Posts Tagged ‘Books’




Best Books Holiday Shopping Guide–Fabulous Non-ficition

Filed under: Book Auntie Braggery, Book Reviews, Check-it-out, Reading, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Lots of people groan when they hear non-fiction, especially kids. The first thing that often comes to mind it BORING! But I’m here to tell you that you’re just not reading the right books. Here are some of my favorite children’s non-fiction reads that will knock your socks off.


1.  Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World by Nancy Castaldo


Anyone who has ever spent time with a dog knows that dogs love sniffing! They sniff out hidden food, dirty socks, and the visitor who comes to the door. But some dogs work with police officers, soldiers and even scientists to put their “sniffers” to work. Sniffer dogs make use of the amazing biology behind their noses to protect people from bombs, catch criminals smuggling drugs, or help researchers locate a hard to find snail in a forest.
A dog’s nose is so sensitive that if a human could see as well as a dog could smell, we would be able to see the small letters on an eye chart from four (four!) miles away. Is it any wonder then that dogs can be trained to find missing people in piles of rubble or a certain flower blooming amongst hundreds or thousands of other smells?

In Sniffer Dogs you will meet many dogs and their handlers and learn all about their jobs. Some of these dogs are raised from birth to detect blood sugar levels in their owners. Others are rescued from animal shelters and their boisterous personalities help make them excellent sniffer dogs. Featuring a balance between science and social science, Sniffer Dogs will appeal to dog lovers and science lovers alike.

My boys LOVED this book so much. It’s loaded with pictures, vignettes and so much interesting information. All I can say is that next time I see Nancy she’s in trouble because my kids are REALLY pushing for a puppy and we are considering. LOL! If you already have a dog, you’ll learn a TON about what makes your dog an amazing sniffer. And I’m always a sucker for a book that has inspirational heroes in it. This is an all around great read for kids and adults. My copy is being passed around the family as we speak.


2.  Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin



In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world’s most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

Bomb is a 2012 National Book Awards finalist for Young People’s Literature.

Bomb is a 2012 Washington Post Best Kids Books of the Year title.

Bomb is a 2013 Newbery Honor book.

I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Steve speak more than once and I loved hearing his transformation from “boring” text book writer to award winning author. He has learned the art of capturing the truly interesting tidbits of our history and is able to weave them together in a story like fashion that begs you to turn the page. Bomb was a captivating read and after finishing it, my boys have gone on to read more about Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust out of curiosity. We’ve also read some of Sheinken’s other books and they don’t disappoint either.

3.  Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka


How did Jon Scieszka get so funny, anyway? Growing up as one of six brothers was a good start, but that was just the beginning. Throw in Catholic school, lots of comic books, lazy summers at the lake with time to kill, babysitting misadventures, TV shows, jokes told at family dinner, and the result is Knucklehead. Part memoir, part scrapbook, this hilarious trip down memory lane provides a unique glimpse into the formation of a creative mind and a free spirit.

Funny man, Jon Scieszka has always been a favorite at in the Sabatini house and I’ve seen crowds roar with laughter when he gives a presentation, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that I had tears running down my face reading the chapter about the Scieszka boys on vacation in the backseat of the family station wagon. I swear it was the best laugh I had in 2014. My kids still talk about it and after we got done reading it together, I kept finding boys in bed pouring over the stories again and again.

4.  Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History by Lois Miner Huey


In history class, you’ve studied people who lived long ago. But do you know just how gross daily life was in the United States around the time of the American Revolution? • People rarely bathed. • They didn’t wash most of their clothes regularly. • Their teeth were rotting. • Bedbugs feasted on people as they slept. • Lice crawled through their hair (and their wigs) day and night. Ready to step out for a breath of fresh air? Well, look out, because the streets were filled with poop. Don’t believe it? Hop in a time machine and travel back to June, 1770, in the pages of this book!

Just put Lois’ book in my shopping cart for my own boys! I’ve been long over due to read this one and I’m so excited. I was in the audience when Betsy Bird was singing it’s praises and that is all the confirmation that I needed! The boys are going to love this one. Merry Yucky Christmas to Me :o)

5.  Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones


Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.

