The thumbnail images of books and albums on this site connect you to Amazon.com -- but that's because Amazon and my web service provider have a partnership, so it's extremely easy to put images on my site. However, I don't get any kind of kickback if you buy any of these items and I don't endorse any particular bookstore over any other.
I am psyched to announce you can PRE-ORDER autographed and personalized copies of We Were Liars at two amazing independent bookstores. Not only will I sign them all, AND put your name in there -- I will put a cute Liars bookmark in each copy! Books won't ship until publication, which is May 13.
Word bookshop is in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Jersey City. They are a wonderful community independent and I've been there for events and book clubs. They are huge supporters of YA and children's literature. Click here to order your signed copy from Word.
McNally Jackson is the super-hip Soho bookshop you stumble on when you're coming home from CBGBs -- and it's still open (okay, that was a long time ago for me, but whatever). It's big. It chic. It has literary hotshots around and also a dedicated children's and YA staff who are all over Twitter. Click here to order your signed copy from McNally Jackson.
I just got back from spending 11 days teaching at Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children, low-residency program. To put it simply, there are intensive residencies in July and January, and the rest of the time students write like crazy and send in work to their advisors for critique and guidance. The faculty is very thrilling to be around, for me.
This time, I taught writing workshop with Laura Ruby (Bad Apple, Good Girls, etc) and our guests included: Anita Silvey (who lectured on the history of picture books and middle grade novels), Jane Yolen (who gave our commencement speech), Kate DiCamillo (who talked about her process on The Tiger Rising with Jane Resh Thomas), Geoff Herbach (who talked about his theories of primal emotions and how they drive stories) and Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (who talked about her development process on No Crystal Stair).
Anyway, the Hamline MFAC now has a Tumblr, which is unofficial but supercalifragilistic. It is run by faculty member and NBA long-lister Anne Ursu, and if you have interest in children's and YA books generally, it's a good one to follow (it's not centered on Hamline stuff, but on stuff we talk about at Hamline, if that makes sense.) Here it is.
A map of the island -- Beechwood Island -- where most of the story takes place. (Scroll down)
A family tree of the beautiful Sinclair family. (Scroll down further.)
The chance to read the opening chapters. Or read reviews (including fun quotes from Maureen Johnson, John Green, Sarah Dessen, Scott Westerfeld, Shannon Hale, etc, plus loads of your favorite book reviewers and librarians).
- Kate DiCamillo, Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Candlewick Press) - Lisa Graff, A Tangle of Knots (Philomel, A division of Penguin Group USA) - Alaya Dawn Johnson, The Summer Prince (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic) - David Levithan, Two Boys Kissing (Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House) - Anne Ursu, The Real Boy (Walden Pond Press/an Imprint HarperCollinsPublishers)
August is passing with reading, reading and reading -- but most of it is because I am judging the National Book Awards, young people's literature category. SO I CAN'T TELL YOU ABOUT IT.
For those of you who don't follow these things, the history of the NBA is pretty interesting, and the Wikipedia version is here (not authoritative, but probably basically the gist of it). The NBA online exhibition of the YPL award winners and finalists is below (I've linked to it before.)
Anyway, what happens is that publishers submit the books -- and they can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, picture books, middle-grade, young adult -- anything! We are a committee of five -- three writers (one is me), one librarian and one bookseller. All in the field of children's literature. We read read read read read read, and discuss at length. Then we come up with a longlist of ten books that will be announced Sept 12.
About a month later, the finalists from that list are announced. The five authors have a month to stew and worry -- and then we have a big PARTY at Cipriani. It is black tie! All the finalists do a big reading the night before the party, which is open to the public and which is pretty incredible.
Anyway. Party. Black tie. I am planning to wear a J. Crew party dress that is very pretty but maybe not as flattering as it might be. Unless I find something even better. And they have fancy writers and supporters of literature and people give speeches and they give the award. Also, lots of people liveTweet it, which is quite fun. And I get to give the award! Because I am the Chair of the YPL committee.
Which means maybe I SHOULD get a new dress.
But seriously. It is not about the dress. It is about the books.
A few things I've read this summmer that I can tell you about:
GOBLIN SECRETS by William Alexander. This was our Mother-Daughter Book Club pick, and it won the NBA last year. Alexander talked at the Hamline MFA program when I taught there in July, and he was fascinating -- discussing everything from Shakesperean theater to the Muppets, both influences on the novel.
Amulet of the Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. I am in the middle of this on audio. So MUCH FUN. Why did it take me so long?
Bronxville by Coe Booth. This is a sequel to Tyrell, which I also loved, but I think it stands alone. It is in some ways a romance, in other ways a harsh and heartbreaking story of life in Bronx housing projects and a boy who is trying to find his way in a really tough situation.
I am recently returned from teaching at Hamline's MFAC -- an MFA program in writing for children. It's a low-residency program, which means there are intensives in July and January, and the rest of the time the students work directly with an advisor on their creative and critical work. There are only a couple programs like it in country, specializing in writing for kids, so if you're interested I recommend you check it out.
This was my second residency, and one of my favorite things about teaching there is that I get to attend my colleagues' lectures on the craft of writing. Oh, hearing Franny Billingsly explain how to develop a character, or Anne Ursu talk about "staging" a novel, or Gary Schmidt talk about point of view -- all in a day's work.
I did a lecture this time called Self Editing: Better Living Through Technology, which was about using Final Draft, Scrivener and the Track Changes function of Word.
So, this video shows me talking about my first boyfriend, and I made it hiding in the bathroom at a ballroom dance studio. It's part of a promotion for Julia DeVillers' fun new middle-grade series launcher: Emma Emmets, Playground Matchmaker.
If you click through to the video on YouTube, you'll see similar videos by loads of other authors, including Lauren Myracle, Lauren Oliver, Elizabeth Eulberg, Jon Sciezska, Julia DeVillers, and way more. You can also watch this "first crush medley," which is pretty darn amusing.
In other news: I have attempted Tumblr. The results are mixed so far. I haven't totally got the hang of it, so if you stop by or follow me, bear with me while I learn.