Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Red Butterfly Launch Party

Last week we threw a launch party for Red Butterfly at the Richland Public Library, and what a cool experience that was! 

There was delicious (and beautiful) cake!

Cute little fans!

I read a little bit. 

Answered questions. 

And signed lots of books.

Thanks to the Richland Public Library for hosting. They made the experience so easy for me--providing cupcakes, cookies, and a beautiful venue. My friend, Carrell, baked and decorated the cake. Adventures Underground, a local bookstore, sold books (and sold out in just over five minutes!). 

Red Butterfly had a wonderful debut week and I've been (happily) overwhelmed with all the well-wishes. 

Thank you, all!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Happy Book Birthday, Red Butterfly!

Today's the day!

Red Butterfly's birthday!

She's officially in stores everywhere!


Get your copy before they're all gone!

Now excuse me while I celebrate.

(And if looking at all three of these GIFs together doesn't give you a headache,
I don't know what will.)

RED BUTTERFLY, now available pretty much wherever books are sold.

Happy reading!  

Thursday, January 22, 2015



RED BUTTERFLY will be hitting the bookstore shelves in less than two weeks -- February 3rd!

If you're in the area, I'm having a little party to celebrate the launch at the Richland Public Library in Richland, WA on February 10th, 6:30p.m. All are welcome! There will be books available for sale and I'll be glad to sign your copy!

I'm also celebrating RED BUTTERFLY's launch with a Goodreads Giveaway! There's a link in the side bar, or click here to enter.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 
from our family to yours! 

Photo by Ann Woodard

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 (NIV)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Giveaway Winner & More Reviews!

I'm so excited to share another starred review with you, this one from Publishers Weekly, for Red Butterfly!

Evocative first-person poems divided into three sections—“Crawl,” “Dissolve,” and “Fly”—combine with small, delicate b&w illustrations from Bates to provide a framework that helps organize the chaotic feelings 11-year-old Kara struggles to express. Mysteries pervade her life: although ethnically Chinese, she lives in China in near poverty with her Caucasian mother, hiding her misshapen right hand in long sleeves, speaking English at home, unable to attend school. Mama promises that someday they will live with Kara’s father in Montana, but for now: “Don’t ask me,/ Kara,/ don’t ask me.” Piecing together her story, Kara realizes Mama discovered her, an abandoned baby, and stayed in China illegally to raise her. After this transgression is discovered, Kara finds herself in an orphanage as her Montana parents vie with another family to adopt her. Sonnichsen creates a palpable sense of yearning for home and belonging (“I want to explain, but/ I can’t make my mouth form words./ How a place so beautiful/ can make me feel so sad”) in this heartbreaking, heartwarming, and impressive debut. Ages 8–12. 

And more great news (as if that wasn't enough!) ... this morning my editor forwarded me this lovely review from the School Library Journal:

Gr 4-7–After being found abandoned as an infant in Tianjin, China, Kara was never formally adopted by her American parents, leaving her with no identity papers. Kara’s mother hasn’t had a valid visa in years, but she refuses to leave China without Kara. Now 11, the girl is discovered by police who deport her mother and send Kara to an orphanage for disabled children (she has a malformed hand). There she struggles with her feelings of abandonment, and the emotional conflict from the reality that the Chinese government won’t let the only mother she’s ever known adopt her. But soon a different family wants her. Told in free verse that occasionally plays with form to capture Kara’s mood and decorated with small illustrations mixing watercolor and collage, the narrative is broken into three distinct sections: “Crawl,” set in Tianjin; “Dissolve,” set at the orphanage; and “Fly,” set in Florida. Based on the author’s own experiences in fostering for years before being allowed to adopt from China, “Dissolve” is particularly heartbreaking and occasionally shocking, despite the underfunded orphanage being (under)staffed by caring adults. Readers everywhere will empathize with and root for Kara as she discovers where she belongs and her true home.–Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA

Thank you to Publishers Weekly and to Jennifer Rothschild at SLJ for these wonderful reviews!

