My 2017-18 School Year in Review

During the 2017-18 school year (which, I’m defining as ending on June 30th – therfore, beginning today, on July 1st), a lot of fun stuff happened.

Three books I wrote were released:

I had readings, signings, & events at:

  • 11 Public Libraries
  • 11 Conferences & Festivals
  • 16 Book Stores

I visited 108 schools

  • 8 in-person visits
  • 99 virtual visits
    • one of the visits was a double-visit – two school in the same districut skyped in at the same time

Dear Dragon was named a 2018/19 Missouri Association of Librarians (MASL) Show Me Award Nominee AND a 2018/19 Indiana Library Federation (ILF) Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee.

It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk was named to the 2018 Wisconsin State Reading Association (WSRA) Picture This Recommendation List.

How to Code a Sandcastle was selected to the 2018 Summer Indie Next List by the American Booksellers Association.

And for 2018-19 … who knows what’ll happen? Have a fabulous summer everyone!

(don’t forget about the *big* MISSION DEFROSTABLE preorder giveaway – details available here:  https://mailchi.mp/2d7e5b10c2c6/the-great-mission-defrostable-pre-order-giveaway)

_Mission Defrostable

 

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

1. Iver & Ellsworth written by Casey Robinson & illustrated by Melissa Larson

2. 100 Bugs! A Counting Book written by Kate Narita & illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

My NCTE17 Schedule

Next week I’ll be attending the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. I’m really excited about taking part in several panels with some amazing book creators and educators.

Are you attending? If so, definitely stop by and say hi! Here’s my schedule:

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In other AMAZING news, The Case of the Stinky Stench made it to the Semifinal Round of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Picture Book of 2017!GR_The Case of the Stinky Stench

If you voted in the first round, thank you! If not, everyone gets to vote again in the Semifinal Round! So go vote now!

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

1. Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? written by Audrey Vernick & illustrated by Daniel Jennewein

2. Caring for Your Lion written by Tammi Sauer & illustrated by Troy Cummings

Huge News! I Sold a Book! You Can Learn How to CODE a Sandcastle!

I’ve got incredible news to share! I sold a book called How To Code a Sandcastle to Viking/Penguin! Just announced via Publisher’s Weekly:

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“As part of Penguin’s partnership with Girls Who Code, Kendra Levin and Leila Sales at Viking have bought Josh Funk’s picture book, HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE, about a young girl and her trusty robot who use fundamental coding concepts to construct the perfect beach day, a fun, quirky story that brings coding to life, in a two-book deal, to be illustrated by Sara Palacios. Publication is set for Summer 2018.”

Yes! This is a Picture Book AND it’s about coding – sequences, loops, conditionals, etc!

I am thrilled on so many levels to share this book!

  1. Have you heard of Girls Who CodeGWC-logo_2016-white-on-navy[1]Girls Who Code was founded by Reshma Saujani with the mission to close the gender gap in technology. Girls Who Code has grown to over 40,000 girls in all 50 states through their coding clubs and programs. I couldn’t be more excited to join in Penguin’s Girl Who Code partnership! Check out the awesome books they have coming starting on August 22nd, 2017

    and more going forward.

  2. I get to reunite with my editor and publisher of Dear Dragon at Viking/Penguin! Everyone over at Viking/Penguin – editorial, art and design, marketing, publicity, sales, and especially School & Library Marketing – were fantastic to work with! I can’t wait to team up with all of them again!DearDragon_cover
  3. Sara Palacios’s illustrations are amazing! Check out her art here, all of her books here, definitely follow her on Instagram here, and she’s even got a book coming out with Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarite Engle(!!!) called The Flying Girl: How Aida de Acosta Learned to Soar in March 2018!9781481445023_84b6e[1]I feel incredibly fortunate that Viking/Penguin paired us together on this project!
  4. We certainly hope to make this a series! It’s my first two-book deal (which is awesome in itself) and I’m working on the follow-up right now!
  5. If you didn’t know, I spend my days coding (I’m a software engineer by trade), so I’m thrilled to be combining my two areas of interest by bringing coding to the world of Children’s Literature.

I’ll stop there for now, as I’m sure I’ll be talking a lot about this book going forward – it’s only a YEAR away from release!

And as always, thanks, Kat, for making this happen!

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. Can An Aardvark Bark? written by Melissa Stewart & illustrated by Steve Jenkins

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2. Martí’s Song for Freedom/ Martí y sus versos por la libertad written by Emma Otheguy & illustrated by Beatriz Vidal

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Dear Dragon Wins a Nerdy Book Club Award!

