EngiNerds on the SSYRA List!

This morning I learned that EngiNerds is on the Sunshine State Young Readers Award list for Grades 3-5!

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It’s a huge honor, and also a bit surreal to see my book on there along with so many that I’m a fan of! A big, heartfelt THANK YOU to those who nominated my book, and thank you to all the young Florida readers who will be reading and considering EngiNerds for the award!

~ Jarrett

EngiNerds is a Blue Nile Book Award Nominee!

This morning I got a note from a librarian in Lusaka, Zambia informing me that EngiNerds has been selected as one of four nominees for the Blue Nile Book Award! Here’s a screenshot of a tweet that went out shortly after:

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As you might be able to tell from those glimpses of the other book covers, my bots are keeping some mighty fine company — Ben Clanton’s Peanut Butter and Jelly (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #3), Elana K. Arnold’s A Boy Called Bat, and Aaron Blabey’s The Bad Guys (#1).

And here’s a little more info about the award itself:

The Nile Book Awards were started in 2009 between the librarians Clare Kybird, from the Khartoum International Community School, and Cathy Kreutter, of the International School of Uganda. For a number of years it was just the two schools but then in 2015, Jeanette Brooker (who had replaced Claire as librarian at the Khartoum International Community School) invited schools who touched the Nile to participate. Since then, the Nile Book Awards have continued to grow past the borders of the Nile with a number of schools in east and southern Africa participating. We hope to include more International Schools in other regions of Africa join us in the coming years.

THANK YOU to the readers, both young and old, who nominated EngiNerds!

~ Jarrett

Get to Know… Raúl the Third!

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My name is… Raúl the Third.

I am an… artist. I write and draw picture books and graphic novels.

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¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market hits shelves tomorrow, April 2nd!

As a kid, I was… really fast and loved going on adventures with my two brothers in the ditches that ran alongside our apartment complex and throughout the city.

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A spread from ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market.

Writing is… a way for me to begin planning what I want to draw.

Drawing is… the language I communicate with best.

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Some of Raul’s first drawings for ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market, shared on his Instagram feed.

Reading is… answers, inspiration and a great way to prepare for your future adventures.

Books are… stacks of inspiration lying around my house.

Did you know… that Ladislao Biro invented the ballpoint pen when he saw kids playing with marbles on a rainy day? He noticed a marble roll into a puddle and as it did it left a trail of water as it made it’s way down the path. Inspiration can come from anywhere!

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Some original artwork from Raul and Cathy Camper’s Lowriders Blast from the Past (all of which was produced using ballpoint pens, like those pictured) from an exhibit at minni., an exhibit space in Boston’s South End.

You can find me… usually at my desk drawing pictures or on instagram at raulthethird.info or www.raulthethird.com.

Get to Know… Melissa Ostrom!

My name is… Melissa (or Mel or Lissa).

I am a… mom of two, writer, English teacher, potter, passionate reader, enthusiastic baker, loyal friend, cookbook collector, infrequent gardener, and great fan of long walks down country roads.

As a kid, I was… in my own little world. Not much has changed.

Writing is… like lucid dreaming and precisely what I love to do in the wee hours of the morning when my family is asleep and the moon still shines in the sky and the coffee is hot, fresh, sweet, and creamy.

Reading is… vicarious adventuring, solitary, connecting. A good opportunity to practice caring. The best way to learn to write. An edifying, transformative, transporting pleasure. And an addiction that is practically free of bad side effects.

Books are… life-changing, life-affirming, beacons, and warnings.

Did you know… I don’t just read widely; I like to write widely, too? YA fiction is my first love, but I relish books for people of all ages and have crafted many short stories that have made their way into various literary journals. I think it’s good for me to challenge my scope. Years before I ever found an agent or finagled a publication, I wrote six novels that covered the genre spectrum, from psychological thriller to romance. The Beloved Wild, my debut novel, is historical YA fiction. I’m currently in the process of revising a YA fantasy series about a fictional land in crisis, six scattered teens in grave danger, and a binding spell that goes awry. I’m also excited to have a second book coming out on March 26, 2019. It’s a contemporary YA, entitled Unleaving.

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You can find me… on Twitter (@melostrom) or through my website http://www.melissaostrom.com/.

Get to Know… Sarah Aronson!

Hi, my name is… Sarah Aronson. Family legend has it that my mom was going to name me Sally (a more modern version of Sarah), but when I was born, I screamed and yelled and my face turned bright red (maybe because she was going to name me Sally). Bottom line, in spite of her realization that my name (sort of) rhymed, she changed her mind and named me Sarah. She figured I’d change it when I got married.

I like my name! (Especially when people roll my R’s.) I have met two other Sarah Aronsons! The most famous Sarah Aronson was a Jewish spy who worked with the British during WWI.

Over the years, I’ve been introduced as Sarah Arson. Or Sarah Arnoson (on a book spine). In high school, friends called me the Beak. Now I love being known as the author of Just Like Rube Goldberg and The Wish List series!

