Your Black Friday Book Shopping Guide

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Need some help? We’ve got you covered for the book lovers in your life! Check out our suggestions below!


Best book for werewolf fans: Earning My Spots by Mark Eastburn

Summary: Sam and his family are the only werehyenas in their town, and he’s often told that he’s inferior to all the other kids of shifters. But as tensions rise between shifters and humans, it becomes clear that Sam is the only one who can stop a war that’s on the brink of erupting.

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Best books for fans of Once Upon A Time: Roses: The Tales Trilogy, Book 1 and Feathers: The Tales Trilogy, Book 2 by Rose Mannering

Roses Summary: Her silvery appearance is freakish to the numerous inhabitants of Sago, and she is tauntingly named Beauty by those who torment her. After fleeing town in the wake of a violent uprising that sets out to massacre all Magics, she is captured by State officials who threaten to take her back to war-torn Sago. She manages to escape them during a blizzard by running into a deep, enchanted forest, where she meets a great and terrible beast who will bargain for her life. But can Beauty accept Beast?

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Feathers Summary: Outcast from birth for his ability to turn into a swan, Ode was forced to discover how to control his remarkable gift entirely on his own. But even with his gift, he cannot save his family from the oncoming war. The Magical Cleansing is spreading across the realm, and strangers arrive from foreign lands bringing with them bloodshed and fear. With the help of his gift, Ode flees to a distant island where answers, Magic, and a girl with golden hair await him.
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Best book for Shakespeare lovers and theater kids: The Taming of the Drew by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Summary: Cass is so excited for her leading role in The Taming of the Shrew at the summer apprentice program of a Shakespeare theater company. But her co-lead in the play, Drew, is a total troll—and Cass’s bunkmate has a huge crush on him. So Cass decides to “tame” Drew and give him a personality makeover. What could possibly go wrong?

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Best book for anyone who feels like an outsider: A Blind Guide to Normal by Beth Vrabel

Summary: Ryder has limited vision and a prosthetic eye. His wit and popular made him popular at the school for the blind, but this year for eighth grade he’s going to the mainstream middle school—and fitting in is not as easy as he thought it would be. Can Ryder find his way to a new—and possibly even better— “normal”?

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Best book for someone who needs more time in her day: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

In an alternate Victorian London where clock towers control the flow of time and a broken clock can stop time completely, a young clock mechanic races to save his father who is trapped in a Stopped town, and to prevent attacks that could cripple all of England.

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Best books for young readers who wish they had a robot to do their chores: Project Droid #1: Science No Fair! and Project Droid #2: Soccer Shocker! by Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser, illustrated by Mike Moran

Logan’s always wanted a kid brother, but when his inventor mom builds him a robot cousin, he realizes he’s gotten a lot more than he bargained for. Java is very literal-minded, and keeping his true identity a secret is going to be loads of trouble.

Science No Fair 9781510710184Soccer Shocker 9781510710191

Best book for a fan of science fiction: Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

For fans of The Girl of Fire and Thorns comes a story of betrayal, love, and loss—all on a technologically advanced alien planet where monarchy reigns, but lies rule.

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Best book for the dancer: Spin the Sky by Jill Mackenzie

Summary: Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. When a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. This could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to get her and Rose out of Summerland. But will the competition prove too steep? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

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Best book for the video game addict: It’s a tie! Invasion of the Overworld by Mark Cheverton or Catching the Jigglypuff Thief by Alex Polan
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Best book for the teen who’s always prepared: Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca
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Best book for the varsity star: Double Exposure by Bridget Birdsall

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Fandom Fashion: Spin the Sky

Check out this outfit inspired by the cover of Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie!


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Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie

spin-the-sky-9781510706866Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

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Author Chantele Sedgwick takes on the Sky Pony Q&A

Chantele Sedgwick takes on the Sky Pony Q&A! Check out her answers below!


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

I write young adult because I think teenagers are amazing, intelligent, wonderful people. Being a teen is hard. They have so many emotions zipping around their bodies, they’re trying to figure out their place in the world, and they deal with some pretty heavy things. I love first experiences and young adult fiction has helped me put some experiences teens go thorough on paper. I love the stories of first love. The first kiss. Going through trials and growing from them. Relationships with parents, friends, siblings. I love it all.

Q: What are you reading right now?

