Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Nerd for the Day!

One of my favorite things to do is nerd out about books.

I'm always proud to be featured on the NerdyBookClub blog. 

CLICK HERE for my most recent post about choosing names for your characters and places.

I constantly borrow names. In fact, tomorrow I'm driving to Wachula Elementary School down a road named Moccasin Hollow Road.

(Whoa! I'll be on the lookout for critters on that trip. )

School visits are a great place to discover interesting character names. 
Can't you just imagine this girl in a story?

What are some of your favorite borrowed names?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Two lovely things happened this week.

My buddy and book sibling (Glory Be and May B.), Caroline Starr Rose, shared that Glory was listed as one of the Top Ten Historical Fiction Favorites for Tweens. You can find the list HERE.

Caroline is also writing about SUCCESS on her own blog, what it means to writers. I'm following with interest. You might want to also.

And this blogger gave MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG a truly lovely review.  
There's also a giveaway going on at that blog. I'm not sure how long it will last but hurry on over and throw your name in the hat for a signed copy of my book.

The last paragraph of the review really made my day.

"The characters are complex, palpably real, and easy to like and relate to. The setting gives a real taste of small-town America in the 1950s. The story is rich and the writing is simply lovely. This is a book that deserves readership far beyond its intended middle-grade audience. I loved it. Honestly, I think this one just might be my favorite of Augusta's books."

Wow. See what I mean?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kaigler Festival

My friend Shannon Hitchcock and I had such fun presenting together at OUR second University of Southern Mississippi's Kaigler Children's Book Festival. 
It's the Festival's 50th anniversary. Wow!

As promised, here are a few links from our workshop:

WRITING BRAVELY: Tackling Tough Topics With Books

Our info:

Shannon Hitchcock

Augusta Scattergood

Fellow writers' links we shared for learning more:

Middle Grade Books on TOUGH TOPICS

Kate Messner’s blog:

Nerdy Book Club blogs:

And finally, not to make light of this topic, but sharing- from my smart, funny educator friend Patty, prettied up by my artist friend Eileen- this thought.

And that's pretty much the truth, isn't it?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Making Friends With Billy Wong

Thank you to a new (to me) book blogger for this excellent review. She listened to the audio of my newest book, and I agree that the audio is "excellent, with two perfect narrators."

Here's just one of the paragraphs that made me swoon with delight. Truly, when you work as hard as we do to get a story from our heads to the finished book, a review like this makes you believe it was worth that effort!

"As always in her immersive novels, Scattergood tells a warm story of childhood while also addressing important issues of race, poverty, and justice. I think this novel will be eye-opening for many modern children, whose classrooms today include plenty of Asian-American kids, to find out about this particular form of racism that was prevalent so recently. That is, of course, just one thread of this engaging story about friendship and family, as Azalea not only makes a new friend but also gets closer to her grandmother and learns her family history."


Monday, March 20, 2017


I'm having a Destiny Day.

First, my wonderful agent and editor shared the news that my book was nominated -> for this nice award.  
The other books on the list make me swoon. I'm very proud!

And then the mail came.

Really, there isn't much better to reward writers for all the hard work than getting a note from a reader who really connected with your book. 
I answered it right away. But I'm still smiling.
Since he, like Theo, is a baseball fan and a music lover, I used one of my Elvis stamps.

My favorite line:
"It made me cry when Uncle Raymond had the talk with Theo. I'm glad that I have caring parents that love me."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Batter Up

My exclamation point, not Joan Bauer's.
I love this book a lot.
Such great characters. So funny, yet poignant and serious. 
So much subtext. I think SOAR will provoke great discussions.

There are so many quotes I could share. I like this one:

Uncle Jack, who was very good at cards, always told me, "It's not the hand you're dealt that matters--it's the way you play it."


And since we're big into spring training here in Florida, you may need to read these baseball books on my Pinterest board.