Sadly, bullying can happen at any time in your life, but for kids who look upon their favorite authors as rockstars–this is a powerful book. But it always helps to know you’re not alone. Dear Bully is a heartfelt reminder of how deeply the kid lit community is invested in it’s readers. So proud to be a YA author. <3

If I haven’t convinced you to buy non-fiction with these fabulous suggestions, remember that non-fiction is becoming a very big component of the common core curriculum. And while lots of the things about core curriculum give me hives–I LOVE anything that gets kids to read diverse material. Reading non-fiction with your kids is strengthening an important intellectual muscle that will serve them well in school and in the future. Go out and buy and read these amazing books!!!!!

Are there any great non-fiction children’s books that I need to put on my TBR list? Please share!

I’ll be back next week with more holiday book buying suggestions. Please feel free to share these with all your reader friends. I know all of these authors will be mighty appreciative. You can find more of my Best Books Holiday Shopping Blogs here…

*Best Books Holiday Shopping Guide-Some of Kim’s 2014 Favorites

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Kicking Puppies–We All Don’t Think Alike

Filed under: Check-it-out, In the Wild, Pondering, Reading

I’m going to point out the obvious. We all don’t think alike. And on most days, that’s a pretty good thing. Although, I’m completely on board with everyone taking a stand against people who kick puppies. Even though diverse thinking is great, I guess there are some “absolutes” in my world.  But, I will not list my absolutes here, because invariably, some of my non-negotiables will quickly be called into questions because…


I tend to visualize our differences and similarities in a Venn Diagram…


First, there’s the No Brainer Absolutes. (Not really completely absolute because we know there are people who DO kick puppies–shame on them.) And then on the other side of the Venn is the Live and Let Live group. Get a puppy. Get ten puppies. Get no puppies. Totally up to you. I don’t have an opinion at all…unless your ten puppies are pooping in my yard. But really that’s a blog post for another day. Back to the Venn. Clearly everyone has no brainer issues counterbalancing their live and let live philosophy on the other side.


There is always an area of overlap in a Venn Diagram. It’s that dreary gray space where things aren’t so clear. Like your neighbors ten puppies (who you had no problem with) until they started puppy pooping in your yard. A serious middle-of-the-Venn mind field if you ask me. You’ve got to watch where you’re stepping with that one.  And of course, how the pooping scooping get resolved depends heavily on what both parties value the most. And a few other factors, like if the neighbor with the puppies is apologetic. Did they clean it up? Did they kick the puppies for misbehaving? Did you fling the poop back in their yard  and “accidentally” hit the side of their house? See, it’s complicated and ultimately must be resolved outside of absolutes. There’s that gray area again.

But even though I’ve been talking about puppies, there are other things on my mind. I’ve been recently wrestling with that same sort of sneaky gray area myself. But before I pull out my soap box, let me warm you up with another example of Venn Diagram grayness that really happened to me. I recently heard that Toys -r- Us has Breaking Bad action figures and parents are petitioning them to be removed. I was bouncing all over my Venn Diagram with this one…

1.  I loved the show and know that many adults collect action figures. So, this belongs in my Live and Let Live circle. But wait…

2.  I also strongly believe that in no way, shape or form are these toys meant for children. So, when I think of it that way, pulling those toys out of toy stores (aimed to sell to young kids) is a HUGE No brainer. Come on, there ARE people on that show that would kick puppies!

3.  But the reality is that after I thought about it very carefully, I realized, that while I prefer those action figures not be sold in toy stores my kids might shop at, my kids also don’t shop for toys that I don’t approve of. Those meth making figurines are not coming into my house. And passing a Breaking Bad action figure in the aisle of a toy store will mean nothing to my children because they haven’t watched the show and won’t any time soon. They want to buy things they’re interested in. So, we have now landed in that gray area again. I have opinions, but I know I can also work around the situation however it plays out. I am able to monitor my kids.

Have I lost you? Am I making sense? It’s the end of the day and sometimes I can never tell. But, even if you’re not so sure what I’m talking about, I think you know what’s coming. I try to do it in almost all my blogs. My goal is to make a connection to a seemingly unrelated topic I’m thinking about and reading/writing.

