Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Back-to-School from The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

It's time for school buses, backpacks, hallways filled with students, and reading. The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels are looking forward to celebrating another school year with you. Thank you for your continued support! We love Librarians!

We have so much wonderful news to share with you along with some sneak peaks of what is ahead. Thank you for reading!
Catch us in the Next Month

Emma Virján will be a featured author/illustrator at the Region 3 2015 Library Roundup, September 24, 2015. 

P. J. Hoover will be a featured author at the Mansfield ISD Book Festival coming up on September 19, 2015.

P. J. Hoover will be signing books at the Stonebriar Mall Barnes & Noble in Frisco, TX on September 23, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Latest News

P. J. Hoover

P. J.'s summer included a yearly trip to D.C., travel to the Los Angeles SCBWI Conference, and getting her son ready for his first year of high school :) She's looking forward to a fun year filled with school visits, book events, Friday night football games, and much writing goodness.

P. J. still has some openings for 2015-2016 school visits. If you are interested in a school visit, please contact P. J. for information!

Watch P. J.'s Spirit of Texas Middle School Reading List video!
Watch P. J.'s Spirit of Texas Middle School Reading List video!

Huge thank you to Kate DiPronio, librarian at Cedar Valley Middle School in Round Rock ISD, for featuring TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE painted on the lockers! This is amazing! TUT is in such wonderful company :)

There are new hardcover dust jackets for P. J.'sForgotten Worlds trilogy. These dust jackets can be placed overtop the old ones or used instead. If you currently have P. J.'s Forgotten Worlds trilogy in hardcover in your library and you would like a set of these new (much more kid-friendly) dust jackets, please drop P. J. a line and let her know. If you don't have these in hardcover and are interested in a set, please also, drop P. J. a line. The Forgotten Worlds trilogy is appropriate for kids 3rd grade and up.

For those audiobook fans, TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE is now available in audio. You can get all the information here!


Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica Lee Anderson enjoyed the summer tremendously but has a case of back-to-school fever! She's offering discounts for school visits booked before September 15. She's currently working on an early chapter book series and hopes to share more information about it soon. To contact Jessica, visit

Emma Virján

Emma is pleased to share some great reviews for What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig.

New York Times, Laura Lutz
"With its frequent use of sight words and a story line that builds on itself, this is a great choice for absolute beginners and - bonus! - it has a true story arc, with a plot about friendship and cooperation."

Publisher's Weekly (starred review):
"In a story with the echoes of Seuss and Willems, Virján offers a very funny lesson about the unreliability of narrators."

Kirkus Reviews:
"A boatload of giggles will keep the reader returning for more easy-to-read fun."

Emma is also excited to reveal a sneak peak of the cover of What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush, book 2 in thePig In A Wig Book Series. (Harper, January 2016)

K. A. Holt

Kari has been busy this summer traveling and sharing her love of poetry. First, she was off to Boston and Nantucket as part of Typewriter Rodeo, a quartet of poets who write spontaneous poetry on vintage typewriters. She also attended the Nantucket Book Festival to speak about RHYME SCHEMER. Nantucket was lovely, and the festival goers were infectious with enthusiasm for books. 


After her Northeast adventure, Kari went to the ALA conference in San Francisco, speaking on a panel about verse novels and engaging reluctant readers. As always, it was a blast meeting up with librarians and teachers and talking books, books, books non-stop for several days.


Her final trip was to Wisconsin, to retreat with other members of her literary agency and to brainstorm new projects. It was great fun to hang out with so many talented authors.

(From left, clockwise around the table: Anne Nesbit's hand, Dashka Slater, Audrey Vernick, me, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Janet Fox)

Kari also recorded a handful of podcasts this summer. If you're interested in listening to her talk about the writing processes of RHYME SCHEMER and HOUSE ARREST (releasing October 6th from Chronicle books), you can listen here and here.

And finally, Kari is very excited to share this lovely review in Publisher's Weekly for HOUSE ARREST.

"Touches of humor lighten the mood, and Holt's firsthand knowledge of the subject (her own son had trachea problems, the acknowledgments reveal) adds depth to this poignant drama without overwhelming it." 

Don Tate

Don Tate's debut as both author and illustrator, POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON, has garnered three starred reviewsover the summer. 
School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly have all raved on this nonfiction picture book which officially publishes on September 1. 

A special Teacher's Guide is available for download here

Don will launch this special book in Austin, TX, on October 10, and hopes that locals can make it out the the celebration. Details to come.

Watch the Book Trailer for POET!
Watch the Book Trailer for POET!

Currently Don is booking a few remaining spots for the fall, and is seeking out opportunities to present to students in the spring. As both an author and an illustrator of many nonfiction titles, Don has the unique ability to share both sides of the bookmaking process with young readers. Please see his school visit page for more info.

