Recent Award Winners

Coretta Scott King Author Award

The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. But it is also the story of injustice; of a country divided by law, education, and wealth; of a people whose struggles and achievements helped define their country. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it’s about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it’s about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It’s a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination and triumphs. (Ages 9 and up)

Kadir Nelson is an acclaimed illustrator whose powerful artwork is captured in numerous award-winning picture books, including the Caldecott Honor Book Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine; the Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award winner Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People To Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford; and his own We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball and Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. He lives with his family in San Diego, California.

Visit Kadir online at


Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

A family silently crawls along the ground. They run barefoot through unlit woods, sleep beneath bushes, take shelter in a kind stranger’s home. Where are they heading? They are heading for Freedom by way of the Underground Railroad. (Ages 4 & up)

Shane Evans has illustrated numerous books for children, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner Shanna’s Ballerina Show. He attributes much of his influence to his travels to Africa, South America, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and much of the United States. He is a firm believer in education and creative development for all people.

Visit Shane online at

Newbery Award

Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is “grounded for life” by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack’s way once his mom loans him out to help a fiesty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launced on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air. (Ages 10 & up)

Jack Gantos has written novels for adults, young adults, and middle grade readers, as well as over twenty books for primary readers, including twelve titles chronicling the misadventures of Rotten Ralph. He lives in Santa Fe, NM.

Visit Jack online at

 Caldecott Medal

Any child who has ever had a beloved toy break will relate to Daisy’s anguish when her favorite ball is destroyed by a bigger dog. In the tradition of his nearly wordless picture book Yo! Yes?, Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka explores in pictures the joy and sadness that having a special toy can bring. Raschka’s signature swirling, impressionistic illustrations and his affectionate story will particularly appeal to young dog lovers and teachers and parents who have children dealing with the loss of something special. (ages 3 & up)

Chris Raschka has written and/or illustrated over 30 books for children, including The Purple Balloon, called “deceptively simple and beautifully direct” by Kirkus Reviews. His other books include Good Sports, an ALA Notable Book; the 2006 Caldecott Medal winning title, The Hello, Goodbye Window; the Caldecott Honor Books Yo! Yes?; and Mysterious Thelonius.

Theodor Suess Geisel Award

James is a very picky eater. His dad has to get creative—very creative—in order to get James to eat foods he thinks he doesn’t like. He presents James with a series of outlandish scenarios packed with fanciful and gross kid-friendly details—like pre-chewed gum as an alternative to broccoli and lumpy oatmeal that grows so big it eats the dog—in an effort to get James to eat. But it is eventually James himself who discovers that some foods are not so bad, after all, if you’re willing to give them a try. (Ages 6 & up)

Josh Schneider’s first book for Clarion, You’ll Be Sorry, was named a “Book That Provides Best Ammunition to Parents Weary of Warning Their Kids About Socking Their Siblings” by Publishers Weekly magazine. Josh lives in Chicago. He is very brave and can eat lots of scary foods (although he doesn’t).


Giveaway and Interview with Michaela MacColl, Author of Promise the Night

Michaela MacColl studied multi-diciplinary history at Vassar College and Yale University. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Connecticut. You can visit her online at (Photo from author’s website)

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in upstate NY.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote a little in high school but detoured into history in college. After graduate school I ended up writing legal briefs for an insurance company and then technical manuals. Finally I decided it would be nice to write something that someone actually wanted to read!

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I don’t really have much of a routine. I have two kids and four cats and lots of obligations. My schedule tends to be determined by deadlines. I work with a wonderful critique group and we meet every week. So by Thursday I need a new chapter or a solid revision. I tend to think about what I’m going to write all week and then sit down and write 10 -12 pp in one sitting.

What is this book about?

