As 2018 comes to a close, we at Tanglewood are thankful for many things. We celebrated two anniversaries this year—our 15th year in publishing, and the 25th anniversary of our treasured children’s book, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. We also published two new young adult novels to great acclaim. In March, we released legendary lyricist Cynthia Weil’s road trip adventure with a heart, 806: A Novel. And in May, we released bestselling author Mike Mullin’s fast-paced thriller, Surface Tension. This year was also full of events, screenings, awards, and recognition for Eva Mozes Kor, author of Surviving the Angel of Death.
Eva Mozes Kor
Eva Mozes Kor, Holocaust survivor and forgiveness advocate, spent 2018 traveling the world, spreading her message of healing and self-empowerment. With help from a new WFYI-produced documentary film about her life, Eva A-7063, Eva has spread her message farther and wider than ever. The film premiered in April and went on to win the Jimmy Stewart Legacy award at the Heartland Film Festival, the David Ponce Best of the Fest award at the 2018 Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, along with Best of the Festival at the Roving Eye International Film Festival.
With visits to schools, museums, community centers, and more (even giving a talk at Google!), Eva is relentless in her pursuit to heal the world. And the world has noticed. DePauw University awarded Eva with an honorary Doctorate of Public Service, and the Indiana Conference for Women was dedicated to her. The Indianapolis Museum of Art opened a permanent exhibit, the Eva Kor Peace Garden, where students create paper flowers with wildflower seeds and plant them in a designated area.
In October, Eva took part in the 500 Festival Pacesetter Challenge. With the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Ambassadors, Eva and her team helped set the pace for next year’s race. Eva herself even finished the last leg (10 feet or so) of the relay! For each runner in the 2019 Indy Mini that beats the time set, $1 will be donated to CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Eva is the first person in history to be both the official pacesetter and the 500 Festival Parade Grand Marshal (2017).
In a fitting end to the year, Eva was honored by the Anti-Defamation League at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. With six others, Eva was an honoree at the ADL In Concert Against Hate, which tells the stories of ordinary men and women who have performed extraordinary acts of courage and compassion when confronted by hatred and bigotry. Eva received a prolonged standing ovation from the audience of 2,000 people. Congratulations, Eva.
The Kissing Hand
Early in 2018, The Jim Henson Company optioned The Kissing Hand to develop as a TV series with the characters being brought to life through adorable puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
Halle Stanford, President of Television for The Jim Henson Company said, “The Kissing Hand, which is arguably the top book parents use to prepare their children for preschool and kindergarten, is deeply nurturing and perfectly suited for puppetry. Now more than ever, we believe children need the stories of Chester Raccoon and his Mama to encourage them to adventure in the world while still maintaining the loving connection of family and friends.” In September, Jim Henson’s Family Hub posted four back-to-school tips inspired by The Kissing Hand.
During the summer, Tanglewood released The Kissing Hand 25th Anniversary Family Edition, a new limited edition family keepsake that includes a dedication page, Letters to Chester booklet download and, of course, heart stickers. To commemorate this milestone, Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf featured an interview with Audrey Penn and Publisher Peggy Tierney in September. Perfect for gift giving, this new special edition is being featured in several holiday gift issues, including City Book Review/Kids’ BookBuzz (10/23), Shelf Awareness (11/20), and more to come.
Throughout the year, Audrey Penn and Chester Raccoon made appearances together at several events in North Carolina, including The Country Bookshop for Children’s Book Week (April 30-May 6) and as a featured author at the 14th Annual Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors (Sept 6-9), the largest book festival in the Carolinas. They also made a swing through the Outer Banks of North Carolina for school and library visits, readings, and signings.
806: A Novel
In the spring, we released our new young adult novel, 806: A Novel, from Cynthia Weil. An internationally known, award-winning lyricist, Cynthia’s lyrics have been sung by the legendary voices of Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, and Kanye West. She has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in addition to multiple Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards. Her songs include “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” the most played song of the twentieth century, the Oscar-nominated and double Grammy-winning “Somewhere Out There” from the animated film An American Tail, the classic “On Broadway,” and numerous others that have become part of America’s musical history. Cynthia is also currently featured as a character in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
We’ve received great media coverage. 806: A Novel was included in Foreword Reviews’ featured young adult spotlight (Jan/Feb), and ALAN Picks selected this title for review in March. With positive reviews from industry media (Publishers Weekly, Booklist) as well as interviews posted on blogs/online media (Critical Blast, Feathered Quill, The Write Path, etc.), it’s no wonder that this novel continues to rack up enthusiastic reviews from readers on Goodreads and Amazon. It’s even been featured on PopCultureClassics.com, since Cynthia Weil is a music icon herself.
Cynthia also had a featured signing at the 2018 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April at the Once Upon a Time bookseller’s booth.
In May, Mike Mullin’s Surface Tension was published to great acclaim, including strong industry reviews from VOYA, Booklist, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly and more, as well as coverage from bloggers, print and other media.
Mike also made a number of appearances to celebrate his new release. He was in Denver for ALA Midwinter and New Orleans for ALA (including ABA/ABC sixth Children’s Institute). His launch party was held in May at Kids Ink bookstore in Indianapolis, and then he was off to several book festivals: Southern Kentucky Book Festival, Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, and the Iowa City Book Festival. A highlight for Mike was being selected as the Author Guest of Honor for ICON 43 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s longest-running, fan-organized science fiction and fantasy convention. He also participated in a few writing camps: STEM Camp near Chicago and BEARSWRITE in Central Arkansas.
In November, Mike was featured at the NCTE convention and ALAN workshop in Houston, taking part in a young adult panel (“Keeping Us on the Edge of Our Seats: Suspense & Thrillers in YA”) with several other authors, making a presentation with the University of Arkansas (“Watson Chapel Scholars Go to Writing Camp Raising Their Voices in Search of Equity and Social Justice”), attending the ALAN Reception, and signing at a few booths in the convention hall.
Yes, this year was definitely filled with many blessings and we look forward to a wonderful 2019! We wish you the very best during the holidays as you spend time with loved ones to celebrate this special time of year together.