Saturday, February 26, 2005

Celebrate Everything

Greg and I have a philosophy about the writing life: celebrate everything!

Not just sales or awards, but also finishing drafts, revision requests, media attention, whatever.

It's a challenging field with a lot of rejection, and you have to keep your spirits up. Focus on the journey. Let yourself rejoice in every step forward. And not just your own victories but your friends' and colleagues', too.

If you're a beginner, your family may wonder why you're cheering, say, a personal rejection with a request for more manuscripts. Go ahead and explain what it means.

The fact that you're working in such a tough industry is a reflection of your courage. You're someone who's not afraid to pursue your dream.

That in itself is well worth celebrating!

Cynsational Links

Crossing Two Bridges: Coming Out, The Power of Images In YA Lit by Alex Sanchez (adapted from a panel discussion at the 2003 NCTE convention) from the fall 2004 Alan Review.

Graphic Novels Resources from the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Subtopics include: reviews in journals; Web sites for reviews; resource books; listserv; vendors; publishers; other resources.

Humor Fiction: a recommended bibliography from Genrefluent.

Something On My Mind from author/poet Nikki Grimes. What's on Nikki's mind at the moment is the power of prayer. Also see Nikki's thoughts on Wordsmithing 101.

Finally, I was talking about Period Pieces: Stories for Girls selected by Erzsi Deak and Kristin Embry Litchman (Harper, 2003)(ages 8-12) a couple of days ago, and I wanted to mention that there's another related anthology for YAs (ages 12-up), Don't Cramp My Style: Stories About That Time Of Month by Lisa Rowe Faustino (Simon & Schuster, 2004). See the listing of contributors and read an excerpt. Featured authors include David Lubar and Han Nolan.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Author Joan Bauer

I just visited Joan Bauer's Web site, which has all kinds of nifty features, including a link to "The Books Of Joan Bauer," a reading guide by The Goddess of YA Literature, AKA Teri Lesesne. I'm a huge, huge, HUGE Joan Bauer fan. The woman is a genius.

My favorite of her books is Backwater because of the lawyers (Greg raved about it, too), but I also dearly love Hope Was Here, which was one of my successful Newbery predictions (I know it sounds awful, but I adore being right).

Stand Tall is also an affecting and timely title. Teachers and parents should check out the readers' guides based on the novel (one for children, one for adults) , "How To Talk To Your Children About Tough Times" by Dr. Catherine Hart Weber. They're designed to facilitate intergenerational communication about tragedy both in the headlines and in the home. (The PDF files took a while to download, but I have dial-up). See also Nancy Keane's site for an audiobook excerpt.

The latest news is the upcoming sequel to Rules Of The Road, entitled Best Foot Forward.

Cynsational Links

An Interview With Joan Bauer from The ABCs of Writing For Children by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff (Quill Driver Books, 2003). Note: once had a fabulous dinner with Elizabeth and other bay area authors at The Four Seasons in San Francisco. Yum!

Children's Picture Book Database from Miami University is a source for finding books on specific subjects (or checking out any books competing with a potential manuscript topic)(not all-inclusive; i.e., Jingle Dancer doesn't pull up under "Native American"). Note: I found out about this on the Feb. 24 Children's Writing Update; surf by for more helpful information and tips!

Humor In Young Adult Literature: offers links to numerous related resources, including "Humor, Seriously" by author Joan Bauer from The Alan Review.

Mail this week includes an ARC of A Room On Lorelei Street by Mary E. Pearson (Henry Holt, 2005)(read Mary's blog), which I've been wanting to read for a while, Humor In Young Adult Literature: A Time To Laugh by Walter Hogan (Scarecrow, 2005), and a number of publisher catalogs.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Period Pieces: Stories For Girls, selected by Erzsi Deak and Kristin Embry Litchman

Period Pieces: Stories for Girls selected by Erzsi Deak and Kristin Embry Litchman (Harper, 2003). An anthology collection of short stories about girls starting their periods for the first time. Contributors include: Carmen T. Bernier Grand, Erzi Deak, Johanna Hurwitz, Florence Johnson Jacob, Bobbi Katz, Uma Krishnaswami, Jane Kurtz, Kristin Embry Litchman, Linda Sue Park, Dian Curtis Regan, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Rita Williams-Garcia. (Ages 8-up). A Bank Street Best Book (starred); NYPL Women In Books for the Teenage.

