Category Archives: young adult

Sandwich, a personal history.

1. A long time ago, I was in an all-girl band called Sandwich.  We only played one song, also called Sandwich.

Sandwich, at a Halloween party, circra 1998. We’re sitting because we can’t play standing up.

2. Once, I invented a sandwich. The ingredients were: Fluff, Nutella, and sliced bananas on white bread. I called it the “HW Yummy” (patent pending).

3.  Last night, I had the honor of doing a reading/book-signing at the lovely Sandwich Public Library with my fellow road-trip author, Kirsten-Paige Madonia (FINGERPRINTS OF YOU).  The event was sponsored by Titcomb’s Bookshop.

We started off our night with an interview for a local cable access show, hosted by Kathy & her #1 YA reader, Emma, a high school senior.

We’ll be back, after this message from our sponsor.

Then we moved downstairs for the reading & book discussion.  Boy, were we surprised to see how much work Kathy put into our event.  The room was decorate with maps and travel guides, and she even had a bevy of tasty road-trip themed snacks!

Mmmmm, sugar.

Afterwards, we chatted with fellow YA author Scott Blagden, author of Dear Life, You Suck (Harcourt, March ’13) and signed some books.  Of course, we ended the night with some pictures in the Pea Pod photo-booth.

Kids, do not try this at home.

Vicky & Kathy hit the road!

HUGE thanks to Kathy Johnson of the Sandwich Library and Vicky Uminowicz for making our night so special.  It really means a lot to know there are such devoted booksellers & librarians out there willing to go the extra mile to help out a couple of debut authors.  And kudos to the amazing Emma for being so darn literate & cool.

If you’re in the Dedham, MA area tonight, it’s you last chance to catch our Road Trip Books Hit the Road Tour at the Blue Bunny Bookstore at 6:30pm.  Hope to see you there!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under book blog, books, movies, YA, writing, favorite books, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, writing, writing advice, young adult

Road Trip Stop #2 (where we meet the future authors of America)

The Road Trip Book Tour continues!  Yesterday, Kristen-Paige & I had a WONDERFUL meet & greet at the Manchester, NH Barnes & Noble.  And we were THRILLED to see so many of our new Pinkerton Academy & Londonderry Middle School friends/Future Authors of America.  How much do I love meeting teen readers & writers?

 

 

Meeting these girls totally made my day.

Next stop:  The Coop in Harvard Square!  (Monday September 10th, 7:00pm)

Leave a comment

Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, favorite books, writing, young adult

My Middle School Marathon (with a high school visit & a book reading thrown in there, too)

Kristien-Paige and I are still recovering from our back-to-back school visits yesterday at Pinkerton Academy & Londonderry Middle school.  Not to mention the fact that we capped off our day with a book-signing at the Toadstool Bookshop in Milford.  But, boy, did we have fun!

I don’t know what they’re putting in the drinking water in Derry & Londonderry, but those kids were all so great!  Amazing questions, lots of enthusiasm.  And as you can see from the pix below, they are totally rocking the Pea Pod!

Leave a comment

Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, favorite books, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, teen writers, writing advice, young adult

On the Road Again

Hopefully, our road-trip will have a happier ending than theirs did.

Tomorrow morning, Kristen-Paige Madonia & I kick off our Road Trip Books Hit the Road tour with two school visits (Pinkerton Academy & Londonderry Middle School) followed by a reading at the Toadstool Bookshop in Milford, NH at 7:00pm. Whew. I’m tired just thinking about it.

Our plan is to rendezvous at the school, but until then, Kristen-Paige and I will be traveling in separate cars.  I live in the middle of nowhere, so I tend to spend a fair share of my time alone in my car.  So, I thought I’d share some of my personal must-haves for those long solo drives.

1. An apple.  I never drive long distances without an apple in my car.  For one thing, it’s the perfect food.  Plus, when you’re done, you get to chuck the core out the window, which is an added bonus (location permitting).  Then there’s  my recent car apple discovery:  even if you leave your apple in the car for a few hours and it gets really hot, it still tastes good! Like a crisp, single-serving, healthy apple pie. Yum.

2. Podcasts.  The Moth, This American Life, the JV Club, Radiolab, Fresh Air. Take your pick.  Oh, and did I mention that I’ll be performing live on the Moth Mainstage in October? Eek! (Details TBA).

