Read, Write, Blog: 2013 in Review

WHAT I PUBLISHED

Instagram DAYS Jenn Hubbs

Not one, but TWO new novels! Bringing my series about Benji and Clarissa to a close in DAYS THAT END IN Y was bittersweet. I love this review in CM Magazine because above all else I aim to be authentic, and if the mother of a teenage daughter who happens to be a middle school librarian says I succeeded, than I am a happy girl. I  still think about those crazy kids and what they might get up to in high school. I feel like Benji would be a big Lorde fan and that Clarissa would have many opinions on Miley Cyrus.

IMG_8468

SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS came out a few months later and I was thrilled with the fantastic response it received, including pieces in The National Post, The Toronto Star, and on such great blogs as CanLit for Little Canadians and Fabbity Fab Book Reviews. This is my love letter to summer and the 1960s and on my snowy walk home from the bus stop I often imagine sitting lakeside with Reenie at Sandy Shores. Plus the launch party held at 3030 was my favourite night of the year!

WHAT I WROTE

typewriter

Some of my blogging highlights include the fantastic discussion generated by my spring post, YA Is Too Late: Gay Characters in Middle Grade Fiction. I got some great recommendations from this post, and I will continue to seek out titles for an update in 2014. Rounding up the idiosyncrasies shared by kidlit lovers everywhere in You Probably Work in Children’s Books If…  was a labor of love and celebration of our quirky community. I also ruminated on the oft-discussed niche genre of New Adult, listed my Top Ten Under-Sung Series, and started the CAIRN writing retreat, which will be returning in 2014.

WHAT I READ

book pile

The thought of recapping everything I read is daunting, but here are some highlights: I wept over the  Montmaray journals, gushed over the latest Kiki Strike, had my faith in whimsy restored by Rooftoppers, found my spirit animal in the form of a book in Jane, The Fox, and Me, and fell in love with middle grade all over again with The Apothecary. If (like me) you enjoy a visual list, feel free to browse my Read Shelf over at the Fifty Book Pledge. I stand by all of these books. This list is missing a few unpublished titles (the hazards of working in publishing include reading books that are sometimes YEARS away from publication), but it’s fairly accurate. I’m aiming to get to 115 by December 31st!

What am I looking forward to in 2014? I want to read more books set in remote areas (real or imagined). I want more chapter books with spot illustrations. I want to read fantastic YA that doesn’t revolve around a love story. I’d like my magic to be subtle,and my characters strong. More than anything I want to read WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. Thank you for joining me in a year of reading and writing- I hope you’ll join me in 2014!

Summer Days, Starry Nights: Signings & Event Schedule

Summer Days Box

Tonight kicks off 6 weeks of signings, workshops and events. Am I coming to a town near you?

TORONTO BOOK LAUNCH– May 28th, 7pm

  • 3030: 3030 Dundas West and High Park, Toronto

WOODSTOCK BOOK SIGNING– June 1st, 1pm

CHAPTERS ERIN MILLS- June 8th, 1pm

CANWRITE CONFERENCE June 13-14

  • June 13, 3:30-4:45: “Mapping Your Audience”
  • June 14, 2:15-4:45:  “Connecting with Your Audience: Writing for Middle Grade Readers”
  • Lakehead University Orillia campus

CREEMORE– June 15

CHAPTERS BRAMPTON– June 23, 1pm

See you there! 

DAYS THAT END IN Y: Events and Signed Copies

books at indigo

Want to Hang Out With Me? Upcoming events include this awesome bookstore sleepover for three lucky winners at Mabel’s Fables in Toronto:

Contest that ends in z

And a writing workshop & signing at Chapters Waterloo on March 23rd from 1-3pm.

 

Where to Get Signed Books

Days at Yonge and Eg

If you’re in Toronto, there are now signed copies at the following locations:

-Mabel’s Fables

-Another Story Bookshop

-Chapters Runnymede

-Chapters John and Richmond

-Indigo at The Eaton Centre

-Indigo Bay& Bloor/Manulife Centre

-Indigo Yonge & Eglinton

The Power of Pink: Pink Shirt Day CONTEST

Are you wearing pink today?

Pink Shirt Day is a great anti-bullying initiative inspired by the actions a group of grade nine students who decided to show their solidarity for a student who was being picked on because of a fashion choice. This kind of harassment is sadly not unusual, but the massive student response is. I am a big fan of student run, grass-roots initiatives like this one.

