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Posts Tagged ‘young adult literature’

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Surviving Bear Island has been listed in the Alaska Dispatch News as one of their Favorite Alaska Books of the Year.

I’m thrilled to be on this list along with Alaskan authors Alexis Bunten, Kim Heacox, Catherine Holder Spude, Rosemary McGuire, Camille Seaman, Margaret Thomas, Chad and Darin Carpenter, Lee Goodman, Stuart Archer Cohen, Seth Kantner, Linda Martin, Jeremy Pataky, Eva Saulitis, and Dan O’Neill.

Below is a quote from the article regarding Surviving Bear Island:

Fairbanks author Paul Greci has received widespread and deserved national attention for his young-adult novel “Surviving Bear Island.” The book’s teenage narrator, Tom Parker, becomes stranded on an uninhabited island far out in Prince William Sound after a sea kayaking accident separates him from his father. With winter closing in, Tom has to survive off the island’s minimal bounty while encountering bears, enduring mishaps and coming to terms with the death of his mother and the unknown fate of his father. Greci gets inside his protagonist’s head, offering a fully believable character who gets put through hell. This is no happy romp in the forest. Like all the best young-adult fiction, “Bear Island” is a book for adults, too.–David James

Thanks for stopping by.

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From 2003 to 2007 I attended the ALAN Workshop, which is a two-day affair where up to 80 Young Adult Literature Authors give talks, sign books and make themselves available to converse with the 500 teachers and librarians who attend. I looked forward to the ALAN Workshop every year for two reasons.

1. The participants bring home a large quantity of some of the best of the year’s Young Adult Literature provided by publishers. As a teacher, I added these books to my Classroom Library.ALAN Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That’s me on my treadmill desk where I’ve done a lot of writing over the years.

 

 

2. As a writer, it provided inspiration for me to keep plugging away at my own young adult novel manuscripts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flash forward eight years and countless rewrites of several manuscripts, and the publication of Surviving Bear Island, and I got an invitation to speak at the conference that provided endless books for my students and ongoing inspiration for me as a writer.

 

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DSCN7094 I was on the Debut Author Panel at the 2015 ALAN Workshop. I was both nervous and excited in the days leading up to the Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But arriving at the Conference and being among all these people who love Young Adult Literature, some new acquaintances and some old friends, I really felt like I had come full-circle, that I had come home as a writer and a teacher after an eight year journey.

 

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Meeting Christine Taylor Butler, author of The Lost Tribes, and another Move Books Author.

Reuniting with Daria Plumb, an amazing Alternative Education Teacher and ALAN President.

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Reuniting with Kelly Sassi, former Fairbanks Teacher who is now a Professor of English and Education in North Dakota. Meeting her son, Max, for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, thanks ALAN for providing a supportive home for writers, teachers, and librarians to return to year after year. We may not all make it there every year, but just knowing that its there, carrying the torch of keeping relevant books in the hands of teens, is reassuring.

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After a sea kayaking trip with his father takes a dangerous turn, Tom Parker is stranded on the remote, outer coast of unpopulated Bear Island in the waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska with only a survival kit in his pocket. Desperate to find his father, Tom doesn’t know how long he can survive and must put his survival skills to the test as he fights to reach safety.

“The tension is well-crafted and realistic. Bear Island is a challenging environment to survive but a terrific thrill on the page.”–Kirkus

 

 

 

 

The E-book of Surviving Bear Island is now available for $8.99 at Amazon. It will also be available through Barnes & Noble as a Nook Book soon. And, the hard cover is going to press for a Second Printing.

Thanks, Move Books​  and Eileen Robinson​ for putting Surviving Bear Island out in the world, and to all the readers thus far.

Thanks also to the Junior Library Guild​ for all the work they do to get books into reader’s hands.

Thanks also to  Amy Tipton​ for her expertise in all things books/editing/publishing related.

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I was totally surprised this week when I got this letter in the mail regarding Surviving Bear Island. I feel fortunate to have a Representative who supports education and the arts.