If you're still craving more baseball book connections, CLICK HERE for a fun interview Wendy Shang and I did about our own baseball books, The Way to Stay in Destiny and The Way Home Looks Now.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

“The first essential in any book is that it have something significant  to say --a book that leaves the reader with bigger ideas than when hbegan reading - that stimulates his  thinking, stretches his mind, deepens his feelings. A good book sticks  to your ribs.”  

Rebecca Caudill (for whom the Illinois Young Reader's  Book Award is named)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Looking Back

My blog has a birthday! February 22, 2008 was my very first entry. 

I reviewed books, talked about writing, shared links. Blogs were fairly new and not quite as ubiquitous back then. 

A lot of my early entries talked about memories. And people I knew. 

Yesterday I walked at my favorite park in St. Petersburg, listening to a great podcast. I highly recommend the NCTE's WHY I WRITE podcasts. Not only does it make walking fun, I learn something. THIS ONE by Sharon Draper was yesterday's listen. 
She talked about how she came to write STELLA BY STARLIGHT, her grandmother's journal, her summers in the south. And although the book was inspired by her grandmother, it wasn't about her grandmother.

I love it when kids ask questions about my stories' truths and whether my characters are real people, people I know. 
Because characters often are based on real people, and they certainly begin with the truth.

In the spirit of those early blog entries, and in my newly revived effort to review more books where it counts (Amazon and GoodReads, places that mean a lot to books), here's a book about real people and life stories turning into book characters.

Fans of Lois Lowry- this one's for you.
And for a lot of readers who appreciate how authors come to their stories.
And for authors who struggle to find stories and then discover they are right in their own backyard. Or at least the inspiration for a story is!

From the chapter titled BOOK WRITING.

     "The Mystery of the Girl Who Lived in a Tower," Anastasia write dreamily.
      Then she looked at that title. Good grief. It sounded like a Nancy Drew title. Probably on the library shelf of thelve thousand Nancy Drew books, there was already one called "The Mystery of the Tower Room" or something.
     She tore that page out of her notebook and threw it away. It was much harder to write a book than she had ever realized...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dead Matter

We all have it.
That detritus of STUFF that you save after a book has long since seen the light of day.

Whether you have a stack a mile high, or to be more exact- a shelf wide. Or one book, or three. Authors have copyedits. They have notes. They have editors who give them notes and letters and copyedits.
(For example, you can't really see eye-to-eye when you're walking side-by-side. Or at least that's what one copyeditor noted. And while I'm at it, is it copy editor or copyeditor? AND is funnybook really TWO words? As in Little Lulu?)

I am inspired by my friend Barbara O'Connor's post on things her editors taught her. So to speak. 
Truthfully, I suspect she taught them a thing or two! Don't even get me started about barbeque.

HERE'S HER POST. Click over there and read it. Such fun!

For example:

Lunch box is two words but tailpipe is one word.

Hot dog is two words but bottlecap is one word.

Popsicle is capitalized.

(I'm proud to say that my manuscripts and all my editing notes are stored in the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. I'm hoping to visit them when I'm there at the Kaigler Festival in April. Can't wait!)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Friends, Friday and Otherwise

Do you keep up with Kirby Larson's FRIEND FRIDAY blogposts?

You should.
You meet the most interesting folks over there.

Recently, Kirby hosted a friend of mine. Linda Jackson grew up right near me, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Until I heard about her novel, our paths never crossed.
But I met her at a book event last year. Her middle-grade novel, historical fiction set in Mississippi, was coming soon.
I already had the Advanced Reader Copy. Lucky me!

Now everyone can read it.

And I get to see Linda again this spring, at the fabulous Kaigler Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi, where we'll both be presenting.


Bottom line? Never give up. If your book is revised and you know it's worthy and you care deeply about it, that book will find a home!

(It only took Linda six years. It took me almost ten. Did I say Never Give Up?)

Monday, January 30, 2017


I'm so excited to share the DISCUSSION GUIDE and some fun Extension Activities for my newest book, MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG.