I just barely started Gemina (Illuminae Files book 2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I absolutely LOVED Illuminae, so I’m hoping the sequel will be just as awesome.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

Hermione Granger. She’s loyal, brave, smart and can be fierce if messed with. Plus, she’s a witch and can do magic!

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

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Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

The Sound of Music. Hands down. (I’m a big musical fan.)

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

Cheetah.

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Milk. Although, I do love white too.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Christmas. I love being with my family.

Q: What’s your favorite emoji? OR What’s your favorite GIF?

via GIPHY

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were Oakley’s age?

I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I became a mother and an author instead and I love it.


Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick

love-lucas-revised-9781510709928A 2015 Whitney Award Nominee!

A powerful story of loss, second chances, and first love, reminiscent of Sarah Dessen and John Green.

When Oakley Nelson loses her older brother, Lucas, to cancer, she thinks she’ll never recover. Between her parents’ arguing and the battle she’s fighting with depression, she feels nothing inside but a hollow emptiness. When Mom suggests they spend a few months in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley isn’t sure a change of scenery will alter anything, but she’s willing to give it a try.

In California, Oakley discovers a sort of safety and freedom in Aunt Jo’s beach house. Once they’re settled, Mom hands her a notebook full of letters addressed to her—from Lucas. As Oakley reads one each day, she realizes how much he loved her, and each letter challenges her to be better and to continue to enjoy her life. He wants her to move on.

If only it were that easy.

But then a surfer named Carson comes into her life, and Oakley is blindsided. He makes her feel again. As she lets him in, she is surprised by how much she cares for him, and that’s when things get complicated. How can she fall in love and be happy when Lucas never got the chance to do those very same things?

With her brother’s dying words as guidance, Oakley knows she must learn to listen and trust again. But will she have to leave the past behind to find happiness in the future?

Chantele Sedgwick is a young adult author, harpist, wife to one and mom to four. She loves fairy tales, happy endings, Kit Kats, and (judging by her bookshelves) buying way too many books. She lives in Roy, Utah, with her family and can usually be found reading, or talking her husband’s ear off with her endless supply of book ideas.

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Sky Pony on Instagram!

Just in case you missed it, Sky Pony Press now has its own (semi-brand new) Instagram (@skyponypress)! While we already have a general Skyhorse Publishing Instagram (@skyhorsepub), we really wanted to have a dedicated account where we can post about just our kids and teen titles, run a bunch of giveaways, and give you Sky Pony Press fans a behind-the-scenes look at our books, amazing staff, authors, and all things Sky Pony! Largely thanks to an OwlCrate giveaway of a bundle of our YA titles, we’ve amassed a pretty great following so far, and we’ve been trying to spread the word for kids and teen book lovers to follow us, like our photos, and tag us in their posts of Sky Pony books!

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So if you haven’t already, head on over to @skyponypress on Instagram and follow us! There’s also a live ***GIVEAWAY*** for an ARC of Tara Sim’s highly-anticipated upcoming fantasy, steampunk, LGBTQ YA novel TIMEKEEPER, so make sure to enter for your chance to win while you’re over there. Follow the instructions in the giveaway post to enter!

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Five Things Needed in Every Backpack

Deirdre Sullivan, author of Ming Goes to School shares her thoughts on the back-to-school season and a list of the top five things kids must have in their backpack for school!


Going back to school means different things for different families. I am a stay at home mom of four girls, so this time of year can pack in lots of emotions.  Marking the passage of time is always gut wrenching for me.  How is it possible they grow up so fast? And saying good-bye to the unscheduled lazy days of summer is never easy, but looking forward to the new school year can be full of excitement.

What has been successful for me over the last ten years is starting the school bedtime and wake-up routine a few weeks before the first day of school.  Getting the kids on school time seems to alleviate a lot of stress for them and they are well rested for the first day. We spend a good deal of time talking about the start of school and what my kids are looking forward to and what they are less excited about. This dialog uncovers fears or concerns they have and we address them far in advance of the first day.

The five things all kids must have in their backpacks is

  1. A Ming Goes to School picture book
  2. A little note of encouragement from me or their dad
  3. A lunchbox that they have helped pack to make sure it’s stuff they are guaranteed to eat and no one will be hungry
  4. School supplies
  5. Extra set of clothes, especially socks for their cubbies

As much as I cherish the summer days of sun-kissed cheeks and sprinkled ice cream cones, the first day of school has become one of my personal favorites. I’ve survived another summer, and I soak up every bit of silence in the house just before the school bell rings.

