the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

HOORAY FOR VCFA! Jandy! Kekla! Julie! Jackie! YAY!

Posted by Tami Brown on Tue, Feb 03, 2015 @ 09:02 AM
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Yesterday the American Library Association announced its most prestigious awards for young people's literature and Vermont College of Fine Arts alums led the way!

Three cheers for Jandy Nelson whose I'll Give You The Sun won the Printz award- the highest honor for a young adult work.

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The Printz Committee said "(o)nce inseparable, twins Noah and Jude are torn apart by a family tragedy that transforms their intense love for each other into intense anger. Timelines twist and turn around each other in beautifully orchestrated stories of love and longing."

I'll Give You the Sun also received a Stonewall Book Award Honor as a book of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience. Make that six cheers!

Kekla Magoon's How It Went Down received a Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor! Hip Hip Hooray for Kekla, a member of the class of Summer 2005 and a new VCFA faculty member!!

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Julie Berry's wonderfully fun and powerfully written The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place received an Odyssey Audio Book Award Honor. The committee said "(i)n a very clever, very fun, very Victorian murder mystery, young boarding school ladies bury the dead while maintaining perfect manners. Jayne Entwistle makes death-by-poison a laugh riot with her dark, dry narration and amazingly lively characters in this delightfully macabre tale."

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And finally former VCFA faculty member and forever friend Jackie Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming scooped more awards winning the Coretta Scott King Author Award, a Newbery Honor, a Sibert Honor! Triple Play (plus the National Book Award and how many more? Here's to a jacket plastered with wonderful award stickers!)

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Fireworks, champagne and confetti for all the wonderful VCFA books published in 2015 and a special toast to Julie, Kekla, Jackie and Jandy for this fabulous recognition!


Topics: 2014 release, Kekla Magoon, Jandy Nelson, Printz Award, Odyssey Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Jacqueline Woodson, congratulations, Julie Berry, American Library Association

October Round-Up!

Posted by Adi Rule on Fri, Nov 07, 2014 @ 05:11 AM

awardsDeborah WilesRevolution (Scholastic) was shortlisted for the National Book Award. Wow!

Congratulations to Joyce Ray, who has won a 2014 Silver Moonbeam award for Feathers & Trumpets: A Story of Hildegard of Bingen (Apprentice Shop Books, illus. Lisa Greenleaf)!

Hooray for Linda Oatman High, who has won a 2014 Gold Moonbeam award for Teeny Little Grief Machines (Saddleback Educational Publishing)!

Brotherhood by Anne (A. B.) Westrick has won the inaugural Housatonic Book Award for Writing for Middle Grades and YA. Congratulations, Anne!

Congratulations to Kelly Bingham (Z is for Moose) and Julie Berry (All the Truth That's In Me) for their UKLA Award nominations!

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It's here! The cover for Anne Bustard's Anywhere But Paradise (Egmont USA, 2015) has been revealed . . . and we love it!

Author/illustrator pj lyons has sold two board books to Zonderkidz. Wahoo!

The new collection EMINEM and Rap, Poetry, Race (McFarland) includes an essay by our own Stephen Bramucci!

We're having triple celebrations with Wendie Old, whose biographies The Wright Brothers, Aviation Pioneers and Inventors; The Life of Duke Ellington, Giant of Jazz; and The Life of Louis Armstrong, King of Jazz (Enslow), have been released in paperback and ebook.

 

 

  

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Dana Walrath gave a brilliant TEDx talk on Comics, Medicine, and Memory. MediaBistro/Galleycat gave her a nice shout-out and so did Entertainment Weekly. Wow!

Publishers Weekly came out with their list of Best Children's Books of 2014, and it includes Deborah Wiles' Revolution, A. S. King's Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, and Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun!

The YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nominations continue, and we're thrilled to see Caminar by Skila BrownGlory O'Brien's History of the Future by A. S. KingEvil Librarian by Michelle KnudsenHow It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, and Revolution by Deborah Wiles on the list!

The Los Angeles Times posted a great review of Kekla Magoon's How It Went Down.

