Get to Know… Liesl Shurtliff!

My name is… Liesl Shurtliff. Rhymes with Diesel or Weasel. A soft S is the German pronunciation. A hard S is the American. I grew up with the American version, but switched to the German pronunciation when I married my husband, who speaks German and so always pronounced my name as LEE-zul. My last name is sometimes misspronounced as Shurtliss. Yikes.

I am a… lover of knowledge and learning. I love robust conversations and debates on any given subject. I love to hear other people’s opinions, interests, and expertise. Luckily, I live in a university neighborhood where just about everyone I know is an expert on somethingand so I meet a lot of fascinating people who are more than happy to converse with me and share their thoughts and knowledge. It’s great for character study! 

As a kid, I was… insecure, desperate for praise and acceptance, and a late bloomer. I struggled to learn how to read, which made me feel like I wasn’t all that smart. I eventually grew to enjoy reading and writing a great deal, but only when it was on my terms. I didn’t like to be assigned reading. My favorite books were always ones I chose on my own. I loved creating stories but didn’t want to share my writing or have it be critiqued or graded. Not much has changed, except I’m a little more a secure, more open to constructive criticism, and less desperate for praise and acceptance. (But still a little.) 

Writing is… my way of making sense of what’s going on both in the world and inside my head. I don’t truly know something until I can express it in words. Likewise, I don’t understand how I feel about anything until I write it down. I’ve been writing in a journal and making up my own stories since I was eight. It’s my therapy and my joy. It’s also really, really hard for me. You know those people who say their story just flowed out of them like water or came to them in a dream and they couldn’t stop writing for three months straight? I loathe those people.

Reading is… revolutionary and communal. When we read words written by another human, we take a piece of them into ourselves. We see and experience the world through their eyes. This helps us develop empathy, and empathy is revolutionary. 

Books are… worlds captured on paper, treasures and adventures you can take right in your home.  

Did you know… when I was born my parents wanted to name me Megan. As it happened, there were a few other baby girls born around the same time and they were all named…Megan. My parents decided they’d better choose something else. So they named me Liesl, which, as I said earlier, is German and also from The Sound of Music. (If you haven’t seen the film with Julie Andrews, please fill this hole in your life immediately.) I played the role of Liesl in my high school’s production of The Sound of Music, right when I was sixteen-going-on-seventeen! And that’s as close as I’ve gotten to experiencing what feels like fate.

You can find me… at Lake Michigan in Chicago. I run along the lakefront trail nearly every day and take a plunge at the end. It’s heaven. (Except in winter. Brrrrr!) If not there, you can visit my website at www.lieslshurtliff.com and @lieslshurtliff on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Ask Me What I’m Reading — Winter Edition!

THANK YOU again to everyone who supported my most recent round of fundraising campaigns by purchasing or sharing about my Ask Me What I’m Reading T-shirts and masks. I am STILL blown away by the success of the campaigns, which altogether raised nearly $17,000! Some of that money was donated to various organizations that work to improve kids’ book access in the United States and around the world, and some was used to purchase and send books directly to teachers and librarians whose budgets, this year, are in worse shape than ever. The latter work was done with the aid of the Clear the List project/hashtag, as well as my own efforts to support teachers’ and librarians’ local independent bookstores.

Shortly after the T-shirts and masks started shipping, I received a number of requests about putting the Ask Me What I’m Reading design on some cold-weather gear. So I once again worked with Custom Ink to put together a long-sleeve T-shirt and sweatshirt campaign. The campaign went live last week, and will be up for another week or so.

Please note that the crewneck sweatshirts come in youth sizes! And THANK YOU again to everyone who has shared and/or supported these efforts of mine. Together, we’ve been able to put a lot of books in a lot of kids’ hands!

~ Jarrett

Get to Know… Jake Burt!

My name is… Jacob Burt, but most folks call me Jake. 

