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April 2011
Maybelle in the Soup

Maybelle in the Soup
Katie Speck

At Finch Elementary School in McKinney, Texas, if you say the word "cockroach," you don't get looks of fear or disgust--you get happy smiles and excitement. And that's all thanks to the love of one teacher and one teacher-librarian feel for Maybelle, the pearl-wearing, beribboned, 2010-Bluebonnet-nominated cockroach created by our own Katie Speck, illustrated by Paul Ratz de Tagyos.

The wiki that Bryce Kennaugh, second grade teacher, and Mary Carole Strother, teacher-librarian, developed and implemented at Finch Elementary has just won an award for technology-based projects in K-12 schools, as reported by School Library Journal. As a result of the award, Finch will receive some additional funding.

In the project description submitted for the award, Kennaugh and Strother describe some of the ways Maybelle provided hands-on learning within and without the walls of Finch Elementary, and even in collaboration with other schools, in the areas of science, technology, literacy, storytelling, journaling, and more. The wiki project started with 85 students in one school, and has now reached 1,500 students across the U.S.

The project will end this year with a Maybelle festival hosted by a local bookstore, and Katie will be Skyping in to enjoy the activities!


Today is our first annual Awards Spring Round-Up for EMLA authors:

EIGHTH GRADE SUPERZERO by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich has been selected as one of the 2011 IRA Notable Books for a Global Society. The list will be promoted at the IRA Convention, and published in The Dragon Lode, the journal of the IRA Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group.

EIGHTH GRADE SUPERZERO was also chosen for the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2011 list. Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People is a reading list selected by twelve social studies educators who decide on the best books of the year.

THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS by Chris Barton is a nominee for the 2011-2012 Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards Program sponsored by the Pennsylvania School Libraries Association.

SHARK VS. TRAIN, also by Chris Barton, has been named to three lists:

•    The Chicago Public Library’s 2010 Best of the Best list

•    The Texas Library Association’s 2011 2×2 list

•    The Illinois School Library Media Association’s 2012 Monarch Award list

THE UNICORN’S TALE by R.L. LaFevers was named to IndieBound’s Spring 2011 Kids’ Indie Next List.

YOUR DADDY WAS JUST LIKE YOU by Kelly Bennett, CROSSWIRE by Dotti Enderle, SUSPECT by Kristin Wolden Nitz, EIGHTH-GRADE SUPERZERO by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, and PALACE BEAUTIFUL by Sarah DeFord Williams, as well as Phil Bildner's THE HALLELUJAH FLIGHT, were named to the Kansas State Reading Circle Catalog. The Kansas National Education Association creates an annual recommended reading list for children in grades K–12. Selected titles are placed on one of five lists: Kansas Titles, Primary, Intermediate, Junior High/Middle School, and Senior  High/Young Adult. The lists are distributed and promoted throughout the state of Kansas during the current year. Visit

A CURSE DARK AS GOLD by Elizabeth C. Bunce made Kansas's 150 Books in 150 Years list (to honor the state's 150th birthday), along with Little House on the Prairie, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, In Cold Blood, and Moon Over Manifest (well, and 145 other books, too!). A CURSE DARK AS GOLD also has been nominated for Tennessee's Volunteer State Book Award for 2011-2012. See

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS by C.J. Omololu was selected to be on the 2011 Tayshas High School Reading List.  The Tayshas reading list highlights the best fiction and non-fiction books for Texas teens.  It is one of the most respected state reading lists in the country and generates millions of dollars of sales throughout the United States for the books selected to be on the list ( DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS was also named to the 2012 Kentucky Bluegrass Master List (

ELLIE MCDOODLE: HAVE PEN, WILL TRAVEL by Ruth McNally Barshaw is on New Hampshire's Cochecho Readers' Award Nominees (3-4) 2009-2010 and ELLIE MCDOODLE: NEW KID IN SCHOOL is on Washington's Sasquatch Reading Award Nominees 2011.

A STAR IN THE FOREST, by Laura Resau is a CBCC Choice for 2011 (see Joining STAR on the CBCC list are SHARK VS. TRAIN by Chris Barton, as well as books by new EMLA’ers Phil Bildner and Deborah Underwood.

A STAR IN THE FOREST by Laura Resau is also a 2012 Grand Canyon Reader List nominee (Arizona).

THE QUEEN OF WATER by Laura Resau is a nominee for the Amelia Bloomer Project (ALA list—feminism); SHE LOVED BASEBALL by Audrey Vernick is also on this list.

