Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Whaley, Reynolds, & Kiely event recap + a giveaway for teachers and librarians

Last night I attended an event at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor that included authors John Corey Whaley, Jason Reynolds, and Brendan Kiely. All three of them talked about their current books, read for a bit, and then answered questions.They were very conversational with the crowd and so it felt like we were just sitting around talking in a living room together rather than attending a reading at a bookstore. More importantly, each author made me want to immediately read their books as I listened to them give background about the story and characters, and then read a snippet from the book.
Literati event
John Corey Whaley, Jason Reynolds, and Brendan Kiely + their books

After their talk, I went up to get books signed from all three authors, and as I was talking to Jason about the intriguing cover of When I Was the Greatest (which I happen to love), he mentioned that the cover is actually preventing his book from getting into schools due to zero tolerance policies (you know the ones -- where kindergartners who point their finger to mimic a gun get suspended). Nevermind that these people doing the censoring haven't even read the book. The fact that there's a gun on the cover makes it nonnegotiable.

So I decided, in some small way, I want to do something to help get this book into schools.

This is what I propose: I am going to give away a signed copy of Jason Reynolds's book When I was the Greatest here on my blog. But I'm only going to offer the giveaway to teachers and librarians with the hope that I can help get this book on a classroom or school library shelf. In order to enter the giveaway, you will need to provide a work email address that proves you work for a school, which is the email address I will use to notify you if you win.

Book info:
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
Published: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Atheneum
Format: Signed hardcover
Pages: 240
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: Young Adult

 Goodreads summary:
In Bed Stuy, New York, a small misunderstanding can escalate into having a price on your head—even if you’re totally clean. This gritty, triumphant debut captures the heart and the hardship of life for an urban teen.

A lot of the stuff that gives my neighborhood a bad name, I don’t really mess with. The guns and drugs and all that, not really my thing.

Nah, not his thing. Ali’s got enough going on, between school and boxing and helping out at home. His best friend Noodles, though. Now there’s a dude looking for trouble—and, somehow, it’s always Ali around to pick up the pieces. But, hey, a guy’s gotta look out for his boys, right? Besides, it’s all small potatoes; it’s not like anyone’s getting hurt.

And then there’s Needles. Needles is Noodles’s brother. He’s got a syndrome, and gets these ticks and blurts out the wildest, craziest things. It’s cool, though: everyone on their street knows he doesn’t mean anything by it.

Yeah, it’s cool…until Ali and Noodles and Needles find themselves somewhere they never expected to be…somewhere they never should've been—where the people aren't so friendly, and even less forgiving.

Terms and conditions:
One winner will receive a signed, finished copy of When I Was the Greatest
In order to enter, you must provide your work email that proves you work for a school
U.S. entries only
Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter
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  1. What a wonderful event! I love Jason Reynolds's work--I've passed around the book of art and poetry he did with Jason Griffin (My Name Is Jason. Mine Too) in my Adolescent Lit course--almost everyone has read it now. I had wondered if the cover of his new novel would be a censorship issue, and it sounds like it is. I also love the cover though. Thanks for sharing and doing this giveaway.

  2. My school is a private school, so I know I'll be able to place the book if I should win, Beth. Thanks for sharing about it. I did think that maybe it was an adult mystery since you said it was only for teachers and librarians. Too bad about the cover.