Beryl Markham was a pilot in the 1930’s. She was beautiful and fearless. She made world headlines when she attempted to fly the Atlantic solo from East to West. She wrote her own story in a very fine memoir called West with the Night. For me, the most interesting part of her story was her childhood in Africa. Her father was one of the first colonists in the highlands above Nairobi. Beryl’s mother abandoned them and Beryl was raised by the tribe who worked for her father. She was the ultimate “wild child” who rode wild horses, hunted lions and warthogs and even learned to jump higher than her head. Promise the Night tells the story of how she learned to be so confident. Between each of the chapters of her childhood I have interspersed stories of the adult Beryl learns to fly and her historic flight. It’s really fun!

What inspired you to write it?

My mother got her pilot’s license when I was in college. I gave her West with the Night to celebrate. A few years ago I was casting about for a new project and Mom suggested Beryl. Originally I was trying to write a biography for kids but I was so much more interested in her stories!

Who is your favorite character from the book?

It would have to be Beryl herself. She’s so brave and so aggravating! But no matter how many bridges she burns, she manages to find stalwart friends who love her as much as I do.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I wrote Promise the Night before I wrote my first published novel, Prisoners in the Palace. My agent shopped it to a few publishers but they all had the same problem. My main character, Beryl, was unlikable. Also they weren’t sure that there was a market for a relatively unknown historical figure. So I rewrote it to make Beryl a little younger at the beginning – less competent and more vulnerable. And I added the pilot elements (before it was an epilogue). Chronicle Books read it and loved it. When they bought my first novel, we made it a two book deal.

What is up next for you?

My next book is a mystery involving Emily Dickinson. Can she solve the murder of Mr. Nobody? It comes out in Spring 2013 and is part of a series that will place other young authors in mysterious situations.

Interviewer’s Note: You can read an excerpt from Promise the Night at

I have a copy of Prisoners in the Palace here that I can’t wait to read. I’m hoping to catch up with reviews before too long.

How would you like to win a copy of Promise the Night? Here are the details:

1) Contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only.

2) Leave a comment including your email address so we can contact you if you win. Any comment without an email address will not be counted.

3) BONUS: LIKE this blog post and leave a comment with your FB name. +1

4) BONUS: Tweet this giveaway. Can be done once a day. Leave a comment with Twitter status. +1

5) Each comment must be posted separately.

6) Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, February 5, 2012. Winner will be contacted by email. The winner will have 72 hours to respond with mailing information before a new winner is selected. Prize will be mailed via USPS. TC&TBC is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.

The Weaver by Kai Strand

In a town of word weavers, Mary struggles through her third year of Novice Word Weaving. It’s even more embarrassing considering her mother’s fine talent at weaving tales. A chance meeting with a gnome-elf might change her luck. Instead, the wish he grants her leads to her weaving strange yarn charms that accompany her still pathetic stories.

I absolutely loved this story for its unique plot, the author’s engaging storytelling, and its wonderful message.  The Weaver by Kai Strand is a beautifully written fantasy chapter book for tweens. Strand draws upon her love of crafting stories for the book’s plot. Imagine how you would feel if your mother was the best at the one thing you couldn’t do right. What would it be like to stand out among an entire community of people for your lack of a certain skill? This is exactly where Mary finds herself. Even worse, when she thinks all that will change thanks to her wish, she discovers she still can’t weave a good yarn like her mother. Strand does an excellent job of making the reader care for Mary and has us wishing things will turn out right.

A touching and sometimes funny story is what you’ll find in The Weaver.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Paperback:94 pages
  • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (December 10, 2010)
  • ISBN-10:1616331224
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616331221
  • SRP:  $9.95

Also available in a hardcover and a Kindle edition.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

Monkey Made Dream by Tom Listul and Heather Listul Hewitt

What would you do if one day you woke up and instead of your brother there was a monkey sleeping in his bed? Monkey Made Dream by Tom Listul and Heather Listul Hewitt is an imaginative tale of one girl’s big surprise and the day that follows.

This is an adorable book. A girl wakes up to find her brother isn’t in his bed. Instead, there’s a monkey. Funny thing is no one–not their mother, their teacher, or their classmates–sees anything wrong with her brother being a monkey. It’s like they don’t seem him as a monkey at all. This reminds me of Wacky Wednesday by Theo LeSieg, where one person can see things all crazy, but no one else can.

