Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author

Posts tagged ‘A.B. Westrick’

Legends, Hashtags &Wisdom: VA Festival of the Book

Okay, a very quick post because I am on deadline!

I spent three glorious days with my friends Kristen Swenson and A. B. Westrick in the mountains of Virginia at the 20th anniversary of the Festival of the Book.

Some highlights in pictures:

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  • My school visit at Jackson-Via Elementary. Best question from a second grader: Do you make more than $30 a day?
  • Great panel about author platforms with Jane Friedman, author Gigi Amateau, and “The Book Maven” Bethanne Patrick who is behind #Friday Reads. They gave lots of definitions and practical advice on creating your overall reputation. Favorite take-away from Jane:  Building your platform takes patience and consistency. It should outlast any single book or project that you do.
  • Talking YA books for adults with old friend K.P. Madonia (Fingerprints of You) and new friend Andrew Auseon (Freak Magnet and others) at the Village School. Great reads. Put them on your list.

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  • Practicing the use of hashtags with children’s lit legend Louis Lowry, Kathy Erskine and Jennifer Elvgren. I didn’t see that one coming, but you know, we’re all racing to understand this stuff! #YA, #kidlit, #canyoubelievethis?
Jennifer, Ms. Lowry, and me

Jennifer, Ms. Lowry, and me

  • Top pick of all: The joyous “homecoming panel” at the Paramount Theater on Saturday night. We were treated to an evening of conversation with (thank you God) a culturally diverse panel of writing giants – who talked about their lives as writers: Rita Mae Brown, Lee Smith, Kwame Alexander, Sonia Manzano, E. Ethelbert  Miller and  moderator Dr. Joanne Gabbin.  They were at turns hilarious, thoughtful, and tender. Overall wisdom: Say yes to your wildest literary ideas and offers.
The Homecoming Author Event

The Homecoming Author Event

ALA Midwinter in Philly

Just a quick hello from ALA Midwinter in Philly, where I have re-learned how to walk for miles in six-degree weather. Ice, slush, cold toes, runny nose…I’d almost forgotten what it feels like to live in a place that keeps moving regardless of the weather.

As I ride home on the Amtrak, I’m feeling so grateful for some of these favorite moments:

Gigi, Meg, and ABSetting out on the train with two of my dearest writing friends, A.B. Westrick and Gigi Amateau. The whole train was filled with librarians. (I’m looking at you Lucinda Whitehurst, among others!) It had a Hogwarts sort of feel to it.

We decided to stay in a Bed and Breakfast instead of a standard hotel. Cheaper and cooler, in my book. We were at Casa Buono in the Italian section of Philly.  The view from my window.View from Casa Buona on 10th St in Philly

Kat, Dana, and Laura- the goddesses of The Virginia Shop hauled all their quirky literary wares to the Convention Center, fought for parking spots, and kept us all laughing. Here they are during our wonderful Asian dinner at Sampan on S. 13th Street. I also enjoyed a great meal at the Candlewick Press Family Ho-down at Supper (South Street) on Friday night. (Thanks again, Andie!)Laura, Dana, and Kat The Virginia Shop

Jen Delgado of DelawareNo kidding: I met Jen Delgado from Delaware. (No relation, THANK GOD to Yaqui!)

Babe Conquers the WorldAlways cool to see books by friends. Here are the galleys for Sandra and Rich Wallace’s new novel, BABE CONQUERS THE WORLD (Cawkins Creek/Highlights). Fans of strong girls and sports should look for it in March 2014.

Had a chance to meet with so many young people, bloggers, and librarians who had stories to tell me about YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS. A big thanks to the hong people reading and to the librarians who are courageously dealing with “adults with raised eyebrows.”  Here I am with Kim McCallister, Liberty Middle School in Mechanicsville, VA.Kim McCallister Liberty MS

Italian cookies as IsgroAnd what would a trip to Philly be without Italian cookies?  Isgro on Christian Street and 10th, was just a jewel.photo 7

Strap on some literary walking shoes for a new class at University of Richmond

angela_leeperMeet Angela Leeper, the Director of Curriculum Material Center at the University of Richmond, a native Virginian who relocated to Richmond four years ago. Turns out, that’s great news for our city’s literary scene. Angela has served on YALSA‘s prestigious Printz Award and Morris Award Committees; reviews children’s and YA lit for BooklistKirkus, and BookPage; and is currently collaborating with educators across the state to create the Virginia Readers’ Choice for high school.

Since moving here, she’s not only been absorbing Richmond’s  history, but as a children’s and young adult literature specialist, she’s reached out to local authors, too. This January, she’ll combine both those interests in a course for educators who love kids books, local history – and walking. Children and YA in RVA, a reading and walking tour of children’s literature in our city, will be offered at the University of Richmond from January 22 – April 30. Registration is open NOW, so hurry. (See below)

It’s not everyone who sees a clear path between kids books and a good pair of walking shoes, but exploring her new city sparked the idea.

“After many afternoons walking in and around RVA, I imagined how exciting it would be to offer a class like this to educators,” she says.  After discovering that no class like it existed, she created  Children and YA in RVA, a professional development course for teachers, librarians, and other educators interested in learning about Richmond’s literature and history – and  bringing that information back to their classrooms.RVA2

The course will include visits from local historians and authors,  including Gigi Amateau, A.B. Westrick and me. When it’s time to hit the streets, award-winning journalist, historian, and certified U of R instructor Alyson Lindsey Taylor-White will lead three walking tours that relate to the class readings. (Walking fans may recognize Alyson as the force behind the popular “Hello Richmond!” course series.)