STARCROSSED by Elizabeth C. Bunce has been nominated for the 2012-2013 Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award. The Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award (Rosie Award) is chosen annually by students across Indiana in grades nine through twelve. Schools and public libraries across Indiana purchase multiple copies of nominated titles to support and participate in the program. The author of each year’s award-winning book is invited to receive the Rosie Award in person at a special event sponsored by the Association for Indiana Media Educators and the Indiana Library Federation. See

FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX by R.L. LaFavers has been nominated for the Surrey Schools' Book of the Year Award in 2012. This award is a student choice award that has been running since 1972 in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.  Each year 10 books are chosen by a panel of teacher-librarians.  Students are required to read at least 5 of the books in order to vote. The vote will be held in May 2012.

A STAR IN THE FOREST by Laura Resau has been included on Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Master List for 2011– 2012. Since 1957, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award has honored quality literature for children for 50 years now.  Each spring, a committee of eight carefully selects 30 books to comprise the DCF Master List ( After reading at least five books from the list, students then vote for their favorite titles the following spring.

There’s some very exciting news to share today, launching another terrific first-time author: I’m overjoyed to announce that Peter Salomon has accepted an offer for his debut YA novel, THE MEMORY OF HENRY FRANKS, which will be published by Brian Farrey at Flux in winter 2013.

This moody, haunting tale is a mystery-suspense-thriller all twined together with some lovely, lyrical writing. Here’s a little snippet about the story, to whet your appetite for what’s to come:

Sometimes, the only thing worse than forgetting is remembering. Sixteen-year-old Henry Franks almost didn’t survive the accident that claimed his mother’s life and, suffering from post-traumatic amnesia, he relies upon his father to tell him who he is. If he can trust his father. A modern Frankenstein story, THE MEMORY OF HENRY FRANKS details one man’s obsessive desire to save his son and one boy’s need to find himself. While a serial killer stalks the small southern town he lives in, Henry unearths the bitter truth behind his mother’s death—and the terrifying secrets of his own dark past.

Many congratulations, Peter!


One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street
Joanne Rocklin

ONE DAY AND ONE AMAZING MORNING ON ORANGE STREET by Joanne Rocklin gets a starred review from School Library Journal:

"A Day-Glo orange cone has been placed at the curb of the empty lot on Orange Street, and everyone notices it. The neighborhood kids think of the lot and its orange tree as theirs. Its shade provides cool comfort and the lot is their gathering spot. This space becomes the setting for the cast of quirky characters who unveil their worries, wishes, and dreams over the course of one day and the next morning. The importance of the orange tree and the empty lot spans time and intertwines past and present Orange Street residents through their stories. With magic tricks, health issues, a father going off to war, an injured hummingbird, buried treasure, and more, this multifaceted story has been polished to simplicity. Fascinating and thought-provoking, the writing has a gentle cadence, richness in detail, and is charged with emotion. The book, like the oranges on the Orange Street tree, presents segments of life that are both sweet and tart and sure to satisfy."

Fantastic, Joanne!


We’ve got some wonderful news to share on behalf of author Jeanne Ryan, who has accepted an offer for her debut YA novel, NERVE! After much buzz and multiple offers, I’m thrilled to announce that this spine-chilling page turner was acquired by Andrew Harwell at Dial, and will be published in Spring 2013.

Here’s the listing as posted in Publishers Marketplace:

Jeanne Ryan’s debut NERVE, about a teen girl lured into a voyeuristic online game where her decisions could have deadly consequences, to Andrew Harwell at Dial, by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency (World).

And yes, I realize that this write-up is a bit sparse on the specifics, but there are few strategic plot secrets that we’re keeping tightly under wraps until the process is a little farther along. I can tell you this much: Wait until you get your hands on it! It’s a phenomenal read that I absolutely could not put down. Until then… a hearty EMLA hip-hip-hooray to Jeanne!


Fab news from the Bank Street College of Education: Children's Book Committee! They've released their online book, The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2011 Edition!

EMLA clients:

Chris Barton's SHARK VS. TRAIN
Laura Resau's STAR IN THE FOREST (outstanding merit)
Susan Lynn Meyer's BLACK RADISHES
Sarah DeFord Williams' PALACE BEAUTIFUL
Heather Tomlinson's TOADS AND DIAMONDS

Also EMLA clients, but with books not repped by EMLA:

Deborah Underwood's A BALLOON FOR ISABEL

Congratulations to all! Well done!


April is here with snow in this corner of the world, rain in that corner, and soaring daytime temperatures in the two other corners—and to welcome the disparate change in seasons, we've got three new books by EMLA clients:

Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities, by Chris Barton, a YA non-fiction book featuring ten vignettes about the psychology of deception, published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street, by Joanne Rocklin, a middle grade novel about family, childhood anxiety, and the importance of connection, published by Amulet Books.

The Unicorn's Tale (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book 4), by R.L. LaFevers, a middle grade novel continuing the adventures of the world's youngest beastologist-in-training on the hunt for his parents and published by Houghtin Mifflin Books for Children.

We wish these books into readers' hearts!