Launch party recap for Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries

Bookstore window display

I want­ed to share some of my favorite pho­tos from the Two Truths and a Lie: His­to­ries and Mys­ter­ies launch par­ty last Sat­ur­day at Brick and Mor­tar Books:

Bookstore window displayThis is the win­dow dis­play that greet­ed us when we arrived at Brick and Mor­tar Books! So nice!!

Bookstore table displayThey had loads of books ready for sale!

book signing The sign­ing line starts to form.

Laurie Ann Thompson signing a bookFun sign­ing books!

signing lineSign­ing line in progress.

Bookstore endcap displayBrick and Mor­tar even had a full end cap display!

What a great day! A huge thank you to Brick and Mor­tar Books for being such an amaz­ing host and to every­one who was able to make it. Brick and Mor­tar Books still has signed copies of all of the books, so feel free to stop in if you need any for your col­lec­tion! =D

How #ChangemakerEd is improving #BacktoSchool

Be a Changemaker cover

I came across an inter­est­ing arti­cle on Medi­um the oth­er day. It talks about “reimag­in­ing edu­ca­tion in this his­toric time of change” and the impor­tance of #Change­mak­erEd, the glob­al move­ment to empow­er young peo­ple to cre­ate a bet­ter world by mas­ter­ing empa­thy and iden­ti­fy­ing as changemakers.
#ChangemakerEd book "Be a Changemaker" coverThis move­ment isn’t new, but it is grow­ing. And as the author of BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS, I could­n’t be hap­pi­er. Through my work with stu­dents and teach­ers based on my book, I have seen it first­hand time and time again. Once stu­dents real­ize they CAN be change­mak­ers, their whole out­look on life changes. Sud­den­ly they see prospects and oppor­tu­ni­ties they could­n’t have even imag­ined before. And it goes far beyond the indi­vid­ual stu­dents them­selves, of course. As it says in the article:

The key fac­tor for suc­cess for every com­mu­ni­ty — be it a com­pa­ny, a city or a coun­try — is the pro­por­tion of its pop­u­la­tion who are change­mak­ers. A col­lec­tive abil­i­ty to address com­plex social prob­lems — and to antic­i­pate future ones — is para­mount to pos­i­tive­ly shap­ing our world.”

#Change­mak­erEd schools and edu­ca­tors are lead­ing the charge to pre­pare today’s young peo­ple for exact­ly that kind of suc­cess by help­ing them gain the knowl­edge, prac­tice the skills, and feel the sense of pur­pose that is nec­es­sary for them to thrive as glob­al cit­i­zens and have a pos­i­tive impact on their com­mu­ni­ties. Along with the core sub­jects, more and more teach­ers are also teach­ing their stu­dents to have empa­thy, be thought­ful, be cre­ative, take action, lead the way, and col­lab­o­rate with oth­ers, while allow­ing them to apply their edu­ca­tion to real-world prob­lems right now.
Inter­est­ed? Read the full arti­cle here to find out more about this impor­tant move­ment, and watch this inspir­ing video about one #Change­mak­erEd high school in Arizona:

And, of course, check out BE A CHANGEMAKER for inspi­ra­tion, real-life exam­ples, and tons of prac­ti­cal how-to advice that teens can start putting to use imme­di­ate­ly, whether they have access to #Change­mak­erED in their own school or not!

More good news from Brooks Global and Emmanuel’s Dream

Sev­er­al weeks ago I wrote about a school in North Car­oli­na, Brooks Glob­al Stud­ies, which had select­ed Emmanuel’s Dream as their all-school read and then had Emmanuel come vis­it them in per­son! (If you haven’t seen it yet, please go check out the video. It’s pret­ty amazing!)
Recent­ly, I came across this addi­tion­al piece of the sto­ry, which I had­n’t been aware of… In addi­tion to the shared read­ing expe­ri­ence and the inspi­ra­tional vis­it from Emmanuel, the Brooks Glob­al Stud­ies school com­mu­ni­ty took things one step fur­ther by orga­niz­ing a char­i­ty bike dri­ve and were able to col­lect 210 donat­ed bicy­cles! The bikes will be shipped to Ghana, refur­bished by a repair shop oper­at­ed by peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, and then put up for sale there.
What an inspir­ing, reward­ing event for every­one involved. Way to go, Brooks Glob­al Stud­ies! Click here to read the full arti­cle, and be sure to scroll through the pic­ture slideshow!

H. Scott Hoffmann/Greensboro News & Record

Check out the Starbucks Upstanders series

Starbucks Upstander photo

Starbucks Upstander photo
Have you seen the new orig­i­nal series that Star­bucks is putting out, called Upstanders? It’s real­ly cool! Accord­ing to their web­page:

Upstanders is an orig­i­nal col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, films and pod­casts shar­ing the expe­ri­ences of Upstanders – ordi­nary peo­ple doing extra­or­di­nary things to cre­ate pos­i­tive change in their com­mu­ni­ties. Pro­duced by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chan­drasekaran, the Upstanders series helps inspire us to be bet­ter citizens.