Here we go…

censuring the books

Please stop telling me what my kids should or shouldn’t read. We all don’t think alike, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking. You can’t assume, just because I let my kids read things you wouldn’t let your kids read, that I’m negligent. I have a different opinion.  And it’s a responsible and intelligent one that is based on my kids and how I interact with them. My kids. My call. We don’t kick puppies and we won’t be buying Breaking Bad figures. But we will be reading all kinds of books.

I’m not going to go into the details of what I believe about reading. What I will tell you is there’s a difference between thinking you’re right and demanding other people only have the same thoughts as you. I may believe that you’d be better off if you thought about books the way I do. But that’s an unknown and I’m okay with that. Life choices result in different and varied responses, not absolutes.

Here’s the thing I’d like you to remember the next time you try to pull reading material off the shelf–when you pick and choose the books that are acceptable for YOUR kids, I don’t sneak into their bedrooms at night and read them stuff you wouldn’t approve of. So, please do not interfere with what my children are allowed to read. Classrooms, libraries, book stores and book fairs–in my humble opinion– are not dens of iniquity where puppies are kicked and souls must be saved. I believe they are the gray areas in the Venn Diagram of life. They are supposed to be one of the safe place where we can benefit from leaving the absolutes at home.

Those gray areas are the meeting places for all the people who don’t think alike.

The meeting of minds–that is a beautiful thing.



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Rereading When There’s A Mountain of New Books

Filed under: Audiobooks, Pondering, Reading

In general, life is too short to reread books–even great ones–when there are so many amazing books out there that I haven’t read yet. There are mountains of books to be consumed and I’m greedy. But there are always exceptions to general policy LOL!

Many books


Unfortunately, this year I’m slower than usual in my reading, making every opportunity to read something, that much more valuable. So, to find myself doing more rereading than usual surprises me. I lost huge chunks of time when we moved and when my boys changed schools. But when I took a peek at the book I do have under my belt for 2014, I found that more than any other time I can remember, a large percentage of these books I’ve read before. In my read column 4 out of 33 are rereads and in my currently reading column I have another 2 books that are rereads with the potential for more. (I have a couple in the que of my iTunes audiobook list.)

As I noticed the number of rereads creeping up higher, I began thinking about why I was returning to these books. I discovered I had a variety of reasons…

*I’m rereading books with my younger boys that I’d read with my older son. He had a different school schedule and we’d pick out books he and I could share in the car when the other kids weren’t around. If we loved the story (audiobooks aren’t cheap) we’ve been happy to recycle. THE AIRMAN by Eoin Colfer and UNGIFTED by Gordon Korman were fabulous rereads for everyone.

*I’m also sharing great books I’ve read as ARC’s (and didn’t have time to read with the boys) or books they weren’t ready to read with me before, but now they are. Like BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys

*I also love reading books on craft using a tangible paper copy I can underline and make notes in. I feel writing books are meant to be written in, but I often like to do follow-up reads of the same amazing book on audio. So far I’ve done this with Stephan King’s ON WRITING and I’m currently soaking up BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. I HIGHLY recommend BIRD BY BIRD on audio BTW–it is amazing. I am also confident that these amazing books will be listened to over and over again over the years. Inspiration and motivation!

Do you reread your favorite books? Do you reread books in new ways, like a paperback and audio versions of the same story? What’s your favorite reread and how many times have you consumed it? Inquiring minds want to know.



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The 6th Annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival is THIS Saturday!

Filed under: Author Events, Book Signings, Check-it-out, Community, Fun and Games, In the Wild, Touching the Surface, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 9.36.45 AM


Woo hoo!!! I am so excited to be a part of the 6th Annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival!!!!


I’ll be there with my sharpies signing copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE!!!

But it’s not just me!

There is an epic ton of amazing kid lit folks on the scene. For the full Author/Illustrator list click HERE.

But I have to SQUEE!