The Huffington Post named Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond one of 5 Great Reads for Your Bookclub.

Buzzfeed listed Micol Ostow's Amity one of 13 Young Adult Novels to Spook You This Halloween

And for more spookiness, check out Michelle Knudsen's Evil Librarian on Mashable's 9 Scary YA Books for Halloween Fans Too Old to Trick-or-Treat! (If you need us, we'll be under the covers!)

 

Topics: Linda Oatman High, round-up, Saddleback Educational Publishing, Scholastic, Apprentice Shop Books, Joyce Ray, A. B. Westrick, Deborah Wiles, Skila Brown, Kekla Magoon, Kelly Bingham, Jandy Nelson, Dana Walrath, Wendie Old, McFarland, Enslow, congratulations, Julie Berry, Micol Ostow, A. S. King, Michelle Knudsen, Stephen Bramucci, pj lyons, Zonderkidz, Gwenda Bond

Roundup- Trailers, Sales and MORE!

Posted by Tami Brown on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 @ 07:09 AM
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We already know VCFA WCYA alums have a leg up on the competition. Take a peek at the trailers for some our amazing fall releases here-----
Don't be scared. Okay, who can help being scared--and excited-- about the trailer for Micol Ostow's Amity.
Too many chills? Julie Berry has been called the love child of Agatha Christie and David Sedaris. Curious about what such a pairing might yield? Check out the nutty, scary, wonderful trailer for Julie's forthcoming middle grade creeper The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place.
Back to the real world, Lindsey Lane's new Evidence of Things Not Seen combines mysterious music, evocative voices and Lindsey's gorgeous prose to create one intriguing YA package.
The trailer for Rachel Wilson's Don't Touch brings her characters to life with a perfect YA angsty cool teenaged vibe.
Totally different but just as engaging, fun and MYSTERIOUS is Mikki Knudsen's trailer for Evil Librarian.
And oh man we can't leave Moose out! Be sure to catch the all star cast in the closing credits of Kelly Bingham's Circle, Square Moose! I'm in awe. And I'm still laughing at Moose's antics this time around. Most of all, when I grow up I want Judy Blume (or maybe Kelly Bingham) to appear in my book's trailer.
Okay, we better stop right here before we crash the website but the Launch Pad will be featuring lots more VCFA book launch trailers in coming weeks. Let us know about your favorites!
And in the department of super duper book sales---
Great news from Carrie Jones for middle grade readers of all ages! Carrie's new three book Time Stoppers series will be published by Bloomsbury on both sides of the Atlantic. There's magic! There's an orphan! There's mischief! Sounds fantastic!!!

Topics: round-up, congratulations

Roundup- This week, more great VCFA news!

Posted by Tami Brown on Fri, Sep 05, 2014 @ 06:09 AM

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Larissa Theule's Fat and Bones and Other Stories grabbed a star from Publisher's Weekly who said "an unsettling atmosphere that feels like Charlotte’s Web by way of Neil Gaiman."  Where's Papa going with that ax? He's going to a bookstore-  on October 1!!

Mikki Knudsen's Evil Librarian and Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You The Sun are featured as Best Books of September by Omnivoracious, the Amazon book blog. We give that a big YAHOO!

Speaking of Jandy- you can check out a fantastic review of I'll Give You The Sun in Entertainment Weekly here. It's a great review (a blazing, prismatic explosion of color!!) but just as fabulous to see this stellar book introduced to a mainstream audience outside the usual YA suspects. More kudos, Jandy!

Last weekend you could find Jandy, Varian Johnson and Debbie Wiles speaking at the Decatur Book Festival outside Atlanta. Any other VCFA'ers? And on September 21 Bethany Hegedus, Coe Booth and Jill Santopolo will be at the Brooklyn Book Festival. If your in the neighborhood be sure to check them out!

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And last but not least-- that Moose is at it again. Kelly Bingham's fun, funny and very smart Circle Square Moose was featured in Publishers Weekly with a great story about illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky's Moose fabric shirts. I hope he sent you one too, Kelly.

