Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy February from the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels

With Valentine's Day just past and Saint Patrick's Day right around the corner, the Texas Sweethearts are enjoying the shiny new year! 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

Sweethearts Jessica Lee Anderson and P. J. Hoover will be participating in the first annual Teen Bookfest by the Bay taking place in Corpus Christi on Saturday, February 28th.More information can be found here.

Sweethearts Jo Whittemore, Emma Virján, Jessica Lee Anderson, and Don Tate (though he is a Scoundrel) will be on the faculty at the upcoming Austin SCBWI conference on March 7-8 taking place at the Marriot Austin South. More information can be found here.
Signed Book Giveaway

Thank you, educators! As a way to give back for all the support the library and educator community gives us, we will be offering monthly giveaways! We'll be happy to sign these books for to your school, your niece or nephew, or even your pet gerbil! 

This month we are offering up signed copies of Tut by P. J. Hoover and Colonial Madness by Jo Whittemore. 


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

Latest News

Jo Whittemore

Jo Whittemore is happy to announce the release ofColonial Madness, her latest middle grade humor novel! 

Booklist says, "This light, fun read is a playful way to explore history." 

Learn more about it here.


P. J. Hoover

Looking to score a free Skype visit for your classroom or library? If so, please check out the "How to Score a Free Skype Visit" page on P. J.'s website. It's an easy, low-cost way to connect authors with kids and help get kids excited about reading!

This past month, P. J. enjoyed school visits at Wharton ISD middle school and high school, and Casis Elementary in Austin. She looks forward to visiting St. Stephens School in Austin for their Literary Festival and Lampasas Middle School and High school in the upcoming weeks. Her schedule and availability can be found here

P. J. posing with the "Giant Book" outside Casis Elementary

P. J. still has some openings for spring school visitsand is also booking into next school year. If you are interested in a school visit, please contact P. J. for information!www.pjhoover.com

If you have an upcoming school visit or are considering a school visit, please check out the "Tips for an Amazing School Visit" page on P. J.'s website.

K. A. Holt

Kari is THRILLED to reveal the cover for her new bookHOUSE 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. HOUSE ARREST will be published by Chronicle books in Fall 2015.


Jeanette Larson

Jeanette is please to announce that her book for librariansChildren's Services Today A Practical Guide for Librarians, will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in March 2015. You can read more about the book here.


Don Tate

This year at The American Library Association's midwinter meeting in Chicago, author-illustrator Don Tate had the pleasure of revealing his upcoming book POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTONon the Pop Top Stage. The discussion included his journey to getting the book published as well as a reading of the book, poetry readings, and a book signing. Here's a recap.

Don signs advanced reader's copies of his forthcoming book, POET.

Don delivers a lively discussion on the Pop Top Stage at ALA Midwinter

The following weekend, Don traveled to New York to the national Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and Illustrators conference, where he served as a conference blogger. "I am a total fan of children's book creators, so it was a blast to be in the presence of so many all at one time," Tate says. Here's a recap.

Last week, Don presented a full week of school visits in Nacogdoches, Texas. "That was the best presentation we've had at this school," said a Nacogdoches librarian. Don looks forward to visiting schools all around Texas and beyond. Don's spring schedule is mostly booked up, however the fall is wide open! Please book early as dates fill fast. Don would love to share his writing and illustrating process with your students, with a goal of inspiring young readers.

Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica Lee Anderson has been busy working on a series of books for an educational publisher, and she's excited to participate in the upcoming Teen Bookfest by the Bay on February 28.  

Looking to book an author for a school visit?  Jessica still has availability from mid-March until the end of the school year. Visit www.jessicaleeanderson.com for more information.

Emma Virján

This month, Emma is happy to offer up this SNEAK PEAK at the book we've all been anticipating, WHAT THIS STORY NEEDS IS A PIG IN A WIG!

Pig in her Wig on a Boat in a Moat!



This month, our Featured Sweetheart is...

Barbara Nichols,
Librarian at Casis Elementary in Austin, TX

Barbara does an amazing job encouraging her kids to love reading. At Casis, the entire month of February is devoted to books, writing, and celebrating readers, all rolled into the title, "Casis Loves Books!"

Thank you, Barbara, for being this month's Featured Sweetheart!


 If you or other educators you know are looking for a great way to keep track of kids' reading, please check out Goodreads. Goodreads provides a great way not only for teachers to keep track of the reading that kids are doing, it also allows kids to see what they've read, see what others who have read the same books think about the books, and to provide opinions of their own. 



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Welcome 2015 with the Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels!

Happy New Year from 
The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels! 

