Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Millions of Peaches

Sure, I could've titled this post with a line from The Devil Went Down to Georgia or Georgia (On My Mind) or one of those other brilliant songs about the largest pecan producing state in the world. But that would've been so obvious! Instead, I grabbed a line from the not-quite-classic but super-fantastic song by The Presidents of the United States of America. Peaches...check it out!

I finally made my first trek down to Georgia to speak at Kennesaw State University's Annual Conference on Literature for Children and Young Adults. I really didn't know what to expect, but I came away extremely impressed by their program. Many of the attendees are studying to become English teachers and their passion for literature is absolutely beautiful. It gave me goosebumps (in a good way!) to know that in the very near future their passion will be dispersed throughout the United States.

My day began in a break-out session where I had the opportunity to discuss ways those future teachers could use my book in their classrooms. Then I took a trip to Kell High School and spoke to a group of students (which is, by far, my favorite part of being an author). Unfortunately, I was having so much fun that I forgot to take a photo of the group.

Then I went back to KSU to deliver my keynote speech.

But just before I took the stage, they announced that Thirteen Reasons Why was named an Honor Book for the Georgia Peach Book Award. They gave me a beautiful hand-blown glass peach award, which I'll show you a little later.

But first, here are the men and women responsible for this event...with a few authors mixed in.

And here I am with Lisa McMann and Helen Hemphill.

I was reading Lisa's book Wake on the plane ride over, and I can't wait to get some uninterrupted time on the flight back to finish it. And after hearing Helen discuss the historical inspiration behind The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones, that book is definitely going into my to-be-read stack.

Later in the afternoon, as I was on my way to hear Jacqueline Woodson speak, I ran into Ms. Woodson...and she recognized me! I know, it's not very cool to be star struck, but did you hear what I just said? Jacqueline Woodson recognized me!

So yes, for the time being, I do feel pretty awesome.

Well, it's off to bed now. Goodnight, Peaches.


Ms. Grove, the Media Specialist at Kell High School, just sent me the following photo from my visit to her school.

I think it's hilarious that, even though my presentation contains over 30 slides, I'm almost always photographed standing in front of Vanilla Ice! Seriously, go back up to the photo of my presentation at the university.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

No 3-D Glasses Required

The editing of these trailers keeps getting better and better!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Little Ones May Not Like My Book

This week, Publishers Weekly released a list of the bestselling children's books of 2009. The list is divided into four categories: hardcover frontlist (books released in 2009), hardcover backlist (books released prior to 2009), paperback frontlist, and paperback backlist. The books are then grouped together based on the number of copies sold.

Thirteen Reasons Why made the hardcover backlist category for books selling between 200,000 and 299,999 copies. There are a total of thirteen books in that group.

Thirteen? How interesting...

So, which book do you think has the least chance of getting read at your public library's storytime?

The Poky Little Puppy
Janette Sebring Lowery, illus. by Gustaf Tenggren
Golden, 1996 (288,295)

The Big Blue Book of Beginner Books
P.D. Eastman
Random, 2008 (260,143)

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Dr. Seuss
Random, 1996 (253,277)

Thirteen Reasons Why
Jay Asher
Razorbill, 2007 (240,807)

Hop on Pop
Dr. Seuss
Random, 1963 (240,196)

I Love You Through and Through (board book)
Bernadette Rossetti Shustak, illus. by Caroline Jayne Church
Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2005 (227,024)

Are You My Mother?
P.D. Eastman
Random, 1960 (226,766)

Are You My Mother? (board book)
P.D. Eastman
Random, 1998 (222,752)

Disney Bedtime Favorites
Disney Press, 2007 (220,329)

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (board book)
Eileen Christelow
HMH, 1998 (211,017)

The Polar Express
Chris Van Allsburg
Houghton, 1985 (209,500)

Dr. Seuss's ABC
Dr. Seuss
Random, 1960 (208,359)

The Going to Bed Book (board book)
Sandra Boynton
Little Simon, 1982

If anyone does see a librarian reading my book at storytime, please take a photo and send it to me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Guten Tag!

Tote Mädchen Lügen Nicht is nominated for a Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis!


Dead Girls Don’t Lie is nominated for a German Youth Literature Prize!

Um…why are you telling us this?

Because that’s my book! The German edition of Thirteen Reasons Why is called Tote Mädchen Lügen Nicht (Dead Girls Don’t Lie) and I just learned that it’s up for a national award in Germany.

My book is nominated in the Youth Jury (Jugendjury) category, which means it’ll be voted on by youth book clubs in Germany.

When I found out about the nomination, I called my parents to figure out a little genetic family history. I’ve never been very good with fractions, but I’m fairly certain that I’m 1/8 German. Sure, some of the nominees are 8/8 German (or totally German), but I’m catching up! Since hearing the news, I’ve already begun learning a bit of German. For example, my initial reaction to the nomination was Heiliger mist!

