Another KidLit Giveaway!

So, I’ve been AWOL for a while — too many things going on in my life, both good and bad. But in honor of The Busy Librarian’s new podcast (which just happens to feature me!), I’ve decided to come back with a new GIVEAWAY!

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So, most importantly,

what can you win?

To accommodate our vast range of readers, I want to make sure you can win something you really want. Therefore, the winner will be given a choice of these things:

  • either a free 45-minute Virtual Classroom Visit, where I would be happy to tell your chosen class all about how my books come together, from the initial inspiration to the totally terrific art. (Don’t worry if you’re not a teacher — you can donate the Virtual Visit to any class you choose!)

  • or, a signed copy of PIRATE PRINCESS, personalized to whomever you’d like. PiratePrincess c

I will accept entries until July 30, 2013 and I will draw the winner’s name and announce it on August 1.

Here are the rules for this giveaway:

Required. Fill out the entry form below with your name, your choice of prize, either the school you would like to give the visit to or the name for the personalized book, and your email address (so I can reach you!).

BUT WAIT! You can be entered to win multiple times. You will get an extra entry for doing any of the following:

(1) leave me a comment here with your thoughts on the podcast.

(2) follow me on Twitter – mention that in a comment below.

(3) tweet this post to your own twitter followers and tag me @sudiptabq and the Busy Librarian @MatthewWinner in the tweet.

(4) tweet the podcast to your own twitter followers and tag me @sudiptabq and the Busy Librarian @MatthewWinner in the tweet.

(5) like my author page on Facebook – mention that in a comment below.

(6) follow this blog (right sidebar) and The Busy Librarian’s blog — mention that in a comment below.

or (7) like fellow blogger Kami Kinard’s Facebook author page – mention that in a comment below.

That’s EIGHT ways to enter and win, folks!

GOOD LUCK!

 

Last Chance to WIN!

Well, folks, we are almost at the finish line, and I am so touched by all the entries for the Virtual Classroom Visit giveaway! You still have time to enter, so if you haven’t yet, why wait?WRAD 3

AND TO SWEETEN THE DEAL…I’m gotten tons of entries. Many more than I was expecting. It’s almost not fair to only hand out ONE Virtual Visit. SO…here’s my idea:

if I get 300 or more total entries, I will give away not ONE Virtual Classroom Visit, but THREE.

That’s right, folks. Get your entries in. Go tell your friends and get them to enter. We don’t have too much further to go to get to 300, so spread the word and harass your colleagues and get them entering, commenting, tweeting, and following.

JUST TO REMIND YOU, HERE ARE THE RULES AGAIN:

I will be giving away a free 45-minute Virtual Classroom Visit, where I would be happy to tell your chosen class all about how my upcoming book DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE! came together, from the initial inspiration to the totally terrific art. (Don’t worry if you’re not a teacher — you can donate the Virtual Visit to any class you choose!)DDM Cover

I will accept entries until MIDNIGHT, TONIGHT May 27, 2013, and I will draw the winner’s name and announce it on May 29.

Here are the rules for this giveaway:

Required. Fill out the entry form below with your name, the school you would like to give the visit to, and your email address (so I can reach you!).

BUT WAIT! You can be entered to win the Virtual Visit multiple times. You will get an extra entry for doing any of the following:

(1) leave me a comment here with your thoughts on the cover.

(2) follow me on Twitter – mention that in a comment below.

(3) tweet this post to your own twitter followers and tag me @sudiptabq in the tweet.

(4) like my author page on Facebook – mention that in a comment below.

(5) follow this blog (right sidebar) — mention that in a comment below.

or (6) like fellow blogger Kami Kinard’s Facebook author page – mention that in a comment below.

That’s SEVEN ways to enter and win, folks! Don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya…

GOOD LUCK!

Raising Nerdy Chicklets (and GIVEAWAY Reminder!)

Most of the time, we devote this blog to Nerdy Chicks. But just for today, I wanted to focus not only on girls, but on kids (or Chicklets, as we like to call them!) in general.

