Thursday, December 3, 2015

Happy Holidays from The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

Happy Holidays from The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!
Thank you all for a wonderful year of sharing the love of reading! We Texas Sweethearts (and Scoundrels) are honored by the wonderful, supportive reading community we are a part of. We appreciate you!
Holiday Signing

Please join P. J. Hoover, K. A. Holt, and Jo Whittemore for a Texas Sweethearts holiday signing at Austin's favorite cupcake shop, Cupprimo. Scoop up some presents while enjoying sweet treats! Books make amazing gifts and cupcakes are always in season :)

WHEN: Saturday, December 12th, 2015, 2:00-4:00
WHERE: Cupprimo, Austin, TX

*** Librarians will be treated to a complementary Hot Caramel Apple Cider or Small Coffee ***

*** Free cupcake with book purchase ***

Books + Cupcakes = Win!
Caldecott Medalist Brian Floca takes a break to #readtut
P. J. Hoover

P. J. is thrilled to announce that there will be a sequel to Texas Lone Star Book TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE! The sequel is scheduled for a March 2017 release.

P. J. had a wonderful fall visiting schools and speaking at librarian conferences. Thank you, librarians, for being so supportive! If you are interested in a school visit with P. J. Hoover, please contact her. She would love to visit!

The #readtut campaign continues to be a ton of fun! Don't forget to take a picture of someone reading TUT and post it online with hashtag #readtut. Everyone is doing it :)
Ms. Angela Holcek's second grade class (Elsa England Elementary) getting ready to introduce Emma Virján at the Texas Book Festival.
Emma Virján

Emma would like to thank all of the Texas librarians and teachers who have supported What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig this year.  An extra BIG shout out to Ms. Holcek's second grade class, not only for their wonderful introduction at this year's Texas Book Festival, but for volunteering to be The Pig in a Wig Players during the presentation.

Want more Pig in a Wig? What This Story Needs is a Hush and Shush will release in January, 2016. Publishers Weekly is calling it "...good-natured rhyming fun." Kirkus states that it's "... a book that will satisfy, even after many readings."
(from L to R) Emma Virjan, Jessica Lee Anderson, and P. J. Hoover
Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica Lee Anderson is excited to announce she's signed a contract for five new chapter books with Rourke Educational Media! 

Jessica had a wonderful time signing books with PJ Hoover at Cupprimo and she looks forward to several upcoming school visits. She has a few remaining school visit openings this spring.

Jo Whittemore

Jo Whittemore is pleased to share a very sweet review from Publishers Weekly for Book 1 of the Confidentially Yours series, due to release in tandem with Book 2 on January 5, 2016.

"The banter and quips bouncing around among these classmates and friends energize the story, which reinforces the importance of recognizing one's limits, learning how to both take and give advice, and knowing how to be a good friend."

Eager readers will also receive a lovely completion certificate when they finish Books 1 & 2!

Visit Jo Whittemore's website for more information!
Don poses with a fan at NCSS
Don Tate

November was a busy traveling month for Don, which took him to Columbus, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Shreveport. He spoke, signed books, and presented at NCTE, NCSS, and AASL. While traveling, he was able to research and create sketches on his next book, STALEBREAD CHARLIE AND THE RAZZY DAZZY SPASAM BAND, which is set in old New Orleans. 

Don Tate's POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON has garnered two more honors. It was among Kirkus' Best-Of 2015 Picture Books, and a Best Multicultural Book of 2015, compiled by the Center for Multicultural Children's Literature.

Don will wind down his 2015 school visit program next week with a weeklong visit to Houston schools. At this time, he is looking to book school visits in April and May of 2016.

Visit Don Tate's website for more information!
K. A. Holt

KA Holt is excited to announce that her latest novel, HOUSE ARREST, is part of TLA's Spirit of Texas Reading Program for middle schools.

In other fantastic news, Kari has sold her first picture book, BECAUSE YOU'RE WONDERFUL, to Maria Modugno at Random House.

Kari is booking school visits for March, April and May. If you'd like to show your upper elementary grades or 6th or 7th graders that poetry can be fun (writing found poetry! writing zombie haiku!) please contact her.

Visit K. A. Holt's website for more information!
Jeanette Larson

Jeanette will be at the Laredo Book Festival on December 12th, 2015 at the Laredo Public Library. More information can be found on the festival website.

Our Books

Our books are aimed at readers of all ages! Please take some time to browse our website and see what we have to offer.

