By Heather Acheson, Danielle Frost
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
When some of your book subjects include ghosts, Big Foot and aliens, fact checking and reliable sources are very important aspect of the research process.Author Kelly Milner Halls writes non-fiction, science based children’s books, several of which deal with these topics. Recently, she spent a day at Dorothy Fox Elementary School in Camas. A highlight was the author’s lunch, which included fourth- and fifth-grade students.
Her book, “The Tales of the Cryptids,” is currently one of the most popular choices in the school library.
“I don’t tell you for sure Big Foot is real, I don’t tell you for sure aliens are real. I don’t tell you for sure ghosts are real. I give you the evidence that I found through years of research, and I leave it for you guys to decide,” she said. “You have to control the rest of your lives what you believe. You’re smart. People forget how smarts kids are. You can take that information and you can make a decision for yourself, or you and your parents can sit down and you can say ‘Hey, Mom and Dad, look at this book, what do you think’?”
For more of this story, see the Camas-Washougal Post-Record print edition.
Tuesday, December 10 -- AUDUBON ELEMENTARY WAS WONDERFUL!!
Claire and Anni Menzer, thanks for making it possible!
Houston, Texas -- December 5 & 6. 2013
TIGER IN trouble -- and grace -- to the rescue!
A little bird told me Grace, a 4th grader at Brookview Elementary in Waukee, Iowa was inspired by reading TIGER IN TROUBLE to raise money for the Carolina Tiger Rescue. She and her entire class -- Mrs. Franke's class -- worked hard and raised $117.00 to help feed and care for tigers who can no longer live in private homes, circus's or zoos.
Grace is my very first featured HERO! I hope she's the first of many. And I'm working on a reward of my own for Grace and her classmates. They sure do deserve it!
Read more about Grace and her fund raising HERE or HERE.
Have you heard of "First Book?"
Join me, Wednesday -- September 18 -- at the St. John's Library!
Early Release Wednesday
Big Fun for grade school kids. On September 18, I will be in St. John to help grades 1 through 5 explore the world of weird creatures, real and undiscovered. Join us at 12:30 for an hour of fun.
Enjoy a snack!
Talk about mysterious creatures!
Make your own Bigfoot or Alien mask!
the prez of a lifetime
"letters about literature" Washington State Level 1 winner/2013
Book Review: Weird rocks by michele corriel (Mountain press)
Every now and then, a book comes along that makes me think, "Wow, why didn't I write this?" WEIRD ROCKS by Michele Corriel is one of those sensational titles. In simple but well crafted one page text blocks (shadowed by illustrations on the opposite page), Corriel explores rocks that float, rocks that burn, rocks that ring, even rocks that stink -- and so much more. If you have a little rock hound with pockets full of mysteries, WEIRD ROCKS is a "must have" purchase. LOVE.
May in Port Townsend & Seattle!
Happily, I had the chance to do one school visit in Port Townsend at Sidney Glen Elementary on May 20, and three in Seattle -- Whittier Elementary -- May 21, McGilvra Elementary -- May 22, and Green Lake Elementary -- May 23.
I visited Sidney Glen last year, so I felt lucky to go back so soon, and the kids were sensational. Then I took the Ferry to Seattle for my next three events.
Whittier had prepared amazing welcome banners and their kids were sensational. McGilvra was an amazing old school with a ghost -- maybe -- in the attic. And Green Lake was all about science, even with Sasquatch and UFOs. Loved each day, every kid. THANK YOU..
Midway elementary in colbert, wa -- you were sensational!
Thank you, western washington SCBWI!
I gave two workshops on writing nonfiction, one on school visits, one on social media, two round table critique sessions AND my first keynote speech. Best of all, I met so many truly amazing people.
LEFT: Three weird and wild writers -- Elizabeth Rose Stanton, me and Suzanne Kaufman. ABOVE: Illustrator Dana Sullivan captured ME! He is amazing.
Four sensational school visits in Oregon, Wisconsin!
On Sunday, April 14 I flew from Spokane to Oregon, Wisconsin to do four fantastic school visits.
Prairie View Elementary on Monday, April 15 -- FANTASTIC!!
Rome Corners Intermediate on Tuesday, April 16 -- AMAZING!!
Netherwood Knoll Elementary on Wednesday, April 17 -- SO GREAT!
Brooklyn Elementary on Thursday, April 18 -- SENSATIONAL!
Can't wait to see the rest of you! The picture above is from Brooklyn Elementary. More pictures below!
Lee and Kenroy Elementaries, Mon. & Tues, March 25 & 26, 2013. FUN!
March 13, 2013
Franklin County Children's Literature Festival is held every hear at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas -- about 90 minutes from Kansas City, Missouri. I had such a wonderful time meeting all the kids, authors and volunteers. If ever you are invited, say yes. It's exceptional. Thank you Vickie and Linda and everyone else who worked so hard to make it possible.
March 17-19, 2013
Sponsored by the University of Southern Missouri and the James C. Kirkpatrick Library, this festival is a celebration of Missouri and its stellar authors. But they also let a few of us from outside the region join in the fun. I couldn't be more thrilled. It was sensational!
Boise, idaho -- here i come!
Hawthorn Elementary, Horizon Elementary, Amity Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Hidden Springs Elementary, Shadow Hills Elementary, Morley Nelson Elementary, and Grace Jordan Elementary.
I'll be meeting with SCBWI members on Tuesday night. I'll be at Rediscovered Books on Thursday night. And I'll be speaking to ICTE educators on Friday night
The Young Writers Conference will be Saturday at 9:00 am at South Junior High School.
Sure hope to see a LOT of you while I'm in town. I love Boise! We're going to have FUN!
Letters from Lincoln Heights -- Thank you, kids! i love them so much!
I.N.K. -- my latest blog
Larry and I met when we both staffed a Highlights Workshop at Chautauqua in 2007 and we've been fast friends ever since.
If you're looking for top notch books about the Civil Rights Movement, or many other topics, Larry should be your go-to guy.
Thank you Larry. You're swell.
CLICK HERE to read the blog!
