Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Hi! P. J. here, and I'm thrilled to introduce you to our newest featured sweetheart, Naomi Bates! Naomi runs a fantastic blog, YA Books and More, that is a wonderful asset to librarians and students! Please check it out!

Hi, Naomi! Thank you for being here!


TXS&S: You run an amazing young adult book blog! Thank you for helping spread the word about books for kids! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do, and who or what inspires you?

NB: I've been in the library world since 2000, and boy, has time gone by fast! I cut my teeth in a small school district (Sabinal ISD) in South Texas with about 350 students. In 2003, I decided to go big city and am now in a 5A school district (Northwest ISD) with about 2500 students.

I love love love three things: my family (and dogs!), books and technology. They are my passions and what pushes me to do better, go beyond, and find those gems waiting under the surface. When I get a new book I've heard about, I'm excited!! When I troll through the internet, and find a cool site, I can't wait to share! All of these exclamation points probably make you think I'm high strung but I'm not! :)

The biggest professional inspiration in my life are two things. First and foremost is Dr. Teri Lesesne. I had her for a YA lit class while getting my master's at Sam Houston state and I was mesmerized. She made me want to do more and be more. After graduation, I followed her workshops and admittedly became a groupie (she may say stalker) and now I'm so proud to call her a colleague.

The other inspiration was an unexpected phone call I received asking me if I'd be interested in serving on the TAYSHAS committee for TLA. It wasn't until after I said yes that I realized how many books (125+ a year!) I would have to read. I was in heaven and hell at the same time, because I enjoyed reading and getting those galleys, but also the amount of time was the devil! It was that experience that led me down the path to becoming more involved professionally with the library world from local to state to national levels.

TXS&S: What were your goals when you started blogging, and how has that vision changed now that some time has gone by?

NB: I started blogging because I had read so many books, I wanted to share them with others. At first, my blog was mainly book reviews, but the more blogs I followed and the more diverse my passions became, I knew I had to change up the blog. My vision now is to post book reviews, which are by far the most read, but also to post technology, book trailers, lists, information....anything that encompasses what a librarian would want to know. I know how much more important the role of librarian is changing to encompass 21st century technology, so I focus on that just as much. And of course humor is always a good thing, so I post funny things I've found online to share as well. We aren't all buns and glasses, but definitely have a fun side too :) I love the acronym for my blog, YA Books and More (YABAM!) That's how I feel when I post and find out people are reading and following it. :)

My future vision includes pairing reading for Common Core standards. Although Texas hasn't adopted these standards, I believe they are SO relevant to our readers, and non-fiction is so under-represented but yet so interesting! I'm (hopefully) bringing the Cinderella of YA reading to the forefront!

TXS&S: What has been the biggest surprise since you've started?

NB: A big surprise every single time I look are the stats I see from the blog. YA Books and More has been accessed by all fifty states and 12 countries. That always surprises me. I find it an honor....

Also, I had no idea my blog would branch out into other social media. Because of YABAM, I now tweet and have schooltube and youtube channels. My Twitter is mostly about technology, but the mothership, my blog, will have it all :)

Another big surprise is when I get an email from an author about a blog post from a review or book trailer I've created thanking me - talk about wow factor!

TXS&S: How do you see reading changing for teens in the next couple years? What challenges do you see? And what can we do to help?

NB: E-books e-books e-books. I'm still finding a lot of diehard readers still enjoying the smell of the pages, the crinkle of mylar, but I am so curious about those kindergartners and how they'll impact our evolving profession. And we need to be prepared....not wait until it happens, but start preparing now and getting ahead of the game.

The challenges I see are those who play ostrich and don't embrace change. I know I'll get flak for saying this, but it's not like days gone by. The library has changed so much and those who have changed with it are the ones that are standing up as leaders. We need to challenge ourselves to become important not only in our physical buildings, but virtually as well, which will be a huge component the more time goes by.

Authors are helping by embracing change by allowing their works to be published dually as hardcopy and digital. They are creating facebook, twitter and youtube channels and finding their audience growing. Authors are amazing! Just send me more galleys to preview and blog :) (just kidding! unless you really want to!) And Texas authors....AWESOME!!!! We are so privileged by how many amazing authors live in this grand state. Just like you can't buy a Texas-sized coke in another state, you can't find Texas-sized authors except in this state we all love so much.

