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!

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!

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 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, 
" 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 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 at

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.

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!