Welcome to the Bookshelf Detective, a site packed with tricks and tips for readers and writers of children's literature. Thank you for visiting!
Kim Tomsic

Monday, December 29, 2014

Predicted Caldecott, Newbery and Printz Award Nominees Written 2014 for Awards 2015

With 2014 almost over, my big piece of advice to writers is this: the best thing a writer can do to improve his/her craft is to become an avid reader. Below please find School Library Journal's list of best books for 2014. Think of it as your shopping list. Want to check out other lists? Just google any of the following:  The Horn Book, Publisher’s Marketplace, Mr. Shu Reads or Kirkus Review.                   Xoxo Kim Tomsic
SLJ BEST Picture Books 2014

Viva Frida
Yuyi Morales. photos by Tim O’Meara. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks.
MY BUS by Byron Barton (HarperCollins/Greenwillow)
BROTHER HUGO AND THE BEAR by Katy Beebe. Illus. by S.D. Schnidler) (Eerdmans)
THE BABY TREE by Sophie Blackall (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks.)
BIG BUG BY Henry Cole (Simon & Schuster)
DRAW by Raúl Colón. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks.
THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN (Love love love--here is my pick!):

The Farmer and the Clown
Marla Frazee. S. & S./Beach Lane.
ELIZABETH, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox. Illus. by Brian Floca (Random/Schwartz&W)
WEASELS by Elys Dolan (Candlewick)
ANY QUESTIONS? By Marie-Louise Gay (House of Anansi/Groundwood)
ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)
THE IRIDESCENCE OF BIRDS: A book about Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan illus. by Hadley Hooper (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Books)
HUNTERS OF THE GREAT FOREST by Dennis Nolan (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Books)
WHAT IF…? By Anthony Browne (Candlewick)
RULES OF SUMMER by Shaun Tan (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books)
THREE BEARS IN A BOATThree Bears in a Boat
David Soman. Dial.

My personal addition to this list for fun text: COURTSHIP OF THE MONSTER UNDER THE BED by Barry Solway

SLJ Best Books 2014: Middle Grade
THE CROSSOVER                                       THE BOUNDLESS
THE NIGHT GARDENER                           THE RED PENCIL   
EL DEAFO                                                    WEST OF THE MOON
ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman
NEST                                                              CARTWHEELING IN THUNDERSTORMS
MY HEART IS LAUGHING                                   SISTERS
RAIN REIGN                                                            REVOLUTION
My personal addition to this list of middle grade selections is: ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman 

SLJ Best Books 2014: Young Adult: The Impossible Knife of Memory, Avalon , The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, Mortal Heart, We Were Liars, Egg &Spoon, Althelia & Oliver, I’ll Give You the Sun, Gabi: A Girl in Pieces, Grasshopper Jungle, Blue Lily Lily Blue, This One Summer, The Accidental Highwayman, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Afterworlds, Belzhar
My personal addition to this list: Noggin by John Corey Whaley 
And Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book of the Week for Middle Grade Readers Counting Down to Christmas

As the days tick down to Christmas Eve and the house turns cozy with fluffy throw blankets and the scent of oatmeal cookies baking in the oven, it’s a great time to click off the TV and plop a book into the hands of young readers everywhere. So here’s a book that keeps the pages turning—especially for the 3rd through 6th grader:

TRACY TAM SANTA COMMAND by Krystalyn Drown turns everything you thought you knew about Christmas on its head—the reluctant reader will enjoy nail-bitter page turns, while the reluctant believer gets an exciting Chirstmas escapade.

Tracy Tam may believe in Santa, but she’s a reluctant believer in his magic. She’s certain everything has a scientific explanation—even Christmas, so on December 24th she sets out to gather evidence, samples and data to prove the science behind Christmas. If she’s successful, she’ll use the evidence to present at the state Science Fair competition and hopefully win the cash prize. And Tracy desperately wants that prize money, so she can give it to her aunt to pay for her cousin Pim’s expensive operation. Tracy will do anything to help Pim, including hiding in Santa sleigh and hitching a ride back to Santa’s workshop. But the workers at Santa Command will do anything to protect the secret of Christmas magic.  