My Thoughts

Kirkus did a great job describing my story, "The Gentleman Cowboy:" "Cynthia Leitich Smith tells of a kindly cowboy, barely older than she, who rescues her from her fear of heights on horseback and from being caught on said horse with no supplies or nearby bathroom."

I remember being honored to have been invited to contribute to this anthology, which was edited by Rosemary Brosnan at Harper. A lot of informational books are available on the topic, but I'm not aware of any others that take a look at the emotional side of this coming-of-age moment and from such a variety of perspectives.

I wrote a story inspired by the summer vacations I spent with my parents in the Rocky Mountains. My dad went to Estes Park almost every year, from the time he was a kid, and he loved showing off the place. We'd stay in the same motel, shop in art galleries and trinket stores, and just soak in the views.

As I grew older, I'd spend the afternoons on two or four-hour horseback tours of Rocky Mountain National Park. I remember those perilous paths, the horses running and jumping. I'm sure lawyers have clamped down on the wilder side since then, but wow, was it ever fun!

My story begins, "I rode at the top of the world, surrounded by the snow-dusted Colorado Rockies and valleys of wildflower-speckled grass."

Shameless name-dropping warning: The fact that so many of the authors were personal friends made this book even more special to me. Uma and Jane have visited me here at the the house, and I've met all of Dian's walruses. Linda Sue and I seem to get together at conferences, the most recent being NCTE, and I've only met Carmen once in person at Franny Billingsley's pre-Chicago-fire house, but we're email buddies. In addition, I also once met Bobbi (and have her card) at a lunch that was doubly cool because Lee Bennett Hopkins was there, too.

Note: I've published a chapter book collection of short stories in Indian Shoes (Harper, 2002), two short stories that have appeared in anthologies, and have a couple of YA short stories under contract. So, I appear to be arguably most successful as a short story writer, which strikes me as odd since that was never a per se goal. Of course my original goal when I started writing fiction for young readers was to become a classic middle grade novelist. Instead, I've published a picture book, chapter book, 'tweener, and have an upper-level YA under contract. Pretty much everything but classic middle grade, which shows the muse goes where she pleases.

More Praise for Period Pieces

"...will laugh at the embarrassment of Linda Sue Park's girl in the white pants or feel a touch of relief at Cynthia Leitich Smith's gentleman cowboy whose many sisters taught him how to treat a girl." -- Children's Literature

"An honest, touching, sometimes hilarious collection." -- School Library Journal

"Whether or not they have experienced the arrival of their first 'Georgie,' 'Auntie,' or 'Dona Rosa,' girls will enjoy these stories--funny and self-deprecating, frank and reassuring--which may encourage them to shed embarrassment and take ownership of their bodies." -- Booklist

See my site (use the CLSCLR search engine) for The Story Behind The Story: Erzsi Deak and Kristin Litchman on Period Pieces: Stories for Girls (Harper, 2003) and Uma Krishnaswami's site for the story behind her contribution, "The Gift."

Cynsational News

I received a note this week from a fellow Austin children's writer, Alison Dellenbaugh (you may remember my blogging about how she won the Oscar Mayer essay contest) and we corresponded a bit about online journaling (see Alison's journal). We both tend to err on the side of circumspect, using our journals to say only what we would feel comfortable being overheard by anyone at, say, a writing or librarian conference.

I also heard from illustrator Janee Trasler, who wrote to say how much she was enjoying the blog. I'm quite fond of her kitty art!

Speaking of kitties, since most book folks I know are owned by cats, I'd also like to mention that if your kitty is coughing, you shouldn't assume it's a hairball. Kitty might have asthma and need special treatment. Bashi has asthma. But he has been doing much better since he was diagnosed and put on an inhaler by his wonderful new vet, who happens to be the daughter of children's author Pat Mora.

Cynsational Links

Essential Reading/Personal Views: Chinese Children's Books at the 2004 Beijing International Book Fair by Elisa Oreglia from papertigers.org. Posted January 2005. While you're on the site, also check out the archived interview with author Laurence Yep, recent recipient of the 2005 Wilder Medal, by Leonard Marcus.