Here’s a picture of Deirdre at Ming’s age!

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Ming Goes to School by Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Maja Löfdahl

Ming Goes to School_coverMing goes to school, where she learns to say hello and good-bye. She meets new friends and introduces them to old friends (including her favorite teddy). She builds sandcastles and makes snow angels; she traces, glitters, and glues. She is so fearless that when held at sword point, she even walks the plank! And when she’s playing in the mud, she reaches out and touches the worms with her bare hands. But despite those brave deeds, she isn’t quite ready for the big red slide—not yet.

This is a very sweet story with soft, evocative watercolor illustrations that will help kids to grow comfortable with the idea of starting preschool. Ming is curious and playful and ready for adventure, but even she gets scared of new things sometimes. Kids will relate to her desires and fears and will be excited to see Ming at the top of the slide by the story’s end.

A quiet and reassuring picture book for preschoolers (3-5), this is a wonderful going-to-school story that can be read both at home and in the classroom or childcare center. The illustrations provide a lot of diversity of characters, making this feel like any classroom in any school in the country.

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Which Bella Donna Character Are You?

Which Bella Donna character are you?

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1. What’s your favorite color?

A. Black

B. Green

C. Pink

D. Red

 

2. What spell would you most like to be able to do?

A. A memory-erasing spell

B. A spell to turn people into animals

C. A spell to turn everything pink

D. A spell to make yourself the center of attention

 

3. What animal would you want as a pet?

A. Cat

B. Do I have to just pick one?

C. A fluffy white dog with a pink bow

D. A snake

 

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you most want to live?

A. Anywhere my family is

B. Where I can study animals

C. In a big pink house

D. In my own place

 

5. What is your favorite type of cookie?

A. Snickerdoodle

B. Chocolate chip

C. Sugar

D. Oatmeal raisin

 


Mostly A’s: You are Bella Donna! You are a caring individual with a devotion to your pet and your family!

Mostly B’s: You are Sam! You love animals and exploring nature!

Mostly C’s: You are Angela! You love everything pink and you are very loyal to your friends!

Mostly D’s: You are Verity! You have a mischievous side but your ultimate interest lies in doing the right thing


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Bella Donna Too Many Spells 9781634501552Bella Donna Too Many Spells 97816345015529781634501552-frontcoverBella Donna: Too Many Spells by Ruth Symes, illustrated by Marion Lindsay

Bella Donna seems just like any other student at her school, but she has a secret: she’s really a witch! The other witches who live on Coven Road are having a spell casting contest, and Bella is determined to win. She’s trying to learn as many spells as she can, and that’s no small thing! It’s not easy to complete secret magic training while trying to live a normal-kid life. When strange things start to happen at school and begin to spin out of control, Bella wonders if she can really do it. Maybe there are just too many spells!

This second installment in the sweet, spooky Bella Donna series will captivate young readers. Bella Donna: Too Many Spells is a combination of magic, adventure, and staying true to yourself. Marion Lindsay’s adorably simple spot illustrations bring even more magic to author Ruth Symes’s delightful tale. Fall in love with Bella Donna and her road to witchdom! And be prepared for her next big adventure!

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Quotable Life Advice and TWO Giveaways!

Coming this fall, Sky Pony Press is publishing a lot of wonderful titles. We pulled quotable life advice that we love from a few of them. Check it out below and don’t forget to enter our giveaways below for your chance to win an advanced reader copy of Spin the Sky or Earning My Spots!


Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie

“We need to think about us for a change. We need to be who we want to be.”

Spin the Sky 9781510706866Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

 

Earning My Spots by Mark Eastburn

“Be strong, be brave, and be smart.”

Earning My Spots 9781510707788Sam and his family are the only werehyenas in their town, and they do their best to keep up their cover in front of the humans while the other more aggressive shifters mock the werehyena family for being weak and passive. But Sam sees no other life for himself, as he believes what he is told: he is inferior to the other shifters.

One night, a pack of shifters raids Sam’s house and takes his family, leaving him all alone. With the help of some new friends, Sam sets off on a journey from Vermont to South America to rescue his family. Along the way, he meets various shifters who aid him on his quest. He even meets a tribe of werehyenas in Louisiana who teach him how powerful his kind actually is and how far his ancestry goes back. From them, Sam learns he has a great destiny to fulfill.

