Friday, April 29, 2011

Writers and Dinosaurs: Tim Crow

Tim Crow with "Giggy," a Giganotosaurus skull, at the Highlights Foundation Headquarters, Philadelphia. On the bookcase behind him are a brachiosaur and a diplodicid model.

Tim Crow is the former regional adviser of the Austin Chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He is the current recipient of the Houston SCBWI chapter's Joan Lowery Nixon Memorial Award, chosen at this year's Houston annual conference!

Per the Houston SCBWI web site:

The Joan Lowery Nixon Memorial Award was established to honor the writer who so generously shared her time and talents with our members. Joan volunteered to mentor a writer whose manuscript submitted for the SCBWI-Houston conference was deemed nearest publication. Following Joan’s death in 2003, Kathi Appelt, Newbery honor winner for “The Underneath,” graciously took over the role of mentor. Each speaker will choose one manuscript that they think is closest to publication. Kathi Appelt will select one of the seven manuscripts and mentor the writer for a year.

Congratulations, Tim!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Cynsational news!

Big news! BLESSED, by Cynthia Leitich Smith, is an ALA Teens' Top Ten nominee! From the LA website: Teens' Top Ten is a "teen choice" list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year. Readers ages twelve to eighteen will vote online between Aug. 22 and Sept. 16; the winners will be announced during Teen Read Week.

More big news! Cynthia Leitich Smith signs three-book deal with Candlewick! From yesterday's Publishers' Marketplace: "New York Times bestselling author of Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed Cynthia Leitich Smith's YA novel Smolder, to Deborah Wayshak at Candlewick Press, in a three-book deal, for publication in 2013, by Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown Ltd. (world English)."

Monday, April 25, 2011


NOODLE AND LOU, by Liz Garton Scanlon, ill. by Arthur Howard (Beach Lane Books 2011). Noodle the worm wakes up one morning feeling out of sorts. He doesn't have eyes or feet or even a beak...Can his best friend Lou cheer him up?

Scanlon's rhyming text is fun and whimsical, and Howard's illustrations are a perfect match: colorful and exuberant and full of verve. This is a book for anyone who's ever had a friend to cheer them up.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Writers and Dinosaurs: James Howe

LinkAuthor James Howe and "Brontosaurus."

At last week's TLA Conference, I caught up with James Howe, signing Brontorina, the story of a big, bulky dinosaur who dreams of being a ballerina, illustrated by Randy Cecil! Click here for some notes from James on the book (warning: PDF file).

James Howe is, of course, the author of the Bunnicula series (although I didn't see any vampire rabbits in Austin last week)! Lots of crows, though. And grackles.

Friday, April 22, 2011


BLOODLINE RISING, by Katy Moran (Candlewick 2011)(ages 10+). This companion to BLOODLINE features the story of Cai, a young thief in 7th century Constantinople. Kidnapped by a rival, he is taken on a slave ship to Britain, his parents' homeland.

There, he is bought by a clan chief, who knew his father, and is put to work spying on rival factions. But those around him know more about his past than they're saying...When it comes time to choose, where will his loyalties lie?

A compelling and richly-drawn historical fantasy, BLOODLINE RISING offers plenty of action and adventure in the exotic realms of the 7th century. Cai is believable, likeable, and occasionally ruthless as he pursues his place in the world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tantalizing news!

We recently received ARCs of the graphic novel, TANTALIZE: KIEREN'S STORY, by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Ming Doyle, cover by Sam Weber. Available in August 2011, it tells the story of TANTALIZE from Kieren's POV, with new scenes and more intrigue...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


ODD GIRL IN, by Jo Whittemore (Aladdin MIX 2011)(ages 8-12). Twelve-year-old tomboy Alexis Evins and her older brothers Parker and Nate are known as the "Evil Evins," constantly egging each other on into more and more trouble. Finally, their father has enough and sends them to an extracurricular "character-building" program where, he hopes, they'll learn teamwork and perhaps a bit of responsibility. But this will require Alex to actually make friends and face the world around her...

ODD GIRL IN is a light, seriously funny and fun romp. Alex and her brothers are hilarious and genuine as they navigate their way through the CHAMPS program and their sibling rivalries, and come to a greater appreciation of each other and their family.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TLA and WLT!

Update 4-18-2011:

Go check out:
Cyn's report.
BookMoot on TLA 2011.
Jen Bigheart's I Read Banned Books report and giveaway!
Joy Preble!
Donna Bowman Bratton!

End update.

Much tiredness.

The annual Texas Library Association Conference ran Wednesday through Friday, followed by the Writers League YA: A to Z Conference. Cyn and I attended both :-).

