Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Big thanks to Kirkus for its review of DON'T FEED THE BOY!

When my editor first sent over the news, she prefaced it with "It's a GOOD one!" Which allowed me to actually breathe, since Kirkus is known to be hard to please.

Here's what appears currently online and will appear in the Sept. 1 print issue (I especially love the great little blurb-y gift there at the end.) :

Author: Latham, Irene
Illustrator: Graegin, Stephanie

Review Issue Date: September 1, 2012
Online Publish Date: August 15, 2012
Publisher:Roaring Brook
Pages: 288
Price ( Hardcover ): $15.99
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-59643-755-5
Category: Fiction

Raised in the Alabama zoo run by his busy parents, 11-year-old Whit dreams of escape, but his new friend Stella is someone whose need for escape is real.

Avoiding an angry, abusive father, Stella spends her days at the zoo, where she first becomes the subject for Whit’s home-schooling field study and then his first real friend. Before he learns her name, Whit calls her Bird Girl because she constantly draws the birds—ironic because these birds can't fly free; their wings are clipped. In the course of their friendship, Whit experiments with freedom himself. Leaving the zoo boundaries, he visits Stella’s smoke-smelling apartment home, seeing the situation for himself and even taking surprising action. Whit’s zoo is realistic, a place where animals are born and die. He shows off its secret places, and readers get a glimpse behind the scenes. He comes to see it as a place families and friends visit as much to enjoy each other as to see the attractions, learning to appreciate it more. Latham weaves in a strong argument for the conservation mission of zoos and a clear warning about the dangers of handguns. A satisfying ending sees Whit poised to enter the wider world of public middle school.

Feed this to animal fans. (Fiction. 9-12)

Cool, huh?

In other news, I'm a guest over at the ever-amazing and inspiring Robyn Hood Black's blog, talking about my upcoming workshop on voice at SCBWI Writing and Illustrating for Kids (WIK) conference in October. WIK is organized by the Southern Breeze region of SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. This year’s WIK conference will be Oct. 20 in Birmingham, AL. It’s a great place to learn more about the children’s publishing industry, meet agents and editors, and connect with a supportive network of writers and illustrators.

Learn more about WIK at
Read my interview at Read. Write Howl!

And here's the rest of the blog line-up:

Aug. 16 Sarah Campbell at Alison Hertz’s blog, On My Mind 
Aug. 17 F.T. Bradley at Laura Golden’s blog 
Aug. 20 Chuck Galey at Elizabeth Dulemba’s blog 
Aug. 21 Jo Kittinger at Bonnie Herold’s blog, Tenacious Teller of Tales
Aug. 22 Irene Latham at Robyn Hood Black’s blog, Read, Write, Howl
Aug. 23 Vicky Alvear Shecter at S.R. Johannes’ blog
Aug. 24 Doraine Bennett at Cathy Hall’s blog 
Aug. 27 Virginia Butler at P.J. Shaw’s blog
Aug. 28 Jodi Wheeler-Toppen at Diane Sherrouse’s blog, The Reading Road
Aug. 29 Ellen Ruffin at Sarah Frances Hardy’s blog, Picture This

THANK YOU, Dori Kleber, for getting us all organized! You're a treasure!!


  1. Woo-hoooo! Congratulations, Irene, on this terrific review from Kirkus. Can't wait to get my hands on the book!

    (And I'm honored to host you today over in my corner of the world. :0) Thanks for playing along.)

    1. Thank you, Robyn. Thinking of you in your corner today. xo

  2. Yay! and I laughed at the "blurb gift" at the end. Who isn't an animal lover?

  3. Wonderful words! I'm so glad for you. I am passing Gee's Bend around school to lots of 'likes' there too. Now I can say I'll have another one soon. It sounds terrific, Irene. Congratulations.


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