New Voices: Cara Haycak, author of Red Palms (Wendy Lamb, 2004); New Voices: Melissa Wyatt, author of Raising The Griffin (Wendy Lamb, 2004), and New Voices: Anjali Banerjee , author of Maya Running (Wendy Lamb, 2005) from ALAN online.

Out Of Order by A.M. Jenkins

Out Of Order by A.M. Jenkins (HarperTempest, 2003). Colt Trammel is a popular jock with a pretty, if prim, girlfriend and real problem maintaining his baseball eligibility because of grades. When green-haired Corrine transfers in, he's intrigued, even though it's clear she'll never fit in and doesn't care to. Over time, she becomes his tutor, and the two come to understand each other. Colt's voice is unapologetically alpha male, the Texas high school setting dead-on, and his connection with Corrine refreshing. A fascinating read. Ages 12-up. Highly recommended.

My Thoughts

I was particularly pleased when Corrine enlightened Colt about the whole melon-squeezing issue on pgs. 189-190 of the paperback. Really, that's just a service to humanity.

Hm. I wonder if Amanda ever considered "Struck Out" as a title.

Amanda is also the author of Damage, a Top Ten BBYA, and Breaking Boxes, which was a Delacorte Prize winner. She is speaking on "Rewriting and Revising the YA Novel" on March 26 at a meeting of the North Central/Northeast Texas chapter of SCBWI.

Cynsational Links

Award-Winning Author Amanda Jenkins: an interview by Sue Reichard from Suite101.com.

Interview with Debra Garfinkle from the "Secrets Of Success" column on author Ellen Jackson's Web site. D.L. Garfinkle is the author of Storky: How I Lost My Nickname And Won The Girl (Putnam, 2005), which is a must read!

Interview with author/illustrator Kurt Cyrus on Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly by Anne Bustard (Simon & Schuster, 2005) from illustrator Don Tate's blog (also see Don's Web site). Not entirely by coincidence (Anne, Don, and I are all Austinites), I interviewed Anne on this blog just a few days ago.

We Love Children's Books: offers consulting services for the children's book industry, including Web sites, marketing pieces, writing and editing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Pre-Publication Publicity Roundtable

Last night I participated in a "Pre-Publication Publicity Roundtable," sponsored by the Author's Guild. Essentially, you call in and have a workshop over the phone. It was my first one, and I thought it was fun and worth doing.

That said, I have a strong PR/media background already. It probably would've been even more helpful to someone who didn't have the same pro background or was a beginner in publishing.

Otherwise, I was feeling rather blue yesterday, but I did receive a check from Scott Foresman/Pearson Education for the audio rights to Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow/Harper, 2000)(ages 4-up), which cheered me up.

During my "blue period," though, I took this quiz on "Guess The Dictator Or Television Sit-Com Character," which revealed I'm Paula Abdul from "American Idol." Hysterical, yes?

When I taught a writing class one summer with Kathi Appelt and Debbie Leland in College Station, the students made the same comparison. That's cool. I'm a Paula fan!

I also finished Missing May by Lee Weatherly (David Fickling, 2004)(ages 10-up), which is one of the Edgar finalists this year, and liked it very much (read my thoughts).

In addition, reading YA author Libba Bray's blog (Jan. 20 blog), I found out that she became a vegan for two years after watching the movie "Babe." It made me feel more normal for giving up mammals after reading Greg's Tofu & T.Rex (Little Brown, 2004) a kajillion times in manuscript form. We're all from BBQ country, you know.

And as some of you may know, my 18-pound alpha cat, Mercury Boo Leitich Smith, is smitten with Haemi Balgassi's Eliza. As it happens, news from Eliza includes a new kitten in the virtual kitty condo, named Ramona.

Cynsational Links

The YA Novel and Me: a new blog from author Gail Giles, whose titles include Breath of the Dragon (Clarion, 1997)(Gail on "How I Wrote It"), Shattering Glass (Roaring Brook, 2002)(Gail on "How I Wrote It")(reader guide), Dead Girls Don't Write Letters (Roaring Brook, 2003)(Gail On "How I Wrote It")(PDF teacher guide), and Playing In Traffic (Roaring Brook, 2004)(Gail on "How I Wrote It").

