I am teaching a virtual writing workshop, "Havens: Secret Refuges Revealing Character’s True Selves," with the Writing Barn on December 2nd, 3-6 PM EST. Whether you write Middle Grade or Young Adult fiction, this workshop will enable you to not only craft your own havens but leverage their full potential in your character’s journey. Register here! https://thewritingbarn.com/class/havens-secret-refuges-revealing-characters-true-selves-with-ashley-wilda/
I’m happy to share that I had my first book launch on September 28, 2023 for my debut book, “The Boy with the Magic Thumb, “written by me, Laura Jacobson, and illustrated by Michael Garland. The launch was held at Banner’s Hallmark store in Virginia Beach. It was an amazing day and I am happy to report my book was well received. Since then I have had a book signing at my Alma Mater, Meredith College in Raleigh, NC and have another book signing at the same Banner’s Hallmark in Virginia Beach, Saturday, December 9th. Such an exciting time. What began for me twenty years ago is now a reality.
My debut picture book THE WAVE was selected for The Original Art show at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators. The Original Art is an annual exhibit created to showcase illustrations from the year’s best children’s books published in the U.S.
I am excited to share I received a commission from Google to create the 2023 Veterans Day Google Doodle! It was a huge honor, and the focus of the Doodle was on mental health for military members and veterans. My website has a blog post which details all the fun I had working with Google to create the pop-up painting!
I am thrilled to share I am now represented by Esty Loveing-Downes of ArtHouse Literary Agency!
Valerie Johnson will be at Barnes & Noble's Storytime (Woodbridge, VA) on Nov 11 to read her book, 1 2 3 COUNT WITH ME ON GRANDDAD'S FARM, a heartwarming, fun, and visually-engaging counting journey that pays tribute to the special bond between children and their grandparents. Her debut book was also awarded the Literary Titan Gold Book Award, The BookFest Award, and the Firebird Book Award. Bio: Valerie D. Johnson is an educator, speaker, entrepreneur, and author of 1 2 3 COUNT WITH ME ON GRANDDAD'S FARM. Her superpower is making learning math easy to understand, engaging, meaningful, and fun. She started her own publishing imprint, West Oak Lane Kids, LLC, to leave a legacy and something tangible for generations of young readers to cherish - math-themed books. Valerie's mission is to ignite a love of math in all children, one book at a time!
My latest book, Running Past Dark, has just come out! Scottie O'Doul must face an angry town and the growing suspicion that a dear friend could be involved in the mysterious death of her twin sister. The deeper she digs and the farther she runs into the woods the greater the danger. Bio: Han Nolan is the author of ten YA novels, including the National Book Award Winning Dancing on the Edge. Other awards and honors include, NBA finalist, People’s Choice, New York Public Library Best Books, ALA best books, Library Guild Best Books, Alabama Library Assoc. best YA novel of the year. Her novel Crazy was performed at the Kennedy Center under the title of Jason Invisible. Her books have been translated into several languages. Her latest novel, Running past Dark is out in Fall 2023.
I am thrilled to announce that my debut picture book, A Little Bit of Everything, with art by the brilliant Michelle Carlos, is going to be released next spring (March 2024, Sleeping Bear Press). This is a love letter to every child who is on the path of discovering themselves. I am eternally grateful to my editor, Sarah Rockett, for taking a chance on me and seeing the heart in my stories. To every critique partner, editor, family member, and friend who helped me revise, revise, and revise this story--thank you from the bottom of my heart. Most importantly, thank you to my husband and my beautiful daughters--the inspiration behind this story. I am so excited for you all to see how Michelle Carlos brings out all the magic, wonder, and beauty in Amaya's world. We can't share this book with you in just a few more months!!!!!! Bio: Meghana is a picture book creator. She is the daughter of Indian immigrants. She graduated from Columbia University, has a MA in Literacy, and taught in early childhood classrooms for over a decade. She is a mama of two girls and one rambunctious dog named Diggity. After stepping away from the classroom she founded Teach For The Change, a platform where she shares her passion of creating more inclusive and diverse spaces and experiences for little ones. She is also a visual artist who creates alongside her daughters each day. Meghana lives in Maryland, where you can find her chasing her children through the garden and stuffing her pockets with all kinds of natural treasures!
