Visit our TLA 2020 Virtual Booth

Visit our TLA 2020 Virtual Booth

We missed seeing your friendly faces in Houston this year, but you don’t have to miss out on scoring digital ARCs on NetGalley, watching video messages from our authors, or discovering Texas State Reading List books and more resources! Visit our virtual booth below!


Keep scrolling to discover:

★ Messages and Resources from our Authors ★

Macmillan Publishers Preview

★ Request NetGalley Digital ARCs ★

★ Texas State Reading Lists ★

A message for TLA from Our Authors

Click to expand: View messages from our TLA authors including Christian McKay Heidicker, John Patrick Green, Anna-Marie McLemore, Elly Swartz, Josephine Cameron, Ngozi Ukazu, Adrianna Cuevas, Cate Berry, Echo Brown, Tricia Levenseller, Karen Blumenthal, Laurie Keller, and Tomi Adeyemi!

Christian McKay Heidicker

Author of Newbery Honor winner Scary Stories for Young Foxes
and Thieves of Weirdwood (on sale April 7)
shares a special message for TLA Attendees here:


VIDEO: Virtual Author Visit: Hear Christian read an excerpt from Scary Stories for Young Foxes here.

VIDEO: Hear Christian read from Thieves of Weirdwood here.

Praise for Thieves of Weirdwood:
“This series opener’s both funny and well paced, and the worldbuilding is fantastic.” —Kirkus


Christian McKay Heidicker reads and writes and drinks tea. Between his demon-hunting cat and his fiddling, red-headed girlfriend, he feels completely protected from evil spirits. Christian is the author of  Scary Stories for Young Foxes (a Newbery Honor book), Cure for the Common Universe, and Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower and the co-author (with William Shivering) of  Thieves of Weirdwood. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

John Patrick Green

Author of the InvestiGators series and more
shares a special message for the TLA community here:


Visit to watch the book trailer and find fun activities including a scavenger hunt and a drawing lesson.

InvestiGators is a MacKids School and Library Staff Pick!
Cierra says, “The bright and cartoon-ish art of this new series will keep readers coming back for more hijinks and adventures. Plus– it’s just plain fun.”


John Patrick Green is a human with the human job of making books about animals with human jobs, such as Hippopotamister, the Kitten Construction Company series, and now the InvestiGators series, all from First Second Books. John is definitely not just a bunch of animals wearing a human suit pretending to have a human job. He is also the artist and co-creator of the graphic novel series Teen Boat!, with writer Dave Roman. John lives in Brooklyn in an apartment that doesn’t allow animals other than the ones living in his head.

Anna-Marie McLemore

Hello Librarians, Teachers, Booksellers, and the whole TLA community,

As sad as I was not to get to meet you IRL at this year’s TLA, I’m so grateful for this virtual introduction. I’m Anna-Marie McLemore, author of magical realism and fairy tales that are as queer, Latinx, and non-binary as I am. My latest book is DARK AND DEEPEST RED, a reimagining of the Hans Christian Andersen story The Red Shoes told through the lens of the 1518 Strasbourg dancing plague.

There’s a lot that makes this book close to my heart: red shoes, medieval queers, two brown girls five centuries apart who learn to claim their own fierce hearts, and the fact that during this book’s production process, I realized I was non-binary, and that I have a lot in common not only with this story’s brown girls, but with a medieval trans boy apprentice named Alifair.


But there’s also a lot that, right now, feels heartbreakingly relevant in a way I never could have anticipated. The 1518 dancing plague involved dozens and then hundreds of people dancing uncontrollably in the streets of Strasbourg, a city with a tragic history of blaming the marginalized. And in DARK AND DEEPEST RED, four marginalized main characters fear what blame will befall them in the wake of the plague itself and its terrifying legacy.

When people have asked me what I want people to take away from DARK AND DEEPEST RED, I’ve shared that I want readers to believe that characters of color, queer and trans and non-binary characters, deserve to be heroes in their own stories. And that’s still very much true. But now, more than ever, I want readers to take away this: We survive together. We survive by not turning on each other. We survive by keeping the bright love in our hearts.

Thanks for letting me share a little about DARK AND DEEPEST RED. I look forward to meeting you IRL one day, and in the meantime, if you’re on Twitter, please say hi! I’m at @LaAnnaMarie.

