Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

"Liz was one of those people who always made grown-ups, particularly teachers, go slack-jawed and use words like "prodigy" and "precocioous" and "gifted." Liz knew all these things that other people didn't know--like who the pre-Raphaelites were--because she was always reading, usually more than one book at a time." 

       p. 12, The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

From the jacket description: It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.


I really enjoyed this book. Of course, I love anything that Ms. Walls writes. Also read the fascinating NYT article, "How Jeannette Walls Spins Good Stories Out of Bad Memories." 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Girl Scouts Studio

I'm excited and honored to be the featured author on the Girl Scout studio website this week! So many of my favorite authors from Kate DiCamillo to Grace Lin to Laura Golden have also been featured on this site and each of them includes a recommendation or activity to improve one's writing life. I simply LOVE this site and recommend to to aspiring writers of all ages.

Please visit the Girl Scout Studio this week and read my author Q&A, plus my recommendations to writers (of all ages) about how and why keeping a reading log helps one become a better writer.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Giveaway and book news: Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington

Little, Brown is hosting a Goodreads giveaway of 30 copies of my upcoming book, Sure Signs of Crazy. Follow this link to enter. Deadline to enter is July 20th.

And this just in. The book received a starred review from Booklist!

Sure Signs of Crazy
Written by Karen Harrington
August 2013/ Ages 8-12/ $16.99
ISBN 978-0-316-21058-4
Ebook ISBN 978-0-316-21057-7

For the opening of her middle-grade debut, Harrington cuts right to the heart of her narrator’s grim situation: “You’ve never met anyone like me. Unless, of course, you’ve met someone who survived her mother trying to drown her and now lives with an alcoholic father.” Sarah Nelson was two when that happened; now she is turning 12 in a small Texas town and “looking for any signs of going crazy.” Don't think this will be a hard sell to readers, though, for Harrington has created a protagonist who is, in her own way, as clear-eyed, tough-minded, and inspiring as any dystopian hero. Sarah faces down threats from all sides: “The more information I gather, the better I can defend myself against the world, against the brain inside me that may or may not be like hers.” And even as her father repeatedly fails her (as when he drank/slept through her birthday), Sarah finds allies and role models, from an English teacher to a home from-college neighbor to Atticus Finch, who shows Sarah how to be a caring human being. Harrington doesn’t leave out humor—she has fun with Sarah’s romantic illusions—but makes it clear that it’s Sarah’s courage and urge to communicate that will push her beyond her traumatic childhood. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer updates: ALA, Mustaches and Book news

Last weekend, I attended my first ALA (American Library Association) meeting. A person can truly become overwhelmed by the amount of books and book people at ALA. Perhaps that is why this is the ONLY picture I took the whole time. 
This picture is special because it was the treat I shared with my amazing editor, Bethany Strout. This was the first time I met her in person.  You really get to like a person who orders Martinis and fries with ketchup AND mayo.
Next up, our family celebrated July 4th. I said to hubby, "Would you please help me make a  fruit salad?" and this is what he created. I need to ask him for more help in the kitchen! I think he's been holding out on me. 
Perhaps my favorite event of the summer so far was celebrating my daughter's
tenth birthday. Ten years? What? Where has the time gone? 
The birthday party had a mustache theme. And books! Lots of books, of course. WONDER by R.J. Palacio, two BIG NATE books, GONE FISHING by Tamera Will Wissinger and a giant collection of classic comics, just to name a few. 
Oh, and when I got all settled back home, my editor tweeted this picture of our
book at ALA. She looks pretty with those new accessories, doesn't she? The book comes out on August 20th, which is almost two years to the day since my agent sold the book to Little Brown Books for Young Readers. I think I'll look back on these two years  fondly. It's wonderful to anticipate a dream coming true. It's like this: You get up. You do laundry. You kiss your kids. You feed the dog. You walk by your local book store and see a picture featuring your upcoming book signing in the window. You wonder if life will ever get better than this. 

So that's what I've been up to. I think I'll take a nap now.