And so here’s where everything —as promised—is turned on its head—but I won’t ruin the discovery of those secrets here. What I will tell you is the story is packed with fun surprises and zany flips that turn expectations into wonder. Young readers will have a fun adventure reading this story as they wait for their own visit from Santa. Tracy Tam keeps readers as well as everyone at Santa Command on their toes..

Available at and Indie Bookstore here: click here
Available from Amazon or Kindle here: click here
Available from my local bookstore Boulder Books: click here 
Available from my local Barnes & Noble: click here
·         Age Range: 9 and up 
·         Grade Level: 3 and up
·         Series: Tracy Tam
·         Paperback: 300 pages
·         Publisher: Month9Books, LLC (October 21, 2014)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1939765803
·         ISBN-13: 978-1939765802

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Watch Your Toes! I'm Reading COURTSHIP OF THE MONSTER UNDER THE BED by Barry Solway

Just like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer written by Robert L. May, Courtship of the Monster Under the Bed by author Barry Solway started out as a poem created as a gift for his niece.

The beautiful text, unique approach and clever nature of Barry's story were all factors that helped spread the word of his work, and soon he was receiving standing ovations to the chorus of, "Read it again!" Barry had no choice but to turn the tale into beautiful picture book. Kids love this empowering story, and adults get a chuckle at each twist and turn. Courtship of the Monster Under the Bed is fresh, original, and full of delightful surprises. Trust me--you have not seen a book like this one!

In the spirit of giving, Barry is making the book available this coming weekend only (Friday, December 19, 2014-Sunday, December 21, 2014) as a free download. Of course I couldn't resist
purchasing a print copy, too.

Visit this link for both Kindle and print copies: CLICK HERE 

If you'd like to know more about Barry, please visit his website at http://www.barrysolway.com/

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kid Lit for Haiti Online Auction #KidLitForHaiti

What is Kid-Lit for Haiti?
Kid Lit for Haiti is an online auction featuring talent donated by authors, illustrators, editors, art directors, and agents.  100% of the proceeds benefit the students supported by the 501c3 Nonprofit organization called The Friends of HaitiInc. 
All money from this auction will be used for scholarships for students in Haiti.

This auction has ended! 

UPDATE: Thank you so much for participating in the 2014 Kid Lit for Haiti online auction. Please check back in 2015 -or subscribe to this blog so you can be notified when we offer this opportunity again!

2014 Kid Lit for Haiti raised over $3,500.00 in donations! Thank you!

What kinds of things are included in the 2014 Kid Lit for Haiti auction?

Manuscript critiques, Mentorships, Signed Books, Advanced reader copy books, Portfolio reviews, Book club set, Social Media Consultation, Membership in 12x12, and access to an online seminar.

Who is participating?

Melissa Manlove, Editor from Chronicle Children’s Books—manuscript critique (2000 words = up to five of your picture books critiqued!!!) Last chance to bid is today-December 14 2014!!****this auction item has closed. Thank you!

Help spread the word and you could WIN a copy of CHAINED by Lynne Kelly!
Please support #KidLitForHaiti by sharing about it on Twitter or Facebook. Then place a comment on the bottom of this post and me know where you shared. One lucky winner will receive a copy a Lynne Kelly's book, signed and personalized (shipped to a U.S. address).

REMEMBER: 1. TWEET or Facebook
                         2. Comment below, and tell me where you posted.

idea for sharing (you can copy and paste this)

CRITIQUES from Authors/Editors/Agents/Art Directors/Illustrators available on #KidLitForHaiti online auction! at http://bit.ly/10Zv9YZ

Signed ARCs + signed and doodled books available from authors and illustrators supporting #KidLitForHaiti at this site  http://bit.ly/10Zv9YZ 

Get a CRITIQUE, a PORTFOLIO review, membership in 12x12, signed ARCs and more at #KidLitForHaiti auction http://bit.ly/10Zv9YZ  


Kid Lit Publishing folks donating their talent to support #KidLitForHaiti auction  http://bit.ly/10Zv9YZ


Illustrators supporting #KidLitForHaiti You can bid for #illustrator items at  http://bit.ly/10Zv9YZ


Authors giving away Books or Critique or Class! Why-to help students at #KidLitForHaiti here  http://bit.ly/10Zv9YZ

Auction closing times: 11:59pm Mountain Standard Time

How to bid:

Click on the above hyperlinks to bid and discover details about the generous auction donations. Bidding will take place in the comment section on the individual post where details about the participant and the item they are offering are found. 

