the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

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!

publishing

 

anywherebutparadise

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.

 

 

  

love

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

Kelly Bingham and CIRCLE, SQUARE, MOOSE!

Posted by Tami Brown on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 @ 07:09 AM
We're welcoming Kelly Bingham-- and her lovely pushy pal Moose at the Launch Pad today. Kelly is a January 2004 graduate of VCFA- a member of The Zoo. How appropriate for the author of two great picture books that feature a whole menagerie-- lead by our friend Moose! Kelly is a former Disney storyboard artist and director. She lives in Georgia with her husband and children.

describe the imageMoose loves shapes.  Circles! Squares! Triangles! Hooray!   So when Moose mysteriously finds himself in a shape book (oh, please don't ask) he is the very picture of a happy Moose.  Life is great!  
Until, well, until he wrecks everything.  
Now, don't you worry!  
Zebra will handle it.  
Zebra always fixes Moose's messes.  
And what thanks does Zebra get? 
Really....does anyone ever think about Zebra?

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

The best piece of advice I've had was given to me by Jane Resh Thomas, who was my advisor during VC.  She said "trust in the process."   Over the years I have come to realize that I do have a process, and that it is unique to me, and that it is pointless to compare myself to others and their way of doing things.  I often apply arbitrary expectations on myself and then get frustrated or worried when the words do not come as fast as I randomly imagined, or the revisions drag on, or things are murky and hard.  Jane's simple advice has done wonders to keep me focused, rather than waste time getting all angst-ridden about my work.  There IS a process, and I have to trust in the ups and downs of that process, knowing that there IS light--and a finished book--at the end of the tunnel.

Tell us about how you sold this book. What was it like when you found out? Do you have an agent? Were there a lot of revisions along the way?

This was a unique situation, in that I already had sold and published Z IS FOR MOOSE with Greenwillow. The book sold really well and got a lot of positive attention.  Still, imagine my shock when my editor contacted me and offered me a contract to write two more Moose books.  A two-book deal was something I had heard about (with great awe) while a student at VC. I mentally put it on my "bucket list" as something I wanted to have happen some day.  And to get this e-mail...it was a proud, happy moment.  And it came late at night while I was in bed--I was getting ready to read a book and go to sleep, but decided to check my e-mail one last time on my phone.  And there was the offer!  I told my husband and we both set our books aside and just stared at each other in stunned happiness.  After that I was too wired to go to sleep!

I did not have an agent at that time, but I got an agent very soon afterwards, who negotiated the contract for me.  She is wonderful and I am very happy and grateful to her, to my editor, and to Paul O. Zelinsky, the amazing illustrator of the Moose books.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled as research for your writing?

I had to research lots of gruesome things for my novel, SHARK GIRL.  I remember reading lots of accounts of shark attacks, which were awful.  And looking at pictures, which was also awful.  But I guess the weirdest thing I googled was, "How much blood loss before you are in a coma?"  Because my character needed to be put into a coma and be near death, but not actually die.  It was not the cheeriest research material in the world.

Who were your advisors at VCFA?

Ellen Howard, Liza Ketchum, Alison McGhee, and Jane Resh-Thomas.

What advice would you give to a prospective VCFA student?

I wish I'd understood ahead of time how precious and singular the experience would be.  You will never have another time like this in your life.  When I go back and visit, it's wonderful, but nothing is the same as when you're a student there.  Savor every minute.  Buy all the recordings of every lecture, save every handout, etc.  Just put them aside and know that someday you'll revisit them and they will be just what you need to hear as you work on your books.  Make friends while you're there and keep those friendships strong, because they will be priceless to you.  Writing is a lonely business, particularly once you graduate.  Having friends in the same boat is a wonderful thing.  I'd also suggest that new students go into the program with permission to relax and experiment with different forms of writing.  Don't view the two years as a make-or-break on one particular project.  This is a time of learning.  Embrace that time and learn all you can. Don't argue with your advisors--just listen.  They know a lot that you have yet to learn.  Work hard but have fun along the way--go to the dances, the auction, the cafeteria, etc.   Understand that some people will be published before graduating and some won't.  It's not a competition.  Recognize how far you've come in your writing and be proud, and keep the big picture in mind.  What you learn in these two years will last you forever.
Thanks so much for dropping by, Kelly! Moose's second book is already collecting stars-- our astrological prediction is that it will be just as successful as the first!
CIRCLE, SQUARE, MOOSE was published by Greenwillow/Harpercollins and hits bookstores on Sept. 23, 2014
illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Topics: 2014 release, picture book, Kelly Bingham, concept book, HarperCollins, Greenwillow

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

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

wolf silhoette moon background

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!

senorpancho vampirebaby cowboyup yeslets robotgobot penelopecrumb psbeeleven thevinebasket describe the image parched formerlysharkgirl 45pounds

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!

*   *   *

 ScandalousSisterhood

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).


cvr9781442412675 9781442412675 lg

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!

 

sparklespa magicmakeover 215x320

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!

describe the image

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

*   *   *

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! 

*   *   *

KPPrize

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

Posts by category

Subscribe to the Blog

WCYA AUTHOR BOOK RELEASES

  • CIRCLE, SQUARE, MOOSE
    CIRCLE, SQUARE, MOOSE
  • THE COLOR OF MY WORDS
    THE COLOR OF MY WORDS
  • Purple Nails and Puppy Tails
    Purple Nails and Puppy Tails
  • Petal and Poppy
    Petal and Poppy
  • Mumbet's Declaration of Independence
    Mumbet's Declaration of Independence
  • Mogie: The Heart of the House
    Mogie: The Heart of the House
  • Map Art Lab
    Map Art Lab
  • Makeover Magic
    Makeover Magic
  • The Life of Ty
    The Life of Ty
  • Jubilee!
    Jubilee!
  • Jack the Castaway
    Jack the Castaway
  • Hope Is a Ferris Wheel
    Hope Is a Ferris Wheel
  • Tap Tap Boom Boom
    Tap Tap Boom Boom
  • Skin and Bones
    Skin and Bones
  • Signed, Skype Harper
    Signed, Skype Harper
  • Revolution
    Revolution
  • Read, Write, and Recite Free Verse Poetry
    Read, Write, and Recite Free Verse Poetry
  • A Girl Called Fearless
    A Girl Called Fearless
  • All That Glitters
    All That Glitters
  • The Art of Goodbye
    The Art of Goodbye
  • Blue Iguana
    Blue Iguana
  • Caminar
    Caminar
  • Chasing the Milky Way
    Chasing the Milky Way
  • The Devil's Temptation
    The Devil's Temptation
  • Divided We Fall
    Divided We Fall
  • Follow Your Heart
    Follow Your Heart
  • Grandfather Gandhi
    Grandfather Gandhi
  • Strange Sweet Song
    Strange Sweet Song

Share your news

ALUMNI FACULTY CURRENT STUDENTS

Follow us