Happy book birthday to Forces of Nature!

Animated GIF of TTL Forces of Nature cover
Animated GIF of TTL Forces of Nature cover

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: FORCES OF NATURE, the third book in the series, is finally here! So, what’s this one about? Here’s an overview:

Crazy-but-true stories make this acclaimed nonfiction series perfect for fans of curiosities and wonders—and anyone looking to explore ways to separate fact from fiction.

Did you know studies have shown that too many fidget spinners spinning in the same direction could potentially have an adverse effect on Earth’s gravitational field? Or that there’s a company that can turn your deceased loved one’s remains into a diamond? Or that the loudest recorded sound in history was made by the eruption of a volcano in 1883, whose echoing blast circled the planet at least three times?

Welcome to Two Truths and a Lie: Forces of Nature! You’ve heard of the game: Every story in this book is strange and astounding, but one out of every three is an outright lie. Picking out the fakes isn’t as easy as you think, however. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable! Don’t be fooled by the photos that accompany each story—it’s going to take all your smarts and some clever research to ferret out the truth.

From a man who gave himself an appendectomy to radio signals from other planets to eagles that have been trained to take out spy drones, the stories in this third installment in the Two Truths and a Lie series will amaze you! Just don’t believe everything you read. . . .

(Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins, June 2019)

Creating a book is a highly collaborative process, and this book has had an incredible team working on it from day one. Many, many thanks to my co-author, Ammi-Joan Paquette; our agent, Erin Murphy; our editor, Jordan Brown; and all the wonderful folks at Walden Pond Press and HarperCollins. It’s been an honor and a joy to work with you all on this book and the entire TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE series!

Buy it now, at your local independent bookstore, or anywhere books are sold! 

What I've Been Up To This Month

The month isn’t even over yet, but so much has been packed into the last few weeks it feels more like two months already! That’s not exactly an excuse for neglecting the blog, but, you know, life happens. Anyway…

Beachside Nonfiction Workshop

I started out the month at the Beachside Nonfiction Workshop with Candace Fleming & Jennifer Swanson. It was amazing! The faculty were all stellar, the location was gorgeous, and the attendees were lovely. It was fun hanging out with other nonfiction geeks for an entire weekend. We all struggled to answer the “So, what do you write?” question, however, since we can usually just get away with “Nonfiction,” and have that be the end of it! I didn’t take nearly enough photos, but here’s the view from my hotel balcony…

Yes, it was hard work. There were a lot of sessions, and they were mostly master level, plus networking and critiques. I came away with so much useful information and new ideas to apply to my works in progress. There were obviously some other perks, too!

Seattle Reading Council Appearance

In the middle of the month, some of the members of my critique group (and all agency-mates at Erin Murphy Literary, as it turns out!), did an appearance at the Seattle Reading Council. It was a billed as a “Books and Chocolate” event… what could be better?! We each talked about our books and process and then took questions. The crowd was mostly teachers and librarians, so it made for a wonderful evening of sharing book love (and chocolate!) among likeminded new friends.

School visits

I had an elementary school visit where I got to talk to several third-grade classes about my writing journey, grit, and writing with emotion, as well as several fifth-grade classes about evaluating sources and spotting fake news. It was an awesome visit with super-engaged audiences, but alas, no photos. You’ll have to take my word for it!

I have another visit coming up early in June (the last one of the school year!), so I’ve been making sure everything is ready for that one, too.

SCBWI-WWA Spring Conference

Finally, I attended and helped with the SCBWI Western Washington‘s spring conference, Imagine That! It was a great weekend: hearing from inspiring speakers, getting feedback on one of my works in progress from a powerhouse editor, and catching up with author and illustrator friends in the industry. I’m still soaking it all up and processing what was said! Good stuff.

Book Releases!

Along with all of that I’ve been getting ready for the Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries paperback release on May 21 AND preparing for the upcoming new release of Two Truths and a Lie: Forces of Nature on June 25th! I’ve designed and ordered postcards and swag, scheduled social media announcements, and made other plans to get the word out.

TTL: Histories and Mysteries cover
TTL: Forces of Nature cover
 

Works in Progress…

And, of course, there are those works in progress, too! Earlier this month I submitted both a nonfiction picture book revision and a graphic novel proposal to my agent. I’m currently revising a nonfiction picture book, a fiction picture book, and a middle-grade nonfiction manuscript. I’m also working on a brand-new nonfiction picture book draft and a young-adult nonfiction proposal. Busy, busy!

Yes, I do love my job. More so every day, in fact! =D

Happy National Trivia Day!