Auntie's Bookstore -- Spokane, WA -- December 22, 2012
Thank you, Garden Heights !
I could not be more grateful for the chance to share a school day with so many smart, curious kids and their devoted teachers and administrators.
Thank you so much for welcoming me.
This drawing and the welcome bulletin board below greeted me as I walked through the front door of the school. Before I left, they asked me to sign it so they could laminate it and display it in their library. It'll be there with another drawing of my friend, poet Kenn Nesbitt, who visited last year. Honored to be in such great cartoon company!
Once again, thank you so much!
Fun in Edmonds, Seattle & Bellevue, WA
From November 26 to 30, 2012 I did school visits in Edmonds, Bellevue and Seattle, Washington. I had such a great time. Thank you so much -- kids, librarians, volunteers and teachers -- for making me feel so welcome!
Madina at Woodridge Elementary wrote a book report about TIGER IN TROUBLE and gave it five stars (right). Thanks, Madina! I love what you wrote.
Enjoy the other pictures below, too! THANK YOU!
Thank you, YALSA!
IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH has been named a YALSA Readers Choice nonfiction selection for 2013. I am so grateful. YALSA Rocks!
NCTE...here I come!
MGM GRAND CONVENTION CENTER
Las Vegas, NV
Friday, November 16
4 – 5:15pm
Author Panel: Igniting the Sustainable Love of Reading in Reluctant Readers Location: MGM Grand Ballroom Room 120, Level One
Speakers: Kelly Milner Halls, Bruce Hale, Ellen Hopkins, Terry Trueman, Cari Sadler
Saturday, November 17
11am – 12pm
Signing at Chronicle Books with Chris Crutcher and Terry Trueman
Booth # 334
1pm – 2pm
Signing at Anderson’s Bookshop with Chris Crutcher
Booth # 147
Many thanks to author Laurie Thompson for her interview about me on February 14, 2012, too. She asks a series of great questions and I'm grateful for her hard work. See it HERE.
Thank you, Texas!
Here I am with ROBS student journalists as good as any pro, when it came to their questions. The man with the moose is storyteller Willy Claflin and he's amazing with that puppet. Read more about him and his books here: http://www.willyclaflin.com/welcome.php.
The kids were sensational at all three schools, and so were all the educators who made the school visits possible. I was born and raised in Texas, so going back always means the world to me. THANK YOU, SO MUCH!
THANK YOU, RMS students in New Hampshire!
I got your GREAT thank you notes today, 6/18/2012, and I love them. Click HERE to see more about these amazing letters from kids in Concord, NH. Thanks to librarian Nancy Keane for sending them to me, too. I love Rundett Middle School and all the kids who go there!
"One kickin' Robin." YES!
I love Elizabeth Bird. She's an amazing librarian, a vibrant voice in children's literature, a force to be reckoned with. And she's so fun. She posted this in her July 19, 2012 blog.
"This made the Twitter rounds not too long ago, but I’m sure a fair number of you might have missed it. Marc Tyler Nobleman came up with an inspired blog post idea: solicit photos from children’s authors of childhood pictures where they were dressed up like superheroes. The results include a lot of big names (Peter Brown, Lemony Snicket, Bruce Hale, Adam Rex, etc.) though honestly Kelly Milner Halls takes the cake as one kickin’ Robin. The post is SO extensive that I think you’ll have to consider it your necessary reading of the day."
Thanks! My mom made that Robin costume and she knocked it out of the park. You should have seen my best friend Craig Bottoms as Batman. We rocked it, that Halloween.
WILD HORSES revisited!
Thank you Examiner reporter Suzanne Corbett Endres for writing about WILD HORSES in your July 18, 2012 column.
I love your series of photographs so much, I posted them at my page just for WILD HORSES. I also posted this one (left) here.
Loved your SASQUATCH photos with your black Pug reading the pages, too. You ROCK!
Check out Suzanne's latest by clicking on the photo.
NEW BOOK on display at ALA in Anaheim, CA -- June 2012
Rundlett Middle School in NH thanked ME, too! LOVE THESE!
Thank you, New Hampshire!
I just spent three wonderful days in New Hampshire -- May 22, 23 and 24th. I shared two days with the kids at Deerfield Community School in Deerfield, NH and one day at Rundlett Middle School in Conchord.
All three days were sensational, and I am so grateful to librarians Ginni Schonwald and Nancy Keane. And I can't tell you how great all the kids were. THANK YOU for making me feel so welcome.
BTW, my new friend William at Rundlett had one of the coolest t-shirts EVER. Check it out at the left. Check out other pictures from NH below.
Were you there? I was, and I'm so grateful for it!
I gave workshops on nonfiction and school visits. But there were so many amazing sessions, I was amazed.
So check them out HERE. THANK YOU Robin and Judi for including me.
Auntie's Bookstore -- May 9, 2012
Because there are Two Sides to Every Story. So glad you enjoyed the fun ALIEN prizes I shared. So nice meeting Thomas (above) and seeing kids from Jefferson Elementary and their parents, along with others including authors Trent Reedy and Mary Cronk Farrell. I'm so grateful.
THIS WEEKEND: The Pacific NW Conference on Primal People
Paul Graves Ron Morehead
Arla Williams R. Scott Nelson
Dr. Melba Ketchum Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum
Bob Gimlin Derek Randles
Tom Cantrall Kelly Milner Halls
Hosted by expert and radio personality Tom Cantrall, it was an amazing exploration of the evidence. For more about it, click HERE and HERE.
Thank you for having me!
Texas Library Association ROCKED!
Great week in Casper, Wyoming!
A HUGE "Thank You" from the kids at RCI in Wisconsin. LOVE.
LEO, the RCI Gecko (ABOVE)
Leo, the gecko pictured above, is RCI library pet. Isn't he sensational?
It was a great two day adventure, complete with a trip to the Wisconsin State Capital. The kids were incredible. Thanks, Chris and RCI kids!
On the left, I'm pictured with the RCI Sasquatch, created in my honor. He's sensational, too!
More photos below.
Ian from Olympia, WA
Bothell, Washington -- March 20-23, 2012
Letters from College Place, Washington
Fun gifts from Port Orchard student Ben!
