Guess who I met?





Stephen McCranie gives us a comics lesson


A little slow getting this up. Sorry, guys!

We had a great time Skyping with Stephen McCranie during our Graphic Novelember meeting. Talking with authors is always wonderful, but Stephen added a whole new element by pretty much turning us into comics experts! Do you remember the big ideas?

I really liked how he showed that so many common cartoon characters are really just basic shapes, with features added. You guys are good at identifying cartoons, by the way! I knew Mickey Mouse and Spongebob, but I could never guess Phinneas. Or was it Ferb? Aw, see? I’m not as hip as I look.

Anyway. Stephen sent us some goodies to print out and enjoy. Stop by Room 3 and say the magic word “mustache” and I’ll give them to you!

I might try to track down his new book, Belly Flop, over Winter Break.

Keep reading!

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Middle grade authors in Bellingham this weekend!

Hey guys! I just wanted to let you know about a trio of  fantasy authors coming to Village Books in Bellingham this Sunday.

Marissa Burt is the author of the new middle grade fantasy Storybound.

Anne Nesbet is the author of the middle grade fantasy The Cabinet of Earths, which I just started last night.

J. Anderson Coats is the author of the new young adult fantasy The Wicked and the Just.

We don’t get to have children’s authors in Bellingham as often as I’d like, so I’ll definitely be trying to get down there for this. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 15 – 4:00 pm

Village Books in Fairhaven (map)

The aftermath of our Patrick Carman intro

Well, guys, you done did good. Rico, Abbas, and Leo were pretty famous this weekend. You would not believe how many people came up to me to compliment them and our Patrick Carman intro video. Including the children’s librarians for the Bellingham Public Library and the Whatcom County Library System!

It was a little rough for me at first. I do not like talking in front of large groups of adults. Ten year-olds, maybe. I was sooooo nervous introducing our video. I could hardly eat breakfast that morning! I talked to a few friends later who said I was fine up there, but I sure didn’t feel fine! Whew. I’m glad it’s over. But one of the authors said something during the conference that was just right. I think it was Gary Schmidt who said, if you don’t do something hard, you can’t have the pleasure that comes when it’s done and appreciated. He was right on. That was definitely the biggest group of people I’ve ever spoken in front of, but it was worth it; for our video makers, for me, and for TMC Guys Read. We are all famous!

Patrick Carman’s first words after he walked on stage after our intro? “Well, it can only go downhill from here. That was awesome. Really, really great.” He was really impressed. He’s asked for the link to our video. Maybe our fame will extend even farther!

I always like going to this conference. It’s a good pick-me-up in the middle of a long school year, and it’s great fun to see real, live, famous authors. In addition to Patrick Carman, the conference featured author and illustrator Laura Kvasnosky and author Gary D. Schmidt. I haven’t read Mrs. Kvasnosky’s books, but the primary school library has them. She’ll be at the Young Authors Conference, if you’re one of the students headed there in late March. I read two of Mr. Schmidt’s books this year, Okay for Now and The Wednesday Wars. They were both great. Okay for Now was my favorite book I read last year.

At the end of the conference, Abbas and Leo were able to stop in and meet Patrick Carman and get some autographs. They were pretty excited, and so was Mr. Carman. He really did love the video, and was looking forward to telling the guys in person. Rico couldn’t come, but I got his book autographed for him. Plus, I got our club copies of Skeleton Creek and Trackers signed, too.

It was a great day! I felt very honored that we were invited to be a part of it, and Rico, Abbas, and Leo did an outstanding, wonderful job with the video. Who knows when an opportunity like this will come along again? I’m so glad we had the chance and ran with it. Ran with it all the way down the hall of the library.

Good work, guys! Keep reading!

Guys Read (and friends) Skype with Tom Angleberger

Our first special event of the year took place this morning, as a good handful of kids rolled out of bed early to Skype with Tom Angleberger, author of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Tom is on East Coast time, so we had to be at school at 8 am (and I had to be here even earlier!), but we shook off the sleepies and did some folding, some Yoda impressions, asked some questions, and had a great time!

The guys decided at our meeting to invite anyone in the school who had read the book, so I sent out about 30 invites based on who had checked out the book from the library, taken AR tests, and a few who had done book projects for October’s “Mystery” genre. We had Rico, Abbas, Leo, Savikar, Manraj, Dusty, and Robert from Guys Read, and Jeremy, Ernan, Cedar, and even a brave girl, Anna, joined us. Maybe Jeremy (a former Guys Reader–where are ya, Jeremy?), Ernan, and Cedar will join up with the club! Anna, you should join Mother/Daughter and tell Mrs. B to do some Skypes!

My pictures didn’t come out great, but I did take some video. I’ll get that put together and posted as soon as I can. I have to get some permissions, first.

Abbas asked his getting-to-be-famous double-sided tape question (Will you ask every author we Skype with, Abbas?), and students got to share their favorite books and asked some great questions.

Tom was pretty funny. He said he was more of a Dwight than a Tommy, and he called all of us Larry. Lots of fun!

I love Skype chats. I plan on at least one more this year. Of course, next month we go one better, with our in-person visit with Clete Smith.

Keep reading!

Click on for obligatory author-teacher Twitter exchange:

Continue reading

“General George Washington!”

Oh, man. Was that better than launching rockets? I think that was better than launching rockets.

We had a great chat with Mac Barnett. Topics discussed included future books (including a sneak peek at the cover of the next Brixton Brothers book, due out in October), facial hair, double-sided tape, and his new dog, Henry. I was still buzzing about it when I went to bed three hours later. How about you?

I tried to video the chat, but I ended up with a “Cannot merge audio and video streams” error message. I think the video is lost, but the audio remains, and here it is:

I’ve already listened to it twice.

Mr. F. took some pictures and a short video, as well. Check them out!