The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels are thrilled about the year ahead! We have so many wonderful events planned, and we're looking forward to sharing our book news and love for books with you all. We also hope to see each of you at an event throughout the year!

Latest News 

P. J. Hoover

In addition to writing more books and visiting schools, P. J. has been busy coding more games on SCRATCH, working to encourage kids to learn computer programming. P. J. knows that many of you were involved in the Hour of Code initiative that took place in December, and she is amazed and thankful for your efforts. 


Please consider introducing your kids to SCRATCH and encouraging them to write games based on books they love. You can share P. J.'s SCRATCH studio with them here on the SCRATCH website where you can find her latest games including a game based on her novel THE EMERALD TABLET.

Quest for the Hidden Keys is a SCRATCH game based on THE EMERALD TABLET

P. J. is actively booking school visits for the spring and fall, soplease contact her if you are considering an author visit. P. J. has an Author Website Scavenger Hunt available on her website to help prepare kids for her visit.  

This spring, in addition to author visits, P. J. looks forward to the Teen Bookfest by the Bay (along with Sweetheart Jessica Lee Anderson), TLA here in Austin, and Comicpalooza in Houston. 

Jo Whittemore

Jo Whittemore is pleased to share some more great reviews for Colonial Madness (coming February 10. 2015).

Publishers Weekly says,
"Making the most of a fun premise, Whittemore adeptly fuses comic moments with a testy but loving mother-daughter relationship and intriguing details about 17th-century life."

Booklist says, 
"...it is also flat-out fun. Characters are well-rounded with believable emotions, and the plot moves quickly.
This light, fun read is a playful way to explore history."
Jo will be doing a dual book release party with fellow Austin author Nikki Loftin (Wish Girl) at BookPeople on February 28 at 3:00pm. She hopes to see you there!

Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica Lee Anderson looks forward to participating in theTeen Bookfest by the Bay on Saturday, February 28, 2015 along with Sweetheart PJ Hoover and many other fab authors! 

Jessica still has some school visit openings this spring, so please contact her at www.jessicaleeanderson.com if you're interested. 

K. A. Holt

This month Kari is busy meeting deadlines and preparing for future festivals and conferences. She's excited to be participating in the Montgomery County Book Festivalnext month.

Don Tate

The most gratifying aspect of Don's career is sharing his writing and illustrating experiences with students. In 2014, Don visited more than 41 schools around Texas. That's a lot of schools! But he looks forward to visiting even more schools in 2015. Don is currently booking school visits for the months of March through May. Please contact him athttp://dontate.com/contact/

In 2014, Don visited more than 41 schools, ending with a week of school visits in Garland, Texas (where he immediately took a nap).

Emma Virján

Thank you to Sweetheart Emma Virján for our beautiful banner! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gratitude Galore

Thanksgiving is almost here and we're anticipating plates overflowing with turkey (or Tofurky for our vegetarian friends), stuffing, and all the fixings. Regardless of our family traditions, one thing is for sure-we're overwhelmed with gratitude! Thanks for all that you do and for your dedication to books!
We appreciate you staying connected with us and we have some exciting updates...

Don Tate

Don Tate, along with Carolyn Flores and Duncan Tonatiuh appear at the inaugural McAllen Book Festival
Emma Virjan
You can learn more about Pig and see more of Emma's artwork on her site here.

Jeanette Larson
Jeanette is currently booking spring and summer library visits. Programs can focus on the science of birds and birding and writing folktales or can include a fun hummingbird activity.


Jeanette had a great time at the YALSA Book Blitz in Austin. Nothing beats being able to give away books to librarians! 

Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica has teaching credentials and loves to share her passion with students of all ages!  Please contact her at 
Jessica Lee Anderson for more information about booking spring and summer visits. She's currently offering a special presentation rate for visits in the San Antonio and Austin area.


Jessica had a wonderful time visiting Tuloso-Midway High School in Corpus Christi along with Sweetheart P.J. Hoover. Jessica loved connecting with the students and spending time with the talented and dedicated Debbie VanZandt, one of our previous Featured Sweethearts. Jessica can't wait to return to Corpus for the Teen Bookfest by the Bayon February 28, 2015! 

Jo Whittemore
Jo Whittemore had the privilege of moderating "Do You Believe in Magic?" at the Texas Book Festival that featured stellar authors Annie Barrows, Nikki Loftin, and Natalie Lloyd. 

Jo also received a great Kirkus review for Colonial Madness!Her favorite excerpt: "Whittemore brings her customary insight and humor to every page of this funny and sometimes-suspenseful romp. The history goes down easy, with lots of laughs."
Kari Anne Holt
Kari enjoyed her time at the YALSA Symposium last weekend, participating in panels on tween readers, and engaging young readers with poetry. The Book Blitz was also fun - so many fantastic books up for grabs, so many excited librarians!


