Friday, August 17, 2018


Dear Friends,

Thank you each and every one who stopped by the blog this week to leave a comment for Author/Librarian Jen Nails. Your support of authors and good books is always a great boost for writers. We really do appreciate everything you do for us!

MG is one of my sweet spots and as many of you probably know FOOD is a passion of mine as well. I love recipes and talking about food and researching ways to create healthy meals which are also tasty, so that bit about 20 recipes included in the book was very tempting, but I did not add my name for a chance to win. I also know that Jen has a wonderful gift for voice, so if you weren’t the lucky winner, you’ll want to order this book for your favorite young reader, for yourself, your school library or classroom.

Thanks, Jen Nails, for the gift of your time and your delicious book, One Hundred Spaghetti Strings. 

We have a great line-up for fall with more chances to win some terrific books by favorite authors!

The LUCKY WINNER of the Comment Contest is: SIOUX ROSLAWSKI

          ****CONGRATULATIONS, SIOUX****

(Sioux, Please email me with your mailing address and include to whom you’d like the book personalized. Jen will send it off to you asap) claragillowclark(at)gmail(DOT)com. 

If you haven’t already, please stop by Jen’s website or follow her on social media:


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Author-Librarian Jen Nails Talks about Process + #Giveaway

Dear Friends,

Please join me in welcoming Author-Librarian Jen Nails for the Back-to-School giveaway. Jen talks about inspiration and process as well as sharing a little about what she’s working on now. She’s generously donating a copy of her middle grade novel One Hundred Spaghetti Strings (published by HarperCollins spring 2017) for the comment contest. All you have to do for a chance to win an autographed copy is leave a comment for Jen. Let me know in your comment if you share on Twitter, FB, Google+ or follow this blog, and you’ll get more chances to win. Winner will be announced on Friday, August 17th, so hurry!

Author/Librarian JEN NAILS
Born and raised in Las Vegas, NV, Jen Nails has lived in Boulder, CO and New York, NY. She's taught English, theater, and creative writing, and is now a K-12 Librarian/Media Specialist (the best job she's ever had). Jen is the author of two novels for middle grade readers.

Writing from the Inside Out. . . by Jen Nails

I remember hearing Jacqueline Woodson speak at the New York SCBWI conference a few years ago and someone asked her if she experienced writer’s block and if so, what did she do? She said that she didn’t believe in writer’s block. She said if she ever sat down to write something in particular and wasn’t feeling it, she started writing something else, until she found the thing that she needed to be writing. If she came back to the first thing, great, if not, great. This has helped me over the years to recognize that it’s okay to put something on hold if you really, really, really have to write about something else in that moment. 
My novel-in-progress about three 7th graders who try and prevent the implosion of a Las Vegas casino has been through at least nine or ten drafts and I’m totally full steam ahead about it, but over the summer, there was something kind of tugging at me. 
I got divorced three years ago, and since then I’ve become addicted to national parks. Somehow, bringing my sons to the parks has become both an addiction and an antidote. I’ve been keeping little diaries that kind of chronicle each of our visits and I am using them to create a guidebook for heartbreak, an “off the beat and path” travel guide to healing and becoming whole again. 
The thing is, there are so many threads and themes that I had begun to follow in the novel that are actually more relevant to this nonfiction book. In fact, one of the poems from the novel is now a part of the travel guide. In keeping with Clara’s theme of Writing from the Inside Out, I wanted to share that I think it's so important to honor that thing that is eating at you, that is begging to be put on paper to get it out of your system, even if it isn’t the thing that you are “supposed to be writing right now.”  

Here’s Jen’s latest book for middle grade readers! Review below.

Book Summary from amazon:
   This brave and heartwarming middle grade novel will leave your belly rumbling and your heart full. Because when life hands you lemons, it’s time to get cooking! Perfect for fans of Sarah Weeks, Leslie Connor, and Lynda Mullaly Hunt. 
    Since Steffy was little, she and her older sister, Nina, have lived with their beloved Auntie Gina. But when the girls’ dad comes home to live with them, everything changes. So Steffy does what she does best: She cooks her way through the hardest year of her life.
    Sometimes it feels like everything but the kitchen sink is being thrown at her—too many ingredients that don't quite work. And all Steffy wants is for her family to be whole again. Can her recipes help bring them back together?
One Hundred Spaghetti Strings also includes over twenty recipes—which Steffy cooks throughout the book—so aspiring young chefs can try them out when they’re done reading!" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

To learn more about Jen and her books or to follow her on social media, check out the links below:
Publisher's Weekly review, February 2017 

Thank you, dear readers, for joining us at this busy end-of-summer time. Don’t forget to visit Jen's website or follow her on FB and Twitter.

And thank you, Jen, for sharing insights into your creative process. I loved your line, “Honor the thing that is eating at you.”

I’ll be back in a few days to announce the winner. ~Clara

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Announcing the Lucky Winner of FOOD FIGHT FIESTA

Dear Friends,

Thank you each and everyone who stopped by the Book Birthday Celebration for FOOD FIGHT FIESTA by Tracey Kyle. And THANK YOU, TRACEY for being our guest and for your generous donation of a personalized copy of your new picture book! The winner picked by did such a great job of spreading the word by commenting on the post, sharing on twitter, FaceBook, and Pinterest. AND the lucky winner of FOOD FIGHT FIESTA is Carol Baldwin! CONGRATULATIONS, CAROL!!!! (Please send me your mailing address and to whom you’d like the book personalized and Tracey will have it on its way to you asap.) 

We’ll have several more picture books and some novels to giveaway between now and the end of the year. If all goes as planned, I’ll be back next week! If not. . . Well, you know, I’ll be in touch! ~Clara

Food Fight Fiesta: A Tale about La Tomatina.

Kyle, Tracey (author).

Illustrated by Ana Gomez. 
July 2018. 32p. Skyhorse/Sky Pony, $16.99  (9781510732155). K-Grade 2. 
REVIEW. First published June 22, 2018 (Booklist Online).
One of the world’s more unique and messy festivals happens every August in Buñol, in the Spanish province of Valencia, when tens of thousands of people honor the town’s patron saints by throwing tomatoes at one another. Introducing this exciting-sounding event is an American eighth-grade Spanish teacher writing in a singsong style: “The crowd is soon covered in bright, crimson juice. / ¡Caramba! Tomatoes are still on the loose!” Rather than cloying, these rhymes are a good fit for a hectic food fight, which is accompanied by accordingly frenetic illustrations by a Madrid-based artist. There are a few questionable choices—a confusing map highlighting Portugal, not depicting the required goggles on all of the kids, and allowing the final couplet to depend on a boy “cuddling a tomato” in his sleep, which doesn’t seem like the wisest thing to do. All that aside—and barring any attempts at a cafeteria reenactment—this is a good time, and an author’s note, glossary, and bibliography anchor this fun and widely unknown romp in fact.— Andrew Medlar

Tracey Kyle published her first bilingual picture book, GAZPACHO FOR NACHO (Two Lions) in 2014. She is also the author of A PAINTBRUSH FOR PACO (little bee) and the forthcoming ALPACA PATI (Running Press, 2019) and PEPE’S SPECIAL DAY. OLE! (little bee, 2019). She spends most of her day as “Señora Kyle,” teaching Spanish to an energetic group of 8th graders, and when she’s not writing she likes to cook, read and practice yoga. Be sure to stop by Tracey’s website to learn more about her wonderful books: