Eureka! Nonfiction Honor Award for Emmanuel's Dream

EMMANUEL'S DREAM cover

EMMANUEL'S DREAM cover
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!).

Radio Interview: T Love’s Energy Awareness

head shot of T Love
T Love, host of Energy Awareness

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get to participate in another fantastic radio interview to talk about Be a Changemaker, and it was a blast! I really felt like the host and I just “clicked” and were on the same wavelength. I wish we weren’t on opposite coasts, because I think we’d have a great time hanging out together.
Please check it out here. Enjoy! 🙂

Nonfiction Monday: Courage & Defiance blog tour and interview

Facts First! Nonfiction Monday

Facts First! Nonfiction MondayAs you can probably tell by my books Be a Changemaker and Emmanuel’s Dream, I love writing about heroes and changemakers. It should be no surprise, then, that I love reading about them, too. My favorite kinds of stories are those about ordinary people who acted with extraordinary strength, conviction, and courage, and the book I just finished reading is full of people doing just that. In Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson (Scholastic Press, August 2015), the author has clearly done a great deal of careful research to bring us narrative nonfiction about the WWII resistance movement in Denmark from the perspective of some of those who took part in it. It’s a gripping tale of adventure and suspense, and one that has rarely been told.

Deborah has been interviewed on this blog before, and I’m super excited to welcome her back once again as part of the Courage and Defiance blog tour. I hope you enjoy the interview!
LAT: I know I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Deborah. What kind of young reader do you think Courage & Defiance will appeal to? What other books might be read-alikes? 
DH: I visit schools all over the country and love to ask students what they’re reading. While fantasy and science fiction are always popular, I’m usually surprised by the number of students – girls and boys – who tell me they like to read about history and like nonfiction. There are definitely kids who read everything they can get their hands on topics such as the Titanic and World War II, but I think readers who enjoyed Number the Stars by Lois Lowry or The Diary of Anne Frank will also enjoy Courage & Defiance.
LAT: This is a story that many of us probably haven’t heard before. Why do you think that might be?
DH: I think perhaps that here in the U.S., we’re most naturally interested in stories that take place after America entered World War II on December 7, 1941. (As it happens, my next nonfiction book about submarines in the Pacific war begins with the attack on Pearl Harbor and will be out in 2016 for the 75th anniversary.) While I did find a number of adult nonfiction books about the experience of Danes during the German occupation, which began on April 9, 1940, almost all were scholarly titles or of interest primarily to historians (including a 600-page book about the SOE in Denmark). I feel fortunate that I was able to find as much as I did in English, but I am sure there is much more available in Danish. We were able to access the photo archives of the Museum of Danish Resistance.

Hopkinson-headshot
Deborah Hopkinson

LAT: During the research phase of Courage & Defiance, what discoveries did you come across that made you feel like you’d struck gold? Was there anything in the research that came as a surprise?
DH: At author visits, I tell students that my favorite part of writing is the research. And since I knew little when I began several years ago, I felt like I was discovering something new and incredible at every corner. Probably the most significant discovery I made was finding a memoir in English entitled A Letter to My Descendents by Niels Skov. Niels, whom I later had the privilege to meet, came to the U.S. after the war, where he received a Ph.D. and became a college professor. His personal account was so incredibly lively and vibrant – which matched his personality, even at age ninety-four. To my surprise, he had been deported to a German labor camp at the same time as another activist whose story I tell, but they did not meet. It made me realize just how many incredible stories there are in history, and how easily they are lost.
LAT: This one may be tricky, but if you can fathom a guess… What do you think it was about the Danes that made them able to resist the Germans and support their Jewish countrymen so effectively? 
DH: Well, I am not sure I am qualified to say, but what comes across in all the first-person accounts I found was that ordinary people shared an unwavering sense of human decency, a love of country, and a commitment to doing the right thing – even at great cost. It seems to me that as the war went on, the confidence and belief that people had in democratic values helped to give them the courage to take risks.
LAT: In the book, you asked Niels what his advice to young people today would be. Now that you’ve done all this research and written such a fantastic book, what is YOUR advice to young people today?
DH: While young people in America now may not be faced with life-and-death decisions as Danish citizens were in the 1940s, we all grapple with difficult personal choices. So perhaps I’d simply give the same advice I’ve often told my own two children: make good choices and do good work in the world. And, of course, I have to add: keep reading!
LAT: That’s great advice, Deborah. Thanks so much for visiting today! 
For other stops on the Courage and Defiance blog tour please check deborahhopkinson.com.