Some of the TLA excellent-ness:

Tuesday night party at Truluck's celebrating BLESSED and TANTALIZE: KIEREN'S STORY! I had a great time talking with librarians, including Nicole Chagnon, Sylvia Vardell, Joel Bangilan, Jen Bigheart, and Camille Powell from Book Moot herself!

Dinner and drinks at Moonshine courtesy of the good folks at Sourcebooks and author Joy Preble (On the convention floor, they were giving away these hilarious "Writers are rockstars" T-shirts that featured William Shakespeare in Gene Simmons makeup...)! I should've nabbed one...

Joy hamming it up with the pecan pie she ordered for dessert.

The joint publisher party at the Four Seasons, where I had a nice chat with (among others) Frances and Brian Yansky, Jordan Sonnenblick, and Christina Mandelski, whose debut novel, THE SWEETEST THING, comes out next month from Egmont (I did a critique of it a couple years ago in College Station and it was pretty darn good then, so I can't wait to see it).

Frances, Brian, Christina, Jordan.

Dinner afterwards with the local gang, including Debbie Gonzales, Cyndi Hughes, Bethany Hegedus, Janet Fox, K.A. Holt, Emma Virjan, Kathy Whitehead, April Lurie, Lindsey Lane, Jenny Moss, and more!

The ice cream social at the CBAY Booth, courtesy of Madeline Smoot and the Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels!

A post-prandial libation with Lisa Wheeler (the current queen of the rhyming picture book) and Julia Durango (whose new book is a volume of poems titled UNDER THE MAMBO MOON)!

Lisa and Julia.

Getting to show off BookPeople to Julia when I drove her back to her hotel! And the YA reader enthusiast finance major (really) we met while browsing!

Meeting James Howe! I'll have a "Writers and Dinosaurs" post with him in a few days...

Even more signings! Jeanette Larson! Don Tate! Julia Durango! Pat Mora! Chris Barton! Liz Garton Scanlon! Kelly Bennett! Jessica Lee Anderson! PJ Hoover! And many more!

Jessica and P.J.

The Austin and other Texas SCBWI folks who manned the SCBWI booth and ran the book giveaways and handed out the bookmarks and other paraphernalia!

Debbie Gonzalez and Lindsey Lane.

Seen on the convention floor: Rosemary Brosnan (Cyn's first editor and the editor of Rita Williams Garcia!). David Gale (S&S YA editor of luminaries including Ellen Wittlinger!). Teri Lesesne! Lois Buckman! Mary Berry! Camille Powell! Jill Bailey (formerly of BookPeople and now a rep for Penguin)! Elizabeth Bluemle (bookseller and author)! Erin Murphy (agent)! Debbie Leland (author and librarian)! Jen Bigheart (she read Banned Books)! Gail Giles! Sean Petrie! Jeff Crosby! Librarians galore! And actual teen-aged YA readers!

All the publisher library marketing and editorial folks who attended! Thanks for everything and for being generous with the ARC giveaways!

And, as for the Writers League:

Uma Krishnaswami reading from her new novel, THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING!

LinkCinda Williams Chima! Book 3 of Forgotten Worlds comes out this fall!

Gail Giles! YA suspense!

Luncheon keynote by Tim Wynne-Jones (Not the physicist)!

Tim and Uma.

Sarah Bird! Who's published for adults but who approaches YA with such infectious enthusiasm!

The agents and editors and authors who came and so freely dispensed their wisdom!

Getting to meet Hope Larson and Carrie Jones in person for the first time!

The authors who moderated panels or conducted workshops or spoke: April Lurie, Varian Johnson, Jessica Lee Anderson, P.J. Hoover, Jeanette Larson, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Margo Rabb, Andrea White, Bethany Hegedus, Jo Whittemore, Gail Giles!

The attendees! And those who signed up for critiques and consults! Bravely done! Congrats to you all!

And the Writers League itself, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary! And Cyndi Hughes and the rest of the staff at the Writers League!

I apologize for all the exclamation points, but I'm still running on adrenaline. Happy reading!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Writers and Dinosaurs: Michelle Markel

Plush tyrannosaur "Rex Green" and author Michelle Markel. Picture is a screen cap from an interview here.

Michelle Markel is the author of Tyrannosaurus Math (Tricycle Press/Random House 2009), illustrated by Doug Cushman. She grew up in Culver City and is an alumna of both USC and UCLA (with degrees in journalism and French literature). She lives in Southern California with her husband and two cats.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Here in town this week is the Texas Library Association Annual Conference! Check out Austin SCBWI members who are attending.