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At Afton Elementary in Pennsylvania

Raising a Nerdy Chicklet is a challenge in many ways. We have to foster his or her intellectual curiosity and be ready with facts, figures, and other resources to help her learn. As parents or educators, we strive to be ready with the answers. But having the answers isn’t the most important part of supporting a Nerdy Chicklet — allowing her to ask questions is the vital thing. Even when we don’t have the answers, the questioning process teaches the Nerdy Chicklet to think. Remember, giving facts is often a linear thinking process. We take the facts down a logical path with very few side stops in order to keep the explanations simple. Asking questions, however, lets a child explore in a non-linear way. Some of the smartest people in the history of the world were non-linear thinkers. If you want to help the Nerdy Chicklets in your life reach their full intellectual potential, let them ask questions — and be honest if you don’t know the answers. When that happens, it’s just an opportunity for the Nerdy Chicklet to learn independently and teach you, or for you two to learn together. Instant bonding!

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At Central Elementary in Maryland

One of the truly awesome things I get to do as a children’s book author is to go around the country to talk to kids about writing and books. Recently, this has taken me to schools in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as the Knoxville Children’s Book Festival in Tennessee. I always get lots of questions from the kids and I’m often so impressed by the kinds of things they are curious about. Here are some of the questions I’ve gotten.

“How can you tell the difference between a good idea and a bad idea?”

I get this question a lot. I wish I knew the answer!

SAMSUNG CSC“Do chickens make every story better?”

Not every story, but certainly most.

“Does it ever feel better to write about something that hurts you?”

A lovely boy asked me that question privately after one of my school workshops. I’ll tell you the same thing I told him: yes, it does eventually feel better. Writing is wonderful therapy, especially because in fiction, we have power. In life, we get what we get and it is often unfair. In fiction, we get to give our characters the endings they deserve — which means the good characters get happy endings, and the ones we don’t like get humiliation and defeat.

“Did you really set a mouse on fire?”SAMSUNG CSC

I get that question everywhere, but it was especially funny at the Rumson Country Day School, where one of my presentations was invaded by an actual MOUSE!

(Oh, and, yes, I really did.)

P1030380“How do you relate to kids when you’re so old?”

This was a question to the panel at the Knoxville Children’s Book Festival, where I shared the stage with the wonderful Julie Danielson, Bob Shea, Jarrett Krosoczka, Marc Tyler Nobleman, and Debbie Diesen. Needless to say, the little girl who asked it stole all of our thunder.

REMINDER!

There is still time to enter the GIVEAWAY for a free VIRTUAL CLASSROOM VISIT! Check out the cover reveal for DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE! and enter to win!

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Cover Reveal! (And Giveaway!)

At long last, I am proud to present the cover for my upcoming picture book,

DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE!

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How adorable is that????? Of course, I had very little to do with the cover. The thanks for that goes to the very fabulous Noah Z. Jones, the illustrator of such wonderful books as The Monster in the Backpack, Stuff, Dance with Me, and Not Norman: A Goldfish Story,

and also the creator of the tremendously entertaining television series Fish Hooks and Almost Naked Animals.

IN CELEBRATION OF THIS FABULOUS COVER, I will be giving away a free 45-minute Virtual Classroom Visit, where I would be happy to tell your chosen class all about how this book came together, from the initial inspiration to the totally terrific art. (Don’t worry if you’re not a teacher — you can donate the Virtual Visit to any class you choose!)

I will accept entries until May 27, 2013 and I will draw the winner’s name and announce it on May 29.

Here are the rules for this giveaway:

Required. Fill out the entry form below with your name, the school you would like to give the visit to, and your email address (so I can reach you!).

BUT WAIT! You can be entered to win the Virtual Visit multiple times. You will get an extra entry for doing any of the following:

(1) leave me a comment here with your thoughts on the cover.

(2) follow me on Twitter – mention that in a comment below.