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True story: When I was little, I desperately wanted a nickname. My first choice was GaGa, because I liked drawing G’s and A’s. (Yep. Go ahead. Call me Old Lady Gaga.)

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I am a… mom, a wife, a daughter, sister, friend, and of course, a writer. I’m a person who loves the idea of making something out of nothing, of playing with words. I find ideas when walking by Lake Michigan, or eavesdropping, or reading, or inviting wonder into my life. Confession: this wasn’t always easy for me. If you have heard my lecture, The Power of Play, you know that I pledged to write without expectations—to embrace play—and now I am much happier. And more productive. When I get a great idea, I open my sketchbook and explore!

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I am also a teacher of other writers—a great honor. I love working with other writers, helping them understand their stories and helping them see how play and intuition can help them reimagine their characters and plots. It’s the best part of every day, and I am proud of the writers that have taken my classes.

I am also a person who likes to ride her bike. I live in Chicago, and there are no hills, so riding a bike is easy peasy lemon squeezy!

As a kid, I was… so impatient for everything. (I still don’t like waiting!) I signed up to play piano in a talent show—before I’d ever taken a lesson. My mom would tell you I was born a story teller (one degree separated from truth), and that I always had too much gusto. My dad would probably add that I liked being the star of the show. (I got that from him!)

Writing is… fun/hard/easy/a joy. Writing is rewriting. Writing is a search for a story. Writing is inspiration, intuition, and intellect. It’s deleting the whole manuscript, to find the truth. Writing is how I get to know myself and the world around me.

Reading is… the bridge to everything! When I read, the world is more knowable. I become braver. I can put my feet in someone else’s shoes. I am more confident.

Books are… the building blocks of a better tomorrow! Readers are my heroes!

Did you know… that my I worked in a library in high school? That I also worked for Jack La Lanne? (My job history is a bit like a Rube Goldberg machine: I have also been a physical therapist, religious school educator, bookseller, office assistant, and substitute teacher.)

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I have loved Rube Goldberg machines ever since I saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

I am a big believer in PLAY! It’s the way! I think there is room for all stories! All we have to do is listen.

You can find me…

In the living room. (My office is too messy right now).

At the Brothers K coffee shop.

Eating ramen.

At hot yoga.

In a bookstore.

By email: sarah.n.aronson@gmail.com

On Twitter: @sarah_aronson

On Insta: @sarahnaronson

 

 

 

Get to Know… Rebecca Donnelly!

My name is… Rebecca Donnelly. I go by Rebecca even though my Twitter username says Becca because the other Rebecca Donnellys got there first.

I am a… librarian in my heart of hearts. I’m one at a library and in the files of the New York State Ed Department, too, but in my heart is where it counts. I remember answering basic reference and reader’s advisory questions at my first library job, on an Air Force base in the Florida panhandle, and thinking, This! This is what I’m supposed to be doing with all that useless information in my head and my undefined need to make people happy. So far, it’s worked out pretty well.

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Rebecca’s first novel, HOW TO STAGE A CATASTROPHE.

As a kid, I was… great. And I’m not saying that to be conceited. All kids are great, no matter what, because they’re kids and they’re figuring out how to negotiate this weird world we’ve created. That’s the thing we have to remember if we’re invested in their future. Every kid has needs and wants, quirks and foibles, moments of genius and moments they’d rather forget. We write for kids to reflect the reality of their lives, but we start with the premise that every kid is important and completely amazing.

Writing is… a gift. I don’t know how better to put it. Ever since I discovered that I could write words, I’ve wanted to write books. It took a while before I figured out how to do it decently, but most things worth doing take practice.

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Rebecca’s upcoming novel, THE FRIENDSHIP LIE (publishes August 1, 2019).

Reading is… also a gift. One of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read is Alberto Manguel’s A History of Reading. He goes into the development of silent reading. Can you imagine that silent reading, where all the comprehension happens between your eyes and your brain, had to develop from a culture of reading aloud, to others or to yourself? When we began to write, we didn’t immediately begin to read silently. We murmured as we read aloud to ourselves. Reading silently was seen as a mark of untrustworthiness–how could someone possibly be reading and understanding a text if there was no visible proof? And what might you be reading, that you didn’t want to read it aloud? Silent readers are rebels and even potential heretics in the historical view–a proud tradition.

Books are… good friends, terrible pillows, decent coasters, and some of my favorite objects on Earth.

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Rebecca’s picture book debut, CATS ARE A LIQUID, illustrated by Misa Saburi (publishes October 8, 2019).

Did you know… that your public library probably offers a service you don’t know about? I used to run a teeny little rural library, and we lent out wifi hotspots and canning supplies. Go strike up a conversation with the desk staff at your library and ask what they lend besides books and DVDs.

You can find me… on Twitter @_becca_donnelly, or for more formal communication, through my website, rebeccadonnellywrites.com. And I hope you do!