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Guest Post with M.R. Fournet (DARKNESS & DEMON SONG)!

June 19th, 2024 by

Today we are excited to share a guest post from author M.R. Fournet,

Darkness & Demon Song (Marius Grey book 2)!

Read on for more about the author and Darkness & Demon Song!

 

 

 

Meet MR. Fournet!

M.R. Fournet’s ties to New Orleans are part of her own origin story. As as kid, she would go fishing in South Louisiana and eat crawfish with her family in Houma. She has always been fascinated by the myths and legends of New Orleans. When not writing, she is a professional artist, belly dancer, and autism mom. She now lives in Texas with her husband, son, and ungrateful cats. Brick Dust and Bones is her middle grade debut.

Website * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook

 

 

 

About the Book: Darkness & Demon Song

In this second book of the Marius Grey series, a cemetery-boy-turned-monster-hunter must race against time to save his recently-resurrected mother in Darkness and Demon Song, M.R. Fournet’s eerie middle grade follow up to Brick Dust and Bones.
Marius Grey’s mom is back from the dead. After hunting monsters and performing forbidden spells, Marius is just happy she’s there, helping him to take care of their Louisiana cemetery again.But it soon becomes clear that something has gone wrong. Marius’s mother is growing more distant and strange things start happening around her. Worse yet, sometimes it feels like she’s a completely different person–one who definitely isn’t his mom.

If Marius wants to save her, he’s going to need help. Serious help. Good thing he has a flesh-eating mermaid for a best friend and a classmate with extra strong magic. Add in mysterious clues for new hunts, graveyard hopping from Louisiana to Texas, and a tough ex-hunter he doesn’t know if he can trust, and it’s clear that Marius has his work cut out for him.

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound

 

 

 

~ Guest Post ~

 

Why Scary Stories Are Good for Kids

written by M.R. Fournet

“Are you worried your books will give kids nightmares?”

As a horror writer, I get this question often when speaking with parents. In fact, I don’t recall doing an event where this doesn’t come up. My stock answer is, “Have you ever asked a ten-year-old to tell you a scary story? It’s way worse than anything I come up with.” This never fails to get a laugh.

The statement is true, but it’s not the whole truth.

Scary books are important because in a terrifying world, kids need a safe place to explore their own fear. They test their bravery in a controlled environment. A haven where the things that go bump in the night have rules.

Books have rules.

The heroes have a fighting chance because they know this trick or that spell or where to hide. The trolls turn to stone when the sun comes up, and the demons run screaming from holy water. And if all else fails, you can always just close the book, and the monsters go away.

The real world has no rules.

Most adults forget what how vulnerable teens feel. In that place between childhood and adulthood where you don’t know where you fit. You still need your parents but want your autonomy. You’re learning about reality, and it can feel so isolating.

Even though I was raised by an absolute rock star of a single mom, I remember feeling lonely and vulnerable and afraid. When I felt that way, I’d curl into myself and create stories. There were heroes and villains. Grand adventures and narrow escapes. But most of all, there were monsters. My monsters.

They helped me process my own fear. They protected me in the dark. They held my hand when I was lonely. Since I made them, they did what I said. I had the power. Thankfully, my mother never sent me to a doctor about my strange imagination. She’d just shrug and say, “Well, she’s creative, and that’s a good thing.” She is and will always be my hero for that.

Today, kids have a different experience. I grew up in a time before social media or the internet. We knew about injustice and starving people in far away countries, but it was an abstract idea. Something I never actually witnessed. I can’t imagine what it’s like to wake up with all that visual information at your fingertips. Videos, images, inundating news, commenters, and talking heads. Everyone discussing the latest doom and gloom. How vulnerable that must make them feel. How frightened.

When someone asks me that question about giving kids nightmares, I want to say something else. Something deeper. Something absolutely true.

“No, I’m not worried my books will give them nightmares. A scary world without rules is far worse than anything in my book. My stories are secure. They can escape into the pages knowing it will be alright. They can process fear safely. The pages of a book provide an oasis of certainty in a world gone mad.”

But I never have time for all that. I stick to my stock answer. It’s a good, short sound byte. Besides, how do you explain it to adults who don’t remember how this feels? As for the truly important people—the kids—I want to say this.

“Don’t worry. You are okay in my book. It’s safe here. These are my monsters. I made them, and I would never ever let them hurt you.”

 

 

 

Title: DARKNESS & DEMON SONG (Marius Grey book 2)
Author: M.R. Forunet
Illustrator: M.R. Fournet
Release Date: 6/18/24
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers
Genre: Horror/Paranormal/Scary
Age Range: 9 – 12

Guest Post with S.E. Reed (Old Palmetto Drive), Plus Giveaway ~US Only!

June 18th, 2024 by

Today we are excited to share a guest post from author S.E. Reed (Old Palmetto Drive)!

Read on for more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!

 

 

 

About the Author: S.E. Reed

S.E. Reed lives in the south and writes strange, haunting, real stories of people and places along old highways.

Winner of the 2024 Florida Book Awards and the 2024 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People.

Additionally, she’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and won honorable mention twice in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest.

Her stories have been featured by The Writer’s Workout, SEMO Press, Parhelion Lit, The Writers’ Co-op, Wild Ink Publishing, Hey Hey Books, and Tempered Rune’s Press

Website * X * TikTok * Pinterest

 

 

 

About the Book: Old Palmetto Drive

Teen socialite Rian Callusa’s privileged NY life is over! Following her parent’s nasty divorce, and the death of her aunt & uncle, Rian’s mom drags her kicking and screaming all the way to Everglades City. Who cares if her new home is a mansion when it’s in the middle of nowhere without a nail salon or shopping mall in sight? And friends? Hell might as well freeze over before Rian would hang out with her hillbilly cousins.

The news that her Dad won’t be returning to New York after his job abroad crushes any hope Rian had of moving back to the Big Apple. So without a plan B, Rian explores the swamp and learns her cousins aren’t as backward as they first appeared. She even falls head over heels for a cute vintage-loving local girl. Now that she thinks about it, this might turn out to be the best summer of Rian’s life! Until her cousin Travis gets drunk at a party and confesses the dark truth about what really happened on Old Palmetto Drive, sending Rian into a tailspin of fear and self-doubt.

Goodreads

 

 

 

~Guest Post by S.E. Reed~

 

A Reflection of Me(?)

When you read a non-fiction book or watch a movie based on a true story, you know right away the characters and experiences you’ll engage with are real. And afterwards you can play internet sleuth and Google the author to learn more about their life or the people they’ve written about. It is immensely satisfying, for those of us with curious minds, and a propensity for diving deeper into the behind-the-scenes of any good story.

