Thursday, April 28, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Movie Poster: Fan-Made

Arnie Gallo from the Philippines created this mock movie poster for Thirteen Reasons Why. I've been sitting here trying to find the words to describe what I love about the design, but it's kind of obvious, isn't it?

It's brilliant.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!!!

The following is my annual Easter post. Same words, but they'll always apply.

Every so often, a reader gives me their impression of my book in a way which deepens my own understanding of what I wrote. A reader in Florida once told me how a decision made by one of my characters helped her illustrate a sentiment she'd been trying to get across to her friends.

Here's what she told me:

In the past, I've had to help friends realize that life goes on even after you've made a poor decision. Not because you move on or get over it, but because you grow as a result of it. You build something new, something with a higher purpose, using what you've learned as one of your bricks.

When I read that, my heart leapt! I knew immediately that I would be using her words in future speeches.

So what does this have to do with having a happy Easter? One of the most beautiful ideas surrounding the holiday is that we're all given the opportunity to make corrections if we find ourselves traveling down a road we really don't want to be on. In fact, we have that opportunity to change every day. Every second! (But sometimes we need a calendar to remind us.) Refresh. Repair. Rebirth. Whatever you need to call it...

Renewal is a wonderful blessing!

Isaiah's first Easter egg hunt.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Show Me the Dudes

Do you want to know why Missouri is called the Show-Me state? Apparently, the people in Missouri aren't even sure. But they call themselves the Show-Me state anyway, and that's good enough for me!

I flew to Missouri to attend the Missouri Association of School Librarians conference. On the way, I took a photo of two of the Channel Islands, right off the coast from where my flight originated. The Channel Islands are where Island of the Blue Dolphins is set.

At the conference, I gave a couple of workshops. Here's the audience for my first workshop. Can any of you spot the two dudes? Yep, that's about the ratio at these conferences.

The conference was held at Tan-Tar-A Resort, which is beautiful. These school librarians know how to live it up. But I wasn't there to (purely) enjoy resort livin', I was there to work. But I also got to meet Heather Brewer and Mary Downing Hahn!

That's Ms. Hahn in the above photo. Unfortunately, though I talked to her several times, I never got a photo with Ms. Brewer.

But I wasn't there just to enjoy resort livin' and meet cool authors, I was get an award! 700 school librarians, dressed in their sparkliest clothes, dined at circular tables while the award-winning authors and committee members ate on rectangular tables on the stage. Feeling like I was on display, I tried to eat with whatever manners I could remember.

Each author, before receiving an award, was introduced by a student presenter. Kelsie Henry gave me a wonderful introduction.

Ms. Henry also sat beside me during the dinner, and was kind enough to fill me in wherever my manners lacked. But I got her back by telling her mom, into the mircrophone during my acceptance speech, that Kelsie picked at her dessert before she even started her main course.


The Gateway Award is voted on by high school students in Missouri, and was a tremendous honor to receive. (The glass book pictured above didn't come with those frogs...I just thought they looked cool admiring my award.)

And here's the committee responsible for putting Thirteen Reasons Why on the eligible list of books. Thank you all so much!

For those of you who heard my speech, here's that newspaper photo I told you about, taken in my elementary school library.

Heading home, here was a beautiful mountain range we flew over.

From islands to mountains to the people, this is a beautiful country.

Of course, I couldn't wait to get home, where I had this little dude waiting for me...

(If you haven't already, and if you LIKE Thirteen Reasons Why, then you should head over to its very own newly created Facebook page.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Totally Board (but not at all bored)

Today, Isaiah is four months old!

To celebrate, we spent some time doing one of his favorite activities...reading!!! Actually, he's more of a storyteller. He'll let us read half of the book, and then he takes over to tell us what happens through to the end.

His book collection continues to grow. In the photo above, he's proudly showing off his collection of autographed Nina Laden books. (Thanks, Nina!)

I haven't taken the time to appreciate board books from the perspective of a baby since...well...I was a baby myself. But these things are fun! In fact, sometimes Isaiah and I like to chew on the corners of the same book at the same time.

Yes, there are many ways for a father and son to bond over books.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Two Days in Merryland

This week, I spoke at the State of Maryland International Reading Association Council (SoMIRAC) conference. As the title of this post hinted at, everyone I met there was so very happy. Even the organizers running around to keep things organized seemed happy.

And that made me happy!

My favorite part of the event was attending the High School Young Authors Program. Freshmen through seniors submitted poems or essays/short stories, and the first and second place winners were given awards at this event. Before the awards, I spoke to the students, letting them know how frustrated I was that their writing was so much better than mine when I was in high school. They were each given a signed copy of 13RW, and then they each read a portion of their winning entries. Here's the group, seating with their parents and teachers. (I'll post a list of the winners at the bottom of this post.)

Then I spoke on a panel with thirteen other writers/illustrators, followed by roundtable discussions and mingling. Kevin O'Malley sat on the panel, and during each speaker's 3-5 minute intro, he animalized us.

Another panelist, Marc Tyler Nobleman, and I exchanged info so we could swap signed copies of each other's books (they sold out of our books at the conference!). Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman has been on my to-read list since it came out.

Jennifer Allison, Mary Amato, and I had a fun and fascinating conversation on our experiences with censorship. Good times!

This was the longest stretch I've been away from home since Isaiah was born, so even though I was happy in Maryland, I was even more happy to be getting home. I don't think I've ever taken a picture in the many times I've sat in a plane and descended toward the San Luis Obispo airport, so here's what home looks like from above.

Yes, I've already gotten into the habit of bringing things home for Isaiah. So after he and I played for a long time with his new No, David! doll, we both fell asleep...and it was JoanMarie's turn to grab the camera.

SoMIRAC Young Authors Program
1st and 2nd place winners

Grade 9: 1st - Collin Tyler Keys / 2nd - Sarah Meyers
Grade 10: 1st - Becca Bauer / 2nd - Grace Clark
Grade 11: 1st - Hannah Lee Gaskill / 2nd - Naomi Pryor
Grade 12: 1st - Gabrielle Jacobson / 2nd - Sarah Watcher

Short Story/Essay
Grade 9: 1st - Emily Cronin / 2nd - Chaelin Despres
Grade 10: 1st - Samantha Solis / 2nd - Pratikshya Mudvari
Grade 11: 1st - Nicole Foggan / 2nd - Sierra Offutt
Grade 12: 1st - Typhannie Hall / 2nd - Sarah Watcher