Science Fiction Writers Association Launches YA Fiction Award

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has created a new literary award to recognize outstanding science fiction and fantasy novels that are written for the young adult market.

The award has been named in honor of Andre Norton, a SFWA Grand Master and author of more than 100 novels, including the acclaimed Witch World series, many of them for young adult readers. Ms. Norton’s work has influenced generations of young people, creating new fans of the fantasy and science fiction genres and setting the standard for excellence in fantasy writing.

The Andre Norton Award for an outstanding young adult science fiction or fantasy book is an annual honor that will first be given in 2006 (for books published in 2005). Nominations will be based on the same process as the SFWA Nebula™ Awards. Any book published as a young adult science fiction/fantasy novel will be eligible, including graphic novels with no limit on word length.

“We are thrilled to honor Ms. Norton with this new award,” said Catherine Asaro, President of SFWA. “Many adults today, myself included, were first introduced to science fiction and fantasy through her books and have gone on to become readers, fans, and authors themselves. Andre Norton has done more to promote reading among young adults than anyone can measure.”

Cynsational Links

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America: the professional organization for authors of science fiction and fantasy literature. It was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight, who also served as its first president. SFWA has brought together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world, and has grown in numbers and influence until it is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers’ organizations in existence. More than 1500 SF and fantasy writers, artists, editors, and allied professionals are members. Each year the organization presents the prestigious Nebula Awards™ for the best science fiction or fantasy short story, novelette, novella, and novel of the year.

My favorite science fiction YA novels include Dancing With An Alien by Mary Logue (Harper, 2000)(read an author interview) as well as The Dark Side of Nowhere (Little Brown, 1997)(read an excerpt and author comments) and Downsiders (Simon & Schuster, 1999)(read an excerpt), both by Neal Shusterman.

Holly Black, Queen of Caffeine: blog from the author of Tithe: A Modern Fairie Tale and The Spiderwick Chronicles. Vist Holly’s Web site and read an author interview from teachingbooks.net (PDF file, takes a couple of minutes to download on dial-up but worth the wait).

The Life Cycle of a Book from Idea to your Home by Irene Harrison’s Guide to Book Collecting via Andre Norton’s site.

Vijaya Khisty Bodach’s author Web site offers some inspirational quotes for writers.

Author Interview: Anne Bustard on Buddy: The Story Of Buddy Holly

Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly by Anne Bustard, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, 2005). A picture book biography of a music icon whose persistence led him to change rock ‘n roll forever. Ages 4-up.

What was your inspiration for creating this book?

On a road trip in 1990, I ate lunch in Lubbock, Texas, Buddy Holly’s hometown. It was my first visit. Afterward, my friends and I wandered through a museum on the campus of Texas Tech University. There was a display of Holly memorabilia. I remember a guitar, a pair of thick black glasses.

I’d always loved Buddy Holly’s music, but I knew little about his life. In the coming years, that changed. I saw “Buddy, The Musical” on stage. I heard Buddy Holly’s band, The Crickets, perform live on “Austin City Limits.” I watched a PBS tribute. I learned that Buddy Holly dreamed big. And never gave up.

During one school year I traveled to Lubbock on business at least twice a month. After I finished work each day, I played tourist. I cruised by the Hi-D-Ho Drive Inn, where Buddy Holly and his friends once sang on the roof. I visited his high school campus where he performed in the choir, drove through streets he’d played on, and I walked along a bank where he might have gone fishing. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was doing primary research.

Buddy Holly was my inspiration. His music. His life.

What was the timeline between spark and publication, and what were the major events along the way?

The aha!—I want to write about Buddy Holly happened in 1996. Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly was published in 2005. That’s nine years. And if you count the ones spent marinating, it’s fifteen.

The first draft that I showed my critique group in the summer of 1996 was modeled after my favorite picture book biography, Flight: The Journey Of Charles Lindbergh by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer (Philomel, 1991), which was edited by Paula Wiseman. I remember sitting at a picnic table in the town square of Round Top, Texas, (an hour or so from my home in Austin) after eating a scrumptious meal at Royer’s Cafe (along with a piece of one of their famous homemade pies, of course), reading my manuscript. When I finished there was silence. Then one member said, “Your author’s note is interesting. That’s where the story is.”

It was an important lesson. I had to be faithful to my voice, my style, not Burleigh’s. As a beginning writer, I wasn’t sure what my voice and style even were, or how to find them, but I knew that would be part of my journey.

