DESERT GIRL, MONSOON BOY publishes today!

Cover of Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy by Tara Dairman and Archana SreenivasanToday is the day that Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy, illustrated magnificently by Archana Sreenivasan and written by me, releases into the world. It is intended for readers aged 4-8 (but, of course, readers older and younger than that are very welcome).

It is the first picture book I’ve written, and the best-reviewed book yet of my career, with two starred reviews so far and a glowing in-depth write-up by top children’s librarian Elizabeth Bird.

To me this only proves the great value (and joy!) of collaborating artistically with others. I’ve been so lucky to work on this book with so many talented, caring, and detail-oriented people over the past three years: the vastly gifted Archana, the team at Putnam/Penguin Random House–including editor Susan Kochan, designers Eileen Savage and Nicole Rheingans, and Executive Art Director Cecilia Yung–and the team at LPPS (read more about them below) that provided expert feedback on the book. Thank you all! And thank you also to my agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, and Archana’s agent, Stephanie Fretwell-Hill, for your behind-the-scenes work in bringing us all together for this project.

Interior illustration 1 from Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy by Tara Dairman and Archana Sreenivasan

illustration by Archana Sreenivasan

To have a book come out during this strange and unprecedented era of global pandemic, is, of course, something none of us anticipated. There will be no bookstore launch parties, book signings, or in-person library story hours. But this is a book about people facing challenges—facing disaster, even—and coming out on the other side. If it finds its way into your home, I hope that it opens the door for discussion and reflection on the many trials we humans face, no matter where we live or what traditions or lifestyles we embrace.

Here is some more info about Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy:

Extreme weather affects two children’s lives in very different ways and shows how the power of nature can bring us together.

One girl. One boy. Their lives couldn’t be more different. While she turns her shoulder to sandstorms and blistering winds, he cuffs his pants when heavy rains begin to fall. As the weather becomes more severe, their families and animals must flee to safety–and their destination shows that they might be more alike than they seem. The journeys of these two children experiencing weather extremes in India highlight the power of nature and the resilience of the human spirit.

Buy your copy from…

Your local independent bookstore: find one here

Bookshop.org (which supports independent bookstores)

Or your favorite national or online retailer:

Penguin Random House * Powell’s * BAM * B&N * Amazon *  Indigo (Canada) * Book Depository (International)

illustration 2 from Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy by Tara Dairman and Archana Sreenivasan

illustration by Archana Sreenivasan

To celebrate release day, I am making a donation to Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan (LPPS), an organization that supports pastoralists in India like those featured in Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy. And I plan to continue to donate an ongoing portion of my royalties to organizations that do similar work in terms of both environmental and cultural sustainability worldwide. You can learn more about organizations that do this kind of work at pastoralpeoples.org/partners.

Thank you, friends, as always, for your support. I hope you will keep staying home if your work allows, keep reading, and be well.

 

 

 

Signed books for the holidays now available!

holiday books by Tara DairmanGreetings, friends! Signed books make lovely gifts, and I’m pleased to share that, this year, I’m working with BookPeople (my local independent bookstore) to make it easy for you to order signed, personalized copies of any of my titles in time for the holidays.

ORDER HERE

Just follow the instructions on that page to request personalizing in the comments of your order. Please order by 11/20 for shipping in time for Hanukkah, 12/12 for shipping in time for Christmas.

As always, I’ll throw in bookmarks and stickers with any order. 🙂

And as a reminder, here are brief summaries of my titles:

The Great Hibernation: When all of the adults in a tiny, remote town mysteriously fall asleep for the winter, it’s up to the kids to figure out what happened and what they should do about it. (adventure, humor, mystery, wintry fun)
Great Hibernation cover
The All Four Stars series (All Four Stars, The Stars of Summer, and Stars So Sweet): 11-year-old Gladys Gatsby secretly becomes a restaurant critic for New York’s biggest newspaper, but nobody there knows she’s only a kid! (humor, foodie fiction, NYC adventure)
all-three-covers
Here’s wishing you a cozy fall and winter, filled with new books to fall in love with. Read deliciously!