A special thanks to René Kissien, a reader in Germany, for helping me to understand this nomination a little more…as well as correcting my German.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Spring 2010 Children's Books

I recently browsed through the Spring 2010 Children’s Books issue of Publishers Weekly. Based on the brief descriptions allowed for each title, here are some upcoming (or recently released) middle-grade and teen novels which definitely piqued my interest:

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Liam competes for a chance to go into space.

Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror by Jennifer Finney Boylan. A boy attending a secret academy for monsters must figure out what kind of creature he is.

Fizzy Whiz Kid by Maiya Williams. New to Hollywood, Mitch wants to become a normal kid again after starring in a soda commercial.

Green by Laura Peyton Roberts. Lily discovers she is next in line to protect a clan of leprechauns.

Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol by Jim Krieg. A hallway patroller must combat crime and corruption at his new middle school.

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey. Two teenage chemistry students recreate formulas from the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel.

Little Blog on the Prairie by Catherine Davitt Bell. A girl attending a camp where everyone lives like 1890s pioneers manages to e-mail her friends.

Little Vampire Women by Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina gives this classic a blood-sucking twist.

The Mark by Jen Nadol. A girl with the ability to identify those who are marked to die attempts to change their fates.

A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker. In a school marriage education program, everyone is assigned the wrong mate.

My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day. After creating a fake boyfriend, Heidi meets a real-life crush.

My Life with the Lincolns by Gayle Brandeis introduces a girl who believes her family is Abraham Lincoln's family reincarnated.

Palace Beautiful by Sarah deFord Williams. Two sisters become obsessed with finding out what happened to the owner of the mysterious diary they find.

Party by Tom Leveen. Eleven teens headed to the same California party take turns telling their stories.

Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow. Two fifth graders try to crack the code of popularity.

The Returners by Gemma Malley. A boy having nightmares about concentration camps learns he is reincarnated and destined to recall past atrocities.

The Seventh Level by Jody Feldman. Will an unwitting class clown earn a spot in his school's exclusive secret society?

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready. A teen is haunted by ghosts wanting her to make amends for their untimely deaths.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. A boy whose classmates think he's clueless dispenses advice via an origami finger puppet.*

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride. Tessa's life changes when her best friend returns after being held captive for two years.

The Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas. After an old woman gives her a box of pennies stolen from a wishing fountain, Griffin must set things right.

*Not too long ago, in a galaxy identical to this one, I left a comment on a blog saying I loved the cover of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Or did I say I loved the story's premise? Actually, I don't remember what I said. But what I said isn't important! What is important is that a short time later, I got this in the mail...

Happy this made me, yes!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Totally Raddest ’80s Book Ever!

Last week, I was wasting time between appointments. I was hungry, but I hate eating at restaurants alone with nothing to do (other than eating, of course), so I popped into a pop-culture giftshop to see if they had any fun books to read while I ate.

They had a book called Just Can’t Get Enough: Toys, Games and Other Stuff from the ’80s that Rocked. I’ve always been a sucker for gimmicks and the cover of J.C.G.E. was designed to resemble a Trapper Keeper (including the Vecro flap!) so I had to get it.
I love fun books like this, but they’re often horribly written. Usually someone just comes up with an idea for a novelty book, figures they can trick some rather peculiar people into an impulse-buy (yes, I know what I just said), and they make a few bucks. But not this book! Along with great pictures, the writing is both hilarious and insightful about being a child in that most awesome of decades.

It’s nice to know we live in a world where someone can be in a business meeting, pitch “a ball with a face that’s got snot and pus pouring out of it,” and have someone respond with a resounding, “Yes!”

Almost every time I read a chapter, the authors basically summed up my experience with that toy or book.

Let’s be honest here. We all played with the game Crossbows and Catapults, but nobody actually played the game as it was meant to be played.

The book also includes many interesting tid-bits about where the products came from.

Regarding the creators of Garbage Pail Kids trading cards: While Spiegelman is best known for Maus, his critically acclaimed graphic novel about his parents’ true life experience during the Holocaust, his day job involved deciding whether Richie Retch or Luke Puke was a better name for a green-faced child vomiting up his guts.

I also learned about a game which I never played and which, apparently, none of the girls at school filled me in on. But now that I know about it, it makes me wonder how any girl made it out of the ’80s without being crushingly self-conscious (oh right, very few did).

Regarding Girl Talk: If you chose not to do a dare or answer a question, the punishment was to stick a little red zit sticker on your face and leave it there for the duration of the game. A zit sticker. On your face. As punishment. Hooray for the ’80s!

Yes, I have great memories from the ’80s. That’s where I spent my life between the ages 4 and 13 (with a few months of 14 thrown in). In fact, when I turned 23, JoanMarie threw me a surprise party with an ’80s theme. Everyone showed up downtown at Farmer’s Market all dressed up. Since it was a surprise party, I didn’t think I’d have to wear anything funny because I didn’t know about it ahead of time. But JM brought enough goodies to transform me into…Michael Jackson.