Cynthia Leitich Smith and Kathi Appelt book signing

(photos- lovely lady in silver/white shawl is Cynthia Leitich Smith. Next to her is Kathi Appelt. I am standing between them like a groupie. The blonde in pink is my buddy, author Carmen Oliver-

Scheduling a book signing for a holiday weekend is a risky proposition. Unless Cynthia Leitich Smith and Kathi Appelt are holding the pens. When they decided to stage a dual book signing event, the energy level hit a crescendo. Word spread through Facebook, MySpace, SCBWI, and numerous blogs. After all, these are two Texas favorites in the children’s literature arena. And they are super nice ladies to boot.

Among the more than 100 people in attendance were the tried and true cheerleaders from Austin SCBWI, plus teachers, librarians, authors, and young adult readers from around the state. Cynthia and Kathi dazzled all as they interviewed each other, read excerpts from their new releases, and offered a peak into what we can expect next from them.

Cynthia’s Leitich Smith’s latest release, Eternal(Candlewick, 2009)is a companion to her critically acclaimed 2007 young adult novel, Tantalize. Summary: At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight.

Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess’s personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl’s soul and plan the Master’s fast-approaching Death Day gala. (most appropriate for high school age through adult)Check out the book trailer on the author website.

Kathi Appelt’s Newbery Honor book, The Underneath (Atheneum, 2008) is her first novel. Synopsis: There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road.

A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath…as long as they stay in the Underneath.

Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten’s one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. (suitable for age 9 and up) Check out the book trailer on the author website.

I look forward to diving into these new titles and I encourage you to do so as well. Check out their author websites for more information about them and their many individual books.

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