I am a… children’s book author, fifth grade teacher, dad, husband, banjo player, ultimate frisbee enthusiast, gamer, and cinnamon roll aficionado. 

As a kid, I was… likely to be found in an arcade, shoveling quarters into a rigged Gauntlet console.

Writing is… my favorite thing to teach, because the moment a kid discovers her voice is the best magic there is.

Reading is… something I desperately wish I had more time to do; my author friends are churning out amazing stuff, and I want to read all of it!

Books are… still the single greatest escape.

Did you know… that CLEO PORTER AND THE BODY ELECTRIC is my first science fiction novel, based on the first pandemic I lived through? COVID is my second go-around with quarantine…

You can find me… in my classroom most days, but always on the web at www.jburtbooks.com, on Twitter @jburtbooks, or on Instagram at jburtbooks.

GEEGER is here!

Today’s the day!

Geeger the Robot Goes to School is officially here!

I have worked tremendously hard on this early chapter book series, striving to find the perfect balance of silly and (slightly) serious, comforting and challenging, entertaining and enlightening. I hope these books help get kids hooked on reading, and leave them feeling more confident in their abilities to get through and delve deeper into longer-form narratives.

You can find Geeger the Robot Goes to School wherever books are sold or loaned (and if you can’t, for some reason, just ask your bookseller and/or librarian to get a copy for you!), and you can already preorder the second book in the series, Geeger the Robot: Lost and Found, which hits shelves on January 5th, 2021.

And don’t forget that you can join me next Wednesday, September 30th, for the Geeger the Robot Goes to School virtual launch party! It’s being hosted by the Silver Unicorn Bookstore, and more information and the link to join can be found at the Silver Unicorn site or my APPEARANCES page.

Lastly: THANK YOU once again to everyone who preordered Geeger the Robot Goes to School, and THANK YOU to everyone who goes out and gets their hands on a copy today and beyond!

~ Jarrett

Get to Know… Karina Yan Glaser!

My name is… Karina Yan Glaser.

I am an… author, illustrator, mom, baker, cook, quilter, animal lover.

As a kid, I was… a BIG READER! (I still am!)

Writing is… an opportunity to share your story with the world.

Drawing is… a way to show everyone what the world looks like through your eyes.

Reading is… a gateway to people, places, cultures, feelings, and dreams.

Books are… currently all over my apartment. How many books do you think I have? I tried counting once but I forgot the number. It’s definitely in the thousands!

Did you know… the fourth book of the Vanderbeekers series is coming out on Tuesday, September 15th? I’m so excited to share what the Vanderbeekers have been up to!

You can find me…

Website: www.karinaglaser.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarinaYanGlaser

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karinaisreadingandwriting/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarinaYanGlaser/

GEEGER is coming!

My next book, Geeger the Robot Goes to School — the first book in the Geeger the Robot series — comes out just one week from tomorrow, and there are a couple things I want to share with you about that.

The first is that I’m hosting a (virtual) launch party with one of the many wonderful independent bookstores in my area: the Silver Unicorn in Acton, MA.

The event will take place on Wednesday, September 30th, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm EST. I plan to share a bit about the book and its creation, read a brief passage, do a drawing demo, and answer any questions guests have for me. Want to join? Head to the Silver Unicorn’s EVENTS page, find my event, and click the link provided on the bottom of the event description.

The second thing I want to tell you about is that I’m doing a preorder giveaway with the Silver Unicorn. So, if you order the book between RIGHT NOW and next week, when the book officially hits shelves, you will be entered to win a PRIZE. You probably want to know what the prize is, huh? It’s a custom work of art by yours truly! I will work directly with the winner to conceive of and create a work of art specially and specifically for them (or someone that they wish to get some artwork for).

If you want to enter the preorder giveaway, find Geeger the Robot Goes to School on the Silver Unicorn site (or just click HERE) and purchase your copy. The bookstore is keeping track of orders, and will randomly select a preorder-er as the winner of the prize. I will announce the winner at the launch party on the 30th, and will then get in touch to start the art-making process.

