Monday, 3 September 2018

Welcome to my weekly — I hope weekly … occasional? — news post. Look for “Now What?” most Mondays for book news, upcoming appearances, fun tidbits, and obligatory dog photos (ODPs).

I scoured the internet for a poem about Mondays, something I could use for the title of this regular feature. But Mondays are not a popular poem topic. And in song, they’re kind of a downer.

So I came up with an acronym: NOW WHAT? It stands for the items I hope to cover in each “Now What?” post:

Out and About
What I’m Reading

Where to?
Howard County (HoCo, MD) and Local Interest
Takedown and The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

Let’s jump in!


It has been a poorly kept secret for months that author/activist Saadia Faruqi (Meet Yasmin!) and I are co-writing a middle grade novel. We finally got to announce our big news.

A Place at the Table sold to Jennifer Greene at Clarion Books. The book will be published in 2020. Saadia and I are thrilled!

I am interviewing people who are recent citizens or who grew up first generation American for this novel. If you’d be interested in doing a phone interview, please let me know in the comments.

Last week, friends and I went to hear Jacqueline Woodson speak in Frederick, Maryland. There is so much to say about this event!

First, I wish every classroom would begin the year reading Woodson’s new picture book The Day You Begin together. Especially for those children who are new, or feel different, or worry that they don’t fit, this book extends a welcoming hand and reiterates that everyone has a story to share. I’m sending a signed copy of this book to Holabird Academy, the school that I am working with this year through #KidsNeedMentors.

Side note: Wonder of wonders, I bumped into a former student at this event. That *never* happens to me. I taught high school for five years when we lived in New Jersey, and stopped teaching in 1999. But there she was — Jacqueline Woodson’s publicist! There were lots of hugs and it was lovely to hear her speak about how important high school literature classes were and how much she loves working in kidlit.

The wonderful indie bookstore Curious Iguana co-sponsored this event. They have an amazing line-up of children’s authors planned for this fall, including Kate DiCamillo. Find out more here.








My next event is the Princeton Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, September 22.


Wilde Readings literary and open mic series kicks off Tuesday, September 4 at Columbia Art Center. Hope to see you there. More info at our Facebook group.


I’m thrilled to have a reverso poem in Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong’s latest book, GREAT MORNING. Special thanks to Janet. Between the two of us we sent out six copies of GREAT MORNING to schools in the #KidsNeedMentors program.

More info about the class I’m mentoring coming soon.


The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary is on my local Battle of the Books list. Check out all of the 2019 HoCo Battle of the Books reads here.

Takedown was selected for PJ Our Way, which offers free books for Jewish kids ages 9-11. I am very proud to be part of this program.




See you next week. For now, your ODP:

Rudy is reading RUBY IN THE SKY by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo



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One response to “Now What?”

  1. You are a marvel! I applaud your energy and your positive attitude. A true “shero” of the literary scene. Bravo on your new venture.

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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