Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author

Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with literary agent Jennifer Laughran over on her podcast where she chats about all things kidlit with those of us in the industry. If you don’t subscribe, do so fast. Jennifer gathers publishing people from across the spectrum, so you get the benefit of understanding this business from multiple perspectives. For our segment, we talked about Merci Suárez and her family. We chatted about creativity and writing for kids of all ages. We touched on world-building in realistic fiction. I explained the importance of community for me especially in the world of social media. I made a few book recommendations, too, and of course, my dog and writing partner briefly joined the conversation. Happy Monday everyone!

My dog Hugo makes an appearance!

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All of this year’s ALA winners were asked to make a video about what it was like to get “the call.” You can watch them on ALSC’s YouTube channel. Here’s mine. Enjoy!

I had the hair-raising experience of being on BuzzFeed live for their #AM2DM program. I followed Corey Booker, who had smart ideas but somehow couldn’t name the ingredients in a Margarita. (Really, hermano? All that political know-how aside, how is that possible?) Anyway, they were merciful and kept my comments to Merci Suárez Changes Gears. Here’s the link of the whole segment. It’s about five or six minutes, I think. Read the rest of this entry »

This gallery contains 17 photos.

This week, I’m heading back to St. Paul, Minnesota (average temperature in February is 23.7 degrees F). This time I’ll be there for a community visit that has some unexpected ties right here to Virginia, where I live.

Last year, St. Paul reached out to me with the big news that my 2016 YA novel, Burn Baby Burnhad been adopted as part of its community-wide read through a program called Read Brave. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m rushing to type this and then head to the airport for the SCBWI winter conference, where I’ll have the privilege of introducing some winners of this year’s Golden Kite and Sid Fleischman Awards.  

I’m thinking back on my own career as I get ready to take this trip. I’m considering all the ways that I learned the ropes of the publishing business and how this organization was part of that journey. No organization can provide you with everything, but my membership with SCBWI was a first important step for me. It was my declaration, I think, that I was a writer. Read the rest of this entry »

First of all, thank you everyone for the joy you shared with me all week. Your calls, tweets, messages, emails, flowers, and presents have been so generous and loving. I don’t know how to explain the feeling of having you all behind me in this experience. Book friends, librarians, old students, my kids’ friends, teachers, former colleagues from past careers, people at the gym, our dog trainer, relatives – the list goes on. I wish my arms were big enough to throw around you all.  All I can really say is thank you for making the experience of winning the Newbery medal truly unforgettable. I hope I do you proud this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Hello again!

I’ve been away from social media since November so that I could make some headway on my next novel. Every now and then I’d peek, but I have to admit that it was restful to go quiet for a while and focus on work and home.

With Eliot Schrefer and the students we met in workshop during residency at Hamline

So, what’s 2019 been so far?  Read the rest of this entry »

It’s here! NCTE! 

We’re in Houston, where the hispanic or Latinx population is around 43%. So I’m thrilled that most of the panels and round tables where I’ll be speaking are centered squarely on the Latinx experience. From nerds to bad-ass girls – here they are: Read the rest of this entry »

Ah, November. The utter hell of elections is behind us – Can you say “swing state?” – so now we can turn our thoughts to Turkey Day, apple pie and stretchy pants.

That’s my plan, just as soon as I wrap up the last appearance for the 2018 Merci Suarez Changes Gears book tour at NCTE next week. (Post coming Monday with the nitty gritty details.) Read the rest of this entry »