Remember how I was talking about Laurie Halse Anderson's wonderful new novel, Prom (Viking, 2005)? You can read an excerpt online.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Author Toni Buzzeo

My friend, author Toni Buzzeo, sent me her latest title Ready Or Not, Dawdle Duckling, illustrated by Margaret Spengler (Dial, 2005). It's a hide-and-go-seek book about Mama Duck and her four little ducklings. (Ages 2-up).

See "Write Baby Animals And Get It Right" by Toni Buzzeo from Smartwriters.com; An Interview With Toni Buzzeo from Authors Among Us: Children's Authors Who Are Or Have Been Librarians; The Sea Chest by Toni Buzzeo from By The Book: Author Interviews and Book Reviews for Kids from Julia Durango; Author Answers with Picture Book Author Toni Buzzeo from Debbi Michiko Florence; and Getting Personal With Children's Book Author Toni Buzzeo from The Savvy Click.

My Thoughts

Toni and I met as beginning writers, both mentored by author Jane Kurtz, who introduced us. We have since traded manuscripts and supported one another through our respective breakthroughs in this business and become good friends. Toni will be staying here at Casa Smith Leitich during TLA in Austin this spring. She's speaking on "Overcoming Roadblocks to Collaboration" from 3 to 3:50 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6.

Speaking of TLA, Greg offers a related restaurant guide.

Cynsational Links

Beyond Nancy Drew: Picture Books To YA: The Best from 1994 to 2004 from Ravenstone Press.

The Divine Miss Pixie Woods (Cecil Castellucci) from the author of Boy Proof (Candlewick, 2005). A most buzzy book in online circles. Can't wait to read it!

Cynthia Lord's Journal from the author of Rules (Scholastic, 2006)(see author interview, Web site). She was a winner of the SCBWI work-in-progress grant.

Marlene's Journal from author Marlene Perez, author of Unexpected Development (Roaring Brook, 2004). Unexpected Development was a recent ALA Quick Pick. Congratulations, Marlene!

Uppity Girls and Fearless Women: No More Damsels in Distress from Ravenstone Press. A picture book bibliography compiled by Jerri Garretson.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Happy Presidents' Day

The most presidential front list book I love this season is about a first lady: Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How A First Lady Changed America by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Joy Hein (Harper, 2005)(ages 4-up).

I'm hoping to interview the Texas team behind this picture book biography, so cross your fingers for more info to come. I will mention now, though, that Kathi is from College Station, Joy is from San Antonio, and this is Joy's debut book. Yay!

A couple more on-point titles are Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (Simon & Schuster, 2003)(ages 5-up) and A Woman For President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Jane Dyer (Walker, 2004)(ages 7-up)(see teacher's guide).

Teachers and school librarians should also take particular note of Kay's My Teacher For President, illustrated by Denise Brunkus (Dutton, 2004) and find out more about the "My Teacher For President" Contest.

Science Fiction Writers Association Launches YA Fiction Award

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has created a new literary award to recognize outstanding science fiction and fantasy novels that are written for the young adult market.

The award has been named in honor of Andre Norton, a SFWA Grand Master and author of more than 100 novels, including the acclaimed Witch World series, many of them for young adult readers. Ms. Norton's work has influenced generations of young people, creating new fans of the fantasy and science fiction genres and setting the standard for excellence in fantasy writing.

The Andre Norton Award for an outstanding young adult science fiction or fantasy book is an annual honor that will first be given in 2006 (for books published in 2005). Nominations will be based on the same process as the SFWA Nebula™ Awards. Any book published as a young adult science fiction/fantasy novel will be eligible, including graphic novels with no limit on word length.

"We are thrilled to honor Ms. Norton with this new award," said Catherine Asaro, President of SFWA. "Many adults today, myself included, were first introduced to science fiction and fantasy through her books and have gone on to become readers, fans, and authors themselves. Andre Norton has done more to promote reading among young adults than anyone can measure."

Cynsational Links

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America: the professional organization for authors of science fiction and fantasy literature. It was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight, who also served as its first president. SFWA has brought together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world, and has grown in numbers and influence until it is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers' organizations in existence. More than 1500 SF and fantasy writers, artists, editors, and allied professionals are members. Each year the organization presents the prestigious Nebula Awards™ for the best science fiction or fantasy short story, novelette, novella, and novel of the year.