Thank you, Gonzaga University!
AUTHOR'S QUIRKS INSPIRE
by Nicole Crapps
March 7, 2012
It is telling that children's author Kelly Milner Halls completely ignored the lectern and chair set out for her when she came to Gonzaga to speak to aspiring writers, and instead sat on a table. That her favorite pet is not a typical dog or cat, but rather a five-foot iguana named Gigantor. That her most-watched TV shows are about Time Lords and zombies.
For the past 20 years, Halls has made her living by being just a bit different, by trade-marking "weird," and on Monday, March 5, she encouraged a group of student writers to "find their niche" as well.
Halls described her younger self as "a squirrely little kid" who was constantly curious about the world around her and always asking too many questions. Attending four middle schools made her shy among strangers, but no less intrigued by them. Joining her high school newspaper was a major turning point.
"Even people who didn't want to talk to you would answer any questions you had because you had that byline," Halls said of her time as a journalist. "Everyone wants that fame. So that was a great way for me to learn new things and talk to new people."
Halls later attended Brigham Young University and studied to be a professional journalist.
"I did that for a couple years, writing articles, but I wanted something that would last longer," Halls said. "Also, when you're a journalist, sometimes you have to write about people who do bad things and I couldn't stop thinking about those people's kids. I wanted to do something that didn't hurt people's feelings."
Even as an adult, Halls found much of the adult literature she began to review too long and slow-paced. She remembered irritating one prominent author in particular.
"I said, ‘Tom Clancy, I'm using your book as a doorstop because you could edit about 300 pages out of it.' It was so tedious," Halls said. "And on the other hand, there are these young adult novels that are making such a powerful point in such a short amount of time."
A divorced single mother, Halls found her calling when she started reading magazines and books to her children. She realized that there was an opening in the publishing world for children's nonfiction, but had a hard time convincing an editor to take her seriously. For years she wrote children's book reviews to supplement her income and became an assistant to young adult novelist Chris Crutcher ("Whale Talk," "Angry Management"), which she said opened many doors for her as an author.
Today, Halls has published more than 1,500 articles and 26 books. Some of these address tough subjects like war and injuries. She especially recalls treading carefully when writing "Saving the Baghdad Zoo" in order to write sensitively for her young audience without sugarcoating the facts.
"You've got to write some pretty intense things because they're going to be deciding whether we get into another war," Halls said about addressing difficult subject matter for young readers. "You tell them the truth so they can think really hard about the decisions they'll make for us in the future. These kids are so hungry to see the world and define their beliefs. If you just tell them the truth, they'll find their way."
In spite of being "not quite famous," Halls has received her share of bad reviews. Kirkus, a well-known publishing company, wrote that her book "Alien Investigation: Searching for the Truth about UFOs and Aliens" was "about as exciting as your neighbor's vacation slides for the third time." Halls did not let this criticism faze her.
"Every other alien book out there tries to terrify kids; this one gives them the facts and encourages them to think critically. That's why people called it boring," she said.
In addition to writing children's nonfiction, Halls visits elementary schools to talk about her books and sign autographs for her young fans. She hopes to affect the way they view themselves and the world around them. At one school, Halls remembers reading her book about albino animals and having a little girl call them "creepy."
"Are they really creepy?" Halls asked. "Or are they just different?"
The kids agreed that difference was not necessarily a bad thing, which Halls felt was an important lesson in tolerance. Another of her favorite messages to her young readership is to never give up.
"People will go out of their way to tell you it's impossible, but you can make a living doing what you love if you just make that commitment," Halls said. "Everything is within your grasp."
Halls' next project is a book on the history of video games, which she hopes will appeal to and inspire her male readership.
"Video games are the perfect analogy for writing and for life. There are all these levels and if you just keep at it, eventually you'll get it," Halls said.
My amazing friend, Tiffany -- March 1, 2012
Last month, I sent Tiffany a copy of Albino Animals after she sent me a very sweet first letter. This is her thank you note and the photo she sent of herself. I think she is a very beautiful human being and I'm so grateful to call her my friend.
Tiffany, you ROCK! I hope we get to meet someday, too.
February for the Literacy Connection and the Tri-Cities!
I didn't get pictures from all the schools, but I'd love to fill in those gaps if you have any photos I didn't get, TriCities librarians. Thanks again for working so hard to get your kids ready. It's been amazing.
Regal Elementary in Spokane -- February 7 & 8, 2012
ALIENS at Tinman, Too -- January 28, 2012
I introduced ALIEN INVESTITATION at the Tinman, Too Bookstore in the historic Garland district (of Spokane) across the street from Ferguson's and the Milk Bottle. Thank you so much to all the people who stopped by to talk about visitors from other galaxies. We gave away an Alien cup and saucer to one lucky winner, but all of the people who came left with their own pocket alien. FUN.
ALA Midwinter 2012 in Dallas
I was unable to attend the American Library Association's Midwinter Conference in Dallas, Texas. But my friend Lucy Kubo did attend, and took these two pictures of my early 2012 book releases. GIRL MEETS BOY is from Chronicle Books and ALIEN INVESTIGATION is from Millbrook/Lerner. HATCHLINGS will come in April from Running Press.
Thanks, Lucy! Thanks Chronicle Books. Thanks Millbrook/Lerner and super PR pro Lindsay Matvick (seated above)!
Saturday, January 14, 2012 -- Keller, Texas
On Saturday, January 15, I joined Ellen Hopkins, Lori Aurelia Williams, Jeff Hirsh, Tim Tingle, Greg Rogers, Beth Fehlbaum and other stellar authors for YAK Fest -- Young Adult Keller Book Festival, in Keller, Texas (near Dallas/Fort Worth).
We had a full day of exciting activities, thanks to the hard work of Lucy Kubo and her energetic team!
On Sunday, January 15, I signed SAVING THE BAGHDAD ZOO at the Dallas World Aquarium at noon, also thanks to Lucy Kubo.
Thank you, Lucy!