A year and a half later I took two pages, all I had rewritten at that point, to a writer’s retreat where I got invaluable feedback from a real live editor. Ten months after that, December 1998, I had a manuscript I thought I could send to publishing companies. My critique group cheered me on. I tiptoed into the submission process. I sent Buddy to one editor at a time, waited for a response, received a rejection letter which almost always said children wouldn’t be interested, felt sorry for myself for a day or a week or a month or two, and then sent Buddy to another editor…

Then came September 2001. I mailed the manuscript to NYC and marked the likely arrival date on my calendar. 9/11. I can’t begin to imagine what that day was like for the editor and others in the city. It was horrific enough from over 1000 miles away. When four months passed and I hadn’t heard anything, I wrote to follow up. In January 2002 my self-addressed stamped postcard returned. The editor checked the box that indicated she had not received the manuscript. And she wrote: “I love Buddy Holly.”

I had hope.

The editor? Paula Wiseman. Yes, the one who edited my favorite book. Why didn’t I send it to her earlier? I don’t know. She’d been reading my work for at least six or seven years. It just wasn’t time. Until then.

Over the next year, we worked on the manuscript. It went through four revisions. Paula helped me find my voice. My style. I’ll never forget the time I e-mailed her in full panic mode. She wrote back one word: “Courage.” It was not the response I expected, but I loved it…and I figured out what to do.

The offer to publish came next and by then Paula had her own imprint, Paula Wiseman Books at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. I found a fantastic agent and signed the contract in early 2003.

That spring Kurt Cyrus, illustrator extraordinaire, accepted the project. Yeah. I was a huge fan of Sixteen Cows [editor’s note: Sixteen Cows by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Harcourt, 2002)].

I thought my part was done. Silly me. Starting up again in the fall of 2003 Paula and I tweaked the text even more and worked on the afterword until the book went to press.

I held a finished copy of the book in my hand a month and a half before its bookstore debut February 1, 2005. Kurt’s artwork was incredible. He captured the times, the tone, and Buddy Holly himself. I put on a Holly CD and danced.

What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, logistical) in bringing it to life?

As you might have guessed, I’m not a fast writer. And because there were time gaps (sometimes years, and later months) between my drafts, the manuscript and my research would get cold. As excited as I’d be to dive back in, it was often troublesome to do so until I figured out the key—music.

I’d sit in my overstuffed green chair and listen to Buddy Holly’s music and to those who influenced him—Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Hank Williams, and Elvis Presley. Next, I’d review my notes, or rewatch the PBS tribute, or a performance on the Ed Sullivan TV Show, reread sources, or find new ones, tackle research questions, or brainstorm. One time, I knew I had to go back to Lubbock before I could make progress.

Along the way, it wasn’t just Buddy Holly’s life that I researched. I needed to know more about rock ‘n’ roll music, which meant I had to make a trip to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Right? And sit in the Music Library at the University of Texas at Austin and read back issues of Billboard Magazine. And find out things like, what words and phrases were popular with teenagers in the 1950s? While I am not a practicing librarian (I teach wannabe teachers), I do have a library degree and think research is oh so fun.

I wasn’t sure how much of Buddy’s story to tell in the narrative. While my early drafts encompassed his life from birth to death, my editor suggested exploring other possibilities. I was open to that, kind of.

Since I started the project, The Buddy Holly Center opened in Lubbock. It’s an amazing museum that also hosts exhibits for artists, outreach programs, and more. What a gift to the community, to the world. It was there that I interviewed Holly expert Bill Griggs.

The Holly artifacts I’d seen years before were moved to this location, and thanks to generous donations, the collection had been greatly expanded. However, there was only one small display about Buddy Holly’s tragic death. At first I was puzzled. Then it made perfect sense. The museum was a celebration of his life. And that’s when I knew I wanted my book to be about that, too. His death was mentioned in my afterword but the narrative ends when Buddy Holly realized his dreams were coming true.

There is more to Buddy Holly than can ever be put between the covers of any book. He was a remarkable son, brother, friend, husband and musician. We are still blessed by his life and music.

In Buddy, The Biography, author Philip Norman quotes Holly expert Bill Griggs, “Whenever you mention his name, it always gets the same reaction. Everybody smiles.”

That’s what I hope happens every time someone reads my book.

Cynsational Links

“Getting to Know Calkins Creek Books, the New U.S. History Imprint of Boyds Mills Press:” an archived chat with editor Carolyn Yoder from the Institute of Children’s Literature.