Un abrazo fuerte,


Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. They are the author of The Weight of Feathers, a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award; 2017 Stonewall Honor Book When the Moon Was Ours, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature and was the winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award; Wild Beauty, Blanca & Roja, and most recently, Dark and Deepest Red.

Elly Swartz

Author of Give and Take and Finding Perfect shares a message for the TLA community here:


Give and Take is a MacKids School & Library Staff Pick! Kristen says, “This is a sweet and sensitive book about childhood anxiety that will help young readers process big emotions.”


Elly Swartz grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania, where she lived a happy childhood filled with laughs, family dinners, and crooked birthday cakes. She studied psychology at Boston University and received a law degree from Georgetown University School of Law. The mother of two grown sons, Elly now lives in Massachusetts with her husband. She is the author of  Finding Perfect, Smart Cookie, and most recently, Give and Take.

Josephine Cameron

Author of Maybe A Mermaid and A Dog-Friendly Town shares a message for TLA here:


Request a digital ARC of A Dog-Friendly Town on NetGalley here!

A Dog-Friendly Town is delightful middle-grade cozy caper sure to excite dog-lovers and gentle mystery readers alike!


Josephine Cameron received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame. She is the author Maybe a Mermaid and A Dog-Friendly TownShe lives in Maine, where she writes, sings, and teaches music to kids.

Ngozi Ukazu

Creator of the Check, Please! graphic novel series shares a message for TLA here:


Ngozi Ukazu’s fan favorite webcomic is now a graphic novel series. Check, Please! is the coming-of-age story of Eric Bittle, an ex-junior figure skating champion turned college hockey player learning to cope with the contact sport—and his feelings towards Jack, his attractive team captain.

“Ukazu folds in plenty of hockey terms and highlights team camaraderie while skillfully dismantling themes of toxic masculinity…A slow-burn same-sex romance is just the icing on the cake (sorry—pie) in this irresistibly fun and utterly charming sports story.”—Booklist,starred review of Check, Please!: #Hockey


Ngozi Ukazu is the creator of Check, Please, an online graphic novel whose printing campaign remains the most funded webcomics Kickstarter ever. She graduated from Yale University in 2013 with a degree in Computing and The Arts, and received a masters in Sequential Art in 2015 from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She first became interested in hockey while writing a screenplay about the sport during her senior year at Yale. But after Yale hockey won the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey national championship, she became obsessed. While she used her new-found knowledge of ice hockey to launch Check, Please in 2013, Ngozi has a deep interest in sports that ranges from half-marathon training to basketball documentaries. Ngozi also cites 90’s sitcoms as a major influence in the quirky, found-family feel of Check, Please.

Adrianna Cuevas

Visit our TLA 2020 Virtual Booth-4-4

Request a digital ARC of The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez on NetGalley here!

Download the teacher’s guide here.

A MacKids School & Library Staff Pick! Kristen says, “This #OwnVoices middle grade debut starring a twelve-year-old Cuban-American Dr. Dolittle will appeal to mystery fans and animal lovers. Full of adventure, magical realism, humor, and heart, this is a story readers won’t be able to put down!”

Adrianna Cuevas shares why The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez
is a perfect fit for Texas readers:

Young readers in Texas will not only find a lot to love in The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, but will see themselves represented in many aspects of the story. 

Military Families
Military families make up a significant part of Texas school populations as Texas ranks second in the nation in number of active duty and reserve military personnel. Young readers with family members in the military will recognize their own emotions and experiences through Nestor’s story as he writes to his deployed dad and deals with feelings of separation.

Latinx Community
The Latinx community comprises 40% of the total population of Texas. Nestor’s Cuban-American identity provides readers with a character whose language, family dynamics, and experiences are similar to their own. The food Nestor’s grandmother cooks, the Spanish sayings they share, and the multi-generational household in which they live all provide opportunities for readers to see their own culture represented in literature. 

Texas Represented!
From mentions of Whataburger and Austin to a setting filled with bluebonnets, mesquite bushes, and century cacti, young readers will feel like Nestor is the kid next door and his friends their school classmates. Students have developed a schemata of what it’s like to be a kid growing up in Texas and will recognize that their experiences, relationships, and actions mirror those of another Texas kid–Nestor Lopez. 

