Compiled by Tabitha Olson
Read Across America
The National Education Association is promoting Read Across America Day on March 3rd. If you wish to participate, you can fill out a form, and they will post your plans on their website, which you may visit for more information.
Avi in Chicago
Join National-Louis University faculty members as they model an author study of Avi and discuss common themes in his work from 10 a.m. to noon March 1.
You can hear a public reading of Avi’s new books and enjoy a reception, book sales and book signing from 4:30 to 6 p.m. March 11.
Bring your questions and join Avi for a special discussion designed specifically for teachers and librarians familiar with his books from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 11.
Click here for more information.
Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird, will be visiting at 7 p.m. March 11. Location is still to be determined.
Dave Almond, author of the award-winning Skellig, will be visiting on March 17 in Naperville. Time is still to be determined.
Mary Pope Osborne, author of the renowned Magic Tree House series, will be visiting on March 29. Time and location are still to be determined.
For more information, visit Anderson’s website.
Words in the Woods Retreat
Having trouble developing a character? Creating the perfect setting? Stuck at the beginning or in the middle, or just can’t find the perfect ending to your story? Check out the Words in the Woods Retreat to be held June 20-22 in Cantrall, Illinois. Special guest speakers Spiderwick Chronicles author Holly Black, agent Barry Goldblatt and Hyperion editor Namrata Tripathi will offer their wisdom and guidance in carving out interesting characters, developing vivid settings and plotting paths for page-turning young adult and middle-grade novels, as well as picture books.
For more information and to register, check out the SCBWI-Illinois website, or contact Toni Leahy at email@example.com.
National Library Week
First sponsored by the American Library Association in 1958, National Library Week is observed across the country each April. This year it runs April 13-19, celebrating the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians while promoting library use and support. For more information, please click here.
Delacorte Press First Middle Grade: For writers who have never published a middle-grade novel. Submissions are accepted between April 1-June 30. Winners will be announced around Oct. 31. For submission guidelines and rules, go to their website.
Write It Now: In past years, this writing contest offered critiques as well as sending the winning manuscripts to editors. Information for this year’s contest isn’t up yet, but last year submissions were accepted through May 15. Check their website for more information.
Martha Weston Grant
SCBWI offers the Martha Weston Grant for writers who have been published in a certain age group but wish to switch to another. For example: a picture book illustrator might like to write a middle-grade novel or picture-book text, or a young-adult author might like to write or illustrate a picture book. Applications are accepted between May 1-June 10. For submission guidelines or additional information, please visit the website.
This year’s BookExpo America will be May 29-June 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. There will also be a Writer’s Conference, but further details have not yet been announced. Please visit their website for general information, and click here for information regarding the Writer’s Conference.
Printer’s Row Book Fair
The Printers Row Book Fair, planned this year for June 7-8, was founded in 1985 by the Near South Planning Board. By 2002, it had grown to five city blocks and is considered the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest. Events take place at Dearborn and Polk streets and include author readings and signings, panel discussions, booksellers and children’s activities. Visit their website for more information. And check out the Opportunities in the Prairie Wind.
The 2008 Newbery Medal winner was announced in January, and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd, took home the award. Maidens, monks and millers’ sons – in these pages, readers will meet them all. There’s Hugo, the lord’s nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar; sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by selling live eels; and the peasant’s daughter, Mogg, who gets a clever lesson in how to save a cow from a greedy landlord. There’s also mud-slinging Barbary (and her noble victim); Jack, the compassionate half-wit; Alice, the singing shepherdess; and many more. With a deep appreciation for the period and a grand affection for both characters and audience, Laura Amy Schlitz creates 22 riveting portraits and linguistic gems equally suited to silent reading or performance. Illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings by Robert Byrd, who was inspired by the Munich-Nuremberg manuscript – an illuminated poem from 13th-century Germany – this witty, historically accurate and utterly human collection forms an exquisite bridge to the people and places of medieval England.
Honor books are Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt and Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson. Click here for more Newbery news.
Michael L. Printz Award
The 2008 Michael L. Printz winner is The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean. “I have been in love with Titus Oates for quite a while now – which is ridiculous, since he’s been dead for ninety years. But look at it this way. In ninety years I’ll be dead, too, and the age difference won’t matter.” Sym is not your average teenage girl. She is obsessed with the Antarctic and the brave, romantic figure of Captain Oates from Scott’s doomed expedition to the South Pole. In fact, Oates is the secret confidant to whom she spills all her hopes and fears. But Sym’s uncle Victor is even more obsessed – and when he takes her on a dream trip into the bleak Antarctic wilderness, it turns into a nightmarish struggle for survival that will challenge everything she knows and loves.
Honor books are Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox, One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke, Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins and Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill. For more Printz award news, click here.
The 2008 Caldecott Medal winner is The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Orphan, clock keeper and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
Honor books are Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Ellen Levine, First the Egg written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain written and illustrated by Peter Sís, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity written and illustrated Mo Willems. Click here for more Caldecott news.
Chicago author Tabitha Olson writes middle-grade and young adult novels. She first began writing at 16, when a zealous English teacher made her write a poem. She’s been writing ever since. You may contact her through her website www.tabithaolson.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.