS THE BEST cover

I’m so happy about the recent accolades my books have received that I’ve decided to host not just one giveaway–but FOUR!
To celebrate the fact that BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS was a finalist for the Cybils awards, I’ll be giving away a signed copy of the paperback edition on Goodreads, here:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Be a Changemaker by Laurie Ann Thompson

Be a Changemaker

by Laurie Ann Thompson

Giveaway ends April 02, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


To celebrate the starred review from School Library Journal for EMMANUEL’S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH, I’ll be giving away a signed copy on Goodreads, here:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson

Emmanuel’s Dream

by Laurie Ann Thompson

Giveaway ends April 02, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


AND, I’ll give away a signed copy of either one (winners get to choose!) to two random subscribers to my mailing list. If you’re not a subscriber yet, just sign up below. (I only send a short newsletter once/month.)

Subscribe to my mailing list

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MY DOG IS THE BEST coverFinally, School Library Journal recently called my upcoming release “well-executed and charming.” I can’t give this one away just yet (it will release on June 9, 2015), but feel free to share the MY DOG IS THE BEST love by adding it to your Goodreads shelf and/or pre-ordering it at one of the following links:
My Dog Is the Best


A Starred Review for Emmanuel's Dream!

star

star
Emmanuel’s Dream received its first starred review, and it’s from School Library Journal! They called the book,

“a triumph.”

And they also said,

“This powerful and winning picture book tells the story of a young man overcoming the odds.”

and

“This uplifting account will resonate with readers and supplement global and cultural studies.”

You can read the full review here!


And, just for fun, here’s a cool video that John Schu made of the window display at Unabridged Bookstore in Chicago. It’s in great company, don’t you think? It’s always exciting to see one of my books out in the wild, so if you spot one, please share!

Authors LOVE Teachers, with a HUGE book #giveaway!

Teaching Is a Work of Heart
Teaching Is a Work of HeartHappy Valentine’s Day to teachers and teacher/librarians!

 

I’ve never been very much into Valentine’s Day, but when Lynda Mullaly Hunt invited me to participate in this awesome book giveaway for teachers, I jumped at the chance! Authors do love teachers, and generally, teachers love books, so it’s a perfect opportunity for us to show a little love to those who are so often under-appreciated.

Just check out all of the amazing SIGNED books that will be won by one lucky teacher:

Beetle Busters coverBlue Birds coverBrown Girl Dreaming coverEmmanuel's Dream coverFish in a Tree coverThe Gossip File coverHowto Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel coverMark of the Thief coverOn the Road to Mr. Mineo's coverOne Witch at a Time coverPaper Things coverRandom Body Parts coverWalk Two Moons coverThe Way to Stay in Destiny coverWhy'd They Wear That coverWish Girl cover

To enter to win this fabulous giveaway, teachers and teacher-librarians just need to:
1) Leave a comment on Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s blog about anything you wish.
OR
2) Share a post on Twitter with a link to this blog post and the hashtag #MGAuthorsLoveTeachers.
OR
3) RT someone else’s tweet with both the blog post link and hashtag.

 

Rules:
***Giveaway ends on Wednesday, February 18th, at 11:59 p.m. Winner will be announced on the 19th.
1) This is to show our appreciation for teachers and librarians, specifically. Therefore, the winner must have a school mailing address and be presently employed at that school.
***2) Please remember this giveaway is all about appreciation. We know that teachers do not get the appreciation they deserve. This giveaway is a reminder that WE appreciate TEACHERS. They are often the ones putting our books into the hands of the readers who need them. For that we are truly grateful. THANK YOU for what you do everyday–and for visiting our giveaway!

 

But wait, there’s more…. Several YA authors have also banded together to show their love of and appreciation for teachers by giving away their books, too! For more information about the #YAAuthorsLoveTeachers giveaway, click here.

 

Whether you’re a teacher or not, please share this post with all of your favorite teachers and teacher-librarians so they can enter the giveaways, and don’t forget to show them a little extra love!

Thank You

Fan mail for Emmanuel's Dream

It’s always a treat to receive an email like this from a parent:

Last night I read your book to my younger daughter…. She loved the book, and decided it was her new favorite and she wanted to take it to school when it was her student spotlight week. Today she and [her brother] were fighting over it in the car, and I read it to each of them for a bedtime story. At least this week, it’s a household favorite!

It’s especially great to know that Emmanuel’s story is touching young readers as much as it touched me.

The Emmanuel's Dream book launch party!

poster

With the holidays right before, I must admit that the launch party day sort of snuck up on me. I was rushing to get everything ready, had to give up on some things that I wanted to do, and didn’t have as much time as I would’ve liked to prepare. Still, I think a great time was had by all. I know I enjoyed every minute!

poster
Check out the awesome poster they had up!

books
Look at all those books for sale!

writing buddies
Local writing buddies, including current Emu’s Debut blogger (and the next one of us to launch!), Kevan Atteberry!

presentation
During the presentation

speaking
Clutching the mic for dear life, apparently.

audience
The audience listening to my talk.

line
Can you believe this line of people waiting to get their books signed?

signing
Signing books is even harder when you have to stop and pose for photos.

J. Anderson Coats
Recognize this Emu’s Debuts emeritus and founding member? It’s J. Anderson Coats!

a young fan
Young fans are the best fans.

Many thanks to Emmanuel for inspiring me; to Sean Qualls for his beautiful artwork; to my family for supporting me all this time; to my critique group for helping the manuscript rise above the slush (especially Dana Sullivan, for taking these great pictures for me!); to my agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, for not giving up; to the University Book Store in Bellevue and their event planner, Olivia Ahl, for throwing such a wonderful party; and to all the friends, writers, teachers, parents, neighbors, and community members who took the time to come out and cheer me–and the book–on last Tuesday night. You all ROCK, and I am one extremely lucky gal! xoxo

EMMANUEL'S DREAM is available for pre-order!

EMMANUEL'S DREAM cover

EMMANUEL'S DREAM cover
 
My first picture book, EMMANUEL’S DREAM, will be published in January, but it’s available for pre-order now!
Here’s the description from the publisher’s web page:

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah’s inspiring true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel’s Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey—is nothing short of remarkable.
Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.
Thompson’s lyrical prose and Qualls’s bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity.

To order your copy from an independent bookseller, visit Secret Garden Bookshop (if you add your personalization request in the comments section, I’ll sign it for you!) or check out IndieBound for a local bookstore near you. Of course, you can also find it on Amazon.com or BN.com.
And, of course, you can always add it to your Goodreads shelf:

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah


Emmanuel on US National Amputee Soccer Team

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, the subject of my upcoming picture-book biography, EMMANUEL’S DREAM, is an athlete who was born in Ghana, West Africa, with a deformed leg. As a young man, he wanted to change the way disabled people were treated in Ghana, so he rode a bicycle nearly 400 miles all around his country to prove that being disabled doesn’t mean being unable. Since then, he has continued to be an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and has launched his own foundation, with plans to build a school in Ghana for abled and disabled children alike. He now spends most of his time based in San Diego, CA, traveling the United States as a motivational speaker and raising funds for his charity.
This spring, the United States National Amputee Soccer Team invited Emmanuel to play for them. He just returned to San Diego from a training session in Maryland, and he’ll join the team when they compete in the 10th Amputee World Cup in Mexico in late November.
Good luck, Emmanuel, and to the rest of the players on the US National Amputee Soccer Team!
Read more about Emmanuel and his World Cup Soccer experience here, including some great photos.

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