Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bonnie J. Doerr, Bookmarks, and Getting Good News

Sometimes we get good news when least expected. Recently, I was surprised with good news that disguised even greater news.

Before the end of last school year, Bookmarks, a literary arts organization which produces the largest book festival in the Carolinas, created a summer reading program with activities and prizes for student participants across North Carolina. With the introduction of this reading program came the good news: Island Sting and Stakeout, the first two novels in my tween eco mystery series, were on the program reading lists, and I was asked to kick off this program with an author presentation. 

What fun! Not knowing the number or ages of children who’d attend, I tailored my endangered species game to work with whomever showed up, and the evening truly was fun.

Soon a fancy program listing books, activities, entrance requirements, and prizes circulated in North Carolina communities with authors of the chosen titles displayed on the back cover. I was impressed with the marketing and thrilled when I spotted my photo right below those of big name authors like Kate DiCamillo and Deborah Diessen (alphabetical order, you know) and in close proximity to Joseph Bruchac. Whoa! 

After a few days, I noticed asterisks by certain author names on the title listings. I paid little attention until someone pointed out what the asterisk meant: * denotes 2016 Festival Author. That was the greater surprise. You see, there is no formal application to participate in this festival. Authors simply receive a call. This was when I realized the call to participate in the Bookmarks festivities went way beyond the summer reading program. It became real when the two-page agreement showed up in my mailbox. I was blown away. What a way to launch my newest book!

And so, this September 9th and 10th , as a featured author, I will be visiting with nearly 500 students
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and speaking with festival attendees at a session dedicated to my work on Tangled Lines, the latest title in my tween eco mystery series. In Tangled Lines teens must stop a criminal gang that is wiping out the last pelican rookery in the Florida Keys, one bird at a time. Why? To bypass environmental protection laws and develop a tourist resort.

During the festival, I will get to hang out with the forenamed authors, plus best-sellers Jacqueline Woodson, Gayle Forman, and Dav Pilkey. Be still my heart. Other big name authors I hope to meet are: Azar Nafisi, John Grisham, and Terry MacMillan. What a day it will be.

The Bookmarks Organization reaches thousands of children each year through their Authors in Schools program. They have sponsored my school visits in the past, but I never expected to be honored as a featured festival author.

Recently, the organization announced they will soon open an independent bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with profits going toward keeping this fabulous festival free for everyone. Of all the exciting news I received, this was the best!

For more information on the Bookmarks organization and festival check out their website:

Bonnie J. Doerr, an avid traveler, gardener, and nature lover, is the acclaimed author of eco-mystery novels for tweens. For over thirty years, she taught reading and writing skills to students of all ages—from kindergarten to college. Ms. Doerr enjoys sharing her ecological research, writing experiences, and educational insights with adults and children. Her work has been described as a “mashup of Jean Craighead George and Carl Hiaasen” by some and as a “teen detective series inspired by Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys by others. Her work has been honored by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) with a grant for its use in environmental education and has been included in Milkweed Editions literary field guides. She lives in a log cabin on the edge of a historic park in North Carolina.
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