However, when you read a work of fiction, even if it has a satisfying ending, you might be left wondering and wanting more… Are the viewpoints and characters in this book a reflection of the author  themself? Are any of the things that happened in the story based on factual events? After a quick trip to the internet, you may learn that some authors come right out to say, Yes, I modeled this character on myself, or this experience was something I went through. They might even have a website with blogs, podcasts, and interviews explaining how they used those personal experiences as the foundation for their fictional tale.

But on the other end of that, you have the authors who keep their cards close to their chest and never divulge their inspiration or on-page similarities to their characters. Some even mask their identity entirely with the use of a pen name. Because for an author, there is privilege in writing fiction, especially from a masked identity. Anonymity for an author gives them the ability to be as personally entwined with their art or as absent from it as they choose. Sometimes that choice is dependent on the material itself or the intended audience.

Obviously, I cannot speak for all authors, I can only speak for myself. But when I write, I never intend to insert myself into my stories, yet, when I look at my body of work and reflect upon all the stories and books I’ve written over the years, there are common themes that appear. And while not all of these themes are a direct reflection of myself, some of them are unconsciously so. I catch phrases I say in real life coming out of the mouths of my fictional characters. I see them going to places I’ve been, eating food I enjoy, and other things that only I myself have done. Yet, they also experience wildly different things than I have; they go on adventures, solve mysteries, even commit crimes and interact with the other characters in ways I would never dream of doing if it was the real life me in that same situation.

So the next time you read one of my books or short stories it will be up to you to decide what is real and what is not. But I will give you a little hint… In my latest YA novel OLD PALMETTO DRIVE, the main character Rian tries a new food for the first time after throwing a fit. A few bites in she decides it isn’t that bad afterall. That ‘new food’ she tries is one of my all time favorites in real life.

Happy reading (and tasting–I promise, it’s really good)!

S.E. Reed

 

 

 

Title: Old Palmetto Drive
Author: S.E. Reed
Publisher: Wild Ink Publishing
Release Date: June 18, 2024
ISBN 10: 1958531626
ISBN 13: 978-1958531624
Age Group: 14-18 young adult

*Giveaway Details*

 

Three (3) winners will receive a copy of Old Palmetto Drive (S.E. Reed) ~ US ONLY!

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rockstar Tours: SYLVIA LOCKE AND THE THREE BEARS (David Horn)

April 30th, 2024 by

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the SYLVIA LOCKE AND THE THREE BEARS by David Horn Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

 

About The Book:

Title: SYLVIA LOCKE AND THE THREE BEARS

Author: David Horn (Author), Judit Tondora
(Illustrator)

Pub. Date: April 30, 2024

Publisher: David Horn

Formats: eBook

Pages: 83

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

 

“A whimsical twist on a classic
fairy tale with plenty of twists, turns, and sass for early chapter readers.”
– Kirkus Reviews

RED ALERT FOR FAIRY TALE LAND: Sylvia Locke is out and ready to cause
mischief.

Once upon a time in Fairy Tale Land, there lived a very bad girl indeed. Sylvia
Locke may have been abandoned by her adventuring parents but that’s no excuse
for being mean to her loving grandparents, rude to everyone at school, and even
bullying rare magical creatures. Right?

One day, when out on a break-and-enter job at the Bear family’s house, Sylvia
happens upon a magical mirror that turns out to be more than she bargained for.
Could even a kid like Sylvia find a friend? Could some warm and fuzzies change
her heart?

The first book in Tairy Fails, a modern fractured fairy tale humor series
that will have elementary school kids and early chapter book readers screaming
with laughter.

 

Reviews:

“Will wow middle grade
readers—and transform them into instant devotees of the next in the
series.'” – BookLife Reviews

“Original action and humor at their best . . . highly recommended for
elementary chapter book readers seeking a fresh, original voice and novel
atmosphere in their fantasy reading.” – Midwest Book Review

“Will have readers doubled over with laughter as they follow one very
bad girl, Sylvia Locke . . . This is a gem of a magical story that will enchant
young readers.” – ReadersFavorite (5 Star Review)

“Families will love the comedic spin the chapter book takes on a
classic fairytale. It deserves more than five stars! I’ll be on the lookout for
book two in the Tairy Fails series, and I know once your family and class read
this story, they will be, too.” – Superkambrook (Kam’s Place)

“The perfect story of the pains of a growing teen, with characters
based on those we all know and love.” – ReadersFavorite (5 Star
Review)

“David’s wonderful modern fairy tale will engage young readers and make
their parents smile.” – ReadersFavorite (5 Star Review)

 

YABC interview with the Author: David Horn

 

What was your inspiration for writing your book?

 

My children are always my inspiration. Like a lot of my books, Sylvia started as a story I told my kids (usually during dinner or during a dog walk). They asked for a fairy tale, so I had to come up with something. As they were already familiar with my Eudora Space Kid stories, I needed a new character too. So, Sylvia Locke was born – a play on Goldilocks, but a girl who was even worse. Breaking into a house is something a good kid would never do, right? I mean, she just had to be bad. But the bears had already been through Goldilocks, so they had to be a bit wiser too. Hilarity ensued! I hope you agree!

 

List your favorite books from when you were a child and talk about how you see them as an adult.

 

My favorite books as a child were the Mr. Men books, and I still love them, have them, and my kids have read them, though we added in the Little Miss books too. All of them are hilarious, even the new ones. A lot of quirky, simple characters and it really is a fantasy world in a way. Just love them!

 

List your favorite books this year and why you like them.

 

Ascendance of a Bookworm light novels! I love them. It’s clear, fun writing and the main character is a good person who loves reading.  What’s not to love? And the books have a huge, colorful cast of characters. I’m in awe of the author.

 

Describe your ideal writing space.

 

I like to write on a little portable laptop, small and light. I can take it anywhere – at a desk, on a couch, outside with the dog. I like to write from anywhere.  Oh, and the right music playlist that matches the story – that’s important!

 

Describe your ideal home library.

 

My ideal home library has a ton of classic sci-fi books and classic children’s books. All inside a sun-filled turret with a lazy dog on a big comfy dog bed. Or the dog took the comfy recliner and I’m stuck on the dog bed? To be clear, though, I don’t have anything like that – the books just sit sadly under the bed  waiting for the day …

 

 

 

 

About David Horn:

 

David Horn
lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters, and a funny dog named Trixie.
He is the author of the popular Eudora Space Kid early reader humorous sci-fi
chapter book series, along with Tairy Fails, a modern, humorous fractured fairy
tale chapter book series. He enjoys making kids laugh. Author photo drawn by David’s child.

