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A Million Ways Home

Do you know what state reading lists/awards are? Up until a little over a year ago, I didn't. But I've since learned that these lists represent a whole lot of love, effort and dedication. And they have nothing to do with where the author lives :) Most begin with a selection committee made up of librarians, teachers and parents, who read a ton of books published within a certain time period and then nominate their favorites. These dozens of books are eventually whittled down to somewhere between ten and twenty titles which comprise the state master lists for each school year.

The master lists are released well ahead of time to allow teachers and librarians enough opportunity to order a substantial number of each title. Why do they need so many? Because . . . and here's the coolest part . . . these books are read and voted on by students throughout the school year. The book with the highest number of votes wins special recognition and often an award. So it's really the kids who get to pick the winner(s). So imagine my recent excitement when A Million Ways Home was chosen as the winner of not one, but TWO state reading awards!! Missouri's Mark Twain and Kansas' William Allen White.

Most everyone has heard of Mark Twain, the penname for Samuel Clemens, author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn among other work. But not as many people know of William Allen White. He was a renowned American newspaper editor, and Pulitzer Prize winner, from Emporia, Kansas. At any rate, I'm SO excited and honored to accept these awards in person and meet some of the many wonderful students who voted for my book. I've put specifics as to dates and locations on my Events page if you're curious.

In other news, I'm hard at work on another middle grade novel and hope to have exciting updates to share soon ... so stay tuned. I've also been slaving over a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle made up of dozens of cute and clever bookmarks that I plan to hang in my office. I'll post a picture when it's complete. And as always, I've been sneaking in as much reading as I can. Here are a few books I've recently enjoyed:

A Long Way Home—A Boy's Incredible Journey from India to Australia and Back Again, Saroo Brierley
Flora and Ulysses, Kate Dicamillo
Making Independence Happen, One Paw at a Time, Amy Chally
A Dog's Purpose, W. Bruce Cameron

Until next time . . . Happy Reading!