Saturday, April 30, 2016

#AtoZChallenge: Z is for Zachariah OHora #AuthorApril

Dear Kim,

We made it! Today is officially the last day of our #AtoZChallenge. I can't think of a better friend to end the challenge with than Zachariah Ohora.

Z is for Zachariah Ohora

We had the pleasure of working with Zachariah on characters this afternoon. He walked us through the creative process that he uses in his wildly popular books. (I don't know about your house, but Momo rules in our house.) It was amazing to learn about his artistic choices and see the way that he infuses quirks and cool into his characters.

Hey, it's MOMO!

Zachariah, and the talented members of the Eastern PA SCBWI, were kind enough to give our #AuthorApril and #AtoZChallenge the ultimate end...


"Z" END


Congratulations, Kim! We made it to Z.

Much Love,
Alison

LAST DAY TO VOTE FOR SCBWI CRYSTAL KITE

Today's the final day to vote for SCBWI Crystal Kite Award 2016...you have until 5 pm Pacific Standard Time. Val Jone's Who Wants Broccoli, Donna Galanti Joshua and the Lightning Road, Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora Wolfie the Bunny. Share the Eastern PA LOVE!

Friday, April 29, 2016

#AuthorApril: Y is for Malala Yousafzai #AtoZChallenge


Dear Alison,

The other day I wrote about Walter Dean Myers and my reading relationship with my son.Today, I want to talk about my reading relationship with my middle daughter. My eleven year old is a voracious reader. During our most recent visit to BAM (Books A Million), she planned to purchase I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzi with her own hard-earned money.






My mother, who had read the adult version with her book group, worried about the graphic imagery projected in I Am Malala and the impact it would have on my daughter. After my bubble-wrapping dilemma with my son and Monster, I decided to let my daughter proceed with her purchase--I say that as if I had a choice. My children are stubborn with strong minds of their own--I'm proud of that. She bought I Am Malala, Young Readers Edition.

She read it in two days. She wept. She laughed. She wept some more. When she finished, she rushed home and told me all about the book, then shoved it in my hand and said, "You have to read this--NOW!" (No gross under-parenting here--I've read Khaled Hosseini, Salman Rushdie, and many other books depicting not only the violence of the Middle East but also the love and joy and beauty of the people and the region. I also knew Malala's story.)

Malala Yousafzi gave my daughter a voice in a way I could not. She gave her passion for school and for life in a way I could not. My daughter finally understands the privilege given to her and her classmates--the privilege to be a girl and to be able to go to school, the privilege to go to sleep at night without being woken up by gunfire and bombs, the privilege to walk freely into the school without fear of being shot.

I could not have selected a better role model for her. Malala Yousafzi says herself, "I am a good girl--I always have been. But now, I must be really good. So I take extra care with what I say and do. No one is telling me to limit myself like this. If anything, the teachers here are always encouraging me to be free, to feel at home. But I'm not really free to be like other girls my age--because of the way the world sees me. When you have such a public role and so many people counting on you, I believe you must always act in the way people expect of you."

Malala Yousafzi understands what it means to be something bigger than herself. She is a movement. An advocate for education for everyone. She created the Malala Fund. You too, can join in the conversation at #WithMalala on Twitter.

Image result for malala yousafzai

I find Malala's shooting ironic. The Taliban wanted to silence her. They gave her a voice instead.

Alison, I leave you with this quote from I Am Malala. I call it Malala Wisdom: "What I'm finding is that we have much more in common than we have different, and every day we learn something new from one another."

The Letter Y is the end of my journey in the #AtoZChallenge and #AuthorApril. I consider it a privilege to end with Malala Yousafzai.

Sharing the writer love one letter at a time,
Kim



Thursday, April 28, 2016

#AtoZChallenge: X is for X: A Novel authors, Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon #AuthorApril

Dear Kim,

Thank you for your post yesterday. Monster is a powerful book. You wrote, "Monster will haunt you and cause you to examine your perception of your actions towards those charged with a crime regardless of the verdict." Today's #AuthorApril writers also created a novel that examines a broken system and a man's search for himself. 

