Friday, August 27, 2010


THE FANTASTIC SECRET OF OWEN JESTER, by Barbara O'Connor (Frances Foster/FSG 2010)(ages 7-11). In this quietly atmospheric short novel, O'Connor tells the tale of Owen Jester, his two best friends, and one nosy neighbor. Not long after Owen finally captures the biggest, greenest, slimiest bullfrog in Carter, Georgia, he hears a mysterious thud and a crash from the nightly freight train.

When -- in between taking care of the bullfrog -- Owen's finally able to investigate, he discovers that a submersible tumbled off the train that night.Which means, of course, that he and his friends absolutely have to get it down to the pond and try it out for themselves...before anyone else finds out.

THE FANTASTIC SECRET OF OWEN JESTER is fun; richly textured; has one of the best, most kid-friendly premises ever; and will have readers itching to take that sub out for a spin.

Texas Book Festival 2010

The authors for the 2010 Texas Book Festival (October 16-17) were announced yesterday!

In addition to Cynthia, who will be presenting HOLLER LOUDLY, the author slate includes Texas children's and/or YA authors Chris Barton, John Gosselink, Keith Graves, Bethany Hegedus, Varian Johnson, April Lurie, Lisa Railsback, Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Rene Saldana, Jr., Tim Tingle, and Brian Yansky.

From outside Texas, the line-up includes M.T. Anderson, Laurie Halse Anderson, Ann Angel, T.A. Barron, Bonny Becker, Holly Black, Heather Brewer, Peter Brown, Marina Budhos, Meg Cabot, Cinda Williams Chima, Andrea Cremer, Matt de la Pena, Tony DiTerlizzi, Justine Larbalestier, Kirsten Miller, Deborah Noyes, Sara Pennypacker, and Scott Westerfeld.

Cyn has an interview with Clay Smith (no relation), literary director of the Festival, here.

Friday, August 20, 2010


THE DEFENSE OF THADDEUS A. LEDBETTER, by John Gosselink (Amulet Oct. 2010)(ages 10+). Seventh-grader Thaddeus A. Ledbetter has a problem: like his recently deceased father (an efficiency expert), he knows that you should work "harder, not smarter." But no one will listen to his plans for improving their lives and the state of the school and Principal Cooper is particularly obtuse.

When Thaddeus's "true emergency drill" goes bad, he's sentenced to In-School Suspension for the rest of the school year. It wasn't his fault, though, that no one else takes disaster preparedness seriously.

Told in journal entries and e-mails and discipline referral forms, DEFENSE hilariously recounts Thaddeus's disciplinary issues over the course of the school year and his attempts to mitigate the unfair and dire punishment. A funny, terrific read for the smart kid and smart alec in everyone.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


HOLLER LOUDLY, by Cynthia Leitich Smith, ill. by Barry Gott (Dutton, Nov. 2010). Once every few generations, a child is born into the Loudly family who is so loud that when he speaks, all people can do is say "Hush!" But poor Holler just can't help it -- and how come he's the only one people tell to be quiet?

HOLLER LOUDLY is an exuberant, modern tall tale with an old-fashioned feel, a charming and refreshing story of a boy just finding his voice. Gott's illustrations are bright and fun, with just the right amount of silliness.

Check out the trailer by P.J. Hoover and voice-over by Tim Crow:

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Interviews and Updates and Tidbits

Me, preparing to sign copies of Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo.

It's been a while since I've done a blog interview, but Meliisa Buron just posted one of me at her blog, Book Addict. Thanks, Melissa!

Cynthia is featured at Writers Against Racism, here. Cyn also has Six and a Half Tips about Promotion over at Wild About Words; and she has insights into promoting your blog over at Darcy Patterson's blog.

Finally, we just got word that the Polish edition of Eternal is being featured widely across that country. Check out the cover below!

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