Monday, March 22, 2010

Savvy Paperback Release!

It's shiny, it's happy, it's here.

At last, Savvy is available in paperback!

You can see that they left it a nice size, though it's a little different shape now. But the text inside is the same as it was in the hardcover edition. Now it has some discussion questions at the end... as well as a sneak peek at chapter one of Scumble.

Now that Scumble is done (except for reading proofs... oh, the glorious typos and flubs that will fill the pages of the ARC--that's sarcasm, if you didn't recognize it) I've been enjoying reading without guilt.

I've recently finished Sarah Prineas's third fabulous installment in her middle-grade Magic Thief series--The Magic Thief: Found (it comes out in May). Dragons!! Hoorah! I stayed up until 3am finishing Jandy Nelson's YA, The Sky is Everywhere, in a breathless, wrapped-in-poetic, can't-fall-asleep-till-I-finish state of being. Before that, I fell in love with Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love, by Lauren Tarshis. And I smiled all the way through (deep breath--long title) The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang, by Amy Ignatow.

Scumble sold in Poland last week... I can't wait to start seeing the foreign language covers for the new book. I wonder what they'll do with the word 'scumble'... they'll have to come up with some wonderful translation, I suppose.

I'm feeling a little giddy today. I can't tell if it's due to the sunshine, the paperback release, the fact that my house if finally getting clean one room at a time, or the successful fix-its I've managed today (easy ones like replacing toilet seats and installing blinds... but still happy-making).

Spring is here!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


When I attended CCIRA in January, I received a lovely little gift bag. Inside it, I found a button that I've kept next to my computer ever since. On the button, is this quote:

Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.

--Tom Stoppard

Words can nudge the world--they can shape it and pound it and delight it and rock it too. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the scary. I'm sure there are many, many quotes about the power of words, but this one reminded me of another from Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card:

There are times when the world is rearranging itself, and at times like that, the right words can change the world.


I realized the other day that I can trace my love of words back to the first grade. It was not necessarily the meaning or the potential in words that I remember loving back then--but rather their shape and the way letters come together to form words and sounds. I liked the structure. I have a very vivid memory of my first grade teacher teaching us 'ch'--and feeling a sense of wonder and delight over the spelling of the word 'church' because it had not one, but TWO ch's, and how completely marvelous was that?

In the third grade I decided I wanted to be one of those kids who reads the dictionary, front to back... well, that didn't last long. It turned out not to be as gripping as playing Star Wars with my friends outside or watching Charlie's Angels. But before I abandoned my efforts, I tried to pick out one of the hardest random words I could find, and learn how to spell it. I chose: P-H-Y-S-I-O-G-N-O-M-Y... physiognomy. ( And for years, it was my favorite word, even though I discovered later that I'd been mispronouncing it.

When I was signing up for classes in high school, my father told me that he didn't have a lot to say about what I took as long as I enrolled in typing and Latin. Two subjects which have served me quite well. I also took a semantics class in high school, which I loved. Then, in college, a class in linguistics.


I received a wonderful email yesterday from a young reader who wrote to tell me that Savvy was the first book he'd ever chosen to read instead of watching television. I remember what that book was for me: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. And I remember what that book was for my daughter: Secret Heart, by David Almond.

The right words in the right order...

... nudge

... nudge

Oh, and by the way... there are 919 ch's in Savvy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Great day in Mississippi

It's been a beautiful, fun day in Oxford! This morning I had a wonderful time talking to Mississippi 5th graders as part of the Youth Authors Fair at the Oxford Conference for the Book. Check out my fabulous audience! Every student got a conference "Savvy" T-shirt... so first I took a picture of everyone sitting down, then I had them stand up and show off their shirts, which looked like this:

Next, fellow author Watt Key and I were treated to lunch with some of the women who helped organize the event. Lunch was set out for us in the yard at Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's house. It was a beautiful day and I couldn't have asked for more pleasant company! Penguin Young Readers Group rep, Doni Kay, joins me in the photo below.

Turns out, Mr. Faulkner wrote on his walls too...

Later in the afternoon, I had a great time signing books (and T-shirts!) with Watt at Square Books, Jr. So many people came out! If you were one of them, thanks!!

I signed a lot of stock too, so if you're looking for a signed hardcover of Savvy before the paperback comes out in a couple of weeks, Square Books, Jr. in Oxford, Mississippi, is the place to call!