08 Jan

Look, Mom — I’ve made it!

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My mother is visiting this weekend. Coincidentally, a few friends let me know this week that they’ve seen Shark Vs. Train — with a little-bitty mug shot of me — in Scholastic’s “Favorite Authors and Illustrators” catalog:

So, if you were wondering how old you have to be before you’re no longer excited about showing your mom the brand-new Scholastic catalog — I’m not sure, but it’s older than 39…

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08 Dec

More great news (and then some) for Shark Vs. Train

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It’s a finalist for ReadKiddoRead’s first-ever Kiddo Awards…

And one of the best books of the year, according to Parents magazine…

And pretty well-liked by The Christian Science Monitor

And among the year’s best children’s books according to Barnes & Noble and Austin’s own BookPeople.

The latter’s complete list of favorite titles for the ages-0-to-8 crowd is:

Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philip Lechermeier, illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer
Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean
Beautiful Oops by Barney Salzberg
Art and Max by David Wiesner
City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon Muth
Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

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21 Nov

Shark Vs. Train gets listed — and listed, and listed again!

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The great year-end news for Shark Vs. Train has kept right on coming. I’m pleased to announce that, in addition to the previously announced recognition by Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, SVT has been listed among the “Best Books of 2010″ by School Library Journal.

My previous book, The Day-Glo Brothers, made all three of those lists last year, so I figured there must be a lot of overlap among them — if you’ve made one, you’ve made them all. But according to SLJ‘s Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog, only eight titles hold that distinction this year:

  • They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  • Shark Vs. Train, by Chris Barton and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
  • Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher
  • The War to End All Wars: World War I, by Russell Freedman
  • Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan and illustrated by Brian Floca
  • The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy), by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
  • Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors, by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • Wow. For me, that’s some humbling company to be in.

    But for you, wow! Your holiday list-making is pretty much complete now, isn’t it?

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    16 Nov

    Shark, Train, Abbott, Costello, and “plain-vanilla LEGOS”

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    Kirkus Reviews children’s editor Vicky Smith interviewed me at the Texas Book Festival last month about picture books (mine, and the future of the field according to The New York Times), my next book, and how my kids’ childhoods differ (or don’t) from my own…

    In related news reported by Chicken Spaghetti, Kirkus Goes List Crazy with its breakdowns of 2010’s best children’s and YA books. Shark Vs. Train made the cut, I’m delighted to say — in the category of Picture Books by Authors with Prominent Foreheads.

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    11 Nov

    Shark, Train and me in San Antonio this Saturday!

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    Join me (and/or tell your S.A. friends), won’t you?

    By the way, in between the two events announced in the link above, I’ll also be presenting to the Southwest Texas SCBWI:

    November 13 – 1-3pm – Guest Author Event with author Chris Barton

    You Better Believe It: How The Day-Glo Brothers Survived All the Things I Didn’t Know

    Barnes & Noble at the San Pedro Crossing
    321 NW Loop 410 #104, San Antonio, TX 78216

    “I can tell you exactly where I got my idea from, how I knew that all those years of effort had been worthwhile, and what I learned about publishing, persistence, and fluorescence in the meantime.” – Chris Barton

    Chris Barton is the author of the American Library Association Sibert Honor-winning THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS (Charlesbridge, 2009; illustrated by Tony Persiani), the biography of the inventors of those daylight-fluorescent oranges, yellows, and greens you see every day. It was named one of the best children’s books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and The Washington Post.

    His second book is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller SHARK VS. TRAIN (Little, Brown; 2010; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld). It has received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal and is a Junior Library Guild selection.

    He will follow up these picture books with CAN I SEE YOUR I.D.? TRUE STORIES OF FALSE IDENTITIES, a young-adult collection of profiles of impostors and other masqueraders to be published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2011.

    For more information about Chris, his books, and his presentations to young readers and professional groups, visit him at http://www.chrisbarton.info.

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    07 Nov

    Let’s hear it for alphabetical order!

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    I’m always glad to hear from Susan at Chicken Spaghetti, but never more so than this afternoon when she sent me the news that Shark Vs. Train has been named by Publishers Weekly as one of the year’s best picture books.

    It shows up at the top of the list, but that’s just alphabetical-order-by-author’s-last-name at work. First, last, or in the middle, I’m delighted to be included on a list that features so many impressive titles. And it’s certainly nice to receive this vote of confidence for a book that I’ll be reading aloud to nine — count ‘em! — different audiences this coming week.

    Thanks to co-conspirator Tom Lichtenheld, and to Publishers Weekly for the honor, and to Susan for letting me know about it!