Jo Whittemore      

Jo has big surprises coming up next month, so keep a watch for that!

Jeanette Larson

With her continued enjoyment of retirement, Jeanette Larson will become our first Texas Sweetheart Emeritus. We'll do our best to rope her into joining us for book signings and receptions at TLA, and wish her the very best!                                     


Here's to a happy and healthy school year for everyone! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Schooool's Out...for...the Summer!

Time to pack up that classroom or library and head to the beach! While you're relaxing, let us offer a little light reading with our recent goings-on.

Latest News

Emma Virján

Emma is pleased to announce that her latest book 
What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig is now officially on sale!
Publisher's Weekly has listed the book as one of the Best Books of Summer 2015, so be sure to pick up a copy for your trip to the beach.
A HUGE thank you to BookPeople for hosting Pig's fantastic book launch.
Learn more about the book and see the trailer here.
Thank you Texas librarians and teachers for your support!

Jeanette Larson

Jeanette was honored to receive the Texas Library Association's Distinguished Service Award, one of the state's highest recognitions for librarians and educators across the state, at the TLA Conference in April. 
Way to go, Jeanette!

P. J. Hoover

P. J. had a busy month filled with school visits, wrapping up a great year, including a highlighted visit to her own son's middle school (he wouldn't talk to her for a solid hour afterward!). 
During the 2014-2015 school year, P. J. visited over thirty schools, talking with kids from 3rd grade through high school. It was a blast, and she is looking forward to doing the same next year. Her schedule is filling up, so if you are interested in an author visit for the 2015-2016 school year, please contact P. J. as soon as possible. 
P. J. surprised students at Trinity Episcopal School in Austin for a Lone Star List celebration lunch.

Over Memorial Day weekend, P. J. banded together with Texas Writing Ninjas Mari Mancusi, Madeline Smoot, and Joy Preble for Comicpalooza in Houston. Aside from having fun at the booth and talking to book fans, she participated in panels on everything from YA Literature to Star Wars vs. Star Trek: It's on. (Star Trek, btw, is definitely the winner!)
P. J. ran into all sorts of awesome SFF icons at Comicpalooza.

K. A. Holt

Kari is excited to show you a sneak peek of the cover of her newest middle grade novel, RED MOON RISING. It will be released by McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster) in the Spring of 2016. 
Pitched as Firefly meets Little House on the Prairie, RED MOON RISING is about a feisty 13-year-old who becomes an unwitting pawn in the standoff between her struggling colony and an enclave of aliens who may be something quite different than they seem.

If you are going to be at ALA in San Francisco this June, Kari would love to see you. She'll be signing books on Sunday the 28th from 11:30-12:30, and she'll be on the Engaging Reluctant Readers panel at the Pop Top Stage on Monday 29th at 1 pm.

Don Tate

School Visiting
Don says: Thank you for your support, Texas librarians! Each month, I visit schools all over Texas, and beyond; it's because of you that I get to do what I love-create inspiring, important books for young readers. Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletters, and for all of the won
derful responses you've sent me throughout the school year. You rock!
Freedom Touring
Last week, author-illustrator Don Tate and his colleague, author Kelly Starling Lyons, forged the next leg of their Freedom Book Tour through the Washington D.C. area. The tour featured their books that celebrate inspiring African-American historical figures and their journeys to freedom. Stops included: a live taping of RIF Live!, to kick off RIF's (Reading Is Fundamental) 2015 Multicultural Booklist; a Diversity in the Classroom event sponsored by We Need Diverse Books; an Early Childhood Education Literacy Workshop with the National Black Child Development Institute; and a reading at the African-American Civil War Museum. A blurb about the event in Publisher's Weekly can be found here. 
Above: Don at RIF Live!
Below: Don speaks to students at Sherrod Elementary in Arlington, Texas.

Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica Lee Anderson looks forward to sharing more details about her educational books in the pipeline soon!  She's now booking school visits for Fall 2015 and is currently offering a discount if the visit is booked by June 15, 2015.  You can visit Jessica's website for contact information and more details.

Jo Whittemore

Jo has been juggling working on the new Confidentially Yoursseries for Harper Collins, debuting January 2016, with teaching craft to her fellow writers. She's looking forward to a brief summer break between projects!

For some kids, reading is strictly a school activity, where books are abandoned once the last bell rings. Before they head out the door, why not suggest a summer reading program like theScholastic Summer Reading Challenge? Or create one of your own!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Come Celebrate Spring and TLA with The Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels

April showers bring May flowers...and TLA. We hope to see many of you there. Below is our complete schedule and other Sweetheart/Scoundrel news. As always, thank you Texas librarians for all that you do and for your love of books.

