I Had A Favorite Dress Coming Soon!

I Had A Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn and Julia Denos

My next book, I Had A Favorite Dress, is considered a "fall release", but the actual pub date is August 1st- which is really, really soon! I am so excited for this book to come out- it is one of the favoritest things I've ever written. It was inspired by my daughter, Lily, and it is dedicated to her as "my favoritest girly-girl." Although the voice of the main character is most likely my own (circa 1975), I was never-not-ever a "girly" girl (and neither is my other daughter), so this book is really pure Lily.

The first review, from Kirkus, which you can read in full here, just came in... and it's good! They call it "a charming interpretation of an old story that will speak to young fashionistas." Whew! I could not be more pleased with my first-ever Kirkus review :)

I'm also giving away a signed copy of I Had A Favorite Dress on Goodreads! It's VERY easy to enter and there are 25 days left, so give it a go!

Lastly, if you've never checked out the blog of illustrator Julia Denos, now is the perfect time to do so. She is posting some of the lovely art from our book and has an all-around nifty blog that you don't want to miss. It is positively a feast for your eyes!


April Is Poetry Month!

Lemonade And Other Poems Squeezed From A Single Word

If you want to get your kids, or someone else's kids, or anyone for that matter, interested in poetry, get a copy of this book by Bob Raczka.

It is wonderful! Reading the poems is sort of like putting a puzzle together, which is at least half the fun as you race through the whole book. Once you read them all through, you get a wonderful sense of accomplishment- they are short and simple, but so tricky! Then you will probably admire just how deceptively complex they really are. And go back through and study them.

And then your kids, or someone else's kids, or you for that matter, will want to sit down immediately with a pen and paper and write one of your own. Which is the best way to honor a wonderful book like this!

Spend some time with kids and poetry this month- you'll be glad you did.


Ta Da!

My next book, I Had A Favorite Dress, won't be out until this fall, but here's a sneak peak at the cover, illustrated by the super-talented Julia Denos:

I Had A Favorite Dress

Awesome Mail

The best thing about being a children's book author? I think I'd have to go with what I'll loosely term "reader mail". Questions from kids, their artwork based on my books, thank-you's after a school visit... any and all of it is so awesome!

I recently received a package of letters from a teacher down in Wisconsin with whom I had corresponded when my first book, Hush, Little Dragon, came out a couple of years ago. I had sent her class a signed copy of Over At The Castle and a bundle of signed bookmarks and they sent me a huge envelope of awesome (I definitely got the better end of that deal!) Here's a peek at some of the contents:

Dragons by Dalen

(These are some most awesome dragons!)

Patrick wants to know if it's hard being an author? Well Patrick, some of the things I have to do as an author are hard, at least for me. Like speaking in front of people about my books- that was really hard at first! But it's gotten a lot easier over time and now I really enjoy it :) The writing part can be frustrating, sometimes, but I don't think of it as being hard because I love it so much!

Thyler wants to know "how long it took you to wright Over At The Castle?" Thyler, I got the idea and wrote the basic story very quickly for this particular book- about two days, I think. But then I spent a couple of weeks revising my rough draft before it was ready to send to my editor. During revision, I would make sure all the words are spelled correctly, like if I had accidentally said "wright" when I meant "write"... things like that. (wink)

Kendall writes that "I liked Over At The Castle and Hush, Little Dragon because there about dragons and dragons are my 5th favorite animal." Hey Kendall, I have a question for YOU: What are your first, second, third and fourth favorite animals?? You piqued my curiosity with that statement, and that's what writers do- they make their readers curious enough to keep reading! Maybe you'll be a writer someday...

Art by Natasha.

Natasha says that she is a "new kid around here" and hasn't even read my books yet. That's okay, Natasha, thanks for sending me a Thank You anyway. And that's one of the BEST dragons I've received yet- nice work!

So, I think you can see why reader mail makes my job SO worth it.

Many, many thanks to Ms. Pisani's 3rd grade class!!


Eleven More To Watch For in 2011: Final Call (for now...)

Boy Wonders
Boy Wonders by Calef Brown

Clink by Kelly DiPucchio and Matthew Myers

Square Cat
Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker

Hopper And Wilson
Hopper And Wilson by Maria Van Lieshout

Polka Dot Penguin Pottery
Polka Dot Penguin Pottery by Lenore Look
and Yumi Heo

Say Hello To Zorro
Say Hello To Zorro by Carter Goodrich

Bear With Me
Bear With Me by Max Kornell

You're Finally Here!
You're Finally Here! by Melanie Watt

Melvin And The Boy
Melvin And The Boy by Lauren Castillo

Dear Tabby
Dear Tabby by Carolyn Crimi and David Roberts

The Crows Of Pearblossom
The Crows Of Pearblossom by Aldous Huxley and Sophie Blackall

Happy New Year! Thanks for taking a peek at 2011 with me :)

Eleven More To Watch For in 2011: BFF Alert

So far, I've showcased books by authors I love, or illustrators I love, or debut books that I'm totally judging by the cover (or description) and which look amazing and/or intriguing. After all, that's usually how our audience picks their books, right?

A few of the books have been by people I sort-of "know", whether I've met them at a conference, or online, or whatever- hey, children's publishing is a small world :) This may or may not have influenced how much I'm looking forward to their books. But I do have to confess that the first book below is by someone I actually know. And I've even already read it (if only in manuscript form) (and I *loved* it!), so I'm even more sure that you should check it out :)

(And the second book, you may notice, is illustrated by the illustrator of one of MY 2011 releases! How did she know Audrey Hepburn is one of my all-time favorite actresses??)

Mr. Duck Means Business
Mr. Duck Means Business by Tammi Sauer and Jeff Mack

Just Being Audrey
Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo and Julia Denos

Ribbit Rabbit
Ribbit Rabbit by Candace Ryan and Mike Lowery

Hide And Sheep
Hide And Sheep by Andrea Beaty and Bill Mayer

The Woods
The Woods by Paul Hoppe

The Pretty, Pretty Bunny
The Pretty, Pretty Bunny by Dave Horowitz

Little Mouse's Big Secret
Little Mouse's Big Secret by Eric Battut

What Is Your Dog Doing?
What Is Your Dog Doing? by Marilyn Singer and
Kathleen Habbley

Argus by Michelle Knudsen and Andrea Wesson

Mini Racer
Mini Racer by Kristy Dempsey and
Bridget Strevens-Marzo

The Runaway Wok
The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine
and Sebastia Serra