(3) tweet this post to your own twitter followers and tag me @sudiptabq in the tweet.

(4) like my author page on Facebook – mention that in a comment below.

(5) follow this blog (right sidebar) — mention that in a comment below.

or (6) like fellow blogger Kami Kinard’s Facebook author page – mention that in a comment below.

That’s SEVEN ways to enter and win, folks! Don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya…

GOOD LUCK!

Chick Lit for Chicklets

SAMSUNG CSCRecently, the Nerdy Chicks conducted a workshop at the New England SCBWI Conference about Creating Chick Lit for Chicklets. Here is a recap of what we talked about…

What is Chicklet Chick Lit?

Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. Chick lit for chicklets is pretty much the same thing but geared specifically to the interests of a child or young adult audience. The main character of Chick Lit is always a strong female who bucks authority to follow her dreams.

What qualifies as Chicklet Chick Lit?

Not every book with a female main character would be considered chicklet chick lit — this is important to keep in mind. Some books just happen to have female main characters. In this very limited case, just being a girl is not enough.

In Chicklet Chick Lit, the main character’s obstacles and challenges must be specific to gender. The chick lit heroine is very aware of her world and the details of this world will deeply affect her choices/actions.

Let me introduce you to my friends…

In addition to the main character, Chick Lit is often populated by strong secondary characters. Here are some of the archetypes commonly found in Chick Lit for Chicklets:

BFF

antiBFF

apparent parent

antiparent

boy friend

Now you all know more about writing Chick Lit for Chicklets — we hope you try your hand at this fabulous genre!

(If you attended the Nerdy Chicks’ workshop at NESCBWI and would like a copy of the entire PowerPoint, please fill out the form below or email Sudipta or Kami directly)

Kat Yeh: Mad Scribbles, Big Feet

297310_10150320631406460_1375238351_nA couple years ago, Kat Yeh and I were attending the same writer’s conference. I was in the middle of a conversation with a well-respected agent, when Kat walked by. Immediately, the person I was speaking to went silent and his eyes followed Kat as she walked away. When he finally remembered that he was supposed to be speaking to me, he turned back, shrugged, and said, “She’s very striking.” The funny thing is that this guy had no idea that, as striking as Kat is from across the room, she is so much more so in person. Kat has a warm and endearing personality that has you laughing and feeling like you’ve known her for years, even when you first meet. This explains why I’ve spilled so many secrets to her despite our relatively short friendship!

Magic-Brush-Yeh-Kat-9780802721792You're Lovable to MeKat is a graduate of Villanova University and she worked in sports marketing for many years before discovering she really is a wonderfully talented writer who needs to be putting books into the world for the rest of us to read. She is the author of the picture books YOU’RE LOVABLE TO ME (Random House Books for Young Readers) and THE MAGIC BRUSH A story of love, family and Chinese Characters (Walker Books for Young Readers) and the forthcoming novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE (Little Brown BYR, coming 2014). She’s also the recipient of the 2012 SCBWI Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award.

Thank you, Kat, for joining us today on Nerdy Chicks Rule. Let’s get started! If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I actually think I received the perfect piece of advice already at that age (though I was not really able to figure out how to use it till much later) A dear and wise-beyond-her -years friend gave me a little card with a tiny painting and the quote: “Being myself includes taking risks with myself, taking risks with my behavior so that I can see how it is I want to be” I think we were 13 or 14 at the time. She knew I was struggling and feeling stuck, so she made the card for me. I still have it.

And I wish I could honestly say I have other advice that I would give myself, but I kind of feel that all that stumbling and confusion was sort of necessary. Even the big plastic glasses and ill-advised outfit choice for my first 9th grade dance (brown cowl neck sweater and full-length a-line plaid skirt). I wouldn’t change any of it. But maybe I’d just go back and give myself a big hug.

If it makes you feel better, I never even went to my 9th grade dance (though had I gone, I’m sure my wardrobe choice would have been equally unfortunate). Let’s move on…You’re one of my favorite authors!