3. Hand lotion.  For some reason, I never notice that my hands are dry until I see them on my steering wheel.  And since I’m a pathological multi-tasker, what better place to revitalize my weary skin than while cruising down the highway at 80 MPH. Just kidding.  I only moisturize on back roads. ;)

Hope to see you on one of our tour stops.  And if you haven’t read Kristen-Paige’s book, FINGERPRINTS OF YOU, it’s poignant and beautifully written, with a complex protagonist you’ll come to care about deeply.  One of my favorite reads of the year!

Leave a comment

Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, favorite books, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, teen writers, writing, young adult

Books I’m excited to read! (Exclamation points!!!!!)

I scored an ARC of Maria Semple’s WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE at BEA this year. One chapter in & I’m already loving it!

I’m going on a road-trip book tour (9/7-9/12) with my Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers pal, Kristen-Paige Madonia, so FINGERPRINTS OF YOU is cued up on my nightstand.

Just bought my second copy of Lisa Luedeke’s SMASHED (another S&S book!) at her fabulous book launch party at the Peterborough, NH Toadstool Bookshop.  Can’t wait to crack it open.

Last but not least, I am the lucky recipient of an advance copy of TRINKETS by novelist/screenwriter extraordinaire Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith.  Aren’t you jealous?

Nothing better than a cool fall evening & snuggling up with a good book.  If you need one, click here. ;)

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, favorite books, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, writing, young adult

Road Trip Books Hit the Road!

I’m back from one road trip…

And I’m about to go on another…

If you’re in the area, please join us!

Leave a comment

Filed under book blog, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, young adult

Updates from the road

So it looks like the Level3 boys are stuck in France a little longer. Poor them. ;) But no matter, Dilly, Dilly is rocking those libraries without them!  Here are some pix from the Chicopee, MA event.  So glad I’m going to  the gig in Hampton!  (Lane Memorial Library, Hampton, NH – Monday, 7/23 6:30pm).

Chicopee girls in the Pea Pod. (That’s a lot of peas!)

Dilly, Dilly – on banjo.

Slow down, ladies!

Dilly’s set list.

No brakes!

Oh, and in case you missed this little bit of awesomeness.

1 Comment

Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, music, pop music, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, rock bands, young adult

The Bully in My Head

The topic of today’s blog post (bullying) comes from my involvement with TeamTEENAuthor.  TeamTEENauthor is a group of YA writers committed to speaking directly to their teen readers through essays, personal stories, and videos about age-relevant topics (with a small side dose of public humiliation). In other words, we don’t just want to write for you, we want to talk to you, too.  On the second Wednesday of every month, our fearless leader, Julie Cross, gives us a single word or phrase and we are allowed to do whatever we’d like with it.   The word for July is:  BULLY 

The Bully in My Head

I’ve been on both sides of the equation:  the bully and the bullied.  The details of these incidents aren’t important, though they stand out as some of the clearest memories of my youth.  What’s important is the why.  Why did I, a kid with friends, good grades, two loving parents and a (relatively) stable home, need to make other kids feel bad about themselves?  Conversely, why did I let the kids who teased me get away with it?  Why was I too ashamed to ask my parents or teachers for help?  And the one time I did ask a grown-up to intervene (the principal of my junior high, who did absolutely nothing despite my repeated pleas) why did I accept his utter ineffectualness as an adequate response?

The answer, as best as I’ve figured it, isn’t so much about the outside forces I was exposed to—the compassion and tolerance my parents raised me to believe in, or even the broken “look the other way” culture prevalent at my school—as much as it was about what was going on inside my head, which, I can assure you, was as bad, if not worse, as the taunts of my seventh grade bully.

“You deserve it,” I’d tell my thirteen-year-old self.  “You’re not as pretty as D. or as popular as R., so, of course, no one’s going to try to help you.”

With messages like this tormenting me, it’s no wonder I went through life angry and scared.   When a child comes from a dysfunctional family, it’s easy to understand why he or she feels the need to lash out, to find release by preying upon the weaker kids. Or why the kid who’s been beaten down by life comes to see herself as the powerless victim. But I came from a “good” family who supported me.  The problem was, I was being bullied constantly—by myself.

