Launch of an Imprint & Launch of a Book – Good News for Kidlitland

Hello everyone! Today’s post is filled with GOOD NEWS!

First of all, a dear friend of our kidlit community, the incredible Callie Metler-Smith of Clear Fork Publishing, is announcing the launch of a new imprint and a limited-time ABOVE THE SLUSH opportunity for readers of this blog.

&mg

TAKE IT AWAY, CALLIE!

We are accepting submissions for our Spork Children’s Imprint and for our new imprint &MG.
&MG will feature Middle Grade books and we are asking for submissions right now that deal with some of the tough issues that kids ages 9-14 are dealing with. 
Submissions can be made by going to http://bit.ly/2NZN7pp or by emailing the submissions directly to callie@clearfork.media. Please put Above the Slush somewhere in the header of the query letter.

Oh my gosh…what an opportunity! If you’ve got a polished manuscript you think would fit the Spork vision or you’ve been holding on to that MG work, wondering who you should send it to…here is your chance!

A big thank you to Callie for this generous offer!

So, the title of this post was Launch of an Imprint and Launch of a Book. We’ve revealed the Imprint launch…and now for the Book Launch.

Are you ready to sing a big Happy Book Birthday to…

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF
ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE
ella and marilyn

Launching January 28, 2020

Illustrated by Alleanna Harris
Published by Little Bee Books

Here’s what the reviewers are saying:


Kirkus Reviews:
This warm story emphasizes Ella’s role in her  (Marilyn’s) success, thus avoiding the trap of the white-savior narrative. Many white artists have benefited from imitating black ones; this is the rare narrative to acknowledge that.
Harris’ illustrations capture the iconic looks of the two stars.
A good volume to include in a larger conversation about friendship, allyship, and social justice.(author’s note, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

School Library Journal:

The relatively simple text is supported by an author’s note and extensive sources, both primary (videos and interviews) and secondary (books and online resources). Kirkfield makes clear that both women brought deep personal feelings to their performances. Harris’s digital illustrations are varied, from vignettes to full and double-page spreads.

VERDICT An inspiring story about 20th-century icons that will be unfamiliar to most young readers. Recommended for schools and public libraries. 


Booklist:
Sometimes even stars need a little help to shine.” Focusing on the friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, this picture book highlights the similarities between the two women and the ways in which they helped each other succeed.
Back matter includes an author’s note and primary and secondary sources. A solid purchase for larger collections.

I’m excited for all of the upcoming book events that will help spread the word:

Jan 29 at 7PM: Andersons Bookstore in Naperville, IL
Jan 30: School visits to Naperville and Aurora, IL
Feb 4: School visits to Skokie and Evanston, IL
March 10: Kids’ writer workshop at Amherst Town Library, Amherst NH
March ?: Author Event at Books of Wonder in NYC
March 21 at 10am: Story time at Silver Unicorn Bookshop in Acton, MA
April 4 at 11am: Story time at Toadstool Bookstore in Nashua, NH
April 18: Sustainability Fair in Wilton, NH
April 25: Children’s Festival of Stories in Denver, CO
May 18: Wilkins Elementary in Amherst, NH
June 25-30: Annual ALA in Chicago, IL
July24-27: LASCBWI Conference

Thank you, dear friends…having your support and encouragement means the world to me.

And thank you, dear Callie, for providing this fabulous submission opportunity to my blog followers.

Happy Book Birthday: PATRICIA’S VISION Plus Giveaway

I hope you’ve been exercising your vocal chords becasue we are going to have quite a few books that will need the Happy Birthday song this year! And this one is the first for 2020…and for me, a very important one. That’s because I’ve had quite a few eye surgeries over the past 20 years…and if it weren’t for Dr. Patricia Bath, I might not be able to read or write picture book stories. So, I’m thrilled to join the chorus for Michelle Lord’s newest picture book. AND, it’s illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Alleanna Harris. Author Michelle is generously donating a copy of this beautiful book as a giveaway, so, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered.

Continue reading

ALLEANNA HARRIS: Will Write/Illustrate for Cookies PLUS Original Art Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

 

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

alleanna_headshot

TODAY’S GUEST

ALLEANNA HARRIS

 

What an honor this is for me! Today I’m hosting the illustrator for one of my upcoming picture books…and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how she has brought the characters of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe to life. Every page turn sings…Alleanna has definitely made their voices be heard!

Alleanna Harris is a illustrator who has been drawing for as long as she can remember. As a little kid, she would Continue reading

Critique Winners, Book News, and a VERY SPECIAL GIVEAWAY

I don’t have a regularly scheduled blog post until the weekend of the 19th, but I missed you!

Plus, I have several critique giveaways thanks to several generous authors. And I also wanted to share some great book prices as well as some photos from the Tough Mudder competition last month AND news of a special giveaway that I am doing for my upcoming Ella Fitzgerald/Marilyn Monroe book.

