Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wishing you a lovely fall from The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

We've got a case of fall fever, even if the weather hasn't quite cooled off.
Besides the excitement of pumpkin spice lattes making a return, we have lots of thrilling news to share, fun festival events and school visits to look forward to, plus giveaways!
As always, we thank you for reading and staying connected.  
Our Texas Book Festival Schedule
P. J. Hoover:
  • October 17, 2015, 1:00-1:45 pm - "In a World" Panel  
K.A. Holt:
  • October 17, 2015, 4:00-4:45 pm - "Ink Blots" Panel
Emma Virjan:
  • October 18, 2015, 1:00-1:30 pm - Read Me a Story Tent
Don Tate:
  • October 18, 2015, 3:30-4:00 pm - Read Me a Story Tent

Latest News

Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica is thrilled to announce the release of 5 mystery chapter books from Rourke Educational Media. The books appeal to 2nd-5th graders and are connected yet stand alone. They are also perfect for your early fluent reader! Each mystery has educational components such as character interviews, discussion questions, and writing prompts.
Jessica is available for school visits and is now offering a mystery writing workshop for small groups and "The Mysteries of the Writing Life" for larger groups.  If you book a school visit before Halloween, she will include a set of the five mysteries. Contact Jessica for more information.
P. J. Hoover

P. J. Hoover (and Starscape/Macmillan) are giving away a classroom set of TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE! It's easy to enter, and there are ways to get multiple entries. With loads of curriculum tie-ins, TUT is a great choice to get both kids and educators excited about reading and learning. For all the details on this amazing offer, please visit the giveaway page found here.


What's the craziest thing you can do while reading TUT? Where is the craziest place you can be while reading TUT? Snap a picture of yourself doing it and post it with the hashtag #readtut and share it with all your friends on social media.(Keep it safe. Keep it clean.) Encourage the kids at your schools to do the same. And thank you for your TUT support!

#readtut Cynthia Leitich Smith reads TUT while Kwame Alexander and e. E. Charlton-Trujillo look up to the sky

 P. J. Hoover has kicked off the school year with some amazing visits, including Austin Discovery School, Walsh Middle School in Round Rock, TX, Ford and Curtis Middle Schools in Allen, TX, the Region 20 Library Conference in San Antonio, TX, and the first annual Mansfield Book Festival in Mansfield, TX. P. J. would love to visit your school or festival. For information and availability, please contact P. J.
Look for P. J. Hoover at the following places. She would love to see you!
  • October 7, 2015, 6:00-8:00 pm - Barnes & Noble Palms Crossing Mall, McAllen, TX
  • October 9, 2015 - Region 1 Library Fall Media Conference, South Padre Island, TX
  • October 16, 2015 - Region 13 Library Roundup, Austin, TX
  • October 17, 2015, 1:00-1:45 pm - Texas Book Festival, "In a World" Panel, Austin, TX
  • October 22, 2015, 6:00-8:00 pm - Barnes & Noble Northwoods, San Antonio, TX
  • October 30-31, 2015 - Austin Comic Con, Austin, TX
Emma Virján

Come watch the What This Story Need is a Pig in a Wig trailer here! 
Don't miss your chance to get to know Pig at the Texas Book Festival at 1:00 on Sunday 10/18. 
K. A. Holt

Kari has some great news to share this month: her newest novel, GNOMEAGEDDON has been sold to McElderry Books editor Karen Wojtyla, with a tentative publication date of fall 2017.
In further exciting news, Kari's middle grade novel in verse, HOUSE ARREST, will be released on October 6th!
Also in October, the ebook of RHYME SCHEMER will be available for $1.99 as part of Chronicle Book's Eye Candy Best of the Best promotion.
 If you're going to be Austin for the Texas Book Festival, check out Kari's panel, Ink Blots.
Also at the festival, Kari will be typing spontaneous custom poems on a vintage typewriter as part ofTypewriter Rodeo.

Don Tate
Don Tate launched his new book, POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the story is set. Don also had the opportunity to meet many Horton's descendants, who turned out to get a signed copy of the book. "It was such an honor to meet Horton's family, and put a book about their relative in their hands," Tate said.
A CCSS Activity Guide, a FREEDOM AS WORDS Poetry Guide, and a TEKS Curriculum guide are all available for the book for free download
Northside Elementary, in Pittsboro, NC, recaps their full dayschool visit with Don.
Texas Book Festival
Don Tate and Chris Barton will be featured authors at next month's Texas Book Festival. They will present their books, THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH and POET, on Sunday, October 18 at the Children's Read Me a Story Tent.
School Visits
Don's fall school visit schedule is now all booked up. He is now booking library visits for the winter and spring. Book early, we want to get everyone in! Thank you, Texas librarians, for your support!

Jo Whittemore      

Jo is excited to share the covers for the first two books in the Confidentially Yours series, coming January 5, 2016: Brooke's Not-So Perfect-Plan and Vanessa's Fashion Face-Off. Stay tuned for a giveaway!
Jo will also be available for school visits this year and would love to share the joy of reading and writing with your students. More info can be found here:



This month, our Featured Sweetheart is...

Jennifer Coleman at Murchison Elementary in Pflugerville ISD

because of her innovative ideas and the way she gets students jazzed about reading! She isn't afraid to wear an electric blue wig to spread book love.

Thank you, Jennifer, for being this month's Featured Sweetheart!
 Encourage your students to write reviews of the books they're reading.Reviews matter to readers,  authors, and illustrators, plus it is a great way to get your students analyzing and writing! The students can get creative with their reviews such as making "student selection cards" by decorating an index card which can then be displayed on the book shelf. Here are some review tips: start with a brief yet lively description of the book, discuss reactions and connections (no spoilers!), and make suggestions for who the book would be a good fit for or recommendations for related books. 


Here's to pumpkin flavored treats and a happy fall for everyone! 

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.