My novel Saving Sophie won the Heart award for Young Adult romance at the Oklahoma Romance Writer's Guild ceremony in August, and my novel Over the Fence won second place for YA fiction at both the New York Book Festival and the Hollywood Book Festival. Bio: Debbie Schrack is the author of SAVING SOPHIE, a young adult contemporary romance, which won the 2022 Paris Book Award for young adult fiction. She is also the winner of the SCBWI Haunted States of America contest for the state of Virginia. A former teacher, she lives in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. When she’s not conjuring dark and twisty plots or hanging out with her family, you can find her riding her horse or poring over travel brochures, ready to check off another box on her bucket list of travel adventures.
I'm excited to announce that my latest chapter book, "Marlon and the Wide World" recently won a B.R.A.G. Medallion! It is also a Purple Dragonfly Winner and won a Readers Favorite 5 Star Review. SCBWI illustrator Melissa Gardner did the cover and illustrations for the book. Bio: Dan recently finished book #3 in his award-winning series, Marlon’s Marvelous Adventures. He enjoys creating fun, heartwarming tales that offer some life lessons, too. When his children were young, he loved making up stories to tickle their funny bones. After they had kids of their own, he decided to turn the best adventures into chapter books. He has a light-hearted touch to storytelling and uses humor and a sense of adventure to engage young readers. His stories center around themes of friendship, courage, self-reliance and embracing our differences. “I hope my books will help kids develop self-confidence and feel empowered to make good decisions. And if I can make them laugh along the way, all the better.” Dan launched Nice Dog Books with his canine companion, KukkaTahti. When they’re not busy writing or thinking silly thoughts, they can be found “going for a walk” on the streets of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. You can find out more about Dan and Kukka at nicedogbooks.com.
My third book of the year will be debuting on 11/7 (something happy on Election Day!). Animal Invaders: Creatures Causing Trouble is all about invasive species, how they travel, the trouble they cause, and what we can do about it. It is the companion book to Animal Allies: Creatures Working Together, which debuted on 7/5 and is about fun and surprising animal cooperative behaviors. Finally, my first non-animal book, A World of Dancers, featuring exciting moves, costumes, sounds, and history of dances from many cultures, came out on 4/25, International Day of Dance. Bio: Ginjer L. Clarke writes fun, fact-filled nonfiction about weird, wonderful science stuff. She is the author of 35 children’s nonfiction science books, including Publisher’s Weekly best-selling titles Freak Out! and Gross Out! and her newest titles Animal Invaders: Creatures Causing Trouble and Animal Allies: Creatures Working Together. Ginjer lives with her family in Richmond, VA and is available for energetic, educational, and engaging in-person and virtual K-6 school visits, conferences, and more.
THE NIGHT FOX, my YA magical realism debut novel in poetry and prose about mental health, nature, and healing, is coming out with Penguin Random House on October 10th! Preorder a hardback, kindle, or audiobook copy wherever you like to buy books. I can't wait to share this heart story of mine with you all. Bio: Ashley Wilda is a writer living in eastern Virginia. She particularly enjoys writing young adult fiction and poetry but loves reading any work whose words sing and whisper magic to the reader. Their debut novel The Night Fox, a YA magical realism tale written in poetry and prose about mental health and nature, is coming out on October 10th with Penguin Random House and is available for preorder. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. In addition to writing, they love rock climbing, exploring the mountains, creating art, and adventuring with their husband, Ethan, and rescue pup, Phoenix.
I was recently notified by Fairfax County Public Libraries that my book, Painting Joy: the Art and Life of Fernando Llort, will be added to their collection. I am excited that more readers will have the opportunity to meet and inspired by this amazing artist from El Salvador. I'm also pleased that Painting Joy received a Five Star Review and 2022 Nonfiction Silver Award from ReaderViews; a Winner medal in the Nonfiction category of the 2023 Next Generation Indie Book Awards; and 2023 Winner in the Teen nonfiction and Multicultural categories of the International Firebird Book Awards. An independently published author, I am grateful for opportunities like this to have my work recognized. Bio: Although I started out as a sociologist and teacher, I've always been a writer. I have also created enrichment programs for children--community after-school activities and a multi-cultural arts and crafts program for the Overnights Program at The Children's Museum in Boston, MA. For the past several years, I've done art projects with children in El Salvador and Guatemala during their summer holiday. During those trips, I fell in love with the unique art of Fernando Llort and interviewed him for the book I had already started to write. I also love traveling, exploring ancient sites, and pursuing my family history. All of these inspire my stories. My Russian travels, Machu Picchu and El Camino are among my favorite adventures, and when I'm home, my favorites are kids, chocolate, cats, and living in jeans.
