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reading reptile pitches in for joplin

Oh, Reading Reptile, you never stop giving back.

They’ve partnered with the Kansas City Woodworking Guild to bring books to Joplin, MO.

Listen to Pete at the recent Jon Scieszka book signing:

So I know you want to help out. Did you hear him say your dollars are going to buy the books AT COST?

Here’s the information page, where you can get the skinny and donate:

Joplin Project

yeah

Remember?

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mark teague: writer, illustrator, knows where the bathroom is

Another day, another author signing at the Reading Reptile. The beautiful, amazing, children’s bookstore.

Did I mention I live two blocks away?

Why yes, I DO live a charmed life.

This time, the author in question is also an illustrator. Mark Teague! Scholastic has sent him on a junket! Yes, they still do that for the chosen few. Mark has a new book, LaRue Across America: Postcards From the Vacation.

This time, the book signing was held at 5PM, and the crowd was mostly kids and their moms. It made for a different kind of signing than I’m used to. If you’re going to be a picture book author, you’ve gotta tolerate low-level chaos.

Mark related a real-life scenario that helped inspire his new book:

And the kids (and adults) enjoyed recognizing it in the finished product:

And of course we all LOVE to watch an artist create. Do you find that when artists are drawing or painting, they usually have to stop talking?

Listen to these questions. Mostly, Mark tells the kids the same things he’d tell adults.

If you couldn’t hear that last part, Mark said illustrator Don Wood told him artists usually draw characters that look like themselves. And he said it while Mark was drawing a picture of Ike the dog!

Having an audience of mostly rugrats didn’t faze Mark:

In fact, I don’t think there’s much that fazes Mark:

Because he’s kind of a Renaissance guy. He writes. He illustrates. He’s written a middle grade, too. He’s broken a lot of rules:

And what makes him smile? Yup. Same thing that makes every writer smile.

Ye Gods, Freckles McYoungest is going to murderlize me. Let the record show she is SEVENTEEN.

And the Mark Teague book she is emotionally attached to?

 

‘Nuff said.

fortune cookies book launch party

I know you’re beginning to think we don’t do anything around here but launch books.

YOU MIGHT BE RIGHT.

Case in point: Fortune Cookies, by A Bitterman (Pete Cowdin), Illustrated by Chris Raschka.

How many authors do you know run the register at their own book party?

So I run into Judy Hyde, Fearless Leader of Wednesday Morning Critique Group who I would Follow Anywhere–which you can see I do right here–and Anola Pickett. Who has a book coming out soon.

Chris Raschka, as I’m sure you know, is a Caldecott winner. He and Pete gave an illustrated reading of Fortune Cookies. Here’s a little taste:

Then it was time to sign books. So we lined up uncooperatively with Laura Manivong and drove Mrs. Bitterman (Debbie) insane.

FINALLY it was my turn, and I got the true scoop on how illustrator and author got together.

What was interesting about this book bash was the participants. Most book launches are attended by a small circle of writers, but Pete’s crowd was overwhelmingly composed of Reading Reptile customers.

EVERYTHING’S different when Pete Cowdin’s involved.

i was so excited to post this i forgot to title it

LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON

Gave an amazing talk about writing, and her new book, Forge. You people know I am a Flippin’ Fiend. But you don’t put a writer’s standard talk on your blog so she can’t give it again.

What I CAN post, are a few answers to some questions…

First, hold on to your underpants. You know that thing about reading in your genre?


But remember, newbies: SHE IS NOW AN ACCOMPLISHED WRITER. I’m sure she read plenty of YA before she was published.


Now. For all you folks who want to ban people like Laurie from book festivals–notice how she handles this question about Speak.


Laurie has been such a voice for teen girls, why did she write Twisted?

Which led her to find out the difference between male and female fans.

And last of all, every writer’s dream and/or nightmare–the movie adaptation.

And who hosted this intimate and fabulous affair? Why, Reading Reptile, of course. The best kids’ bookstore on the PLANET.

YES SIR, PETE.

 

 


belated escaping the tiger launch party post

So when I edited the footage of Laura’s interview last week, I realized I never posted the stuff I took at her launch party.

Ye Gods.

It was pandemonium.

Held at the fantasmagoric Reading Reptile, we stuffed the joint. Laura had a spread of Laotian food: BBQ’d chicken legs, sticky rice, some kind of coconut rice pudding stuff, and frankly, I don’t know what all she had because the place was PACKED TO THE RAFTERS WITH PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. I had to wait in line to get in. Where I ran into the fair Carrie Dienhart: (Warning: Her blog is for grown-ups, only.)

Well, I couldn’t wait outside forever. I WAS MISSING IT.

So I *ahem* made my way to the front to catch these snippets of Laura’s reading and Q and A for you:

Then ran into a few more writers, like Kim Peek, RA of Kansas SCBWI, Jenn Bailey, Editor of In the Wind and Social Media Maven, Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List, Bridget Heos author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larva, (due 2011) Colleen Ryckert Cook, author of three non-fiction books for Rosen on cancer, social networking and Kentucky, Lisa Wade McCormick, author of numerous books for Capstone Press in the Mysteries of Science series among a ton of other things, and Vickie Dixon, who recently won first place in the Sandy Writing contest!

As you might guess, they ran out of books. Since I am lucky enough to only live a few blocks from Reading Reptile, I ordered mine and waited for the next batch. Here is the lovely Debbie:

And now to get back to my own WIP. Because I’d like to have one of these little get-togethers, myself, one of these days.

flippin’ out at the “little piano girl” book launch

My delicious friend Ann Ingalls launched her book, Little Piano Girl last Saturday at our local indie children’s bookstore, The Reading Reptile.

Co-written with her sister, Maryann Macdonald, Little Piano Girl (Houghton Mifflin) tells the story of Mary Lou Williams, a jazz piano genius who arranged music for Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker.

I shot a little video that has AMATEUR written all over it.  Next time I’ll know to narrate more.  It’s fairly self-explanatory, but besides meeting Ann and Maryann, keep an eye out for:

Barbara Stuber, whose debut middle-grade novel, Crossing the Tracks will hit the stores this July.

Colleen Ryckert Cook, whose first non-fiction book in a three-book deal for Rosen Publishing comes out in August.

Katie Speck, author of the Maybelle early chapter books.  You know, the roach? *shiver*  Maybelle will visit someplace tremendously fun in a third book to be released next January. (Ooo!  Kidlit scoop!)

Elizabeth C. Bunce, author of  A Curse Dark As Gold and the first recipient of the William C. Morris Award from the ALA.  Yes, indeedy do.  Don’t worry gang, she has another book turned in which is in production, and she’s writing a third.

Pete Cowden, owner with his wife Deb of THE most incredible children’s bookstore in the nation–The Reading Reptile.

And now, without further ado, my very first vlog:

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