Subscribe to David’s newsletter!

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card, International.

3 winners will receive an eBook of SYLVIA LOCKE AND THE THREE BEARS, International.

Ends May 14th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

4/29/2024

Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt/IG Post

4/29/2024

YA Books Central

Guest Postt/IG Post

4/30/2024

@darkfantasyreviews

 Excerpt

4/30/2024

Fire
and Ice Reads

Excerpt/IG Post

5/1/2024

amysbookshot82

IG Post

5/1/2024

The Momma Spot

Excerpt

5/2/2024

@thepagelady

IG Review

5/2/2024

Kim’s Book Reviews and Writing Aha’s

Review/IG Post

5/3/2024

mjreadsmagic

Review/IG Post

5/3/2024

GryffindorBookishnerd

Review/IG Post

Week Two:

5/6/2024

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Review/IG Post

5/6/2024

@stargirls.magical.tale

Review/IG Post

5/7/2024

aportaltomagic

Review/IG Post

5/7/2024

avainbookland

Review/IG Post

5/8/2024

@alexandriavwilliams_

Review/IG Post

5/8/2024

Comic Book Yeti

Excerpt/Twitter Post

5/9/2024

A Dream Within A Dream

Excerpt

5/9/2024

Country Mamas With Kids

 Excerpt/IG Post

5/10/2024

nerdophiles

Excerpt

5/10/2024

@evergirl200

IG Review

 

Exclusive Guest Post: James Ponti City Spies: Mission Manhattan Tour

April 8th, 2024 by

Last month, beloved and award-winning author James Ponti embarked on a week-long tour to promote his latest novel, City Spies #5: Mission Manhattan (on sale Feb 6, 2024). The cross-country tour consisted of five in-person stops with independent bookstores featuring James in conversation with other middle-grade authors such as Jeff Kinney, Stuart Gibbs, Hena Khan, Jake Burt, Gordon Korman and Adam Gidwitz. James also conducted multiple days of school visits along the tour route, resulting in a lot of smiles from students and wonderful feedback from the schools. In total, his tour consisted of 5 public events, 3 literary festivals, 16 in-person school visits, and 2 virtual school visits.

Now that the tour has come to an end, James worked with YABC to share an exclusive rundown of his tour week in the humorous fashion his fans know best.

 

 

 

Meet James Ponti!

AMES PONTI (he/him/his) is the New York Times bestselling author of four middle grade book series: The Sherlock Society following a group of young detectives; City Spies, about an unlikely squad of five kids from around the world who form an elite MI6 Spy Team; the Edgar Award– winning Framed! series, about a pair of tweens who solve mysteries in Washington, DC; and the Dead City trilogy, about a secret society that polices the undead living beneath Manhattan. His books have appeared on more than fifteen different state award lists, and he is the founder of a writers group known as the Renegades of Middle Grade. James is also an Emmy–nominated television writer and producer who has worked for many networks including Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, PBS, History, and Spike TV, as well as NBC Sports. He lives with his family in Orlando, Florida. Find out more at JamesPonti.com

Website

 

 

 

About the Book: City Spies: Mission Manhattan

The City Spies head to the Big Apple when a credible threat is made to a young climate activist who is scheduled to speak in front of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly. With Rio acting as alpha and a new member in their ranks, the team’s mission to protect a fellow teen takes them on an exciting adventure in, around, and even under the greatest city
in the world as they follow leads to the outer boroughs, the UN Headquarters, and even the usually off-limits stacks that extend deep under the main branch of the New York Public Library.

Great multicultural cast of characters! Nicknamed for the various cities they hail from around the globe, Brooklyn, Kat, Sydney, Paris, and Rio–represent an impressive range of ethnicities, personal backgrounds, and unique skill-sets–making them a spectacular team of spies that truly offer something for every reader. And as readers learned in book 4, there’s been a recent addition to the team as well.

City Spies has it all! Action and adventure, intelligence and intrigue, humor and heart—plus lots of fun contemporary references and believable interpersonal dynamics to keep things moving on multiple levels. Every book in the series so far has been a New York Times bestseller, with appearances on the hardcover, paperback, and series lists. Even though he writes fiction, Ponti is very conscientious about
how he portrays the various locations and cultures in each story.

Amazon MGM Studios is currently developing a global film franchise based on the City Spies series!

 

 

 

James Ponti City Spies: Mission Manhattan Tour recap written by James himself!

Book Tour Confidential

I never feel more borderline cool, than when I tell someone that I’m about to go on a book tour. It just sounds glamorous and conjures up images of cozy bookstores, adoring fans, and witty banter. And I never feel more deceitful than when I allow that conversation to end without correcting some misconceptions.

First of all, I am not remotely cool. Secondly, glamorous it ain’t.

Don’t get me wrong, the bookstores are awesome, the readers (fans is still a hard word for me to use) are incredible, and there are countless laughs along the way. But there’s nothing glamorous about three a.m. wakeup calls, dragging your suitcase up and down Connecticut Avenue, or standing in front of large groups of middle schoolers, because, you know, middle school was such a positive experience the first time.

So here are some snapshots – both literal and figurative – of my recent tour to promote the release of City Spies: Mission Manhattan. From a numbers-standpoint, it was made up of five days, five states and the District of Columbia, nine schools, six independent bookstores, the New York Public Library, eight author friends, one presidential motorcade, and zero healthy meals.

 

DAY 0 – Orlando, Florida (where I live)

Mission Manhattan was a lay-down title, which means copies couldn’t be sold before its release date on Tuesday, February 6th, so I couldn’t do any official events on Monday. Still, just like a pitcher likes to warm up in the bullpen before heading to the mound, I like to get loose before I hit the road.

So, on Monday, I stopped by my good luck school St. Mary Magdalen in Altamonte Springs, Florida to do a presentation. It’s close to my house, has an amazing librarian, and has been part of virtually every tour I’ve ever done. I followed this up with a couple of virtual visits, one in Massachusetts and one in Seattle, and felt ready to go. That night I flew to Washington D.C., arrived at my hotel late at night, and was turned away at check in. (I refused to take this as an omen, but it wasn’t ideal.) Eventually, my reservation was located and I was able to get some sleep before the frenzy.

 

DAY 1 – Washington, D.C. (where the President lives, although he’s not going to come into story until we reach New York.)

Two schools and two bookstores – the original Politics & Prose, where I spoke to a bunch of students and their new store on the DC Wharf, where I had a public event with my good friend Hena Khan, who’s book Drawing Deena came out the same day. (Get it, it’s so good.)