The rhymes keep the story flowing along at a nice pace, and the illustrations, while simple, add so much character to the story.

Monkey Made Dream is destined to get some laughs from young readers. They’ll enjoy this one.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Paperback:40 pages
  • Publisher:Trafford Publishing (December 8, 2010)
  • ISBN-10:1426949863
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426949869
  • SRP:  $19.57

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

Interview with Larry Peterson, Author of The Priest and The Peaches

Larry Peterson always wanted to be a writer but his journey followed a convoluted path that found him spending 15 years in the building trades in NYC as a Re-inforcing Iron Worker/Metal Lather having to leave that business when an insidious little demon known as MS attacked him and he more or less turned into a “weeble-wobble” stumbling around and ultimately almost unable to walk at all. That was 30 years ago and (following doctor’s advice) he, his wife Loretta and three kids, moved to Florida to get away from the ice and snow that accompanied northern winters. Once in Florida he began intense physical therapy and also entered college. He graduated in 1984 and began writing newspaper commentary for local publications several years after that. By 1990 he had managed to advance from being supported by Canadian Quad canes to a simple standard cane to no walking aids at all. He even took advantage of his construction experience and began doing home-repair work. Today he is walking like most everyone else although, as he says, it takes a “lot of concentration”.

Larry’s wife Loretta passed away from Melanoma nine years ago and he married a widow, Marty five years ago. Marty spent most of 2011 undergoing chemo treatments for Lymphoma and is now in remission. Larry is also a cancer survivor having had Prostate Cancer and is almost five years “out” from that and doing, as he says, “awesome”. He believes the primary reason for his recovery is, without a doubt, trusting in God to get you where you “need to be”.

Larry began to write seriously about four or five years ago and his first children’s book, “Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes” was published in January of 2011. His first novel . “The Priest and The Peaches” officially launches on January 1, 2012 (HAPPY NEW YEAR). You can find info about Larry and his books at these links or

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in NYC (South Bronx).

When did you begin writing?

I guess I began writing back in grade school doing short short stories (today they call it flash fiction) and things like that. That’s probably where I got the “itch”.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I was very undisciplined as to my writing habits and needed to take charge of that. Now I am up by 6 a.m and clean up messages and such from the previous evening. Then I go to 7 a.m Mass, return home by 7:40 and get busy with the writing. I do that until around 12:30 or 1 p.m, take a break and then go back to sort out messages and do the necessary social-networking. When working at home it is easy to let distractions get in the way so my discipline is still a work in progress.

What is this book about?

The book is about five kids who have already lost their mom and now, during the Christmas season, lose their dad. They are determined to stay together as a family and their primary guide in this journey is the parish priest who, in his own quiet way, always seems to “have their back”

What inspired you to write it?

It just seemed to me that this was a good time to tell a story about a family of kids who, because of the nurturing of their deceased parents, realize the importance of being a family and are determined to remain so, no matter what.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I have come to learn that I was where I was when I was there for a reason and when I was there I did my best to always do the right thing. That may sound “shmaltzy” but that’s me.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Just go to the links,,  or  Also you can go to Amazon or Nook-Book and it is available in all the e-applications.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

You must be tenacious, be ready to accept criticism and rejection and never give up. No matter who says what.

What is up next for you?

I am working on the sequel to the book and, as of now, I do not have a title I am sure of. My head goes in different directions so I am never sure where it will take me. After that is finished–who knows?

Is there anything you would like to add?

Sure. my favorite quote is “Do your BEST–Let God do the rest.”

The book’s official site is:

Larry Peterson’s blog:

Larry Peterson’s Facebook:!/larrytpbx

Larry Peterson’s Twitter:

Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook:

Tribute Books Twitter:

The Priest and the Peaches Book Summary

Historical fiction novel set in the Bronx in the mid-1960s

Take a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad’s funeral.

They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, unchartered and turbulent waters of “grown-up world.” A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

ISBN: 978-0-9837418-4-8
ISBN: 978-1-4658-6327-0
Pages: 285
Release: January 1, 2012
Kindle buy link

Nook buy link (coming soon)

iBookstore buy link (coming soon)

Smashwords buy link

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Review: The Priest and The Peaches by Larry Peterson

Travel back to the Bronx in the unforgettable journey of the Peach kids and their ally Father Sullivan.