Hear author Adrianna Cuevas read Chapter 1 here:


Adrianna Cuevas is a first-generation Cuban-American originally from Miami, Florida. After teaching Spanish and ESOL for sixteen years, she decided to pursue her passion for storytelling. Adrianna currently resides outside of Austin, TX with her husband and son where they enjoy hiking, traveling, and cooking lots of Cuban food. The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez is her middle-grade debut.

Cate Berry

Author of Chicken, Break! shares a message for TLA attendees:


Filled with spunk and spirit, Chicken, Break! is fun and energetic book to teach young readers to count to ten and from ten to one!

“Berry’s snappy rhymes match the frenetic energy of the cunning poultry. But it is Alder’s boldly outlined cartoon chickens that steal the show.”–Kirkus

“Full of wordplay and an extra dose of cuteness, this is a definite first purchase for all children’s collections.”–School Library Journal


Cate Berry lives and writes in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, earning her Picture Book Intensive Certificate in the process. Ms. Berry spent many years as an actress and songwriter before turning to writing. She also loves teaching and offers many classes on writing picture books at The Writing Barn. Although Penguin and Tiny Shrimp will try and convince you otherwise, Cate is an ardent fan of bedtime.

Nick Bruel


See Kitty as you’ve never seen her before: EXERCISING (reluctantly) in Bad Kitty Joins the Team, the latest installment of Nick Bruel’s phenomenally successful New York Times bestselling series.

Find more books from the Bad Kitty series here.


Nick Bruel is the author and illustrator of the phenomenally successful Bad Kitty series, including the 2012 and 2013 CBC Children’s Choice Book Award winners Bad Kitty Meets the Baby and Bad Kitty for President. Nick has also written and illustrated popular picture books, including A Wonderful Year. Nick lives with his wife and daughter in Westchester, New York.

Echo Brown


A Message from Echo Brown about Black Girl Unlimited:

I remember when there was no hope. When the day itself was just a bookmark between tragedies: another morning finding my overdosed mother on the bathroom floor, another visit to the juvenile detention center where my brother is incarcerated, another empty bank account, no more money, never enough money, and another violent episode somewhere on the streets of Cleveland, where I am from. Someone bleeding now. Someone’s face lumped up now. Another, always another.

I did the only thing I could to make sense of it. I wrote about it. Sentences turned into paragraphs, then paragraphs turned into pages, until I was staring down at book full of overwhelming stories, my own and the people around me. Eternal stories, about the resilience of the human spirit and the determination to rise no matter the circumstances. Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard is the end result of that process, a heavily autobiographical book infused with magical realism that Macmillan describes as “fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism.” Those intersections of pain have defined my life, have carved epigraphs of deep wisdom and sorrow across the caverns of my soul.

I put all that wisdom, and sorrow, into this book. As best I could. As much as I could take. I didn’t just write the pain, however. With the help of my editor, I searched for the joy too. For the moments when our eyes were watching god, but our hearts and spirits overflowed with delight. I remembered many of those moments: my brothers and I chasing our dreams in wide open fields next to train tracks, my parents slow dancing after a raucous game of spades where everyone laughed too much, and my kindergarten teacher, who made us twirl and wish on that magic carpet every morning, because “little black kids need the magic the most.”

At many points in my life, and in this book, magic was all I had. Some deeper belief that I could create a reality that was actively being denied to me by every oppression imaginable. That regardless, I could snake charm a promising future for myself right up out of the dust even as I watched those around me drop one by one under the pressure of our circumstances. Life told me it was impossible, but the magic told me to keep reaching. I used magic—and a whole lot of effort— to escape those circumstances, and I used magic to elevate the suffering of the characters in the book and finally allow them the awe they deserved.

There are so many of us on the planet today still trapped in those kinds of circumstances, uncertain if there is a way forward. I am confident this book will speak to them, will call them back from dead and serve as reminder of what is possible. Though the book is centered in the black American experience of poverty, its themes of rising and overcoming are universal and will reach across identity barriers, touching many hearts and minds who have had the audacity to overcome unfathomable obstacles. —Echo Brown

VIDEO: Echo shared what libraries mean to her in this video.

