Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Forward with The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

Spring Forward with 
The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels! 
 Following a colder than normal winter, many Texans are experiencing cabin fever. But the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels are not waiting on Mother Nature to heat things up. Each and every one of us - P.J., Jessica, Kari, Jo, Jeanette, and Don -has a burning desire to inspire young children and teens to read more books. So we are saying goodbye to winter hibernation and turning up the heat on our already busy schedules, in order to reach more kids.

Here is a look at what is happening now, and what is ahead:
March has been a busy and exciting month for P. J. Hoover. First, and foremost, P. J. is thrilled to reveal the cover for her brand new middle grade novel, TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE (Starscape/Macmillan, September 16, 2014). TUT is the story of King Tut (yes, the boy king), but he's fourteen, immortal, and lives in modern-day Washington, D.C with his one-eyed cat, Horus. When his crazy uncle Horemheb shows up after being locked in a tomb for 3000 years, Tut enlists the help of the dorky kid from school who wants to be his best friend and the mysterious new girl who's got secrets of her own.
A Common Core guide for TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE can be found here.
P. J. braved ice and snow to spend a wonderful week in Mansfield, Texas visiting intermediate and middle schools. She visited four schools in all (T. A. Howard MS, Jobe MS, Wester MS, and Lillard Intermediate School), met some wonderful librarians and teachers, and had a fantastic time talking with kids about her books, her path to writing, and what it's like to be an author. P. J. still has room available during May if you're interested in a school visit for this school year, and she is also actively booking school visits and speaking events for next fall, so please contact P. J. if you think you might be interested in a school visit. More information on P. J.'s visits can be found on her visits page.
with Marsha Riti, Amy Farrier, Samantha Clark, Cynthia Leitich Smith, & Jeff Crosby Photo credit: Greg Leitich Smith
Just before spring break, P. J. spoke at the monthly Austin SCBWI meeting on the topic of World Building. She covered everything from Terry Pratchett to the Hobbit and loved the crowd that turned out for the event. Thank you! She's looking forward to attending the April monthly meeting featuring Austin librarians on a panel talking about school visits.
In other news, P. J. discovered West Texas over spring break on a family road trip visiting Fort Davis, Pecos, Carlsbad Caverns, and Roswell. Texas is an amazing state with so much to offer, and it's wonderful living here!

Jessica Lee Anderson looks forward to visiting the Alternative Learning Center in Austin on April 17, 2014.  Jessica offers programs for all ages and still has availability this spring.  Don't hesitate to contact her for more information.  
Kari is excited to announce a redesign to her website: www.kaholt.com. Swing by and check it out! She's also thrilled to have been able to take sneak peek at the new discussion guide created for her forthcoming middle grade novel, RYHME SCHEMER (October 2014, Chronicle). The discussion guide and ARCs of RHYME SCHEMER will be available at the TLA conference next month. Woo!

Photo by Frances Woolsey, Doss Elementary
Educator Open House and Presentation
Don will speak next month at Barnes & Noble in Garland, Texas (Firewheel Towne Center), as a part of their Educator Appreciation Day, on Saturday April 19. The event runs from 10 to 12 a.m. Educators will receive free materials for their classrooms and refreshments will be served. Be sure to register for prizes. In addition to a chance to win a NOOK and a $500 gift card from B&N, Don will give away one half-day school presentation. Yes, Don will present at your school at no cost! 
A book signing will follow the B&N event. See here for more information.

In addition, Don would like to visit schools on the two days leading up the the event. For that reason - and because of the short notice - Don is offering a very reduced honorarium for those days (half day rate for a full day visit). Please
contact the Booking Biz to inquire and make arrangements.

Don's School Visits 

Don recently visited schools in the sandy town of Monahans, Texas. Yes, sand-and a lot of it! "The librarians there are super," Don said, "and the children are big readers. I was impressed."   

Don still has plenty of days open to book a school visit in April and May.


Jeanette Larson is currently booking public library and school presentations for the summer. In addition to talking about writing and reading, summer programs can include a craft activity. Kids enjoy making hummingbird Mardi Gras-style masks or hummingbird feeders. Jeanette is also pleased to announce that she is moving to the Coastal Bend area, making it easier to visit libraries in the Rio Grande Valley and other South Texas locations. Contact Jeanette at jeanette@jeanettelarson.com.


Our Featured Sweetheart for this month is librarian Norma Chapa of Sunset Valley Elementary. Don Tate nominated Norma for no other reason than, "She has a kind spirit and I was touched by her heart and personal story."