Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FEATURED SWEETHEART: Trudy Marshall & Libraries of Love

This week's Featured Sweetheart is someone who is going so far above and beyond the call of duty to get books in the hands of kids. And best of all, I get to see her all the time seeing as how she's the librarian at my kids' school, Laurel Mountain Elementary!

Here is Trudy Marshall in her own words about her non-profit organization, Libraries of Love.


Libraries of Love – Mission:

The purpose of Libraries of Love is to partner with Africans to create libraries in individual schools. Through reading, students will develop a love of literature, as well as strengthen their knowledge in each curriculum subject area. Lifelong readers become lifelong learners. Therefore, the libraries will serve as bridges to a better future for the children of Uganda.

Background ( Trudy Marshall – Founder/Director):

"If you can arrange a mud hut in which I can stay, I’ll go to Uganda,” was the email I sent to Rev. Robert Johnson, my former pastor.

Robert emailed me back that he had arranged it and jokingly said the owner’s wife would probably even let me milk their cow. My goal as I prepared to go in 2001 was to stay in Ugandan homes, since I wanted to truly experience the African culture. Three Ugandans who were living in Austin very generously arranged places for me to stay and visit in Kampala, the capital city. The kindness of the families I spent time with, as well as many other Ugandans, still touches my heart. When people who have very little are generous and welcome you into their homes, it changes your outlook on life.

While in Kampala, I visited Namirembe Primary School. A family I spent quite some time with had children who attended this school. The students and staff were delightful. I enjoyed visiting in many classrooms, as well as with the teachers and administrators. As I visited with students, many asked if I could possibly send them books from America. Those words would run through my mind many times in the next few years – resulting in the nonprofit organization, Libraries of Love.

Creating Libraries:

Books are extremely valuable in Uganda, because they are few. For students to be able to check-out books and take them home, an organized library must be established, and the staff and students need instruction on how to use their library to its fullest potential, and maintain it for future generations.

Libraries of Love does the following:

  • Collects new or very gently used books
  • Types and places spine labels on the books
  • Places a card and pocket in each book with the correct labels needed for check-out
  • Ships in February
  • Takes teams in June to Uganda
  • An empty room is provided by the school. Volunteers build bookshelves, organize thousands of books, and prepare a beautiful, inviting, organized library.
  • Throughout the year, Libraries of Love arranges for librarian meetings to take place and provides any supplies needed.

Present Libraries:

Libraries of Love now has libraries in nineteen public schools in Uganda, serving 25,000 students. Each library is a lifetime commitment for those involved with Libraries of Love. Volunteers and Board members return to each school during the summer. Contact with the librarian and administrator is maintained throughout the year, and libraries are restocked as books are lost or damaged.


Those in Uganda always thank the volunteers for blessing them with a library, but it is truly the volunteers who are blessed. It is hard to imagine that many of the students in Uganda have never held a book. There truly aren’t words to describe the excitement and beautiful, huge smiles as students stand in the doorway and outside the windows at each school and watch their library come together. It is an honor to serve, changing lives through literature for students who have so little – but deserve so much.


Books, funding (shipping is the largest expense), and volunteers are continuing needs of Libraries of Love

Website / Contacts:

Trudy Marshall is available for speaking engagements.


Please email us your nominations for featured sweethearts.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And now it's Don Tate's turn...Congrats, Don!

There's a second TEXAS SWEETHEART & SCOUNDREL book released this week, one that is gorgeous and a must-buy, especially considering it's illustrated by Don Tate.

SHE LOVED BASEBALL: THE EFFA MANLEY STORY, written by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Don Tate released yesterday!

Don't know who Effa Manley is? Here's the product description straight from Amazon:

Effa always loved baseball. As a young woman, she would go to Yankee Stadium just to see Babe Ruth’s mighty swing. But she never dreamed she would someday own a baseball team. Or be the first—and only—woman ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

From her childhood in Philadelphia to her groundbreaking role as business manager and owner of the Newark Eagles, Effa Manley always fought for what was right. And she always swung for the fences.

From author Audrey Vernick and illustrator Don Tate comes the remarkable story of an all-star of a woman.

And check out these reviews!

“Vernick employs a matter-of-fact tone and highly descriptive, accessible language that not only provides a great deal of information but also captures both the essence of the era and Manley’s compassion and strength of character. ...readers will cheer.” (Kirkus Reviews )

“Tate’s energetic illustrations harmonize well with Vernick’s fresh and engaging text. History favors the individuals in the spotlight: here’s an entertaining portrait of a woman who made significant strides behind the scenes.” (Publishers Weekly )

“Vernick adds appeal to this straightforward biography with repetitive phrases that emphasize Manley’s activist spirit, while Tate’s slightly stylized acrylic paintings convey both the historical setting and the timeless excitement in the ballpark.” (Booklist )

Yay, Don! Congratulations! And just to further brag on him, I'm including a snapshot of the November 2010 issue of Highlights which features illustrations from Don!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Congratulations PJ! It's your book release day!