Elise Broach is the author of picture books such as Hiding Hoover, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith (Dial, 2005), Wet Dog, illustrated by David Catrow (Dial, 2005), and What The No-Good Baby Is Good For (G.P. Putnam, 2005). She also has written a fascinating-looking mystery novel, Shakespeare’s Secret (Henry Holt, 2005). This is a lively, funny site. The “about me” section features a baby picture she claims resembles Nixon (nah!). The Q&A is an inspirational author interview. Even more thoughts on writing are available on her news page. But don’t leave without surfing by her favorites page. We have four of our favorite children’s/YA novels in common: Holes by Louis Sachar; Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; Shattering Glass by Gail Giles; and A Step From Heaven by An Na.

More blogs to bookmark: Tanya Lee Stone, author of numerous non-fiction books and A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl (Wendy Lamb, 2006)(see also Tanya’s Web site), and Libba Bray, author of A Great And Terrible Beauty (Delacorte, 2003).

Bringing Mysteries Alive for Children and Young Adults by Jeanette Larson

Bringing Mysteries Alive for Children and Young Adults by Jeanette Larson (Linworth, 2004). First-rate guide book to mysteries for young readers. Topics include: an introduction, definition, mystery appreciation, series mysteries, curriculum connections, programming, and extensive additional resources (awards, URLs, bibliography, etc.).

Of concern is Jeanette’s finding that: “With just a few notable exceptions, most detectives in children’s mysteries are still Anglo or animal.” She also notes that diversity among children’s/YA mystery writers is slight.

Recommended to both experts and other enthusiasts, some of my favorite featured titles are: Counterfeit Son by Elaine Marie Alphin (Harcourt, 2000)(read an excerpt); Crusader by Edward Bloor (Harcourt, 1999), Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac (Harper, 2001); Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters by Gail Giles (Roaring Brook, 2003); The Ghost Sitter by Peni Griffin (Puffin, 2002); Alien Secrets by Annette Curtis Klause (Yearling, 1995)(read author interview); Son Of The Mob by Gordon Korman (Hyperion, 2002)(also don’t miss Son Of The Mob: The Hollywood Hustle); and Locked Inside by Nancy Werlin (Laurel Leaf, 2000)(go see Nancy Werlin’s cover art gallery).

Notes: Interviews with Gail, Peni, Annette, and Nancy are available on my Web site (use the site’s search engine). Jeanette is the uber-guru children’s librarian at the Austin Public Library.

Oklahoma Book Awards

I received an invitation today to attend the 16th Annual Oklahoma Book Awards from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. Unfortunately, I’m too swamped to make it this year, but I just love this program. Two of my books have been finalists in the children’s/YA division: Jingle Dancer (Morrow, 2000) and Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001).

The award is set up to honor Okie authors and books with Okie settings. I wish there more programs of this kind to honor local authors, especially in the central and mountain time zones (who tend to be underrepresented on big publisher lists).

My pal Sharon Darrow’s The Painters of Lexieville (Candlewick, 2003) won last year.

Sharon is also the author of a picture book biography: Through The Tempests Dark And Wild: A Story of Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein, illustrated by Angela Barrett (Candlewick, 2003) and Old Thunder And Miss Raney (DK Ink, 2000). See also Meet The Pros: Sharon Darrow from SCBWI France and Sharon’s biography from SCBWI Illinois.

Sharon and I met back when I was living in Chicago’s near South Loop, and we used to meet for lunches at a Thai restaurant a couple of blocks east of my loft apartment. I miss those lunches, but still enjoy seeing her whenever we can find one another in the book world. Places we’ve spoken together include the Oklahoma Red Dirt Book Festival.

Other Okie authors include Anna Myers and Molly Levite Griffis, both of whom are former OBA winners. Find out more about the 2004 winner and finalists. I’ll keep you posted on 2005 news.

Cynsational Links

Articles by editor Stephen Roxburgh from Front Street include “Coming of Age: The Evolution of a YA Publisher;” “Trilobites, Palm Pilots, and Vampires: Publishing Children’s Books in the 21rst Century;” and “Call Me Editor.” Note: the “about us” section also mentions that: “half our authors are previously unpublished.”

Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Newsletter Vol. 10, No. 1: features news, archive, a few FAQs, and Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow, 2003)(review, “things to talk about and notice,” activities, related books, related areas of the site, and a link to Kevin’s site).