Yay, VCFA!

Topics: vcfa, round-up, book festival, congratulations, Starred Review

The Roundup-- All VCFA WCYA Considered!

Posted by Tami Brown on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 @ 07:08 AM

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Even the dog days of summer are winners at VCFA!

VCFA alums and faculty have given NPR interviews galore in the past couple weeks-- 

Elizabeth Bluemle made a thoughtful and passionate plea for more diverse books on NPR's cornerstone show All Things Considered. A must listen for anyone who loves books or cares about children and our culture.

Matt de la Pena confessed all (at least as far as how he met his wife... when attempting to promote a book event, no less!) in Secrets Spawned of Machismo, Matchmaking And MySpace.

And Coe Booth gave a splendid interview about her new middle grade novel Kinda Like Brothers.

OKAY... who thinks they should rename the show ALL VCFA CONSIDERED???????

Gwenda Bond's forthcoming Lois Lane novel Fall Out was featured in the UK's Guardian Newspaper. Gwenda was quoted saying "Lois is an icon, of course, a superhero without any superpowers … except her unmatched bravery and smarts" Just like Gwenda herself! 

Meg Wiviott sold Paper Hearts, a novel-in-verse based on a true story of friendship and survival in Auschwitz to Margaret K. McElderry Books. Good going, Meg!

School Library Journal interviewed Jandy Nelson about her forthcoming novel I'll Give You The Sun.

And Gayleen Rabakukk signed the contract to write a history of medicine in Oklahoma! Wahoo! (Or maybe we should cheer To Your Health!!)

This weekend students and alums in the Washington DC area are gathering at the National Book Festival to see Rita Williams-Garcia and to celebrate each other and the world of children's literature. Hosting a VCFA gatherine in your home town is simple. Contact Kelly Bordeleau Lamb, Director of Development & Alumni Affairs at VCFA at (802) 828-8544 or  Kelley.Lamb@vcfa.edu  

Good going, VCFA!

Topics: round-up, congratulations, interviews, book sales

Carol Brendler and NOT VERY SCARY!

Posted by Tami Brown on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 @ 09:08 AM

BOOOOO! It's early Halloween at the Launch Pad- time to welcome Carol Brendler, who's brand new picture book Not Very Scary has already grabbed a big, shiny STARRED REVIEW from Publishers Weekly.

9780374355470Melly is a brave little monster who is not afraid of anything. She loves surprises, and when her fun-loving cousin invites her over for a big surprise, Melly excitedly sets out for a visit. On her way, she notices skittish skeletons, a coal-black cat, and even ghoulish goblins following her. But Melly is not scared, no she’s not! Well, maybe just a teensy bit . . .

 

 

Hi, Carol. Welcome! What authors do you love for their sentences?

The first two that popped into my head: Alison McGee and Michael Chabon. And of course, Charles Dickens. Oh, see also, Cori McCarthy.

What nugget of craft advice has been especially helpful to you?
I read somewhere once that a picture book text can be compared to the staging of a play. The writer is in charge of blocking and dialog, but the costumes and set design are solely the domain of the illustrator.
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What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled as research for your writing?

Well, the weirdest recent thing--I can't decide between "symptoms of narcolepsy" and "Civil War army cutlery."

Who were your advisors at VCFA?
Leda Schubert! Uma Krishnaswami! Tim Wynne-Jones! and Sarah Ellis! (I know, right?)

How did attending VCFA affect your writing life?
Something happens while you're in the program. It's like, you're surrounded by some of the most brilliant writers in North America and they think you belong there (wha--?). Knowing this gives you permission to reach higher; it compels you to push yourself harder. My writing grew by leaps and bounds.
Carol, your brilliant writing pushes us all to reach higher! Congratulations!
Not Very Scary is Carol's third book! Her fourth, a picture book called RUBY MUTCH HAS HAD ENOUGH, will be published by Clarion in the near future.
You can visit Carol at www.carolbrendler.com
NOT VERY SCARY, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux BYR, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli is available in bookstores everywhere today!