The first challenge on a book tour involves luggage. You change cities every day and check out of your hotel room early each morning. That means you have to carry your bags and whatever you need for you presentation with you everywhere you go – schools, stores, restaurants, etc… You’re trying to stay presentable, but you’re rushing up and down Connecticut Avenue with your bags trying to get to the next stop in time. (Luckily, a college friend picked me up and gave me a ride at point.)

I was anxious/excited about the public event. It’s a new space and on a school night there’s always the fear that no one will show up. Hena and I had special cookies made with our covers on them. The plan was to give them out to the guests, and if no one came we’d just eat them ourselves. Luckily there’s a Ben & Jerry’s nearby, if we needed more sugar therapy.

Luckily, the turnout was good and included some surprises. Friends from high school and college showed up unannounced as did one of my favorite school librarians. Her husband was once the deputy-director of the CIA and their three sons all work in the intelligence business. They are literally the people I call when I need help figuring out what the spies should do in my spy books.

After the event, I managed to squeeze in a quick lobster roll with my nephew, who lives in DC, before racing off to the airport to fly to New York where I made it to my hotel around midnight. Door to door: 17 hours. Actual meals: 0

 

Day 2 – New York City

Despite the lack of sleep, I was pumped and up early. This was a bucket list day because I did a presentation for kids at the New York Public Library. It was doubly sweet, because the library is a major setting in the book. It was triply sweet because a group of people from my published, Simon & Schuster, came. So did two awesome author buddies – Karina Yan Glaser and Emma Otheguy. The support among middle grade authors is wonderful.

My publicist Alex, who no doubt felt bad about the luggage, carried my suitcase throughout the library and even loaded it in the cab for me, as I headed to PS 158 on the Upper East Side. Unfortunately, President Biden was also visiting the Upper East Side and his motorcade shut down the road. I had to jump out of the taxi and was once again “Sidewalk Suitcase Guy.” (Not exactly Naked Cowboy Guy from Times Square.)

That evening, I had my first real meal of the tour – with a team of people from Simon & Schuster who worked on the book. It was delicious and the company was wonderful. Bonus, for the first time ever, some random kid walked up to me because she recognized me from my books. (Don’t tell the S&S team it was a first time, I acted like it was a daily occurrence.)

Next, was a public event at the legendary Books of Wonder, where the staff made a window display that took my breath away. That night Gordon Korman, Adam Gidwitz, and I had a panel during which I laughed excessively and the audience seemed entertained. (Whew, you do not want to bomb in New York in front of your publisher and editor.)

Day 3 – Madison, Connecticut

There is a great irony in being a middle grade fiction author. First of all, most writers pick the occupation in part because it’s somewhat solitary and introverted. Secondly, most of us pick middle grade as a way to deal with the lingering scars and traumas of our own middle school awkwardness. So, what do we have to do? Talk in front of huge groups of kids in middle schools. I refer to it as returning to the belly of the beast. To prepare, I even bought special cool shoes (Nike dunks!) to wear at the visits because I never had such things when I was an actual middle schooler.

I did this dance at three different Connecticut middle schools and luckily all of them were filled with eager and receptive kids. By this point, however, I was getting a little punchy. Luckily, I managed to keep it together without incident. My evening event that night was at RJ Julia, a bookstore that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE, with author/friend Jake Burt, who devised all sorts of games to keep the crowd entertained. Bonus: my copy editor Rebecca (I call her Gator) showed up and we went out for ice cream! (Lobster roll, cookies, ice cream, hmmm, why am I not healthier?)

 

Day 4 – Plainville, Massachusetts (where Jeff Kinney lives)

Jeff Kinney and his team have built an incredible oasis of books at An Unlikely Story. It has an incredible event space. (And good pizza across the street.) I did a couple school visits and made it to the store with plenty of time to panic. Unlike the other stops, there was no fellow author to help lure in an audience. I kept worrying that they were setting up too many chairs, but it all worked out and great fun was had.

Day 5 – Orlando, Florida

To make it home in time, I had a 3:00a.m. wakeup call and a flight from Boston to Orlando. I went to the house long enough to drop off my suitcase – finally – and then headed over to Rollins College to meet up with one of my dearest author friends – Stuart Gibbs. Stu and I had a public event hosted by Writer’s Block Bookstore. People came from as far away as North Carolina and it was the perfect way to close out the tour.

I drove Stu to the airport, went home and took a nap.

I love writing middle grade books. I love meeting young readers. And I love hanging out with author friends. It’s not glamorous, but it sure is fun. This fall, my new series, The Sherlock Society, debuts and I’m planning to do a two-week tour that goes coast to coast. I can’t wait. But until then, I’m going to try to get some rest and maybe look into a more durable suitcase.

 

Tour Video

 

 

Title: City Spies: Mission Manhattan

Author: James Ponti

Release Date: 02/06/2024

Publisher: Aladdin

ISBN-13:9781665932479

Genre: Middle Grade Mystery

Age Range: 8-12 years

Author Chat With Alex London (THE PRINCESS PROTECTION PROGRAM), Plus Giveaway! ~ US ONLY!

February 15th, 2024 by

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Alex London (The Princess Protection Program)!

 

 

 

Meet the Author: Alex London

Alex London is the acclaimed author of more than thirty books for children and teens. His middle grade novels include The Princess Protection ProgramSearch & RescueDog Tags, and two titles in the 39 Clues series. For young adults, he’s the author of the cyberpunk duology Proxy and the epic fantasy series Black Wings Beating, which were both named to numerous best-of-the-year lists. He has been a journalist and human-rights researcher reporting from conflict zones and refugee camps, a young adult librarian with the New York Public Library, and a snorkel salesman. He lives with his husband, daughter, and hound dog in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

WebsiteInstagram

 

 

About the Book: The Princess Protection Program

Where can a princess hide if her Ever After isn’t all that Happy? Bestselling author Alex London turns classic fairy tales on their heads in this fast-paced, funny fantasy about embracing change and taking control of your own story. For fans of The School for Good and Evil and the Never Afters series.

Every fairy tale ends with its characters living happily ever after, right? A valiant prince quests long and hard to reach the castle where the sleeping princess lies. And with a kiss, he will awaken her.

But what if the princess does NOT think a kiss from a stranger is a very pleasant way to wake up? Yuck!

When Rosamund flees her prince, a Door of Opportunity opens, and she steps through to the Home Educational Academy (the HEA for short). Rosamund has found the Princess Protection Program, where fugitive fairy tale princesses escape unwanted affections, untimely ends, and all the other perils of their stories.