Even through high school, college, and beyond, when the bullying by and of others had thankfully ceased, I was still beating myself up on a regular basis—playing the roles of both bully and victim.  The sad thing is, this kind of negative messaging isn’t all that uncommon.  How often do we carelessly put ourselves down for saying or doing “something stupid,” or insult ourselves for the way we look in a bathing suit, or the bad grade we got on a test?

Recently, my eight-year-old son struck out at his little league game and was bemoaning his quote-unquote failure on the car ride home.  “I’m terrible at baseball,” he announced, as if this were an irrefutable fact, even though he was one of the team’s big hitters, and this was the first time he’d struck out all season.  As a mom, it was easy for me to reassure him that his very critical self-assessment wasn’t true, that even the best hitters in major league baseball strike out at least half of the time, that we all have off days.  I try to teach him to be kind to himself, instead of beating himself up about it.  But it took me years to learn how to give that same kind of compassion to myself.

Today, I’m proud to say that I practice self-compassion on a regular basis, which means forgiving myself when I quote-unquote fail, and loving myself, not in spite of my perceived inadequacies, but because of them.  I recently had the good fortune of reading an advance copy of SKINNY, by Donner Cooner, the much-lauded young adult novel due out this fall, in which a 300-pound fifteen-year-old girl named Ever goes through a risky gastric bypass operation in order to silence the negative voice inside her head (which she’s named Skinny).  Ever survives the surgery, but much to her dismay: so does Skinny.  Which makes Ever realize how little her actual appearance had to do with the negative way she thinks of herself, and how much it has to do with Skinny’s constant criticism.

My point is—bullying is a complex topic, and it’s important that we give kids the tools to deal with it and bring awareness to it in our schools, our homes, and our communities.  But I don’t think the problem will ever really stop until we learn to stop bullying ourselves.

Below are links to the blogs of other TeamTEENAuthors who’ve written about bullying today.:

Julie Cross–TEMPEST

Pip Harry–I”LL TELL YOU MINE

Janci Patterson–CHASING THE SKIP

Jessica Corra–AFTER YOU

Suzanne Lazear–INNOCENT DARKNESS

E.C. Myers–FAIR COIN and QUANTUM

Elizabeth Amisu–SACERDOS and ARCANE RISING

Kimberly Sabatini–TOUCHING THE SURFACE

And here’s a link to a great article on the differences between self-compassion and self-esteem and why self-compassion may be more important.

3 Comments

Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, parenting, teen writers, teenage girls, young adult

Winner announced for Battle of the Boy Bands

A hearty thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog to share their boy band love.

I’m happy to announce that One Direction fan Christina K. walked away with the prize–a $10 iTunes gift card & a copy of REUNITED.

Stay tuned for more summer giveaway fun.  And don’t forget to stop by the Level3 Tour page to see if the boys are coming to a town near you!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, pop music, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, young adult

Win a $50 Ticketmaster Gift Certificate by following the REUNITED Summer Music Tour

The REUNITED Summer Music Tour

To celebrate, Level3′s inclusion in REUNITED, Simon & Schuster is sending them on a tour of libraries (!!) from Boston to Austin this summer, with the awesome indie girl rocker, Dilly Dilly as their opening act.  Follow the tour by texting reunited to 25827!  Stay on Level3′s text list until 9/1/12 and they’ll draw a single name to win a $50 TicketMaster Gift Card!

July 17, 2012 @ 3PM

Chicopee, MA
 
- Chicopee Public Library



July 18, 2012 @ 6:30PM

Johnston, RI 
- 
Marian J. Mohr Library



July 20, 2012

Barrington, RI 
- Barrington Public Library 



July 21, 2012

Darien, CT
 
- Darien Library 



July 23, 2012

Hampton, NH
 
- Lane Memorial Library 



July 24, 2012

New London, CT
 
- Public Library of New London

 


July 25, 2012 @ 2:00PM

Quincy, MA 
- Thomas Crane Public Library



July 27, 2012

Hershey, PA
 
- Hershey Public Library 



July 31, 2012

Pittsboro, NC
 
- Pittsboro Public Library



August 1, 2012 @ 3:30PM

China Grove, NC 
- South Rowan Public Library 


August 4, 2012 @ 1PM

Grand Prairie, TX 
- The Bowles Branch Library


2 Comments

Filed under book blog, books, movies, YA, writing, music, pop music, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, rock bands, young adult