Posted in The Nitty Gritty of Children's Writing, You Are Not Alone

Bloggers Supporting Other Bloggers

versatile.jpgI met Kristen Hilty at the Kansas SCBWI Conference last month. We talked and later she started reading my blog. Last week she awarded me the Versatile Bloggers Award, saying, “I thought some other authors could benefit from your great articles. Thanks for the advice.” Thank you, Kristen, for the award and the kind words.
Being of inquisitive mind, I wondered how the award got started. The earliest reference I could find on the net was a May 14, 2009 entry on Bits and Bytes of Life blog. The creator, Arpit, wanted to recognize fellow bloggers and created a list of awards, including this one, in celebration of the blog being a year old. Arpit is no longer blogging, at least not since January of this year. I wonder if he’s aware of where his award has gone.
Here’s the award definition from Bits and Bytes:
Versatile Blogger Award: This award is meant to appreciate the versatility of the bloggers who have the capability to divulge into different areas and yet emerge victorious. Be it sports, politics, entertainment they have always emerged with flying colors by impressing us with their opinions and posts.
I found this award scattered all over the internet with a variety of different award images. Some were personalized. Many were the image you see above. I couldn’t locate who created this image. If anyone does know who created it, I’d love to know.
I also discovered that rules vary. The rules Kristen and I received are:
Award Rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award and provide a link to their blog.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 other bloggers whom you have recently discovered and whose blogs you think are fantastically versatile/resourceful/functional/adaptable.
4. Contact those bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about their award.
Seven things about me.
1. I hate chain letters, which this reminds me of. Yet, recognizing other bloggers is a good thing, so I’ll play.
2. My husband and I have been happily married for 35 years.
3. I grew up in Oregon and really miss the Oregon coast.
4. Dark chocolate is my preferred flavor.
5. I was very shy as a kid.
6. In some ways I’m a perfectionist, which is why not all of these 7 points can start with “I.” But only in some ways, which is why I don’t have five “recently discovered” bloggers in my list below.
7. I believe children’s writers are the friendliest writers on the planet. 🙂 I met Sharon Mayhew, who award this award to Kristen, at the same conference. If you’ve never gone to a children’s writing event, they are a great place to make friends!
So here’s my list of bloggers I’ve discovered recently:
Mary Kole at – She is an associate agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and writes young adult and middle grade, too.
Mike Jung‘s Little Bloggy Wog – a writer whom I had the privilege of meeting at the LA SCBWI conference this summer. I’d already been amused by his tweets.
From the Mixed-up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors – started this spring by 30 middle grade authors who celebrate MG books.
Do you have any blogs you’ve come across recently that you’d like to celebrate? Go for it. We all like receiving encouragement now and then.

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Posted in Award Winners, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

Humor, Attitude, and Murder!

hamburger halpinThe Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010) by Josh Berk mixes in those 3 elements plus history, a new friend and hot girls!
Will Halpin has left his girlfriend and the deaf school behind as he doesn’t want to take sides in the deaf fight. He’s a good lip reader so starts at a mainstream school at Carbon High. There in a history book, he discovers a relative’s death in the town coal mine. But that’s not the murder Will needs to solve.
This debut novel has received starred reviews from Kirkus. Josh Berk has another comedy/mystery coming out next year. I’m looking forward to it!
Read more about Josh at his website, where you can learn what inspired Dark Days and enjoy more of Josh’s sense of humor.

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Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree

“Strange: adj, extraordinary, remarkable, singular”

Emma J cvrI don’t know how I managed to miss this Golden Kite Honor book in 2008, but I’m glad I’ve caught up with this award winning book. Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree (Dial, 2007) by Lauren Tarshis is told in two different viewpoints. And like Emma-Jean the 2nd definition of strange fits this delightful book.
Emma-Jean is the smartest girl in 7th grade and has been observing her class mates for a long time so knows all about their lives, even if she doesn’t really understand them. But when Colleen Pomerantz asks for help because Laura Gilroy is trying to steal her best friend Kaitlyn, Emma-Jean decides to get involved in their messy lives.
Colleen cares very much what others think of her and wishes she could be more like Emma-Jean who doesn’t care that others think she’s strange (definition 1, not 2). But when Laura cancels the ski trip with Kaitlyn, Colleen is suddenly afraid that Emma-Jean had a hand in it.
emma-jean.jpgThen there’s the companion book, Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love (Dial, 2009), which I need to get a hold of next. Though I might have to hide it from my husband so he doesn’t get it first–he definitely enjoyed Emma-Jean.
There’s an interview with author Lauren Tarshis here where she talks about her process. On her website, not only can you learn about her other books, but learn about her magazine editor job.

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