This is the blog of children's book author and elementary school teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Monday, December 26, 2016

#IMWAYR December 26, 2016 Vacation Post

Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR Vacation Week!

My vacation started on Friday. Even with some holiday celebrations, I've had lots of time to read.

I picked this up because current events were brining back memories of this book, which I haven't read since high school. It's a pretty scary read and (spoiler alert) I completely forgot that things did not end well for the main character.

When Hermione and her cheer captain decide to share the school curse with the other teams at cheer camp, they already knew that part one, losing a member of the team to a drunk driving accident, had been fulfilled. They could not have imagined that part two of the curse, a cheerleader getting pregnant, would happen at camp because of a spiked drink. This book handles the tough topic of rape. I liked that Hermione has an excellent support system that stays with her throughout the whole book as she has to face what happened to her.


I read the first two book in Abbi Glines Field Party series one after the other, starting the second one at 2am because I couldn't get enough of these characters. Told from multiple points of view, each character has to face the challenges of family and past mistakes in order to move towards a brighter and better future filled with love and forgiveness. I'm looking forward to the next one, which comes out this summer. 

Here's the rest of my vacation TBR list: 

I'm sure I will be adding more as the week continues. It's hard to believe that the next time I post it will be 2017. What's on your TBR list as you enjoy some time away from your classroom? 


If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads.

Monday, December 12, 2016

#IMWAYR December 12, 2016

Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

Here's what I read last week:

Middle Grade

This book came in the mail last week but I couldn't bring it to school until I read it first. I'm so glad I did. When the students in Ms. Hill's Fifth Grade Class learn that their school is closing at the end of the year, they each have a different reaction. Told in rhyme in eighteen diverse voices, this book is about so much more than the closing of a school It's about friendship, adjusting to change, the encouragement of an amazing teacher, and most of all, it's about finding your own voice. I can't wait to share it with my students.

Young Adult

This science fiction novel is also told in two voices. The e-reader can choose to read one story at a time or to go back and forth between the main characters. Lyra and Gemma have to change their outlook on life when they discover everything they thought they knew about themselves is a lie. I will be anxiously awaiting the sequel to find out what their futures hold.


If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Perfect Trip Cover Reveal Interview with Designer Lois Bradley

I'm so excited to reveal the cover of my new book, THE PERFECT TRIP. Here to celebrate is my cover artist Lois Bradley.

Lois was hired by Spellbound River Press to fix my self-published cover for THE SWEET SPOT last year. She ended up coming up with a brand new design for the first book, which I adore. When it was time to create the cover for the second book, there was no question that Lois would be the one to bring my characters’ to life. 

Lois Bradley has worked in a variety of roles on more than 14 traditionally and independently published book projects. You can view her artwork and illustrations at loisbradley.com. 

Hi Lois. Thanks for joining me today. When did you decide to be an illustrator?

I was one of those kids who was always doodling in the margins. When I was in 3rd grade, I drew a diagram of a factory and was so pleased with the results that I glued it to the wall in my parents' living room.
Fortunately, my parents were able to gently redirect my efforts into a more aesthetically appropriate venue for my creative endeavors. About this time, I decided that anything that involved drawing and painting was going to be a focus in my life. I have been a gallery-represented artist since high school and joined SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) about 10 years ago. It was after joining the group that I focused on writing and illustrating children's literature.

What do you like best about creating book covers?

The layers of complexity that coalesce into a book cover hold immense appeal for me. Each separate element the colors, the font choice, proportions, and even the subtle placement of each element conveys meaning.  The challenge is to create something that draws a reader in at a glance. The reward is when the cover accomplishes this. The creation of a book cover is never a solo endeavor since it involves the input of other creatives (the author, the art director, the editor). This collaborative process, while at times a little frustrating, usually results in a stronger cover. I enjoy the evolution of the project.

What was your process like when you were working on the covers for The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip?

The first step in the process of creating a book cover is gathering data. I try to ask a lot of questions about the manuscript, the main character, and the major crisis points in the manuscript to begin to identify possible images for the book. In addition to physical characteristics of the main character(s), it is critical to know what he or she wants, who else is involved, and where the action takes place. Usually this is accomplished through email with the editor or author.

Once I have a handle on the details, I gather reference materials, which are usually photographs. For The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip, this involved photos of baseball players, boats, baseball fields, and old baseball promotional posters and advertising images. Even when the final illustrations are not photo-realistic, accurate details matter! I tape copies of related images and relevant materials around my work area, then begin to sketch. There is numerous back and forth emails with scanned sketches when small (and sometimes large) details are hammered out. Once the final sketch had been approved, I begin to paint.

What mediums did you use?

In The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip, the artwork is a combination of watercolor painting and digital painting in Adobe Photoshop. The primary images featured in the medallions on the cover of each book were done in traditional watercolor on Arches watercolor paper, then scanned into a digital image and color corrected in Photoshop. The painting and the digital background layers were merged into a single piece of artwork in Photoshop.

Is there any advice you would give an artist just starting out?

The best advice I ever received regarding illustration was to join SCBWI.
It allowed me the chance to interact with published illustrators as well
as providing a wealth of information on how to pursue a career in the field. I would also say that as soon as you have a solid body of work/portfolio, make sure you have a web presence so editors and art directors can find you on the internet. It is possible to get website up on a budget, but it is a necessary evil in today's publishing market. Once the website is live, make sure to update it at least once a month to show your current projects and work. Patience, persistence, and a good sense of the absurd is essential to working in the illustration field. Competence with Photoshop is a bonus!

Now that you know about the cover’s creator, here it is - the cover for THE PERFECT TRIP!

About the Book:
Sam Barrette’s life is finally going in the right direction. She’s made the boys' travel baseball team, her friendship with Mike is turning into something more, and she’s even connected with her stepmother. But a cross-country family camping trip filled with secrets and surprises challenges everything she thought she knew about what the future will hold. To save her dreams, Sam must find a way to fix her perfect trip.

Want to win an ARC of The Perfect Trip? Sign up here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’d also love to see you tonight at the Spellbound River StockingStuffer Party online on Facebook. During the event there will be another opportunity to win an ARC of The Perfect Trip along with other incredible prizes, including a $50 Amazon gift card.

And don’t forget to say you want to read The Perfect Trip on Goodreads to help get the word out about the book.

Do you have questions about the cover or the book? Ask them!

Monday, December 5, 2016

#IMWAYR December 5, 2016

Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

This is a big week for me because I'll be reveling the cover of my new novel, The Perfect Trip (Spellbound River Press, March 24, 2017). On Thursday I will post an interview with the cover artist, Lois Bradley. Thursday night my publisher, Spellbound River Press, is holding an online Stocking Stuffer Event with author talks, games, trivia, and prizes. One lucky winner will win a copy of a Perfect Trip ARC. Today I am adding a special opportunity with this #IMWAYR post. If you would like an ARC, leave a message in the comments. I'd love to share my new novel with teachers, librarians, and bloggers who love middle grade as much as I do.

Here's what I read last week:

Middle Grade

Teo's people are outsiders. They live in Mexico on the Hill of Dust, their language and customs scorned by others. Esma, Queen of Lightning, is part of the Romani people, traveling gypsies distrusted and hated by all they meet. When Esma's grandmother gives a prediction that the two will be life long friends it changes their lives, the lives of their people, and even their grandchildren's lives forever. 

What do a smuggler's hotel, a lost map, and two twelve-year-olds have in common? They are all part of a winter mystery. This story is a fun read and I'd love to visit this hotel after spending the night at the hotel in the Whippet Hotel from Floors by Patrick Carmen.


If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?