Some of my best writer buds and fan yourself fan-girl worthy authors are going to be there…


You-Look-Diff-in-Real-Life-Castle Until-It-Hurts-To-Stop-Hubbard This-Wicked-Game-Zink The-Flame-in-the-Mist-Grindstaff Smoke-Hopkins Empty-Walton Bright-Before-Sunrise-Schmidt Bad-Girls-Stemple-Yolen

So, come out and visit all of us!!!! We can’t wait to hang out with you <3

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The Literate Earth Project

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Reading

Want to hear about something amazing? My friend Jeff Fonda is the CEO of the amazing Literate Earth Project. Haven’t heard of it yet? Check this out…


The idea for The Literate Earth Project was sparked in the summer of 2009 after founder and CEO Jeff Fonda worked as an Ambassador for Soccer (SWB) Without Borders in Ndejje, Uganda. He worked on a number of projects but their main focus was coaching and teaching at Hope School (now called Great Lakes School), a primary school in Ndejje. He noticed that all of the students in class were using handwritten books and that the school had maybe 50 printed books in their possession but all were under lock and key because of how valuable they were. Jeff and his fellow SWB Ambassador started taking out the books during lunch, promising to keep a watchful eye on them, and the vast majority of students chose to forgo their typical running around outside to sit and read the books. For those who couldn’t read, just seeing pictures of different types of animals, weather and cities, expanded their minds. Before Jeff left Uganda that summer, he promised Jacques Bwira, the founder of Great Lakes School, that he would be back to build libraries. Jacques is now on The Literate Earth Project board and in June 2012 The Literate Earth Project opened the first free public library in the East Africa Community. It is the first of many to come because we believe literacy is truly at the core of human development and that these libraries will be the building blocks for some very bright futures.

But telling you doesn’t compare to showing you…

As you can see, this is a project that makes me want to be a successful author so I can help to spread the word and urge people to contribute to the power of literacy. It’s the best weapon I know for making the world a better place.

You can find out more about The Literate Earth Project HERE!

I’d also like to put my money where my mouth is. For everyone who leaves a comment on this blog post, I will donate a dollar to The Literate Earth Project. (One comment per person up to $100) What should you write in the comments? Tell me about what you liked about the video or The Literate Earth Project. Tell me how books make a difference in the lives of children. Tell me you’ve gone and made a donation.

How can you spread the word to make sure I’m paying the full $100?  Here is a pre-fabricated tweet/FB status you can share.

Check out The Literate Earth Project @LiterateEarth and comment to make @KimSabatini give a bigger donation

Thank you for helping to spread the word–you are made of awesome.

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Filed under: Blogging, Book Reviews, Bookanistas, Check-it-out, Contests, Reading

Today is the official relaunch day for the BOOKANISTAS!!!! If you’ve been following along, you know that I’m one of the newest members of this group. When I was invited to join the Bookanistas I jumped at the chance because they are perfectly in line with my own personal feelings about reviewing books.


Bookanistas Header FINAL

Nothing But Love Policy 

The Bookanistas ONLY recommend and review young adult, middle grade, and picture books we truly love!

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but as an author, I feel there is no room in my life for negatively critiquing the work of my peers. If I have a book gripe, I share it on a personal level, not a public one. But on the other hand, I have multiple reasons for wanting to positively promote books.

Here are some of my reasons…

*It helps authors to have reviews posted in places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads etc… If you want to help your favorite author continue to write books, please support and endorse them. It does help, but even if it didn’t, I’m positive it would make that author very, very happy to know you care.

*I love connecting books I love with people I love. *fist pump* And it’s even more fun if after the connection, we get to talk about the books. Yup–I’m a book nerd and seriously proud of it!

*I enjoy writing quirky reviews. I am incredibly impressed with the time and effort that goes into the in-depth reviews that most bloggers write, but I honestly don’t feel I can live up to the standard they’ve set. Rather than not share at all, I review books in my own unique way. I try to see the book through my own personal filter. Hopefully, by coming at it a little differently, I catch the attention of someone who will love the book the way that I do .

Not sure what a REALLY UNIQUE Kim review might look like? Here’s an example…  LOL!

*I read reviews. They help me to pick out my own books. I can only read about 100 books a year (I hate that I’m such a slow reader) so I like to increase my chances of finding something utterly awesome. Plus, I’m simply fascinated by the fact that so many different people can feel completely different emotions about the same book. The oddities and intricacies of human nature simply suck me in, I also like being a part of the process–not just a taker, but a giver too.


As I mentioned earlier, with May drawing to a close, we’re celebrating the start of summer and another great beginning: THE RELAUNCH OF THE BOOKANISTAS! New members, new logo, new website design and a whole lot more of the book love we all adore!

