Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hey Danielle H

I want to send the arc of Audacity Jones Steals the Show to the first commenter on my previous post - Danielle H - but I have no way to contact. 

Will you email me thru my website?

Audacity Jones Steals the Show

Just finished this beauty.

So much to love.

Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson


It has mystery and humor and adventure.

It has a cat and an elephant.

It has HOUDINI!!!

So many things to love about the writing.

I love how Kirby speaks to the reader so seamlessly, without pulling us out of the story. In fact, quite the opposite...she lets us in on the fun:

I know, dear reader, it causes you to shudder as it does me.

I love the absolute SEAMLESS incorporation of historical details:

Not a kid-leather boot nor starched pinafore to be seen in either direction.

Audie inhaled deeply of the automobile fumes, the horse dung, the frankfurter carts, the fishy aromas from the Hudson River. "Just smell all that life!" She turned in a complete circle, arms wide, opening herself to the wonders of Manhattan.

I adore the language, sometimes soft and lilting, sometimes just plain old sparkly:

It smelled of hay and apples and something else: The young thing reeked of sorrow.

A murmur wobbled its way through the crowd.

And Kirby has never been one to write down to young readers. She tosses in so many yummy words, like PERFIDY. 

So much to love about this one.


AND.....I'll send this ARC along to the first person to tell me in the comments that they would like it. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Love those North Carolina schools!

Today I got to speak to students from ELEVEN schools in Surry County, North Carolina.

What a great day!

Greetings from Nowhere is on the Battle of the Books list for North these schools were rocking it!!!

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here ya go!

Thank you, Surry County Schools!

The Battle of the Books team at Rockford Elementary (Thank you for that great welcome sign!)


Rockford Elementary kids waiting for the presentation

Copeland Battle of the Books team

Dobson Battle of the Books team

Mountain Park Battle of the Books team

Rockford Battle of the Books team

(l to r) Tonya Fletcher, me, Sonia Dickerson. Thank you, ladies, for making this wonderful author visit possible.

Kids filing in to Franklin Elementary

Flat Rock Battle of the Books

White Plains Battle of the Books

Cedar Ridge Battle of the Books

Franklin Battle of the Books team

I didn't have a chance to visit the Andy Griffith Museum, but at least I got to drive on Andy Griffith Parkway
Getting ready to present at Pilot Mountain Elementary

At Pilot Mountain Elementary

Pilot Mountain Battle of the Books team

With Pilot Mountain media specialist Amy Harpe

Whenever I go away, I love coming home and seeing those beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains ahead of me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Creekside Elementary

Here are a few pics from my great visit to Creekside Elementary School in Winterville, North Carolina

The Battle of the Books team


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Thank you, Winterville, NC

Wow! Amazing school visits in Winterville, North Carolina.

Here are some of the highlights:

Thank you to Creekside Elementary for this great welcome sign in the library. (Note: There were lots of pics taken here but I don't have them. Will post if I get them. Great school, though. Trust me.)

A nice greeting for Kim Norman and I from Ridgewood.

Check out all the snazzy outfits at the Battle of the Books luncheon

Battle of the Books luncheon

Battle of the Books luncheon

Battle of the Book luncheon

Battle of the Books luncheon

(l to r) Kim Norman, Ryan Davis, me

The whole Battle of the Books gang

(l to r) Angie Britt Egerton, Kim Norman, me, Kris Davis

Had a blast with the awesome Kim Norman

Ridgewood kids filing in to hear my presentation

Me working the crowd

Me and my pal, Kim Norman

Monday, October 24, 2016

Kate the Great and a Giveaway

Suzy Becker must be a ten-year-old girl disguised as a grown-up because she NAILS her adorable character Kate in her new book, Kate the Great: Winner Takes All.

Kirkus says: "A zippy little visit with a likable 10-year-old"

ZIPPY is the perfect word.

Reading this book gave me so many flashbacks and stirred up happy memories from my own childhood.

Like speaking ubbi dubbi. Anybody remember that? The kids on the TV show, Zoom, used to do it. 

Dubo yubou ububbi dububbi?

And the egg thing!

Someone breaks an imaginary egg on your head. Remember that?

From the book:

I sit on the edge of her other bed.  "I'll do the egg thing." After three imaginary eggs, I'm feeling very sleepy.


Do NOT read this book if you don't want to laugh because it is so dang funny.

You WILL laugh. 

A lot.

But the best, best, best parts of this book are the hysterical drawings and handwritten notes.

Here are some of my favorites:

Gene is the school bus driver

This book has kid-appeal written all over it.

Kate is definitely great. 

And so is Suzy Becker.

Because she's GIVING AWAY A COPY!!

Just leave a comment below by 10/27. (I'll also be asking for retweets on Twitter.)  

Kate the Great: Winner Takes All is the sequel to Kate the Great: Except When She's Not, published by Crown Books. Available in stores November 1. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cover Reveal!! C.M. Surrisi's New Book!

 Look, y'all!!!!

The cover for Vampires on the Run

The second Quinnie Boyd Mystery is coming soon!
If you liked The Maypop Kidnapping (and who didn't?)
you'll love Vampires on the Run.
It's deliciously fun and just the right amount of spooky. 

Coming this March from Carolrhoda Books

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rewards and Blessings

Some folks work hard all day and their only reward is a paycheck.

But writers of children's books are rewarded in many ways besides money. 

(And, um, there are children's writers all over the internet right now reading this and sputtering out their coffee and saying, "Money?" But, I digress...)

We approach a school with a large banner taped to the door that reads, "Welcome, Author!"

