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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My True Friends

Today was a big day. 
My third historical fiction middle-grade novel launched out into the world. Okay, the fanfare was mostly via tweets and posts, but I did sign a bunch of books that are easily available from the great LEMURIA BOOKS in Jackson, Mississippi.

Oh and I ate cake.
(Well, sorta.)

So, you can now order MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG from your usual sources. 
Or request it from your public library. Or BUY it for your school libraries.

All of that by itself would be swell.

But another fun way I get to share this book news is telling you about my #TrueFriends.

Kirby Larson, Barbara O'Connor, and Susan Hill Long
writers extraordinaire! 

The four of us gathered to write and critique and re-gathered to do more of the same at Kirby's wonderful writing retreat. Now we talk to each other nonstop via email and texts and even- gasp!- the occasional phone call or Skype/ Facetime chat.

See, we really are the truest of TRUE FRIENDS.

And guess what! We're giving away our books! Lots of books! And a Skype visit!  


If you'd like to see us, live and in person, talking about books on youtube and hear fun writing prompts for your students, check out our video.

Click here to subscribe and get to know all four of us.
(not to mention, see our picture along with Winston the Wonder Dog. Go ahead, you know you want to.)

And here I am, chatting away about my friends, my book, and writing.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

What's It All About?

 When you're tagged in a post titled "NOT AS EXPECTED," you fear the worst.

Then you read the first few sentences and swoon. Or blush. Or smile for the rest of the day, maybe all three.

If I need to think about the true meaning of my new book, I'll refer back to this fabulous blogpost about it.

Does it get any better than a highly-regarded, fabulously well-read librarian saying this about your books?

"Books written by Augusta Scattergood make us feel like we've come home, regardless of our age. Her characters could be our neighbors, best friends or family members. Their joys and concerns become our joys and concerns not only during the story but resonating long after the final word is read."  

(image from my newly-designed website, HERE)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Counting Down the Days

It's such fun to share a new book with the world.

It's even more fun when I have special writer friends to spread the news.

(left to right, Kirby Larson, Winston the Wonder Dog, Sue Long, me, Barbara O'Connor)

AND it's tons of fun when the four who started this journey together all have books appearing in the same year. 

Two of us, my friend Barbara O'Connor and I have books appearing on the VERY SAME DAY.

(Although, rumor has it-- sorry, Barbara-- that there may be some early copies for sale at the fabulous MISSISSIPPI BOOK FESTIVAL, a Literary Lawn Party, next weekend!)

Click HERE for Barbara's excellent post about how we four friends connected.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Middle Grade Gets Real

Everybody knows that middle-grade readers deal with all sorts of drama. Some true, some imagined, but all very real to them.

These four fabulous authors have teamed together to talk about their books, using the hashtag

Here they are and here are their books.

·      Shannon Wiersbitzky—WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER (Alzheimer’s)
·      Kathleen Burkinshaw – THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM, (Hiroshima)
·      Joyce Moyer Hostetter—COMFORT, (War Trauma)
·      Kerry O’Malley Cerra—JUST A DROP OF WATER, (9/11)

I've read three of these books and look forward to reading the others.

Give them a look, buy them for your library, reach out to the authors.

They created this excellent bibliography filled with books on every topic middle-grade readers care about. The real stuff.

It's posted here on the Pragmatic Mom blog, and shared lots of places.

And check out the NCTE blog next week. 
Rumor has it, there's a super BOOK giveaway!

(#MGGetsReal giveaway (open to educators) will be kicked off on August 16 at the NCTE blog.  Please do enter for a set of five books on tough topics.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

All Rise for the Honorable

No doubt those of us who read a lot of books have our favorites. This is one of mine.

I read middle-grade novels like they're going out of style, fast and furiously most of the time. And true confessions, sometimes I forget them just as quickly, even the ones I liked a lot.


I loved this book. It's funny. It's smart. It's complicated. 
It's so very kid-friendly.

(I also loved Leslie Connor's previous book, WAITING FOR NORMAL. I listened to that one, something I don't do often enough, and didn't want my car trips or my walks to end.)

When I read THIS ARTICLE in last week's Washington Post, it reminded me of Perry and his mom.

Yes, Leslie Connor created her story. It's fiction. But she did a lot of reading about incarcerated moms.
Kimberly Hricko's newspaper piece last week made me think about how little we truly know about what really happens. 
The backstories behind the news. 
The layers of stories in people's lives.

Also making me think how hard it is to write multi-layered characters. 
And Leslie Connor sure nailed it with ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK. I am in awe. I am about to read the book again to see if I can figure out how she does it.

Don't take my word for it. Check out what everybody else said.
“With complex, memorable characters, a situation that demands sympathy, and a story that’s shown, not just told, this is fresh and affecting. Well-crafted, warm, and wonderful.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Rich characterizations give the novel its big heart: Jessica, Big Ed, and the other Blue River inmates are nuanced, vivid characters whose stories of perseverance after tragedy embody the novel’s themes of redemption, hope, and community. This beautifully written work will send readers’ spirits soaring.” (School Library Journal (starred review)

Every so often, a novel comes along to remind us of that what we hope is true, is true: that understanding is stronger than what seems to be justice, that kindness is deeper and fuller than anger, and that goodness can heal brokenness. This is one of those novels.” (Newbery Honor-winning author Gary D. Schmidt)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Thank you, Goodreads

While I'm not sure I ever thought I'd type those words, today I'm feeling very appreciative of the lovely people at GOODREADS.

When there's a lot of hate thrown at your book, or at least extreme dislike (my grandmother taught me not to use that word hate but I was allowed to say I disliked something extremely), it's hard to appreciate the good words on Goodreads.

But when your book isn't out yet and you're wondering what people will think about it, believe me, teachers and librarians like the ones who've posted reviews there now really make my day.

You can click RIGHT HERE to read a few. 
While you're there, there's a giveaway running for at least a few more days!

I'll share some of the nicest things they've said. I'm blushing with delight.

From Holly:
I love summer stories, stories of days gone by, and stories of childhood filled with ordinary problems against a back drop of history - Scattergood is an expert at all these elements, and this book has them all. 

And Emily:
I absolutely loved this book! The heart of the story is friends come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Give people who are different than you a chance, and you might have more in common than you think!  

And Scott:
Azalea learns about being careful about jumping to conclusions. She also learns that everyone in a family is different and every family is different. 

Okay, I'll stop before my head gets too big. 

Yes, every book isn't for every reader and I know there will be some who don't love MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG. That's okay. I get that. 
But I can't thank those of you enough who moseyed over to Goodreads or wrote on your blogs or will write on Amazon. It means a lot.

 (Here's another post I wrote (kind of) about GOODREADS.)