X: A Novel makes her readers question the choices that Malcolm X made in his teen years as much as we question the system that was supposed to protect him, yet failed him in such monumental ways. 

X is for X: A Novel authors, Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolm X's daughter and author, and celebrated young adult author, Kekla Magoon weave fact and fiction into this emotional story of what young Malcolm's early life might have been, from Michigan to Massachusetts to New York and back again. A few months after the book's release and a few months before the Coretta Scott King author honor for X, Kekla Magoon sat a few feet away from me talking about the book. She spoke about working with Ilyasah Shabazz and how their collaboration resulted in this intimate piece of fiction. 


This year's Coretta Scott King honor was the first of many awards that the co-authors would earn for their beautiful words. A Walter honor from the Walter Dean Myers committee for outstanding children's literature followed, and then soon after, an NAACP Image Award for Teen Fiction was awarded to the pair.

The language in X rolls off the tongue like poetry. We're treated to phrases like: "The music soars; it aches; it glows. Sour notes turn sweet, and rhythms of the night thrum deeper and deeper until every beat of the song becomes a part of me." We are treated to his nights with jazz and with girls. His nights alone in thought and his needs, which are plentiful. 

As a teacher, the book offers so much. A study of language. A study of story. And also, I hope, a conversation about choice and privilege, about change and action. Though fiction, this story lays the foundation for a study into Malcolm X's legacy.

X: A Novel has a teacher guide to accompany the book developed by its publisher, Candlewick Press. The guide offers a range of questions, not for paper-pencil testing, but to start a discussion about the book with students. To access the teacher's guide, click here.

Happy #AuthorApril!
Much Love,
Alison

New Adult Scavenger Hunt with A.G. Howard


NewASH Banner 3
Welcome to New Adult Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was inspired as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
Go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are THREE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the TEAM RED but there is also a blue team and a purple team (but we all know TEAM RED is the best) for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
Team Blue
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page.
***THE SCAVENGER HUNT***
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my lucky book number. Collect the lucky book numbers of all the authors on Team Blue, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 26th, at noon Eastern Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


LET THE HUNT BEGIN!


*****MEET A.G. HOWARD*****




A.G. Howard is the NYT bestselling author of the Young Adult SPLINTERED Series -- an urbanized gothic Alice in Wonderland spinoff, -- and the upcoming YA Phantom of the Opera spinoff, ROSEBLOOD. 

Now, A.G. brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. THE ARCHITECT OF SONG is the first installment in her lush and romantic New Adult “Haunted Hearts Legacy” series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as -- haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts -- they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness. 


Visit A.G. Howard at her site.

On this leg of the scavenger hunt, the exclusive content is the book trailer and official cover reveal for THE ARCHITECT OF SONG.




A.G. Howard's personal note: Although the lush red dress worn by my heroine, Juliet, on the cover never makes it into the pages of the book (since she's in mourning), it sets the perfect gothic tone for the Victorian era along with the underlying mystery and danger Juliet must confront to first find herself, and in the end, find truth and lasting love.


THE ARCHITECT OF SONG COVER REVEAL!!...

Ever since a childhood tragedy, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton. 

Suspecting the architect played a role in “Hawk’s” untimely demise, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques to avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate. There, rumors abound of the architect’s violent tendencies. Yet each moment Juliet spends with Lord Thornton, he’s charming and gentle, even respectful of her deafness. 

She soon finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter that serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As the sinister truth behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate comes to light, she’s lured into his web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

As A.G. Howard's contribution to the wonderful book-package prize for the red team, She's included a Collector's Edition Splintered / Unhinged Flip Arc:


(Contains full Splintered story and one chapter of Unhinged) 


In addition, she's offering up an extra giveaway of her own.

