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

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.

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. 🙂

EMMANUEL’S DREAM popping up in some exciting places!

My upcom­ing pic­ture-book biog­ra­phy, EMMANUEL’S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH, has been pop­ping up in a few excit­ing places lately!
First, I recent­ly got to see–for the first time–how the illus­tra­tions by Sean Qualls are pro­gress­ing, and the art­work is noth­ing short of amaz­ing! I was sit­ting in a qui­et cof­fee shop work­ing on my lap­top when I got my first glimpse, and it lit­er­al­ly brought tears to my eyes, in all the best ways. I want­ed to dance around the place and scream with excite­ment! I love the bold col­or palette he’s using, the expres­sions on the char­ac­ters’ faces, and the way he chose to show parts of the sto­ry in sil­hou­et­ted back­ground images. It’s breath­tak­ing! Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I can share any of it with you just yet, but I can’t wait to be able to. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Sec­ond, the book is now list­ed on Goodreads! I hope you’ll click on this link or the but­ton below and add EMMANUEL’S DREAM to your “Want to Read” shelf.

Goodreads button for Emmanuel's Dream

Third, the book is avail­able for pre-order! If you’d like to reserve a signed copy, you may now order EMMANUEL’S DREAM from Secret Gar­den Books (please leave an extra week or so after the pub­li­ca­tion date for deliv­ery, and indi­cate how you’d like it per­son­al­ized in the “oth­er notes about your order” field). It Is also avail­able for pre-order on Amazon.comBarnes & NobleIndieBoundPowell’s, or direct­ly from the pub­lish­er, Schwartz & Wade/Random House.
Keep an eye out for more excit­ing news!