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries cover

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries cover
It may itself be a little-known fact, but January 4th is National Trivia Day! To celebrate, I thought I’d post some trivia tidbits from Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries. Remember, ONE of the claims in each set of three below following is false. Can you figure out which one in each trio is the fake trivium? (Did you know trivia is the plural of trivium?)
 

A.

  1. There’s an abandoned cruise ship loaded with crazed, cannibal rats drifting around somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Beware!
  2. A banyan tree in Pakistan was put under arrest by a British army officer in 1898 and is still in chains today. Pardon, anyone?
  3. It’s illegal to chew gum in Singapore.

 

B.

  1. Ben Franklin wrote a treatise on why scientists should try to find a way to make farts smell better.
  2. Dog Island is an island oasis dedicated to letting dogs live out their wilder natures, undisturbed by humans. Be free, Fifi.
  3. There’s an annual festival in Spain centered around throwing tomatoes at people. Food fight!

 

C.

  1. The oldest known dental fillings date back to between 12,740 and 13,000 years ago, and they were filled with, essentially, tar. Ew.
  2. It’s illegal to own a pet turtle in Iceland, and 1 in 10 children there grow up to become authors.
  3. I was once trapped in an elevator, alone, overnight. Scary!

 
If you don’t know all of the answers, go do some research and see if you can figure them out! But be careful… things might not always be what they seem at first glance, and truth often is stranger than fiction.
For even more trivia fun, check out this post from MentalFloss on National Trivia Day last year. I especially love the one about Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. (I’m a huge fan of their new Urban Bourbon flavor!)
If you enjoyed these true (and not so true) trivia facts for National Trivia Day, or want to check your answers, make sure to check out the book: Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries!
Do you have any favorite trivia tidbits? Please post them in the comments below (and be sure to warn us if they might not be 100% true)!

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

Happy book birthday to Histories and Mysteries!

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries cover

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries cover
TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: HISTORIES AND MYSTERIES is finally here! It takes a lot of people working together to create a book, and this book had such an amazing team behind it. Many, many thanks to my co-author, Ammi-Joan Paquette; our agent, Erin Murphy; our editor, Jordan Brown; and all the wonderful folks at Walden Pond Press and HarperCollins. It’s been an honor and a joy to work with you all!
So, what’s this book all about? Well…

Did you know that a young girl once saved an entire beach community from a devastating tsunami thanks to something she learned in her fourth-grade geography lesson? Or that there is a person alive today who generates her own magnetic field? Or how about the fact that Benjamin Franklin once challenged the Royal Academy of Brussels to devise a way to make farts smell good?
You know the game: Every story in this book is strange and astounding, but one out of every three is an outright lie. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable! Don’t be fooled by the photos that accompany each story—it’s going to take all your smarts and some clever research to root out the alternative facts. Don’t believe everything you read! (Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins, June 2018)

Reviews:
“With the phrase ‘fake news’ being tossed around a great deal these days, this collection of stories in which one out of every three is a lie is both timely and entertaining…. Readers with a taste for trivia and the strange-but-true aspects of geography and history will find much to enjoy.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Even dyed-in-the-wool skeptics will be hard put to spot the ringers: footprints embedded in sandstone on the roof of Kentucky’s Mammoth Caves, dental fillings more than 12,000 years old, or a trove of lead tiles embedded with ancient Roman curses? Along with suggestions for side projects and discussions, the authors offer fact lists containing one false factoid as extra challenges to readers’ credulity. Happily, the back matter includes explanations that identify the baloney, as well as a savvy guide to evaluating information sources.” —Booklist

Amazon logo Barnes and Noble logo indiesRed1_161x41_10-26-15 Powell's logo HarperCollins logo

Signed copies are available from Brick and Mortar Books! 

GIF of Peanuts celebrating
 

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

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries cover
Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries cover

Please join me for the West Coast Launch Party for

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE:
HISTORIES AND MYSTERIES

Saturday, June 30th, 2 PM **


A trivia-style game-show challenge. . . with prizes!

Q&A, exclusive behind-the-scenes gossip, and outtakes!

Book swag!

Charitable giving!

Free snacks and drinks!

Books, books, and more books!

Brick & Mortar Books
7430 164th Avenue Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052

To RSVP, please visit the event invitation here. Thanks!

** Come early to enjoy the fabulous Redmond Saturday Market before the event!

And, if you can’t make the party but would like to order a signed copy, please call Brick and Mortar Books at 425-869-0606.

Two Truths and a Lie: It's Alive! (now in paperback)

Two Truths and a Lie cover

And I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer!
(cue music by the Beatles)

Two Truths and a Lie: It's Alive! cover
Now in paperback!