Topics: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2014 release, picture book, Carol Brendler, congratulations

Roundup: ALA Accolades, the Coretta Scott King Award, and More!

Posted by Tami Brown on Sat, Jul 05, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

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We hope you had a spectacular Independence Day! We're setting off our own VCFA fireworks around here to celebrate this week's fantastic news!

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Rita Williams-Garcia delivered a stunning acceptance speech as she received the 2014 Coretta Scott King award for her novel P.S. Be ElevenRead the entire speech here.

Catherine Linka's novel A Girl Called Fearless attracted extra attention at ALA's Marketing Committee's Speed Dating Event. School Library Journal columnist Lisa Kropp highlighted Catherine's novel as one that "really caught my ear and eye." 

Buzzfeed lists Julie Berry's All the Truth That's In Me as one of its "19 Truly Brilliant Young Adult Books You Can Enjoy At Any Age." We agree!

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Cover Girl Anne Westrick graces Richmond Parents Monthly Magazine with a story about her novel Brotherhood and Richmond Civil War history!

Have a wonderful week, everyone -- especially those of you heading up to Montpelier for the MFA-WCYA summer residency!

Topics: round-up, A. B. Westrick, congratulations, Julie Berry, Catherine Linka, Rita Williams-Garcia

Roundup: Film Rights, Book Deals, Stars, and More!

Posted by Tami Brown on Sat, Jun 28, 2014 @ 07:06 AM

It's been another exciting week! We've got sales, stars, and lists!

January 2014 grad Estelle Laure sold her YA novel This Raging Light in a two book deal to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The first book is a "luminous portrait" of two sisters dealing with their mother's sudden disappearance. You're off to a flying start, Estelle!

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Warner Brothers have optioned film rights for Jandy Nelson's upcoming novel I'll Give You The Sun! Way to go, Jandy!

And in other exciting Jandy news, Joe Fontaine, the dishy boy character from The Sky Is Everywhere, was featured in a collection of YA's most crushy-worthy men at The Huffington Post. 

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Debbie Wiles' Revolution has gathered a constellation of starred reviews -- Kirkus, Horn Book, School Library Journal, and now Publishers Weekly!

Buzzfeed thinks M. T. Anderson's Thirsty should totally be a movie. We agree! (What books would you add to their list?)

Topics: young adult, round-up, Deborah Wiles, Jandy Nelson, congratulations, Estelle Laure, M. T. Anderson

Roundup - VCFA WCYA Auction, ALA Authors, Book Sales & More!

Posted by Tami Brown on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 @ 07:06 AM

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VCFA WCYA hits the jackpot!

The annual conference of the American Library Association will convene next week in Las Vegas and tons of VCFA WCYA authors will be there meeting, greeting and signing. If you're in the Sin City neighborhood be sure to drop in on these folks:

Kekla Magoon

Debbie Wiles

Catherine Linka

Rita Williams-Garcia

Trent Reedy

Sherry Shahan

Rene Colato Lainez

Gretchen Woelfle

Jandy Nelson

Lauren Myracle

Clete Barrett Smith

Carol Lynch Williams

Any others?

Authors please leave your appearance times here in the comments.

Adi and I do our best to keep up but please remember there are only two of us volunteering -- and zillions of your stellar achievements to track down (not to mention we have our own writing to do!) Drop us a line with your good news here. And don't fret if we miss something -- catch up with us on the VCFA WCYA community Facebook page and we'll be sure you're recognized here, too.

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The Launch Pad is delighted to announce we're a co-sponsor of the 2014 WCYA Auction and Alumni Signing. We've joined the Alumni Association to bring you two special evenings of fun. There's still plenty of time to donate items or join the alumni signing. www.VCFAauction.com 

Sooooo another week, more AMAZING book sales . . . because that's how we roll at VCFA!

