Bartography Express, August 2020
Hey there,
How are you?

No, really: How are you, yourself, doing right now?

My subscribers include many educators, parents, and others whose lives are closely tied to what happens in our schools. Your communities range from big cities to small towns all across the country. Wherever you are — and however you are affected by the resumption of school — please know that you are in my thoughts, and that I would truly love to hear from you about what you're feeling and experiencing.

Here in Austin, Texas, when I haven't been celebrating the seventh anniversary of Ernie's adoption by attempting to recreate the first photo of him that I ever took (see above), I've begun talking online again with audiences after a break of several weeks. A couple of libraries here, a bookstore there, elementary educators and administrators across an entire school district yesterday.
I'm looking forward to doing more of that, and especially to talking with students again. At the same time, I know that for schools — amid all the essential planning that they're busy with — hosting an author visit must be priority #781, or thereabouts.

But whenever ELAR teachers are ready for some reinforcement of the value of revision, I'm here.

Whenever social studies classes could use some pointers on research, I'm here.

Whenever librarians are itching to engage students in the 2020-21 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List books, I'm here.

And whenever any educator simply thinks a special guest would be a welcome change of pace for everyone, I'm here.

In the meantime, I've accumulated a few things that might be of interest to you or someone you know:

  • I now have a new webcam, so the shot-through-muddy-gauze look of the previous two videos is no more!
I'll be putting that snazzy new webcam to use this Friday evening when I when I virtually visit Wellesley Books and read my newest picture book, Fire Truck vs. Dragon. You can register here for that online bedtime story.

(“Kids, don your jammies,” the Wellesley Books website says. And considering that the event starts at 7 p.m. Eastern, which is only 6 p.m. where I live — a full two hours and 13 minutes before sundown — maybe I’ll put on PJs myself just to get in the spirit. Tune in Friday to find out for sure…)

Looking ahead to the first Saturday in September, registration is now open for a Writers' League of Texas online class taught by Jennifer Ziegler.

That's right: My wife, a.k.a. My Favorite Author in the Whole Wide World, will be teaching Write Before You Write: Outlining, Planning, Plotting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Central on September 5.

Here's what previous class attendees have said about Jennifer's teaching:

  • "She is so knowledgeable and designed the materials to be relevant to a wide variety of writers."
  • "Loved Jennifer's characterizations of writers as either blobs or skeletons, and her tools aimed for both."
  • "I continue to be impressed with the accessibility of the material and the instructors for all of the WLT courses. This particular class covered a lot of useful ground."

Now it's time for my monthly Q&A and new-book giveaway. Or, rather, new-books giveaway, because I have titles to give away from both of my featured authors: Melissa Wiley (The Nerviest Girl in the World) and Anne Nesbet (Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen).

These two funny, stunt-filled middle-grade novels, published within months of each other, are both set amid the early, anything-goes days of silent-movie production. The action occurs on opposite coasts, and the main characters are at distinctly different stages of their film careers, so these books complement each other nicely — it's a Bartography Express double feature!

If you’re a Bartography Express subscriber with a US mailing address and you want to be the winner of both The Nerviest Girl in the World and Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen, just say so in a reply to this email before midnight on August 31, and I’ll enter you in the drawing.

In the meantime, please enjoy my two-question Q&A — and miniature festival of silent-film clips! — with Melissa and Anne.