And to all of you who have preordered or plan on doing so: THANKS! I cannot wait to share this book with you. I hope you all like Geeger, and that you’ll stick around to read about all his adventures at Amblerville Elementary School!

~ Jarrett

New T-Shirts — and Masks!

A couple weeks ago, I shared the drawing below, and mentioned that I was thinking of using it for a new T-shirt — one that could spark bookish conversations wherever one wore it.

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The response was incredible. So I got right to work with CustomInk setting up a fundraiser.

shirts

Amazingly, within 24 hours, over 200 T-shirts were sold. (If you want one, click HERE to get to the fundraising page.) And almost as soon as the fundraiser went live, people starting asking if I could get my art on a mask. Fortunately, CustomInk recently began making masks. And so I got to work with them setting up a fundraiser for those.

facemasks.jpg

I shared THIS fundraiser yesterday morning, and as of this post — less than 24 hours later! — over 250 masks have been sold. (If you want one, click HERE to get to the fundraising page.) I’m blown away, and beyond grateful for the encouragement and support that I continue to receive from you all. Together, we’ve done a great deal of good.

THANK YOU.

~ Jarrett

Get to Know… Adrianna Cuevas!

ACuevasAuthorPhoto.jpg

My name is… “What’s for dinner?” No, that’s not right… “Where’s my PE shirt?” That can’t be it either. “Mom!” Well, kind of, but only for the last twelve years. I don’t suppose my husband and son would agree to “She Who Must Be Catered To And Obeyed.” One can only hope…

I am a… teller of fart jokes, baker of pastelitos, kayaker of Texas rivers, and wrangler of house pets. Sometimes I even manage to write stories.

As a kid, I was… in Miami, living almost entirely in my imagination while I consumed vast quantities of Cuban food. Now I’m in Texas, living almost entirely in my imagination while I consume vast quantities of Cuban food.

Writing is… how I preserve my family history, show my son that kids like him can be heroes, and put all the worlds and characters swirling around in my brain to good use. It is somehow miraculously accomplished while listening to both K-pop playlists and my son explain the deep intricacies of Minecraft.

Reading is… a way to escape and discover new worlds, new people, and new experiences. And it’s everywhere! Novels, comics, graphic novels, webtoons, manuals, encyclopedias… I even read a really fascinating bottle of face wash the other day.

Books are… FREAKING AMAZING! Like, seriously, don’t you walk into a bookstore or library and think “Holy crap!” Because I do. Some books that recently made me lose my minimal chill are Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera, In the Role of Brie Hutchens by Nicole Melleby, the 13th Street chapter book series by David Bowles, and A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi.

Did you know… that the gastric-brooding frog from Australia gives birth through its mouth? This was easily one of my favorite animal facts I learned while researching The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez. It’s horrifically fascinating and I both want to and really don’t want to try to picture it in my head.

Copy of book cover

You can find me… on Twitter (@acuevaswrites) sharing equal parts books news and silly things my son says, and on Instagram (@adriannacuevas) sharing stacks of books I pray I’ll have time to read as well as recipes I’ve attempted to varying success.

“Welcome, Geeger!”

GEEGER THE ROBOT GOES TO SCHOOL hits shelves in less than two months, and more reviews are rolling in! Here’s some of what Kirkus Reviews had to say about the book:

Geeger Kirkus promo.JPG

If you want to check out Kirkus’s full review of the book, you can do so here!

As always, preordering is HUGELY appreciated. And if you decide to preorder GEEGER THE ROBOT GOES TO SCHOOL and/or GEEGER THE ROBOT LOST AND FOUND, I highly encourage you to do so from your local independent bookstore. If you don’t have one in your community, consider using IndieBound.com or Bookshop.org. And if you want your books signed and personalized by me, you can always order from MY local indie, Porter Square Books!

THANK YOU!

~ Jarrett