TLA Schedule 

P.J. Hoover
Wednesday, April 15
11:00-11:45 am - P. J. Hoover signing copies of TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE at Tor/Forge Booth (1352)
2:00-3:00 pm - P. J. Hoover and Jessica Lee Anderson signing at Overlooked Books Booth (2142)
4:00-5:30 pm - P. J. Hoover at YART Texas Tea Event
Thursday, April 16
9:50-10:20 am - P. J. Hoover at TT4L Event, Meet and Greet area
2:00-2:30 pm - P. J. Hoover on TT4L Author Panel
6:30-8:30 pm - Texas Authors and Illustrators Meet and Greet event at Hilton Hotel
Jeanette Larson
Tuesday, April 14
4:00-4:50 pm - moderating Stacks Full of Murder with three mystery writers.
Wednesday, April 15
4:00-4:50 pm  - Weeding is Not a Crime
Thursday, April 16
10:00-11:00 am - Signing at Overlooked Books Booth (2142)
Jessica Lee Anderson
Wednesday, April 15
2:00-3:00 pm - P.J. Hoover and Jessica Lee Anderson signing at Overlooked Books Booth (2142)
K.A. Holt
Wednesday, April 15
10:15-11:50 am - Kari will be reading from HOUSE ARREST at the POETRY ROUNDUP.
3:00-3:45 pm - book signing for HOUSE ARREST in the Author's Area
4:00-5:20 pm - Texas Tea for YA Authors. Kari will be sharing about HOUSE ARREST, and signing ARCs.
Thursday, April 16
9:00-9:45 am - TT4L meet & greet
9:50-10:35 am - Kari will be signing HOUSE ARREST ARCs at the TT4L event
10:35-Noon - Kari will be typing spontaneous, customized poems on a vintage typewriter, withTypewriter Rodeo

Quick side note: In a non-TLA capacity, Kari will be reading and competing at the Literary Death Match at 8:30 on Tuesday 4/14 at Austin's North Door. Hit the exhibit hall at the conference center, and then come by for some literary smashmouth fun.
Don Tate
Tuesday, April 14
2:00-3:00 pm - A Colorful Canon: Celebrate Our Diversity. (CPE #275: SBEC2.0)
6:00- 6:45 pm - Signing ARCs during Grand Opening, POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON
Wednesday, April 15
10:15-11:50 am - Annual Poetry Roundup  
(CPE #305: SBEC 1.5)

2:00 -2:45 pm - Signing IT JES' HAPPENED: WHEN BILL TRAYLOR STARTED TO DRAW, (Lee & Low Books)

3:30 - Booth signing, THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH (Eerdmans booth 1475)
Thursday, April 16
9:00- 9:45 am - Peachtree booth signing (1656), POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON

2:00-3:00 pm - I Met Them at the Library: Picture Book Biographies (CPE#478: 2.0)

FRIDAY, April 17
9:00 am -  Booth signing, THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH (Eerdmans booth 1475)
Latest Sweetheart/Scoundrel News

Don Tate
The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, illustrated by Don Tate, has received its second starred review. This one from Booklist:
The fascinating story of John Roy Lynch's life in slavery to his election to the U. S. House of Representatives at age 25, gets a stirring treatment here. . . . Tate's often expansive illustrations emphasize important incidents in the text. The emphasis in other illustrations is on faces, full of emotion add to the power of the telling and the rich soft tones of Tate's palette welcome the eye to linger. "
Don also announces his speaking and book tour website: The Freedom Tour, with dates, teacher resources, more! Contact Don for more information or to book an event.

Don Tate recently had the pleasure of touring schools in Nacogdoches, Houston, and Round Rock, Texas. Thank you, Texas librarians, for bringing students and authors together for a wonderful literacy experience! 

K.A. Holt
Kari is excited to announce that RHYME SCHEMER has received a starred review from Library Media Connection, stating, "A delightful story with just the right amount of boy language, wonderful free verse poetry, and underlying messages." 

RHYME SCHEMER was also recently named a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, with Outstanding Merit.

Kari will be attending TLA this year, promoting her soon-to-be-released book HOUSE ARREST, a middle grade novel in verse about one boy's path to redemption as he navigates a sick brother, a grieving mother, and one tough probation officer.

Emma J. Virján
What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig is coming May 12, 2015. You can pre-order now. Checkout the  Pig in a Wig booktrailer. 
Emma is excited to announce that What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig has received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly: "In a story with the echoes of Seuss and Willems, Virjan offers a very funny lesson about the unreliability of narrators." 


This month, our Featured Sweetheart is...

Graciela Cunninghamwith TeacherThinkTank

Teacher Think Tank offers lesson plans and thematic resources to help in lesson planning. Graciela is both a Sweetheart and a Scoundrel.

Thank you, Graciela, for being this month's Featured Sweetheart!
Enjoying your Austin Visit
For city, hotel and parking maps, an events calendar, or for a list of great places to eat and shop while you're in Austin, check out theAustin Convention & Visitors Bureau.  