As Sam draws closer to finding his family, he begins to understand how different the world of shifters is that exists outside of his small hometown. Shifters are tired of humans destroying their homes, and they want not only revenge but also to force humans into submission. It becomes clear that Sam is the only one who can stop a war that’s on the brink of erupting.

Double Exposure by Bridget Birdsall

“Don’t let anyone hold you back from who you are or what you love.”

Double Exposure 9781510711587Fifteen-year-old Alyx Atlas was raised as a boy, but she knows something others don’t: she’s a girl. Born intersex, Alyx has always questioned her gender identity and struggled to fit in. But it’s after her dad dies—and after she sustains a terrible beating from her classmates—that she decides she can’t live as a boy any longer. She and her mother move from California to Wisconsin to start a new life, and Alyx begins again, this time as a girl.

Alyx quickly earns a spot on the girls’ varsity basketball team, and for the first time in her life she feels like she fits in. But as the team racks up one victory after another and the state championships approach, a jealous teammate sets her sights on Alyx. Hotheaded and fiercely competitive, Pepper Pitmani is sure Alyx is keeping a secret, which Pepper is determined to reveal. If she succeeds, the truth could destroy Alyx’s one shot—not just to take home the trophy with her team but to live as her true self.

Honest, raw, and uplifting, Double Exposure is for every teen who’s longed to be seen, struggled to find the courage to be different, or dared to face adversity head-on.

Science No Fair, Project Droid #1  by Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser, illustrated by Mike Moran

There’s no I in team, but sometimes it’s okay if there’s a droid.

Science No Fair 9781510710184It’s a pretty normal day for Logan Applebaum—until his inventor mother announces that she’s built him a new robot cousin. And Java may be really smart, but he’s also going to be a major handful. No one can know about his secret. This is going to be a long school year.

With the third grade science fair coming up, though, Logan thinks maybe a super computer cousin could come in handy and he’ll finally have a shot at beating the nosey Silverspoon twins who win at everything.

But when Sherry and Jerry steal Java as their partner, and then start suspecting something is up with the new kid, can Logan think fast before this crazy experiment becomes an epic disaster?

 

Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production by Sara S. Reida

“That’s always when the monsters get you. When you think you’re safe.”

Monsterville 9781510707337Beware what lurks beneath your bed. . . . It could lead to a monstrous adventure.

Thirteen-year-old Lissa Black is miserable when her parents force her to move from New York City (the perfect home for an aspiring writer/director/actress) to Freeburg, Pennsylvania, nowhere capital of the world. There’s nothing to do there, except play her little sister Haylie’s favorite new game, Monsterville, and hang out with her new neighbor Adam.

But when a walk in the woods lands her face-to-face with a swamp monster hungry for brains and then a Sasquatch that moos, even Lissa can’t call her new home totally boring. With Adam’s help, she catches the culprit behind the drama: a shape-shifting goblin who’s fled from the monster world of Down Below.

And what do you do with a creature that can be literally anything? Make monster movies, of course! Lissa is convinced that Blue will be the secret to her big break.

But when Haylie goes missing on Halloween, Lissa, Adam, and the monster must venture Down Below to stage a rescue—and face the real Monsterville, which is anything but a game.


 

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A Great Year for the Great Outdoors

Author of A Weird and Wild Beauty, Erin Peabody, shares some information on National Parks. Check it out below!


A Great Year for the Great Outdoors

Heading to one of America’s national parks this summer? If so, in addition to packing a good camera, sunscreen and a pair of sturdy hiking boots, you might want to bring along birthday candles—100 of them to be exact.

That’s because the agency charged with caring for our national parks and other special places, the National Park Service, turns a century old this year. The agency manages many of our country’s most beloved landscapes and vistas: mountains, geysers and canyons from places like Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. The Park Service also oversees sacred historic spaces: the memorials, battlefields, trails of tears and other hallowed landmarks that tell our unique American story.

The “national park idea” has been hailed as one of the United States’ best inventions. Countries from around the world have followed our example, setting aside spectacular scenery and habitat for the benefit of all people.