Kari's newest book RHYME SCHEMER recently enjoyed a spotlight moment as an Amazon Best Book of the Month for October and as a #1 New Release in "Children's Bullies Issues Books".
There's a big announcement coming soon--keep an eye on Kari's Facebook page and Twitter for details! 

P.J. Hoover

In addition to having TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE named to the 2015 Lone Star Reading List, P. J. is honored to have been named to the 2015 Spirit of Texas Middle School Reading List! Thank you, Texas Librarians!


P. J. is actively booking school visits for the spring! If you are interested in a school visit, P. J. would love to come to your school! P. J.'s presentation focuses on mythology, goal setting, and the writing process, and is great for 3rd-12th grade. P. J. also speaks at conferences and would love to present at your next conference. Please contact P. J. via her website for more information.
This past month, P. J. had a wonderful time presenting to students at Keefer Crossing Middle School in New Caney, Annunciation Orthodox School in Houston, Hopewell Middle School in Round Rock, Brownsville Academic Center, Garcia Middle School in Brownsville ISD, Tuloso-Midway High School in Corpus Christi (with Sweetheart Jessica Lee Anderson), and Fulmore Middle School in Austin.

P. J. participated in the Texas Book Festival along with authors S. S. Taylor and Michael Fry on the "Adventure is Out There" panel. She also attended the "Youth Fiction Contest Awards" panel and was thrilled to celebrate her teen friend, Kate Lee's, first place win for her piece "Bittersweet Stars." More information on the TBF Youth Fiction Contest can be foundhere.

Just over a week ago, P. J. attended the first annual McAllen Book Festival along with Sweethearts Don Tate and Jeanette Larson. The festival was a huge success with a great turnout from the community, and the library (a converted Wal-Mart) was beautiful.
And finally, this past weekend, P. J. participated in the "Bridge to Tweenabithia: The Gap Between Juvenile and Young Adult" panel at the YALSA Symposium here in Austin, Texas, along with Sweetheart K. A. Holt. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thank you, Texas Librarians!

Tut: The Story of My
Immortal Life
makes the 2015
Lone Star Reading List!

I am thrilled that Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life has been named to the 2015 Texas Lone Star Reading List!

Thank you, Texas Librarians, for all your support!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Adventures with the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

How is it late October?!

The fall is flying by, and just to make it fly even faster, we have some amazing events (and book launches and big news) we want to share with you...

Don Tate
Last week in Springfield, Illinois, Don gave the keynote address at the Illinois Library Association Youth Services Author Breakfast, followed by an enthusiastic book signing. As the 2015 artist for iRead Summer Reading Program, Don's artwork, Read to the Rhythm, will be used by librarians and students nationwide.  http://www.ireadprogram.org/

The next day, Don addressed students at the Chicago Public Library, where all of 800 students received a package of books, thanks to Bernie's Book Bank.

If you will be visiting the Texas Book Festival this weekend, Don invites you to join him and an esteemed group of authors in a discussion of diversity. The  #WeNeedDiverse Books panel will take place on Saturday at noon, in the sanctuary at the First United Methodist Church (1201 Lavaca St.), with authors Pat Mora, Andrea Pinkney, Jacqueline Woodson, Tim Tingle, and Diane Gonzales Bertrand.
(Don Tate signs Read to the Rhythm posters at the Illinois Library Association conference)

In July, Don finished illustrations for his next book, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton of Chapel Hill(Peachtree, 2015). This will be Don's first authored andillustrated book! In addition, he won a BOOK LAUNCH award-$2,000.00!-from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The money will allow him to take the book on a national book tour next year.

For Don, school visits and literary presentations will take off first thing this September, when he presents at schools in Round Rock, Texas; Delray Beach, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and Springfield, Illinois! Please contact him early to inquire about his lively and interactive school visits.

Emma Virjan
Emma Virján is pleased to announce May 12, 2015 is the release date for What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig.
Stay tuned for more Pig News.
You can learn more about Pig and see more of Emma's artworkon her site here.

Jeanette Larson
Jeanette Larson will participate in the ESC Region 2 Technology Conference on November 4 in Corpus Christi. If you are in the area, stop by to say hello. On November 8 Jeanette will be at the Overlooked Books booth at the McAllen Book Festival, McAllen, TX.

