Two fantastic holiday surprises

I’m not a big gift person. Maybe it’s because I’ve already been through the experience of selling off all of my possessions (in anticipation of our epic round-the-world trip), and I never want to have that much stuff to get rid of again. Or maybe it was the trip itself; living out of a backpack taught me how few physical items I truly need to get by (though we always made room for a book or two).

All of that is to say that I’ve reached the point in my life where Hanukkah and Christmas and birthday presents don’t really appeal to me anymore. Or, at least, I thought they didn’t…until this year, when my sister-in-law gave me this:

Gladys doll

I mean, OMG. It’s Gladys!!

Based on Kelly Murphy‘s cover for The Stars of Summer, Etsy custom doll designer Kaiya’s Room got her absolutely perfect–from her hairdo to her freckles to her camp t-shirt to her ADORABLE, DETACHABLE LOBSTER BACKPACK.

So, yeah…Heidi has officially ruined me for all future gifts. 🙂 Doll-Gladys is now sitting atop my mantle with my author copies of All Four Stars and ARCs of The Stars of Summer, but don’t worry, I take her down frequently for hugs.

Cybils-Logo-2014-Web-LgI didn’t think the holiday season could get any better for me and Gladys, but we were in for one more excellent surprise. Bright and early on the first day of 2015, I learned that All Four Stars had been named a finalist for a Cybils Award!

I love the mission of the Cybils, which is “to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal.” It’s a huge boost to have my first novel honored according to these criteria.

I was also thrilled to see that my agency-mates Laurie Ann Thompson (Be a Changemaker) and Deborah Underwood (Here Comes the Easter Cat) were among the finalists for YA nonfiction and for picture books. Hooray! Their books are fantastic.

You can find the full list of finalists here in the many categories the Cybils cover. There are so many titles in there that I’m anxious to read! Many, many thanks to the judges for their time and effort selecting them, and good luck to everyone in the next round.


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