Fun -- January 7, 2012
Thanks to all the people who turned out to join me and my friend Chris Crutcher on Saturday, January 7 at the Tinman, Too Bookstore in the historic Garland District of Spokane. We discussed my new anthology GIRL MEETS BOY, a collection of stories including Crutcher's story as an opener. It was a terrific event!
GIRL MEETS BOY is a YA book intended for mature readers 14 and up. It deals with very mature subject matter.
ALIEN INVESTIGATION is coming!
Starred review in Kirkus? YES!
GIRL MEETS BOY -- my YA anthology for mature readers 14 and up -- landed a starred review in Kirkus:
"This conceptually unique collection of short-story pairings by a constellation of teen-literature stars explores a variety of relationship types as the respective male and female involved in each one experience them.
"In the first, a witty teen seeking to stop cheating on his girlfriends is drawn into a messy sexual relationship with a troubled (but hot) girl who is an abuse survivor. In another, a likable, tough girl muscles in on a bully who is harassing the object of her crush. In the third, a gay 17-year-old agrees to an in-person meeting with an online-chat buddy in a tale both sad and sweet. Two separate stories examine the strain felt by couples of different ethnic backgrounds as they struggle with prejudice and familial expectations. Finally, a boy re-encounters someone with whom he’s long been enamored, only to discover she’s undergone a transformation. Common themes—that are less about gender-based perceptions than they are about teens struggling to be seen and loved for who they truly are—knit these stories together. Each of the authors excels at creating vibrant, sympathetic, honest characters with voices that will appeal to older teens, male and female alike.
"A superb offering—and therefore a shame that its cover design of a boy and girl in a clinch makes it look like a run-of-the mill romance, which may limit its appeal. (Short stories. 14 & up)"
Thank you, Chicago Tribune!
WOW! Great holiday press for IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH.
On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal ran a review of IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH and I was delighted. Today, it was in the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune as a featured holiday gift book. I couldn't be more excited! Thank you, whoever made the decision to include my new book! I hope people really enjoy it!
Thank you, Authorlink!
Wild Dogs and their domestic brothers
Lynne W. was nice enough to send me this letter about my book, WILD DOGS. She also shared the two photos to the right. Thank you, Lynne, for making this snowy Sunday a little warmer! Lynne said:
Dear Ms. Halls,
Thank you so much for creating the book "Wild Dogs Past & Present." I checked the book out of the Multnomah County Library for my own enjoyment. I knew instantly that I needed my own copy as I have never seen so many color pictures of all the different wild canids and so much information about all of them in one place.
What I most like about the book is how you refer to "wild dogs." That's how I think of them as well, especially coyotes and wolves. It breaks my heart to read discussions about how even 16 wolves seem to be too many for the ranchers in Oregon.
When I look into the eyes of the wolves in your photos, I see Tobi looking back at me, and when I look into her eyes I see a wisdom outside human culture. But, as to the chihuahua, I do not see wolves. I have this major lurking suspicion that the chihuahua genome was "contaminated" with another canid during its creation in Mexico -- something uniquely "New World" and Pre-Columbian.
Is there any chance you've come across legitimate information specifically about New World domesticated dogs that includes a study of their genomes? Attached are pix of my Dobby (the chihuahua) and my Tobi and me...because, based on your book's dedication, I know you love dogs as much as I do.
Genetics say Tobi and Dobby are equal, in terms of their connections to ancient wolves. But selective breeding -- the human hand -- has made Dobby feel a lot less wolf-like than Tobi. Just in case you wondered about Lynne's question, too.
ABOVE: Little Dobby. BELOW: Lynne and Tobi.
Addison LOVES Cryptids
I asked if I could send Addison a copy of his own. Larry asked his librarian Jacque Cooper and she agreed. Today, Larry sent me her response. THIS is why I write what I write.
"We just received the book from Kelly yesterday so I presented it to Addie when his class came to the library today and he was speechless."
Thank you, Larry and thank you, Jacque. Most of all, thank you Addison!
SASQUATCH B&N Ad -- plus!
Looking for a weather report in Spokane (for November 16, 2011) I came across this B&N ad, featuring about ten book titles, including MINE! Thanks Vanessa (my daughter) for the screen capture to remember it by. So fun!
Thanks, too, to Sara Latta who blogged about SASQUATCH here.
And thanks to trade giant, Booklist for reviewing IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH so positively. I couldn't be more excited!
Look what came today, 11/12/11...yay!
Spokane Children's Writers meet-up
Claire Rudolf Murphy
Kelly Milner Halls
Meghan Nutall Sayers
Mary Cronk Farrell
Chris Crutcher (out of town)
Trent Reedy (no show)
National Geographic, my next challenge!
I don't want to spill the beans on just which animal rescue stories I'll be tackling, but let's just say if you like ALBINO ANIMALS, there will be at least one animal story you'll really want to get your hands on -- plus two more terrific tales to go with it.
My deadline is February of 2012, but I'm not sure when the book will be available. But the minute I know, I'll be sure you know., too And if I get additional assignments on the same series, I'll let you know about that, too!
So excited to write for National Geographic! It's a nonfiction writer's dream come true. My "wish list" isn't completely fulfilled yet. I can think of several more publishers I'd love to write for, too. But I'm awfully proud to have this chance to write for the NatGeo team.
I won't let you down, NatGeo. I won't let my readers down, either.
Many thanks to journalist Tammy Marshall for writing this:
I'm so proud of this! November is Picture Book Month!
And I'm pretty proud of being a Picture Book Month 2011 Champion. So I'm flying this badge right on top of my homepage and inviting you to celebrate it, too!
Thirty-one writers and illustrators will share their comments on the Picture Book Month website -- mine will go live on November 2, 2011 after midnight. I hope you'll stop by.
Check it out here, be sure to check back often, and spread the word. Picture books rock, so tell the world!
Saturday, October 29, 2011 was awesome!
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Saturday, October 29
Lots of you turned out to help me celebrate the "birth" of my new book, IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH, complete with yummy cake! I gave away a half-day school visit to Marggy and Lincoln Heights Elementary and I even gave a sneak peek at ALIEN INVESTIGATION. Thanks to everyone who showed up!