It's on my website as well as this blog (under the For Teachers drop-down button)

I had fun creating the "Extension Activities" on the guide. Here's a little sample:

1.     Azalea Morgan worries that the helpers who come to her grandmother’s garden might make fun of her being named for a flowering bush. (p. 39)
Does your own name have a meaning? Try to research the reason you were named that? Can you discover the meaning and origin of your names?

There's also a fun question about Glory and Azalea. 
Hint: Do you think they would be friends?

A HUGE thank-you goes out to former colleague and fabulous teacher, my friend, Melissa Wood. 

If any of my writer buddies are considering creating a Discussion Guide and need a little help, Melissa's the one! I'm happy to share her with you.

(Also, that's not an actual photo of the discussion guide up there. It's the 3-D cover image that I was gifted and love and use every chance I get.)



Monday, January 23, 2017

Sandra Markle and GASPARILLA'S GOLD

My friend Sandra Markle can write!

I love this It's Monday! What Are You Reading? meme, and it's a perfect reason to share this book today.

In fact, I'm actually, literally sharing. 
My signed copy of GASPARILLA'S GOLD!

It's Sandra's first middle-grade novel (You heard it here first: more will surely come!). 

I'll mail the book to a teacher or a librarian. I'll also send Sandra's Discovery Guide of activities for GASPARILLA'S GOLD-- and a class set of bookmarks. How cool is that?

Leave me a comment here or on Facebook, by Tuesday night (January 24), and I'll have Sandra pick a name at our critique group meeting.

(Did I mention how lucky I am to have Sandra in my SCBWI critique group?)

CLICK HERE FOR an interview I did with her soon after I met her. 

The novel is perfect for reluctant readers and science nerds, animal activists and fans of exciting adventures.

Gasparilla’s Gold

It’s an action-packed heart-tug with a good sprinkle of humor as twelve-year-old Gus, whose struggle to cope with his older brother’s death has left him fearful, is drawn into hunting for pirate treasure with a feisty girl and a zany movie prop creator.

But, on the Florida island where Gus is spending the summer, there’s something even more valuable than gold—a wild panther cub. The National Wildlife Federation reports less than 100 Florida panthers remain living wild and free. Will Gus regain his courage in time to save the cub from poachers? And will Gus and his band of treasure hunters solve the mystery of the pirate’s map he discovered to dig up Gasparilla’s buried gold?

There’s a lot at stake and only a summer to make it happen.

Don't forget to leave a comment, here or on FACEBOOK. 
(Maybe I'll even tweet this giveaway though, sadly, the last time I did that, I got a lot of fake teachers and librarians, scammers looking to re-sell books should they win...)

And check out the other It's Monday! What are You Reading? postings,  
HERE, for example.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Laughter is the Best Medicine

“No matter what happens,
somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.”
— Dave Barry

Kids like funny books. Or at least they like a little humor mixed with their wizards or mysterious strangers or mean grannies. Or even their humpbacked whales in a non-fiction picture book.

Today I read this excellent post from Joanne Levy, via the Nerdy Book Club people. If you hurry on over and read it yourself, there's still time to enter the giveaway. (Deadline, January 15)

Google "writing humor" and you'll find some excellent tips. 
I particularly like THIS ONE which involves all five senses.

I've written about HUMOR before.  
Most recently, THIS POST, with pictures. And tips!

My all-time favorite advice, however, might just be this post from Sarah Albee.
In a Teachers Write post, she shares some of her favorite things to read while she's trying to write something to make her own readers laugh. Or at least smile.

"One of my favorite humor writers, PG Wodehouse, is the master of extended metaphors. Whenever I want to write “funny,” I read Wodehouse. Here are a few of my favorites:
She looked at me like someone who has just solved the crossword puzzle with a shrewd “Emu” in the top right hand corner.
Jeeves lugged my purple socks out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a caterpillar out of his salad.
Unlike the male codfish, which, suddenly finding itself the parent of three million five hundred thousand little codfish, cheerfully resolves to love them all, the British aristocracy is apt to look with a somewhat jaundiced eye on its younger sons.
Try it with your work-in-progress. Check the sentences that don’t yet zing. Is there a comparison you can make that’s unexpected? Can you swap in a more surprising verb?"