Black Girl Unlimited is a MacKids School & Library Staff Pick! Cierra says, “Echo Brown has crafted a moving story about race, poverty, violence, and mental health. Anyone who has felt as though they were caught between two worlds, who has ever had to leave home, will find themselves in this story.”

Praise for Black Girl Unlimited:
“Brown has written a guidebook of survival and wonder.” —The New York Times
“A treasure of a story that’s poignant, soulful, and inspiring.”—Booklist


Echo Brown is an African-American writer, performer, and playwright from rural Ohio. A Dartmouth alumna and the first female college graduate in her family, she is currently based in Northern California. Echo is best known for her one-woman show Black Virgins Are Not For Hipsters. Black Girl Unlimited is her debut novel.

Tricia Levenseller


A Message from Tricia Levenseller about The Shadows Between Us:

Hi everyone! I’m Tricia Levenseller, author of four YA fantasy books. My latest, THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US, is what I like to refer to as a Slytherin romance. It’s about a very ambitious girl who sets out to woo, wed, and then kill the Shadow King so she can steal his kingdom for herself.

My biggest goal as an author is to empower young women through my female-led adventure stories. I want my readers to know that what they want is important; that no matter who they are, they are worthy of love; that they can make a difference.–Tricia Levenseller

“A viciously satisfying romance featuring two well-matched opponents.” —Booklist


Tricia Levenseller, author of  Daughter of the Pirate Kingits sequel Daughter of the Siren QueenWarrior of the Wild, and most recently The Shadows Between Us, is from a small town in Oregon, but now lives next to the Rocky Mountains in Utah with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing Overwatch, and watching her favorite TV shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

Karen Blumenthal


A Message for TLA from Author Karen Blumenthal:
While I can’t be there in person, I would love to introduce you virtually to Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive RightsThis is a Texas story: Roe v. Wade was filed in Dallas federal court 50 years ago. And while it’s certainly about a controversial issue, it’s not the story you thought it was. Jane is a deeply reported account of the participants and the Supreme Court’s debates that introduces readers to all sides, including the state’s approach to the lawsuit and a history of the Right to Life movement. As I often say, nonfiction provides context to our complicated world. I hope readers will find Jane to be engaging and enlightening.

Jane Against the World reads, at times, like a legal thriller. I kept reminding myself, ‘Wait, I know how this ends.’ …Blumenthal has done her job well: presenting the history, and leaving readers to wrestle with what the future may hold for families facing unwanted pregnancies.”—The New York Times

“Gripping reading; necessary for every library serving teens.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This essential guide, which gives voices to vulnerable populations, demands to be heard.”—Booklist, starred review


Karen Blumenthal is an award-winning children’s nonfiction writer and a long-time journalist. Her book Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award. Later, Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929, was named a Sibert Honor Book, and Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX, won a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History was a YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

Laurie Keller


A New Picture Book Coming in September 2020!

Arnie the Donut wants to know what kind of giant donut YOU are in Hello, Arnie!, a picture book for preschoolers. Don’t miss the rest of Arnie’s adventures, available now!

Praise for Arnie, the Doughnut (Volume 1):
“Laurie Keller is a goofball. She’s a genius. She’s a goofball and a genius.” —The New York Times Book Review

“So deliciously silly is this confection that few readers will pass up second helpings.” —Kirkus Reviews


Download the teacher’s guide for Potato Pants! here

A potato and his eggplant nemesis struggle to find the perfect pants in this hilarious, heartwarming tale of forgiveness.

“A manic tale that’s going to be very hard to read without inducing ‘peels’ of laughter…”–Booklist, starred review

“There’s plenty of silly illustrations and attractive potato pants to keep chuckling readers turning pages to the end.”–The New York Times


Laurie Keller is the bestselling author-illustrator of many books for kids, including Do Unto Otters; Potato Pants!The Scrambled States of Americathe Geisel Award-winning We Are Growing!; and Arnie the Doughnutas well as three books in the Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut chapter book series. Growing up in Michigan, Laurie always loved to draw, paint and write stories. She earned a B.F.A. at Kendall College of Art and Design, then worked at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City as a greeting card illustrator for seven years. One night, the idea for a children’s book popped into her head and after showing the story to several publishers in New York City, she quit her job and moved there. The following year, that story idea was a published book—The Scrambled States of America. Laurie loved living in NYC, but she returned to her home state, where she lives in the woods along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Tomi Adeyemi


Download the teacher’s guide for Children of Blood and Bone here.