Bookanistas Button FINAL

And, don’t forget the prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Signed copies of these Bookanista-authored books…


LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger

BY BLOOD by Tracy Banghart
TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini (plus a swag surprise)
BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris
AUDITION by Stasia Ward Kehoe
THE GIRL GUIDE by Christine Fonseca (plus sweet swag)
MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza
LEVEL 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Bookanistas Badge FINAL

AND A SECOND WINNER WILL GET A BOX FILLED WITH Bookanista-beloved reads including WILL GRAYSON WILL GRAYSON (signed!) by John Green & David Levithan, DITCHED by Robin Mellom, JELLICO ROAD by Melina Marchetta, TAKEN by Erin Bowman, CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare, MONSTROUS BEAUTY by Elizabeth Fama and SPARROW ROAD by Sheila O’Connor.

You can find lots more Bookanista Relaunch Book Love at our sites around the interwebs: Carolina Valdez MillerCarrie Harris,  Christine FonsecaCorrine JacksonDebra DrizaElana JohsonJessica LoveKaty UppermanLenore Appelhans,  Nikki KatzRebecca BehrensShannon Messenger , Shelli Johannes-WellsStasia Ward KehoeTracey Neithercott , Tracy Banghart  

What has you the most excited about the BOOKANISTAS Re-launch?


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The 14th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference February 1-3, 2013 Part 1

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Community, Conferences, Reading, SCBWI, Wolfson Literary, Writing, Writing for Children, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Welcome to Kim’s wild and wacky conference recap. I’m so sorry, but this was the first year since 2008 that I didn’t get to attend the Friday Intensives. I was going to do the novel writing session this year, but due to a busy schedule, all the slots were filled when I registered. You SCBWIers are busy little monkeys. If you’d still like to find out about how it went, I recommend checking out the SCBWI blog.

I did make the most of my fabulous free Friday though. It was the 100th Anniversary of Grand Central Station. What a treat for me to “accidentally” be there.




I have a soft spot for the clock. This is where I told my husband that I was pregnant with my first child. *heart squish*


I also went into Posman’s Book store in Grand Central Station and took a picture of my book on the shelf 100 years after the doors to this beautiful transportation hub opened.

And it’s even more exciting because look at the company I’m keeping on the shelf. I’m such a fan-girl!


Then, I had lunch with my wonderful agent, Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary. I know you hear me say this all the time, but I love her!!!!! I also hit another NYC bookstore and signed stock.


In an interesting twist, I was able to hang out with my husband and meet some of his colleagues. His building has a great view of Grand Central, the Hyatt (where the Conference is held) and the Chrysler Building.

By evening, everyone who was coming on Friday, had either rolled into the hotel or out of the Intensives in order to hang out. Lots of folks hit Kid Lit Night at the Wheel Tapper. And as is typical, the hotel lobby was overflowing with the buzz of chatting writers and artists. A lovely sound.

On to Saturday morning and the official kick-off of the conference…

Seriously, it wouldn’t be a conference without Lin Oliver giving us the conference stats:

*There were 999 of us in attendance, but Lin rounded up in order to make it easy.

*There were representatives from 17 countries outside the United States.

*FIVE states were no-shows and are now on Lin’s list. (Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, Mississippi and Hawaii) It was determined that the first three were probably frozen solid and couldn’t make it and Hawaii would have crumbled in this freezing NY weather. But Mississippi–we’ve got our eyes on you!

*There were 796 women, 138 Men and 65 people who shouldn’t use their names as the MC of a novel because no one will know what bathroom you should get to use.


*287 in attendance were published! Woot!!!!

Now let the Keynotes and Break-out sessions begin…

KEYNOTE: So When Are You Going to Write a Real Book, You Know, For Adults? by MEG ROSOFF


I’m just going to come right out and say it. Meg may have put the screws to some celebrity authors. ROTFL! She was hilarious. Now I’m aware that not all celebrity authors, are celebrity authors. For example–the amazing Julie Andrews (whom you’ll hear more about later) is an author who just happens to be a celebrity. And I feel that way about Jamie Lee Curtis too. But…


This one is harder to argue with LOL! I can’t claim to have personally read it, so I’ll leave the ultimate decision on this up to you. While you’re mulling it over, here are some of Meg’s best bits (besides her small reading from Fifty Shades.)