When I was writing Words That Start With B I knew I wanted to give my character Benji a strong friend (Clarissa) and support group (Mattie and Michael) to help him deal with his own bullies. My hope is that children will see themselves in my characters- whether they are the bully, the bullied, or a bystander- and recognize that things can get better, they are not alone, and most of all, that anyone, anywhere can affect change. And wouldn’t you know it? The cover is pink! Spooky!

Words B CVR.indd

To support Pink Shirt Day and anti-bullying awareness, I am donating a COMPLETE set of my books, including Words That Start With B, Love is a Four-Letter Word, and the brand new Days That End in Y.  Tweet, share, or like this post to enter!

Contest open to Canadians only

WINNERS of Clarissa & Benji Video Contest!

ae2204586a4311e29bac22000a9f13d0_7

After months of not-so-patiently waiting, I am thrilled to announce the winners of the video contest and share their wonderful creation, inspired by my book Words That Start With B, here! From River Oaks PS in Oakville: Jessica, Albert, Ashley, Devon and Elijah:

Congratulations to everyone for such clever, imaginative, and faithful imaginings of Words That Start With B. Film editing is a complex and collaborative business and I am impressed with the amazing quality of your results! I can’t wait to meet you!

More contest news!

Contest that ends in z

Toronto fans, you could win a Benji and Clarissa inspired sleep-over party at Mabel’s Fables! Think trivia, movies, popcorn, friendship bracelets, and yours truly! Yes, I will be rolling out my sleeping bag and joining the fun. Visit the store and pick up a copy of Days That End in Y for more information!

Waiting on Wednesday: Days That End in Y

My third book, the final in the Clarissa and Benji series, Days That End in Y is available in three weeks! I can barely contain my excitement. I’ve already received my author copies from Scholastic Canada, look how pretty:

Days That End in Y. author copies

Doesn’t the blue make you think of summer? Doesn’t Clarissa look just ever-so slightly more mature and angsty? Aren’t you so excited to find out what happens before she starts high school?

Also, look how nice all three books look together. Don’t you want all three for your bookshelf?:

Clarissa trilogy

In honour of Waiting on Wednesday I’d love for you to add Days That End in Y to your Goodreads shelf, 50 Book Pledge bookshelf, pre-order online at Amazon, Indigo, or at your local bookstore. Also, stay tuned for some giveaways, when you could win a brand-spanking new copy of Days That End in Y OR the whole trilogy! i still can’t believe that I wrote a trilogy, but there they are, three books with my name on them!

Somebody pinch me!

Clarissa trilogy. spine out

Calling All Budding Filmmakers, Grade 4 and up!

You still have time to enter my book trailer contest! Create a fun, short video celebrating the Clarissa and Benji  books and you could WIN!

All video submissions must be received by January 15th, 2013.

GRAND PRIZE WINNER:

1. The winning video will be revealed here on the blog as the OFFICIAL TRAILER. It will also be posted on the Scholastic Canada website.

2. I will visit the winner’s school to lead some writing workshops and personally thank the winner/winner’s class.

3. The winner will receive a prize pack from Scholastic Canada valued at $100.00.

4. The winner’s classroom and library will receive a signed set of my books (WORDS THAT START WITH B, LOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD, and DAYS THAT END IN Y).

THREE RUNNERS UP:

1. These winning videos will also be posted on the blog.

2. Runners up will receive a prize pack from Scholastic Canada valued at $25.00

Ready to enter? Email vikki.vansickle@gmail.com for a registration form.

FOR TEACHERS AND LIBRARIANS

-Group and individual entries are eligible

-Great project for students in grades 4-8 studying media, digital literacy and integrated arts programs

-Excellent opportunity for lit groups, book clubs or reading circles

-Possibility of winning an author visit for your school AND books for the classroom and library!

GETTING STARTED

First of all, get your hands on a copy of WORDS THAT START WITH B and LOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD!

Click here to read an excerpt from WORDS THAT START WITH B

Click here to read an excerpt from LOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD

-Check out some of the book trailers on the Scholastic youtube channel to get some ideas

-Think about your favourite movie trailers. What do you like about them? How can you apply these elements to a book trailer?

-Consider dramatizing your favourite scene from one of the books.

-Imagine a new or deleted scene from one of the books.

-Create a slideshow of images that remind you of the series, accompanied by a voice over of one of the characters.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Remember the sky’s the limit! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!