But as Rosamund adjusts to life in the real world and makes her first real friends (Rana, who left her story after an incident with a frog; Sirena, a former mermaid; Cindy and Charlie, who didn’t want to get married after just one dance; and others), she has more and more questions. Does anyone ever graduate from the HEA? Why doesn’t anyone seem to remember former students? Is the kindly fairy headmistress all she appears to be? Is anyone? And the most important question of all: Can Rosamund change her story?

Acclaimed and bestselling author Alex London weaves together several beloved fairy tales in this fast-paced, funny, and slyly subversive adventure about finding your place in the world and taking control of your own story. The daring escapes, sinister monsters, familiar friends, and surprise twists will keep even reluctant readers glued to the pages. The Princess Protection Program is for fans of the Never Afters and the Descendants series, The School for Good and Evil, and the Fairly True Tales series.

Purchase

 

 

 

~Author Chat~

 

YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

My sister! She used to have a very interesting job at Disney World, where she was…ahem…very close with various Princesses in the park. She told me about a support group she was in for—let’s call them associates—of former princesses called The Princess Protection Program. I loved the name so much and the concept for this book spun out from thinking about that name.

 

YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

Without a doubt, the Einhorn brothers. They’re basically frat boy dirtbags with hearts of gold, who are…spoiler alert…unicorns in disguise. What better disguise for unicorns in the real world than a bunch of total bros? No one would ever expect they’re wondrous creatures of magic and starlight. They’re gross and awful and funny and kind and I love them.

 

YABC:    Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

Each fairy tale princess (and prince) had their own challenges. These are such iconic characters, finding something both fresh and familiar to do with each of them was extremely fun, but also difficult. How do you make someone like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella feel like their own full person, while also being recognizable to readers outside of the fairy tale they’ve escaped? The challenging parts of writing this are the things that fueled the writing of it to begin with.

 

YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?

In this case, the title! It has led to some confusion, as there is, apparently, a 2009 movie of the same name, but the concept is completely different, so that’s helpful…because I was not about to change the title that inspired the book!

 

YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?

Is “everything” a reasonable answer? Because I loved everything about it. James Firnhaber, the artist, did an amazing job. I’ve loved his work on other covers and am honored to have had him bring his talent to bear on this story. The details and the vibe perfectly make the promise of what the book is, which is the most you can ask for on a cover. It’s beautiful, it’s inviting, and it feels like the book. I’m just thrilled with it.

 

YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2024?

I’m very excited to read Adam Gidwitz’s Max in the House of Spies. I love an espionage thriller, and I love Adam’s middle grade writing, so the two combined seem just tailor-made for my tastes!

 

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

I have a lot of projects in the works! There is a sequel to the Princess Protection Program I’m at work on, and I have a picture book out next fall called Still Life illustrated by the amazing Paul O. Zelinsky about a still life painting that simply won’t hold still. After that, there’s a graphic memoir in the works for young adults, and another secret project or two…maybe even something for adults!

 
YABC:      What would you say is your superpower?

Productive procrastination. I procrastinate a lot, about everything, but I’ve found ways to turn that into something useful, putting off one task that needs to get done with another. For example, I wrote the first draft of The Princess Protection Program to avoid revising a different project I had to turn in. I was putting off doing that by writing this, and ended up getting both done, while simultaneously leaving my laundry, washed but rumpled, in the basket for weeks. It’s a gift and a curse.


YABC:     Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?

Right now, with the eruption of book bans and censorship happening around the country, I’m grateful for the work of Pen America and their Freedom to Read Project.

 

 

 

Title: THE PRINCESS PROTECTION PROGRAM

Author: Alex London

Release Date: 2/13/24

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

ISBN-10: 0063303876

ISBN-13: 9780063303874

Genre: middle grade fiction/fantasy

Age Range: Ages 8-12

 

 

 

*Giveaway Details*

 

Three (3) winners will receive a hardcover copy of The Princess Protection Program (Alex London) ~ US Only!

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*

 

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Guest Post with Ellen Ramsey (A BOOK FOR BEAR), Plus Giveaway! ~ US Only!

July 21st, 2023 by

Today we are excited to share a guest post from author Ellen Ramsey,

A Book For Bear!

Read on for more about Ellen and A Book for Bear!

 

 

 

Meet Ellen Ramsey!

Ellen Ramsey’s love of reading and writing led her to careers as a teacher, a technical editor, and an author of stories for children. Her work has appeared in Highlights, Spider, Ladybug, Muse, and Fun for Kidz. One of her poems, published in Highlights High Five, won an SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for Poetry. Like Bear in her picture book A BOOK FOR BEAR, she loves visiting schools, libraries, and bookstores, but unlike Bear, she typically does not need a disguise. She and her husband live in a house filled with thousands of books, many teddy bears, and lots of laughter! You can visit Ellen L. Ramsey online at EllenLRamsey.com or follow her on Instagram @EllenLRamseyBooks and on Twitter @EllenLRamsey1.

Website * Instagram * Twitter

 

 

 

About the Book: A Book for Bear

Bear loves books. When Bear decides he wants a book of his very own, he and his best friend Ellen hatch a plan. But sneaking a bear into a school, a library, and a bookstore proves to be harder than they thought. Will Bear ever find a book of his very own? With charming and timeless words from debut author Ellen Ramsey and brought to life by MacKenzie Haley, this is an endearing story of a determined young bear and his journey to find the perfect book.

Purchase

 

 

 

~ Guest Post ~

 

Reading Stories: A Springboard to Writing Stories

People love stories. Listening to them, reading them, and telling them.

A colleague of mine has a sign in his office that says: “Humans: The Storytelling Animal.”

The love of stories starts early. Among our daughter’s first words (coming relatively soon after “ma-ma” and “da-da”) were “Read me!” She accompanied this request by plopping a favorite book in my lap. Living in an apartment filled with books, she found that “read me,” especially when coupled with “please” and a pleading look, would typically get a story—and sometimes two.

Say the words “Once upon a time” or “Let me tell you a story,” and an audience will gather—in the living room, at the dining room table, or around a campfire.

In A BOOK FOR BEAR, Bear learns to love stories by listening to his friend Ellen read scary books, exciting books, funny books.

Soon Bear embarks on a search for a book of his very own. Assisted by Ellen, Bear devises imaginative disguises to wear as he sneaks into places with lots of books—schools, libraries, and bookstores. When perceptive librarians and others see the bear behind the disguises, Bear and Ellen must find another way for Bear to have a book of his very own.

