Podcast on Lu and Bean Read

I’m excited to be on the Lu and Bean Read podcast today. Thanks to Tracy and Lu for the interview, and to Eloise for insisting that they host me. Eloise built her own meteorology station just like Mira! So happy to hear that she was inspired.

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Seven Picture Book Writers on Barnes & Noble Kids Open Mic

Today on BN Kids blog, I share a story on their Open Mic, along with six other kidlit writers.

7 Awesome Picture Book Authors Share Their Personal Stories

 

New Review Roundup, Featuring Mira, Em, and Ada Twist, Scientist

Mira Forecasts the Future has had a flurry of new reviews, especially from the UK, including a great review from BookTrust, which promotes literacy and reading among children and awards the Bailey Women’s Prize for fiction, and a three-book review featuring the wonderful Ada Twist, Scientist and The Way to Outer Space.

Here’s a roundup.

“This deceptively simple picture book not only gives youngsters a basic introduction to understanding how weather works, but also celebrates individual difference and talents – and shows how failure can be something positive if it is used as a learning experience.” – BookTrust (UK)

“…a heartwarming story. A lovely book to sit and read to your children and a great stepping stone into the world of science. ” – Chantelle Hazelden, Mama Mummy Mum

“One of our absolutely favourite reads from over the summer was Mira Forecasts the Future … Little Miss loved it so much I didn’t complain when she asked for it two or three times … a great structured story” – Amy Marie, Cocktails in Teacups

“Meet Ada Twist, Scientist, Mira, and Em”: Three new picture books featuring diverse science girls – Jill R. Bennett, Red Reading Hub, on Ada Twist, Scientist, and The Way to Outer Space

Science Girls, The Way to Outer Space, Ada Twist, Scientist, and Mira Forecasts the Future

Hooray for science girls, including The Way to Outer Space, Ada Twist, Scientist, and Mira Forecasts the Future

 

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Summer Is What You Make: Resources and a Review

Summer is what you make. Mira Forecasts the FutureSummertime can be a time for academic slide or for exploration of all kinds of new and favorite interests. Summer is what you make it — and it’s also what you make.

Download Mira’s activity kit for your kids with games and activities — include make-your
-own-pinwheel.

Watch a video review from the Awesome Annie Show to see how she (and her mom) are inspired by Mira Forecasts the Future.

MIRA Will Be B&N National Story Time

I wish I could visit Barnes & Nobles across the country, but Mira actually can! I’m excited to reveal that MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE will be a Barnes & Noble National Story Time on August 20. Mira Forecasts the Future National Story Time

Every Saturday at 11 am, Barnes & Noble hosts a story time for kids with the picture book or book of the week. MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE (illustrated by Lissy Marlin) and THE BOT THAT SCOTT BUILT (by Kim Norman, illustrated by Agnese Beruzzi) will be read to kids at B&N stores nationwide on August 20.

Find an event near you at Barnes & Noble, or select your store and the date to find a story time with Mira and Scott.

 

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Q&A: Author Spotlight on Kidlit 411

Don't Write Boring StoriesI was featured as the Author Spotlight on Kidlit411 on July 1. Here’s the Q&A. You can read the full post at Kidlit411.