TXS&S: Would you consider yourself a Sweetheart or a Scoundrel?

NB: Ummmmmm....half and half? Sweetheart because I'm open, enjoy rubbing shoulders with colleagues and authors, teaching how to go forward, continuing to blog without reservation and being a part of a team. Of course there's some salt in my sweet, but dang it, I believe in hard work and going above and beyond, whether online, offline, and in between. As they say now, YOLO! (you only live once)


BIO:  Naomi Bates first became a librarian in 1999 and received her MLS at Sam Houston State University in 2003. She currently works at Northwest High School in Justin Texas and lives with her peeps and a dog named Bella.


If you know of someone who would make a great Featured Sweetheart, please let us know
The best part? If you nominate someone, we'll send you a $5 Starbucks gift card :)

Monday, September 17, 2012


Fall Greetings from
seven authors & illustrators who write for kids and teens

The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels are ready for fall! We're looking forward to cooler weather, new books, and all sorts of great events. We hope to see you out and about in the awesome state of Texas!

Cover Reveal for Solstice!     

P. J. Hoover is thrilled to reveal the cover for her debut young adult novel, Solstice (Tor Teen, June 2013).   

"Solstice is one red-hot read-it intrigues, sizzles, and satisfies."
-Cynthia Leitich Smith,
New York Times
bestselling author

About Solstice:

Piper's world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed-a sphere of gods and monsters-and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

For more information about P. J. or Solstice, please visit her website.




Jessica Lee Anderson
will be participating in the Austin Teen Book Fest ("Real Life Happens" panel) on September 29, 2012.  The festival is free and no registration is required!  See for more information.

On September 30, Jessica Lee Anderson will be moderating a Teen Book Fest: Up Close and Personal panel at The Book Spot in Round Rock:


Look for the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels at your regional librarian event!

Please drop in to hear Don speak at the Region 20 librarian conference. Don will present Windows to the Past: Using Picture Books to teach Black History in the Classroom. In this session, Don will discuss how history has inspired his works, and he will offer tips for bringing Black History to life.

will present a reader's theater script based on Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas at the Region 20 Library Resource Roundup on September 21 in San Antonio.

Jessica and P. J. will be on the YA panel at the Region 20 conference. Please stop by and say hello!

REGION 4 - Thursday, October 4, 2012, Houston, TX


Interested in an author visit? The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels would love to visit your school. We understand that library budgets are tight, so our honorariums are flexible and reasonable, and visits can often be combined with other trips to your area. 
Author and illustrator Don would love to visit your school library. During school visits, he shares original artwork created for some of his books. He talks about the book making process, and what inspires his stories. And he draws! Lots of drawing! Contact him soon as his schedule is filling up.  

Creating new worlds, mythology, and monsters is what P. J. Hoover loves to talk about the most. As a former Electrical Engineer, P. J. will share with students her transition to writing, inspirations for her books, and tips that will help even the most reluctant kids believe being a writer is possible. P. J. also partners with Jessica Lee Anderson for school visits. Contact P. J. at

Spaceships, zombies and writing, oh my! K.A. Holt is thrilled to offer school visits for elementary and middle schools. Her presentations center around the writing and revision process, and are easily tailored to specific needs for specific grades. Kari enjoys letting students in on a few of her secrets - authors are just regular people, and just because you write about zombies and chupacabras doesn't mean you can't write poetry. Contact for more information.  

If you are planning author and special guest programs for the winter and spring, Jeanette can present the reader's theater program along with a program on the science of hummingbirds. She was recently a guest speaker at the Rockport (TX) Hummer Bird Celebration and gained a lot of new information on these fascinating birds that she can share with students. Contact Jeanette at  

Jessica Lee Anderson is a certified teacher and loves sharing her journey from struggling writer to published author. She is happy to customize any presentation. Jessica also pairs with P. J. Hoover to provide exciting, interactive programs. Contact her at

Nominate a Featured Sweetheart 
and you can win a Starbucks gift card. 

Do you know someone who would make a great featured sweetheart for our blog? We're looking for librarians, teachers, authors, editors, anyone who has an impact on books, libraries, and/or getting kids to read.

If we choose the person you nominate, we'll give you a $5 Starbucks giftcard as a thank-you! Give us a holler today!