Preorder contest & tour dates for THE GREAT HIBERNATION!

Great Hibernation coverIt’s hard to believe that my fourth novel, The Great Hibernationwill be on bookshelves next month! I’m so excited for readers to meet Jean, Isara, Rambo the sheep, and the rest of the gang tasked with saving the tiny town of St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord from a mysterious hibernation…and some dastardly political moves, too.

Are you hoping to score a signed copy? And maybe some neat Hibernation swag? You’re in luck! You can either come see me in person on my fall tour, OR preorder a signed, personalized book through my local indie bookstore, BookPeople (and be entered to win an awesome grand prize). Details below!

The Great Hibernation fall book tour

Books of Wonder – New York, NY
Sunday, September 17, 4 pm
Middle-grade panel and launch party! (with Jessica Lawson, Tracey Baptiste,  & Alison Cherry)

The Voracious Reader  – Larchmont, NY
Monday, September 18, 6:30 pm
Science & magic! A middle grade event with Sarah Albee, & Corey Ann Haydu

Trident Booksellers & Cafe
 – 
Boston, MA
Tuesday, September 19, 6:30 pm
Super middle-grade panel! (with Debbi Michiko Florence, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Jen Malone, & Katie Slivensky, moderated by Dana Alison Levy)

One More Page Books
 – Arlington, VA
Saturday, September 23, 3pm
Kidlit panel! (with Tracey Baptiste, Caroline Carlson, & Jessica Lawson, moderated by Madelyn Rosenberg)

Boulder Book Store – Boulder, CO
Tuesday, September 26, 6:30 pm
Middle-grade book launch party! (with Jeannie Mobley & Melanie Crowder)

BookPeople – Austin, TX
Sunday, October 8, 2 pm
A Triple Launch Party! (with Christina Soontornvat & Jeannie Mobley)

 

Preorder campaign!

Can’t make it to one of my events? Never fear–I’m teaming up with BookPeople for an awesome preorder campaign! Just follow the instructions on this page and you can order as many signed, personalized copies as you like; all will come with an exclusive Great Hibernation bookmark and sticker. And as an added bonus, anyone who preorders from BookPeople will be entered to win this amazing Grand Prize Pack!

-Spike, the stuffed narwhal (a key character in The Great Hibernation)61dp4WwNJYL._SL1500_

-A free 30-minute Skype visit with the author, during which you can ask me anything about my books (great for classrooms, book clubs, or just one-on-one chatting!)

AND

-A book club or classroom set of hardcovers of The Great Hibernation!

 

Good luck, and hope to see you and/or sign books for you this fall!

 

Scholastic Fairs, new FAQ, & more!

Greetings, friends! I have a few updates that I’d love to share with you.

imgresIf you follow me on social media, then you might have noticed me celebrating an authorly milestone last week. All Four Stars has been picked  up by the Scholastic Book Fair! Gladys and her adventures will now be accessible to a whole new slew of elementary-school readers. I was a huuuge book fair fan in my own childhood, and it’s a great honor to have one of my books included now.
sos-in-czech

Also recently shared on social media: the cover for The Stars of Summer in Czech. I just love what Albatros and cover artist Eva Chupíková have done to bring Gladys (and her quest for NYC’s best hot dog) to life!

If you’ve been poking around my website, you’ve probably noticed a few changes. For one, The Great Hibernation is now featured on the Books page and the homepage, as well as in my new website header designed by the wonderful Kristin Rae.

Also, as of today I have a brand new FAQ section AND downloadable video on my About Me page, perfect for kids who are doing a book report on one of my books. (Yes, kids now regularly e-mail me asking for info they can include in their book reports. I pinch myself every time.)
20170208_182941
And, speaking of changes, at the end of January my family moved 1,000 miles from Colorado down to Austin, Texas. While we were brokenhearted to leave friends, family, and the mountains behind, the Austin kidlit community has been so welcoming. And actually, it’s kinda pretty  here, too. 🙂

 

My next (next) book!