As part of the YALSA YA Literature Symposium, Jeanette will participate in the Book Blitz on Saturday, November 15 in Austin. Registered participants receive tickets to get free books from participating authors.
Jessica Lee Anderson
Jessica Lee Anderson enjoyed speaking on a panel with PJ Hoover at the ESC-20 Library Resource Roundup!  Jessica loves spending time with friends and making new ones, even the most unlikely of friends. (Hello, Snake!)  She's looking forward to visiting with students at several upcoming school visits.  Don't hesitate to contact Jessica if you're interested in a school visit or a writing workshop!  Not only does she still have some availability for the fall and the spring, she's also offering discounts.  Please contact her at Jessica Lee Anderson for more information. 


Jo Whittemore
Jo Whittemore is honored to be moderating a panel at Texas Book Festival entitled "Do You Believe in Magic?" from 1:15pm-2:15pm on Saturday, October 25th in Capitol Extension Room E2.026.

Jo will also be doing a joint book release tour in March 2015 with author Cory Putman Oakes. 
She'll be offering a "two authors for the price of one" deal on school visits! Contact her for more info.  
Kari Anne Holt
Kari's October is barreling by at warp speed. She is so excited to announce the launch of her new book, RHYME SCHEMER, a middle grade novel-in-verse. 

RHYME SCHEMER has received some lovely reviews, which is always very exciting. 

"A strong anti-bullying message. Ideal for classroom use."
School Library Journal

"This transformative tale offers important lessons for all persuasions of middle graders, whether bullies or targets, complicit or horrified bystanders."
Kirkus Reviews

"Poetry-writing seventh-grade bully both is believable and sympathetic, and his voice rings totally authentic."


Kari is having a joint book launch with author Chris Barton, to celebrate the release of her book, RHYME SCHEMER, and his book, ATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE! If you'll be in the Austin area on Saturday, November 1st at 2pm, stop by Book People for a fun party.

Kari is also busy at work on her next two releases, HOUSE ARREST (Chronicle, 2015) and RED MOON RISING (McElderry, S&S, 2016).


If you're planning to stop by the Texas Book Festival (October 25-26), Kari will be on the Poetry For You panel with authors Jacqueline Woodson and Isabel Quintero at the Family Life Center (1300 Lavaca) on Saturday the 25th from 2:30-3:30. They will all be signing books directly after the panel.

P.J. Hoover

P. J. Hoover is thrilled to share two new wonderful reviews for TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE! Other reviews and more information about the book can be found on her website.

"Cleverly funny, rich in Egyptian history, and intriguingly fast-paced, Tut brilliantly blends fantasy with thoughtfully constructed characterization to create a story that will beguile fans of modern-day mythology."

"Hoover's fun interpretations of Egyptian gods and goddesses, frenetic pace, and appropriately modern snark propel this highly entertaining adventure."

Huge thank you to Texas librarians for nominating TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE for the Lone Star list!
September was a wonderful whirlwind month for P. J. Hoover. Following the release of TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE, P. J. spent much of the time on the road, traveling to schools and presenting at conferences.
P. J. spent a week presenting to students at Curtis Middle School and Ford Middle School in Allen, TX. Thank you to librarians Kay Hawkins and Morgan LeFevre for inviting P. J. back for the third year in a row!

P. J. next flew to Tampa, FL where she delivered the keynote address for the annual TBAWP (Tampa Bay Area Writing Project) Fall Conference. P. J. spoke to a group of about 200 educators about the importance of enjoying the journey rather than focusing on the destination.

Fall is the time for those wonderful regional librarian conferences, and P. J. enjoyed presenting at Region 13, Region 3, and Region 20 (along with Texas Sweetheart Jessica Lee Anderson). P. J. presented on cross-curriculum, combining reading with things like book trailer creation, video game creation, and Minecraft. Her hopes are to promote out-of-the-box ideas to get and keep kids excited about reading.


Thank you to Laurel Mountain Elementary School and librarian David Jurecka for supporting TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE with a wonderful pre-order campaign! I appreciate you guys!
Along with cooler weather, October brought Austin Comic Con! P. J. Hoover (along with Texas authors Joy Preble, Cory Putman Oakes, Madeline Smoot, and Texas Sweetheart Jo Whittemore) dressed up in costume and sold books at the Writing Ninjas of Texas booth. P. J. was delighted when San Antonio librarians Dana Hutchins and Lorrie Roussin stopped by the booth to say hi! P. J. also participated in a panel on using martial arts in writing fight scenes.


Look for P. J. Hoover at the Texas Book Festival! She will be on the Adventure is Out There panel with authors Michael Fry and S. S. Taylor on Saturday, October 25th at 2:30 in Capital Extension Room E.2.026. Book signing will follow immediately in the author signing tent.

