Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger is officially published today! It's been a long wait, and I am crazily indebted to the family members, friends, and widely scattered, much loved "book people" who have supported me, and this book, for the past three-ish years.

This morning my mom left hydrangeas and a tuna noodle casserole at my apartment door. The day is made.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer. And then after that, Fall.

This will be a pretty quiet summer.

I'll be at the Sharon Summer Book Signing on July 31st. Please come if you're around. This event supports a beautiful town library with a wonderful and dedicated staff.

This FALL, however, will be unquiet. Fall holds many things, including (tentatively) trips to Boston, Seattle, Houston, Kansas City, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, and Minneapolis.

Many of these events will be with writers of books I admire enormously. Obviously these are the best kind of events. I'll provide details as soon as I can.

My new book, Goodbye Stranger, will be published on August 4th - many of the reviews are in. (You may need to scroll down.)

I hope your summer is off to a glowing start. Today I caught my first whiff of what I call "urban summer garbage." Not pleasant, but it's part of the deal.

Fun fact: At one point during the writing of Goodbye Stranger,
I became very interested in this chicken phone charm.
I still consider it a sad failure of imagination that I couldn't get it into the book. 

Luckily, I did get a lot of other weird stuff in.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A brave elf, a new book cover, talented people.

Created by the genius Schuyler Hooke*

Are you familiar with Hermey, the elf who wants to be a dentist? Friend of Rudolf?

Here he is reading Goodbye Stranger, my next book (on shelves August 4th).

If you read this blog, you are a saint, and you may also be wondering what's up with the cover of the book Hermey is holding. It doesn't look like the one I showed you a mere two posts down.

Like text, cover art is often a subtly changing landscape, but I believe we now have the real deal.


Like the last cover, this one features art by Marcos Chin and the talents of Random House 
art-department crackerjacks Kate Gartner and Isabelle Warren-Lynch.

What do you think?

*This gorgeous Hermey figure was commissioned by my wonderful editor, Wendy Lamb, and created by editor/artist Schuyler Hooke, one of the best book folks around. Do you know how hard it is to make a ceramic Hermey balance properly? His head is much bigger than his legs! And look at that perfectly rendered book! I don't know how Schuyler did it. Thank you, Wendy and Schuyler. I will treasure this guy until my last day.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Being Twelve

Do yourself a favor and spend a little time with the Being Twelve Tumblr.

Being Twelve is a project of WNYC (http://www.wnyc.org/series/being-12/).

I love the Tumblr site because it's just the kids, with no analysis:


(Photos and videos by Amy Pearl and Jennifer Hsu)

Monday, January 5, 2015


My main piece of news is that I have a new book out this year, on August 4th. (Librarians and other special people will be able to read it this month: I'll be at ALA Midwinter in Chicago, along with a bunch of ARCs.) I'm experiencing the usual mix of pre-pub emotions - excitement, dread, pride, looking at the cat and wishing I were a cat, etc.

Here's the cover, drawn by the artist Marcos Chin (www.marcoschin.com):

And here's a link to the book description: link 
Please note that I did not call my book brilliant. But I do like the part where it says the book is about the bonds - and limits - of friendship. Though to be honest, I didn't write that either.

Other news! I'm teaching an evening writing workshop at the 92nd Street Y from mid-February through the end of March (link). It's a true workshop, which means that we'll spend most of our time discussing student work as a group. Some of my happiest hours have been spent in writing workshops. There's something magic about them. To apply, send in your work by January 16th, which happens to be my birthday. And, believe it or not, it's also my cat's birthday:

Happy New Year.

Monday, June 9, 2014

New season breaking

Today feels like summer, and it's been a long time since I mini-blogged. (I consider this a mini-blog.) I've been writing, and when I'm writing I have to hog my brain, so I disappear from here (and from Twitter). By mid-summer, I should have a "real draft" and will once again be able to put sentences together in other areas of my life. Meanwhile, thanks to anyone who even periodically checks in here.

Mini-update, with photos:

     We had two family birthdays in May.

     We sometimes make up the candles as we go along. Obviously it's the cake that matters.

      Also in May, I went to Paris with my mom. It was completely great: lots of walking, eating, and seeing friends. (This is the view from the studio we rented.)

     We took a train to Amsterdam for a day. I had never been there before, and fell in love with it. I'd love to spend more time there.

      Back in NYC, our family went to see Xu Bing's amazing Phoenix at St. John the Divine. There are two of them actually, a male and a female, and they'll only be there this year. If you're near the city, I urge you to go.

      As some of you know, I'm a National Book Awards judge this year (for the Young People's Literature category). Lovely books have been showing up at my place by the boxful, and I've been reading like crazy. Not being able to talk about what I'm reading, however, turns out to be more frustrating than I anticipated.

       More soon, I hope!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What could have been

Because I'm thinking about Harriet the Spy a lot this year, I recently re-read Suzuki Beane, a book (published in 1961) about a girl who lives on Bleecker Street with her too-cool-for school parents (Suzuki, unfortunately, DOES have to go to school). Written by Sandra Scoppettone, the book was illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh (you'll happily recognize the style). If you haven't experienced this book, find a way to read it. (It's always nice to be reminded that people bravely took children's books to unconventional places long before any of us were writing.) I found several places where the book is referred to as a satire of Elouise. I'm not convinced.

I also found this: