I am a huge fan of music in general. I especially love rock music, and I basically worship legendary 1960s guitar and songwriting genius Jimi Hendrix. Here I am, playing the “Jimi Hendrix Chord” — that’s an E7#9 for all you guitar gurus out there — on my current favorite guitar, a Stratocaster similar to the one Jimi played at Woodstock. Which is no coincidence, because my NEW NOVEL, Are You Experienced?, which comes out on September 3, is about Woodstock. And Jimi Hendrix … and his guitar … and that magical E7#9 chord. Plus a whole lot of other really cosmic stuff, maaaannnn. I am really excited about this one. In the words of one reviewer, “This provocative, personal peek at legendary Woodstock rocks.” Hey, if you say so, dude!
If and when you read the book, please feel free to email me at jsonnenblick (at) rcn.com and tell me what you think, OK?
OK, so it has taken me a while to write a new book. It’s also taken me a while to write a new entry here. The good news is that now that I’ve started writing, I am on a roll! So: I’ve got a new book called Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip coming out from Scholastic in only TEN DAYS! I am super-duper excited. My author copies came in the mail today, and they look great.
I love "Box O'Books Day"
Please feel free to go to the Curveballpage to learn more about the novel, or just click here to read the first 21 pages at Scholastic’s website for free.
As for the “on a roll” comment, after a long dry spell, I am almost done writing my next book, which will come out in the fall of 2013. I am not allowed to tell you much about that one yet, but hey … at least if you want to know whether there’s something else in the pipe after Curveball, the answer is a definite YES!
On Monday, the American Library Association announced this year’s children’s literature awards, which are basically the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmy Awards in my profession. I hadn’t given even a passing thought to winning anything this year, because I have been trained by a lifetime of non-winnerhood. But then, on Sunday, while I was frying up some parsley potatoes to go along with dinner, the phone rang. My son answered, and told the person on the other end that I was too busy to come to the phone. She replied, “Your Dad will want to take this call …”
She was right — I did want to take that call, because she and the rest of the Schneider Family Book Award committee were there on speakerphone to tell me that After Ever After was this year’s middle grade winner of the award:
which is given to “honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.” Thrilling for me, because it gets right to the heart of what I was trying to do when I wrote the book.
I’m not kidding about the non-winnerhood, by the way. I mean, I have never found anything larger than a one-dollar bill on the sidewalk. I’ve never won even a measly buck on a scratch-off lottery ticket. And when I was a kid, I went to a small summer camp that had maybe 60 campers. At the end of the summer, the counselors gave out something like 40 trophies to the campers who were good at anything from archery to waterskiing. I was a camper there for six years, and became probably the only long-term camper in the place’s history who never won a trophy.
Hence, my excitement at this phone call. Now and forever, I have won a national award. Bestowed by experts. For something about which I care with a burning passion. The best part? I didn’t even burn the potatoes.
I should be blogging about the forthcoming release of the third and final DODGER book, Dodger for Sale. I am really psyched about this one, partly because it’s dedicated to my two beloved godchildren, and partly because it has environmentalism themes that are very important to me. Plus, I just think it’s really funny. School Library Journal agrees (warning – you have to scroll way down to find the review):
BUT I have to write about something else, because this is just too weird.
See that (excellent and well-reviewed) book called Shade, by Jeri Smith-Ready? See how it’s shelved right near several of mine? Well, Jeri and I studied abroad at King’s College London together 20 years ago, and both went on to be published authors. We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of decades, and neither of us had any idea that the other even wanted to be a writer, until we met up randomly at Book Expo America two years ago. Now our books will be neighbors forever. Kind’a cool!
Here’s a picture of me and Dodger on the first day of our Fifth Grade World Tour! It’s Children’s Book Week this week, and the third DODGER book is coming out this month, so I wanted to celebrate. Between now and Thursday, I am using Skype and iChat to have video conferences with 15 groups of students from all over the country. I will “meet” kids fro IL, VA, VT, TX, NJ, FL, and MN. This is a really fun, environmentally friendly way to connect with readers — and my wife and kids are thrilled that I don’t have to leave the house to do it!
My wonderful publisher, Feiwel and Friends (a division of Macmillan) helped to make this tour happen, and even sent me a really nice goodie package that arrived during a chat this AM. The kids in Illinois really liked the rainforest-themed candies, and their teacher, Mr. Moylan, really liked the environmentally-friendly coffee.
OK, I know that in the post below, it might _look_ as though the front row of students fell into a coma during my classroom visit at Sacred Heart School in Bethlehem, PA yesterday. But really, the student in the photo was just leaning to the side to avoid blocking the photographer’s view.
Anyway, this was my first visit since the release of AFTER EVER AFTER, which just came out on Monday. I was so excited to talk about the new book! It’s gotten great press from both the usual book-review periodicals, including the nicest review I’ve ever gotten:
The publication date of Dodger for President has finally arrived! Well, OK, it actually arrived three days ago — but I’ve been working really hard on writing the third and final Dodger book, so I haven’t been keeping much track of time.
Anyway, don’t you just love this cover? I do …
Aside from the writing and book-releasing, my other major activity for the summer is exercise. My darling bride just got me a really nice Trek road bike for my birthday, so if you see a maniac with a beard and glasses bombing through the streets of Bethlehem on a 27-speed, please try not to run him over. He might be an author you know!