This weekend is The YA A to Z Conference: Everything You Need to Know About Writing for the Young-Adult Market, sponsored by the Writers' League of Texas, at the Hyatt Regency Austin (208 Barton Springs Road). I'll be interviewing Cinda Chima and on a panel with Bethany Hegedus discussing "tween" fiction!

And I can't believe I haven't mentioned it before, but Cyn's Tantalize was named a Top Ten Popular Paperback for 2011 by the American Library Association!

Thanks to Dinosaur Tracking Blog: Where Paleontology Meets Pop Culture (one of the Smithsonian's blogs) for the shout out on my Writers and Dinosaurs series.


THE HIVE DETECTIVES, by Loree Griffin Burns, photos by Ellen Harasimowicz (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010). In this engaging book, copiously illustrated in full-color photos, Burns documents "Colony Collapse Disorder" and the work of scientists to understand its causes. In addition, THE HIVE DETECTIVES provides a fine introduction to bees and understanding the workings of the hive. Text is easy to understand and the photographs provide a fine and illuminating complement.

Altogether satisfying and fascinating, THE HIVE DETECTIVES will leave readers intrigued about the art and science of bees and beekeeping.

Monday, April 11, 2011


THE POPULARITY PAPERS: THE LONG-DISTANCE DISPATCH BETWEEN LYDIA GOLDBLATT AND JULIE GRAHAM-CHANG, by Amy Ignatow (Amulet 2011)(ages 9-13). As best friends Julie and Lydia are preparing for the first day of junior high, Lydia gets the worst news ever: Her mom is moving them to London for six whole months!

They vow that even England won't break up their friendship and that when Lydia comes back, they'll be HUGELY POPULAR! Over the next six months, Julie seems to be living her dream: she becomes a member of the popular clique, the Bichons. And, in the UK, Lydia takes charge of a group of outsiders (although they might just be frightened of her)...Can their friendship ever survive?

This second book in the POPULARITY PAPERS series of graphic novels offers a funny and genuine look at the vicissitudes of junior high popularity. And culture shock. The characters -- adults and children alike -- are (at times) engagingly clueless, exuberantly emotive, and charming.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pliny Moody [updated 4-25-11]

Isn't that a great name? It sounds almost like a character out of Bleak House. But it isn't. It's the name of the guy who found the first authenticated dinosaur tracks in North America. In 1802.

The best part? He was twelve years old at the time.

Here's the account from Edward Hitchcock, geologist and the third president of Amherst College:

"About the year 1802, (possibly a year earlier or later,) Mr. Pliny Moody of South Hadley, in Massachusetts, then a boy, turned up with a plough upon his father's farm in that place, a stone, containing in relief five tracks of the Ornithoidichnites fulicoides, and it was put down as a door-step, because it contained tracks, and the neighbors used facetiously to remark to Mr. Moody, that he must have heavy poultry that could make such tracks on stone.

"After Mr. Moody (junior) had left home for school or college, Dr. Elihu Dwight of South Hadley purchased this stone, because it contained these tracks. It was retained by him nearly thirty years, when I purchased it for my cabinet, I think in 1839. Dr. Dwight used pleasantly to remark to his visitors, that these were probably the tracks of Noah's raven."

There's just so much in this passage that I love: the fact that at age 12 he's plowing the field; the fact that they used the slab as a door-step; the fact that Dwight referred to it as "Noah's Raven;" and the fact that the guys' names were "Elihu" and "Pliny."

But I think the best thing is that you can just picture the poor kid cringing every time one of those neighbors facetiously remarked on "heavy poultry..." :-).

In case you're wondering, Pliny seems to have attended Middlebury College and Williams College, married in 1819, had two children, and died in 1868. The tracks are, apparently, still in the collections of Amherst College (the alma mater of his son, Plinius).

Pliny, though, isn't the only youth to have discovered significant fossils: The Dallas Museum of Natural History has in its collections a baby nodosaur (possibly Pawpawsaurus) found by then twelve-year-old Johnny Maurice, while the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History has a Tenontosaurus found by then five-year-old Thad Williams. The original Bambiraptor was found in 1995 by then fourteen-year-old Wes Linster.

Also, Dakota, an Edmontosaurus, and one of the most complete "mummy" dinosaurs currently known, was found in 1999 by then high school student (15 or 16 years old) Tyler Lyson. Lyson is now director of the Marmarth Research Foundation and is pursuing his Ph.D in paleontology at Yale.

Recently, he is lead author on a paper involving "[PDF file:] spatial niche partitioning" amongst late Cretaceous dinosaurs, as well as several on Cretaceous turtles.

Sources (in addition to those linked inline):

Edward Hitchcock, Report of Ichnolithology or Fossil Footprints, in Silliman et al., American Journal of Science and Arts 47(2): 292, 297 (1844).