For all those who have been asking what’s coming from me post-Gladys, I finally have an answer for you!

In today’s Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf:

deal announcement pw

Here’s a bit more of the story behind this book.

In January of 2013, my mother was very ill–on a breathing machine in a hospital bed, fighting for her life. I flew to New York to be with my dad and sister, sleeping on a mattress on the floor at my parents’ house for two weeks when I wasn’t at the hospital.

One morning, I woke up on that mattress clinging to the remnants of a vivid dream: Two children in a tiny boat in choppy, frigid waters, trying to sail for help because something was very wrong at home. All of the adults in their little town had mysteriously fallen asleep, and no one could wake them up.

Looking back now, the connection between this dream and my family’s situation at the time seems so obvious–but I didn’t see it then. I just thought “Well, that’s a decent story idea.” And I put it in my back pocket.

Miraculously, over the course of many months, Mom made an amazing recovery. I returned home and resumed my work on the All Four Stars series, though between contracts I started to play around more with my parents-falling-asleep book idea. My dream had also gifted me with the perfect setting, inspired by a remote town in northern Iceland that I had visited the year before. And I had a handful of characters who were starting to feel real to me.

Yes, people live here!

Yes, people live here!

Teasing out the story’s plot strands was harder. I’m a serious plotter–I love suspense and mystery and surprise–but the twists this story seemed to want to take scared me a little. It was a much bigger, much more complicated plot than I had ever attempted before (science and politics and myths and sheep farming!). When I finally drew up the courage to pitch it to my husband, he gave me the full-on “are you crazy?” stare.

I pressed on, though. I outlined. I tackled the dread synopsis. I finally finished an appallingly bad first draft in February of 2015–literally the day before I got the green light to write Stars So Sweet, the third book in the All Four Stars series. So into the drawer my draft went for several more months.

Non-negotiable deadline!

Non-negotiable deadline!

I finally got back to this book in the fall, writing a new draft nearly from scratch. Stars So Sweet was pretty much done at that point, but I had a new deadline: the due date of my first child, who was coming at the end of the year. The story took shape as my belly grew. I made it through two more drafts with the help of an intrepid team of beta-readers. I tamed that roaring bear of a plot (this is not a random metaphor–an unruly bear actually plays an important role in the story 🙂 ) and finally sent the book in to my agent, who had been excited about it ever since I’d mentioned my idea to her at our retreat in 2013.

Two days later, my baby was born.

And now, to my absolute delight, the wacky, challenging book I wasn’t sure I could pull off has found an editor who loves its quirkiness and wants to bring it to readers everywhere!

We can’t wait to share it with you all.

Winner, and tonight’s event!

Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike JungThanks so much to everyone who entered my giveaway for an ARC of Mike Jung’s Unidentified Suburban ObjectThe randomly selected winner is…

**** Luke Reynolds ****

Congrats, Luke, and happy reading!

For the rest of you, you can find preorder links for Unidentified Suburban Object right here on Mike’s website!

And if you’re in Denver, just a reminder that I’ll be at Second Star to the Right Bookstore tonight at 6:30 with Jeannie Mobley for a fun author event. More details here. I’d love to see you!

This Friday at Second Star to the Right!

Second StarGreetings, friends!

If you’re in the Denver area, I invite you to come out this Friday, April 1, to see me and Jeannie Mobley at Second Star to the Right Children’s Books on Tennyson street. We will be reading from our middle-grade books, answering questions, and doing a craft starting at 6:30 pm.

Second Star has also posted an interview with both of us on their blog.

This event is part of the Tennyson Street Cultural District First Friday Art Walk, meaning that lots of artsy shops, galleries, and restaurants in the area will be open late and having special programming. It’s a fun time for kids and adults alike.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

Book recommendations!