Oh, wow, in all my excitement over the Texas Book Festival, I completely forgot to make a very important announcement: Today is book launch day for PJ's third book in her Forgotten Worlds Trilogy, The Necropolis, published by CBAY Books.

So listen up all, here goes: PJ's BOOK RELEASES TODAY!!! GO OUT AND BUY A COPY!!! NO, BUY TWO!!!

Kidding aside, you won't be disappointed. PJ's The Emerald Tablet was a Barnes & Noble best seller. And besides, you kinda-gotta get this one, it's the final book in the series — you'll want to know how how it all ends.

In honor of the release, PJ's publisher has offered up free books for a contest! Here are the details:

1) Spot the third book, The Necropolis, in a bookstore.*

2) Take a picture of the book on the shelf. **

3) Email PJ the picture.

Three easy steps and you'll be entered to win one of five signed sets of the first two books in the series, The Emerald Tablet and The Naval of the World. ***

So hurry up before I beat you to it. I'm a scoundrel, remember. I'm not disqualifying myself from the contest.

-- Don

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Texas Book Festival

It's Texas Book Festival and a number of Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels are involved or attending. Don Tate introduced Phillip Hoose, author of Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice and PJ Hoover introduced Ann Angel, author of Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing. These are two fabulous biographies.
Kari Ann Holt and I were spotted running around taking pictures and partying.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wonder how we got our new name?

If you're curious how the *SCOUNDREL* part of the name got added, check out Don Tate's blog from today. He's to blame!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Big Goings-On in the Lone Star State

THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS are so excited! We have news. Big news. News we've been dying to share and finally get to!

The first part of the news is easy. We have a new logo. And you might notice a slightly different name. Yes, we're now not just THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS. We're the THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS!

Why SCOUNDRELS you might ask. Well, that's the second part of our big news. We have new members. Four of them to be exact! So we'll introduce them one at a time...


K.A. Holt wrangles words and three kids in Austin, TX. Once an aspiring chef, Kari accidentally blew up a ham, thus cementing the decision to stick with writing. As a writer for grown-ups, Kari published HAIKU MAMA (Quirk, 2006) and periodically contributes to McSweeney's Internet Tendency and Parents Magazine. MIKE STELLAR: NERVES OF STEEL (Random House, 2009), a middle grade scape adventure, was her first book written for kids (and to truly stave off the exploding hams). BRAINS FOR LUNCH, a middle grade zombie novel in haiku, illustrated by Gahan Wilson, was released in August 2010 by the Neal Porter imprint of Roaring Brook Press. So far, no books have exploded during the act of writing them. But there is still hope.

Check out K. A. Holt's Website for more information.


Jeanette grew up wanting to be a detective but instead became a librarian, which is almost the same thing but you rarely get beat up by bad guys. As a librarian Jeanette Larson had read all of the books on the shelves so decided to start writing some books of her own. After writing a number of exciting books for librarians, she began to delve into books for children. Her first book, Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore From the Americas, is being published by Charlesbridge but she also worked on Quilt of States with her Hummingbird co-author and illustrator Adrienne Yorinks.

Check out Jeanette Larson's Website for more information.


In kindergarten, Don Tate was hailed by his classmates as "the best drawer in class,"a title he carried proudly throughout grade school and college. Today, he's a published children's book author and illustrator. Don has illustrated more than 30 trade and educational books for children. A few: SAY HEY! A SONG OF WILLIE MAYS (Hyperion, 2000); SUMMER SUN RISIN' (Lee & Low Books, 2002); SURE AS SUNRISE (Houghton Mifflin, 2004); RON'S BIG MISSION (Dutton, 2009). SHE LOVED BASEBALL: THE EFFA MANLEY STORY (HarperCollins, 2010) is his most recent book. Don's first authored book, IT JES' HAPPENED: WHEN BILL TRAYLOR STARTED TO DRAW, received a Lee & Low New Voices Honor. It will publish in the spring of 2011. Don lives in Austin with his wife, Tammy, his son, Kolby, a dog and a hamster whom he fondly refers to as The Animals. He works part-time at the Austin American Statesman as an illustrator and graphics reporter.

Check out Don Tate's Website for more information.


Emma J. Virj√°n was born in Texas, under an Aries moon, on a Wednesday evening, her Dad’s bowling night. This might explain her attraction to shiny, hardwood floors and crunchy, snack bar French fries. Her career as a graphic designer and illustrator started when she gave everyone handmade business cards for Christmas when she was five years old. Nacho the Party Puppy is her first children’s book. When Emma isn’t drawing, she spends her time reading, making lists, cutting out images of the numeral 5, and collecting produce stickers.

Check out the NACHO THE DOG Website for more information.

*btw, thank you to Emma for designing the brand new logo.


Thank you so much to everyone for all the support! THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS really appreciate it!