My favorite science fiction YA novels include Dancing With An Alien by Mary Logue (Harper, 2000)(read an author interview) as well as The Dark Side of Nowhere (Little Brown, 1997)(read an excerpt and author comments) and Downsiders (Simon & Schuster, 1999)(read an excerpt), both by Neal Shusterman.

Holly Black, Queen of Caffeine: blog from the author of Tithe: A Modern Fairie Tale and The Spiderwick Chronicles. Vist Holly's Web site and read an author interview from teachingbooks.net (PDF file, takes a couple of minutes to download on dial-up but worth the wait).

The Life Cycle of a Book from Idea to your Home by Irene Harrison's Guide to Book Collecting via Andre Norton's site.

Vijaya Khisty Bodach's author Web site offers some inspirational quotes for writers.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Author Interview: Anne Bustard on Buddy: The Story Of Buddy Holly

Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly by Anne Bustard, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, 2005). A picture book biography of a music icon whose persistence led him to change rock 'n roll forever. Ages 4-up.

What was your inspiration for creating this book?

On a road trip in 1990, I ate lunch in Lubbock, Texas, Buddy Holly’s hometown. It was my first visit. Afterward, my friends and I wandered through a museum on the campus of Texas Tech University. There was a display of Holly memorabilia. I remember a guitar, a pair of thick black glasses.

I’d always loved Buddy Holly’s music, but I knew little about his life. In the coming years, that changed. I saw "Buddy, The Musical" on stage. I heard Buddy Holly’s band, The Crickets, perform live on "Austin City Limits." I watched a PBS tribute. I learned that Buddy Holly dreamed big. And never gave up.

During one school year I traveled to Lubbock on business at least twice a month. After I finished work each day, I played tourist. I cruised by the Hi-D-Ho Drive Inn, where Buddy Holly and his friends once sang on the roof. I visited his high school campus where he performed in the choir, drove through streets he’d played on, and I walked along a bank where he might have gone fishing. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was doing primary research.

Buddy Holly was my inspiration. His music. His life.

What was the timeline between spark and publication, and what were the major events along the way?

The aha!—I want to write about Buddy Holly happened in 1996. Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly was published in 2005. That’s nine years. And if you count the ones spent marinating, it’s fifteen.

The first draft that I showed my critique group in the summer of 1996 was modeled after my favorite picture book biography, Flight: The Journey Of Charles Lindbergh by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer (Philomel, 1991), which was edited by Paula Wiseman. I remember sitting at a picnic table in the town square of Round Top, Texas, (an hour or so from my home in Austin) after eating a scrumptious meal at Royer’s Cafe (along with a piece of one of their famous homemade pies, of course), reading my manuscript. When I finished there was silence. Then one member said, “Your author’s note is interesting. That’s where the story is.”

It was an important lesson. I had to be faithful to my voice, my style, not Burleigh’s. As a beginning writer, I wasn’t sure what my voice and style even were, or how to find them, but I knew that would be part of my journey.

A year and a half later I took two pages, all I had rewritten at that point, to a writer’s retreat where I got invaluable feedback from a real live editor. Ten months after that, December 1998, I had a manuscript I thought I could send to publishing companies. My critique group cheered me on. I tiptoed into the submission process. I sent Buddy to one editor at a time, waited for a response, received a rejection letter which almost always said children wouldn’t be interested, felt sorry for myself for a day or a week or a month or two, and then sent Buddy to another editor…

Then came September 2001. I mailed the manuscript to NYC and marked the likely arrival date on my calendar. 9/11. I can’t begin to imagine what that day was like for the editor and others in the city. It was horrific enough from over 1000 miles away. When four months passed and I hadn’t heard anything, I wrote to follow up. In January 2002 my self-addressed stamped postcard returned. The editor checked the box that indicated she had not received the manuscript. And she wrote: “I love Buddy Holly.”

I had hope.

The editor? Paula Wiseman. Yes, the one who edited my favorite book. Why didn’t I send it to her earlier? I don’t know. She’d been reading my work for at least six or seven years. It just wasn’t time. Until then.