When does the auction open and close?
The auction is now open! Items have varying closing dates. Please check each item for respective closing date (ranging from December 11, 2014 to December 16, 2014).

Tell me more about the charity Kid-Lit for Haiti supports.
THE CHARITY is a “mom & pop” nonprofit 501 (c)3 charity called The Friends ofHaiti Inc. (TFOHI). My father started this charity after he helped build a community center in 2009/2010 in Pignon, Haiti (a community with a water poverty index even lower than that of Calcutta, India). After he built the community center, he continued volunteering in Haiti and couldn’t help but notice the lack of medical care—one hospital he visited had a total of four doctors for the entire city. It didn’t take long for my dad to have his big idea—to form a charity to provide scholarships for Haitian students who want to go to medical school to become a doctor or nurse.
The terms of the scholarships we provide for the Haitian students require the student to remain in and work in Haiti for a minimum of five years upon graduation. We hope this will be a step in helping Haiti become a self-sustaining nation. Our scholarship students were hand selected from a pool of bright individuals who had no funds for school, because they’d lost either one or both parent in the 2011 earthquake; or they come from a family with a monthly income of less than $30/month (if you’d like to learn more about Christila—a young lady who my Colorado student-volunteers support—click here)
The charity is all-volunteer based; nobody in the charity takes a salary—100% of your money will directly support a student. I call it a “mom and pop” charity because, well, my dad, my stepmom, my brother and I are all involved. Furthermore, my father takes a personal interest in the life of every student we support. He visits their home, he brings them food and clothing, he visits with their teachers, and he follows up on their grades.
Last December, my father and stepmom spent the entire holiday month flying several trips from Nevada to Florida, delivering dozens and dozens of pieces of luggage to Food for the Poor, since Food for the Poor offered to share space on their plane flying from Florida to Haiti. Each tattered piece of luggage was jam-packed with medical supplies, rice, clothing and used computers—all donations for the students and their community.
Once the Food for the Poor plane landed in Port au Prince, a representative of The Friends of Haiti Inc. met the flight and received the donations to distribute to the students. Why fly—it was less expensive than shipping—and my dad and stepmom did this on their own dime. Furthermore, they didn’t just give away their time in December, 2013; in December, 2012 they also flew back and forth until they succeeded at delivering 45 pieces of luggage so the students, the school, and the Haitian community could have some essentials.
If you’d like to donate to the charity, but you did not win an auction item, please contact Kim Tomsic at:
 ktomsic @gmail.com.

Why Kid-Lit for Haiti?
I once listened to Sherman Alexie speak at a sold-out SCBWI conference; the speech came after he won the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for his novel The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian. His speech received laughter, tears and a standing ovation—behaviors for which he expressed surprise. Sherman Alexie typically writes for the adult market, and so he acted shocked at the goodwill and generosity of folks from the children’s literature industry. Perhaps a joke, but he said something like—wow, you people root for one another. But it’s true—you’ll not find a better bunch than those in kid-lit.
The people in the kid lit industry are simply kind and generous—so it shouldn’t be shocking that I got a fast and easy YES from the folks whom I asked to participate in an auction to support a charity that finances students in Haiti.

How to bid:

Click on the above hyperlinks to discover details about the generous auction donations. Want to bid? Find the post featuring the particular item for which you'd like to bid; then add a bid by writing in the "comment" section your increased bid and your contact information. 

When does the auction open and close?
The auction is now open! Items have varying closing dates. Please check each item for respective closing date (ranging from December 11, 2014 to December 16, 2014).

What happens if I win?
Winners will be notified and must be prepared to make a donation in the amount of the high bid payable directly to TheFriends of Haiti Inc. Because there are a handful of charities all named The Friends of Haiti Inc. be sure to use the PayPal button I provide for you or follow the hyperlink in this post. Our charity is based out of Henderson, Nevada. Remember our charity name has “Inc” and also it is a “(dot) Org”. www.thefriendsofhaitiinc.org  Payment from the highest bidder is to take place immediately following the auction. After you make the payment, you’ll forward a copy of the receipt to me at ktomsic@gmail.com, and I will put you in contact with the person who is donating your winning item.