Yet this grand idea wasn’t forged overnight. Hardly. In fact, the first white Americans, you may be surprised to learn, feared, even hated wild nature (quite unlike the country’s first residents, the Native Americans). It took time—and the efforts of explorers, scientists, philosophers and poets—before everyday people found beauty, adventure and solace in the great outdoors.

Through an act of Congress, the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, was created in 1872—just in the nick of time. Had lawmakers waited any later, the stunning region would have been overrun with poachers and profiteers out to make a quick buck.

For more about the struggle to save Yellowstone, please see my book: A Weird and Wild Beauty: The Story of Yellowstone, the World’s First National Park. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to read them at erinpeabody.com.


A Weird and Wild Beauty by Erin Peabody

9781634502047-frontcoverThe summer of 1871, a team of thirty-two men set out on the first scientific expedition across Yellowstone. Through uncharted territory, some of the day’s most renowned scientists and artists explored, sampled, sketched, and photographed the region’s breathtaking wonders—from its white-capped mountain vistas and thundering falls to its burping mud pots and cauldrons of molten magma. At the end of their adventure, the survey packed up their specimens and boarded trains headed east, determined to convince Congress that the country needed to preserve the land from commercial development. They returned with “stories of wonder hardly short of fairy tales,” to quote the New York Times.

With the support of conservationists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Law Olmsted, and John Muir, the importance of a national park was secured. On March 1, 1872, Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone Park Bill into law. It set aside over two million acres of one-of-a-kind wilderness as “a great national park for the benefit and enjoyment of people.” This important and fascinating book will introduce young adults to the astonishing adventure that led to “the best idea America ever had.” Today over 130 countries have copied the Yellowstone model, and billions of acres of critical habitat and spectacular scenery are being preserved for all of us to enjoy.

This book has a wonderful ecological and historical message for readers ages 12 and up. No book about Yellowstone’s founding has been written for this age group before, yet Yellowstone National Park is a major destination for many families, so many readers will likely have heard of Yellowstone or even have visited there. This is a great book for any school library or for history or science classrooms in middle and high school, where information can be used for research projects.

 

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Lilla’s Sunflowers Book Trailer!

Have you seen the beautiful book trailer for Lilla’s Sunflowers by Colleen Rowan Kosinski? Lilla’s Sunflowers hit bookshelves July 5th! Check out the trailer!

Lilla’s Sunflowers by Colleen Rowan Kosinski

Lilla's Sunflowers_coverLilla and Papa enjoy spending magical times in Lilla’s sunflower patch. Before Papa leaves for a trip that will take him far away from home for a long time, Lilla gives him a sunflower seed. “To remember me, Papa,” Lilla whispers.

Seasons pass, and Lilla’s mood falls like autumn leaves. Finally, news comes that her papa is coming home! The following summer, to her surprise, she receives letters from families with photos of their loved ones pictured with sunflowers. She learns that her gift to her father brightened the dark days for many people, and that her one small seed continued spreading sunshine across the country.

Colleen Rowan Kosinki’s lyrical style and whimsical artwork bring this story of love to life. Lilla’s Sunflowers will resonate not only with military families but also with any child missing a loved one. This is a wonderful gift for holidays celebrating our country’s military heroes as well as a quiet story for bedtime read-alouds.

For kids aged 3 to 6, this is a must-have for military families or for families where one parent does a lot of traveling and is away from the home for extended periods of time. It also serves as a charming story about sharing what you have and the benefits that can reap.

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ALA!

Booth This June, a couple of our Skyhorsers attended the ALA (American Library Association) Annual Summer Conference in Orlando, Florida!

ALA Annual is one of the world’s largest yearly gatherings for publishing industry professionals, librarians, teachers, bloggers, and book lovers! Here, attendees are able to talk to publishers and media, learn about upcoming books, and pick up a WHOLE lot of books and swag! We had a great booth in the middle of the exhibition hall that we filled with our adult fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, Autism, and of course, Sky Pony titles.

A few of our coworkers (three seasoned professionals and one who had never attended) gave their thoughts on this yearly conference. Although it was swelteringly hot in Florida in the middle of summer, it didn’t dampen our spirits!


Jaidree Braddix, Assistant Publicist, Cooking & Lifestyle

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of learning that there is no happier being on earth than a librarian or book blogger who has just received a free book. And boy, did we give out a lot of free books. At ALA Orlando, children’s and YA books ruled the day, with free copies of the adorable picture book Gorillas in Our Midst and the timeline-bending YA thriller Timekeeper being the fastest to fly of our tables.

