the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

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

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


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. 

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


Posted by Tami Brown on Sun, Feb 23, 2014 @ 11:02 AM

The VCFA WCYA Launchpad welcomes Gretchen Woelfle, a member of the class of summer 2000 "The Hive". Gretchen's picture book biography Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence  was published by Carolrhoda on Feb. 1, 2014.

Mumbet cover  copy resized 600

 "All men are born free and equal." Everybody knows about the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. But the founders weren't the only ones who believed that everyone had a right to freedom. Mumbet, a Massachusetts slave, believed it too. She longed to be free, but how? Would anyone help her in her fight for freedom? Could she win against her owner, the richest man in town?

Mumbet was determined to try.

Mumbet's Declaration of Independence tells her story for the first time in a picture book biography, and her brave actions set a milestone on the road toward ending slavery in the United States.

Q & A:

What was the spark that ignited this book?

It’s not the first time that research on one book led to another. This time, I was researching Mercy Otis Warren, who dared to speak and write about politics during the American Revolution, for Write On, Mercy! The Secret Life of Mercy Otis Warren (Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, 2012.) Books on the status of women in 18th century America mentioned Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, a Massachusetts slave. These two women made a complementary pair: Mercy, well-educated, prosperous, white; and Mumbet, an illiterate slave.  Both had the intelligence and strength of character to defy convention. Mumbet dared to sue her owner in court for her freedom and won, thereby setting a judicial precedent that led to all 5000 Massachusetts slaves being freed. I love discovering little-known women whose stories should be told.

What nugget of craft advice has been especially helpful to you? 

When I choose a subject for a biography, I look for a way to connect with her or him.  Reading primary sources may do it.  The 175-page online oral history interviews with Jeannette Rankin – for Jeannette Rankin: Political Pioneer (Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek 2007) – gave me that connection. For Mercy Otis Warren and Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, it was visiting the places they lived in Massachusetts. Mercy in Plymouth, Mumbet in the Berkshires. Visiting the neighborhoods and houses where they lived, walking the streets, seeing the same views of rivers and mountains gave me a feel for their lives that books and articles didn’t. Roaming around the City of London was essential for writing my middle grade historical novel, All the World’s A Stage: A Novel in Five Acts (Holiday House, 2011.) Besides, all that travel is tax-deductible!

How did attending VCFA affect your writing life?

 What a question! Let me count the ways.

• It vastly expanded my understanding of writing.

• It gave me a credential that impresses editors

• It introduced me to the faculty – some of the best writers in the field

• It took me to Vermont in January and July, an ‘interesting’ contrast to winter and summer in southern California.

• The residencies provided a level of intellectual stimulation and camaraderie that I’ve not experienced anywhere else.

•  And perhaps best of all, my class (July 2000) provided me with an ongoing network of amazing writers who have become friends and distinguished colleagues.  We’re in touch daily online.

Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence  by Gretchen Woelfle, ill. by Alix Delinois (Carolrhoda) Pub date: Feb. 1, 2014


Blog: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids ( Finding Mumbet:

PW starred review

Blog review

Topics: nonfiction, Carolrhoda Books, 2014 release, picture book, biography, Gretchen Woelfle

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