Wednesday, January 29, 2020

JJK Live!

Okay. I’m trying a thing. Think of this is a visual podcast that you can interact with in real time. I’m going to attempt a weekly Facebook Live on Tuesdays, 7pmish (ET)
Adding: this will be kid-friendly but not made with kids in mind. I’ll be recommending books for a wide age range. I’m more inspired by the chill conversations over lunch that I have with librarians and booksellers while on book tour.

During my weekly Facebook Live sessions on Tuesday evenings, I will be:
1) Recommending graphic novels and then giving away copies that I picked up at my local indie bookshop.
2) Live drawing while I talk about what’s going on in my life that week.
(This week was about an especially insane meltdown by my 3YO because he wanted cupcakes for breakfast.)
3) I’ll be taking questions while I, apparently, talk quite a bit with my hands.

Odyssey Audiobook Award and other stickers

You don’t write books to get stickers. But dang, this sure is validating. ‪ (Though, not nearly as validating as the connections I’ve made with this book.)‬

Also thank you to the American Society of Addiction Medicine for citing HEY, KIDDO with the Media Award! I am very honored. I look forward to seeing you all in April for the ceremony.

From the ASAM website:
"The Award is bestowed for a newspaper, magazine, television, radio or website story, column, or program that improves the public's understanding of addiction, addiction treatment, recovery, or the profession of addiction medicine." Read More Here!


I’m still processing, but Hey, Kiddo took home the Odyssey Medal for excellence in audiobooks for kid and teen listeners. I am just proud of all the work that EVERYONE put into this! I am so thrilled that Scholastic
 Audio trusted me to not only come on board as a narrator but also as a producer and director on this.
From the ALA website:
Odyssey Award Medal
The Odyssey Award is given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States. The award is jointly given and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of ALA, and is sponsored by Booklist.
The story of the wanderings of Ulysses, as he returns to his kingdom of Ithaca after the Trojan War, are ascribed to the blind poet Homer who either wrote, or dictated, the epic poem called "The Odyssey." Whether this odyssey of Ulysses was based on one specific event, or many different ones, is argued by researchers today, though they all seem to agree that the poems comprising The Odyssey were originally told and retold in the oral tradition, hence the name for this award. The Odyssey Award allows us to return to the ancient roots of storytelling, while living in our modern world.

I made a little thing to express my gratitude for the Odyssey committee selecting the HEY, KIDDO audiobook as the Odyssey medalist.
I wonder how many cassette tapes we would have needed had the HEY, KIDDO audio been published when the story took place?
Monday morning, all of the major awards in children's and young adult literature were announced at the American Library Association conference, and we won the audiobook prize!

To think. I got National Book Award-winning author Jeanne Birdsall to cuss as my grandmother in an audiobook, and she up and wins an ALA award for it!
I stopped in so we could take in all the Odyssey Award awesomeness together for a moment.

More Behind-the-Scenes on the Hey, Kiddo AudioBook

Evolution of a book cover from initial concepts to final design. 

Paul Gagne of Scholastic Audiobooks is the reason why HEY, KIDDO was put forward for an audio adaptation. We rolled up our sleeves together trying to figure out how to tell the visual story in an auditory way. I wish we had cameras following us the entire time because the story behind the story would have made for an incredible documentary filled with so many ups and downs and emotional breakthroughs—and ultimately an Odyssey Award win!
But I am grateful that author Lisa Yee took this behind-the-scenes video. (Did you know that she voiced the soap opera actress from Shirley’s “stories”?)

If you listened to the HEY, KIDDO audiobook, you’ll be transported to the various environments in which the story takes place. The soundscapes of exterior spaces, the lighting of a grandparent’s cigarette, a car engine.... These are all thanks to the brilliant Steve Syarto who helped stitch this whole audio experience together! Here he is with corduroy pants recreating the sound of a very young Jarrett trailing behind his mother as he walked down the street. Steve is the unsung hero of this project which is why I jump for joy every time the sound design gets a special shout out in reviews.

More stories from the audiobook production! Since we wanted to use a different voice for every single character AND have authentic “Wustah” accents throughout, what better place to record than in Worcester.

Angela had a few moments before her nursing shift started, so she came on in to the recording studio to voice the preschool teacher. She walked in nervous (which is silly because being a nurse would make me WAY more nervous) and she walked out with a smile on her face, joking, “This is the first time my Worcester accent came in handy!” Thank you, Ang, for bringing such warmth to that preschool teacher! (And you didn’t meet Ang in Hey, Kiddo because how I know her isn’t an area that was covered in this book. A lot of scenes that were set in high school and the teen-friends-sphere were cut to focus on family life.)

Marty Cariglia is another old friend that I tapped to lend a hand with the HEY, KIDDO audiobook. Mart voiced the dismissive Phys Ed teacher. And he totally NAILED IT! So he either has a future in voice acting or belittling dorky 9th graders. But he brought just what that scene needed! Not pictured: Marty rolling up with sunglasses on like he was walking out of a Hollywood trailer ready to shoot his scene.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

NOW & THEN in the News!

Where they started from: New exhibit pairs artists’ childhood work with published illustrations‬
‪Fantastic coverage of NOW & THEN exhibit in Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Thanks, YALSA!

Thank you to YALSA for naming the HEY, KIDDO audiobook as one of their 2020 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults!‬ To see the full list, click here!

Happy Book Birthday!

Happiest of Book Birthdays to THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST! So incredibly proud and appreciative of Tiffany Jewell and her work! I was lucky enough to have my kids in Tiffany’s classroom, young readers (and us older readers) are so fortunate to have this book.

Happy 2020!

Were you up until midnight or asleep on the couch? However you celebrated New Year's Eve, I hope that you had a happy and safe time. Wishing you nothing but the best for the New Year!

Snowy Walks

Enjoyed some of the final moments of 2019 in nature with my kids. (That until Mother Nature gave us one more big winter storm for the year.)