Thank you for all you do! We appreciate your support!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wishing you a lovely fall from The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

We've got a case of fall fever, even if the weather hasn't quite cooled off.
Besides the excitement of pumpkin spice lattes making a return, we have lots of thrilling news to share, fun festival events and school visits to look forward to, plus giveaways!
As always, we thank you for reading and staying connected.  
Our Texas Book Festival Schedule
P. J. Hoover:
  • October 17, 2015, 1:00-1:45 pm - "In a World" Panel  
K.A. Holt:
  • October 17, 2015, 4:00-4:45 pm - "Ink Blots" Panel
Emma Virjan:
  • October 18, 2015, 1:00-1:30 pm - Read Me a Story Tent
Don Tate:
  • October 18, 2015, 3:30-4:00 pm - Read Me a Story Tent

Latest News

Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica is thrilled to announce the release of 5 mystery chapter books from Rourke Educational Media. The books appeal to 2nd-5th graders and are connected yet stand alone. They are also perfect for your early fluent reader! Each mystery has educational components such as character interviews, discussion questions, and writing prompts.
Jessica is available for school visits and is now offering a mystery writing workshop for small groups and "The Mysteries of the Writing Life" for larger groups.  If you book a school visit before Halloween, she will include a set of the five mysteries. Contact Jessica for more information.
P. J. Hoover

P. J. Hoover (and Starscape/Macmillan) are giving away a classroom set of TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE! It's easy to enter, and there are ways to get multiple entries. With loads of curriculum tie-ins, TUT is a great choice to get both kids and educators excited about reading and learning. For all the details on this amazing offer, please visit the giveaway page found here.


What's the craziest thing you can do while reading TUT? Where is the craziest place you can be while reading TUT? Snap a picture of yourself doing it and post it with the hashtag #readtut and share it with all your friends on social media.(Keep it safe. Keep it clean.) Encourage the kids at your schools to do the same. And thank you for your TUT support!

#readtut Cynthia Leitich Smith reads TUT while Kwame Alexander and e. E. Charlton-Trujillo look up to the sky

 P. J. Hoover has kicked off the school year with some amazing visits, including Austin Discovery School, Walsh Middle School in Round Rock, TX, Ford and Curtis Middle Schools in Allen, TX, the Region 20 Library Conference in San Antonio, TX, and the first annual Mansfield Book Festival in Mansfield, TX. P. J. would love to visit your school or festival. For information and availability, please contact P. J.
Look for P. J. Hoover at the following places. She would love to see you!
  • October 7, 2015, 6:00-8:00 pm - Barnes & Noble Palms Crossing Mall, McAllen, TX
  • October 9, 2015 - Region 1 Library Fall Media Conference, South Padre Island, TX
  • October 16, 2015 - Region 13 Library Roundup, Austin, TX
  • October 17, 2015, 1:00-1:45 pm - Texas Book Festival, "In a World" Panel, Austin, TX
  • October 22, 2015, 6:00-8:00 pm - Barnes & Noble Northwoods, San Antonio, TX
  • October 30-31, 2015 - Austin Comic Con, Austin, TX
Emma Virján

Come watch the What This Story Need is a Pig in a Wig trailer here! 
Don't miss your chance to get to know Pig at the Texas Book Festival at 1:00 on Sunday 10/18. 
K. A. Holt

Kari has some great news to share this month: her newest novel, GNOMEAGEDDON has been sold to McElderry Books editor Karen Wojtyla, with a tentative publication date of fall 2017.
In further exciting news, Kari's middle grade novel in verse, HOUSE ARREST, will be released on October 6th!
Also in October, the ebook of RHYME SCHEMER will be available for $1.99 as part of Chronicle Book's Eye Candy Best of the Best promotion.
 If you're going to be Austin for the Texas Book Festival, check out Kari's panel, Ink Blots.
Also at the festival, Kari will be typing spontaneous custom poems on a vintage typewriter as part ofTypewriter Rodeo.

Don Tate
Don Tate launched his new book, POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the story is set. Don also had the opportunity to meet many Horton's descendants, who turned out to get a signed copy of the book. "It was such an honor to meet Horton's family, and put a book about their relative in their hands," Tate said.
A CCSS Activity Guide, a FREEDOM AS WORDS Poetry Guide, and a TEKS Curriculum guide are all available for the book for free download
Northside Elementary, in Pittsboro, NC, recaps their full dayschool visit with Don.
Texas Book Festival
Don Tate and Chris Barton will be featured authors at next month's Texas Book Festival. They will present their books, THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH and POET, on Sunday, October 18 at the Children's Read Me a Story Tent.
School Visits
Don's fall school visit schedule is now all booked up. He is now booking library visits for the winter and spring. Book early, we want to get everyone in! Thank you, Texas librarians, for your support!

Jo Whittemore      

Jo is excited to share the covers for the first two books in the Confidentially Yours series, coming January 5, 2016: Brooke's Not-So Perfect-Plan and Vanessa's Fashion Face-Off. Stay tuned for a giveaway!
Jo will also be available for school visits this year and would love to share the joy of reading and writing with your students. More info can be found here:



This month, our Featured Sweetheart is...

Jennifer Coleman at Murchison Elementary in Pflugerville ISD

because of her innovative ideas and the way she gets students jazzed about reading! She isn't afraid to wear an electric blue wig to spread book love.

Thank you, Jennifer, for being this month's Featured Sweetheart!
 Encourage your students to write reviews of the books they're reading.Reviews matter to readers,  authors, and illustrators, plus it is a great way to get your students analyzing and writing! The students can get creative with their reviews such as making "student selection cards" by decorating an index card which can then be displayed on the book shelf. Here are some review tips: start with a brief yet lively description of the book, discuss reactions and connections (no spoilers!), and make suggestions for who the book would be a good fit for or recommendations for related books. 