We walk down the hallways of that school and admire the students' artwork about our books taped to the walls.

We open a manila envelope and a pile of letters and drawings spills out, each one letting us know how much that student enjoyed our books.

We Skype with classrooms and book groups full of excited students and answer their questions about our books.

But sometimes, we get one of the finest rewards of all: a note letting us know how our book has directly affected a reader and given him or her a mirror to see themselves.

I recently received such a note about my new book, Wish.

In the story, the main character, Charlie, meets a boy who has, in her words, an "up-down" walk - a limp that often prompts his classmates to tease him in unkind ways.

Here is the note (with permission from the sender): 

Hi Barbara.

My daughter Sofie and I finished reading Wish last night.  We both loved it.  

That is no small thing as Sofie doesn't always love to read.  

She was first interested because of her love of How to Steal a Dog and because Wish also includes a dog.  

When reading, however, she was especially interested in Howard and his up down walk as she has cerebral palsy and her own kind of up down walk.  

Thank you for writing about a child she could relate to in a book with a girl and a dog.  It really matters to her.  

On a related note, she is curious about Howard. If there is anything you can share about why you included him, she would love to know.

All the best,

Let me repeat two lines:

Thank you for writing about a child she could relate to in a book with a girl and a dog.  It really matters to her. 

Let me repeat one more line:

It really matters to her. 

That line was not just a reward.

It was a blessing. 

It was a blessing and a reminder of the importance of writing books that serve as both windows that give readers a glimpse into the lives of others and mirrors that reflect and give value to a reader's own life experiences. 
Thank you, Patricia and Sofie, for that blessing.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Constance Lombardo is in the House and a Giveaway!

 Today I'm celebrating a book birthday!!

Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat Across America by Constance Lombardo

And Mr. Puffball himself stopped by to tell us that author/illustrator Constance Lombardo is here to tell us a bit about herself and her latest book.

 From the publisher:

In Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat Across America (Harper/Collins), Mr.
Puffball, El Gato and the gang take to the road in search of some
fantastic footage for their buddy film. Hop aboard this fast-paced travel adventure – It’s van-tastic! 

Our interview: 
What is it with you and cats?

Funny you should ask, Barbara. When I started writing, my books were about turtles and snails, two animals I can totally relate to. But my cat Myrtle kept giving me that penetrating ‘Why don’t you write about cats?’ look. So I did. Also, cats are furry, whiskered, and they have pointy ears!

Interesting! Next question: you have a knack for getting inside a cat’s head. Have you ever been a cat psychic?

Not exactly. I get my insights into the feline mind by watching, listening and belly-rubbing. My cats are Myrtle the Elder and Gandalf the Grey, the mischievous kitten. G.G. was the inspiration for Pickles, the adorable, but irritating kitten, who is in my new book, Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat Across America.

When did you start drawing?

My first drawing of Three Men in a Tub, done when I was only four years old, is the stuff of legends. Unfortunately, it has gone missing. (Have you seen it?) When I was about ten, my sister Rita did a drawing. Not to be outdone, I did my own drawing, and I haven’t stopped since. I used to draw people. Now cats. What’s next? Maybe I’ll draw one of those scary jumpy bugs my cats keep killing and leaving lying about. But probably not.


Tell me more about your latest book, please.

Sure thing! My illustrated middle grade novel, Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat Across America, is the second in the Puffball series. Mr. Puffball and his BFF El Gato film a buddy movie demo reel at American landmarks such as the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, the Coney Island Cyclone, and Paul Bunyan’s Onion Ring Ranch. Rosie is the director, and the rest of the gang is along for the ride. It’s a wild road trip adventure with lots of chase scenes, rodeo numbers, diner mishaps, and litter box stops. 

In writing and illustrating this book, what was the most challenging part?

I love to draw cats, people, donuts, and other round-ish things. Drawing cars, vans and road signs requires straight-ish lines. I did my best, and I’m very proud of my drawing of the funky road trip vehicle – a VW microbus. It has wheels and everything!

Is it true there’s a character in Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat Across America named Benedict Cumbercat?

Yes! I’m a huge Benedict Cumberbatch fan, and I love all things British. In my book, Benedict Cumbercat does some not very nice things, but in the end we understand his motivation. There’s even a visit from the Queen of England! I drew this character as a corgi, since evidently Queen Elizabeth II loves corgis. 

 What is one thing you’d like your readers to know about Mr. Puffball?

I’d like them to know that Mr. Puffball is a good-hearted, loyal, and fun cat with a big dream-to be a movie star! I think we should all dream big! My dream is to write and illustrate books that kids of all ages will love and that make them laugh. I think my dreams are coming true!! 

What’s the best part of being a published author?

The absolutely best part is getting fan mail!! (after my first book, Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat to the Stars) It’s such a thrill to hear from kids who love Mr. Puffball! Some say they don’t usually like reading, so if I can get a kid into reading through my books – wow!! Some include drawings, which is wonderful. Either way, I just love hearing from my readers.

The second best part is going into my local bookstore or library and finding my book on the shelves. What an amazing feeling!  

What’s next?

I’m working on Mr. Puffball book three!! More adventures are on the way…

Thanks for stopping by, Constance.

To celebrate this new addition to the Mr. Puffball series, Constance is giving away a signed copy!
Just leave your email address in the comments by 9 p.m. Sept 27.

Constance Lombardo enjoys drawing and writing about cats who
are famous and infamous. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband, daughter, Myrtle the Good Cat and Gandalf the Grey the Mischievous Kitten.

Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat Across America (HarperCollins) is on shelves today. Visit your local independent bookstore to get your copy.