Michael Scotto Is So Over Vampires [Fierce Anticipation]

Greetings! I’ve come to announce the release of my debut children’s novel, Latasha and the Little Red Tornado, which came out earlier this week. It tells the story of Latasha Gandy, a precocious eight-year-old who cannot wait to grow up, and her mischievous puppy, Ella Fitzgerald, who absolutely refuses to. (Appropriately, with her no-guff attitude and pocket dictionary, I would describe Latasha as both fierce and nerdy.) In honor of my debut, here are a few book-y things that I’ve got on my radar.


2012 Newbery Medal

I normally don’t get all wrapped up in awards. I mean, I fill out my Oscar predictions every year, but I don’t invest emotionally. This, however — this year, this award — it feels different. I’ve read so many awesome kids’ books in 2011 (and also witnessed the train wreck that was this year’s National Book Awards). I really feel like I have a dog in this race, maybe for the first time. There are a lot of worthy contenders on a lot of shortlists, but for me, I’ll be very sad if Laurel Snyder’s Bigger Than a Bread Box doesn’t come away with at least a Newbery Honor.


See the herd of dystopian YA thin out

After the past couple trade shows I’ve attended, it seems like in the young adult world, dystopian novels are supplanting vampires and werewolves as the new Big Thing. Don’t get me wrong — I love dystopian novels. As a kid, I really dug The Girl Who Owned a City, for example (Rand-ian ickyness aside). But…I also love turtle cheesecake. I don’t want every single day of the week, though.

>In 2011 alone, I can think of over 20 dystopian teen books that came out, such as Shatter Me, Legend, The Eleventh Plague, Ashfall, Ashes, and…Ashes, Ashes (seriously). I don’t mean to disparage any of these titles specifically; I’d actually like to read several of them. But at the same time…I kind of want YA dystopian as a genre to come down with some sort of blight that wipes three-quarters of its population, leaving the choice few to battle for survival.


Breaking Dawn, Part I

Really, folks? Was there so much essential plot in Breaking Dawn that it couldn’t fit into a single movie? Or did the producers simply come down with a crippling case of “Harry Potter did it”? (Symptoms include eyes replaced by dollar signs.) Full disclosure: I went with my wife to midnight screenings of the first three “films” (to use the term generously). I went less as a cinema lover, though, and more as an anthropologist. This is a bridge too far. No way can I justify shelling out over $22 to see both parts of Breaking Dawn (aka Angsty Stares: The Movie – Part 4). I’m putting my foot down. I can already picture what I’ll do with the saved cash. Perhaps I’ll buy new windshield wipers, or a decent bottle of wine…or maybe I’ll just buy two copies of a great book — one for me, one to share. I’ve heard that Latasha and the Little Red Tornado is “a winning addition to children’s literature.”

(See what I did there?)

If you’d like to learn more about my new book, my picture book series, or the next novel in the pipeline (coming 05/15/12, people!), feel free to visit me at www.michaelascotto.com. Sometimes, I even talk about other stuff, too.

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