A Book Release That’s Anything But Dry

Melanie Crowder’s Parched (Harcourt, June) is a harrowing middle-grade story that features characters struggling for survival in a dangerous, apocalyptic landscape. But the welcoming party for the debut author’s novel was anything but somber. The event took place at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver on June 8, with more than 75 attendees. A snack table offered aloe spritzers – aloe is a significant motif throughout the novel – as well as cupcakes with icing that matched the book’s cover art. Craft tables offered activities based on the book. Shown here, a young reader creates a Shrinky Dink keychain with artwork based on the novel’s flora and fauna. Crowder’s novel had an auspicious beginning: while pursuing her MFA, not only did she win the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Prize, which landed her the opportunity to have her novel read by a Houghton, Harcourt, or Clarion editor – but it was also the first time that the award resulted in publication for an author.

Hometown Author Scores a Hat Trick

Native Chicagoan Amy Timberlake took part in three programs at the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest last weekend. Most recently the author of One Came Home (Knopf), Timberlake led a workshop called Breathing Fictional Life into an Extinct Species, during which she guided writers through a creative exercise, and spoke on a YA panel with Gary D. Schmidt, Joelle Charbonneau, Corinne Mucha, and Erica O’Rourke. During the third program, shown here, she received some enthusiastic assistance from an audience member while reading with her husband, Phil, from her picture book The Dirty Cowboy (FSG), illustrated by Adam Rex.

The ‘Power’ of Reading

For last month’s BEA convention in NYC, high school freshman Nathan Siegel was up at 4:30 a.m. to make the drive with his parents from Yardley, Pa. To say that Nathan likes books is an understatement: “I’m an avid reader, and I read at least a book a day,” he told PW. “It’s cool to see behind the scenes.” Nathan has a sharp critical eye, and he knows what he likes – and his local Barnes & Noble has noticed. He works with Judith Williams, children’s department manager at the Oxford Valley store in Fairless Hills, Pa., on the “Nathan Recommends” end-cap display. There, the well-read teen offers his suggestions for the best YA books of the moment. Some of his newly released selections include Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave (Putnam) and Soman Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil (HarperCollins). Siegel posts his book reviews on Goodreads and has also had a review featured on Maggie Stiefvater’s Facebook page.