Over the next year, we worked on the manuscript. It went through four revisions. Paula helped me find my voice. My style. I’ll never forget the time I e-mailed her in full panic mode. She wrote back one word: “Courage.” It was not the response I expected, but I loved it…and I figured out what to do.

The offer to publish came next and by then Paula had her own imprint, Paula Wiseman Books at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. I found a fantastic agent and signed the contract in early 2003.

That spring Kurt Cyrus, illustrator extraordinaire, accepted the project. Yeah. I was a huge fan of Sixteen Cows [editor's note: Sixteen Cows by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Harcourt, 2002)].

I thought my part was done. Silly me. Starting up again in the fall of 2003 Paula and I tweaked the text even more and worked on the afterword until the book went to press.

I held a finished copy of the book in my hand a month and a half before its bookstore debut February 1, 2005. Kurt’s artwork was incredible. He captured the times, the tone, and Buddy Holly himself. I put on a Holly CD and danced.

What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, logistical) in bringing it to life?

As you might have guessed, I’m not a fast writer. And because there were time gaps (sometimes years, and later months) between my drafts, the manuscript and my research would get cold. As excited as I’d be to dive back in, it was often troublesome to do so until I figured out the key—music.

I’d sit in my overstuffed green chair and listen to Buddy Holly’s music and to those who influenced him—Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Hank Williams, and Elvis Presley. Next, I’d review my notes, or rewatch the PBS tribute, or a performance on the Ed Sullivan TV Show, reread sources, or find new ones, tackle research questions, or brainstorm. One time, I knew I had to go back to Lubbock before I could make progress.

Along the way, it wasn’t just Buddy Holly’s life that I researched. I needed to know more about rock ‘n’ roll music, which meant I had to make a trip to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Right? And sit in the Music Library at the University of Texas at Austin and read back issues of Billboard Magazine. And find out things like, what words and phrases were popular with teenagers in the 1950s? While I am not a practicing librarian (I teach wannabe teachers), I do have a library degree and think research is oh so fun.

I wasn’t sure how much of Buddy’s story to tell in the narrative. While my early drafts encompassed his life from birth to death, my editor suggested exploring other possibilities. I was open to that, kind of.

Since I started the project, The Buddy Holly Center opened in Lubbock. It’s an amazing museum that also hosts exhibits for artists, outreach programs, and more. What a gift to the community, to the world. It was there that I interviewed Holly expert Bill Griggs.

The Holly artifacts I’d seen years before were moved to this location, and thanks to generous donations, the collection had been greatly expanded. However, there was only one small display about Buddy Holly’s tragic death. At first I was puzzled. Then it made perfect sense. The museum was a celebration of his life. And that’s when I knew I wanted my book to be about that, too. His death was mentioned in my afterword but the narrative ends when Buddy Holly realized his dreams were coming true.

There is more to Buddy Holly than can ever be put between the covers of any book. He was a remarkable son, brother, friend, husband and musician. We are still blessed by his life and music.

In Buddy, The Biography, author Philip Norman quotes Holly expert Bill Griggs, “Whenever you mention his name, it always gets the same reaction. Everybody smiles.”

That’s what I hope happens every time someone reads my book.

Cynsational Links

"Getting to Know Calkins Creek Books, the New U.S. History Imprint of Boyds Mills Press:" an archived chat with editor Carolyn Yoder from the Institute of Children's Literature.

Elise Broach is the author of picture books such as Hiding Hoover, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith (Dial, 2005), Wet Dog, illustrated by David Catrow (Dial, 2005), and What The No-Good Baby Is Good For (G.P. Putnam, 2005). She also has written a fascinating-looking mystery novel, Shakespeare's Secret (Henry Holt, 2005). This is a lively, funny site. The "about me" section features a baby picture she claims resembles Nixon (nah!). The Q&A is an inspirational author interview. Even more thoughts on writing are available on her news page. But don't leave without surfing by her favorites page. We have four of our favorite children's/YA novels in common: Holes by Louis Sachar; Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; Shattering Glass by Gail Giles; and A Step From Heaven by An Na.

More blogs to bookmark: Tanya Lee Stone, author of numerous non-fiction books and A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl (Wendy Lamb, 2006)(see also Tanya's Web site), and Libba Bray, author of A Great And Terrible Beauty (Delacorte, 2003).
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