SMASH Picked by the Children's Choice Book Awards!

Children's ChoiceIt's been nearly a year since SMASH: Trial by Fire was published by Candlewick Press. And what a year it's been!

In just nine short months, we've received a flurry of fantastic reviews and numerous award nominations, including winning the 2013 Oregon Spirit Book Award.

And now comes word that SMASH is a winner of the 2014 Children's Choice Book Awards! From their website:

The reading list kids pick! Each year, 12,500 children from different regions of the United States read newly-published children's and young adult trade books and vote for the ones they like best!

The Children's Book Council has overseen the awards for over 70 years.

Smash Cover

Kyle and I couldn't be more honored to be selected by the most prestigious group of judges in the world — actual kids!

Huge thanks to the Children's Book Council for promoting such a worthy endeavor — and, of course, to all the young readers who voted.

If you haven't gotten a copy of SMASH: Trial by Fire for yourself or a young reader in your life, click on one of the links in the right-hand margin and order now. It's the perfect summertime read. And if you don't believe us, just ask the kids who voted!

SMASH Reading at Green Bean Books

We can't stop singing the praises of Green Bean Books in Portland, Oregon. It's a wonderful children's bookstore — and even though it occupies a relatively small space, it feels like you could be lost for days in there. Green Bean pose

Last Saturday, writer Chris A. Bolton read from SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE for a bunch of excited kids and eager parents.

Green Bean window

Green Bean sign

Kyle couldn't be there to read with him, so Chris's friend (and longtime Smash fan) Craig Fitzpatrick stepped in to provide voices for the Magus, Gareth, and other characters.

Green Bean Craig Helps

Green Bean reading

Green Bean Craig

Ordinarily, Kyle and Chris use a laptop to project individual panels onto a screen for their live readings. But since Green Bean has a simple outdoor setup, the audience had their own books to read along with Chris and Craig. Well, not everyone got her own book...

Green Bean Audrey

But they all managed to find a way to share!

Green Bean Reading

Green Bean Share

SMASH Reading This Saturday!

Writer Chris A. Bolton will read from SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE this Saturday at the magnificent Green Bean Books in Portland, Oregon! Green Bean

It's part of Green Bean's epic Superhero Weekend. The reading starts Saturday at 2 p.m., but you won't want to miss out on any of the festivities all weekend-long:

Sunday is Superhero Day! The line-up of events is SUPER — with make-your-own mask and cape activities, a Kryptonite scavenger hunt, and plenty of superhero stories to share! It's only $10 per child to participate. Register now by calling 503-954-2354.

Walk In

Green Bean Books is an amazing bookstore! One glance inside means instant love. If you live in Portland and you have kids, you owe it to yourself — and your kids! — to check it out.

SMASH Wins the 2013 Oregon Spirit Book Award!

We are thrilled to announce that SMASH:  Trial  by  Fire  has  been  named  the  winner  in   the  Graphic  Novels  category  of  the  2013 Oregon  Spirit  Book  Award  by  the  Oregon  Council  of   Teachers  of  English.

  The  Oregon  Spirit  Book  Award  is  given  yearly  to  the  author  of  a  distinguished  contribution  to  picture   books,  middle  reader,  young  adult,  graphic  novels,  or  non-­fiction  literature...reflecting  the  spirit  and  values  help  by  Oregonians.

Smash Cover

This is a tremendous honor for us. Kyle and I are hugely flattered, and want to thank the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, as well as all our wonderful readers. We couldn't have done it without your support!

Great Review: SMASH "Made My Day!"

Smash: Trial by Fire earned a wonderful review from the blog Kiss the Book:

I am always on the hunt for a great graphic novels for elementary students. The catch is that they must have quality artwork and a quality story, all while staying G rated. It’s a tricky bill to fit and this graphic novel does a fantastic job. The cover art itself is so great that students are going to be fighting over this. The illustrations are top notch: bright, fun, action packed, and creative. The story will relate to any student who would like to try to their hand at superhero powers. Hooray, this book made my day! A must have for any graphic novel collection!

Smash Cover

To order your copy of Smash, click on any of the links in the margin to the right!

Indies First Storytime Pics

Bestselling, award-winning (and fellow Candlewick) author Kate DiCamillo liked what she saw on Indies First day and decided there should be a similar celebration for children's bookstores. So began Indies First Storytime Day, which encourages authors to visit their favorite independent children's bookstore on May 17th and read a book (or two) out loud. I was thrilled to participate at Green Bean Books in Portland, Oregon. Green Bean

Green Bean is basically a tiny house that is one of the ten most amazing places on the planet Earth. You walk in and fall in love with shelves full of beautiful books — and there are some dioramas that you can't take your eyes off of. (Signs ask people not to touch, which is good because even the adults could barely help themselves...)

Walk In The Indies First Storytime display, with our very own SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE right in front! I'm in the back with owner Jennifer Green, whose infectious love of children's books grabs you right away.

The Store Seriously, are you in love yet? Great things come in small packages.

Hello Kitty You could spend half the day admiring displays like this Hello Kitty corner.

Sparky Here I am reading the wonderful Sparky, written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Applehans. Now I want a sloth for a pet!

Imaginary The endpapers of Dan Santat's beautiful The Adventures of Beekle show a gallery of imaginary friends. This pumpkin-headed one is my pick!

Reading Sparky

Reading Sparky 2 Reading Sparky to a great group of eager listeners.

Dino Dinosaurs roam the beautiful back deck at Green Bean, feeding on delicious donuts.

Signing Smash Signing a copy of SMASH for some new fans.

I had a fantastic time on Indies First Storytime Day and I can't wait for next year!

Special thanks to Jennifer Green and everyone at Green Bean Books for hosting a great event — I'm even more excited to read at Green Bean Books next month for Superhero Weekend! And if you live in Portland, make sure you visit Green Bean Books the first chance you get. I promise it will be love at first sight!

SMASH Is a Top Ten Most Circulated Book!

The school librarian blog 100 Scope Notes has compiled a list of the Top 10 Circulated Books of 2014:

As we approacheth the end of the year, I like to take a look back at the books that really moved in my K-4 school library. These are the books that my students couldn’t get enough of during the 2013-14 school year.

And guess which book is #10? We'll give you a hint:

Smash Cover

We're honored to sit right next to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Amulet on the list!

We like to think Smash, Wimpy Kid, and the Amulet heroes all hang out on school library shelves, swapping wild tales about how excited kids get when they read them.

SMASH Is a Black-Eyed Susan Nominee!

The Black-Eyed Susan Award is presented each year by the Maryland Association of School Librarians (MASL) to "authors and/or illustrators of outstanding books chosen for the award by Maryland students." The list of 10 nominees for the 2014 Black-Eyed Susan Award has been posted — and we're thrilled that Smash: Trial by Fire is one of them!

Smash Cover

We've made the list alongside such fantastic titles as Nathan's Hale's Big Bad Ironclad, Rob Harrell's Monster On the Hill, Jake Parker's Missile Mouse: Rescue on Tankium3, and Dave Roman's Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity.

Click here to see the full list of nominees — there's a ton of great reading to be found here.