When Pops passes away, the newly orphaned Peach kids struggle to know what to do. Over the course of the next few days, they learn exactly what their father meant to so many people. When their neighbor decides to create problems for the unsupervised children living above her, they find a staunch ally in Father Sullivan. With his help, they soon come to know the importance of family, faith and forgiveness.

The Priest and the Peaches is the debut young adult historical e-book released by Tribute Books and authored by Larry Peterson. Peterson also wrote Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes, which we reviewed here. This is a moving story of one family’s life turned upside down by the sudden and unexpected death of their father. In addition to Peterson’s keen eye for detail, he provides readers a good glimpse into life in the Bronx in the mid-60’s. What I feel the author excelled in is how the characters evolved throughout the story. I was glad to see that not everyone had a change of heart, which kept the story real.

The book has an excellent message of how faith and family play a significant role in our lives. It also shares the message of forgiveness and second chances. What I truly enjoyed is how the story showed that kids often don’t know everything about their parents and the impact they have on other people. The Peach kids and the readers learn that Pops is a lot more than meets the eye.

I didn’t, however, care for the third person omniscient point of view. This book has a strong narrator, and as such, it was harder to get inside the characters’ heads than if the book was told from a different POV. Sometimes the characters sounded the same to me, and I didn’t like how the narrator would step outside of the present story to mention how things would play out in the future. I felt the book would have been stronger and moved more swiftly if told perhaps from Teddy’s point of view. Teddy is the oldest of the Peach kids and is now responsible, along with his seventeen-year-old sister, Joanie to care for their three younger brothers.

The Priest and The Peaches by Larry Peterson is a story you won’t soon forget. It inspires with its excellent messages. It will touch your heart and even make you laugh at times. I’m glad to hear the author is working on a sequel. I would love to know more about the Peaches.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Publisher:  Tribute Books

ISBN: 978-0-9837418-4-8
ISBN: 978-1-4658-6327-0
Pages: 285

The book’s official site is:

Larry Peterson’s blog:

Larry Peterson’s Facebook:!/larrytpbx

Larry Peterson’s Twitter:

Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook:

Tribute Books Twitter:

Kindle buy link

Nook buy link (coming soon)

iBookstore buy link (coming soon)

Smashwords buy link

PDF buy link


Interview with Fiona Ingram, Author of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

I can’t remember NOT having a book in my hand. My schoolmates called me a bookworm, and nothing’s changed since then. I was brought up on the children’s classics because my parents are also avid readers. My earliest story-telling talents came to the fore when, from the age of ten, I entertained my three younger brothers and their friends with serialized tales of children undertaking dangerous and exciting exploits, which they survived through courage and ingenuity. Haunted houses, vampires, and skeletons leaping out of coffins were hot favorites in the cast of characters. We also acted out the stories for my long-suffering parents! I graduated from the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, with a double first in my B.A. (French & Drama). After completing my Honors in Drama at Natal, I then went to the University of the Witwatersrand to do my Masters degree in French-African literature (graduated cum laude). I also studied drama at The Drama Studio in London and mime at L’Ecole Jacques le Coq in Paris. Upon my return to South Africa, I immersed myself in teaching drama at community centres, and became involved in producing community and grassroots theatre with local playwrights and performers in Natal for several years. A move to Johannesburg took me in a new direction—that of journalism. I have written freelance for the last fifteen years on everything from serial killers to relationship advice. Writing a children’s book—The Secret of the Sacred Scarab—was an unexpected step, inspired by a recent trip to Egypt. The tale of the sacred scarab began life as a little anecdotal tale for my 2 nephews (then 10 and 12), who had accompanied me on the Egyptian trip. This short story grew into a children’s book, the first in the adventure series, Chronicles of the Stone. I have already completed the next book in the series—The Search for the Stone of Excalibur—a huge treat for young King Arthur fans. Although I do not have children of my own, I have an adopted teenage foster child, from an underprivileged background who is discovering the joys of reading for pleasure. My interests include literature, art, theatre, collecting antiques, animals, music, and films.