Reading stories like A BOOK FOR BEAR and other books about books encourages kids to learn to read and inspires them to create their own stories.

Kids can tell a story with words, drawings, or both. A few pieces of folded paper glued together or stapled or sewn by an older kid or helpful adult is a good start. Provided with colored pencils, markers, crayons, or paints, kids will be well on their way to creating books of their very own. Kids can keep bookmaking supplies—and their completed books—in a special “Book Box.”

Reading books is a springboard for talking about ideas for stories. Bear wants a book the color of ripe red raspberries and delicious to read. Kids could imagine the types of books other animals might want—a dog? a cat? a parrot? a hippo? a dragon? Bear needs disguises to help him sneak into places with books. Kids could challenge themselves to think of what disguises their favorite animals might wear for going on adventures. These are ways to inspire new story ideas.

Reading books is not only a way to grow readers and storytellers, but also a way to grow friendships. Bear and Ellen become friends because of their shared love of books. The popularity of book clubs shows how much people love to share ideas and opinions about what they are reading.

Creating a space with books and bookmaking supplies will grow readers, writers, and friendships. My “read me” daughter has become an English professor who reads and writes as an integral part of her career and has many friends who share her passion for reading and writing. When your kids say, “read me,” be sure you have a good supply of books—scary books, exciting books, and funny books.

 

 

 

Title: A BOOK FOR BEAR

Author: Ellen Ramsey

Illustrator: MacKenzie Haley

Release Date: 07/18/2023

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers

ISBN-10: 0593527240

ISBN-13: 9780593527245

Genre: Picture Book

Age Range: 4-8 years

 

 

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

Five (5) winners will receive a  copy of A Book for Bear (Ellen Ramsey) ~ US Only!

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

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Guest Post with Nic Yulo (OUT OF THE BLUE), Plus Giveaway! ~ US Only!

July 17th, 2023 by

Today we are excited to share a guest post from author Nic Yulo,

Out of the Blue!

Read on for more about Nic and Out of the Blue!

 

 

 

Meet Nic Yulo!

Nic Yulo is the author-illustrator of Patch of Sky, as well as a video game writer and film writer-director. She lives in New York City with her pup.

Website * Instagram * Twitter

 

 

 

About the Book: Out of the Blue

Coral has big dreams about grand adventures—but it’s hard to go after these big dreams when you’re the smallest in the class and feel completely invisible. During a school trip to the aquarium, Coral finds a kindred spirit in Kraken, a small octopus who knows that being invisible isn’t always a bad thing.

When Coral finds herself in the aquarium after everyone else goes home, she learns that being seen isn’t always about how big you are.

Purchase

 

 

 

~ Guest Post ~

 

 

It’s tough being a kid.

Everyone else seems bigger, older, and smarter. No one takes you seriously. It’s almost as if you don’t take up any space at all. You feel powerless to change the world around you despite the very big dreams that seem to be beating in your chest. The world is so big, but you are small, and when you are faced with all that ‘bigness’, it becomes very easy to forget just how special you are.

I might not be so small anymore, but there are still many reasons to feel small when you live in a big city. Life here is one of visceral and overwhelming proportions. Weaving through narrow streets that break into sprawling avenues or venturing from tightly packed apartments to rows of cloud-piercing skyscrapers, getting lost amidst the fishbowl of sounds, smells, cars, and crowds, can be exhausting. There are moments when you feel invisible, especially when those same big dreams still beat in your chest.

The inspiration for Out of the Blue came from a very enlightening, no pun intended, conversation with my wonderful agent Alexandra Levick. I was working on another narrative project involving oceans and had been compiling research and interesting tidbits I encountered along the way. When the conversation naturally turned to the fascinating world of octopuses, we both agreed that there might be a story to be told. I knew pretty immediately which octopus I wanted to feature—the diminutive Dumbo or Flapjack octopus. What excited me about this tiny octopus, other than its adorable appearance, was the opportunity to play with proportion and scale, ‘smallness’ and ‘bigness’.

Kraken is a deep-sea octopus whose coloring renders him invisible to predators. For Kraken, invisibility is a very necessary survival mechanism—a superpower. Enter Coral, a little girl who has felt invisible her entire life. Coral has always had big dreams, but she is used to being overlooked by her classmates. To her, invisibility is a weakness she can’t seem to shake off. So, she hides, very much like Kraken the octopus does, but much to her detriment.

Both Kraken and Coral are small, particularly when set against the backdrop of the expansive aquarium around them. They find each other on happenstance, and it takes Kraken showing Coral the benefits of his invisibility for her to be able to come out of her shell and recognize the same resilience within herself and what special qualities she has to offer, allowing her to take control of the narrative and finally be seen by her classmates.

Figuring out just how to distill a difficult, almost abstract concept like ‘invisibility’ was tough, but experimenting with inverted color palettes, the use of negative space, and centering bioluminescence as a representation for literal and metaphorical illumination, proved to be a very fun and rewarding process.

I feel like Out of the Blue is a natural companion to my debut picture book, Patch of Sky. Both books feature little girls as they discover a new level of awareness and change their perspective on a pressing issue. Both stories, by the end, have the girls overcoming their limitations and making a positive difference on the world around them, with the help of their precocious animal besties.

It has been an absolute dream come true to work on these stories and be able to imbue STEM concepts in a manner that is digestible for early readers. After reading, I hope everyone leaves these little bits of sky and sea feeling uplifted and ready to take on any challenge that might come their way.

Coral has big dreams. So do I. So do you. And I hope you never forget that regardless of how overwhelming the world might feel or insurmountable the path may seem, you don’t have to feel big to make your dreams a reality. That’s the thing with ‘bigness’. When everything feels so much bigger than you, that only means there’s much to be discovered and so much more to be excited about.

 

 

 

Title: OUT OF THE BLUE

Author/Illustrator: Nic Yulo

Release Date: 07/25/2023

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers; Penguin Young Readers

ISBN-10: 0593353870

ISBN-13: 9780593353875

Genre: Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Animals, Imagination & Play

Age Range: 4-8

 

 

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

One (1) winner will receive a signed hardback copy of Out of the Blue (Nic Yulo) ~ US Only!

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

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Guest Post with Ben Gundersheimer (We’ll Make Things Better Together)!

May 8th, 2023 by

Today we are excited to share a guest post from author and musician Ben Gundersheimer, a.k.a MISTER G,

We’ll Make Things Better Together!

Read on for more about Ben and We’ll Make Things Better Together!

 

 

 

Meet Ben Gundersheimer!