VIDEO: Watch Tomi Adeyemi speak about her creative process at the ALA Annual Conference here.

“Meet Tomi Adeyemi—the new J.K. Rowling. (Yep, she’s that good).” —Entertainment Weekly


Tomi Adeyemi is the #1 New York Times-bestselling Nigerian-American author of Children of Blood and Bone. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship to study West African mythology, religion, and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching BTS music videos, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing on her website. She lives in San Diego, California.

Macmillan Publishers Preview

Hear about Macmillan’s upcoming books for kids, teens, and adults! Marketing representatives from MacKids School & Library, Macmillan Library Marketing, and Tom Doherty Associates share upcoming books you shouldn’t miss! Learn more about the Macmillan Children’s books featured in our preview here.


Request these ARCs on NetGalley Here!

Click the link in the covers below to request these digital ARCs or search for titles on NetGalley here.

Middle Grade Books

Young Adult Books

Check out these TLA State Reading List books!

Click to expand: View our Texas State Reading list books here!

2020 Lone Star Reading List

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
Secret Soldiers by Keely Hutton

The Lone Star reading list is developed by public and school librarians from the Young Adult Round Table. The purpose of the list is to encourage students in grades 6, 7, or 8 to explore a variety of current books.
You can see the full list here.

2020 Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List

Best Friends by Shannon Hale; illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Bloom by Kevin Panetta; illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau
Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea; illustrated by Yana Bogatch
Hephaistos by George O’Connor
Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable; illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw
Last Pick: Born to Run by Jason Walz
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades by Mike Cavallaro
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, color by Sarah Stern
PTSD by Guillaume Singelin
Stargazing by Jen Wang
This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

The Texas Maverick Graphic Novels Reading List is a recommended reading list developed by public and school librarians from the Young Adult Round Table. The purpose of the list is to encourage students in grades 6-12 to explore a variety of current books.
View the full list here.

2020 Tayshas Reading List  

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable; illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, color by Sarah Stern
Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens edited by Marieke Nijkamp 
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal 

The goal of the TAYSHAS reading list is to motivate young adults to become lifelong readers and to participate in the community of readers in Texas. Students in grades 9 – 12 are encouraged to read books for pleasure from the list which includes fiction and nonfiction titles.
View the full list here.

2020-2021 Texas Bluebonnet Master List

Pass Go and Collect $200 by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Steven Salerno

The goal of the TBA program is to encourage reading for pleasure. The titles are chosen for both quality and appeal to children. In order to vote, children must read at least five of the titles on the list. Reading the entire list is not required as the titles are chosen to be appropriate for a wide age range. In January each year, students vote for their favorite of the 20 titles on the list, thus using critical thinking skills in selecting their choice.  The winner will be announced in February and the award will be presented at the 2020 Texas Library Association (TLA) Annual Conference. Close to 150,000 students vote each year.
You can see the full list here.

2020 Little Maverick Reading List

Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri 
The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo: The Monster Mall by Drew Weing
Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades by Mike Cavallaro
Science Comics: Cats: Nature and Nurture by Andy Hirsch
Science Comics: Solar System-Our Place in Space by Rosemary Mosco, illustrated by Jon Chad 
Stargazing by Jen Wang
This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

The Little Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List is a recommended reading list designed for children in grades K-5. The purpose of the list is to encourage students to explore a variety of current graphic novels.  
The full list can be found here. 

2020 Texas Topaz Reading List

Attucks! Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City by Phillip M. Hoose
Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning by Leslie Odom Jr.
Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet by Curtis Manley, illustrated by Jessica Lanan 
Pass Go and Collect $200 by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Steven Salerno
Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump by Martha Brockenbrough

The purpose of the Texas Topaz Reading List is to provide children and adults with recommended nonfiction titles that stimulate reading for pleasure and personal learning. 
The full list can be found here.