*When I was a teenager, I was the right age to have my life changed by books.

*Most of the best books I’ve ever read, I read before I was twenty.

*The best children’s books are about the the same topics as the best adult books.

*Books that are very good are worth reading, no matter who they’re written for or why they were written.

*Picture Books are #18 on the Goodreads list because how hard is it to write picture books? All you have to do is draw a duck. *insert sarcasm here*

Next up was a KEYNOTE PANEL DISCUSSION: Booksellers Panel: What’s Selling?


Moderator–Lin Oliver (LO)

Mary Brown (MB)–Owner of Books, Bytes & Beyond, a children’s specialty bookstore

Robert Brown (RB)–National Sales and Program Manager at Scholastic Book Fairs

Jon Fine (JF)–Director of author & publisher relations at Amazon

Here are the best take-aways…

(MB) 70% of her market is schools and libraries. Non-fiction is increasingly important due to the core curriculum. *FYI you can download a free app with the core curriculum for our iPad and other devices.

(RB) It’s about getting books into children’s hands.

(JF) There is no finer group of authors than the SCBWI!!!!

(JF) The core concept is to tell a great story. If you do that, your words will be heard.

(JF) The benefit of today’s technology is that anyone can tell their story. (Access) But the down side it that anyone can tell their story LOL!

BREAK-OUT SESSION #1: What Hooks Me: Editors and Art Directors Tell All with Molly O’Neill (Editor, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins)


Some of my favorite thoughts from Molly…

*Having a marketing background never leaves you. (Making her an editor with a double filter.)

*Pay attention to the balance between the specific and the universal.

*Kids are the primary audience.

*An editor is an advocate for the reader.

*When you boil it down, books are about what it means to be a human being.

*There needs to be things that ring so true in your writing that readers want to ingest it–tattoo it on themselves!

*When the reader is done with the book, are they unwilling to let go of it?

*Write what you know emotionally.

*Decide as an author, what part of your book or writing is non-negotiable and stick to it.

Also…Molly has made me crazy to read WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith. It looks fabulous and I’ve always loved Intern Spills.


After lunch (in which I ate a giant healthy salad followed by a large, chocolate cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. *yum*)


it was time for…BREAK-OUT SESSION#2: What Hooks Me: Editors and Art Directors Tell All with Rosemary Brosnan (editorial director of HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Gahhhh *pulls out hair* I was so entranced listening to Rosemary, I forgot to take a picture. So sorry.

*I love starred books and great reviews, but readers still have to buy the book. (Can I get an amen?)

*I LOVED the story about how my fellow Apocalypsie sistah, Anne Nesbet, author of CABINET OF EARTHS, met with Rosemary while she was sick in bed at a conference. It goes to show you, you never know what’s going to happen in publishing LOL!


And SQUEE!!!! Rosemary also highlighted the books of a personal friend and member of my local SCBWI Shop Talk, Jennifer Castle!!!!


I loved The Beginning of After!!!!


And I’m dying to read You Look Different In Real Life–Available June 4, 2013.

THE LAST KEYNOTE SPEAKER OF THE DAY: Internal Migrations by Shaun Tan

I have to start off by telling you, that it never ceases to amaze me, how much I’m affected by the illustrator or illustrator/author presentation at the SCBWI. They are so amazing. I’m very glad our diversity is our unity.


I WANT!!! Not only the book (it wasn’t available at the bookstore) but I want ERIC to come and stay at my house. This is one of my favorite book characters now!


I did get THE ARRIVAL signed!!!! Amazing and I played it cool, but Arthur Levine helped me get my books ready to sign when a conference helper had to step away. Between Tan and Levine, I was a tongue-tied fan-girl, muttering gibberish. *sigh* I may have said something about awesome and great and fabulous, but I can’t be sure.

And just so you know, Shaun’s words and thoughts are as beautiful and magical as his artwork…

*Never listen to what an artist says–the truth is in the work.

*The dark side of familiarity is complacency.

*Migration can be internal.

*The truths I’m most interested in are the ones that can be spoken of directly.