Thanks, Sarah! I'm off to give it a try! 
How about you? Any secret tips for writing funny?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

AScattergood: Listen Up!

(The oddest thing happened this week. I posted a blog about my audiobook and it disappeared from my blog. I'm reposting. With apologies to those of you who may see it twice. I hope this one stays up...)

Listen Up!
I'm excited to announce that the audiobook for MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG is now available. You can download it on Audible, HERE.

The fabulous folks at Scholastic Audiobooks, especially Paul Gagne, worked very hard to get Billy's voice right. Although it was hard to describe what I thought a Chinese American boy in the south sounded like in the 1950s, I think we nailed it. I say "we" very loosely. Though I did get to read the Author Note and the Acknowledgements, I wisely left the rest to the experts. 

From the first time I heard her reading, I knew Kate Simses was Azalea. She's such a pro.

It's strange hearing your words read by someone else.  
But it's lovely when they're so beautifully said. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Quote of the Day

 Something we should all ponder for the New Year?

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” 

T.S. Eliot

Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday Reading: Historical Fiction

I've been reading a lot of historical fiction lately. It's my go-to genre. Both middle-grade and grownup books.

I finally had the chance to finish Joyce Moyer Hostetter's AIM, which I'd begun last summer when I received the ARC (thank you, lovely people at Calkins Creek). I'm embarrassed to say the book got misplaced as we traveled from friend to friend this summer. As soon as my local library ordered it, I was first in line.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters, the setting, the time, and  the humor- not laugh-out-loud all the time, but sweet and smile-out-loud for sure. This is part of a trilogy of linked books, a prequel to BLUE and COMFORT.

As I read, I thought about historical fiction and who's reading it these days.
For more on this topic, check out the thoughtful post by Kirby Larson, HERE.

Although the cover with that great blue pickup truck caught my eye, AIM could be the kind of book that might take a teacher's or a librarian's prodding, or rather encouragement, to pick up. It would be a great book club discussion.

At NCTE, I learned about Literature Lunches, though for the life of me I can't remember who said it or what the real name is. Susannah Richards, was that you? The idea is to put a placard on a table with a book title on it. The students who've read that book gather at lunch to chat about it. Can you imagine anything better?

One thing I love about AIM is that the characters really feel things in a way that young readers will get. For example, Junior Bledsoe says of his slightly-poor-influence friend Dudley, "Dudley wanted to get away from his old man and I just wanted mine back."

A simple sentence that expresses so much of what the book is about, even if it took a while for Junior to realize what he really wanted.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Quote of the Day, and typing

"The most powerful words in the English language are 'Tell me a story.'"
                                                                      Pat Conroy

And while you're here, for more on Pat Conroy and typing skills, check out this post from Dec. 22, 2009
(My goodness, how long have I been at this blogging thing?!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


We're running out of shopping time!

My shopping days are numbered! Fortunately, I don't really give many gifts.

But of course, Christmas won't be Christmas without any books, right?

I'm trying to snag a few signed copies of books for those young readers on my list who might appreciate them. (All of the young readers on MY list!)
Often, a writers' website will tell you exactly where to order signed books.
I'm calling Anderson's Bookstore today to order a special book for a 4-year-old I know (Shhh- don't tell him).

A personal note: My own signed books are ready to be shipped from LEMURIA in Jackson or SQUARE BOOKS JR. in Oxford, MS.

If you'd like me to personalize a book to someone you love who loves to read, give my local independent bookstore a call and I'll scurry over there and sign it to your young reader. And I'll add a bookmark or two.
HERE'S THE INFO for Inkwood.

You can support a writer and order a gift made by these talented authors.
LOVE that charm bracelet, don't you?

Give a gift that gives, or even a card that does.
If you're like me and cards have escaped you this year, try these lovely e-cards from 

Everything you need to know is right here:
(For example, check out this tree -available in paper or paperless!)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Congratulations to one of our #TrueFriends

Teachers, Parents, Librarians of readers fifth grade and up. Or thereabouts.
Are you still searching for that perfect book for holiday giving?

