A Tour Fit for a Queen

Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan visited Chicago and New York in late April to promote her first book for children, The Sandwich Swap, written with Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Tricia Tusa (Disney-Hyperion, Apr.), about two girls who find common ground at the lunch table. She appeared on Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The View, and made appearances at Highlands Elementary School in Naperville, Ill. (in an event with Anderson’s Bookshop),and in New York, the United Nations International School (seen here) and Borders Columbus Circle.

Little Diva’s Big Debut

Tony Award–winner LaChanze celebrated the release of her first picture book, Little Diva, illustrated by Brian Pinkney(Feiwel and Friends, May), about a girl who dreams of stardom, at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble in New York City this past Tuesday. LaChanze brought four “divas” (seen here) who are featured in the book’s trailer, as well as her daughter, Zaia, who performed the book’s “No Bad Dreams Dance” with her mother. Coming up, LaChanze and Pinkney will visit Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., and will be feted at the BAMfamily Book Brunch in Brooklyn, followed by events at Left Bank Books in St. Louis and 57th Street Books in Chicago.

Romantic Times in Columbus

The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention was held earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio, and several YA writers were among the many authors in attendance. Seen here (l. to r.) are Carrie Ryan, Holly Black, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Melissa Marr, and Ally Carter. The authors participated in multiple panels: Carter and Barnes spoke at one entitled “Love Looks Different at 13: How to Add a Teen’s Perspective on Love in a YA Novel,” while Black, Marr, and Ryan were on a panel called “YA That Goes Bump in the Night: Writing Paranormal and Urban Fantasy YA.” They also attended a “Not So Sweet Sixteen” party for booksellers, and were part of the Giant Book Fair with more than 300 authors.

Clements, Across the Country

Author Andrew Clements recently wrapped up an eight-state tour for his new series, Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School, illustrated by Adam Stower, which debuted last month from Atheneum with We the Children. The tour took Clements to bookstores, schools, and libraries in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts; here, Clements visits with students at Sutro Elementary School in San Francisco. The series centers on a mystery involving Benjamin’s historic seaside elementary school; the second book in the six-book series, Fear Itself, is scheduled to be released in September.

Late Night with Lisi

Lisi Harrison has also been on the road, completing a West Coast tour for the second book in her Alphas series, Moves & Fakers (Poppy, Apr.). In Mill Creek, Wash., University Bookstore hosted a Pretty Committee Pajama Party, which included mani-pedis, snacks, and a chance to win prizes including Alphas T-shirts. Harrison, seen here with fans at the bookstore, also previewed her Monster High series, which Little, Brown will launch in September.

Field of Dreams

Author-illustrator Matt Tavares threw out the first pitch in a May 4 game between two minor league baseball teams, the Gwinnett Braves and the Pawtucket Red Sox, at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Ga., and then signed copies of his latest picture book, Henry Aaron’s Dream (Candlewick, Jan.). During the game, the PA system and JumboTron aired messages about Tavares’s book, which focuses on baseball legend Hank Aaron’s childhood and the racial prejudice he faced. Candlewick donated 200 copies of the picture book for kids at the game, in addition to prize packs containing two more baseball-themed books by the author, Zachary’s Ball and Mudball.

Mother’s Day in Central Park

On Mother’s Day, the InterSchool Orchestras of New York and GPR Records presented a free concert in Central Park, which featured two performances based on Margaret Wise Brown books. “Goodnight Moon, A Lullaby for Soprano and Orchestra,” was sung by soprano Lauren Flanigan, and “The Runaway Bunny, A Concerto for Reader, Violin and Orchestra,” was read by actress Kate Mulgrew. The performance was recorded live and will be released by GPR Records on May 23, the 100th anniversary of Brown’s birth. Photo: Ahron R. Foster.