SCBWI Paris: Meet The Pros: an archive of numerous interviews with such luminaries as: Rosemary Brosnan (my Harper editor); editor David Fickling; SCBWI national president Stephen Mooser; editor Emma Dryden; editor Sarah Hughes; editor Susan Carnell; YA author Alex Sanchez; author and SCBWI-IL RA Esther Hershenhorn; author Bobbi Katz; Newbery author Joan Bauer; and editor Caitlyn Dlouhy.

Teen Titans #21

Fair warning: Did you read Greg’s “geeked out” post about Star Trek? That was nothing. Buckle up.

This week’s Teen Titans, #21, which is published by DC comics, shows that Cyborg has stocked Speedy’s new room at Titans Tower with books. She remarks that Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes and Speak (titles shown on spine, authors not mentioned) are among her favorites.

Mia, the new Speedy, has only recently taken on the helm of that hero, which was established by Green Arrow’s original sidekick Roy, who now goes by Arsenal (and is in The Outsiders with Nightwing, the original Robin). She used to live on the streets before she was taken in by GA and recently found out that she’s HIV positive (see Green Arrow #44). Those of you who read spookycyn may recall that Green Arrow #47 was my favorite comic last week.

Once again, Mia’s favorite books include Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow, 1993) and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (FSG, 1999). I’m not normally a fan of “product placement,” but I’m making an exception as it was a delight to see a young hero reading literary YA.

Note: although this is TT #21, that’s because it’s a reboot. TT is a well-established comic, which has a spinoff TV show on The Cartoon Channel (though the characters vary between the book and show. Cyborg, for example, is in both, but so far, Speedy isn’t).

Cynsational Links

The Chris Crutcher Teacher Resource File from the Internet School Library Media Center (includes links to numerous resources).

Author Profile: Laurie Halse Anderson from TeenReads.com. An author interview. See also Mad Woman in the Forest: Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog.

See also Getting Graphic: Using Graphic Novels To Promote Literacy With PreTeens and Teens by Michele Gorman (Linworth, 2003). Note: Michele is a Austin YA public librarian. Greg and I recently spoke with her at the Montgomery County Teen Festival.

Jewish Stars: Recommended Books With Jewish Themes for Schools and Libraries

Jewish Stars: Recommended Books With Jewish Themes for Schools and Libraries (PDF format) is now available on the Web site of the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), free for downloading.

This new, annotated bibliography will enable teachers, librarians, and parents identify and recommend books that will help children learn about the Jewish religion, culture, history, Israel, and contemporary Jewish life.

The twenty-nine page bibliography includes more than 200 titles appropriate for public school, public library, and other general collections and are accessible to readers with limited knowledge of Judaism.

The bibliography is organized by topic: Basic Judaism & Other Religions; Jewish Biographies; Contemporary Jewish Life; Jewish Folklore; Jewish History; Jewish Holidays; Israel; Jewish Life Cycle Events; and World War II and The Holocaust. Each topic is divided by age level. A list of Web resources, review publications, conferences, and other resources also is included.

The editors plan to update the bibliography annually with new titles, as well as other additions and corrections.

Note: edited from the AJL news release; likely a great writer resource, too.

Cynsational Links

Mary Margaret’s blog: written from the point of view of Mary Margaret from Mary Margaret And The Perfect Pet Plan by Christine Kole MacLean (Dutton, 2004). A cute idea, well executed! Also don’t miss Christine’s resources and inspiration page, including the link to What To Expect When You Get Published from literary agent Jenny Bent.

Post Valentine’s Day

What I gave my husband for Valentine’s Day: variety pack cake donuts from Krispy Kreme and a card from BookPeople.

What he reciprocated with: dinner at home. Caviar salad (caviar (the budget kind), heart of palm, tomato, cottage cheese) and lobster with turkey, sauce, and broccoli spears, followed by dark-chocolate covered strawberries.

It was a gorgeous day, in the low 80s and sunny. I also dropped off a gift for a friend and a couple of recommendation letters for booksellers who’ve been nominated for awards. Also, I finished my rough draft of a new YA novel.

The mail included news of a book, Red Ridin’ In The Hood And Other Cuentos by debut author Patricia Santos Marcantonio, illustrated by Renato Alarcao (FSG, 2005), which appears to be a fractured fairy tale. By the way, FSG has the most marvelous marketing person. If you’re a writer researching publishers, please note that the house does a lovely job with publicity.

I also received a copy of Cecilia’s Year by Susan & Denise Gonzales Abraham (Cinco Puntos Press, 2004). It’s a historical ‘tweener novel, set in the 1930s in New Mexico.