I’ve technically already had one paperback release, since Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something that Matters came out in hardcover, paperback, and e-book all at the same time. That doesn’t make it any less exciting that Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!, which came out in hardcover last year, is now available in a paperback version!
Even better is that the paperback version is awesome, IMHO. Some of the things I love most about the hardcover of this book are the vivid colors of the photographs and graphics and the high-quality paper they are printed on, so I wondered how the paperback would measure up to that high bar. I needn’t have worried, because the paperback is every bit is beautiful and sturdy.
In fact, the only difference is that it’s significantly cheaper. And that is great news, because it means more kids will get a chance to own it! 🙂
Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries cover
Available June 26, 2018!

You can purchase the brand-new paperback version from your local bookstore, or find information about ordering the new paperback version here.
In case you missed it, there’s a short interview with Ammi-Joan and me over at the Cybils blog, following our win in the Middle Grade Non-Fiction category. You can check that out here.
And, if you’re so inclined, you can now pre-order TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: HISTORIES AND MYSTERIES, which will be available on June 26, 2018. You can get all of that information here.
Finally, just for fun, here’s our SCBWI Western Washington players, a.k.a. Band: Books, performing Picture Book Writer (our spinoff version of the Beatles’ song above), last May 10, 2017, featuring Vikram Madan and Mike Cressy on guitar; Janet Lee Carey, Katherine Grace Bond, and Karen Lewis on vocals; Dana Sullivan on drums; Dori Hillestad Butler on keyboard; myself on bass (lower right-hand corner); and Dan Richards as producer, stage manager, and roadie. Many thanks to Vikram Madan for capturing us on video!

Great news for TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE!

2018 is off to a great start so far with a bevy of awards and accolades for Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!, and I’m so excited to share the latest good news with you here!

TLA Topaz list logoFirst, the Texas Library Association include it on their 2018 Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List. According to TLA, the Topaz List “highlights recently published nonfiction gems for readers of all ages. Adult services and youth services librarians serve on separate committees that consider hundreds of nonfiction titles for adults and youth respectively. The librarians debate the merits, appeal, and importance of the works to curate a list of engaging nonfiction titles intended to reveal new or little-known information, open doors to other worlds, or introduce fresh voices. With titles for adults and children PreK-grade 12, there is something for everyone on the Topaz list!”
Texas librarians ROCK, and being on this list is an incredible honor!
Nerdy Book Club bannerNext, the Nerdy Book Club announced their 2017 Nerdies for Long Form Nonfiction. I love reading this blog, and their passion for children’s books really comes through. Plus, some of my favorite books and authors are on this list, so I literally gasped out loud when I scrolled down far enough to see the cover of Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! Thank you, Nerdy Book Club! So exciting!!
Cybils 2017 bannerThen, the Cybils announced their 2017 Elementary/Middle Grade Non-Fiction Finalists, and Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! was on their list, too! Again, there are some amazing books here (including Zoo Scientists to the Rescue and Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, which I reviewed in past posts here), and I have been a Cybils judge in the past (so I know how seriously they take their work!). Being a Cybils finalist is an unbelievable thrill!
Booklist Lasting Connections bannerFinally, Booklist shared some love, in both their Special Feature: Lasting Connections 2017 and Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 2017.
Lasting Connections highlights their top 30 choices for the K–8 classroom, all published in the previous year and all selected for their natural connections across the curriculum and to the Common Core State and Next Generation Science Standards.
Booklist Editors' Choice bannerAnd the Editor’s Choice list is selected by the Books for Youth editorial staff, who are “committed to providing a broad selection of outstanding books that mixes popular appeal with literary excellence,” as best-of-the-year nonfiction and fiction books and picture books. Wow!

Having a book that you’ve worked hard on appear on lists like these is truly a dream come true, and I couldn’t be happier with this news. Cheers to 2018!

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE resources for teachers and #GIVEAWAY!

Educator's Guide cover

It is with great excitement and gratitude that I give you this list of amazing educational resources that wonderful educators and designers have compiled to go along with TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT’S ALIVE! and, hopefully, make it easier–and more fun–for teachers or librarians to put to use in the classroom!


Educator's Guide for teachersFirst up is the Educator’s Guide to Support Information Literacy, written by amazing 5th grade teacher Melissa Guerrette, M.Ed., NBCT. This guide is chock full of tips teachers can use to teach students how to evaluate sources and fact-check any materials they may encounter, whether they are reading the stories from TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE or just about anything else.
It includes a printable Fact or Fiction note-taking worksheet teachers can use to help readers analyze a text to determine if it is true or false and record evidence of their thinking processes along the way.
It also has a list of the Common Core State Standards supported by the activities in the guide, AND an impressive collection of additional resources for teachers of information literacy concepts.
Download the PDF of the guide HERE.