Funny, you’re one of mine 🙂

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Here are the Nerdy Chicks with Kat (and Joyce Wan) in Princeton (after that conference where Kat was declared “striking”)

My favorite things to read…Books that lush and literary and brave and unapologetic and a little bit strange and completely committed to the world they create: example anything by Franny Billingsley.

 How do you see the books that are being published today as helping to empower girls to be smart (or, as we like to call it, nerdy)?

I don’t think it is necessarily about what is being published today as much as it is about allowing a pretty free reign. Showing a lot of options, but then letting them make their own reading choices – and THEN being there to talk. Answer questions (or even better come up with more questions together!). Start discussions. Think of alternate endings. Be stumped. Be frustrated. Be in love. Then wonder and wonder and talk about why you both are feeling all these things. I love the George Carlin quote:  “Don’t just teach your children to read…Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything.”

That is a terrific quote from a fairly smart (and nerdy!) man. But we’re called Nerdy Chicks Rule, so let’s re-focus on girls…Tell us about a fictitious nerdy chick you admire and why you admire her.

Is it too typical to say Jo March? I don’t think that I was ever as brave as she was as a teen, but I wanted to be. And of course, I always connected to her passion for reading and her utter desperate Need To Be a Writer – as well as her big feet and awkwardness and temper and fierce love and mad scribbling.

Your feet are not big! (Well, at least, not that big.) Moving on, though…What’s something you like to do that might be considered a little bit nerdy, but is actually really fun?

I love, love spending hours in used book stores or in the used book section of my local indy. Looking for old art books. Hidden overlooked early editions of favorites. I love finding books with quirky titles and wonderful content. It’s like a treasure hunt. I recently found a ratty copy of a book titled, LOVE & DROLLERY – A SELECTION OF AMATORY, MERRY AND SATIRICAL VERSE OF THE 17TH CENTURY for $7. Happiness.

That was totally going to be the title of my next book! I guess that’s why I should do more market research, especially in used book stores. You’ve convinced me to follow in your (normal-sized) footsteps! Now, what is one of your favorite achievements that you can credit to being a nerdy chick?

easy: without a doubt, it is only when being absolutely myself (and therefore, embracing the nerdy in me) that I have been able to Find & Be Found and Get & Be Gotten by like-minded souls who have become life friends.

527286_10151155108171460_496397820_nI love the way you describe that: Find & Be Found and Get & Be Gotten. Beautiful. Guess that’s why you’re an award-winning author, huh? 🙂

Now, for the fun part: if someone gave you $75 and you could only spend it on you, what would you do with it?

That’s hard. As a mom, I tend not to think about spending money on myself. I’d probably buy drinks and a load of appetizers somewhere yummy (and hopefully with music) where a friend and I could have long, leisurely talk-ish time together.

And, finally, can you tell us one thing you buy at the grocery store that you cannot live without?

For several months now it’s been baby arugula. I know – it’s not glamorous or decadent, but it makes me crazy. All dark and peppery and perfect.

Thank you again, Kat! If you want to find out more about the fabulous and fashionable Kat Yeh, visit her at katyeh.com (still under construction, but coming soon!) and follow her on Twitter: @yehface

Leeza Hernandez: Fueled by Sour Patch Kids

leezaI met Leeza Hernandez years ago, and I’ve always felt she was waaaaaaay cooler than me. That’s hard for me to admit. Add to that her incredible artistic talent and way cool accent (she hails from the south of England), and I almost don’t want to talk to her. Except you can’t help but talk to Leeza — she’s too much fun, she’s got too much energy, and she’s way too smart. Read her interview — you’ll see what I mean.

As I said, Leeza is originally from England, but has been living in the USA since 1999. In 2004 she switched from newspaper and magazine design to children’s book illustration and writing. 2012 marked a milestone for her as she celebrated the release of her debut-authored picture book Dog Gone! (G.P. Putnam’s Sons).