Fiona’s latest book is the middle grade adventure novel, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab – Book 1 in the Chronicles of the Stone series.

Thank you for joining us today, Fiona. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I am a South African children’s author. I graduated in theater studies, switched to journalism, and then after a family trip to Egypt wrote my first children’s book The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. It is the start of my adventure series The Chronicles of the Stone. When I am not writing I love reading (of course), movies, theater and anything cultural, spending time in my beautiful home with my mom, my adopted daughter and a menagerie of animals! I also love travelling and the good part of writing my book series is that I absolutely have to go to each new country that my young heroes visit.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I began life as a raconteur of tales extraordinaire rather early (age ten). I have three younger brothers and as big sister it fell to me to entertain them quite often. I had a long-running serial called Gruesome Gables, about four children (us, of course) who somehow end up in a haunted house, in the middle of nowhere. The children are stalked by every possible monstrous creature imaginable, but they always manage to escape. That was the beginning. I also wrote a lot of humorous poetry about family members, so until I switched to full time writing I kept my writing talents bubbling away.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

I am not sure. Possibly because of my early experiences with my younger brothers; possibly because I took my two nephews to Egypt and their infectious enthusiasm for every minute in a foreign environment inspired me; possibly because I remember my own childhood and the magical world of books so clearly. I have written other material – two published historical novels and co-authored another. But my main love is my children’s series.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

I don’t know. Some people say so. I find myself hopping quite easily into the brain of each of my young heroes and somehow the story flows. I believe a good story holds its own with any audience. Children are remarkably perceptive and clear about what they do and don’t like. Just telling a captivating story with believable characters that hold their interest is the secret to successfully writing for children.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

Anything can happen! Adventures are especially predisposed to amazing events taking place quite naturally. In The Secret of the Sacred Scarab it is quite possible to go to Egypt with your aunt and your gran, get given an ancient scarab by a strange peddler and to be catapulted into the craziest adventure possible, riddled with danger and with terrible enemies leaping at you from all sides.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra, as well as sinking sand), pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out. They must also learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another!

What inspired you to write it?

I actually went to Egypt with my two nephews (10 and 12 at the time) and my mom. It was a fabulous trip and we had such an adventure. All sorts of things happened, alas, not half as exciting as in the book, but exciting enough! When we got back home I thought I’d give my nephews an unusual souvenir – a short story of an amazing adventure with them as the two heroes. Well, the short story grew into a book, and the end of the book heralded the beginning of another. Then I found myself planning subsequent adventures…

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Amazon e-book:

Amazon paperback and hard cover Book Link

Please check on the book site Purchase Page for links to other outlets for e-book, paperback and hard cover. Young explorers will enjoy an interactive journey through Egypt, following Justin and Adam’s exciting adventure on Readers can also browse the first chapter of the book. Those who survive the journey and manage to translate the Curse of Thoth will be able to read the first chapter in Adam and Justin’s next adventure—The Search for the Stone of Excalibur—as they hunt for the Scroll of the Ancients.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, please visit me on  for details about my work. I also have articles and other points of interest on my Media Page, especially tips on getting kids to enjoy reading, and how parents can instill a love of books into their children. Please also visit the Facebook Fan Page and ‘like’ the book!

What is up next for you?

My editor is busy fine tuning The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, which is Book Two in the series. I am about to begin The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, Book Three, which takes my young heroes off to another exotic location. This time they are jetting off to Central America and will find another hair-raising adventure as they search for the Third Stone of Power. Lucky me I have to go on ahead to check out the terrain…

Do you have anything else to add?

I have been fortunate to attract the interest of a British film company who read a review of the book, bought it, loved it, and contacted me. I signed a movie option this year and it looks as if The Secret of the Sacred Scarab will be made into a film next year some time.

How exciting! Thank you for spending time with us today, Fiona. We wish you much success.