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    12 Oct

    A bit more about the Texas Book Festival

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    If you’re coming to the Texas Book Festival on Sunday but are already booked (har har) during my reading/signing between 11 a.m. and noon, I’ll also be signing books and giving away Shark Vs. Train posters at the Kirkus Reviews booth at 4 p.m.

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    11 Oct

    Shark Vs. Train vs. Zombies Vs. Unicorns vs. Dinosaur Vs. The Potty — all at the Texas Book Festival!

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    The Texas Book Festival is in Austin this coming Saturday and Sunday, October 16-17. Are you going to be there? Are you?

    I’ll be there, reading Shark Vs. Train at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Children’s Chapter Read Me a Story Tent. Afterwards, I’ll be signing copies of the book and (*free stuff alert*) giving away signed SVT posters left and right. In the meantime, here’s an interview that I did with festival sponsor Kirkus Reviews:

    It’s really just about the perfect picture-book text—it leaves lots of room for your illustrator to go to town with the visual foolishness. How closely did you work together?

    We worked together really closely. Tom was one of just a handful of illustrators that I thought would really get Shark and Train. Once my editor had a turn at my revised manuscript, Tom and I pretty much sequestered ourselves—online and over the phone and together in person one Sunday here in Austin—for a few months as we gave the story its shape. The main thing we had to figure out is just how Shark and Train came to be in this battle. We tried a really elaborate setup involving a piece of coal flying off a bridge and hitting Shark on the head, but finally we hit on the much simpler kids-in-a-toy-box device.

    What other children’s/YA authors will be there? Way more than I’ll possibly be able to see in action (for starters, I’ll miss Cinda Williams Chima, Carolyn Cohagan, Ingrid Law, and Brian Yansky, whose panel discussions happens at the same time as my reading). But if there were three or four of me, here are just some of the folks we’d be catching:

    David Wiesner
    Peter Brown
    Phillip Hoose
    Michael Buckley, John Gosselink, Josh Lewis, and Dr. Cuthbert Soup
    Naomi Mitchell Carrier, Jennifer Cervantes, Xavier Garza, and Ingrid Law
    Carolyn Cohagan, Lisa Railsback, and Sara Pennypacker
    Bob Shea
    Scott Westerfeld
    Meg Cabot
    Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black
    Laurie Halse Anderson, James Crowley, and Bethany Hegedus
    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    Matt de la Peña, Varian Johnson, April Lurie
    M.T. Anderson

    I’ll see you there, too, I hope!

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    09 Oct

    Junior Library Guild would like to See Your I.D.!

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    Six months before its publication date, Can I See Your I.D.?, has gotten a big vote of confidence from Junior Library Guild, which as selected it as one of the books its members will receive next year. (Here’s a quick guide to how JLG works.)

    That’s the week’s biggest news, but there’s been other good stuff as well:

    Electronic versions of The Day-Glo Brothers are now available from Readeo and TumbleBooks as well as from Ripple Reader.

    Speaking of The Day-Glo Brothers, Jill at Orange Marmalade included the book among her “list of five books about guys who wondered and discovered.”

    Janelle at Brimful Curiosities has nominated Shark Vs. Train for the Cybils award for Fiction Picture Books. The nomination period closes this week — have you spoken up for your favorite books of 2010?

    The book trailer for Shark Vs. Train is in the running for School Library Journal‘s first-ever Trailee Awards, and I sure would appreciate your vote. In case you haven’t seen the terrific job that Little, Brown did, here’s a look right now:

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    22 Aug

    Good news from Wisconsin… and New Mexico… and Maine

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    There’s been some great interstate news of late for both The Day-Glo Brothers and Shark Vs. Train.

    Yesterday’s mail brought an envelope with a return address of “Executive Residence, State of Wisconsin.” I last visited the state for the wedding of a cousin who had both Metallica and Lou Reed played at his reception. A great time was had by all, but that was five years ago this weekend, so I was reasonably sure that the statute of limitations had expired.

    Sure enough, the mail was entirely unrelated. It was a letter from First Lady of Wisconsin Jessica Doyle informing me that Shark Vs. Train has been picked as September’s featured Primary book for the Read On Wisconsin! online book club. (See this post from Rebecca Hogue Wojahn for more on this year’s selections.)

    On its own, that would have been terrific enough, but it’s coupled with news that The Day-Glo Brothers is a nominee for the Land Of Enchantment Book Award (sponsored by the New Mexico Library Association and the New Mexico Council of the International Reading Association) and has also made the 2010-2011 Reading List for the Maine Student Book Award (sponsored by the Maine Library Association, the Maine Association of School Libraries, and the Maine Reading Association).

    Many thanks to the folks in Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Maine for their recognition of Bob and Joe and Shark and Train!

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