Katie Gigliotti is excited to announce the release of her second book, You are: Finding God in the Little Things, which came out on June 30th. Bio: Katie Gigliotti has been crafting stories and drawing pictures for as long as she can remember. A child at heart, she hopes to inspire young minds to use their imagination and creativity to make their dreams come true. She daydreams, wishes, wonders, and crafts her stories out of her home in Culpeper, Virginia.
I'm delighted to announce that "Marlon and the Wide World," the newest book in my award-winning series, recently received a 5 Star Reader's Favorite Review. From the review: "With fabulous illustrations that perfectly complement the story's sentiment and beautiful adventures, Marlon and the Wide World will appeal to cat and raccoon lovers of all ages." SCBWI member Melissa Gardner did the illustrations. Bio: Dan just finished book #3 in his award-winning series, Marlon’s Marvelous Adventures. He enjoys creating fun, heartwarming tales that offer some life lessons, too. When his children were young, he loved making up stories to tickle their funny bones. After they had kids of their own, he decided to turn the best adventures into chapter books. He has a light-hearted touch to storytelling and uses humor and a sense of adventure to engage young readers. His stories center around themes of friendship, courage, self-reliance and embracing our differences. “I hope my books will help kids develop self-confidence and feel empowered to make good decisions. And if I can make them laugh along the way, all the better.” Dan launched Nice Dog Books with his canine companion, KukkaTahti. When they’re not busy writing or thinking silly thoughts, they can be found “going for a walk” on the streets of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. You can find out more about Dan and Kukka at nicedogbooks.com
My picture book, "Orrin Helps" was released 5/23/2023. Bio: Elaine Hilowitz lives in Tappahannock, VA with her two cats. She is an occupational therapist with the local school system. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and Poughkeepsie High School, she enjoys writing, painting, needlework, and singing.
My picturebook, Rats in the White House, was selected by the Dog Writers Association of America as best early reader (ages 4-9) and, even better, it received the best the Dogwise Award for Best Book (adult or juvenile, nonfiction or fiction) published between 2020-2022. Bio: I'm a long-time SCBWI member, educator, lover of history and animals.
I'm thrilled to share that my middle-grade/young adult historical novel, BATTLE OF THE ARTISANS: Making the Bells of Marquis Yi, is a finalist for the 2022 International Proverse Prize and will be published by Proverse Publishing of Hong Kong. Launch Day is November 21, 2023. Bio: From her first sharpened pencil to her latest computer, Irene Vinyard Bennett Bau Ji Ping loves writing. She bombards any new interest with questions until voila – a story is born! A native Louisianian, Irene earned degrees in English, Math, and education. This people person regals family and friends with stories in real time, while writing curriculum and books, editing academic and theological writing, and teaching English and educational methods in America, Canada, Europe, and Asia. During a decade in Hong Kong, Irene wrote her debut historical novel, BATTLE OF THE ARTISANS, a finalist for the 2022 International Proverse Prize, that will be published November 2023 by Proverse. Living in a 10th floor apartment for 17 years and counting gives Irene new views for stories. She currently resides high above Alexandria VA and works with Western Presbyterian Church of DC as a next generation minister.
My debut author-illustrator picture book THE WAVE was just published by Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) and is in stores August 1st.
Dionna is excited to share that Capstone released on August 1, 2023, Full-Court Drama: A Basketball Graphic Novel, illustrated by Oscar Herrero! Told through accessible text and easy-to-follow paneling, it's about Aiden who, because he wants to win more than anything, is frustrated with the new girl. Chloe, who isn’t perfect at every pass, shot, and skill. Will Aiden’s fixation on winning lead to full-court drama, or can he remember what it means to be a supportive teammate? "Writing a graphic novel script was super fun," says Dionna, and she can't wait to give it a try again!
MY PIANO, my debut picture book, received a starred review from School Library Journal. Publishes September 19th. Bio: Jen Fier Jasinski lives outside of Washington, D.C. with one husband, two toddlers, three pianos, and piles of picture books. Story Time was her favorite part of the school day, first as a student and later as a teacher. Now Jen enjoys spending time with her family, writing, reading, and playing outside. MY PIANO is her debut picture book. You can learn more about Jen at www.jenfierjasinski.com and find her on social media @jenfierjasinski