WORD Conference Chapters and Chocolate Reception
3:45 pm to 5:00 pm, Saturday, October 29
Ten Spokane authors lined up to talk about their work at the WORD Conference at Gonzaga University's Cataldo Hall in the Globe Room. The Spokane SAC IRA will supplied ice cream. I brought a big chocolate Sasquatch cake!
Eagle Scout Kevin Tsuchida's "Make-A-Wish" fund raiser!
I was so honored to contribute one of many items gathered by Eagle Scout Kevin Tsuchida to raise money for the "Make-A-Wish" auction on Friday, October 28, 2011. Hope it helped a little, Kevin! Your parents are so proud of you -- and I'm proud to know you, too!
SASQUATCH on the radio: Thursday, October 27, 2011
Thanks, Nonfiction Detectives!
For reviewing IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH on your terrific blog. I really appreciate it! Click HERE to check it out! But here's an excerpt:
October is the perfect month to read about mysterious happenings and strange occurrences. The children in my school love to explore the 000 shelf in the nonfiction section. They are usually in search of books about UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster, and Bigfoot. Kelly Milner Halls, author of Tales of the Cryptids, has written a new book that is sure to satisfy inquiring minds.
Yay! I got my author copies...
I'll be having a contest to give a few of these away as soon as the release date (October 25) is a little closer.
I'm SO excited about the release of this book! Hope you guys LOVE it.
Saturday, September 24, 2011...
Annalisa Hall (no relation) shares my "weird."
Imagine my delight when I discovered blogger/author/illustrator Annalisa Hall had written about me on her blog in September of 2011. We met when I spoke at the San Diego SCBWI Saturday workshop a few months ago. That's part of why I love my job. I meet the nicest people.
Thank you, Annalisa, for seeing something worth remember in my books!
Thank you, Deborah Heiligman and I.N.K.!
Thanks for interviewing me, Deborah, and thanks for featuring that interview on one of my FAVORITE blogs, I.N.K. -- Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. It's truly an honor.
Check out Deborah's hard work HERE.
Don't blame the dog, share the picture! : )
"My daughter attends Briargrove Elementary in Houston, TX. Last May, you were at the school and did a book signing. We purchased a book and you signed it for her. Unfortunately, sometime last night or early this morning, our Basset Hound Lucy, ate a corner of the book - front to back and in between - I attached a picture for your enjoyment!!! LOL!!! Is there any possible way I could purchase and have you sign another copy? I promised her I would get in touch with you as soon as possible!"
Is there any doubt what my response was? I'll get a new book out today or tomorrow. I love that they liked the book enough to replace it. That knowledge -- and Lucy the basset hound -- PRICELESS. Thanks for the terrific note, Tracie and Kendall. I won't let you down!
Boy's Life Magazine likes CRYPTIDS
Thanks Steve McQueen and Boy's Life. I'm really pleased!
Girl Meets Boy -- my first YA project (for kids 14 and up)
It's an anthology -- a collection of short stories. In the stories, two writers team up to tell the same story; one from the boy's point of view, one from the girl's.
The writing pairs featured are:
Chris Crutcher & Kelly Milner Halls
Joseph Bruchac & Cynthia Leitich Smith
James Howe & Ellen Wittlinger
Terry Trueman & Rita Williams-Garcia
Terry Davis & Rebecca Davis
Randy Powell & Sara Ryan
Chronicle will publish it in January of 2012. Hope you like it. It's a project that makes me really proud! Amazing writers. Amazing stories!
Garland Street Festival, August 13, 2011
...was a BLAST. I had such a great time with my fellow writers Claire Rudolf Murphy, John Bladek, Meghan Nuttall Sayers and Mary Cronk Farrell. We were there in support of the Tinman Too -- a lovely children's bookstore -- at 809 W. Garland Ave. (509) 325-3001. Stop by if you ever need a book for a young reader! Did I see YOU there?
Thank you, PNLA!
I had so much fun speaking at the PNLA Conference -- in Spokane this year -- on August 3, 2011 with Claire Rudolf Murphy and Kenn Nesbitt. We did our session on reaching reluctant readers.
Kenn talked about humor, Claire talked about history and I talked about weird or intriguing nonfiction. It was a wonderful three hour session I HOPE the librarians loved as much as I did.
PW Spring Preview 2012
Chronicle -- GIRL MEETS BOY
Lerner/Millbrook -- ALIEN INVESTIGATION
Running Press -- HATCHLINGS
"This is the amazing story of the resurrection of the zoo and its animal population. The zoo was once the home to more than 600 magnificent animals. But, after the war in Iraq began in 2003, the city faced widespread destruction. When U.S. Captain William Sumner was asked to check out the state of the zoo he found that it, too, was devastated. Hundreds of animals were missing and those that still remained were in desperate need of care.
"The book tells the story of tremendous compassion , courage and love generated by a team of people who came from our armed forces, Iraq and the world over to help Captain Sumner help the animals. Meet abandoned lions who roamed the empty palace with no food or drink, the camel Lumpy who survived (along with his rescuers) the transport through sniper fire and the poor pelican that did not have access to clean water, food or shade, and was tethered to a 3 foot length of rope.
"This is a story of renewal and rebirth and of how people with many back rounds came together, putting their lives on the line, to save a very desperate group of animals. In so doing did they not only give the animal a bright future, but provided the families of Iraq a place of peace and hope."
Thanks, Gary Anderson...
"Saving the Baghdad Zoo is an excellent book for upper elementary-age students but will be appealing to other ages too. This is the story of how zoo animals in Baghdad were rescued during the American invasion of Iraq and the efforts to provide a safe home for them as well as a recreation venue for Iraqi citizens. Because the subject matter here is set against a backdrop of war, violence, looting, and terrorism, I was concerned that this book might be too “heavy” for young children. Kelly Milner Halls find just the right balance of providing necessary information but not overwhelming children with images or descriptions that are too troubling. The war is explained in the first few pages, and then the story focuses on the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of American military personnel, American and Iraqi civilians, and animal rescue professionals.
