books in the time of corona

Hello, friends. What a time. I’ve made some posts on IG and want to put them here, where I will end up posting in more depth about Kent State and other books, and, well, life in the time of corona, I guess. Without belaboring anything, here is post one, which I’ll follow immediately with post 2, and then you’ll be caught up. Stay safe and stay well. There is so much to say, and at some point, there will be a time to say it. Keep reading. Keep telling stories. We’re living quite an amazing story right now. xoxoxo Debbie

Kent State publishes 3 weeks from today, into a very different world than the one we had prepared it for. No in-person anything, including a national bookstore tour, speaking at Kent State, school visits, and book festivals.
Like so many of us who are creating new normals while sheltering in place, flattening the curve, and caring for one another through this pandemic, work matters. Stories matter. And our history matters, too, especially as it echoes, in its heart, what is happening in our country right now.
So I want to talk about Kent State as it comes into being on the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970 shootings that killed 4 college students and wounded 9 others as our country was being torn apart by a war that killed over 58,000 U.S. soldiers and millions of Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians; a war waged within and without in our country,  when our government’s response was on the line, just as it is today.
Kent State is a chronicle of those days in May while also a call to action… a call we are witnessing right now, as it happens. I hope you’ll not mind me sharing several posts about the book here over the next weeks as my publisher and I change up our labor in order to midwife and deliver this important book into your hands. It has had quite the intense gestation and is ready to be born.
Thanks so much for coming along. You can read more about Kent State at my website and you can pre-order the book at — the link to that page is in my IG bio. Stay home if you can, stay safe, love one another, and work for peace, peace, peace. xoxoxo Debbie

new year, new path

Greetings at the close of an old year, the beginning of a new year, and a journey into the great unknown. As is every day.

We shepherded Anthem into print in 2019; it had a short moment in the sun, since it was published in October, so you’ll be learning more about that book here this year, along with the new book, Kent State, which publishes on April 21. I’ve started to show the entire jacket publicly, so I want to put it here, too, on the blog:

There are 67 “shots” on this jacket, signifying the 67 shots fired on May 4, 1970, and the four students killed, 9 wounded by the Ohio National Guard when they fired into a crowd of college students, some protesting the Vietnam War, and some walking to class or observing from a distance.

As we move toward April 21, I’ll publish some snippets, some process/history, and some reviews. Scholastic will send me on the road with the book this year; stay tuned for tour stops and festivals when we know more. In the meantime, here are some photos from Winter Institute with my Scholastic family in Baltimore earlier this month, working with booksellers, and some from ALA Midwinter, where I spoke to librarians on a panel about Truth and Bravery. In backwards order, end to beginning:

Jennifer Jacobson, Jane Kurtz, me, Nancy Werlin, Jim McCoy, Pam Ryan, Sharon Cameron after the Scholastic literary event

Some great books this spring from my fellow presenters. That’s Michael Strouse on the right, who put together a powerful audio clip and visuals of the Kent State audiobook for us to play during my presentation. Thank you, Michael.
We filled the room minutes after this shot was taken.
At Scholastic’s booth. Good company.
Outside the exhibit hall… what a surprise.
Arriving in Philadelphia by train with Sharon Cameron and Pam Ryan.
“What’s said on the train stays on the train.”
At Winter Institute in Baltimore. Happy Anniversary, Scholastic! 100 Years of Reading.
Galleys in the golden dark, at the dessert reception for booksellers at ABA’s Winter Institute
Rachel Feld and Erin Berger, Scholastic peeps extraordinaire, and an extraordinaire Nikki Mutch working hard in the background — such great partners to work with
More great partners. Clifford, Ellie Berger, and Pam Ryan. Ready to go to work.
David Levithan’s welcome to indie booksellers at the Scholastic after-party at ABA’s Winter Institute. David is my editor at Scholastic as well. One more good partner.
Publication date: April 21, 2020

I used Blogger for over 10 years and was very familiar with tools there; I’m still getting my feet wet over here on WordPress, so some of these shots are dark and I’m not good at spacing etc, yet, but I’ll get the hang of it. It makes me happy to have a way to preserve this year ahead, and I know I blog mostly for me. The website is a redesign by Cyndi Craven, who is amazing at what she does, should you need someone professional to help you bring your vision of an online home to life.

I got off social media from 2015 to 2019 — deleted all accounts! — so I could concentrate on my work and life and get grounded, so I’m a bit rusty coming back to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blogging… we’ll see how it goes. I love that I have a ten-year archive at Blogger, in a couple of places. At some point, I’d like to move those posts over here, to my website, where I own my own content. For now, I’m just glad they exist.

Another story for another day, this whole social media and public thing. I’ll post about it soon. Meanwhile, I am very glad you are here, and that I am, too.

Happy new year!

talking kent state & anthem with mr. schu

A pause in the song-a-day, chapter-a-day posting about ANTHEM in order to make sure I save this at the blog… I’ll put it on Kent State’s dedicated page here at the website, as soon as we have it available.

I have an interview up with Scholastic’s Ambassador of School Libraries John Schumaker, at his blog Watch-Connect-Read, about KENT STATE and ANTHEM, here. 

It was a pleasure to do this with Mr. Schu, and I so appreciate his questions. See what you think. The interview served as a cover reveal for KENT STATE as well:

It still takes my breath away. The designer is Elizabeth Parisi at Scholastic. Wait until you see the inside pages.

ANTHEM publishes October 1 — this fall — and KENT STATE comes right on its heels, on April 21, 2020. More on KENT STATE as we get closer to its publication… and you can read all about it now, at Watch-Connect-Read.

xoxo Debbie