BOOK AUTHORITY.ORG PICKS WIL’S ROSA PARKS BIO AS ONE OF THE FOUR BEST AMERICAN BIOGRAPHIES FOR BEGINNING READERS IN THE NATION

Happy 2024 to one and all! And we’re thrilled to begin the new year with an exciting announcement—the Rosa Parks biography that Wil wrote as part of the ‘Rookie Biography’ series, which he helped develop from the ground up for Scholastic Publishing, has been chosen by Book Authority as one of the four best American biographies for early readers in the nation! Book Authority curates the world’s leading web site for book recommendations by national figures in order to help librarians and other readers choose the most impactful books on any subject. Past recommendations have come from Bill Gates, Reese Witherspoon, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, and Sheryl Sanburg, and Book Authority council members have been featured on CNN, Forbes, Inc., and in other global media outlets.

“They look easy to write, the Rookie Biographies,” Wil said in his initial response to the news, “but trying to capture the essential life story of a historical figure like Rosa Parks with just three-hundred words, and using only language that can be easily understood by someone in the first or second grade, is a maddening challenge. That’s been essentially the formula for the Rookies all along—roughly three-hundred words, and a Lexile level no higher than about 400 to 500. Now I know how Superman felt when he had to change his clothes in a phone booth.” 

To see the list of four recommended biographies, click here—

https://bookauthority.org/books/beginner-american-biography-books

For contact, please use general@wilmara.com. All emails are answered within 24 hours.

ANNOUNCEMENT: WIL MARA HAS BEEN APPOINTED THE NEW CHAIR OF THE NEW JERSEY CENTER FOR THE BOOK. SHARON RAWLINS TO SERVE AS VICE CHAIR.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ: It was announced late yesterday that Wil Mara has been appointed the new Chairman of the New Jersey Center for the Book, with Sharon Rawlins, of the New Jersey State Library, to serve as Vice Chair. The Center is affiliated with both the United States Library of Congress and Rutgers University, in particular their celebrated School of Communication and Information.

For more than two decades, the New Jersey Center for the Book has “…advanced a dynamic literacy agenda, championing its definition as the ability to read and write while extending it to include literacies emerging in the 21st century.” It has focused particularly on the rich and ongoing literary heritage of the Garden State, in particular its students and educators, its talented authors and illustrators, and its many literary landmarks. The Center’s founder, Renee Swartz, had an inestimable impact during her tenure, initiating countless programs that sustain to this day, along with a supporting Board of Directors who have given selflessly of their time and considerable talents to ensure that the Center’s mandate was faithfully fulfilled. In the years ahead, the Center’s new leadership will carry Renee’s remarkable legacy forward with new initiatives designed to further the organization’s reach and influence.  

Wil Mara has served on the Center’s Board for many years. He has also been an author since the mid 1980s and has more than 340 books to his credit. His 2013 novel Frame 232 was a bestseller that won the Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction. His 2006 novel The Draft became the hit movie Draft Day starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. And his 2005 novel Wave won the New Jersey Notable Book Award. In 2019, he launched the supernatural series ‘Twisted’ for middle-grade readers through West 44 Books (a division of Rosen Publishing), which has earned high praise from Booklist, School Library Journal, and librarians from around the country, as well as the Gold Standard Award from the Junior Library Guild. He was also an editor and production executive inside the publishing business for over twenty years (Prentice Hall, Scholastic, Harcourt Brace) and the creator and facilitator of the ‘Myth of the Reluctant Reader’ lecture series. His awards include the Literary Lion Award in 2019 and, from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, the New Jersey Author of the Year in 2020.

Sharon Rawlins, also a longtime Board member for the Center, has been the New Jersey State Library’s Youth Services Coordinator for over fifteen years. She has supported other librarians statewide through her work with the annual Summer Reading Program, the Collaborative Summer Library Program national initiative, and the fall Youth Service Forum. She has also forged critically beneficial alliances with a diverse collection of organizations—from the Franklin Institute Science Museum to the National Girls Collaborative Project. She also serves as the State Library’s representative to the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, attending both their meetings and their annual conference. She has been a steadfast presence at the annual National Book Festival in support of the New Jersey Center for the Book, and she plays an active role on the Garden State Book Awards committee. In 2019, she was recognized for her tremendous contributions to the state when she received the New Jersey’s Librarian of the Year Award.

For more information about Sharon—

For more information about the New Jersey Center for the Book—

https://njcenterforthebook.org/

For contact, please use general@wilmara.com. All emails are answered within 24 hours.

WIL TO BE A GUEST AUTHOR AT THIS YEAR’S NJASL FALL CONFERENCE IN DECEMBER

The 2023 fall conference for the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, which will follow the wonderful theme of ‘A World of Stories: A Celebration of Diversity in School Libraries,’ will feature numerous authors and illustrators from around the state, Wil among them. Wil is the author of more than 300 books, both fiction and non, and a past NJASL Author of the Year. The conference will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, from December 3rd to 5th. If you haven’t yet signed up, you are strongly encouraged to do so, for the sessions and networking opportunities are always fantastic. The main portal page for this event is here—

https://www.njasl.org/FallConf

As a featured participant in ‘Authors and Illustrators Alley,’ Wil is going have copies of his ‘Twisted’, ‘Izzy Jeen the Big-Mouth Queen’, and ‘Kid from Planet 27’ books on hand, along with varied offering of FREE posters, bookmarks, and informational flyers (including new ones for his ‘Best Bang for Your Budget’ author visits!). So if you attend, please make a point of stopping by to see him and say hello!

To visit Wil’s main site, which has further information about all of his books, please go to—

http://www.wilmara.com/

To contact us, please use general@wilmara.com. All emails are answered within 24 hours.

WIL TO BE A PANELIST AT THIS YEAR’S NYC ‘BEYOND ACCESS FORUM’

Wil is going to be participating in this year’s ‘Beyond Access Forum’ event, hosted by the New York City Department of Education, as a panelist for the session on ‘Navigating Book Challenges: Insights and Advice from School Librarians and a Children’s Author’. Primary topics will include the rising threat of book banning, against which Wil has spoken out publicly on many occasions. 

He will be joined on the panel by Lindsay Klemas, former high school librarian, who will be discussing her experiences around inclusive displays, collections, and the emotional toll of pushing back on challenges. Also, Patricia Sarles, Library Coordinator and moderator of the session. And finally Melissa Jacobs, Director of Library Services, who will discuss NYC Public Schools Collection Development Policy and Selection Criteria, and why it’s essential to focus on building inclusive collections.

Please note that this is an entirely online event that will take place on Tuesday, November 7th. It features many other sessions and networking opportunities to aid in professional development. For full details and to register, please use the following link—

https://www.techlearningevents.com/nycbeyondaccess-november2023/home?ref=J23

WIL ON PBS TO DISCUSS BANNED BOOKS

Wil taped an interview segment last month for PBS’s ‘New Jersey Spotlight News’ on the red-hot topic of banned books. The threat of censorship in our school and public libraries is growing at an alarming rate. National Banned Book Week ran from September 18-24 this year, and PBS contacted Wil for an author’s perspective as part of a larger report on the issue. Also interviewed was New Jersey librarian Martha Hickson, who received the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians earlier this year and has endured considerable challenges of her own where book banning is concerned.

Click on the image below to check out the segment.

For contact, please use general@wilmara.com. All emails are answered within 24 hours.

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