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!
https://soundcloud.com/living-the-word/a-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!

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!

MY DOG IS THE BEST news and #giveaways!

MY DOG IS THE BEST-cover

MY DOG IS THE BEST-coverIt’s almost release day for MY DOG IS THE BEST, available Tuesday, June 9th!
Here’s what the critics have had to say so far:

“… the simplicity of both the words and the pictures creates a charming, toddler-sized ode to man’s best friend.” —Booklist
“This simple, quiet story conveys the enduring bond between child and dog, with the added appeal of a joke that younger children just beginning to understand humor can enjoy.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Though ‘a boy and his dog’ may not be a groundbreaking theme, it’s often a popular one—and this gentle tale of friendship is no exception…. While this is a familiar story, it’s a well-executed and charming one.” —School Library Journal
“… simple wording helps young children who are learning to read…. I really enjoyed this cute children’s book and enjoyed its depiction of man’s best friend….or should we say ‘boy’s’ best friend!” —Curling Up With A Good Book blog
#Bookaday My Dog is the Best by @LaurieThompson & @PaulSchmidBooks. Made me think of http://t.co/mlzJYBYVm1” … “In my opinion, it is a perfect candidate for The Baker’s Dozen.”  — John Schu (@MrSchuReads) February 26, 2015

The launch party is Friday, June 12th, at University Book Store in the University District. More info here.
There’s a giveaway happening on Goodreads:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Dog Is the Best by Laurie Ann Thompson

My Dog Is the Best

by Laurie Ann Thompson

Giveaway ends June 16, 2015.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win


Our adorable pup and boy pair are going out on a blog tour beginning Saturday, June 6th. Here’s where to find them (and me) in the next few weeks (note, many of these will have giveaways, too–more chances to win!):

6/6/2015 Booking Mama http://www.bookingmama.net/
6/8/2015 Jean Reidy http://jeanreidy.com
6/9/2015 Watch. Connect. Read. http://mrschureads.blogspot.com/
6/10/2015 5 Minutes for Books http://books.5minutesformom.com
6/11/2015 KidLit Frenzy http://www.kidlitfrenzy.com/
6/12/2015 Unleashing Readers http://www.unleashingreaders.com/
6/16/2015 Anastasia Suen: Booktalking #kidlit http://anastasiasuen.com/
6/19/2015 Kirby’s Lane http://kirbyslane.com
7/1/2015 Library Lions http://LibraryLionsRoar.blogspot.com

 
And, last but not least, if you’d like buy a copy:
You may pre-order a signed copy from University Book Store.
Also available on:

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.

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!

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.

Be a Changemaker is a Cybils award finalist!


I woke up this morning to news that Be a Changemaker made the list of finalists for the 2014 Children’s and Young Adult Blogger’s Literary Award, better known as the Cybils, in the Nonfiction for Young Adults category. What a way to kick off 2015!
The nominations in this category were varied and impressive, and the books that made the finalist list are truly among the best I’ve read all year. It’s an incredible honor to have my book in such amazing company!

Alice + Freda cover Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis by Alexis Coe
Be a Changemaker cover Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson
Beyond Magenta cover Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Popular cover Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen
Family Romanov cover The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming
Freedom Summer Murders cover The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell
Port Chicago 50 cover The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

Thanks, Pat Zietlow Miller, for nominating it in the first place. Thanks, Stephanie Charlefour at Love. Life. Read., for the finalist write-up, and to the entire panel (also including Aaron Maurer from Coffee for the Brain, Michelle Lockwood from Blogs Like a Girl, Karen Ball from Mrs. B’s Favorites, and Danyelle Leach from Bookshelves in the Cul-de–Sac) for reading, considering, and ultimately selecting it. I’ve been a first round Cybils judge twice and am a second round judge in a different category this year, so I know what a lot of hard work and dedication goes into it! Finally, thanks to the people who keep the Cybils running. It’s one of my favorite awards in children’s books as a reader, author, and judge. I’m always glad to be a part of it, so having my own book make that finalist list means even more to me. Kidlit bloggers ROCK! 🙂

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