Cynsational News & Links

Tonight join YA authors Libba Bray (A Great And Terrible Beauty), A.M. Jenkins (Damage), Catherine Atkins (Alt Ed), Mary E. Pearson (A Room On Lorelei Street) at 8:30 EST (7:30 Central) as they kick off a discussion with other YA writers and readers about point of view. Go to the YA Authors Cafe and click the chatroom icon. See also: A Conversation with Libba Bray by Claire E. White from Writers Write; Award-Winning Author A.M. Jenkins by Sue Reichard at Suite101.com; Preview Interview: Alt Ed by Catherine Atkins from Preview Magazine; and visit Mary E. Pearson’s Web site.

Interview with Tim Travaglini, editor, Walker & Company from Robin Friedman Interviews With Editors. More information about Walker, which as I was just mentioning, has been coming on strong lately. Robin Friedman’s site also offers interviews with other editors, including: Victoria Wells Arms, editorial director at Bloomsbury; Margery Cuyler, editorial director at Cavendish; and Amy Hsu, Greg‘s editor at Little Brown, among others. Insights from great minds at top-notch houses; a don’t-miss site for those researching for submissions. Robin Friedman is the author of A Silent Witness (Houghton Mifflin, 2005) and How I Survived My Summer Vacation And Lived To Tell The Story (Cricket, 2000). Learn more about Robin, and check out her Writing Secrets.

Jacqueline Jules: official site of the author of Noah And The Ziz, illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn (Kar-Ben, 2005); The Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story; and Once Upon A Shabbos, (all of which have the same publisher and illustrator), among others. The Hardest Word was named a Notable Book For Young Readers by the Association of Jewish Libraries and a National Jewish Book Award finalist in 1991. Site offers extensive activities.

E. Lockhart, author of The Boyfriend List, blogs about how Live Journal folks can add non-LJ blogs (like hers and mine) to their friends’ list; see the Feb. 14 post.

Mad Woman In The Forest: Mumbles, Mutters, Shrieks: features some Q&A between high school students and Laurie Halse Anderson; see the Feb. 15 post.

Illustrator Don Tate’s blog introduces blogs by fellow Texas illustrators Trevor Romain and Roz Fulcher, which is how I found out about the Children’s Illustrator Blog Ring.

“You keep writing because you love the process,” she [Katherine Paterson] said. “It’s the most rewarding part. You can never make enough money, never win enough prizes to satisfy you.

“The best reward is being able to create a world, create people that other people care about.”*

*linked from ACHUKA.

Happy Valentine’s Day

I received a Valentine card from Anne Bustard, author of Buddy: The Story Of Buddy Holly (Simon & Schuster, 2005). It features an illustration by author/illustrator Kevin Henkes. Anne also brought me some chocolate kitties from Dr. Chocolate.

How sweet is that?

Speaking of sweet, I would like to send out Valentine’s Day greetings to my very cute husband, author Greg Leitich Smith!

But back to the books! I also wanted to mention that author Niki Burnham writes teen romance, and her titles include Royally Jacked (Simon Pulse, 2004), a recent Quick Pick, and Spin Control (Simon Pulse, 2004). Read an excerpt of Spin Control.

And for younger readers, check out The Legend Of The Valentine by Katherine Grace Bond, illustrated by Don Tate (Zondervan, 2002)–not just for Valentine’s Day but still a timely title.

Cynsational Links

Rosemary Graham: new Web site from the author of Thou Shall Not Dump The Skater Dude (And Other Commandments I Have Broken) and My Not-So-Terrible Time at the Hippie Hotel, both published by Viking. Check in to The Hippie Hotel (seriously cool book site) and read an excerpt of Thou Shall Not, coming in fall 2005.

An Interview With Graham Marks from ACHUKA Children’s Books. See also the ACHUKA archive for more interview with authors like Dian Curtis Regan (1997); Sharon Creech (1998), Philip Pullman (1998); David Almond (1999); Joan Bauer (1999); Diana Wynne Jones (2000); and more! Note: I first met Dian Curtis Regan online and then at the SCBWI National Conference in L.A.; I remember her as being incredibly kind and nurturing to a wide-eyed newcomer. Today, we’re friends, and I’m glad she’s living in Wichita, where I can sometimes visit her, her cat Gracie, and her 100 walruses (really!).