Tell us about your background and how you came to write for children.
I was one of those kids who always wanted to be a writer, and I started out as a writing seminars major when I was in college at Johns Hopkins. The emphasis there was adult literary fiction, and it didn’t draw me as much as my history and sociology classes did. I switched to a humanities major, but I always thought that I would go back to writing adult literary fiction someday when I was adult enough.
It turned out that when I was truly adult, the books that entranced me were written for kids — the Harry Potter series, which inspired a lot of writers. I wrote a middle grade novel when I had an infant daughter and full-time job, and the second novel I wrote was published by Spencer Hill Press in 2014. Writing for children fired me up in a way that writing for grownups never did.
You write a range of categories from adult nonfiction to picture books.  How do you decide what age group to write for, for any particular project? Do you have a favorite age group?
My day job is still writing for adults (and young adults) — I’m a writer and editor at a collegiate business school. It can be fun and creative, but it’s a different kind of creative than writing stories for children. Sometimes I need the kind of magic that’s only found in the pages of children’s books.
I usually have at least two projects in the works — a novel at various stages, and a picture book. Switching between them makes my work stronger. Writing picture books keeps me honest — you have to pare down the story to essentials. Writing for age 4 to 8 has to be my favorite — it’s so satisfying to compress conflicts, reversals, and character growth into a few hundred words.
Congrats on the release of MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE. Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
When I was a kid my friends and I made paper fortune tellers for fun, and so do my children. Who doesn’t want to be able to predict the future? But clairvoyance — if it is real — is not something you can learn. Science is.
I was looking for a fun way to encourage learning in the sciences, and I came up with predicting the weather as something children can learn about and try with very little equipment. I love the Jersey Shore and the boardwalk, and I had to set the story there, where the weather changes minute by minute.
What projects are you working on now?
I have a few picture book manuscripts in the hopper, as well as a young adult fantasy. The fantasy is just the kind of book I love to read — no one wrote this one, so my only chance to read it was to write first.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Is it the same advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Don’t write boring stories. Write the stories you love to read. And while you’re at it, read the stories you love to read, and don’t worry about what others will think of it. I’d tell that to any aspiring author, including myself.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
When I was 8 years old, I made the decision not to have my ears pierced, and I never have. That didn’t stop me from piercing my sister’s ear with a thumbtack when we were teens. She asked, and I thought a thumbtack would give the best leverage. I do not recommend trying this at home.

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Bruce Springsteen, Superstorms, and Fortune Telling on the Boardwalk

Fourth of July pinwheel at beach

I’m a Belmartian by marriage, which means I claim the beach town of Belmar, NJ, as a home. During Superstorm Sandy, Belmar’s boardwalk was destroyed, and many homes were damaged or demolished.

My beach town was on my mind when I was looking for a picture book idea, and it combined with a line from a Bruce Springsteen song, “Asbury Park, Fourth of July (Sandy).” “Did you hear the cops finally busted Madam Marie for tellin’ fortunes better than they do.”

Sandy, storms, boardwalks, fortune tellers — they all came together in Mira Forecasts the Future, the story of the daughter of a boardwalk fortune teller who can’t see the future with magic, so she learns to predict the weather with science.

Mira learns about weather, and this book is the story of a girl who saves a surfing contest and the day. It doesn’t take place in the present or in the past, despite Lissy Marlin’s gorgeous Boardwalk Empire inspired ilIustrations, but somewhere in between.

It doesn’t take place in New Jersey — it could be Coney Island, Santa Cruz, or any beach town. Boardwalks and beach towns seem like tourist traps to those visiting, but there are real people who live there. I wanted to capture a warm small-town environment — flavored with salt water taffy and pizza by the slice, soundtracked by calliope music and the crash of waves.

Read the original post at Good Reads with Ronna >>

Telling Fortunes, Creating Futures

The best way to predict the future is to create it. Illus by Lissy Marlin. kellandrews.com

When I was a kid I loved making paper fortune tellers. I wrote the fortunes. I folded and colored the paper myself. I tried to use a paper device I made myself to predict the future.

My children do the same thing now. They know, as I did, that the fortunes you write yourself aren’t real clairvoyance. But the fortunes you write do give hints about what is possible — what you wish and fear.

That’s one of the reasons I wrote Mira Forecasts the Future. To make a dream come true, you have to think about it and work toward it. You have to make it happen.

But first you have to dream it. You have to believe it — and you have to know it’s possible for you.

Read the rest of the post at Reviews Coming at YA >>

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June’s Best Picture Books

I’m honored that Barnes & Noble included MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE on their June’s Best Picture Books list! Lots of good summer reading there.

June’s Best New Picture Books

First review for MIRA!

The first trade review is in for MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE! Kirkus says:

“Andrews’ debut folds meteorological information into a satisfying kid-finds-her-talent-and saves-the-day tale; readers will appreciate [Mira’s] expertise and the way adults listen to her.”

Read the full review >>