Appar­ent­ly, they–like so many of us–were feel­ing a bit dis­heart­ened by our cur­rent polit­i­cal cli­mate. Their press release says,

In con­trast to the divi­sive­ness and cyn­i­cism cur­rent­ly fuel­ing our nation­al dis­course, Star­bucks today debuted “Upstanders,” its first orig­i­nal con­tent series, which aims to inspire Amer­i­cans to engage in acts of com­pas­sion, cit­i­zen­ship and civil­i­ty. “Upstanders” fea­tures ten sto­ries, each told in writ­ten, video and pod­cast form, about ordi­nary peo­ple doing extra­or­di­nary things to cre­ate pos­i­tive change in their communities.…
“We’ve asked our­selves what is the role and respon­si­bil­i­ty of a pub­lic com­pa­ny and, as cit­i­zens, how we can cat­alyze hope in a time when we need more opti­mism, empa­thy, com­pas­sion and lead­er­ship,” said Schultz.  “The upstanders fea­tured in this series are inspir­ing indi­vid­u­als whose actions are emblem­at­ic of the Amer­i­can spir­it and what is miss­ing from so much of today’s nation­al dia­logue. We have always been sto­ry­tellers at heart, and more of these sto­ries need to be heard. We are using our scale to share them as broad­ly as possible.”

I love see­ing these kinds of exam­ples of how every­one can choose to Be a Change­mak­er, so the Upstanders pod­cast is now added to my sub­scrip­tion list! Here’s a trail­er to give you an idea what it’s all about:

Cat­alyz­ing hope in a time when we need more opti­mism, empa­thy, com­pas­sion and lead­er­ship? Now that’s some­thing I can stand up for. Thanks, Starbucks!
Upstanders image

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!

My Dog Is the Best… in Japanese!

A few months ago I announced that My Dog Is the Best would be trans­lat­ed and sold in Japan­ese. A few days ago, there was a pack­age on my doorstep. I opened it to find these:
My Dog Is the Best cover in Japanese
S U R P R I S E !  =D
This is the first for­eign edi­tion I’ve seen of any of my books, so it’s super excit­ing. And it was even bet­ter than expect­ed, since we cur­rent­ly have a Japan­ese stu­dent liv­ing with us! She had already read the book in Eng­lish, so it was fun to see her enjoy it in her native language.
She also rather sheep­ish­ly informed me that my bio, which I thought was rather clever in Eng­lish, did­n’t trans­late quite so well into Japan­ese. It orig­i­nal­ly said, “…many of her best friends have had four legs and fur,” but the Japan­ese ver­sion appar­ent­ly says some­thing along the lines of “many of her best friends have had four legs and were hairy.” She found it rather humor­ous that the Japan­ese ver­sion was­n’t clear­ly refer­ring to ani­mals, as the Eng­lish ver­sion was. Ah, the sub­tleties of lan­guage, and the impor­tance of word choice! 🙂
My Dog Is the Best-Japanese bio

Good news for MY DOG IS THE BEST!


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).

Two more awards for Be a Changemaker!

Be a Changemaker cover

Be a Changemaker cover
Be a Change­mak­er was recent­ly award­ed two more pres­ti­gious awards:
Moonbeam AwardFirst, it was rec­og­nized last month with a Moon­beam Award! These awards were cre­at­ed “to bring increased recog­ni­tion to exem­plary children’s books and their cre­ators, and to sup­port child­hood lit­er­a­cy and life-long read­ing.”  You can see the full list of win­ners here. Be a Change­mak­er was select­ed as a Gold Award win­ner in the Mind-Body-Spir­it/­Self-Esteem cat­e­go­ry. They even sent a gor­geous (and seri­ous­ly heavy) medal to wear around my neck!

Burgess Award seal
And, just today I found out it has also been award­ed a 2015 Gelett Burgess Award, too! The Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award “high­lights excel­lence in fam­i­ly-friend­ly books cov­er­ing the broad expanse of a child’s exis­tence, help­ing them grow social­ly, emo­tion­al­ly, eth­i­cal­ly, intel­lec­tu­al­ly, and phys­i­cal­ly.” Be a Change­mak­er was select­ed as the win­ner in the Lifestyle cat­e­go­ry for “Help­ing Oth­ers & Phil­an­thropy.” Look how pretty!
Burgess Award Be a Changemaker display

Book trailer video for My Dog Is the Best

I LOVE this book trail­er for My Dog Is the Best! Not just because it’s adorable (it is), or because it’s my first book trail­er (yep), but because so many spe­cial peo­ple helped make it a reality.
First, check it out:

Isn’t that CUTE? Of course, huge thanks to Paul Schmid for pro­vid­ing the art. My sweet hus­band record­ed the audio (with my awe­some sis­ter-in-law’s help) of my dar­ling niece “read­ing” the book: She’s too young to read just yet, so she mem­o­rized the whole thing! And my tal­ent­ed friend Lelynn did the ani­ma­tions and edit­ing. Thanks so much, everyone!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 🙂