Mugging The Muse: Writing Fiction for Love and Money by Holly Lilse (an electronic book available for free via PDF or zip (scroll to “free stuff” format).

teenlibrarian: new blog; also see the Web site.

Read It Again, Cyn

I read a lot. Because I love it. To keep up with the industry. To keep up with my author/illustrator friends. To keep my Web site and this blog updated.

Something I’ve noticed over the years is how much I bring to the process. Many books I’ve set down because I just couldn’t get into them or because they seemed “slight” take on a whole new appeal at a second or even third glance. Sometimes I’m just tired or cranky or the story hits too close to home.

If something doesn’t strike me right away, I slip it back in the to-be-read pile. I figure if people deserve opportunities to redeem themselves, so do books. After all, it might be just me.

Nifty Links

Deanne Durett: Non-Fiction Pro: an author interview by Sue Reichard from Writing For Children at Suite101.com.

Writing For Children at Suite101.com also features previous recent interviews with Janice Levy, Avi, Susan Albert, Max Anderson, Amanda Jenkins, Vicki Cobb, Chris Crutcher, Sue Bradford Edwards, Jeanne DuPrau, Tanya Lee Stone, Simon Rose, Toni Buzzeo, Michelle Stimpson, Jane Kurtz, Frances Dowell, Susanna Reich, Wendie Old, Kathleen Duey, Suzanne Lieurance. Archived interviews include: Kezi Matthews, Jennifer Armstrong, Dottie Enderle, April Pulley Sayre, Kelly Milner Halls, Linda Joy Singleton, and Verla Kay.

2005 Orbis Pictus Award Winner And Honor Books for non-fiction picture books from NCTE. Also features eight recommended titles.

Random Readings from Greg’s blog about books we’ve recently read and loved, including Naming Maya by Uma Krishnaswami. See The Story Behind The Story: Naming Maya from Uma’s Web site and a booktalk from Nancy Keane’s Booktalks — Quick and Simple. Also, at the top of Uma’s site, there is a lizard. Find out why.

Sketches of the 2005 SCBWI Mid-Winter Conference in New York City from Ruth McNally Barshaw. Next best thing to being there!

Note: the Walker catalog is looking better all the time, both in terms of the list and the design. I look forward to reading (among others): Once Upon A Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley, illustrated by Kevin O’Malley, Carol Heyer, and Scott Goto (Walker, 2005); Houdini: World’s Greatest Mystery Man and Escape King by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Walker, 2005)(also don’t miss Krull’s recent A Woman For President); and Shelf Life by Robert Corbet (Walker, 2005). Read a sample chapter of Shelf Life.

Nominees For The Edgar Allen Poe Awards 2005

The Edgar Allen Poe Awards for best mysteries are sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America. Winners will be announced at the 59th Galla Banquet in New York on April 28. See the complete list of finalists. See also nifty links below for more on the nominees and their books.

Children’s

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (Scholastic)

Assassin: The Lady Of Grace Mysteries by Patricia Finney (Delacorte)

Abduction! by Peg Kehret (Dutton)

Looking For Bobowicz by Daniel Pinkwater (HarperCollins)

The Unseen by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Delacorte)

Young Adult

Story Time by Edward Bloor (Harcourt)

In Darkness, Death by by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler (Philomel)

Jude by Kate Morgenroth (Simon & Schuster)

The Book Of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick (Wendy Lamb)

Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly (David Fickling Books)

Notes: (1) my favorite Edgar books include Lily’s Ghost by Laura Ruby (Harper, 2003); (2) Greg, who blogged today about “Star Trek,” was just reading Chasing Vermeer; (3) mystery fans should also check out the YA novel Double Helix (Dial, 2004) by Nancy Werlin, which was an SLJ Best Book of 2004, an ALA Booklist editor’s choice for 2004, and a Top 10 Mystery for Teens (Nancy already won an Edgar for The Killer’s Cousin (Delacorte, 1998)).

Nifty Links

Interview With Edward Bloor, author of Story Time: from Harcourt Brace.

Mystery At The Museum: Blue Balliett’s beguiling tale makes children think twice about art by Linda M. Castellitto from BookPage. Note: Blue Balliett was also award the 2004 Chicago Tribune Prize.

Looking For Bobowicz by Daniel Pinkwater: an NPR interview available online. See also the Looking For Bobowicz Accessories available at Cafe Press.

Lee Weatherly: Author Profile: interview from The Word Pool.

Note: thanks to “girl uninterrupted” AKA Author Laura M. Zeises for blogging about my blog.