Below are the prizes up for grabs:

1- Hinged antique locket with detailed rose embossing, similar to the necklace that plays an important role in Juliet's story


1- 8" X 11" fine art print signed by Rebecca Sinz, reminiscent of Juliet wearing her mourning weeds in the Winter Garden

1-Signed poster featuring the official ARCHITECT artwork by Nathalia Suellen.


For a shot at these three prizes (three separate winners -- INTL) enter the rafflecopter below.


Good luck on the rest of the hunt, and A.G. Howard looks forward to revealing THE ARCHITECT OF SONG's playlist soon, with more prizes to share! Here's the link in case you want to learn 
more: A.G. HOWARD


Awesome! I’m adding to my TBR, now. How about you? And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, A.G. Howard, and more!

To enter, you need to know that my lucky book number is 8 .

Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on TEAM RED and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

***CONTINUE THE HUNT***
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next TEAM RED author, S.D. Wesley (link)

GOOD LUCK!!


Write on,
Kim

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#AuthorApril: W is for Walter Dean Myers #AtoZChallenge

Dear Alison,

Thank you for your post about Vera B. Williams. Her last art show in Narrowsburg, NY left a lasting impression on me. One I know I've shared with you. Vera's scribbles and doodles and daydreams remind me of my middle daughter. My eleven year old's notebooks, folders, and walls (yes, walls too) are as much as part of her identity as a creative as her hands and feet. At her root, she imagines and reimagines worlds, and we, as parents, let her.

But your post spoke to me in another way. 

I love how you read to your son each night, and it reminds me of my own son, now thirteen and the evolution of our reading relationship. Sure, my son still sits and listens to the picture books I read to my daughters but I no longer read his books aloud to him. We react to them instead. Sort of a mother/son book club.  

When he was in fifth grade, he brought home Kick by Walter Dean Myers from the school library. 


Image result for walter dean myers books kick













He soon developed Walter Dean Myers fever. There wasn't a Walter Dean Myers book in the elementary school library, he didn't read, and if someone else had the nerve to check it out before he read it--well, let's just say he mastered the evil eye. We bought books from the bookstore, we ordered online, we went to local library, and in all these places including our own bookshelf, Walter Dean Myer's Monster tempted him to pick it up and start reading. 

Image result for walter dean myers books monster













I wanted him to wait--as an eleven year old, I didn't feel like he was ready--but honestly, I think it was me who wasn't ready for him to see this part of the world. I wanted to keep him bubble wrapped and surrounded by pigs and elephants and giraffes who jump around in joyful jubilation. I struggled with indecision I wanted to do right by him and the reality of our world. When he turned 12, I let him read it.

Monster haunted him for a long time and for good reason. The story of Steve Harman’s incarceration and the trial that decided whether he could return to his parent’s home and remain the budding film student and son or become one of the monsters found guilty for shooting a man and spending the next 25 years behind bars strikes a chord in even the most innocent of readers because Steve Harman could be any one of them. 

At 16, Steve’s entire life is ahead of him. He has possibility. He has promise. He has potential. Then he's identified as the lookout man for a robbery that went bad and charged with murder. He places his trust, his life, in the hands of his lawyer, Ms. O’Brien. A white woman who he's fairly certain thinks he's a monster.

To cope with the stress of the trial and the daily life of a prisoner, Steve creates a movie script complete with film editing details. The movie script format of Monster is appealing to readers. One, because it's easy to read. Two, because the story is always moving forward even when the main character is sitting in a jail cell or in the courtroom. 

Monster examines the perceptions Steve develops through the course of the trial. He believes he is a monster, a monster clumped with other monsters. His perception of himself grows increasingly disjointed as the trial drags on. This loss of self cannot be undone by a Not Guilty verdict. 

Monster will haunt you and cause you to examine your perception of your actions towards those charged with a crime regardless of the verdict. The tale Walter Dean Myers wove is a complicated, tangled web. 


Sharing the writer love one letter at a time,

Kim