Monday, March 23, 2015

Latest from the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels

March is Roaring By!

It's finally Spring and the Sweethearts are happy to see nicer weather. We are looking forward to the wildflowers blooming, birds migrating, and some great events!
Signed Book Giveaway

Thank you to all who entered to win signed copies of Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life by P. J. Hoover and Colonial Madness by Jo Whittemore. The winner is Cristofer Mattern! Please email us your mailing information and who you'd like us to sign the books to, and we will send them out.
This month we are offering up signed copies of Rhyme Schemer by Kari Holt and an ARC (advanced reader copy)   of Don Tate's Poet.

To enter, please email us for your chance to win. And please forward on to others that you think may be interested also!

Latest News

Teen Bookfest by the Bay

On a rainy, cold February day in Corpus Christi, P. J. Hoover and Jessica Lee Anderson had the honor of participating in the first annual Teen Bookfest by the Bay. Despite the weather, the festival was stellar in every way possible with an amazing committee and a fantastic turnout. Pat Anderson at Texas Overlooked Books did a great job handling book sales, and the community support helped make the festival a huge success. 
Teen Bookfest by the Bay authors
Jeanette Larson

Children's Services Today A Practical Guide for Librarians is finally out! If you are a new or aspiring children's librarian this is a great guide for learning all about what we do. You can read more about the book here.


Jeanette is booking school and library visits for spring and summer. Her book, Hummingbirds, is great for science learning and folklore writing. Activities and coloring sheets are online Jeanette also enjoys working with festivals, birding festivals or book festivals. Contact her at

P.J. Hoover

This past month P. J. enjoyed visiting St. Stephen's school where she participated in the annual Literary Festival, speaking to 6th and 7th graders about her books and writing. She also visited Lampasas Middle School and High School where, in addition to presenting to students, she was able to have lunch with the book club who had just finished reading Solstice. Thank you, Book Club, for the amazing gift of a POMEGRANATE TREE! And thank you, Julie Salvato, for hosting such a wonderful author visit.

P. J. still has a couple May openings for school visits and is currently booking into next school year. If you are interested in a school visit for next year, please contact P. J. for information!

Best present ever

Don Tate

Don Tate recently had the pleasure of touring schools in Nacogdoches, Houston, and Round Rock, Texas. Thank you, Texas librarians, for bringing students and authors together for a wonderful literacy experience! Check out the article and photos at .


Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica Lee Anderson had a wonderful time at the Teen Bookfest by the Bay along with fellow Sweetheart PJ Hoover (see article above).  She was also honored to be speaking on a diversity panel at the Austin SCBWI Conference along with Sweethearts Emma Virjan, Jo Whittemore, and Don Tate.  
Diversity Panelists
Jessica still has spring availability for spring school visits, so don't hesitate to contact her 

Jo Whittemore

Jo celebrated the official release of Colonial Madness by having a dual launch party with fellow Austin author Nikki Loftin. 

Jo & Nikki sign books for the audience

Jo makes colonial crafts with the kids
After the book launch party, Jo embarked on a dual book tour with another Austin author, Cory Putman Oakes.

Cory and Jo in Dallas
Emma Virján

Emma Virján and Team Pig are very excited that What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig, (HarperCollins) is getting ready to launch - May 12, 2015. You can pre-order a copy now. In the meantime, you can download fun Pig activities and learn more about this cute swine with Texas-big red hair.  

Here is what reviewers are saying about Emma's book:

"In a story with the echoes of Seuss and Willems, Virjan offers a very funny lesson about the unreliability of narrators." -Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"A boatload of giggles will keep the reader returning for more easy-to-read fun" -Kirkus Reviews



This month, our Featured Sweetheart is...

Julie Todaro,
Dean of Library Services. Austin Community College.

Julie started her library career as a children's and young adult librarian and she has contributed to the profession in many ways, including as a founding member of the Texas Bluebonnet Award.  As dean of Austin Community College's libraries, Julie works with high school students who are taking college level courses while completing high school and provides information literacy classes for graduating high school seniors. As a popular trainer, Julie incorporates youth services and children's literature into her courses. In her spare time, she works with Austin Settlement Club to help homeless children have a library.  And she is a candidate for president of the American Library Association!
Thank you, Julie, for being this month's Featured Sweetheart!
Keep your collection current
 One of the hardest tasks librarians face is weeding the collection. Research shows that a well-tended collection is used more than one that is full of outdated or irrelevant materials. Get tips for weeding from the CREW manual, updated by Sweetheart Jeanette Larson. It's free from the Texas State Library. A quick weed is to look for books that are MUSTIE--misleading, ugly, superseded, trivial, irrelevant, or available elsewhere.

We hope to see you all at the TLA conference in April. Our next newsletter will include our schedules and information about our reception!