Anne Bustard sold her debut middle-grade historical novel Anywhere But Paradise to Andrea Cascardi at Egmont USA. Anne's novel tells the story of Peggy Sue Bennett, a fish out of water in post-statehood Hawaii, baffled by local customs and bullied by an eighth grader for being white. Ho'omaika'i 'ana, Anne! 

Lyn Miller-Lachmann sold Surviving Santiago, the story of a 16-year old girl's summer in Chile visiting her estranged father, and the dangerous love affair that develops between her and a local boy to Running Press Kids. ¡Qué bueno, Lyn!

And we have even more good news:

Horn Book selected Erin Moulton's new novel, Chasing the Milky Way as its "Review Of The Week" saying, "Moulton effectively balances the big-picture issues with the smaller stuff, the day-to-day challenges each character faces and the triumphs he or she achieves." Great stuff, Erin! 

David Elzey's piece "The Self-Improvement Plan" was published this week in Antioch University Los Angeles' online literary journal Lunch Ticket. Good job, David!

Bethany Hegedus and Arun Gandhi's Grandfather Gandhi has received more recognition -- Betsy Bird aka Fuse #8 is touting this gorgeous and important picture book as a possible Caldecott winner! Go Bethany and Grandfather!

Meanwhile the German edition of Caroline Carlson's Hilary und der fast ganz ehrbare Club der Piraten (don't even ask us to try to pronounce that!) is set to launch at a Munich or Strassbourg bookstore near you.

What a week!!!!

Topics: round-up, Erin E. Moulton, Anne Bustard, Trent Reedy, Deborah Wiles, Kekla Magoon, Jandy Nelson, congratulations, Catherine Linka, Sherry Shahan, Gretchen Woelfle, Carol Lynch Williams, Bethany Hegedus, Rita Williams-Garcia, foreign rights, signing, David Elzey, Clete Barrett Smith, Arun Gandhi, Rene Colato Lainez, American Library Association, VCFA auction, Caroline Carlson, Lauren Myracle, Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Roundup - Bank Street Honors VCFA Authors, Book Deals & More

Posted by Tami Brown on Fri, Jun 13, 2014 @ 06:06 AM

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It may be Friday the thirteenth (and a full moon at that!) but at VCFA it's our lucky day!

Bank Street College of Education recently released its list of Best Books of 2014 and there are a slew of familiar Vermont College of Fine Arts names on the list. Check out this honor roll of VCFA writers!

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Señor Pancho Had a Rancho by René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Elwood Smith (Holiday House). Old MacDonald and Señor Pancho both have a lot of noisy farm animals in this festive, bilingual sing-a-long. Lively ink and watercolor illustrations

Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett, illustrated by Paul Meisel (Candlewick Press). Big brother is certain that his baby sister—who chomps everything in sight—must be a vampire, so he tries to find the right home for her. Humorous mixed-media color illustrations.

Cowboy Up!: Ride the Navajo Rodeo by Nancy Bo Flood, photographs by Jan Sonnenmair (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press/Highlights) A day of roping and riding competitions at a rodeo is depicted through photographs, poetry, and prose.

Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth, illustrated by Maris Wicks (Tanglewood) A family trip to the woods, including a hike, a picnic, and swimming, packs a lot of fun into one day. Colorful, humorous illustrations.

Robot, Go Bot! by Dana Meachen Rau, illustrated by Wook Jin Jung (Random House). Simple words, in comic-style balloons, tell the engaging story of a bossy girl and her robot.

Penelope Crumb Never Forgets by Shawn K. Stout, illustrated by Valeria Docampo (Philomel Books/Penguin) When a quirky, spirited girl establishes her Ultra Museum of Forget-Me-Notters, her choice of objects to represent her loved ones causes havoc. Black-and-white puppet-like illustrations.

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad Press/HarperCollins) Life gets complicated for the Gaither sisters in 1968 Brooklyn—Dad’s in love, uncle Darnell’s home from Vietnam, and the Jackson Five are coming to town.

The Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley (Clarion/HMH) Mehrigul, a Uyghur farm girl and gifted basketmaker, longs to go back to school but must battle her aggressive father, her depressed mother, and the Chinese rulers who have invaded her homeland.

