Monthly Archives: January 2014

The William C. Morris Award

 IMG_20140127_110343_225 I am back in California now after a whirlwind weekend at the midwinter ALA conference in Philadelphia, and it is just starting to sink in that Charm & Strange actually won the 2014 William C. Morris award! I’m stunned, thrilled, shocked, humbled, honored, and just so grateful for this recognition from YALSA and the 2014 Morris committee. I also have so much love for Carrie Mesrobian, Evan Roskos, Elizabeth Ross, and Cat Winters, and their beautiful, beautiful books.

I wish I were one of those people who can document events as they’re happening: through photos or tweets or something. But when I’m excited, I get so flustered I forget to do any of those things and then kick myself later. My husband did take a few photos, which I want to share, along with some of my favorite moments from the weekend:

  • The Morris dinner. On Sunday night (the night before the awards announcement), all of the authors, editors, and agents had dinner with the entire 2014 Morris committee. It was amazing. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet everyone involved in this process, and to make connections with them. Books are personal, whether one is a reader or a writer, and the whole evening just held this gracious atmosphere of reflection and warmth and gratitude. It felt very meaningful and special to be able to come together like that, and it’s a memory I will cherish.
  • Buttons. Oh my goodness, the committee made personalized buttons for each of the books. They are beautiful.

photo 2

  • Breakfast with Kelly Jensen on Monday morning. I admire Kelly so much. Getting to have breakfast with her is a treat under any circumstances, but she was the one who was with me when I got the call from the committee on the morning of the awards ceremony, and it was perfect. She kept asking me “are you all right?”
  • Being at the ALA Youth Media Awards. It was a blast getting to be there when all the awards were announced. The room was filled with such energy and passion: for the award recipients and for the committee members, who all worked SO HARD over the year to make that moment happen. Amazing. The Morris committee had the buttons. The Printz committee had hoodies. The Caldecott committee had train whistles. Another committee had donuts. It was very cool to see.
  • The Morris and Nonfiction Award program. This was an event that happened later on Monday morning where all of the finalists for both of these awards were able to speak about their books. I loved hearing about everyone’s journeys and how their stories came to be told.IMG_20140127_103718_818
  • People. I met and spent time with so many incredible people this weekend. Librarians, authors, agents, bloggers, editors, and more. People who love books and who care about readers. There is nothing better.
  • Hanging out and exploring Philadelphia with Carrie Mesrobian and her awesome husband.
  • Seeing Charm & Strange with the gold sticker on it (although I forgot to get one, whoops) and receiving this beautiful award:

 photo 3

Now that I’m home and settled and able to reflect a bit, it’s making me very emotional. So much goes into making a book, and I’m so touched by everything everyone has done for this story. I also get emotional when I think about what the story means and who I wrote it for. There’s joy in life but also sadness, and both are real and true.

Thank you to everyone who has sent well wishes. It means so much to me. Congratulations also to all the books and authors honored on Monday, as well as to all books and authors everywhere that make a positive difference in the lives of their readers.






Heading to Philadelphia…

Tomorrow I will be heading to Philadelphia for the ALA Midwinter conference. I am beyond excited to be going, and to have the chance to see and meet so many wonderful librarians and book-loving folks. I also need to find proper cold weather clothes, as it has been anything but cold here in drought-ridden California.

For my schedule, I will be at YALSA’s Morris and Nonfiction Award Presentation and Program (Room 103B) on Monday morning from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm. I will also be wandering around the rest of the weekend, so if you see me, please say hi!

A few links:

1. An interview with me on Rachel Hartman’s blog (author of the amazing SERAPHINA).

2. I also wrote a guest post for the Diversity in YA blog. You can read it here.

Now, before I get on a plane, I need to finish these COMPLICIT pass pages. My mind is aflutter with little flags and Post-Its, at the moment.


Hope to see you in Philadelphia!


UK blog tour and other fine things

CharmStrange_Blog_BnnrAs I mentioned previously, the paperback version of Charm and Strange was just released in the UK by Electric Monkey/Egmont UK. To celebrate, there will be a small blog tour next week with some really wonderful UK book bloggers. The tour will consist of interviews, guest posts, prizes, and more. Please do check it out! The schedule is on that nifty banner to the left, and I’ll add the links to this post each day.

Monday: Interview at The Book Stop

Tuesday: Guest Post at the Overflowing Library: On Truth and Darkness in Young Adult Literature

Wednesday: Guest post at Bookbabblers: On Empathy

Thursday: Guest post at Book Angel Emma: The Language of Violence

Other than that, 2014 is starting off with a bang. I’m in the midst of a huge amount of dissertation work, which is challenging, and sometimes daunting, but also compelling. And I received the first pass pages of ComplicitThe interior design of the book is so, so cool. I can’t wait to share. I love it.

I’ve been writing, as well, and that has felt good. I’m taking on some personal challenges in what I’m working on, trying to push myself and grow. Fortunately, it’s been an inspiring week, writing-wise: On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to work with a group of teen writers who were crafting essays about different immigration experiences. And last night, Thursday, I had the chance to hear Laurie Halse Anderson speak about her new book, The Impossible Knife of Memory. She was amazing.

I was also able to spend an hour this week making tissue paper snowflakes with a whole class of kindergarteners. It was the most grounding and rejuvenating activity I’ve done in a long while. I highly recommend it.