Here's to pumpkin flavored treats and a happy fall for everyone! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Back-to-School from The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

It's time for school buses, backpacks, hallways filled with students, and reading. The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels are looking forward to celebrating another school year with you. Thank you for your continued support! We love Librarians!

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

Emma Virján will be a featured author/illustrator at the Region 3 2015 Library Roundup, September 24, 2015. 

P. J. Hoover will be a featured author at the Mansfield ISD Book Festival coming up on September 19, 2015.

P. J. Hoover will be signing books at the Stonebriar Mall Barnes & Noble in Frisco, TX on September 23, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Latest News

P. J. Hoover

P. J.'s summer included a yearly trip to D.C., travel to the Los Angeles SCBWI Conference, and getting her son ready for his first year of high school :) She's looking forward to a fun year filled with school visits, book events, Friday night football games, and much writing goodness.

P. J. still has some openings for 2015-2016 school visits. If you are interested in a school visit, please contact P. J. for information!

Watch P. J.'s Spirit of Texas Middle School Reading List video!
Watch P. J.'s Spirit of Texas Middle School Reading List video!

Huge thank you to Kate DiPronio, librarian at Cedar Valley Middle School in Round Rock ISD, for featuring TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE painted on the lockers! This is amazing! TUT is in such wonderful company :)

There are new hardcover dust jackets for P. J.'sForgotten Worlds trilogy. These dust jackets can be placed overtop the old ones or used instead. If you currently have P. J.'s Forgotten Worlds trilogy in hardcover in your library and you would like a set of these new (much more kid-friendly) dust jackets, please drop P. J. a line and let her know. If you don't have these in hardcover and are interested in a set, please also, drop P. J. a line. The Forgotten Worlds trilogy is appropriate for kids 3rd grade and up.

For those audiobook fans, TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE is now available in audio. You can get all the information here!


Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica Lee Anderson enjoyed the summer tremendously but has a case of back-to-school fever! She's offering discounts for school visits booked before September 15. She's currently working on an early chapter book series and hopes to share more information about it soon. To contact Jessica, visit

Emma Virján

Emma is pleased to share some great reviews for What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig.

New York Times, Laura Lutz
"With its frequent use of sight words and a story line that builds on itself, this is a great choice for absolute beginners and - bonus! - it has a true story arc, with a plot about friendship and cooperation."

Publisher's Weekly (starred review):
"In a story with the echoes of Seuss and Willems, Virján offers a very funny lesson about the unreliability of narrators."

Kirkus Reviews:
"A boatload of giggles will keep the reader returning for more easy-to-read fun."

Emma is also excited to reveal a sneak peak of the cover of What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush, book 2 in thePig In A Wig Book Series. (Harper, January 2016)

K. A. Holt

Kari has been busy this summer traveling and sharing her love of poetry. First, she was off to Boston and Nantucket as part of Typewriter Rodeo, a quartet of poets who write spontaneous poetry on vintage typewriters. She also attended the Nantucket Book Festival to speak about RHYME SCHEMER. Nantucket was lovely, and the festival goers were infectious with enthusiasm for books. 


After her Northeast adventure, Kari went to the ALA conference in San Francisco, speaking on a panel about verse novels and engaging reluctant readers. As always, it was a blast meeting up with librarians and teachers and talking books, books, books non-stop for several days.


Her final trip was to Wisconsin, to retreat with other members of her literary agency and to brainstorm new projects. It was great fun to hang out with so many talented authors.

(From left, clockwise around the table: Anne Nesbit's hand, Dashka Slater, Audrey Vernick, me, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Janet Fox)

Kari also recorded a handful of podcasts this summer. If you're interested in listening to her talk about the writing processes of RHYME SCHEMER and HOUSE ARREST (releasing October 6th from Chronicle books), you can listen here and here.

And finally, Kari is very excited to share this lovely review in Publisher's Weekly for HOUSE ARREST.

"Touches of humor lighten the mood, and Holt's firsthand knowledge of the subject (her own son had trachea problems, the acknowledgments reveal) adds depth to this poignant drama without overwhelming it." 

Don Tate

Don Tate's debut as both author and illustrator, POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON, has garnered three starred reviewsover the summer. 
School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly have all raved on this nonfiction picture book which officially publishes on September 1. 

A special Teacher's Guide is available for download here

Don will launch this special book in Austin, TX, on October 10, and hopes that locals can make it out the the celebration. Details to come.

Watch the Book Trailer for POET!
Watch the Book Trailer for POET!

Currently Don is booking a few remaining spots for the fall, and is seeking out opportunities to present to students in the spring. As both an author and an illustrator of many nonfiction titles, Don has the unique ability to share both sides of the bookmaking process with young readers. Please see his school visit page for more info.

Jo Whittemore      

Jo has big surprises coming up next month, so keep a watch for that!

Jeanette Larson

With her continued enjoyment of retirement, Jeanette Larson will become our first Texas Sweetheart Emeritus. We'll do our best to rope her into joining us for book signings and receptions at TLA, and wish her the very best!                                     


Here's to a happy and healthy school year for everyone!