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing) Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn, along with the Sugar Man and two raccoons, must save the Texas swamp and its rare inhabitants from animal and human predators. Fast-paced and funny.

Parched by Melanie Crowder (Harcourt Children’s Books/HMH) Sarel and Musa use their knowledge of the land to survive after the violent deaths of family members and abuse by gang members brought on by a devastating drought.

Formerly Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham (Candlewick Press) Jane, a high school senior recovering from the loss of her arm from a shark attack, discovers her special talents as well as her responsibilities to herself and others. Told in narrative verse. (Sequel to Shark Girl)

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K. A. Barson (Viking/Penguin) Emotional eater Ann has allowed her weight to control her life, until she is faced with her aunt’s wedding. She then acquires a greater understanding of her family.

HOORAY VCFA!

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Hailed for its creepy cool cover (we think it's a twisted tip of the hat to Downton Abbey!) Fuse #8's blog at School Library Journal featured Julie Berry's upcoming release The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place (Roaring Brook Press).


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With months still to go before its publication date, Dianne White's Blue On Blue (Beach Lane Press) has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Way to go, Dianne! This is the first of many accolades this beautiful book will receive!

 

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Happy launch week to Makeover Magic, the third book in Jill Santopolo's delightful Sparkle Spa series! Jill stopped by The Launchpad to talk about this series back in March -- read about it here if you missed it!

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A. B. Westrick's critically acclaimed middle grade novel Brotherhood (Viking 2013) is out this week in paperback!

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NEW BOOK CONTRACTS!

Coretta Scott King/Steptoe Award winner Kekla Magoon's The Guerilla Life of Manolo Cabesas, the story of a rural teen's transformation into a hardened soldier for a rebel army in South America, to Andrea Tompa at Candlewick, by Michelle Humphrey at the Martha Kaplan Agency (World). Congratulations, Kekla!!

Cynthia Surrisi sold her debut middle-grade mystery, The Maypop Kidnapping to Carolrhoda. It's set in a small coastal Maine village filled with eccentric locals; when 13-year-old Quinnie's beloved teacher goes missing, Quinnie leads a relentless, sometimes misguided search – against her mother's orders and it's scheduled for publication in 2015! Hooray Cynthia!

Erin Hagar sold a biography that's sure to be near and dear to our hearts-- and tummies! Julia Child: An Extraordinary Life in Words and Pictures, beautifully illustrated and aimed at 8 to 12 year olds, will be published next spring by DUOPRESS Books. We can't wait, Erin. Bon Appetit! 

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And last but not least...

The deadline for the Katherine Paterson Prize at Hunger Mountain is fast approaching! (June 30th) Enter your Young Adult, Middle Grade, or Picture Book manuscripts (up to 10,000 words). This year's judge is Katherine Applegate, Newbery-winning author of The One and Only Ivan and dozens of other books. There's a $1000 first prize, and past winners have found literary agents and ultimately sold books to major presses following the publication of their winning pieces at Hunger Mountain. Please visit Hunger Mountain at www.hungermtn.org/contests for guidelines.

Topics: Candlewick Press, Holiday House, Elwood Smith, 2014 release, round-up, Shawn K. Stout, Philomel, Penguin Random House, Kathi Appelt, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, HMH Books For Young Readers, A. B. Westrick, Kekla Magoon, Kelly Bingham, Paul Meisel, Roaring Brook Press, Viking, 2013 release, Jan Sonnenmair, Maris Wicks, Cynthia Surrisi, Kelly Bennett, Nancy Bo Flood, Wordsong, Amistad Press, K. A. Barson, Random House, congratulations, Julie Berry, Melanie Crowder, Rita Williams-Garcia, Rene Colato Lainez, Jill Santopolo, Aladdin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Dianne White, Valeria Docampo, Beach Lane Books, Boyds Mills Press, Highlights, Galen Goodwin Longstreth, Tanglewood, Josanne La Valley, Clarion, Dana Meachen Rau, Wook Jin Jung

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