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School Library Journal

A Two-for-One ARC Giveaway

By Appearances, Giveaways, middle grade
It feels good when someone says they’re happy to see you, doesn't it? That’s true in my social life, and it’s true in my book life, too. That’s why I’m so happy to have my upcoming novel, Merci Suárez Can’t Dance on Kirkus’s list of Most Anticipated Books of 2021. It officially pubs on April 6. Here’s the thing. The days leading up to bringing a new book into the world are always nerve-wracking, no matter how long you’ve been writing. Will your readers like it? Is it on par with your other books? Is a critic out there going to grind it into dust? Those questions have been on my mind even more than usual for Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, mostly because it’s a sequel to Newbery-winning Merci Suárez Changes Gears. A while back, Travis Jonker did a 20-year survey of Newbery titles for School Library Journal to see how many had sequels or prequels. It turns out, plenty of authors have written sequels to their Newbery winners, but I wonder if any of them worried like I did as they were drafting. The first problem I ran into was my writing process, which has always been largely intuitive. Typically, I start with a character and a rough idea for a conflict, and then I draft my way into the story until a plot starts to take shape. This time, though, I saw that I would finally need some sort of outline to help keep track of what happened in...
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The Last Month of 2020… An Update.

By #LetsStayConnected, Appearances
I’ve never been so eager to wrap up a year in my whole life – and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m hanging on, helped in part by the lovely inclusion of Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away in “best of 2020” lists at Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and Amazon. But I also have a handful of events between now and the end of the year that are bringing me close to friends I admire – a much-needed connection. Here are a few highlights of places where we can connect around books and authors, if we’ve missed each other this year. As a heads up, I expect to keep a very quiet 2021 calendar while I finish up a manuscript and usher two new books into the world. A Conversation with Robin Farmer, author of Malcolm and Me:  I’m excited to be hosted by A Mighty Blaze on December 3 at 4 pm EST, where I’ll be talking with debut author (and dear friend) Robin Farmer, whose new YA novel, Malcolm and Me has a heroine that I think will steal your heart. Latinx Kidlit Festival:  If you haven’t signed up, please do so right away for the inaugural Latinx Kidlit Festival on December 4 and 5. It’s an astounding lineup of new and veteran Latinx authors working for kids right now. What better way to sample their work before the eventual return to in-person school visits and conferences? I’ll be the...
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A conference from your living room couch: SLJ Teen Live

By Appearances, The Writing Life

Librarians, Teachers, Book Lovers: Are you registered yet for SLJTeenLive? Hurry. It’s this Wednesday, August 10, all day, and it features the likes of Leonard Marcus, Reyna Grande, Maggie Stiefvater, me – and countless other authors and book heroes that you shouldn’t miss if you’re serving teens. I’ll be honest, I love that I don’t have to travel for this conference. In fact, what I like best of all, is that it’s a completely free online webinar – which means you can enjoy it with your earbuds and your air-conditioning – and not go broke. Maggie Stiefvater kicks us off at 10:15 am, and I’ll close us out at 4:15. In between, there are all kinds of sessions. (I’m really interested in the one about portrayals of mental illness in YA lit, moderated by Hannah Gomez.) As for me, SLJ asked me to talk about how we make all kinds of people feel like they belong in books and in the library. How is it that somebody comes to feel welcome inside a building, a book, or really, a literary establishment? I’ve never done a webinar, so it should be interesting to talk for 30 minutes to the green camera light on my computer. Please God, don’t let my face freeze in one of those horrendous Skype-type grimaces. Okay – go register. Hope you can make it on Wednesday – Meg  

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