Ben Gundersheimer (bengundersheimer.com, MisterGsongs.com) is a Latin GRAMMY Award-winning artist, author and educator. Hailed as “a bilingual rock star” by The Washington Post and “irresistible” by People magazine, he was originally dubbed MISTER G by his young students while pursuing a Master of Education degree. He is also the author of How Many Squirrels Are in the World?, based on a song from his album Pizza for Breakfast, Senorita Mariposa, based on a song on his album Chocolalala, and Lilah Tov Good Night, based on a song from his album The Mitzvah Bus. MISTER G tours internationally, performing in venues such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, New Orleans Jazz Fest, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His dynamic, interactive bilingual performances aim to dissolve borders and foster cross-cultural connections. He lives in the woods of Western Massachusetts with his wife, Katherine, rescue mutt, Josie, and cat, Chloe Bird.

Website * Twitter * Instagram

 

 

 

About the Book: We’ll Make Things Better Together

Working together can make everything we do—like playing music, gardening, and helping our neighbors—a whole lot more fun. Whether it’s cleaning up the mess in the kitchen or in a public park, joining together on a shared project allows each of our talents to shine through. And some things are simply better when we do them together—like celebrating a job well done! Young readers are sure to be inspired by this cheerful story of friendship and teamwork that shows how we can all make a positive impact on the world, starting in our own homes and communities.

Penguin Random House * Amazon * BookShop

 

 

 

~ Guest Post ~

 

Collaborating Across Cultures and In Our Own Communities

Before We’ll Make Things Better was a book, it began as a song. In fact, all of my books were original songs before finding new lives as children’s books. Whether writing stories or songs, there’s a part of the initial creative process that is solitary. And while I enjoy those quiet moments working alone, the real thrill comes from the collaborative process of developing songs and stories into fully realized albums and books.

I’ll never forget the palpable sense of joy I experienced when I saw a draft of my first book, Señorita Mariposa. What had started as nothing more than words on a page had been magically transformed by the illustrations of the great Mexican artist, Marcos Almada Rivero. In addition, the editor and art director had contributed their creative input during the process of the book’s creation. The result is a tangible object brought lovingly to life by a team of people working together to create something new and beautiful for children.

While the art forms are distinct, the collaboration I’ve found creating children’s books is very similar to my experience producing albums in the recording studio. There’s a thrill to hearing a song transformed in real time from a simple demo to a produced track by a band of talented musicians, each of whom bring their own talents, taste and style to a recording.

Regardless of the medium, when the right team is in place, the work that is created is almost always greater than the sum of its parts. We’ll Make Things Better Together is a powerful metaphor not just for the creative process but in a larger context too. Illustrated by the wonderful artist Dow Phumiruk, the book depicts a group of children working together in a variety of ways to make a positive impact in their community. Whether cleaning up the mess in the kitchen, picking up trash in a public park, or tending a community garden, the message is that working together can make everything we do a whole lot more fun.

Though not explicitly stated in the text, the illustrations depict a diverse group of children. To me, that’s an important component of my work and Dow represents it perfectly in the book. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with musicians from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe, artists from dozens of countries around the world. My life, not to mention my art, has been enriched by these friendships and working partnerships. All of my books have been illustrated by artists who have brought their talents and their unique and distinct cultural perspectives to our collaborative projects.

I grew up in a neighborhood of Philadelphia that was, and still is, known for being a culturally diverse community. The illustrations of the books remind me of my childhood friends and our urban setting. My hope is that the book resonates not just with people who, like me, had the good fortune to have a broad range of friends, but also with people who haven’t had much experience with people from different races and cultures.

 

 

 

Title: We’ll Make Things Better Together
Author: Ben Gundersheimer
Illustrator: Dow Phumiruk
Release Date: May 9, 2023
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
ISBN-10: 0593110196
ISBN-13: 978-0593110195
Genre: Picture Book
Age Range: 3-7

 

 

Guest Post with Victoria J. Coe (FENWAY AND THE LOUDMOUTH BIRD)!

May 3rd, 2023 by

Today we are excited to share a guest post from author Victoria J. Coe,

Fenway and the Loudmouth Bird!

Read on for more about Victoria and Fenway and the Loudmouth Bird!

 

 

 

Meet Victoria J. Coe

Victoria J. Coe grew up in the seaside community of Duxbury, Massachusetts, and went on to live in New York and San Francisco, as well as large and small towns on both U.S. coasts. Her books for middle grade readers include the Global Read Aloud, Amazon  Teacher’s Pick, and One School, One Book  favorite Fenway and Hattie as well as three Fenway and Hattie sequels. Make Way for  Fenway! is her first chapter book series.

 

 

 

About the Book: Fenway and the Loudmouth Bird

The little dog with the GIANT personality from Fenway and Hattie has some competition for his short human’s attention—a bird who speaks human! Can a dog and a bird be friends? Usually Fenway loves visiting Nana with his short human, Hattie. But this time is very different—a bird is living inside Nana’s house. It has a name, Merlin, and it speaks human! Even more surprising, Hattie wants Fenway and Merlin to be friends! Fenway doesn’t believe that is even possible, but when Merlin gets upset and Fenway realizes what’s wrong, it turns out that a bird and a dog can understand each other. With an easy reading level and lively illustrations, emerging readers will be eager to get their paws on the Make Way for Fenway! chapter books.

 

 

 

~ Guest Post ~

 

The MAKE WAY FOR FENWAY! Books

Doggy Doors to a New Perspective

By Victoria J. Coe

Here’s the thing – we all know that reading books from a different perspective expands your world.

And here’s the other thing – it’s never too early to understand that your own perspective isn’t the only one out there.

That’s one of the amazing things about kids’ books, especially those told from a dog’s point of view.

Dogs are obviously different from us. But think about the similarities – dogs live in our homes, experience the same day-to-day situations, and most importantly, feel the same emotions. That’s why dog characters are ideal access points for kids to learn about perspective.

This is why I’m thrilled to highlight the Make Way for Fenway! illustrated chapter books series and the newest title, Fenway and the Loudmouth Bird. Sure, readers love that the Fenway books are fun, short, and easy to read. And yes, grown-ups love that they help kids gain reading confidence and stamina.

But what gets me most excited is how these books expand a young kid’s worldview. Readers certainly don’t realize it, but following Fenway through each story leads them through five stages of widening their own perspective.

CURIOSITY

Once the young reader figures out that Fenway is the one telling the story, their curiosity is immediately piqued. They are hooked. They want to see what he does, how his mind works, where his ideas come from.

NOVELTY

Most young readers have never considered how a dog views the world before. They’re familiar with dogs. Maybe they have a dog at home!