If she loves a great heroine, if he's read every single Harry Potter book, if they're fans of magical settings and a hint of romance, look no farther than this terrific tale.

Here's what her publisher's website has to say.
(I love the twisty-turny part!  There are many twists and turns and all sorts of side trips, near misses, dangers-  and of course fun- for Maggie along the way.)

About The Magic Mirror 

The twisty-turny journey of a girl searching for her heart’s desire—glimpsed in a magic mirror. Perfect for fans of Rump or Catherine, Called Birdy

And everybody knows what smart book pickers those folks at the Texas Library Association are, right? They just named THE MAGIC MIRROR to their Long Star Reading list. You can find the link to the books for grades 6-8 right HERE.

Congrats, Susan Hill Long. Those Texas librarians are right!
Such a good book! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Monday again

And what are YOU reading?
I hope you've taken a big bite out of your TBR file, along with that turkey sandwich.

This is my stack. I'll never get through it! It's toppling over!

But over the Thanksgiving weekend, I finished at least two of them, and they were so good.

1. Be Light Like a Bird, by Monika Schroder. Lovely story for young readers who like their action with heart. I read this as an ARC when it first came out but now our library had a copy sitting on the new book shelf and I just had to check it out. The words seem the same but it was delightful to savor them this time around. (True confessions- I don't love reading books as rich as this one on my Kindle. I'm sure I missed something. )

2. Liberty by Kirby Larson.

I'm only peeking into this, gently, because I bought it as a gift and am trying to keep it gift-like (is that a word?). 
I loved the other two in this series and so far, this one may be the best yet! World War II. New Orleans. That dog!

I'm also reading a few ARCs, courtesy of the publishers and NetGalley, which you may have noticed in my tottering To Be Read stack. I'll save those to share when I have more time to think about them. 

Happy Reading, and I hope you all had a restful, thankful-for-your-blessings weekend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Traveling and Musing

It was a funny time to be traveling around, talking about books. I think Ann Patchett said it best in her recent blogpost, which you can read HERE.

And talking about books like mine seemed like a relatively important way to help kids figure out their worlds. Just before my visit to SQUARE BOOKS JR. in Oxford, MS, the fabulous folks there tweeted this about my visit:

So I think I'll share a few photos from my week going "home" to Mississippi and let them speak for themselves.

The event at Square Books Jr. The table that greeted me!

My friend Frieda Quon stirred up the Chinese community and they came! 
And my family, they came!
We had some really great conversation afterwards at Boure on the Square in Oxford.
Thank you, Frieda. Thank you, Jane and George.

My sister donated a copy of MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG to the Batesville library, where I met the very smart and enthusiastic new librarian, a recent transplant from New Jersey!

And of course, we ate.

The obligatory stop for fried chicken, turnip greens and the like, 
and boiled peanuts- at the local gas station.

Lunch with family after my event at the Friends of the Bolivar County library event.
(where nobody took a single photo?)
Thank you to all the people who came and asked great questions.
And to my friend Lonnye Sue for inviting me!

Airport grocery for barbecue. My past life is on the walls...

If you are ever in Cleveland, Mississippi, home of all sorts of attractions like a GRAMMY MUSEUM, be sure to stop in at the Train Museum (HERE's the link). 
My brother, sister and I donated our dad's "train doctor" certificate, and they have it on display!

The opening line in my new book, MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG, mentions a 3-cent stamp.
I had to take this photo!

A beautiful drive to Memphis, through the Mississippi Delta. And all good things must end. 
Thank you to all the friends and family who hosted me, showed up for my signings, 
and helped with everything!

PS: Cotton used to be baled like this.

 I guess these are mostly decorative these days.
As a wise southerner once said, (I paraphrase and I think it was either Willie Morris or Dave Barry) Someday Soon all we ever knew about the South will be inside a big book on a coffee table in a Brooklyn brownstone...

