Category: Authors

Brian Wildsmith Dies

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The Bookseller has the news that Brian Wildsmith has died at the age of 86. He was the author and illustrator of more than 80 books.

Author Michael Rosen said of Wildsmith: “Floods of colour exploding across the pages with a name to match: Wildsmith. He was a wild smith. I remember feeling envious: why hadn’t I had books as wild and lush as these?”

Lois Duncan Dies

I Know What You Did Last Summer Killing Mr. Griffin

Lois Duncan has died at age 82. She was the author of many popular novels for teens, novels that were must-buys for libraries I worked in early in my career.

From the PW article:

Beverly Horowitz, senior v-p and publisher of Delacorte Press, who knew Duncan for many years and oversaw the paperback publication of many of her books, paid tribute to Duncan’s lasting impact on the publishing industry. “Lois Duncan’s thriller suspense novels led the charge for expanding the YA market, not only in terms of the honesty of her portrayals of teen characters, but also in terms of opening up YA retail accounts,” she said. “Booksellers came to acknowledge the power of the teen reader. Librarians knew teens loved her books. At the time they were published, Lois’s I Know What You Did Last Summer and Killing Mr. Griffin were super bestsellers as Dell Laurel-Leaf paperbacks. Teenagers were wandering malls and open-front bookstores just as Waldenbooks and B. Dalton Bookseller began to carry paperbacks front of store. Young shoppers realized there were entertaining and easy-to-carry books just for them. When I Know What You Did Last Summer became a major motion picture release, Lois was widely recognized as being before her time, and the teen subject was a huge success.”

Peggy Fortnum Dies

Peggy Fortnum - Paddington:

The illustrator for Paddington Bear has died at the age of 96 according to an article in the Washington Post. She was a British illustrator who brought to life the bear so fond of marmalade. With his floppy hat and duffel coat, Paddington will live on in many of our minds exactly the way that Fortnum depicted him.


2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults

YALSA has selected a list of the Best Fiction for Young Adults. They also choose a Top Ten which happens to have many of my personal favorites of the year:

Audacity Bone Gap

Audacity by Melanie Crowder

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

The Boy in the Black Suit The Bunker Diary

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

Challenger Deep More Happy Than Not

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Shadowshaper Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) X

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Peter Dickinson Died

British author of books for children and teens, Peter Dickinson, has died at age 88. Publisher’s Weekly has a wonderful recap of his life.


As a new librarian for children and teens, I loved Eva by Peter Dickinson. It was the perfect book to book talk to a classroom. All one had to tell was the first scene of the book, one could even read some of it aloud, and teens were captivated. Who wouldn’t love a book where a girl awakens with her brain transplanted into the body of a chimpanzee.

This book though is more than about just awakening in a different body, it talked about ethics of medicine and animal rights. It is a gorgeous book. I also loved A Bone from a Dry Sea by him, another book that was a great book talk and filled with fascinating science.

Interview with Sarah Beth Durst


I was thrilled to be asked to interview author Sarah Beth Durst about her new book as well as her writing. Welcome Sarah!

What is your writing process? Do you outline or have a less structured approach?

First, I decide what kind of chocolate this draft needs. Is this a Three Musketeers draft? A York peppermint patty draft? A Ghirardelli milk chocolate caramel draft? Or a traditional and almost-healthy Raisinets draft? I put the chocolate on the bookshelf next to my desk, in easy reach, and then I write a chapter. All my chapters tend to be about ten pages long, because that’s the amount of time until I want to eat more chocolate. If I run out of chocolate, it means the draft is finished.

I am at least partially serious.

In addition to consuming copious amounts of chocolate, I also write every day. I know writing every day doesn’t work for all writers (and it isn’t always logistically feasible), but it really helps keep me in the story. It keeps the sentences flowing. For me, writing is all about momentum. Maintain it, and writing is fun. Let it flag, and I need to buy more chocolate.

That part is completely serious.


The book is filled with cupcakes of various flavors. What is your favorite flavor of sweet cupcake? What is your favorite savory flavor? And if cupcakes are not your favorite dessert, what is?

In THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM, Sophie’s best friend is a cupcake-loving, six-tentacled monster named Monster. But cupcakes are actually not my favorite dessert. My favorite is berry cobbler, specifically the berry cobbler with black raspberry ice cream served at Artist Point in Disney World — my favorite restaurant ever. I also love crème brulee and anything involving a drizzle of raspberry. Yum.


I love that your book features a girl who does not dream, since I was a child who did not dream though I do more now as an adult. Are you a dreamer? What is your favorite dream you have ever had? Do you have a favorite nightmare?

I do dream. Sometimes after I wake, I lie in bed without moving to try and capture the dream before it slips away. I often wish I could bottle and save the best ones — and that is, in fact, where the idea for THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM came from. In the book, Sophie’s family owns a secret dream shop where they buy, bottle, and sell dreams.

This doesn’t qualify as my favorite dream, but in my most vivid dream, I was Cindy Brady’s imaginary friend. I lived in the corner of the squares in the opening credits, between Cindy and Alice.


Monster is an amazing character and I was not expecting him to talk at first! Where did Monster come from?

Monster crawled out of my subconscious fully-formed. I actually wrote the first scene of the book — where Monster meets Sophie inside a dream and then comes to life — a couple years ago while I was supposed to be writing another book. I had to put his and Sophie’s story aside then, but I didn’t forget about him.


Can you tell me anything about your next project?

Right now, I’m working on an epic fantasy trilogy for adults about bloodthirsty nature spirits and the women who can control them. The first book, THE QUEEN OF BLOOD, will be coming out in fall 2016 from Harper Voyager. I’m really, really excited about it!


Thank you Sarah! I’ll be sharing my review of The Girl Who Could Not Dream tomorrow. So stay tuned!