SPECIAL OFFER: A TRUE WONDER is out this September! Would you like an author-signed copy plus a limited edition postcard designed by illustrator Katy Wu? Starting today, get your copy by pre-ordering from Once Upon a Time Bookstore! Here’s the link.
I had such a blast teaching nonfiction picture book structures at The Writing Barn. Now I’ve created an entire six-week course focused on rethinking your nonfiction picture book from voice and hook to structure, illustration potential, and page turns. Learn more and register here. I hope you’ll join me.
I recently had to make a uber-short book talk about A TRUE WONDER: The Comic Book Hero Who Changed Everything, illus. Katy Wu (HMH/Clarion, Sept. 28, 2021).
Watch the video to find out what what the book is all about in 30 seconds flat. If you know me, you know this was a difficult exercise! I’m a talker when it comes to books.
You can preorder wherever books are sold. Click here for details and how to order: https://www.hmhbooks.com/shop/books/a-true-wonder/9780358238423
Join me at the Writing Barn (online) this Saturday at 10 a.m. Central. We’ll talk about 9 nonfiction text structures and apply them to our works in progress. Only $25. Replays available. Register here.
It’s hard to believe that 2021 is just around the corner and with it, WRAD 2021.
For World Read Aloud Day 2021, I will provide free 20-minute virtual classroom visits on the platform of your choice (Meet, Zoom, or Skype).
Our WRAD virtual visit will go something like this:
1-2 minutes: Kirsten gives a quick intro and talks a little bit about her books.
3-5 minutes: Kirsten reads aloud a portion of WOOD, WIRE, WINGS: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane.
5-10 minutes: Kirsten answers a few questions from students about reading/writing.
1-2 minutes: Kirsten book-talks a couple of books she loves (but didn’t write!) as recommendations for the kids.
Ready to sign up? Click on the Sign Up Genius icon below to secure your spot. Please do not sign up until you can commit to a 20-minute time slot (one per school).
I read as many new nonfiction/STEM books as I possibly can, thanks to the library. And I miss reviewing them. But I don’t have the time to craft lengthy blog posts or create lots of pretty Instagram graphics. So, I’m trying something new.
Whenever I get a new library stack, I will:
- Read the books.
- Change out of my gym clothes, fix my hair, and MAYBE put on a little lip gloss.
- Record some 2-minute video book reviews in a single take.
- I’ll post the videos to YouTube as well as my IGTV channel. I’ll also share the links on my Facebook page.
So, here’s an initial batch of reviews:
- The Big Bang Book
- Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon
- We Are Water Protectors
- Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit
- And, coming tomorrow, Unbeatable Betty: Betty Robinson, the First Female Olympic Track & Field Gold Medalist
Enjoy! And if you have 2020 NF/STEM book recommendations, let me know.
|Despite my serious look in the above photo, I adored playing Wonder Woman as a little girl with my sister Stephanie (left). I mean, just look at our ultra-hip Underoos plus homemade tiaras, bracelets, and lassos. We meant business.
When I read historian Jill Lepore’s SECRET HISTORY WONDER WOMAN a couple of years ago, I was intrigued to learn the origin story of my favorite childhood superhero. First, Wonder Woman was developed as an antidote to parental and teacher complaints about comic books (something we still hear today). For a time, Joye Hummel, a woman!, co-wrote scripts with Wonder Woman’s creator (and I got to speak with her on the phone). Plus the character was a powerful influence on Gloria Steinem and appeared on the cover of Ms. Magazine. And there’s so much more!
Though I typically write biographies of people, I knew I could write a biography of a superhero and the evolution of what she’s meant to people over eight decades.
I am so delighted my editor, Jennifer Greene (a true fan!), has paired me with illustrator Katy Wu, who will be illustrating in comic book style. Stay tuned for more early next year.
(And shout out to my mom for this awesome photo circa 1981, which will appear in my author’s note.)
Here’s the book announcement:
WOOD, WIRE, WINGS has been out in the world for nearly three whole months. In celebration, I’m giving away an autographed copy of WOOD, WIRE, WINGS, along with a copy of Vicky Fang’s HAPPY PAWS. To enter, sign up for my monthly newsletter here. That’s it! Giveaway ends 5/25 at midnight PDT. Sorry, US entries only.
Taking action in the time of COVID-19
Was it just over a month ago that WOOD, WIRE, WINGS finally took flight? It seems like an eternity after four weeks at home. With many of my book events postponed or canceled over the coming months, I’m focused on what I can do right now, both physically and emotionally.
- Continuing to create – I’m revising a graphic novel and researching a new STEM picture book. For me, creating is an anchor in turbulent times.
- Reading books for inspiration (and reviewing them) – I was lucky enough to pick up a stack of print books two hours before my library closed its doors. I’ve read and reviewed most of them already, so I’m also reading ebooks/audiobooks via Amazon Prime Reading and Libby/Overdrive linked to my library account. (I love listening to audiobooks on Libby while working jigsaw puzzles or baking). Audible is another source for free children’s audiobooks, and countless creators are offering readings and book clubs online. I review as many books as I can on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads. Since book creators can no longer host in-person events, book reviews are more important than ever for helping readers discover new books. If you’ve read WOOD, WIRE, WINGS, I would be deeply grateful if you would leave an honest review on the book platform of your choice.
- Boosting booksellers – Local bookstores are suffering terribly right now, though many remain open for online and phone orders, often with curbside pickup or inexpensive delivery. You can contact your bookseller directly or shop your local indie at Bookshop.org. Don’t need books for yourself? Consider placing an order to stock a local Little Free Library or buying a gift certificate for later use. Audiobook-lovers can support indies by buying through Libro.fm. Finally, if you are an Amazon fan, the good news is physical books have been reclassified as “essential” with faster ship times and deep discounts (WOOD, WIRE, WINGS is currently discounted to $14.34).
- Connecting with readers online – I’ve created a YouTube version of my engineering design workshop, and have done a few Zoom/Skypes with classes who have read my book. It’s always a delight to connect with young readers, especially when the opportunities are scarce. If you are trying to keep kids busy at home, the number of resources available is overwhelming, but you can find many wonderful ideas from my debut picture book group, The Soaring 20s, on our website.
Here’s hoping you are able to stay safe at home, while your dreams soar in books.
Oh, the places I’ve been (virtually)
It’s been a busy couple of months with lots of podcasts, guest blog posts, and media appearances. Here are a few of the places I’ve been.
- I discussed my Top 5 Tips for (un)Writing Narrative Nonfiction as the April featured author on the 12×12 blog.
- I shared an engineering design activity for kids on Patricia Newman’s LitLinks blog.
- Several Soaring ’20s pals and I revealed little-known facts about our protagonists on KidLit.tv.
- I was featured on the University of Maryland’s Maryland Today, where I recounted my journey from NASA to business school to writing children’s books.
- For Women’s History Month, fellow authors Elisa Boxer, Lindsay Metcalf, and I discussed “Filling in the Gaps” when it comes to writing women’s history.
Coming soon: appearances on Jedlie’s Reading With Your Kids podcast (4/21), Matthew Winner’s Children’s Book Podcast (week of 4/27), Chris Wood’s STEM Everday Podcast (TBD), and much more. Follow me on Twitter @kirstenwlarson or follow my Facebook page so you don’t miss my upcoming appearances.