So far in 2012, I've learned about Julie Hedlund's blog, Write Up My Life, and her innovative picture book challenge 12x12 in 2012. (Have you written your January picture book? I have!)
I learned about creating picture books from editor, Emma Dryden. Oh, and check out the popovers the size of one's head!
In a previous episode, I discovered a new favorite author -- Erica Perl -- and her hilarious book, When Life Gives You O.J.
From Katie's weekly podcast, I also learned how much author Nancy Werlin makes per year. There was the interview with Newbery winners Linda Sue Park and Rebecca Stead. Let's not forget the episodes about school visit tips, how to make a book trailer and Bruce Coville's harrowing escape from Egypt.
2. Did you read this interview with Marla Frazee? She's one of my favorite illustrators. And Mrs. Biddlebox is one of my favorite books that she illustrated. (She mentions it during the interview.)
In the interview, Ms. Frazee shares hard-earned wisdom that applies to both illustrators and writers.
3. Agent Jill Corcoran offers rock-solid advice in her blog post: What Makes a Book Sell?. This post offers a great reminder of what we need to keep in mind when we write the next book . . . and how to begin writing the next book. Thanks, Jill!
Onto the super news . . .
1. In addition to the starred Kirkus review for Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen: “This tale will have readers cheering for the resilient, resourceful Olivia,” Publisher's Weekly just released a fabulous review of Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen: ". . . this tender, triumphant novel . . ."
With these lovely reviews coming in, Ken Jennings' blurb on the back cover and my Jeopardy!-obsessed, 84-year-old dad's whole-hearted endorsement, I can't wait for Olivia to make her way into the world on March 13th!
2. On Goodreads, a school librarian in Illinois, Mrs. B, posted this review of How to Survive Middle School: "I definitely expect this to appear on the Rebecca Caudill list in the next 2-3 years . . . I read it because a 6th grade girl brought it back in and said it was the best book she ever read."
Well, a few days ago, an e-mail (that landed in my spam folder!) began with one of my favorite words: "Congratulations!"
The e-mail went on: "I am pleased to inform you that How to Survive Middle School is among the 20 books on the Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award shortlist for 2013."
The Illinois State Reading List for grades 4-8! Could you hear me whooping and hollering at your house? I sure was loud enough. Our dogs heard me!
Five years worth of books are considered for this list. A dedicated committee of hard-working professionals narrow the choices down to 50 books. Finally, the committee meets at the end of January and selects the 20 books that will appear on the list.
Mrs. B, from Goodreads, I'm so glad your sweet prediction for my book came true.
I leave you with a quote from the late author Rebecca Caudill, for whom the award is named:
“The first essential in any book is that it have something significant to say --a book that leaves the reader with bigger ideas than when he began reading - that stimulates his thinking, stretches his mind, deepens his feelings. A good book sticks to your ribs.” -- Rebecca Caudill