If you haven't had enough of my trips home, CLICK HERE for a previous post, with photos.
And a little more about the train that once came through my hometown. You may have heard of it? (The City of New Orleans)  :)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thank you, Mighty Girl

One of the best places to find great books, if I do say so myself, is the Mighty Girl website.
 And I have nothing to do with the MIGHTY GIRL folks, but I love their book selection.

Imagine my surprise and delight to see they've said lovely things and included MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG on their list of books about friendship.

( Including new novels by my friends Donna Gephart and Shannon Hitchcock.)

Here's what they said about my book:

One good friendship can help a Mighty Girl blossom. It's 1952, and Azalea is dreading a summer helping her Grandmother Clark — she struggles to make friends at the best of times, and now she'll spend months in an unfamiliar town. When Billy Wong, a local Chinese-American boy, shows up to help in her grandmother's garden, Azalea is startled that her grandmother encourages her to talk to him. Not only does it turn out that Billy is easy to befriend — a surprise given their different backgrounds and experiences — but Azalea also discovers that making friends with others isn't as hard as she thought it was after all.

Monday, October 31, 2016

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

I love these #IMWAYR posts. 
They're all over the blogosphere!
Occasionally, I join in the fun, too.

So this is my Monday book, and it's a good one. 
No, it's a GREAT one.

I met Karen Cushman for the first time last weekend in Houston at the fabulously fun event, TWEENS READ.
But from my librarian days, I've been a fan. I didn't buy her book there because my suitcase would hardly close as it was. (I pack small.)

Imagine my delight when I realized I actually already own a copy, buried on my To Be Read shelf. Sent by her publisher. 
Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books!

CLICK HERE to see what the folks at Kirkus say, besides that it's star-worthy!

Here are some things I love about this book:

The language, oh the language!
"Grayling felt her face sag like an empty feed sack."
That image will be with me a while.

One secondary character, Desdemona Cork really cracks me up.
             Desdemona Cork twitched her shawl, and Phinaeus Moon blushed.
             Grayling rolled her eyes. "Can you not leave it for a moment?" she hissed to Desdemona Cork. "Must you enchant everyone?"
             Desdemona Cork pulled her shawls tightly around her. "'Tis not something I do, but something I am."

Yes, the book takes place a while ago, in the days of magic and spells and mice who change into goats. But that Desdemona totally reminds me of somebody I know.

I'll leave you with some words of wisdom, advice the travelers learned on their journey, your thought for the day:

Do no magic you cannot undo.
Perfectly apt for a Halloween Monday, no?

Now rush right out and buy the book, request it from your library, fire up the Kindle, however you prefer to read. You'll totally love this one!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The History We Don't Always Know


While researching my own novel, MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG, at Delta State University's Chinese Heritage collection, I heard a lot about this story. 

This new book is just out today!

Here's a bit from the publisher's description:

A generation before Brown v. Board of Education struck down America’s “separate but equal” doctrine, one Chinese family and an eccentric Mississippi lawyer fought for desegregation in one of the greatest legal battles never told.

On September 15, 1924, Martha Lum and her older sister Berda were barred from attending middle school in Rosedale, Mississippi. The girls were Chinese American and considered by the school to be “colored”; the school was for whites. This event would lead to the first US Supreme Court case to challenge the constitutionality of racial segregation in Southern public schools, an astonishing thirty years before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The Kirkus review is HERE.

An AMAZON link is HERE.

It's a really fascinating story that happened in Bolivar County, Mississippi. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Carnegie Libraries

"A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.  It is a never failing spring in the desert."
                                                               Andrew Carnegie

I love the stories about Carnegie libraries across the country.

You can CLICK HERE to read a bit of the history.

Or HERE FOR A FASCINATING STORY about the secret apartments at the New York Public Library's branches, funded by Andrew Carnegie. 

I grew up near Clarksdale, MS, where a Carnegie Library is still used as a library.

There's a beautiful Carnegie Library in downtown St. Petersburg, a library I frequent occasionally.

