Archive for January, 2011


Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Today marks the publication of my very very first board book.  The art is sweet as hell, and the colors are mouthwatering.

Which is good, because in my experience, board books mostly get chewed on, right?


Some nibbles, some bits…

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Just checking in, to post some thing s about some things that have happened!

I did a little interview this week, with my amazing friend Julianna, in which I discuss faith, writing, love, and vomit.  You might like it!  Here’s a quote:  “I just need to get through the work in front of me, because I have to believe that what I’m doing has value, no matter how hard or frustrating or covered in vomit it might be.”

Penny has gotten some great reviews lately! Here’s one, at Girl Knows Books!

Here’s another, at Barnes and Noble Book Clubs

Here’s a third, at Madigan Reads!

And here’s a fourth, from Alaska!  The Juneau Empire!

Meanwhile, Baxter is a Sydney Taylor Notable Book!

And over at Kveller, I’ve shared my Not-so-Jewish Birth Story.

What’s up with you?

Could you write a fabulous GLBT Jewish picture book???

Friday, January 21st, 2011


As someone interested in seeing more and more and more innovative Jewish picture books… and as someone interested in seeing better GLBT books for kids…  I’m delighted to repost this, from the Keshet site!

Sounds like a great opportunity for someone to break into the picture book biz.


Announcing Keshet’s Jewish Children’s Book Writing Contest!

In response to numerous comments from gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender parents and allies about the lack Jewish children’s books that include GLBT families or characters, we are launching the Keshet Jewish Children’s Book Writing Contest.

Keshet is seeking manuscripts of 800 – 1000 words for a fictional Jewish children’s picture book with a GLBT family or characters. We’d like the story to be of interest not just to GLBT families but to the larger Jewish community, so the storyline needs to be engaging, funny, or surprising in some way, not didactic. The story should have a clear, clever and interesting narrative plot with universal themes and Jewish content. We’re not looking for a story about what it’s like to live in a gay Jewish family, but rather a book with one or more members of a GLBT Jewish family as the central character(s) in a great story. We welcome stories that show ethnic diversity as well as diversity of family structure.

The manuscripts will be evaluated by a committee of parents, educators, children’s librarians, and a children’s book publisher. The author of the winning manuscript will receive a prize of $250 and the possibility of having their book published.

Please submit an electronic copy of the manuscript in a Word document to by April 15, 2011. Illustrations for manuscripts are not necessary or desired.

The contest winner will be announced in early May. The winner will be notified separately by the publisher if his/her manuscript is chosen for publication.

Please contact Keshet director of Education Andrea Jacobs with any questions or 617-524-9227.

Keshet is a national grassroots organization that works for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Jews in Jewish life. Led and supported by GLBT Jews and straight allies, Keshet offers resources, trainings, and technical assistance to create inclusive Jewish communities nationwide.

Last of the snow days…

Monday, January 17th, 2011

It was a quiet day at the house.  The squirrels were snoozing…

But not for long…


Monday, January 10th, 2011

Deep breath.

Here goes.

This is the cover of my next book, Bigger Than a Bread Box. MY NEXT BOOK!  A wonderful man (I’m assuming, we haven’t met) named Steve James made it! (If he is not wonderful, he is certainly talented.)

I have been referring to this book as “The book that tore me in half all year” and also, “The book that might send me back into therapy.”  Because in order to write it I had to dive back into the hardest years of my own life– the years my parents split up.  The end result was me weeping into some vindaloo while my mom patted my head and said, “Honey, it’s been thirty years now.”

I guess you never get over some things…

Before I wrote this book, I asked my parents for something resembling permission.  They granted it, because they are generous, good people, and they support my writing, and have faith in me. I’m lucky like that.  But I want to make clear that the entire book is fictional.  Only the emotions are remembered.  The story is made up.

Except for the magic part. Obviously.

When I try to explain what this book is about, I say, “It is about divorce, and love, and family, and seagulls, and Baltimore, and Atlanta, and homesickness, and siblings, and friends, and magical vintage bread boxes, and a Bruce Springsteen song.”

Though really, at the end of the day, everything is about a Bruce Springsteen song, isn’t it?

Do you like it? It’s very different from my other covers (and my other books too) What do you think?  I’m deeply nervous, and equally excited!

If you want to read it, you can add it to your Goodreads list, so you don’t forget!

(as thought I’d let you. Ha!)

Why I almost never sleep…

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

In case you can’t tell, that’s two kids and a dog, in my not-king-sized bed.  My nights don’t start this way, but they almost always end this way.

Tonight we all spent the evening in here, because we had “movie night” and then the boys fell asleep watching the snow fall.

Snow! Falling! In Atlanta.  A miracle.

Not that I’m short on those…

I have NOT read enough books…

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

I can’t make any reasonable predictions tonight, not really. I’m not educated enough, aware enough. I’d really just be making a silly leap.  I mean, so many other people have read all the books. It would be foolish for me to make any predictions.  I’d end up wrong, and…

And yet… since when am I wise or cautious or reasonable?

Since when do I mind being wrong?

So here goes:

I hereby grant…

Printz to Jandy Nelson, for The Sky is Everywhere.

Caldecott Medal to Matt Phelan, for Flora’s Very Windy Day

Newbery Medal to Deborah Wiles, for Countdown

Newbery Honor to The Ellen Potter, for The Kneebone Boy

What about you? Care to make any completely ridiculously under-researched guesses?

Why not?

Sometimes… there’s a moment.

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

It’s 10:58 and the house is quiet. Chris is reading a thick book in the other room. Mose and Lew  are asleep in their beds.  I spent the day playing with the boys, getting a luxurious haircut, and having coffee with a friend. Then I made and ate a fairly healthy dinner. After that I talked with my sister on the phone for about an hour. The bills are paid and the fridge is full and the clothes aren’t quite spilling over the top of laundry hamper.  I worked out twice this week.

So now I’m just sitting with a drink in the semi-darkness, watching (absolute) crap TV. Tomorrow I have 3 hours to write, alone, in my bed if I like.  If I like.

Also… there are some gummi raspberries on the top shelf that nobody else knows about.

My life is a very very very very good one.

Kidlit Drink Night, Georgia-style…

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

The time has come!

For years now I’ve watched Cheryl and  Betsy blog about the Kidlit Drink Night in Manhattan.  I’ve watched, pea-green with envy.  I mean, I like Kidlit, and I also like drinks! And goodness knows I like gathering with people who like the things I like, to talk about said things.

Then, this fall, Jules picked up the ball and ran with it, in Nashville.  Again, I was jealous!

But if Jules could do it, I figured I could too… so I decided Atlanta needed to copycat this grand idea, and host a Kidlit Drink Night of its own.

Now, Ta da!  The day is here.

January 8th (this coming Saturday) at 6 pm, some people will gather at the Square Pub, in Decatur (picked largely because it is owned by the  talented son of the lovely Deborah Wiles, author-extraordinaire). Maybe we’ll only get a few this first time, maybe we’ll draw a crowd. No way to predict.  But we will gather.  To talk about books and writing and other semi-related things. Maybe we’ll gossip a little, and  share notes, and compare shoes, and sip a drink, and nosh a fried avocado, or a mess of sweet potato tots.

I hope we’ll get a mixed crowd of authors, illustrators, librarians and teachers, readers and reviewers, bloggers and friends.  I hope we’ll have fun.  I hope we’ll turn this into a regular event.

So spread the word!  And join us! Join our Facebook page so you can keep up with future locations.

The only requirement is that you like books for kids and young adults, and that you have a valid ID.

See you there!