Last, but not least, I need to announce the winner of my Adoption Month Red Butterfly Giveaway. Thank you to everyone who entered and helped spread the word.

The winner is...


Esther didn't actually post on my blog, but she's a regular reader who emailed to ask if she could be included in the giveaway since she didn't have access to the comments section. I'm so happy to send a copy to Esther because she is an amazing girl who I knew in real life when she was little. I even babysat her! She is adopted herself and has lots of adopted siblings. Red Butterfly couldn't go to a more perfect home. 

Congratulations, Esther!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Adoption Month: Thankful

It's almost Thanksgiving here in the United States.

Originally this week I was going to write a post about the harder part of adoption: PARENTING. The post was going to talk about how you can have this beautiful story of rescuing a baby from a life of parentlessness, but after the fairy tale ... normal life happens. I may still blog about that sometime, but my heart is thankful this week, so I want to focus on thankfulness instead (with an adoption theme, of course, because it's still Adoption Month).

Photo by Ann Woodard

I'm thankful for:

  • A Happy Beginning: I almost wrote a happy ending, but our adoption wasn't an ending, it was a beginning. Lately I've been thinking back on those almost seven years when our adoption was in-process (and in limbo), and how I lived in a constant state of preparing for the worst, ready at any moment to have my heart broken. But we didn't get the worst. Our adoption worked out. That is a huge blessing that I never want to forget to be thankful for.
  • Options!: Our sweet, oldest daughter has emotional needs that weren't being met in traditional public school. Homeschooling scared me for so many years, but recently we found a school that's a cross between online school and traditional school in a town near us. It's perfect for her because it gives us time together, but not so much time that we drive each other crazy. Overall, she's very happy and making new friends, and I've seen a significant change in her outlook on life, which has been a huge encouragement.
  • A Great Man: My Dashingly Handsome Sidekick (aka DHS) is an amazing father who embraced my adoption dream with so much grace. The way he met our oldest daughter was a bit unorthodox: he came home from a school camp and I said, "Surprise! Meet Olivia!" I'm so grateful to have a loving companion who is willing to go on life's adventures with me. 
  • Provision: Our oldest has some special needs because she was born with a cleft lip and palate. I'm so grateful to the Shriners Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon for taking on her case (even though she wasn't a US citizen yet when they started treating her!) and giving Olivia free medical care and surgeries until she's an adult. We have also found a great orthodontist in our area who has helped many cleft lip and palate children. God provides!
Apart from adoption, I am thankful for this great piece of news I got last week: Kirkus gave my book, Red Butterfly, a starred review! You can check out what they had to say here. I've been walking as if on a cloud all week!!

There's still time to enter my giveaway for a copy of Red Butterfly when it releases in February. Click here and leave a comment. Couldn't be easier!

If you're American, have a wonderful Turkey Day on Thursday! Don't forget to be thankful!  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Adoption Month: We Need Diverse Books

We need diverse books ... for many reasons.

One of the reasons is that blended families happen through adoption.

To be honest, I'm not sure I've done a good enough job purchasing diverse books for my children. How do I know this? Because my thirteen-year-old daughter, who happens to be ethnically Chinese, saw me participating in this campaign and wanted to write something about why we need diverse books.

Here are her unedited words:

Diverse Books. There aren’t many. When I think of diverse stories, I think of biographies or folk tales from different places around the world. I never really thought about America actually having a book where the main character isn’t white. Recently, I started reading, “The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing” by: M.T. Anderson. I started out reading thinking that Octavian was white.  Turns out, when I got to the middle of the book, I found out he was black!  I feel like there should be more books with characters with colored skin because not everyone is white! I want more diverse characters because I want to be able to relate to characters in the books I read. That’s why we need more diverse books.

I have nothing to add, except #WeNeedDiverseBooks.

Don't forget to enter my RED BUTTERFLY giveaway to celebrate adoption month!