Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books

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Good Times at the 2023 Tucson Festival of Books

I had a lovely time at the 2023 Tucson Festival of Books. Met some real-life friends, met some Facebook friends in real-life for the first time, and even got to meet some politics journalists, which pleased my inner political junkie.

Here’s the well-dressed #kidlit author/illustrator Adam Rex in action.

Award-winning picture book authors-illustrator friends: Juana Martinez-Neal, Molly Idle, Andrea Wang & David LaRochelle.

Good friend author and skillful picture book critiquer. Lori Alexander.

Got to meet the dynamic duo of Construction Night rhyming picture books, Sherri Duskey Rinker and AG Ford.

The wildly talented adult authors, Luis Alberto Urrea and Charlaine Harris.

A graphic novelist panel with Franco Aureliani, Scott Magoon, and Molly Mendoza.

With the talented picture book author-illustrators Matthew Cordell and Dan Yaccarino.

Monkeying around.

With political journalists Tim Miller and David Corn. Also got to meet Jonathan Lemire.

A giant heart blow-up structure for teaching anatomy.

The wonderfully warm kidlit author-illustrator, Zahra Marwan.

With the well-dressed, articulate, and kind picture book illustrator and graphic novelist, Scott Magoon.

With the gifted and hilarious picture book author, Carmen Agra Deedy.

A picture book author-illustrator panel with rock stars Matthew Cordell, Dan Yaccarino, and Carmen Agra Deedy.

A horror writer panel with Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Johny Compton, and Hiron Ennes.

With superb adult horror writers Weston Ochse and Yvonne Navarro.

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Marie Curie is arguably the most famous female scientist in history: a double Nobel Prize winner whose discoveries changed our understanding of the universe. Luckily for humanity, Marie applied her brilliant mind and indomitable spirit to expanding the frontiers of science, doubly difficult for a woman of that time period. But what if Marie had instead drifted toward the darkness? What if she had used her talents for diabolical purposes?

The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie (Blackstone Publishing) imagines that, with 16 original horror and dark fantasy/science fiction stories and four poems from a murderer’s row of talented authors, including six NY Times bestsellers: Christine Taylor Butler, Mylo Carbia, G.P. Charles, Stacia Deutsch, Sarah Beth Durst, Henry Herz, Alethea Kontis, Susanne Lambdin, Dee Leone, Jonathan Maberry, Emily McCosh, Seanan McGuire, Steve Pantazis, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Scott Sigler, Jo Whittemore, and Jane Yolen.

YA or horror book bloggers interested in interviewing an author, sign up at bit.ly/MarieCurieAuthorInterview

YA or horror book reviewers interested in reviewing the anthology on NetGalley, sign up at bit.ly/MarieCurieNetgalley


Putting the SCBWI Book Launch Grant to Good Use

I was honored to receive the 2022 Book Launch Grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) for my award-winning picture book, I AM SMOKE. The funding was used to purchase copies of I AM SMOKE for elementary schools and to pay for travel to book promotion events, including WonderCon, the Bay Area Book Festival, and bookstores and schools in the Washington, DC area.

My booth at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA

I was also on a panel with children’s book authors and illustrators (l to r) Tim McCanna, Ernesto Cisneros, Sam Subity, and Salina Yoon.

I was an invited speaker at the Bay Area Book Festival, held near UC Berkeley.

Here I am, reading I AM SMOKE to an audience. What incredible stage presence! So lifelike!

I also got to meet fellow authors, including the charismatic Jessixa Bagley.

I helped the shy author John Scalzi out of his shell…

And here I am with author Mac Barnett and illustrator Shawn Harris, who, it turns out, played on the same soccer team when they were kids.

My trip to the Washington, DC area included popping in on Capclave, where I chatted with authors Alex Shvartsman and Leah Cypess.

Then it was on to the Manassas, VA Barnes & Noble store.

I got to read I AM SMOKE to the well-behaved and well-dressed kids of Westminster Elementary.

