I presented alongside Carmen Tafolla, Jon Scieszka, Steven Weinberg, Diane Bertrand-Gonzalez, and more fabulous authors and illustrators of books for kids.
Steven Weinberg and Bear.
Diane Bertrand Gonzalez giving out books to happy kids!
This is an initiative put together by the Texas Book Festival, where authors partner with the TBF and other major sponsors to visit schools in underprivileged schools or areas, and provide every single child in the school with a free, signed book.
Every kid. For many, it’s the first new book they’ve ever had.
It’s mind-blowing and heart-melting and makes the hard days of being an author worth every second.
The first thing on our schedule is a meet-up at the huge TLA conference in Houston this April. Librarian friends, I promise you’ll want to stop by the booth… the Sweethearts always make it worth the trip. 🙂
One of the newest Sweethearts just had her debut picture book launch yesterday. Congrats, Carmen Oliver!
Her Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies is funny and wonderful. Buy it, or I’ll think you’re a scoundrel. 🙂
I have this great friend named Lynda Mullaly Hunt, who writes the most phenomenal books, and who knows pretty much ALL the other MG authors out there, and once a year holds a contest for librarians and teachers to win ALL THE BOOKS!!!
So, it’s that time again. She’s giving away a TON of books to one lucky winner, and my book Wish Girl is one of them…
Wow. Want to know how to make an author cry with happiness?
I ran a contest to give away five paperback copies of Wish Girl to a librarian or teacher, and asked those commenting on my blog to post their wish for their students. Reading those comments brought happy tears.
I already knew librarians were some of the finest people of my acquaintance, but just look at these snippets from the comments, listed below. These are the deep wishes of caring librarians for their students. It gives me great hope for the future when I think of these people nurturing young readers. What gifts they are to their students!
My wish for my students is…
“that they always find that one person they can talk to and feel safe with when they are having a not so great day. Having that connection is so important.” -Deb
“that they have access to books that stretch their minds and lead them to glorious futures.” -Veronica
“that they can overcome the tragedies and bad experiences that they’ve lived through, and not allow those things to hold them back. Overcome those obstacles and continue forth in life and become successful with the things they want to achieve. Some have it much worse than anyone could imagine and they have to work harder in getting there.” -Kelly
“that my students find comfort in books, and that they feel safe, secure, and loved in our library.” -Erin
that “all of my students could find that one place during their lives where they can just escape to and where people get them.” – Mikela
“for my students to have great books to read in their hands so that they can read and relate to them!” -Ronnie
“for my students to get excited by amazing literature” – Steffanie
“for my students is that they are not held back by those who intentionally or unintentionally try to silence them or keep them from growing” -Stacey
“that everyone of them understands & realizes that each of their voices matters and that they can each make a difference in the world.” – Becky
“to be brave enough to dream big! I also wish that they can learn to love and find comfort in books the way that I have.” – Jessica
“that each of my 356 students is able at some point to find a book that swallows them whole, refusing to spit them back out.” – Susan
“that they will realize how very special and unique they each are.” -Rita
“for all children to feel valued for being their authentic selves.” -Diane
“that they read to see the world through another person’s eyes creating a new understanding and compassion for the book characters as they vividly come to life.” -Cara
“for my students to continue to ask amazing questions when interacting with literature. ” -Lisa
“that they all discover a love of literature at some point in their lives. ” -Susie
“that they become kind people who honor and respect themselves and others.” -Margaret
Thank you to all those who posted their wishes, and congratulations to the randomly chosen winner of the 5 copies of Wish Girl… Jessica Samuel. I wish all of you could have won… and I hope ALL of your wishes come true. I have a feeling you’re working every day to make that happen.
It’s always a Big Deal when a book is first released, right? Well, as it turns out, it’s even a Big Deal to authors when a book comes out again… in paperback. This means your publisher believes in your book enough to re-tool the cover, market it some more, etc. And kids who haven’t read it have another shot at finding it, as it hits bookstore shelves all over again – and for less $$$, so more kids can afford it.
And guess what? Wish Girl is coming out in paperback on February 23rd! I’m super excited, and to celebrate, I’m going to give away five signed paperback copies to a teacher, librarian, or book club leader who comments on this post! Just tell me what YOUR wish is for your kids/students this year. I will ask my son to draw a name at random from a hat on February 10 in the morning (yeah, super low tech over here), and we will announce the winner that day. (North American entries only please.)
Thanks to all the teachers, librarians, and readers out there who have read Wish Girl and loved it enough that it’s staying in the world… and in reader’s hands. You are my wish come true!
Wow! I had the most fun weekend ever in San Antonio, celebrating great books, smart kids, and wonderful short films. I got a few photos, too, so I thought I’d take a break from writing for a few minutes to share.
The crowd was amazing! By the end, it was a full house, with beaming parents, grandparents, and kids everywhere.
Author James Kennedy and I were set to battle to the death… THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE…
… but then we thought better of the “Newbery Death match idea”…
… and we went with “Friendly Co-Hosts with Great Fashion Sense” as our schtick instead. (Check out my Cinderella shoes! And James’ velvet tux. We rocked it.)
The winners got trophies AND HUGE CASH PRIZES for their schools! Fame, glory, and money for schools? A perfect combo. (That’s rock star librarian Irene Kistler in the background, BTW. Hi, Irene!)
This young lady modeled her “The Giver” beard. She is an aspiring writer, an actor, and pretty much who I wish I had been as a kid. Rock on, Simone!
And that’s all!
I hope that, if you live in or near a city with a 90-Second Newbery Festival, you’ll go – or even better! – make your own film and enter. It’s the coolest, truly.
Wow! What a year 2015 has been. From the paperback release of Nightingale’s Nest (and the two awards it won!!!), to the publication of Wish Girl, and then the Guys Read: Terrifying Tales anthology, to all those trips to Oklahoma and Minnesota and elsewhere… it’s been full!
I have three more fun things lined up for Author Nikki… and then I will go into a social media/blog/email- free cave and finish writing my next book. It’ll be just me, my laptop, and an endless supply of tea and chocolate. Writer Nikki, kicking it old school.
But before I do that… I’ll be signing copies of Nightingale’s Nest and Wish Girl at the Humanities Texas Annual Holiday Book Fair this Saturday, December 12, from 10:00 am–1:00 pm at the Byrne-Reed House, 1410 Rio Grande Street in Austin. The author line-up looks fantastic, and I’ll have some treats for friends who come in… Stop by and say hi!
And I have a super fun morning of writing workshops planned for tomorrow morning at Galindo Elementary in Austin… and a Skype visit with Ms. Rattner’s class up in New York! Those kids have been reading Wish Girl, and have a ton a great questions for me. There’s nothing more fun than engaging in literary conversation with smart, passionate learners!