I’ve got astonishing news, people (and dragons)! Dear Dragon has been awarded a Nerdy – a Nerdy Book Club Award, that is!

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I’m truly honored and thrilled. Dear Dragon was one of twenty incredible picture books bestowed with this award as selected by members of the Nerdy Book Club. Thank you so much! And congratulations to Rodolfo Montalvo, who created all of the stellar art, and everyone at Viking/Penguin who helped make this book as awesome as I like to think it is and got it into the hands of children and educators and parents and Nerdy Book Club members!

Dear Dragon Spread - Crop

For more info on the Nerdy Book Club and The #Nerdies, check out this post from last year (when Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast was awarded a 2015 Nerdy Award for Fiction Picture Books – *blushy-smiley-face*).

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. Worm Loves Worm written by J.J. Austrian & illustrated by Mike Curato

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2. The Airport Book written & illustrated by Lisa Brown

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Dear DEAR DRAGON, Happy Book Birthday!

My third book – Dear Dragon – comes out today!

Dear Dragon Book Birthday

Wait. Didn’t Pirasaurs! just come out? Yes. Due to a quirk in publishing, both books are being released a week apart. What an incredible ‘problem’ to have!

What’s Dear Dragon about?

George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and Science Fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face? A sweet and clever friendship story about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.

Dear Dragon is illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo and published by Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Watch the Dear Dragon Book Trailer:

Want Activity Pages? Download the Free Dear Dragon Activity Pages Here! (right click save link as)

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Want read more about Dear Dragon? Check out these reviews, interviews, and guest blog posts:

Want to see me read Dear Dragon in person (and get a Dragon Latte)?

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Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. A Fire Truck Named Red written by Randall de Sève & illustrated by Bob Staake

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2. Before I Leave written & illustrated by Jessixa Bagley

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#pb10for10: Pirates, Dinosaurs, & Dragons! Oh, my!

Educators Cathy Mere & Mandy Robek have been running the #pb10for10 event for several years now. What’s #pb10for10? Well, you pick 10 picture books you simply can’t live without and share today, August 10th, with the hashtag #pb10for10 (see the official rules here). Share your own and check out all the others in the #pb10for10 Google Community.

pb 10 for 10 015I participated last year for the first time and had a blast. My theme was Rhyming Picture Books (you don’t need a theme, but sometimes it helps narrow down your choices when there are SOOO many great picture books out there).

This year, I’m sharing my favorite, Pirate, Dinosaur, and Dragon Picture Books (you can probably guess why – if not, see the sidebar —>)

1. The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle

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2. Rex Wrecks It by Ben Clanton

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3. Take Care, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas & Paul Meisel

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4. The Night Pirates by Peter Harris & Deborah Allwright

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5. Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems

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6. When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore & Howard McWilliam

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7. Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen & Jill McElmurry

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8. Hiding Dinosaurs by Dan Moynihan

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9. Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light

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10. Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea & Lane Smith

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(#10 isn’t strictly about dinosaurs, but it allows me to have three books each for pirates, dinosaurs, and dragons – and then this one – you’ll see when you read it)

Don’t forget to check out everyone else’s favorite picture books, comment, and share in the #pb10for10 Google Community!

#pb10for10

Where I’ll Be Next

Heading to ILA?

On Saturday, I’ll be attending the annual ILA Convention in Boston. What is ILA, you ask? According to their website:

The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a global advocacy and membership organization of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers, and experts across 75 countries. With over 60 years of experience, ILA has set the standard for how literacy is defined, taught, and evaluated.

Why am going? The ILA Convention is a great place for publishers to share their upcoming titles with educators from around the world. I’m scheduled for a couple hours of signings, but when looking over the list of other authors … it kind of blew my mind.

From 11am-12pm I’ll be signing Dear Dragon at the Penguin booth #306. Here are the other Penguin authors signing over the weekend:

ILA

From 1-2pm I’ll be signing Pirasaurs! at the Scholastic booth #2107. Here are the other Scholastic authors signing over the weekend:

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Starstruck? Me, too. But I’m really looking forward to meeting educators and other book people. After all, that’s really why I’m going.

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. Ghost in the House written by  Ammi-Joan Paquette & illustrated by Adam Record

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2. Surf’s Up written by Kwame Alexander & illustrated by Daniel Miyares
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