“While designed as professional development for educators, anyone is welcome to enroll,” Angela tells me. Children and YA in RVA will meet on Wednesday evenings, 5:00-8:00, from January 22 to April 30. (Don’t worry, the class won’t meet over local school systems’ Spring Break!)

walking-shoes-clipartshoe-prints-clip-art---vector-clip-art-online-royalty-free-l3klhkmtInformation here: (Select Language Arts and Literacy at the link)

To register for Children and YA in RVA, click here.  richmond2

Virginia Book Lovers: This is the week for you!

This is the week to be proud to be a Virginian, especially if you’re a book geek like me. The Literary Festival of Virginia is back. It has been  gaining national attention over the years, thanks to the impressive list of  bookish events you can find in this state.

IMG_1546One event that I hope is on your radar is right here in Richmond. If you’re a fan of books for young readers,  we want to see you at Teen ’13  at the Richmond Public Library on October 17, 6 – 8:30 PM. Food, music, authors, books, free stuff, all in one place. The fifteen Virginia authors who are coming offer a mind-blowing range of styles and topics. The books – all 2013 releases — are about psychic powers, romance, religious zealots, racism, canaries in coal mines, circus freaks, the KKK, bullies, military families, Darfur, dementia, horses, angels, courtiers, girls in juvie hall – you name it. See for yourself on the final schedule and the author list here. Teen ’13 program_proof2 (2)

Oh, and to sweeten the deal even more, there’s free stuff: six $25 gift cards to Fountain Bookstore (which will be on hand that night); three winners of 30-minute video chats with an author of their choice; and an autographed collection of the entire list of books. Huge smooches to the Hanover High School Jazz band for their talents and to the Friends of the Library who funded the food, the space and all the prizes. (And buttons. Did I mention the nifty buttons?) #TRW and #teen13valit

Librarian Patty Parks sporting just a few of the book buttons

Librarian Patty Parks sporting just a few of the book buttons

Other highlights:  On Wednesday, I’ll be at St. Margaret’s in Tappahannock VA to talk about YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS. (A whole school dedicated to amazing girls, located in as beautiful a place as there can be in the world!)54001952

The James River Writer’s Conference, an annual family reunion of sorts for writers all over the mid-Atlantic. Here’s the conference schedule. You can get your feet wet with a one-day pass or come both days. Maybe it’s all that creativity in one place, but I always leave the event feeling excited to get back to the page.

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Read Local: You’re invited to Teen ’13

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Like this lapel button? Yours for a buck fifty at Fountain Bookstore, RVA

Mark your fall calendars, teen book lovers. You’re invited to Teen ’13, a literary party that will celebrate Virginia’s homegrown talents. 

If you’ve had the chance to sink your teeth into a local Virginia peach this summer, you already know why it makes sense to buy local.  But you shouldn’t limit yourself to buying local food. You can feel  good about “reading local,” too – especially if you’re a fan of teen fiction. That’s because Virginia has an impressive bench when it comes to authors. We’re home to New York Times bestsellers and to authors who have won the Newbery Award, the Hans Christian Anderson Award, the National Book Award, and other top literary prizes. And that’s to say nothing of the hefty number of Virginia authors whose works regularly grace the annual “Best of” lists  that recognize the top books for kids each year.

ImageFree and open to the public, Teen ’13 will give book fans of all ages a chance to gather at the Richmond Public library to enjoy food and drinks, buy books, meet their favorite authors in person and win everything from indi bookstore gift certificates and free Skype visits to autographed copies of books and more. Fourteen Virginia authors will attend – all of whom have new releases in 2013. (Teen 13 authors and book blurbs.)

It’s exciting enough to have all those creative types in one place. But what’s most satisfying to me is that teen fiction – or YA, if you prefer –  will be part of a few precious days every October when bookish Virginians reign supreme.

VLFOctober is the month when the Library of Virginia’s Literary Festival partners and promotes statewide author events, lectures, writers conferences — even an awards  gala – in an effort to honor people who devote their lives to writing. By including Teen ’13 in their event lineup, our state library is acknowledging  two important things:  More adults are reading YA than ever before — and all of them were once kids who loved books..

YALSA's celebration of Teen books October 13 - 19

YALSA’s celebration of Teen books October 13 – 19

The Richmond Public Library’s main branch will host the event and will include Teen ’13 in their own celebration of TeenRead week, the American Library Association’s annual push to promote teen books. (How’s that for good timing?)

Anyway, we’re giving you plenty of notice and we hope you can come. (Special note to English teachers and/ or professors: Would you consider giving your students some extra credit points for attending?)

Will this be the beginning of an annual celebration? I sure hope so. The signs are certainly there. When my friend and fellow author AB Westrick and I started planning Teen ’13,  we discovered that hosting all the amazing Virginia children’s authors in one place was too large an undertaking. That is a great problem to have. Our hope is that the event will take hold and that there will be a Teen ’14, a Teen ’15 — and lots more after that. Nothing would make us happier.

Teen ’13

Celebrating Virginia Authors and Young Readers 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Richmond Public Library

101 East Franklin Street

Richmond, VA

6 pm- 8:30 pm

Free and open to the public