The lovely Lydia Lukidis, author of NO BEARS ALLOWED, is giving away a PB manuscript critique.

no bears allowed cover

And the winner is: MARY NOON

The delightful Pj McIlvaine, author of LITTLE LENA AND THE BIG TABLE, is giving away two PB manuscript critiques.

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And the winners are: DIANE TULLOCH and CORINE TIMMER

The wonderful Gayle Krause, author of ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE, is giving away either a copy of her awesome book OR a pb manuscript critique.

book cover

And the winner is: DAVID MCMULLIN

Congratulations to all of the winners…and a huge thank you to the generous authors!

Please remember that the best gift we can give our favorite authors is to: buy their books, review their books, tell our friends about their books, and ask our local library to purchase copies for their collection.

Many of you may enjoy purchasing your picture books at local indie stores…I know I do. But sometimes, Amazon has a really great deal and it makes it hard to resist. Or sometimes, my local store doesn’t have a book in stock and I really want it quickly…that happened this weekend when I wanted to grab a copy of Anna Redding’s ELON MUSK: A MISSION TO SAVE THE WORLD because I wanted to read it with my grandson who was staying over for a couple of nights. And sure enough, it arrived Saturday morning…and we have already started reading it. The introduction talks about how actor Robert Downey, Jr. was going to be portraying Iron Man and wanted to get into the character of a real live billionaire entrepreneur so he met with Elon Musk. And my grandson, a fan of the Marvel Comic movie adventures, was able to rattle off the words from the movie that describe Tony Stark, the alter-ego of Iron Man – genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist – before I even read them!

While noodling around Amazon, I also noticed that PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE is only $8.02…oh my gosh. And SWEET DREAMS, SARAH is only $12.77. Plus FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK is reduced to $14.74. Honestly, I know it doesn’t seem possible, but even though we are in the dog days of summer here in New England – today was in the 90’s – it will be gift-giving time before you know it.

I’m also so excited about starting the new year with another picture book, MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, January 14, 2020) illustrated by Alleanna Harris. I did a cover reveal the other day – but here’s an inside spread, just to whet your appetite to see more!

inside spread 1

I’m going to be asking the incredibly talented Alleanna Harris if she’d like to stop by to chat here on Picture Books Help Kids Soar.  If you have any questions you’d specifically like to ask her, please put them in the comments and I will include them in the interview. PLUS, one lucky person will win a copy of this brand new book…as soon as I get my author copies, which might not be until close to the end of the year.

Last weekend, I accompanied my son and son-in-law and grandson to cheer them on for their Tough Mudder competition which took place in Chelton, Massachusetts. It was a beautiful day…until it wasn’t. What a torrential downpour! They had to stop the event for about an hour to wait out the thunder and lightning storm. But we all had a great time.

The rest of my summer will be kind of quiet, I think. Except for a trip to Colorado in late August, that is. I’m hoping to connect with some of you who live in and around the Denver area. And I’m also working on an R&R for an editor…fingers crossed that I revise in a way that makes her unable to resist.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer? Traveling? Or perhaps you are working and trying to squeeze in time to read or write.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the giveaway of a copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE. And if you have a question for illustrator Alleanna, please include that in your comment.

I hope you all have a beautiful week ahead of you!

Cover Reveal: Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe

OH MY GOSH! A couple of days ago, I found out that my Ella Fitzgerald/Marilyn Monroe book had a definite launch date: January 14, 2020. So, I started thinking about who I should ask to do a cover reveal…I thought perhaps I should ask the editor if the cover image I had was the final one. And then, this morning, guess what I discovered?

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE is available for preorder on Amazon. With the most glorious cover image I’ve ever seen!!!

cover 2

This was a manuscript that was very close to my heart. I’m a long-time admirer of the velvety tones of Ella Fitzgerald…and I always believed Marilyn Monroe was so much more than she was given credit for. But it wasn’t until I came across a picture of them at a nightclub that the idea for this story came to me back in 2014.

ella and marilyn in nightclub

 

And the more I researched, the more I came to admire both of these women…trailblazers in the fight for equality! Did you know that Marilyn Monroe was the first movie star to own her own production company? Or that in 1956, Ella Fitzgerald won a lawsuit against Pan Am for racial discrimination?

A few years ago, Bonnie Greer wrote a play about the nightclub incident and it was performed in London.

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I’m so grateful to Essie White, my incredible agent, who had faith in me and in this story. And to Little Bee editor, the fabulous Courtney Fahy, who fell in love with the manuscript and believed it should be a book. And to the talented Alleanna Harris whose illustrations have brought the story to life!

I am over the moon excited and just had to share with all of you, my dear friends! And to all my critique buddies whose feedback on dozens and dozens of revisions resulted in this stellar story – I thank you!!!