I recently Skyped with a terrific book club in Massachusetts, and the members asked me to recommend some other middle-grade novels that they might enjoy. I ended up putting a list together and e-mailing it to them, and since this isn’t the first time I’ve had a question like this, I thought that I’d share it here as well so that I can easily refer people to it in the future.

Of course, once I got started, I thought of more and more books I wanted to include, and I had to stop somewhere. So please don’t consider this a comprehensive list by any means…but I do wholeheartedly recommend every single one of these titles and hope you’ll check them out. Here we go!

Nooks & Crannies by Jessica LawsonMind-bending mysteries:
Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Laugh-out-loud funny books:
Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz
The Only Thing Worse than Witches by Lauren Magaziner
Remarkable by Lizzie Foley
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Unputdownable historical fiction:
Katerina’s Wish by Jeannie Mobley
When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens (actually a mix of contemporary and historical!)
The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer

When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens

Madcap NYC-set adventures:
At Your Service by Jen Malone
Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle (which is also LOL funny!)

Tasty foodie books:
Cupcake Cousins (and sequels) by Kate Hannigan
It’s Raining Cupcakes (and sequels) by Lisa Schroeder

Deliciously creepy books:
Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes
The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin
Grave Images by Jenny Goebel
Doll Bones by Holly Black
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Nightingale's Nest by Nikki LoftinFabulous fairy-tales:
Grounded by Megan Morrison
A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder
Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente (best title ever, no?)

Wonderful contemporary stories:
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt (an excellent novel in verse)

What are your recent favorite middle-grade reads? Feel free to share more recommendations in the comments.

Blog tour wraps up, live tour kicks off!

SUMMER blog button3Well, friends, The Stars of Summer blog tour draws to a close today, but what a fantastic final set of posts Gladys and I have had from bloggers over the last few days! We had this incredible in-depth review from Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader, this delicious Q&A with Stephanie at Kitchen Frolic, an interview AND review from Brenda at Log Cabin Library, and finally, today, a review and brief Q&A with Michael at Project Mayhem. Thank you so much, everyone for helping welcome The Stars of Summer into the world!

As the virtual tour ends, though, the live tour kicks off! I am now on the east coast, and gearing up for two New York events this week: first, my NYC launch party at Books of Wonder this Thursday at 6pm, then my reading and signing at The Dance Loft in Long Beach this Sunday at 4pm. In the weeks after that, I’ll also be appearing at Wellesley Books in Massachusetts (Boston area), One More Page in Arlington, VA (DC area), Kids Author Carnival in NYC, and The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY. Please check my events page for my full schedule, and I’d love to see you at one of these panels or parties!

Release day for THREE great books!

The_Stars_of_Summer_CVR_LIBMy second novel, The Stars of Summerhits the shelves today. It’s crazy to think that, just a year ago, I was the author of zero published books, and now there are two out there in the world with my name on the spine!

I’m incredibly lucky to get to do the work I love doing and actually see my writing find an audience. So to everyone who read and supported All Four Stars over the last year–who told their local librarians about it, who encouraged teachers to bring it into their classrooms, who bought an extra copy as a gift for a young (or not-so-young) foodie in their life–THANK YOU. This series wouldn’t be continuing without your enthusiasm. I hope that you enjoy reading The Stars of Summer every bit as much as I enjoyed writing it (which was a lot), and that maybe I’ll see you at one of my events over the next month.

But today is extra-special to me because it’s not only my second book’s book birthday, but it’s also the release date for two debut books that I love and that are written by dear friends of mine. I really couldn’t think of anyone better to share this day with, and I hope that if you see one of these titles on your local bookstore shelf, you’ll grab it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer

The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer

Stella

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

Happy book birthday to all!!

SUMMER blog button3Also, here are links to two more Stars of Summer blog tour posts that are up today: I’ve got an in-depth interview with Louise Galveston and giveaway at From the Mixed-Up Files, and a quickie interview with Leandra Wallace at her blog!

And now, back to preparing hot dog toppings for tomorrow’s Colorado launch party. 🙂