New Voice: Lisa Railsback on Noonie’s Masterpiece and Betti on the High Wire

Lisa Railsback is the first-time author of Noonie’s Masterpiece, illustrated by Sarajo Frieden (Chronicle, 2010) and Betti on the High Wire (Dial, 2010). From the promotional copy of Noonie’s Masterpiece:

Fantastic illustrations with a fresh, contemporary look enrich this debut novel about a 10-year-old aspiring artist stuck living with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who clearly don’t recognize her genius.

A humorous and heartfelt reminder that “a brilliant artist is never afraid,”

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New Voice: Elizabeth Fixmer on Saint Training

Elizabeth Fixmer is the first-time author of Saint Training (Zonderkidz, 2010). From the promotional copy:

Mary Clare O’Brian thinks that her bargain with God – to become a saint if He’ll make her family happy – will result in a miracle.

But with a war in Vietnam, race riots in the city, the Catholic Church turning cartwheels, and too much responsibility at home, miracles seem to be in short supply.

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New Voice: Blythe Woolston on The Freak Observer

Blythe Woolston is the first-time author of The Freak Observer (Carolrhoda Lab, 2010). From the promotional copy:

For eight years, Loa Lindgren’s world ran like one of those mechanical models of the solar system, with her baby sister, Asta, as the sun. Asta suffered from a genetic disorder that left her a permanent infant, and caring for her was Loa’s life.

Everything spun neatly and regularly as the whole family orbited around Asta.

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Illustrator Interview: Daniel Jennewein on Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

Daniel Jennewein is the debut illustrator of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? written by Audrey Vernick (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, 2011). From the promotional copy:

Your buffalo is growing up. He plays with friends. He shares his toys. He’s smart! But is he ready for kindergarten? (And is kindergarten ready for him?)

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? is a hilarious look at first-day-of-school jitters.

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New Voice: Christine Johnson on Claire de Lune

Christine Johnson is the first-time author of Claire de Lune (Simon Pulse, 2010). From the promotional copy:

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and her crush keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she’s the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: She’s a werewolf.

As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves,

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New Voice: Michele Corriel on Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery

Michele Corriel is the first-time author of Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery (Blooming Tree/Tire Swing, 2010). From the promotional copy:

All the cats in Fairview disappeared and only Thomas Weston, newspaperman extraordinaire (and eighth grader) can find them. All the while Thomas battles the never-ending hysterical headlines that pop up in his head!

What were you like as a young reader, and how did that influence the book that you’re debuting this year?

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New Voice: Sandy Fussell on Samurai Kids: White Crane

Sandy Fussell is the first-time author of Samurai Kids: White Crane (Candlewick, 2010)(excerpt). From the promotional copy:

Niya Moto is the only one-legged samurai kid in Japan, famous for falling flat on his face in the dirt. The one school that will accept him is the Cockroach Ryu, led by the legendary sensei Ki-Yaga.

He may be an old man overly fond of naps,

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New Voice: Jen Cullerton Johnson on Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace

Jen Cullerton Johnson is the first-time author of Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace, illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler (Lee & Low, 2010). From the promotional copy:

As a young girl in Kenya, Wangari was taught to respect nature. She grew up loving the land, plants, and animals that surrounded her—from the giant mugumo trees her people, the Kikuyu, revered to the tiny tadpoles that swam in the river.

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New Voice: James Klise on Love Drugged

James Klise is the first-time author of Love Drugged (Flux, 2010). From the promotional copy:

Fifteen-year old Jamie Bates has a fail-safe strategy for surviving high school: fit in. Keep a low profile. And, above all, protect his biggest secret—he’s gay.

So when a classmate discovers the truth, a terrified Jamie decides it’s time to change. After accepting flirtatious advances from Celia, the richest and most beautiful girl in school,

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New Voice: Matthew Quick on Sorta Like a Rock Star

Matthew Quick is the first-time YA author of Sorta Like a Rock Star (Little, Brown, 2010). From the promotion copy:

Amber Appleton lives in a bus. Ever since her mom’s boyfriend kicked them out, Amber, her mom, and her totally loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka Thrice B) have been camped out in the back of Hello Yellow (the school bus her mom drives).

But Amber,

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