Kawasaki letter SBI copy

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I just learned that my YA novel, Sacrifice Area, took second place in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s Annual contest in the young adult/middle grade category.

Last year my MG novel, Stranded, took second place.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Okay, the semester is almost over. In my seven-student class (two girls and five boys, all sophomores and juniors) here’s what they chose to read for independent reading time.

My class is an ELL (English Language Learners) class comprised of students with roots in Micronesia, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and a few villages in rural Alaska. Some have been in this country their entire lives and some have just arrived a few months ago.

Anyone who reads books in a second language is a reading superhero.

We had 15 to 20 minutes of in-class reading time two or three times a week, and students had the option of taking their books home to read as well. The girls often took their books home; the boys did not.

This is pretty much the OPPOSITE of what I do in my classroom where kids can sit or lay on the floor during reading time if they please.

I did not require them to do any writing assignments in relation to their independent reading, or read a certain number of pages. I allowed them to stop reading a book if they wanted to just like us adults do. It was a no-strings-attached approach. For more details about my ideas regarding fostering reading in the classroom see this post.

I had a wide selection of young adult fiction and other books for my students to choose from. They were also allowed to bring books from home or the library.

In no particular order, these are books my students enjoyed and finished, or are about to finish.

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Last Chance Texaco by Brent Hartinger

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Cut by Patricia McCormick

Trapped by Michael Northrop

Pinned by Alfred Martino

Wrestling Sturbridge by Rich Wallace

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Raiders Night by Robert Lipstyte

Right Behind You by Gail Giles

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Popular by Alissa Grosso

Cheating Death: Amazing Survival stories from Alaska by Larry Kaniut

Someone to Love Me by Anne E. Schraff and Paul Langan

As you can see from the list above, my students tended to gravitate toward contemporary, realistic stories.

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Become, a young adult novel by Ali Cross  officially comes out tomorrow but it is available now in both digital and print form.

Cover copy for Become:

Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.

When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

And, a little bit about Ali before we start our interview:

Ali Cross is the sensei of the Writer's Dojo where she holds a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, two sumo dogs and four zen turtles.

Ali. Thanks for joining us today. Where did the idea for Become originate?

Sometimes I like to play the “what if” game and see what stories I can come up with from random ideas. I’ve written a few books that way and BECOME was the first!

As a writer myself, I’m always curious about this: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I first started writing in the fall of 2002—a story born from my Dungeons & Dragon days.  My husband started his first book the same day as me, and we both finished  those books on New Year’s Eve 2003. Best New Year’s Eve ever!

Okay, so you’ve been at this for a while now. Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Do you outline, or just write, or do you use a combination of both?

I wrote most of my books off the cuff. I’d have a concept, title, character names and a general idea of where to go … and yeah, I think that’s why it took me so long to finish.  Now I work a little differently. I’m a huge fan of the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet—I’ll “beat” out a story, but from there, I’ll pants it. I like to have a good feel for where the story’s going, but I give myself the freedom to go where I need to go, too. So I’m a combo writer, I think. Anything to get ‘er done!

Blake Snyder was a talented person. I feel fortunate to have taken a workshop with him. You decided to self-publish Become. Can you tell us a little about your experience with self-publishing and what made you decide to go that route with Become?

I would have loved to find an agent to represent BECOME, and let me tell you, I sure did try! I was rejected 103 times, 32 times in the full, three times from one agent, and I got one agent offer. Plus, BECOME was contracted with a small publisher for a while, too. I believed there was something of value in my story, but I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to make it in the traditional route.

The choices were, shelve it and maybe someday query it again, or self-publish. When I had the chance to release with the other awesome girls in my “tour”, it seemed like maybe BECOME’s time had finally come!

Very cool, Ali. I’m looking forward to reading Become!! 🙂 My copy is already on my I-Pad.  Thanks for joining us today.

Ali is giving away a copy of Become, a signed bookmark, a key chain and a hand-knotted heart bracelet–all to one lucky winner.

Leave a comment before midnight (East Coast time) November 16th for a chance to win.

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