P. J. brushed off her computer programming skills again, this time releasing CASTLE OF DOOM! (a video game she originally wrote back in college) on Scratch. Please consider sharing Scratch and P. J.'s games with your students. Scratch is used widely in schools to get kids excited about learning computer programming skills. You can find more information about Scratch and P. J.'s games on her website.

This month P. J. looks forward to school visits in both Houston and Austin! Please contact P. J. if you are interested in having her visit your school or speak to your group!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to School with the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

Welcome Back!

We missed you over the summer break! Did you eat your weight in watermelon?  Why not??

We've got some amazing things happening to kick off the school year: new books, new talks, and new news in general!

Don Tate
It was a busy summer for Don. In June, he attended the American Library Association (ALA) conference in Las Vegas, signing books and posters for various publishers. The highlight of his weekend was attending the Newbery-Caldecott awards banquet and the Coretta Scott King awards breakfast. 
"The only thing more exciting than witnessing Brian Floca accept a Caldecott for Locomotive, was sharing the evening with so many enthusiastic librarians," said Don.

In July, Don finished illustrations for his next book, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton of Chapel Hill (Peachtree, 2015). This will be Don's first authored andillustrated book! In addition, he won a BOOK LAUNCH award-$2,000.00!-from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The money will allow him to take the book on a national book tour next year.

For Don, school visits and literary presentations will take off first thing this September, when he presents at schools in Round Rock, Texas; Delray Beach, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and Springfield, Illinois! Please contact him early to inquire about his lively and interactive school visits.

Emma Virjan
Emma is pleased to reveal the cover of her upcoming picture book, What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig(HarperCollins, Summer 2015).
You can learn more about Pig and see more of Emma's artwork on her site here.

Jeanette Larson

Jeanette will share ways for writers to use their virtual library card to do research at the Austin SCBWI chapter's Fall Workshop: Research for Fiction, Non-fiction and Historical Fiction Writers on September 13.
She'll also be talking about hummingbirds at the Port O'Connor branch of Calhoun County Library on September 16. This coincides with the annual migration of the hummingbirds through the Coastal Bend area of Texas.
Jessica Lee Anderson
Jessica had an amazing time visiting and giving a talk at her alma mater, Hollins University.  And what better way to top off the presentation? Glitter Mehndi by talented Hollins student, Kassy Keppol!  
Jessica is offering a limited number of discounted visits in the Austin and San Antonio area, so please contact her for more information. 
Jo Whittemore
Jo has ARCs of Colonial Madness (Aladdin, February 2015)!
Want a chance to win one? Email her with the name of the first permanent English colony in America!
 Jo will also be speaking along with Kari Holt on a panel at the Writers' League of Texas monthly meeting Thursday, August 21st, 7pm at BookPeople. The subject? Writing for tweens!
Kari Holt
Kari had a thrilling time at ALA, signing advanced copies of her upcoming verse novel Rhyme Schemer (Chronicle, October 2014), and reading during the Poetry Blast. It was wonderful to meet so many librarians and educators!

Kari will be joining several other middle grade authors at theHulen Center Barnes & Noble in Fort Worth on Sunday, August 17th at 4:00. They will be discussing world-building in middle grade novels. Please drop by for a great discussion!
She will also be participating on a middle grade panel in Round Rock at the Book Spot on Monday, August 18th at 6:30. Prepare for some fun trivia questions and awesome prizes!
To round out a busy month, Kari will be on a Writers' League of Texas panel at Book People in Austin, on Thursday, August 21st at 7pm. The authors will be discussing writing for tweens. Come by for a great conversation!
Mark your calendars, and keep an eye out for fun book launch events online and in Austin, coming soon. 
P.J. Hoover
P. J. is thrilled to share some wonderful reviews for her upcoming middle grade book TUT: The Story of My Immortal Life (Starscape/Tor, September 16, 2014):

"The entertaining premise and fast pace keep this adventure on track, while the way Hoover reimagines the Egyptian pantheon ... is pleasantly reminiscent of Rick Riordan's work." - Publishers Weekly

"A pyramid history buffs and fantasy fans will delight in excavating." -Kirkus

P. J. is also excited to share the book trailer for TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE.


P. J. loved presenting at the recent Region 13 ESC Library and Literary Summit here in Austin. Her presentation was titled "Beyond the Book: Creative Ways to Link Curriculum and Reading" and P. J. spoke on linking Minecraft and Video Games with reading among other things. Curriculum activities for P. J.'s books can be found on her website.

P. J. would love to visit your school! Please contact P. J. today for school visit inquiries. There is still a bit of room in her fall schedule. Information on her school visits can be found here.