Thursday, December 27, 2012

Publication Day: Hope's Gift

Today Texas Scoundrel Don Tate celebrates the publication of his new book, Hope's Gift (Putnam Juvenile, December 27, 2012). It is written by his pal, Kelly Starling Lyons. Kelly writes a poignant story that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, while Don illustrates this significant moment in American history.

Kirkus Kirkus describes: “A warm story about the love of a family and the jubilation of freedom.”

What are some of your other favorite stories that celebrate freedom?

Monday, December 3, 2012


Howdy!  It's Jessica Lee Anderson here, and I'm beyond excited to announce that LUCY KUBO is our newest Featured Sweetheart! When I first met Lucy at TLA's annual convention, I knew I'd discovered a kindred spirit.  She's a Sweetheart to the core, and I can't wait for you to get to know her, too!

 Bio:  Lucy Kubo practically grew up in libraries, and one of her very early childhood memories is of wetting her pants in the picture book section because she was too shy to ask for a restroom. Fortunately, she outgrew that shyness by the time she reached Southwestern University, where she was bold enough to ask the hot Japanese karate teacher if she could attend his class. A year later they were married and have enjoyed seeing the world together, from Europe to Japan to New Zealand. This past summer Lucy spent ten days volunteering at the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica. Lucy and her husband share their home with two fluffy dogs and love having visits from their daughter, a professional cook.

TxS&S: Can you tell us about what you do and how you got started?   
LK:  During my high school years, I had a part-time job at the public library.  At Southwestern University, I worked in the university library.  Then I explored some alternate paths for some long years before returning to my first love, libraries, in 1998. I’m in my ninth year as Library Media Technology Specialist at Keller High School.  While I do spend much of my time assisting with research and technology needs, my personal  focus is on the benefits of reading for pleasure. 

TxS&S:  The amazing Young Adult Keller Book Festival will be here before we know it!  Can you share some information on the origins of the festival and what attendees have to look forward to? 
LK:  I’m glad you asked!  The seeds of YAK Fest were planted many years ago and took a very long time to come to fruition. After attending an ALA session presented by the brains behind the Rochester (N.Y.) Teen Book Festival, I realized that we could have a YA book festival in north Texas.  Thanks to a generous grant from the Hudson Foundation, we had a baker’s dozen authors attend our inaugural YAK Fest last January.  For YAK13, we have 23 authors coming, including quite a few wonderful home-grown Texas authors. The fabulous and funny  Simone Elkeles will give the keynote speech at 10 o’clock.  After that, attendees will have four opportunities to choose from seven different panels.  The Book Carriage of Roanoke Texas will be there to sell books for the autograph session, and there will be yummy food on sale for lunch.  There’ll be music and door prizes and who knows what all surprises!  One thing teens really enjoyed last year was the photo op with our yak!
TxS&S: To what do you attribute your passion for young adult literature?
LK:  My wonderful mother instilled a love for reading in me at a very early age.  When I was a teen, we didn’t have many books written specially for that age, and the ones we did have were very out-of-touch.   I love that so much YA lit written today covers situations that young people actually deal with, in the language that they speak.   Even fantasies and dystopias involve personal growth and challenges to which today’s teens can relate.  And so many YA books are VERY well-written.

TxS&S: If you could make a wish for teens and reading in the future, what would it be?
LK:  Would it be wrong of me to wish John Green could be cloned?  Yes?  Dang.  Then my wish is that more teens read extensively and think deeply, so they can become the next generation of amazing authors for the young people coming up after them, to share what they have experienced and learned and thought in ways that will have an impact on others.

TxS&S: Would you consider yourself a Sweetheart or a Scoundrel?
LK:   I would like to think of myself as a Scoundrel in the vein of maybe a female Han Solo.  Alas.  While I do confess to some scoundrel-ish tendencies, I am a Sweetheart. 

TxS&S: Thanks for hanging out with us, Lucy, and for being such a Sweetheart!


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 :)