Thursday, December 11, 2008

Polar Bears, Northboro, and Missouri

Thank you, everyone, for all your kind words about ICE and IVY! You guys rock.

As a thank-you, here's a new Random Arctic Fact: a male polar bear's neck is broader than his head. This means it's very tough to put radio collars on them -- collars slip off. So do necklaces, neckties, and cravats, which explains why you seldom see polar bears in fancy restaurants.

Another polar-bear-related tidbit: the mascot for my old elementary school (Lincoln Street School in Northboro, MA) is a polar bear. We didn't have a mascot while I was there. (We also didn't have plastic slides. We had a metal slide that heated to approximately 1,000 degrees in the sun. And we had a jungle gym composed of steel bars over concrete so that if you fell, you were guaranteed to seriously injure yourself.) Anyway, I love the new mascot. I think it's a sign.

The reason that I'm thinking about my elementary school now is that I was there on Tuesday. I also visited the Marion E. Zeh School in Northboro the same day. Zeh's mascot is a zebra, but I love them anyway because they put this on their sign:

That was so cool of them to do. Yes, I know they left off my "h"... But they tell me it was only because they ran out of h's for the sign, which is a pretty awesome excuse, so I totally forgive them, especially given the overall awesomeness of the sign!

I talked with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades at Lincoln Street and the 5th grade at Zeh, and I had such a wonderful day. All the students were fantastic. And really creative too. For my talk, I read a scene from OUT OF THE WILD and then did a writing workshop about a way to generate story ideas. They all came up with such awesome ideas. My personal favorite involved flying tacos.

And I have some other non-polar-bear-related news to share too: INTO THE WILD has been nominated for a 2009-2010 Truman Readers Award from the Missouri Association of School Librarians!! Huge thanks to GreenBeanTeenQueen for letting me know about this! I'm so excited, and am now feeling especially fond of Missouri, despite the state's distinct lack of polar bears...

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I am pleased to announce...

Okay, "pleased' is an understatement. We're talking a Sleeping-Beauty-took-a-nap kind of understatement. Rapunzel-had-long-hair kind of understatement. Hans-Christian-Andersen-needed-therapy kind of understatement...

I am delighted and thrilled and so unbelievably happy to tell you that I have just signed a contract for two new YA fantasy books with Simon & Schuster!!! Yippee!!! My new beauties are called (at least until the titles get changed, as they always do) ICE (coming Fall 2009) and IVY (coming Fall 2010).

Here's the official announcement from the December 1, 2008 edition of Publishers Marketplace:

Children's: Young Adult
Into the Wild and Out of the Wild author Sarah Beth Durst's ICE, a modern arctic adventure inspired by the Norse folktale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and IVY, the story of a 16-year old thrown into a magical realm at Princeton, who must race against time to save herself, her world, and any hope she has of college admission, to Karen Wojtyla at Margaret K. McElderry Books, in a two-book deal, by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger (world).


Okay, that needs a lot more exclamation points.


I am very, very, very excited about these new books. My wonderful agent and my fabulous new editor actually made the deal over the summer, but the official announcement had to wait until all the details had been worked out, and I have been just bursting at the seams to officially tell you the news. And now I can! And did! And... EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Um, sorry about that outburst. It couldn't be helped. Anyhoo, in the days, weeks, and months to come, I'll tell you lots more about these new books and their journey to publication. And as the pub date for ICE approaches, there will be much talk of the north pole, polar bears, and a certain Norse fairy tale, and my website and blog will get a distinctly Arctic makeover. But for now, if you feel so inclined, I hope you'll join me for the only activity that could possibly capture the spirit of this moment... Oh, yes, that's right...





Now, dance with me! Dance!!! Dance like you're an iconic canine surrounded by a troop of fluffy bunnies!!!!!

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Prince Caspian

Just got back from visiting my relatives over in Narnia. It was a wonderful trip. Per usual, we did have some difficulty reaching Narnia. We were going to use those magic rings, but the cat ate them (again) so we had to enter via Eustace's boat painting and I get seasick so that wasn't pleasant. But once there, we had a delicious Thanksgiving feast of Talking Turkey and faun-sausage stuffing...

Okay, I'm just kidding. I'd never eat a faun.

Here's a photo of me and my cousin Prince Caspian:

I love that photo. It is so supremely dorky. That's not Prince Caspian, of course. Or even the actor who plays Prince Caspian in the movie. That's just some guy in Disney World dressed up like the actor who dresses up to look like my cousin Caspian.

I was in Disney World last week and I simply had to meet him -- though I didn't see the movie, I did have an essay in the Teen Libris anthology Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. So I wanted the photo to send to my editor at BenBella, and the whole meet-and-greet amused me so much that I had to share it with all of you too.

Hope you had a wonderful long weekend filled with family and fauns too!

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