"Saving the Baghdad Zoo is nicely edited with many large pictures; sidebars with facts about various animal species; first-person narratives; maps and facts about Iraq, Baghdad, and other geographical and historical topics; manageable chapters; and an engaging base text that acknowledges but doesn’t dwell on the more graphic aspects of rescuing animals in the middle of a war zone.
...and Chloe, one of her young scientists, loved ALBINO ANIMALS. Thank you so much, Science Mommy. I really tried to make it a book worth reading. Read the blog HERE.
Believe It! Tour Fundraising Auction...
Read more about it HERE.
SAVING THE BAGHDAD ZOO a VOYA Honor List Book for 2010
Liberty Lake Elementary's Wax Museum, June 6, 2011
Milo, Junior Cryptozoologist!
Milo loves TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS and I think he's pretty swell, too. So it was my pleasure to send him an official Junior Cryptid Investigator certificate. Something tells me Milo will make many discoveries in the years to come. Curiosity is the path to adventure, great and small.
Thanks for reading, Milo! You rock!
Sasquatch buttons for ALA -- June 25 & 26, 2011
I'll also be doing the Nonfiction Book Blast on Sunday with nine other amazing writers. After the panel, I'll be signing books at the Lerner booth at 10:00 am.
Rick Spears, one of my favorite illustrators, created this button design for me so I'd have something great to pass out -- reminders that IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH is coming soon! Be sure to stop by to get one!
Thanks Rick. You're awesome!
truTV by Kelly Milner Halls
A few months ago, I wrote the text as a straight cryptozoology feature. They found me via TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS.
In late April, they let me know it had been published -- with a twist. Celebrity look-alikes, a cryptid pairing.
I tend to be a little more gentle with people because I don't like hurting anyone's feelings, so please know I didn't DO this. But some of them a a little funny.
There are a dozen or so of the descriptions and pairings, not just this one. I wrote all the text, did not pick the pairings.
The link for you, is HERE. Enjoy...or not. : )
Happy Birthday, Declan!
I met Declan while I was in Camas doing school visits (April 2011). He was a little bummed that he didn't get a book, so his mom and I conspired to get him one. To my sheer delight, he got the book on his 9th birthday. Isn't it amazing when a little something gets a little bigger, simply by chance? Happy birthday, Delcan. You're terrific! Hope you love those WILD DOGS.
Thank you, Marilyn Carpenter at EWU!
Actually, thanks Marilyn Carpenter and Chris Valeo. They invited me to share SAVING THE BAGHDAD ZOO with their Global View Through Children's Literature students at Eastern Washington University on April 26, 2011.
I happily accepted and they presented me with not one but two EWU sweatshirts as thanks. How lucky am I?
Marilyn retires after this year, which is a huge loss for EWU's teacher education program. She is famous in the Pacific Northwest for helping college students to become effective, compassionate students. She is also famous for the children's book collection she has collected over the years. Incredible.
Thank you, Marilyn and Chris for the sweatshirts, for letting me speak and for your dedication to education. The world is better for your hard work.
Camas, thanks for the THANK YOU!
Prune Hill Elementary in Camas, WA (minutes from Portland, OR) invited me to speak at their school and to share their Sasquatch Winner party (see below). To my surprise, they sent me this and two other wonderful thank you "bigfoot" notes. I love them. So thank you for the thank you, Prune Hill! You rock.
How to have a great SASQUATCH AWARD party!
It was such a fantastic experience, I wanted to share the photos here. Our librarians work so hard to make reading fun! They deserve our appreciation and support. Thanks, Meghan & kids!
Camas, WA kids are SENSATIONAL!
I'll be back, if you ever invite me again. How could I resist? You were amazing!
Check out the fantastic Sasquatch they made at Prune Hill Elementary! Look below for other special projects all three schools shared with me!
SAVING THE BAGHAD ZOO a Bank Street College "Best Book"
The website explains the lists & selection process this way:
"One of the most comprehensive annotated book lists for children, aged infant-16. The Committee reviews over 6000 titles each year for accuracy and literary quality and considers their emotional impact on children. It chooses the best 600 books, both fiction and nonfiction, which it lists with annotations, according to age and category."
Thank you, Bank Street College, for your dedication to the celebration of powerful books for young readers!
Kelly Milner Halls: Guest Blogger!
My friend, freelance writer Sue Edwards said it made her cry -- but in a good way. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Thanks, Christa Pryor! (March 2011)
When I was at Christa's school in Houston, she asked me if any of my illustrators would donate original art she could frame and put in her library. Rick Spears had given me the original watercolor paintings he created for DINOSAUR MUMMIES. So I shared one of the six with Christa, along with a paperback copy of the book.
This is how those donations look now, framed for her library. I love it. Thank you, Christa for paying tribute to Rick and DINOSAUR MUMMIES so beautifully.
South Elementary Artists ROCK!
Thank you so much for these beautiful works of art. They were amazing. I wish I could have taken them home! Just lovely.
My favorite guys!
Olympia, here I come!
Thanks, Winton Elementary in Coeur d'Alene! Feb 7 was FUN.
New Hampshire was SO fun!
I visited Joel Burdette's Windham Center School and Golden Brook School, Nichole Anderson's Paul School, Linda Sherouse's North Hampton School and Nancy Keane's Rundlette Middle School.
The kids were so fantastic, I can't say enough about them. One had treasure in his pants. Another wondered about those Flossaraptors I was talking about (Velociraptors). And the people of New Hampshire are so warm and friendly, I felt completely at home. I heard about Mt. Washington and frozen soap bubbles, sampled a Lobster Roll, stayed in two beautiful historic hotels (and four other very nice places, thank you). I saw a subzero surfer AND was even given a six pack of clam chowder so good it should be illegal.
THANK YOU, Joel, Nichole, Linda and Nancy. PS...Nichole and Linda -- I'd love to come back if that works out -- without a doubt! Nancy, Maple syrup time, oh yeah!!
Writer Davonna King wrote about me for her October blog feature. If you're interested, check it out HERE.
Angela L. Fox did a Skype interview with me, too and you can check it out HERE.
Hedden Hawks ROCK!