*I imagine my stories as really happening.

*I’m very suspicious of artists that have neat and tidy studios–I admire them–but I’m suspicious.

*Comprehension is over rated–what’s more important is a feeling of imaginative empathy.


*The thing that matters most in art, is that thing you can’t explain.

Ummm I may have been too busy lounging across the MASHED POTATO BAR at the Cocktail Gala Meet and Greet to take pictures, but you can’t blame me, it had a toppings bar. Just know that Day #1 was so inspiring, I stayed up way too late in order to discuss it with anyone who had feet. (Yeah, my criteria for bookish conversational comrades is very high LOL!) And in fact, my roommie believes that I fell asleep mid-sentence that night. A new milestone. *grin*

I’ll be back with Sunday (Day #2) on Friday’s blog post. But in the mean time, talk to me, I’m still awake–sort of. What’s inspiring you, my arm chair conference buddy? Anything that resonates? New authors/illustrators to check out? Any editors just added to your Must Have list? Are you saving your pennies for the next SCBWI Conference?

PS–Chris Crutcher, you were missed in the lobby. Everyone was wishing you were there for another fabulous night of conversation. (((hugs)))

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The Special List–Books that Grab You and Never Let Go

Filed under: Reading

It’s the season for nominees and awards and I just finished reading CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein and realized that I have my own private sort of award’s list of special books. What is my special list? It’s not a tangible Goodreads list, although I guess it could be. It’s really more like an internal classification. It’s for the books that turn my world upside down. There are lots of books that I LOVE for a variety of different reasons that don’t make my special list. It’s not that they aren’t a variety of wonderful things, but this list–my special list— is for the stories that haunt me.  It’s for the ones that never leave me. With the special list, I can never stop thinking about them or their authors. They are the authors who I have a love/hate relationship with. I adore them, I am in awe of them and  I’m terrified that  I can never be them. But yet, I still adore them.

These are some of the books on my special list…


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These were in no particular order and this is far from being a complete list. But it’s an appetizer LOL! What is on your special list? What books grab you and never let go?

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HELP! How to Save the Life of an Inner Holiday Elf

Filed under: Booksellers, Check-it-out, Community, Touching the Surface, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I don’t know how the holiday spirit works for you, but I have what I like to call my inner holiday elf. He fights with my inner procrastinator, my inner bah-humbugger and my mother (just kidding) to get everything that needs to be done, done for the holiday season. He’s like Doby the house elf, but he’s only around from Thanksgiving until the New Year and he poops glitter. It just so happens that I have a picture of him right here (sans glitter–that would be rude)…

His name is George and it’s his goal is to make the holiday merry and bright for me and my family and friends. This year, because George is an overachiever, part of his merry-making involves a deep desire to get a copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE under every Christmas Tree, Menorah or Kinara. The problem is, that’s a lot of work for such a little guy. He can’t do it alone. I’ve looked into other options and unfortunately, getting a supplementary inner holiday elf isn’t possible.  You should see the paper work involved. *head thunk* But wait–there is still hope. In the spirit of the holiday season, Oblong Books & Music has volunteered to deliver signed copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE to your doorstep in time for your holiday gift giving extravaganza or for your post-holiday collapse in front of the fireplace, where only a cozy read will do. Yay!!!

Here’s how you can get a signed copy of TOUCHING THE  SURFACE and save the life of an overworked inner holiday elf at the same time…

Between now and THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 14th you can order a signed copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE right HERE!!!!!!

I’ll be at Oblong Books & Music by mid-day on 12/14 to personalize any copies that you would like and then they’ll be shipped to you in time for the holidays!!!!!  In addition to getting a signed copy of my book, you’ll have helped to support a wonderful indie bookstore and you’ll be revered by all inner holiday elves EVERYWHERE. Completely cool. Additional glitter will be consumed in your honor. *smooches*

Of course, George and I would also love it if you’d help to spread the word. Thank you so much.

Now that we’ve encouraged books sales, the support of indie bookstores and spread kindness to inner holiday elves everywhere, we can move on to the fun portion of this blog. Love glitter? Hate glitter? Where is the most unique spot you’ve managed to find glitter residue? Any tricks for removing hard-to-remove glitter?


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