Edward Hitchcock, Ichnology of New England: A Report on the Sandstone of Connecticut Valley, especially its Fossil Footprints (1858).

Edgar J. Wiley, Catalog of the Officers and Students of Middlebury College 1800-1915 (Middlebury College 1917).

W.L. Montague (ed.), Biographical Record of the Alumni of Amherst College 1821-1871 (Williams Press 1883).

Louis Jacobs, Lone Star Dinosaurs, Texas A&M Press (1995).

Phillip Manning, Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs: Soft Tissues and Hard Science, National Geographic (2008).

Picture is from Ichnology of New England, showing the "Moody Quarry."

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Writers and Dinosaurs: P.J. Hoover

P.J. Hoover and Triceratops horridus.

P.J. Hoover is the author of THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS TRILOGY, comprising THE EMERALD TABLET, THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, and THE NECROPOLIS. She blogs at Roots in Myth and at Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels. A former electrical engineer, she , of course, decorates her Christmas tree (almost) exclusively with Star Trek ornaments.

P.J. and a big giant turtle (probably Protostega or Archelon).

Recently, P.J. attended an overnighter at the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science and was kind enough to send these photos.

Together with her fellow Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels, she's going to be leading a workshop on revision for the Austin SCBWI this July. Also, for next week's Texas Library Association Annual Conference here in Austin next week, note that the Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels are hosting a reception at the CBAY booth on April 13, at 2 pm.

2011 Books by Austinites

Revised and updated 25 November 2011.
Revised and updated 12 November 2011.
Revised and updated 4 November 2011.
Revised and updated 4 May 2011.

Young Adult (Fiction and Nonfiction) and Graphic Novels

BLESSED, by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, January 2011).
TANTALIZE: KIEREN'S STORY, by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, Fall 2011).
NIGHT SCHOOL, by Mari Mancusi (Berkley Trade, January 2011).
BLOOD TIES, by Mari Macusi (Berkley Trade, August 2011).
BLOOD COVEN VAMPIRES (Vol. 1), by Mari Mancusi
SASS AND SERENDIPITY, by Jennifer L. Ziegler (Delacorte, July 2011).
CAN I SEE YOUR I.D.?, by Chris Barton (Dial, April 2011).
CALLI, by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed, Fall 2011).

Chapter Book, Middle Grade, and Tween
ODD GIRL IN, by Jo Whittemore (Aladdin MIX, March 2011)
THE ORPHAN OF AWKWARD FALLS, by Keith Graves (Chronicle, September 2011)
JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, by Nathan Brnsford, ill. by C.S.Jennings (Dial, 2011)

Picture Books written and/or illustrated by Austinites

HUMMINGBIRDS, by Jeanette Larson (Charlesbridge, February 2011)
NOODLE AND LOU, by Liz Garton Scanlon (Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, March 2011)
DUKE ELLINGTON'S NUTCRACKER SUITE, by Anna Celenza, ill. by Don Tate (Charlesbridge, November 2011).
THE UGLY DUCKLING DINOSAUR, by Cheryl Bardoe, ill. by Doug Kennedy (Abrams, May 2011).
WIENER WOLF, written and illustrated by Jeff Crosby (Hyperion, July 2011).
HARNESS HORSES, BUCKING BRONCOS, AND PIT PONIES: A HISTORY OF HORSE BREEDS, written and illustrated by Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson (Tundra Books, October 2011).
MINE! by Shutta Crum, ill. by Patrice Barton  (Knopf, June 14, 2011).
ROSIE SPROUT'S TIME TO SHINE, by Allison Wortche, ill. by Patrice Barton (Knopf, December 13, 2011).
LITTLE OWL'S NIGHT, written and illustrated by Divya Srinavasan (Viking 2011).

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Writers and Dinosaurs: Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen (center) with theropod of indeterminate genus. Photo by Heidi Stemple at the Scholastic store, NY, ca. 2007-2008.

First up on my new Writers and Dinosaurs series is Jane Yolen!

Jane Yolen is the author of more than 300 books for young readers, including the HOW DO DINOSAURS series of picture books, illustrated by Mark Teague (The newest is HOW DO DINOSAURS LAUGH OUT LOUD, published January 2011). Her books have won a myriad of awards, including a Caldecott Medal, a Caldecott Honor, two Nebula Awards, and a World Fantasy Award.

Jane is also the author of the PIT DRAGON CHRONICLES, which really have nothing to do with dinosaurs. Other than being large and reptilian. :-). (Although, apparently, Chinese apothecaries sell (or used to sell) crushed dinosaur fossils as "dragon bones" for medicinal purposes.).Link
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...