Librarians! Awards! Videos! Puppets! Puppets?

Thanks for coming back. Here's more of what your favorite book about nerds and middle school and science-fiction TV show obsessions was up to this spring. 

First – the characters of "Revenge of the Star Survivors" may be outcasts, but they were warmly  accepted by the Texas Library Association. I wrote about the Spirit of Texas award earlier, but I somehow never posted this video that they asked me to make to celebrate it. You might wish that I had left things that way. But here it is. 


When I first heard about the Spirit of of Texas award, I was just happy to have my name on something that was not a bill or a subpoena. I later found out that the books for the program are chosen in what sounds like a sort of gladiatorial-style combat among librarians: Committee members go into a room with their favorite books, but only the strongest walk out alive. This means that I had some libraritorial (I'm a writer, I can make up words) angels on my side. I met some at the TLA conference. It was humbling, and I am grateful. 


(In the photo gallery above, see if you can spot the two amazing Holiday House publicists who made all of this possible. I got to take them out to a nice Texas barbecue dinner. By which I mean, I recommended a place that was closed. And then I got lost going to another. And then – they paid for it all. But still – they are amazing. Thank you, Em and Faye.) 

Also at TLA, I made a repeat appearance on KidLit TV (click for a link to that video) and did something called "speed dating," which involves making brief pitches for your book over and over again to tables of eager book-lovers. I was worried ...

But it went OK. Better than most of my dates did, at least. 

And in yet another video, I achieved my lifelong goal of being interviewed by a puppet. Seriously, I have dreamed of this day. (Proof: If you are the first person to email me at with the page number from the book that contains a Muppet Show joke, I will send you a signed bookmark.)

That video was just posted recently. And you can see it here. Stick around for the kazoo playing. Or maybe flee while you can. 

After that, it was a return to San Antonio. My very first book event was there, last year, and this time I had two: An appearance at the San Antonio Book Festival, and a meeting of the Texas Institute of Letters. 

I started the day with a belated realization that I had missed a prime marketing opportunity: 


But I was there for the very serious and humbling matter of picking up the Flynn Award for Best MIddle-Grade Book from the Texas Institute of Letters.  The award looks like this. 




You see the image of the coyote at the top? Here is why the Texas Institute of Letters and artist Regina Moya chose that image: 

Coyotes are highly individualistic and extremely adaptable animals that express great joy in being alive. They have been shot, trapped, poisoned, and yet remarkably survive in today’s world. They are revered as fabled tricksters in many cultures and they are as likely to set their own tail on fire as they are to snatch fire from the heavens. They are ridiculous and vain, but also highly intelligent and capable of great empathy. They improve any range simply by being part of the ecosystem. They are indispensable.

But I digress. The rest of that chilly day was spent at the rather spectacular San Antonio Book festival, in the environs of their doubly-spectacular library. You want to make an author of a book about kids who turn to a library as a place of refuge feel dumbfounded? Put his book in a building that looks like this: 


There were, however, a few other spots where I felt equally at home. 


So, with one more thanks to the many, many people who made all of those things happen, we'll sign off for now. But come back soon! I promise just a few more photos and, eventually, a bit of news. 

Michael Merschel