After an all school assembly, we had writing workshops with five different groups o Hedden students. It was a fantastic experience, just wonderful.
Thanks Mr. Wolfe, for letting me share the day!
My friend Lucie worked REALLY hard on this illustration tribute to WILD HORSES after I talked at her school, Explorer Elementary, in San Diego on November 15. The hours show, and I LOVE it.
Thanks so much, Lucie. You're a superstar!
Harbor Seals at the Children's Pool in San Diego! LOVE.
San Diego ROCKED! Thanks, Roxy. : )
On Sunday, several SCBWI folks took me to breakfast, then Roxy and I explored a local Harbor Seal hangout, the Museum of Man in Balboa Park and the Maritime Museum at the harbor After having dinner with Roxy and her family, I got a concert, thanks to Roxy's husband Kawika and daughter Danielle.
On Monday, I spent the day with kids at Explorer Elementary, where Roxy is librarian, and had a great time meeting the Explorer Science Lab bearded dragon (at the left). What a fun filled three days I had. It'll tide me over until I head to Seattle in mid-December.
Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency SOLD MY YA BOOK!
GIRL MEETS BOY is a YA anthology for readers 14 and up, featuring six story pairs by Chris Crutcher/Kelly Milner Halls, Terry Trueman/Rita Williams-Garcia, Jame Howe/Ellen Wittlinger, Terry Davis, Becky Davis, Randy Powell/Sara Ryan and Joseph Bruchac/Cynthia Leitich-Smith. They tell the story of the same events, one from a female point of view, the other from the male point of view.
Chronicle Books will publish the book in the Spring of 2012 and I couldn't be more excited. Thanks, Jill. Thanks writers. Thanks Chronicle! You all ROCK.
September 11, 2010 -- SCBWI in Boise was STELLAR!
Second, there was a book signing at the local bookstore, the Rediscovered Bookshop the night before which went very well. Boise apparently loves my books, and how great is that?
Third, I got to speak at two breakout sessions -- one on author visits, one on nonfiction. I thought both went beautifully. In fact, YA novelist and co-RA Sydney Salter said my author visit presentation was the best she'd ever seen.
Could things get any better? They could indeed.
Friday night, Herman Agency agent Jill Corcoran (left) and I got in the best conversation about what makes nonfiction trustworthy. It was a pressure free conversation because I knew Jill only represented fiction, and I had given up on finding an agent.
Next morning, before the conference began, there was a contract in my email box. Jill wanted to represent me. She was willing to make an exception. I did my presentations from the upper stratosphere.
In the three weeks since, Jill has been an astonishing professional. She's worked so hard and so well, there may be more good news very soon. And she's inspired me to work much harder, too. I had already decided I wanted to up my game and take some giant steps in my work. But having her in my corner made that seem possible, rather than a far off dream.
Amazing things can happen. That's the moral of this story. As John Lennon says, life is what happens when you're making other plans. Sometimes those plans intersect with remarkable results.
Am I happy? Oh man, YES. In fact ... YAY! YAY! YAY!
Here is my Herman Agency page: http://www.hermanagencyinc.com/kelly_milnerhalls.htm
MUFON Symposium -- it was GREAT!
Liberty Lake's Wax Museum
In May, Maya sent me interview questions because she was doing a biographical report on me. Later, she and her mom, and Kassidy and her mom asked me if I could come to their school, Liberty Lake Elementary on June 8 at 7:00 pm to share in the fun.
Of course I said YES! YES! YES! I wouldn't miss it. And it turns out four girls decided to write about and BE me in their wax museum projects. So I had SO much fun
I also saw that Hunter wrote about someone I know and admire, Richard Jesse Watson, so I took his picture too.
THANK YOU Liberty Lake kids for making me feel so special. YOU are the really special ones. And I should know. After all, I write nonfiction...don't I?
Dinosaur Parading -- SUCCESS!
My event at Spokane Public Library was a little smaller, but just as wonderful. Thanks to the folks who shared that time with me, too.
Whitman County Library sent me to the amazing Steptoe School where I spoke to two groups of students -- K through 4 and 5 thought 8. They were spectacular, too. Sheri, the Whitman County Library was so kind to let me share that day with her, May 26. Thanks to all the librarians and the Foundation for Early Learning for making this possible.
Franklin Elementary's DINOSAUR PARADE mural ROCKS!
Horn Book Magazine
Thank you, Inlander!
Dinosaur Parading -- thank you, Rick Spears!
Rick Spears is THE best illustrator, ever!
Wenatchee was WONDERFUL!
Oh, and check out Lewis & Clark librarian Amy Ferrell's blog about my visit here. I'll take those kids up on being their grammy, at least in spirit. They were great.
My friend, William Sumner in the NEWS!
FROM IRAQ TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
"The first-graders in Kim Hackbart’s class at Peter Sarpy Elementary School in Bellevue had a special visitor recently.
Maj. William Sumner, father of first-grader Morgan Sumner, stopped by to present his book, “Saving the Baghdad Zoo … A True Story of Hope and Heroes,” to the students. Kelly Milner Halls is co-author of the book.
Hackbart invited Sumner to visit so the students could meet an author and also hear some positive stories about Iraq.
Sumner answered the students’ questions about his book and his experiences in Iraq — and the students had many questions.
Sumner served with the Army’s 354th Civil Affairs Brigade. Since completing his tour of duty in Iraq, Sumner has been assigned to the U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base near Bellevue.
He continues to support efforts at the Baghdad Zoo and has worked with the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, a charitable nonprofit organization that protects cultural property in conflict areas.
Sumner gave the students a copy of “Saving the Baghdad Zoo” for their classroom.
Read Across America, 2010
My good friend Terry Trueman covered the second half of the day at NMS, and I missed saying hello to him.
HELLO TERRY TRUEMAN...NEXT TIME LUNCH!
But I had great fun just the same. I love both of these schools (and their librarians, Cindy and Lee), so I'll always be available to do READ ACROSS AMERICA events for them. This Friday? One more READ ACROSS AMERICA event at Chester Elementary. Then I'll put away my stripes for another year.
