So Welcome Home is out today.
Gearing up for the launch of this book has been a wild ride. The book almost didn't happen, and then Flux swept in to save the day. The signings at ALA and BEA, and the panels... I've just been beside myself with the turn out. And the reviews have leaving me awestruck. From School Library Journal to Children's Literature to VOYA, I'm blown away.
“Authors across a variety of genres share stories that range from the fantastical to gritty, but all will touch readers hearts (and cause a few to shed some tears).” – School Library Journal
“This volume earns a place in every YA library and it is up to YA librarians to put it into the hands of teens who need it most.” – VOYA
Just, thank you thank you thank you.
I'll be hitting the road for a little bit next month, visiting Philadelphia, Jersey City, Nashville, and Orlando to promote the book. I'll be reading at bookstores and talking at youth centers with a bunch of the contributors in the anthology, and you can check out the dates and stops here.
To all of you who have pre-ordered, signal-boosted, shared, reviewed, and/or talked about this little book, thank you so much. Note that, if you pick up the book today, let me know. I've still got a few signed postcards and swag I would be more than happy to send your way.
And speaking of thank yous.
When my editor asked me if I wanted to add an acknowledgements page for Welcome Home, I reluctantly said no. Because really, this isn’t my book. I’ve said that again and again. While I’m lucky enough to have curated this collection, it belongs to everyone inside it.
But, if it was to have a thank you page in the back, specifically just from me? This is what it would say.
To the lovely people at Flux, especially McKelle George, Mari Kesselring, Megan Naidl, Sam Temple, and Joe Riley, who worked so tirelessly to make this book happen. Thanks for taking a chance on this project. Wrangling up contracts and edits for nearly 30 authors, and organizing signings and panels with a dozen of us at conventions.. it all felt like such an impossible thing, and you all did it.
To my rockstar agent Dawn Frederick, who listens to every rambling idea I have, and told me to get to work on this book when I brought it up on a long drive together to a writers conference... you’re fantastic and unstoppable.
When the world felt like it was crashing down, to all the publishing people, agents, editors, and authors who reached out... it meant more than you know.
To my darling wife Nena who keeps pushing me to write about topics that are deeply personal and close to me. I wouldn’t have tried if you hadn’t have pushed. You're a force behind-the-scenes, and I will keep making sure everyone knows it.
To the incredible contributors who published their short stories in this collection: Adi Alsaid, Randy Ribay, Nic Stone, Dave Connis, Helene Dunbar, Libby Cudmore, Lauren Gibaldi, Matthew Quinn Martin, Mindy McGinnis, Sammy Nickalls, Shannon M. Parker, Karen Akins, Erica M. Chapman, Julie Eshbaugh, Shannon Gibney, Jenny Kaczorowski, Julie Leung, Sangu Mandanna, Lauren Morrill, Tameka Mullins, C.J. Redwine, William Ritter, Courtney C. Stevens, Kate Watson, Stephanie Scott, Natasha Sinel, and Tristina Wright.
This book only exists because of your words. So to you, the biggest thank you. I can't wait to see what good this book can do, and to keep sharing every moment with you, even if you are tired of my massive email updates. They aren't going to stop. Sorry not sorry.
To the number of authors who helped point me in the right direction while putting this collection together. To Becky Albertalli, Nova Ren Suma, Gayle Forman, Justina Ireland, Beth Revis, I.W. Gregorio, Sona Charaipotra, Kim Liggett, E.C. Myers, and Dahlia Adler... all of whom sent a number of writers my way, and made suggestions about who I should reach out to. You helped so very much. If I'm forgetting someone in here, I'm sorry. I sent out what felt like hundreds of supremely awkward emails.
To Ashley Poston, for designing postcards and swag for me again and again. Please pre-order her books and hire her for things.
To Zoraida Cordova and Adi Alsaid (again) for that week in Mexico, where I edited a lot of the stories in this book. You're both an inspiration.
To Jeff Zentner, David Arnold, and Brenda Drake, for the kind words on the back of the book. My goodness. I have no words for your words.
And to my Mom and Dad, for giving me a story to tell in the first place.
And to my sister. I see you. This book is for kids like you. Like us.