Timekeeper LineIt should be no surprise then, that one of my favorite memories from my three days at the Skyhorse booth was the moment two small boys rushed in, eyes locked on our “Books for Minecrafters Library” at the back of the booth. Our Books for Minecrafters were hugely popular with children’s librarians and teachers throughout the day, and I had gotten used to answering questions about reading levels and age groups in a more detached sort of way, but seeing the genuine excitement in an 8-year-old boy’s eyes when he asked me, “Is that GameKnight999?!” reminded me who our real audience is. He was beyond disappointed that he could not walk out of there with the entire collection, but was thrilled to come back for our giveaway the following day and to pester his poor mother into taking a handout listing all of our Minecrafter titles, so that she could “buy them all later.”

That 8-year-old’s excitement was mirrored in the eyes of book bloggers in their 20s, standing in a fifty ft. line waiting for Tara Sim to start signing Timekeeper; in a teacher, new to her school, who was desperately seeking picture books with diverse main characters when we showed her Ming Goes to School; and in a costumed young superhero receiving his signed advance copies of Science No Fair!: Project Droid #1 and Soccer Shocker: Project Droid #2.

Even though we were there to self-promote on a broader scale, the individual interactions and happy new-book-owners are really what makes conferences like ALA special.


Cheryl Lew, Associate Publicist, Children’s and YA

This was my second time at ALA Annual (I attended last year’s in San Francisco), and it was still just as fun, exciting, and slightly overwhelming as my first time. We had an awesome team attending this year, and that really made it a memorable experience.

Everything in the booth went smoothly: Our giveaway books flew off the shelves (especially Just One Damned Thing After AnotherThe Hamilton Affair, and Gorillas In Our Midst), and people loved all of the bookmarks, Winston Sparkes buttons, Project Droid temporary tattoos, and other swag that we were giving out. It was so much find to have librarians and other attendees approach us to  learn more about our company, excited that some of our books would fit perfectly with their collections. People were especially excited about our diversity titles, as well as, of course, our books for Minecrafters.

ALA DinnerThe most exciting part of ALA for me was meeting a lot of my authors, including Tara Sim (Timekeeper), Taryn Souders (Dead Possums Are Fair Game), Tamera Will Wissinger (There Was An Old Lady Who Gobbled A Skink), and mother/daughter duo Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser (the Project Droid series). Since ALA is geared mostly toward librarians, we decided that all of our signings would be children’s authors. . . Which was amazing for me since they were all mine! I had corresponded with all of them via email, but it was wonderful to finally put faces to names.  Not only were all of their signings huge successes, we were joined by the authors for dinner at Todd English’s Blue Zoo at Disney/Epcot. The meal was great, but getting to know each other was even better.

Most importantly, ALA was a great opportunity to get to know my coworkers. In addition to making attendees aware of our books, we also bonded as well. . . And a few of us even went to Harry Potter World after!


Jenn Chan, Marketing ManagerHP World

We had a great show this year.  We did targeted advertising leading up to ALA Annual and offered a daily schedule of key title giveaways and in-booth signings which kept foot traffic coming to our booth throughout.

Our author signings were scheduled on the two main days and featured a nice mix of out-of-towners & locals, seasoned & first time children’s book authors.

One of my favorite parts of the show was meeting and getting to know them (we had a fun “family dinner” at Disney on Saturday night) and hosting their signings.  It was also exciting to see firsthand such energetic attention and support from all the fans/readers.


Booth 2Bethany Buck, Editorial Director for Sky Pony Press

It was a particularly poignant show, being in Orlando just two weeks after the nightclub shooting.  There was a feeling a healing and pride, lots of t-shirts, buttons, and rainbows in support of the community.

That’s why it was really meaningful that we had invited three Florida authors to come sign their Sky Pony books in our booth: Taryn Sounders signed her middle grade novel Dead Possums are Fair Game; Tamera Will Wissinger signed her picture book The Was an Old Lady Who Gobbled a Skink; and Kerry O’Malley Cerra, who unfortunately couldn’t attend, but we gave away her novel Just a Drop of Water.

Because there were a lot of local librarians in attendance, the was a lot of recognition and excitement and pride for these for these Florida authors and their great books.


What was your experience at ALA like? Tell us in the comments!

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