Thanks everyone, for letting me join in the fun!
SAVING THE BAGHDAD ZOO in Sugarland, Texas!
February Fury in Pennsylvania
They all swore snow would grind the community to a halt by February 10, and I didn't believe them. But the next day -- and the day after -- I was snowed in at my hotel. I had to miss visiting South Elementary altogether, which was such a bummer. And I WILL be back. But I didn't get home to Spokane until after midnight on Friday, February 12 (well, technically, Saturday, February 13). The February Fury was quite an adventure.
OH! And they have a nuclear power plant not ten miles from all of these great schools...the Limerick Power Plant. How cool is that? I'd never seen one in real life until Joan picked me up from the airport and dropped me off at my hotel. This (below) is the view from the street in front of my hotel! So very NEAT!
Rick Spears BIGFOOT art on display -- part II
The story of sasquatch certainly goes far beyond the 1987 movie “Harry and the Hendersons” or recent beef jerky TV commercials. It has been told for centuries among Northwest Indian tribes. That mix of ancient mythology and modern commercialism is the focal point of a sasquatch exhibit that opened Saturday at the Washington State History Museum."
So begins a January 2010 article in the News Tribune, and the exhibit is amazing, even if I haven't seen it yet (I'll see it June 5). I know it's amazing because they featured Rick Spears' artwork from TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS, and this directional sign he created especially for the museum. Isn't Rick GREAT? The answer is YES!
Rick Spears TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS art on display!
January 25 -- South Pines Elementary in Spokane, WA.
PS One of the teachers confessed (in private) that she had seen Bigfoot. See? Reliable people have witnessed this strange animal too -- the Great North American Ape!
Creation Museum and the evolution gal!
Northern Kentucky was FANTASTIC!
WLMA was such fun!
ALA 2009 in Chicago
Friday, Dec. 5 at Auntie's in Spokane
On Friday night, December 5, at 7:00 pm, I'll join five other writers to introduce our latest books and to share our favorite suggestions of other people's books as holiday gifts. I hope you'll stop by because it should be really fun. Terry Trueman, Verla Kay, Beth Cooley, Claire Rudolf Murphy and Mary Cronk Ferrell will be there with me, so don't miss the fun!
New Book Coming in 2011!
Holy cow! I got the greatest email from my new editor at Houghton Mifflin in November. She said they had decided to accept my book proposal and publish IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH in the fall of 2011. I couldn't be more thrilled. It will be a book about the science of searching for Sasquatch -- Bigfoot -- from documenting and casting alleged Sasquatch tracks to doing DNA tests on hair and blood samples to actively searching for the mysterious creature where eyewitnesses claim they've been seen. Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, Loren Coleman, Richard Noll and many other Bigfoot hunters have agreed to let me tag along and interview them as they delve into the serious science of discovery, and I'll share it all with you! It should be an adventure!
Oh, and the albino Sasquatch to the left is from Tales of the Cryptids -- beautifully illustrated by my favorite illustrator, Rick Spears. Check him out HERE. It's his new website, and it's terrific.
Manson Elementary, near Chelan, WA
In October, I got to do an all-school assembly and three writing workshops with the brilliant students at Manson Elementary. They were such warm, loving kids, it was an amazing experience. Many of the kids were ESL students, but even the youngest were fluent in both languages, which makes me think someone on the national education front should take some tips from Manson. Because they do a great job with these bright, wonderful kids. Made me sorry I didn't speak Spanish too. They were all great writers, and the staffers were amazing too. Thanks Tracy and Heidi for the fun day and photo. Thanks kids, for being so GREAT.
In September, I had the great joy of revisiting Opportunity Elementary in Spokane, a school where I was "writer-in-residence" for Get Lit the year before -- until Vanessa got sick and I had to resign to take care of her foot tumor recovery and her mystery liver ailment. I missed the kids so much, it was a special treat to spend the day with them, in their library, giving my standard presentations and a special on for the kids I'd worked with the year before, including this wonderful young man pictured here. THANK YOU, Opportunity, for being so understanding and for letting me stop by.
Washington State Award Nomination
HOORAY! Our book, TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS has been nominated for the Sasquatch Reading Award for 2009. How cool would THAT be? If a book about Bigfoot and other cryptids won the Sasquatch Reading Award? Plus I LIVE in Washington State, where the award originates. I'd be so proud.
CRYPTIDS was also named a Lone Star Reading List title by the Texas Library Association, in my OTHER home and birth state of Texas, Maine and Pennsylvania also put CRYPTIDS on their lists. THANK YOU so much, you guys. Means everything to me. .
More about THE SECRET SATURDAYS...
Want to know more about THE SECRET SATURDAYS? Don't miss creator Jay Stephen's TERRIFIC blog, Monsterama. In fact, keep your eye on Monsterama for all kinds of great news about the funny or bizarre.
On a side note, I emailed Jay because I'd heard TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS was one of the research guides used to write the first season episodes and because I can't wait to see it. Here's what Jay said in response:
What a nice surprise! Your book is absolutely wonderful, Kelly. Just the sort of thing where I say to myself, "I wish I'd done that!". A copy of the book sat prominently on producer Fred Schaeffer's desk throughout the series production.
Tell you what. I'll send you a piece of authentic Secret Saturdays artwork if you'll send me a personally signed copy of Tales of the Cryptids. OK? Just let me know the address you'd like it mailed to.
Quick anecdote: when I was in grade 4 I wrote my 'Public Speaking' report on the possible existence of Bigfoot and won first prize at my school! I guess I sounded pretty convincing!
What a great guy, huh? Smart, creative, talented AND really nice. Can't WAIT to see the show.
Cartoon Network's SECRET SATURDAYS
Rick Spears, my partner in so many of these great book projects, got a neat phone call a couple of weeks ago. Producers at the Cartoon Network (Atlanta based, like Rick) wanted him to talk about cryptids in a promotional video for their new cartoon series, THE SECRET SATURDAYS. Yesterday (August 22) we found out it'll be playing at Regal Theaters as a trailer for STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. So if you want to see Rick on the silver screen, head to the movies. VERY cool.