Librarians are magic.
On November 3rd, I had the honor of presenting at the VAASL conference in Williamsburg, VA. As part of the SCBWI group, I loved meeting other local authors including Erin Teagan (2nd picture), fellow 21der Terry Catasús Jennings (3rd picture) and keynote speaker, Daniel Nayari (1st picture, left). But really, the best part was getting to talk to librarians, media specialists, and administrators that were passionate about bringing new stories to young readers. Thank you for all the work that you do!
I also loved that the conference was located in the Historic District in Williamsburg and throughly enjoyed wandering before my presentation and signing sessions! Now I want to write a Williamsburg book...
Princeton Children's Book Festival
What a magical day at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival! Thank you so much to the Princeton Library and Jazams Toys and Books for inviting me. It truly is a special event. As a pandemic debut, I haven't had an opportunity to connect with readers in quite this way and I loved every minute of it. Thanks to fellow Middle Grade Authorcade member @victorpineiro for keeping me company! Also, thank you to you, my wonderful readers. At the end of the event, they announced that The Gilded Girl was the third highest seller at the festival! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Also, I have to say a big thank you to my high school English teacher, Mr. O’Hara, for coming out to say hi! This man taught me how to write and was the first teacher to recognize that I loved storytelling. My books may not exist if I hadn’t been in his class.
What a wonderful time!
NJ School Visits Recap
This morning’s school visit was one for the history books. Thank you so much to the faculty, teachers, and students at Montgomery Middle School for making it such a special day. I went to this middle school and walked through these same halls—a fact that bowled the kids over when I pulled out my old yearbook. Not only had all the students finished The Gilded Girl, they had prepared art, cards, and letters for me. They even bought a bouquet of sunflowers since they’re such an important symbol In the story.
Their enthusiasm was contagious and I had so much fun answering their thought provoking questions about the book.
To top it all off, they’d arranged for my middle school teacher, Mr. Cooper, to be there as a special surprise. He introduced me to the world of fantasy novels and was a catalyst for my love of history, so it was incredibly special to see him. I explained to the kids that this book would likely not have existed if he hadn’t been my teacher. I know there’s a picture of us on someone’s phone and I will get a copy!
What a special day. Thank you again to everyone involved. I will treasure this memory.
Best Books of the Year
I'm honored to announce that THE GILDED GIRL was selected by Bank Street College of Education as one of the Best Books of the Year! You can find it in the complete listing of books here, under Readers 9-12 and in the category of "Fantasy."
I'm delighted to share this honor with several other 2021 middle grade debuts! I'm listing their books and categories below (in no particular order):
Kate Albus - A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON - Historical
Megan Freeman - ALONE
B.B. Alston - AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS
Reem Farqi - UNSETTLED
Joanne Fritz - EVERYWHERE BLUE
Jaime Berry - HOPE SPRINGS
Chad Lucas - THANKS A LOT, UNIVERSE
Jimmy M Morris - MY EX IMAGINARY FRIEND
Christina Li - ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
Lisa Fipps - STARFISH
Waka Brown - WHILE I WAS AWAY