But have they ever seen the world from a dog’s perspective? It’s a brand-new experience! Once they get a taste of it, they want to go along for the ride.

CONNECTING

It’s only natural for a young reader to notice differences between how a dog understands everyday things that we barely think about – the UPS driver coming to the door, dinner being prepared, or a squirrel running through the back yard.

Because Fenway lives in a home with a family that’s probably like theirs, they have a strong frame of reference when Fenway reacts differently to these common occurrences. It’s easy and fun for them to weigh Fenway’s POV against their own. They are making CONNECTIONS.

RELATING

It’s one thing to KNOW. It’s another to FEEL. As readers experience Fenway’s POV, they identify with his motivations, his feelings, and his emotions. Even though their own lives are different from his, they relate to how he feels in the situations in the story. He’s a totally different species!

Readers know what it’s like to feel left out or misunderstood or treated unfairly. They know what it’s like to want to be included or be accepted or valued. They have experienced what it  feels like to right a wrong and get what you want and make people you love happy. They RELATE to his feelings.

UNDERSTANDING

After reading Fenway’s story, young readers feel like they have a better understanding of what it’s like to be a dog. We all know that reading a book from the perspective of a character who’s different from us is an effective way to “walk in their shoes.” They UNDERSTAND.

Curiosity, experiencing something new, making connections, relating to feelings, and eventually gaining understanding all help readers – no matter how young – to learn for themselves that other perspectives matter. And isn’t that the best way to expand our own?

***

With an easy reading level and lively illustrations, emerging readers will be eager to get their paws on the Make Way for Fenway! chapter books written by Victoria J. Coe with art by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. The first 3 titles are out now from Penguin Young Readers. Available wherever books are sold.

Victoria J. Coe is the author of Fenway and Hattie – the Global Read Aloud, Amazon Teachers’ Pick, and “One School, One Book” favorite. She’s also the author of 3 additional Fenway and Hattie middle grade books, as well as the 4-book Make Way for Fenway! chapter book series. She lives with her husband in Boston and Duxbury, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Title: Fenway and the Loudmouth Bird

Author: Victoria J Coe

Publisher: Penguin for Young Readers

Guest Post with Helen H. Wu (Long Goes to Dragon School)!

March 23rd, 2023 by

Today we are excited to share a guest post from author Helen H. Wu,

Long Goes to Dragon School!

Read on for more about Helen and Long Goes to Dragon School!

 

 

 

Meet Helen H. Wu!

Helen H. Wu is a children’s book author and illustrator, as well as a translator and publisher. She is the author of Tofu Takes Time, illustrated by Julie Jarema (Beaming Books, 2022) and Long Goes To Dragon School, illustrated by Mae Besom (Yeehoo Press, 2023). Helen is the Publisher of Yeehoo Press, an independent children’s book publisher based in San Diego, California. Being fascinated by the differences and similarities between cultures, Helen loves to share stories that empower children to understand the world and our connections. Born and raised in Hefei, China, Helen moved to the US in her 20s. Currently, she resides in sunny Southern California, with her family and two kids.

Website * Twitter  * Facebook  * Instagram

 

 

 

About the Book: Long Goes to Dragon School

Wrapped in Eastern and Western dragon lore, this fantasy tale celebrates perseverance, cultural inclusion, and self-discovery.
It’s the first day of Dragon School, where all the young dragons must learn how to harness their fire breath. Today’s lesson? Using it to cook food! All the dragons are excited to test their powers . . . except Long.
Long is from the East and can only breathe out water. No matter how hard he huffs and puffs, he isn’t sure he can match his fire breathing classmates. But will he be discovered? Or will Long find his own unique path to cooking-and to fitting in?
From TOFU TAKES TIME author Helen H. Wu and New York Times bestselling illustrator Mae Besom (WHAT DO YOU DO WITH AN IDEA?) comes a gorgeously illustrated and stirring tale around self-acceptance. 

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound * Goodreads

 

 

 

~ Guest Post ~

 

The Creative Path in Children’s Books Marketing – From Books to Multimedia Content

Helen H. Wu

 

In the competitive world of children’s book publishing, authors and publishers are always looking for innovative ways to market their books and connect with young readers. While traditional marketing tactics such as book signings and readings can be effective, modern technology offers new avenues for promoting children’s books beyond the typical strategies.

One of the ways that children’s book authors and publishers can expand their marketing efforts is by creating merchandise featuring book characters, which can generate more interest in the story and reach a wider audience.

Here are some ways that creating merchandise can help promote children’s books beyond typical marketing strategies:

Plushies and Toys

Creating plushies and toys based on book characters can bring the story to life for young readers. By holding and playing with a plushie or toy of their favorite character, children can feel a deeper connection to the story and its world. Additionally, a cute and well-made plushie can make a great gift, encouraging parents and caregivers to buy the book for their children.

Stickers and Enamel Pins

Stickers and enamel pins featuring book characters can be a fun and engaging way for children to interact with the story. Publishers can create physical sticker packs and enamel pins that can be purchased online or at bookstores. This not only promotes the book but also offers readers a tangible item to remember the story by. Enamel pins can also be collected, making them a popular item among young readers.

Emojis and Animated Stickers

In today’s digital age, emojis and animated stickers are popular ways for readers to express themselves in messaging apps and social media. Publishers can create emoji sets and animated stickers featuring their book characters, making them available for download on messaging apps like WhatsApp and social media platforms like Instagram. This not only promotes the book but also encourages readers to share the emojis and stickers with their friends, extending the reach of the marketing campaign.

Coloring Pages and Activities

Creating coloring pages and activities featuring book characters is a great way to engage children with the story. These can be made available for free download on the author or publisher’s website or social media channels. Coloring pages and activities, such as word searches, mazes, and puzzles, keep children engaged with the story and encourage them to think more deeply about the characters. By providing these resources, publishers can create a community around the book and encourage children to continue engaging with the story in different ways.

In conclusion, creating merchandise such as plushies, stickers, emojis, and digital content based on children’s book characters can be a fun and effective way to market children’s books beyond traditional strategies. By engaging readers with merchandise and digital content, publishers can build a loyal fan base and extend the reach of their marketing campaign. The key is to stay creative and think outside the box to connect with readers in new and exciting ways!

 

 

 

Title: Long Goes to Dragon School
Author: Helen H. Wu
Illustrator: Mae Besom
Release Date: March 21, 2023
Publisher: Yeehoo Press
ISBN-10: 1953458505
ISBN-13: 9781953458506
Genre: Picture Book
Age Range: 4-8

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