TTL Stem Game for teachersBut wait, there’s more! Awarding-winning Library Media Specialist and STEM Coordinator Suzanne Costner partnered with Curious City DPW to create a STEM Card Game and companion research activities. “As a school librarian with a passion for STEM topics, I saw this book as an opportunity both to explore interesting stories and to develop crucial information literacy skills,” says Suzanne. Using scientific topics pulled from the book’s sidebars, they created a 52-card card deck that teachers can print out for their classroom. In Round 1, Player 1 reads a statement to Player 2 from a card. Player 2 decides whether the statement is a “Truth” or a “Lie.” In Round 2, players choose a research topic from their amassed cards and make three game cards of their own – two truths and one lie on their chosen topic. In Round 3, players try to outwit each other with the game cards they have created. Each new game in the classroom grows the game deck with new STEM material!
Download the PDF of the Truth or Lie? STEM Card Game HERE.
Suzanne and Curious City DPW also put together the Two Truths and a Lie: What’s Your Source?, which provides teachers with links for students to explore for topic validation and gives them the chance to compare and cross-check the information before making their final decision on whether the stories in TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT’S ALIVE! are fact or fiction; Two Truths and a Lie: Reaching for Resources, which provides educators with links connected with the book’s chapters to build information literacy lessons upon, and the Two Truths and a Lie: Rationale, Curriculum Connections & Grading Rubric.


To go along with all of this excitement, for a limited time Curious City DPW is hosting a GIVEAWAY! Read all about it and ENTER HERE, but hurry! Winners will be announced December 5, 2017!


I’m super excited about how these might spur classroom discussions around STEM topics and information literacy. If you use either of them with students, please let me know! I’d love to hear about how teachers are putting into practice and any suggestions for how it could be improved. And, of course, pictures would be fantastic!

Photos from the Two Truths and a Lie launch party

Okay, so it’s been more than a month since the launch party for Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!, and this post is _way_ overdue. In my defense, we’ve been hard at work on the second book in the series, and a writer has to have her priorities, right? Alright, so perhaps there’s no reasonable excuse for how neglected my poor blog has been lately, but I’m vowing to try to do better going forward. And I definitely want to share some of the highlights from the launch party, so in the better-late-than-never category, here we go! =D
First, the cake! In the flurry of activity getting ready for a launch party, I always forget to take a picture of the cake at the actual event, so this time I took a picture of it in the shopping cart when I picked it up. It’s a good thing, too, because this is, sadly, the only picture I have of it.
the launch party cake
There were also gluten-free cupcakes with decorations that said, “The cake is a lie.” (That’s a geeky gamer reference, in case you haven’t heard it before.)
Before we even started the actual launch party event, I got to sign a book for a brand-new fan who just happened to be in the store when we started setting things up. Fun!
signing for a new fan
After thanking everyone who helped make this book possible (in broad strokes, because I could go on all day!), I did a little reading from the book. (You can’t have a launch party without a reading, right?) Since we were in a bookstore surrounded by books, I selected the story about book scorpions and book lice. What are those, you ask? You’ll have to read the book! And then you’ll have to decide if they’re real or not. 😉
a reading from chapter 4
Then we played a game show-style quiz game, using our smart phones. To my immense relief, it worked! People could answer using their devices and the system would let me see who answered the most questions the fastest.
setting up the game
Kevan won the first prize–a Bigfoot Air Freshener for his car. (Is Bigfoot a truth or a lie?)
Kevan wins a Bigfoot air freshener
She looks worried! I wonder what was in her bag? Ah, yes… I think it was the Groucho Marx Disguise Glasses (so she can fake her identity).
what will she win?
Dan was so excited to see what he won that he ripped open the bag and sent his prize flying halfway across the store! Fortunately, it didn’t hit anyone. If I recall correctly, he got the Enchanted Unicorn Bandages. (Are unicorns real?)
Dan launched his launch party prize
This young guest was clearly thrilled to win the Glow-in-the-Dark Jellyfish Ornament! (It’s as close as I could get to a Pacific Northwest tree octopus (see chapter 5) or the Praya dubia (chapter 6).
winner of the glow-in-the-dark jellyfish
What did Laura Moe win? Was it the Dr. McPhee’s Snake Oil Soap? I think so!
what did Laura win?
And, finally, the grand prize winner… Alan won his very own Mike the Headless Chicken (see chapter 5)! Fortunately, this one is just plastic and doesn’t require food and water through an eye dropper.
Alan with Mike the Headless Chicken
It was a great launch party and such a memorable day. Thank you again to everyone who helped make this book happen, to Secret Garden Book Shop for hosting my launch party yet again, to Curtis Manley for catching all of these fantastic photos for me (except the cake in the shopping cart, of course), and to everyone who came to the event. I love being part of such a supportive community of writers, booksellers, and readers! 💙

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