Leeza is currently working on revisions and sketches for two new books due out in 2014 and just finished final art for a picture book written by John Lithgow (wow!!!!!!), due for release in fall 2013. She’s also the Regional Advisor for the New Jersey SCBWI chapter.
In her spare time, Leeza can be found either playing school, carpet picnic-ing or making art with her daughter, or cleaning the litter box. Coffee and Sour Patch Kids fuel late deadline nights which is also when the the cat likes to present her favorite fur balls under the art table!
Thanks for joining us, Leeza! Let’s get started…If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Middle school: DUCK!

(Oh, that’s hilarious. sorry for interrupting!)

High school: You might not be good at that and that’s okay. It in no way means you are a failure, simply do your best!

That’s great advice — I wish someone had told me that in high school! Moving forward in time, though, you’re now a professional artist. What are your favorite things to draw?

I love drawing chubby chickens wearing boots, scarves and/or earmuffs. There’s something very funny to me about that image. Makes me smile.

That’s made me smile, too! How do you see the books that are being published today as helping to empower girls to be smart (or, as we like to call it, nerdy)?

Showcasing any female character who, when faced with adversity, finds victory and overcomes chaos in clever, articulate and intuitive ways is a sure fire way to empower girls. I think that society is more open to embracing these types of characters and therefore today’s books have become the perfect platform to inspire nerdy chicks, help them be smart and know that anything in life is possible.

I agree — finding great examples in literature is a way to inspire girls to go after their dreams. Can you tell us about a fictitious nerdy chick you admire and why you admire her?

Roald Dahl’s Matilda has to be one of the first “fictitious nerdy chicks” I ever remember having an impact on my life. There’s so many things to love about her- in spite of a difficult home life and an atrocious headmistress, she sought and found solace in books. With an insatiable appetite for learning she discovered the power of knowledge. Two other fictitious nerdy chicks whom I admire are Alice Pleasance and Violet Beaudelaire- smart girls who knew how to keep it together!

I love those characters, too! (See — I told you Leeza is waaaay cooler than me!) You truly are a Nerdy Chick, Leeza. What is one of your favorite achievements that you can credit to being a Nerdy Chick?

Oh wow, now you’ve put me on the spot! Okay, sorry if this sounds cheesy, but getting in to college was a big deal for me. Going through high school, and knowing that there was an exciting world filled with mystery and yet-to-be-discovered opportunities beyond the waters that surrounded the island I grew up on, were what made me more determined to study and get to college. That was my gateway to a new world. I absorbed myself in my art especially, and getting into art school will always be one of my favorite achievements. Debuting as an author/illustrator last year felt pretty good too!

I think college was a pretty big deal for a lot of us — doesn’t sound cheesy at all. It’s very inspiring to hear how you used college to open up a “new world,” as you put it. I think that’s what college is supposed to do.

Let’s shift gears a bit and have some fun…Do you have a personal “theme song,” perhaps one that speaks to your inner nerdiness?

Hmm, I never thought about a theme song. Ziggy Marley’s “Believe in Yourself” perhaps?

Love it! If someone gave you $75 and you could only spend it on you, what would you do with it?

No brainer! Books and art supplies.

Can you tell us one thing you buy at the grocery store that you cannot live without?

Cheese: a good strong cheddar. (Hate to think what my cholesterol levels are like though!)

Ha! LEEZA HERNANDEZ, LOVER OF CHEESE. I think I love that even more! And finally, is there anything else you want to share with us that has made you who you are today?

Well, aside from art, sports and French were my favorite subjects throughout most of my school years. I was terrible at science. Also, I played cello for three years in middle school, but only because all the flutes were taken in the school orchestra. I can’t play cello anymore, but I do still play descant and tenor recorder.

Thank you, Leeza, for this great interview. I will never look at chickens without boots or earmuffs the same again!

If you want to know more about Leeza and her work (and who wouldn’t?), you can find her on the web at www.leezaworks.comHer books can be found at www.doggonethebook.com and www.eatyourmathhomework.com. Follow her on Twitter: @leezaworks