If you'd like to visit some of these libraries, there's a state-by-state list HERE.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Do you follow the It's Monday What Are You Reading blogs?

If not, here's the story. 
I'm going to quote Alyson Beecher here because she says it perfectly:

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys.  Jen Vincent ofTeach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right just might discover your next “must-read” book!

I wish I were better at keeping up with my own reading. I usually have at least two kids' books and one something-else going at the same time. Because I've been traveling, I've also read a couple of airplane books, sadly not worth mentioning. 

Also, I have a library book due tomorrow, which inspired this post. I was going to zip through it this afternoon and blog about it. But I'm not going to talk about that book, which seems to have garnered excellent reviews but fell apart for me 3/4 of the way through.

What I finished last night and LOVED SO MUCH. Sorry, can't help hollering. 

I happened to be at a Highlights UNWorkshop with Meg last month where she received a very special honor and a scholarship in her name. What a treat to sit around the breakfast table (lunch, dinner- Hey, it was Highlights! We eat a lot!) and talk about how she came to write this story.

The good people at Highlights gave everybody a copy of Meg's new book. Honestly, I thought I'd send it to a lovely friend, a teacher in her first job, in New York. Perfect match. I'll still pass along my autographed copy. But I'm so glad I read it first. 

What a book. Mine is now filled with stickie notes! 
Things that will make me think hard about my own writing. 
I adore how she weaves in historical details in. Son of Sam- I'd almost forgotten that. And the great NYC Black-out. The way she makes readers feel their characters' worries and fears- brilliant.

The music, food, lingo. All those fabulous things that don't really matter if you don't get them. It might not even matter if Meg had chosen to leave them out. But they so enrich this book!

I'm delighted to know that BURN BABY BURN has just been long-listed for the National Book Awards. Well deserved. 

I turned the last page of the book this morning, reading the interesting Author's Note. What a truly inspiring read for a writer. As I'm sure it will be for its intended Young and New Adult audiences.

Here's hoping your weekend reading was every bit as good as this book.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Listen Up!

I'm excited to announce that the audiobook for MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG is now available. You can download it on Audible, HERE.

The fabulous folks at Scholastic Audiobooks, especially Paul Gagne, worked very hard to get Billy's voice right. Although it was hard to describe what I thought a Chinese American boy in the south sounded like in the 1950s, I think we nailed it. I say "we" very loosely. Though I did get to read the Author Note and the Acknowledgements, I wisely left the rest to the experts. 

From the first time I heard her reading, I knew Kate Simses was Azalea. She's such a pro.

It's strange hearing your words read by someone else.  
But it's lovely when they're so beautifully said. 

Thank you!

Thank you to those of you who've taken the time to post a review of my new book to Amazon, Goodreads, your blogs, etc. 
Authors REALLY appreciate this. 

I was truly delighted to read this thoughtful Amazon review.
Thank you, Jeu Foon:

September 9, 2016
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Just finished reading "Making Friends with Billy Wong".
My opinion ... Outstanding! Five out of five stars! Here's why ...
(1) Augusta Scattergood got many details of the 50's just right, even down to the then used term "funny books",
(2) her depiction of Chinese life in grocery stores was accurately expressed through Billy's prose (a very nice change of pace writing-wise!),
(3) I wouldn't mind reading even more about the same summer from each boys' individual perspective (two very interesting characters!), 
(4) I really like that the author used Arkansas as the setting, instead of Mississippi. Mississippi Chinese were and still are a very close-knit group, from having attended Chinese-only schools together, and are well-documented. But the many more scattered and more-isolated Chinese kids in Arkansas (like me) had to attend white schools alone and navigate a difficult daily life between and within both black and white societies (as the author so perfectly describes through Billy Wong’s own writings),
(5) Bottom line: this is a very well-told and unique story about the bonds of friendship grown through shared experiences, both good and bad. I truly enjoyed reading this story of Azalea's summer and I expect others will too. 
Thank you, Augusta Scattergood, for writing it. Outstanding! - Jeu Foon (Forrest City, Arkansas 1949 – 1967)