I signed copies of I AM SMOKE in good company at the Tyson’s Corner Barnes & Noble.

I read I AM SMOKE to the wonderful kids at Oakwood Elementary.

I rounded out the tour reading I AM SMOKE to these rapscallions at the Aurora Hills Library in Arlington, VA, followed by a wildly unsuccessful “ice volcano” experiment.


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COMING OF AGE review by ElenaReads

Our upcoming middle grade anthology, COMING OF AGE: 13 B’NAI MITZVAH stories (published by Albert Whitman), got this lovely review from book blogger and vlogger ElenaReads.

Coming Of Age Is Overflowing With Jewish Pride, Focuses On Mitzvah Celebrations

In recent years, bar and bat mitzvahs have looked different. Some have been virtual, others have been mask-mandated, but the focus remains the same – a coming of age ceremony that has been a tradition for generations.

Coming Of Age: 13 B’Nai Mitzvah Stories is a new book that can help boys and girls prepare for their special day. I got an advanced readers’ copy of this amazing book, edited by Jonathan Rosen and Henry Herz. It will be available in April.

It features short stories from 13 Jewish authors, all of them about a b’nai mitzvah. At first, I thought the book was going to be about the authors’ OWN b’nai mitzvahs, but, only one story was a personal narrative. Others were more fictional, one about having a pandemic bat mitzvah, and another about a bar mitzvah on a planet called Latke!

I think the title of the book is more powerful than it lets on. When you become a bar or bat mitzvah, you “come of age” and a full member of the Jewish community. This moment is meaningful and important because it means that you are a Jewish adult and you are responsible for your own actions.

It was so interesting reading this book because each author had their own unique style of telling a b’nai mitzvah story. Some of them focused more on the fantastical element of their story, others were amazing at describing the thoughts, feelings, and setting around the event. It’s hard to pick a favorite story, but I really enjoyed This Is What I’ll Tell You by Debbie Reed Fischer. That story was about a girl who decides to hide her religion after being bullied because she is Jewish.

I loved how the authors were so creative when it came to what they were writing about. One author made up a legend about how each person has to go inside their Torah portion and experience it. For example, the boy in the story had to help Noah and his ark.

Another person whose writing is featured is Melissa Roske, who wrote Kat Greene Comes Clean , a book I reviewed a few years back! Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of Nine, Ten, which I also reviewed, also has a short story in Coming Of Age.

Coming Of Age is full of Jewish pride, b’nai mitzvah preparation, romance, and whimsical elements. It’s a book you need to read, even if you are not Jewish!

Four out of four roses!





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Children’s Author Panel at WonderCon 2022

Henry participated in a children’s author panel at WonderCon 2022 with award-winning authors Ernesto Cisneros, Tim McCanna, Sam Subity, and Salina Yoon.

Ernesto Cisneros is the author of the middle grade novels Efren Divided and Falling Short. The former won a Pura Belpre award, Golden Poppy award, Crystal Kite award, and appeared on numerous Best Of lists, including by Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, Chicago Public Library, New York Public Library, and NPR Books.

Tim McCanna is the author of several picture books including BITTY BOT, SO MANY SOUNDS, BARNYARD BOOGIE!, JACK B. NINJA, BOING! A Very Noisy ABC, BITTY BOT’S BIG BEACH GETAWAY (ALA/LITA Golden Duck Notable Picture Book) and WATERSONG (New York Public Library list of Best Books for Kids and NCTE 2017 Notable Poetry Book).

Sam Subity is the author of the middle grade novel, The Last Shadow Warrior, that blends Norse mythology with a modern-day setting. He loves writing stories that explore the magic and wonder of being a kid and is thrilled to share his writing with readers everywhere—both the young in age and the young at heart.

Salina Yoon is the talented and prolific author/illustrator of nearly two hundred novelty books, picture books, and early readers including Found, Kiki & Jax, Be a Friend, Tap to Play, and the Penguin Series. Her books have won numerous awards, including a Geisel honor, Children’s Literature Council of SoCal award, and NYSRA Charlotte Award.