Tag Archives: awards

A Princess Story Giveaway / Celebration

Okay, the title may be somewhat misleading.  What I mean is I want to celebrate The Path of Names‘ recent nomination for two awards, and the way I want to celebrate it is by giving away a silly retelling of Snow White I did a few years ago, back when I thought it was in my power to keep my eldest daughter from hearing the traditional version of princess stories.

First the awards.  I’m super excited to announce that in the past few weeks The Path of Names  has been nominated for both the Diamond Willow Award and the Sheila A Egoff Prize in Children’s Literature.  The Diamond Willow award is an award where lots of Saskatchewan school children read The Path of Names and (hopefully) vote on it to receive the Diamond Willow.  The Sheila A. Egoff Prize  is the BC book prize for children’s literature (and so, as far as I know, involves not even one Saskatchewan schoolchild.)

Now for the princess story giveaway.

I have two daughters, and over the last few years I’ve occasionally been called upon to tell the odd princess story.  However, as some of you may remember, the traditional princess story is sometimes a little… well … sexist.  Lookist.  Not too mention just gross.  (As in the scene in Snow White where the prince begs the dwarves to let him take home Snow White’s (apparently) dead body.  Just because she’s so beautiful.)

When my eldest daughter was younger and at the height of her princess preoccupation, I used to deal with this by simply changing the words of the stories.  Then, one day, a few hours before my mother was scheduled to babysit her, I realized my mother would read her the words to the Snow White story.  The real words.  Where Snow White is appreciated only for her beauty (rather than her juggling skill, as in my version.)  Where trees are frightening apparitions (rather than sad creatures who wish Snow White would teach them how to juggle.)  Where Snow White cooks and cleans for the dwarves (rather than juggling their cooking implements).

In short, I had to do something.  So I jotted down my version of “Snow White The Juggler,” printed it out and pasted it over the words in her story book.  From my current vantage point as the overemployed father of three, my main thought looking back, is ‘God, I used to have so much free time.’

In that spirit, I thought other harried parents may find the attached file useful.  Feel free to modify it as you wish.

The Story of Snow White the Juggler

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The Path of Names gets a starred review from Booklist!

The Path of Names Cover

Yesterday I heard from my editor that The Path of Names got a starred review from the magazine Booklist.  Hurray!  Then, this morning I woke up to find that The Path of Names got a very nice, very intelligent review in The Quill and Quire, which is sort of the Canadian publishing industry’s version of Booklist or Publisher’s Weekly.  Neither of these reviews are posted on the Internet yet, so you’ll have to take my word for them at this point.  I’ll post links when they are made public / free.   That said, somehow a snippet of The Quill and Quire review has already made it onto  The Path of Names’ Amazon.com page.  Read it here.  (Scroll down to the editorial reviews section.)


So what’s the big deal?   As I understand it (based on my exhaustive research (by which I mean a four minute Google search carried out via cell phone)), there are a handful of  periodicals that cater to various segments of the publishing industry.   Booklist, for instance, particularly caters to librarians, the idea being that they’ll read the starred review and be more likely to order a copy of The Path of Names for their library.  The idea is that though these periodicals don’t have the biggest circulations, their readers are influential – book buyers for bookstores, librarians, reviewers for newspapers and bigger magazines, etc.  (Most of this information is cribbed from this ten-year-old Slate piece, but what are the chances anything has changed in the publishing industry in the last ten years?)  

Okay.  So that’s why this is a big deal.  The other reason it’s nice is, well… Come on.  It’s nice when anybody likes a story of mine.

The reviews are also an exciting sign that the publication date is almost upon us.  After I read the review in Q & Q, it occurred to me that at this point, nineteen days before The Path of Names’ release, my novel has already been read by a few dozen people. By my calculations, this is almost exactly a few dozen more people than will ever read any of my academic publications.

Speaking of the imminent launch of The Path of Names, I will post soon about my book launch events (in Vancouver and New York City), plus some additional events I’m doing in Philadelphia and maybe even Bethesda (I’m going to Bethesda for a teaching conference but may fit in some book events before or after.)  This next post will include the beautiful flier that the good people at Scholastic Canada produced for my Vancouver event.

Nineteen days left until publication…

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The Path of Names is a Junior Library Guild Selection

Yesterday I got the exciting news that THE PATH OF NAMES is a Junior Library Guild Selection for Spring 2013.

It happened like this:  I biked home from work yesterday.  Leaving my bike at the front door, I walked inside to grab the garage clicker and found a package from Scholastic waiting atop the baby detritus that we like to keep scattered around … well, everything, but most relevantly to this case, atop the living room couch.  I picked up the DHL package from the little nest of clean onesies where it lay.  “Hmm,” I thought.  “Too light (and too early) to be a copy of the actual book.  What could it be?”

Inside the DHL package I found another envelope from Scholastic.  And inside that envelope another smaller envelope.  And inside that envelope another envelope – no, wait.  Inside that envelope I found a letter from the Junior Library Guild telling me that THE PATH OF NAMES has been made a Junior Library Guild Selection for Spring 2013.   (Three months before its actual publication, which  is apparently how the JLG rolls.)

I’ve seen that designation on the cover of other books, but I never really knew what it meant.  After doing some exhaustive research on the topic (which included both reading the letter they sent me and googling the Junior Library Guild, I now consider myself something of an expert.  The way (I think) it works is the JLG reads books before publication, and then operates as a kind of early filter to help libraries decide which kids books to acquire.  According to the JLG website, over 95% of their selections go on to receive other awards and / or positive reviews.  As a statistics instructor, I can tell you that 95% is a pretty high percentage.  Higher than 93%, for instance.  (I did that in my head, if you were wondering.)

Not just that.  It also came with a cool little golden pin which has met with the approval of at least one of my fourteen-month-olds as well as my five-year-old.  My other fourteen-month-old has indicated no clear preference on the matter, preferring to hone his ability to climb up sheer surfaces where he might better injure himself.

I would post a picture of it, but my cell phone keeps crashing every time I try.  I’m pretty sure it’s jealous – when was the last time you heard of a Nokia cell phone getting a book selected by the Junior Library Guild?  (Or getting any other recognition, come to think of it.  Ha, in your face, Nokia cell phone.  You got burnt!)

But seriously, I’m thrilled to have my debut novel recognized like this.  Thank you Junior Library Guild!

For more information on the JLG check out their website at:  Junior Library Guild

Post script: two weeks later I’ve just gotten news that the other thing that comes with this recognition is the JLG buys a couple thousand copies of THE PATH OF NAMES.  Which makes me even happier about this, of course.  Not only does this mean I’m a little closer to earning back my advance for my publisher (always a good thing); it also means there will be thousands of copies of my book out there being sold to libraries.  I suppose this shouldn’t feel so surprising, but seriously…  thousands of copies of a book that I wrote will be in libraries!


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