Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When You've Been Pregnant For Six Years & The Baby Turns Out Really Cute

It's here! It's here!

Yes, it's the CHAINED release day!

Here's the short version of the road to publication:

Spring 2006: Got the idea to write a story about a captive elephant and started writing
Spring 2009: Started submitting the manuscript to agents
February 2010: Signed with agent Joanna Volpe
May 2010: Sold manuscript to editor Margaret Ferguson at Macmillan/FSG
May 8, 2012: Publication day!

May 2012 seemed like so far away when the book sold, but now I can't believe it's really here. I'm kind of at a loss for words, except for the many thank yous to everyone who helped me and supported me along the way.

So I'll turn things over to Navin Johnson:

And, of course, to Spongebob Squarepants:

Have the best day ever, everyone!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Club Kit Giveaway Winner: Why I Need a Blanket Fort That Fits 300 People

The CHAINED book club kit contest is now over!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered. I cried while looking through all the entries, because I wanted to give the book club kit to everyone. (As soon as I win the lottery, books for all!)

Here are some of the comments shared by the teachers and book club coordinators who entered:

"My students...have very tender hearts. They love to read to each other and to be read to as well."

"I'm the leader in name only, since the kids pick the reads and pretty much run the discussions."

"We have never had the money or opportunity to all read the same book at the same time."

"Our small city has just been identified as having the largest poverty rating in the state..."

"Any time I can put a book into the hands of a reader who struggles, I know this book may be the one to 'hook' this reader. When that happens, I know the child has taken the first step to becoming a lifelong reader, and this keeps me coming to school every day."

"With huge budget cuts again this year, the money to purchase new texts is not a possibility."

"The kids that come [to our lunchtime reading group] are great and have wonderful insights into the books we've discussed..."

"Even the most hardened ones want to believe they are capable of compassion."

"...we're often limited by the books we can study because we don't have multiple copies of titles."

"By the middle of this year, these 'reluctant readers' were saying very intelligent things about the books they were reading."

I want to build a giant blanket fort where I can sit and read with all of you.

But the winner of the Chained Book Club Kit Giveaway is...*drumroll*

Mr. Prokop's after school reading club at Nathan Hale Middle School in Crestwood, Illinois!

Here's a reminder of what will be in the package that's heading your way soon:

- Ten hardcover copies of CHAINED

- A CHAINED tote bag

- Bookmarks and signed bookplates for each member of your class or group

- Up to an hour-long Skype visit

And everyone who entered will be getting CHAINED bookmarks and bookplates for all of your students.

Congratulations to Mr Prokop's reading group, and thank you again to all of you teachers and reading group coordinators for all the work you do for the readers in your schools and communities. I know you don't do the work because it's an easy job, or because of the awesome paychecks, but because you love seeing your kids fall in love with a book.