Who is the organizer behind this event ?
Hi! I’m Kim Tomsic. I volunteer in many capacities with the SCBWI. Though this is not an SCBWI event, it’s all SCBWI members donating to it. I am an author and a philanthropist, and I serve on the board of directors for my father’s “Mom and Pop” charity called The Friends of Haiti Inc. 
WHO ELSE IS BEHIND THIS: An incredible group of high school volunteers:  Cayman Tomsic, Mei  Zachwieja, Jason Fontillas, Andrea Staehelin, and Patrick Simpson.

Corporte Sponsors of Kid Lit for Haiti: 

Thank you, thank you, thank you: 

Rock Creek Spine and Rehabilitation, 

                                Ben Oliver of Four Star Realty

                                                                                Boulder Shares

THESE folks have generously sponsored our students in Haiti for three years in a row:

Click Here to learn more about Rock Creek Spine and Rehabilitation 
Click here to learn more about BEN OLIVER of Four Star Realty
Click here to learn more about Boulder Shares and Leslie Sosnowski

Manuscript Critique with Melissa Manlove of Chronicle Children's Group #KidLitForHaiti

Kid Lit for Haiti

This auction item has closed. Thank you for participating!

Kid Lit for Haiti:  Flexible critique from Melissa Manlove
Melissa (Editor at Chronicle Children's Group) is offering a critique of up to 2000 words—and here are the exciting details—2000 words according to Melissa means she will read the first 2000 words of a novel, OR she will read up to five (5) separate picture book manuscripts!!!! (but no more than 5 manuscripts, therefore if your manuscripts are all 40-word board book manuscripts, she will not read 50 of them). 
Manuscripts for critique must be received by Melissa by June 1 2015. You can expect about a one-month turn-around time (all critiques will be given via email).

How do I bid?
Place your bid in the comment section of this blog post by increasing the previous bid by a minimum of $10 increments. Please include information about how I may contact you if you are the winning bidder; If I haven't contacted you immediately following the auction, please reach out to me at ktomsic@gmail.com . Questions can also be posted in the comment section below.

When does this particular auction item close?
**This Auction will close on December 14, 2014** at 11:59pm Mountain Time Now closed. Thank you!

What happens next?
I will contact the winning bidder (as long as you remembered to provide your contact information!). You will make your donation at this donation link and then you will email a copy of your receipt to me at ktomsic@gmail.com Then I will put you in touch with Melissa J
This is a truly unique offering! Happy bidding!

How do I know when new auction items are posted to this blog:

You can receive emails when new auction items are listed. Simply enter your email address in the upper left corner of this blog where it says "Follow by email". You will only receive an email when a new post is created on this blog.

What are other items are currently on the Kid Lit for Hait (#KidLitForHaiti) Auction?

To Visit a full list of all the auction items featured on Kid Lit for Haiti: PLEASE CLICK HERE

Melissa Manlove is an editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, and she is my editor for THE ELEPHANTS CAME (Spring, 2017). Melissa is amazing, smart, thoughtful, knowledgeable, kind, and she possesses that keen ability to get to the heart of a story. I first met Melissa at an SCBWI conference in California when I won an unofficial scavenger hunt (crazy shenanigans go down at these conferences)—martinis with Melissa was my prize. In a half-hour conversation with Melissa, she was able to tell me what was working in my story, and where I was going wrong. In a few sentences she unveiled more secrets about writing than I had learned in years of study. I used her advice and edited my work—a year and a half later I got it right and landed my first sale. When I tell people Melissa Manlove is my editor, the response is usually, “She’s my dream editor!” Melissa has a true passion for children’s literature. She can often be found at her local bookstore where she’s giving a story-time reading to the gathered children.

BIO: Melissa has been with Chronicle for 10 years. Her acquisitions tend to be all ages in nonfiction; ages 0-8 for fiction. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 16 years of children’s bookselling experience.
 (Want to know more about Melissa? Here’s a great interview – click here)

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