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Today I’m thrilled to share and give away a few books from Tu Books. In case you haven’t heard of Tu Books, it’s a fantastic imprint of Lee & Low Books that promotes diversity in MG and YA books in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. This is so important because there are not enough books in these genres that have non-Caucasian main characters and are set in different cultures. When I used to read to my daughter when she was younger (She’s adopted from China and my husband is Mexican-American), I was always sad that there were very few books that had characters like her unless it was an adoption story picture book, which she quickly outgrew.

And the story of how Tu Books started is as amazing as any road to publication story. It was the dream of its publisher, Stacy Whitman. Keep in mind that what I’m sharing is from my perspective, not hers. I’ve followed her blog for a long time because her passion was fantasy books, like me. She had gotten laid off as an editor of another fantasy publisher and was working as a freelance editor. She needed health insurance so she had to get another day job.

Stacy lived on the west coast, I believe Utah. She had a dream to start a small press that promoted diversity in MG and YA fantasy and sci-fi books. So she started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000.00 in one month. I was excited about what she was doing and contributed. I kept watching, but the campaign wasn’t doing well. She had raised only between $3,000-$4,000 in the first two weeks and the amount wasn’t growing. Then at about week 3, a few people did auctions for her and she crept up to raising about $7,000. I decided to contribute a little more, hoping for her that enough people would do the same and help her reach goal.

I checked the Kickstarter campaign almost daily and then one day it went from the mid $7,000 to $10,000. I was so excited for Stacy. She posted something on her blog about it. After that, she wasn’t there for about a month to six weeks and I wondered what was happening. Then she posted again to let us know that Lee & Low Books had created an imprint, Tu Books to do exactly what she wanted to do and she was the publisher. And she’d moved to New York City. Isn’t that an amazing story of following your dream?

So here are the books from Tu Books I’m giving away today.

Here’s blurb of THE MONSTER IN THE MUDBALL from Goodreads

A monster is loose in England!

And it’s kind of Jin’s fault that Zilombo got loose.

Jin tracks the monster, but he can’t figure out how to get her back into the artifact from which she hatched. Then Jin meets Chief Inspector of Ancient Artifacts A. J. Zauyamakanda—Mizz Z, for short—who has arrived to inspect the artifact. She and Jin team up to find Zilombo.

Joining them is Frankie, Jin’s older sister, who has lost their baby brother—and Zilombo is the most likely culprit for his disappearance. Zilombo gains new, frightening powers every time she hatches. Now the monster is cleverer than ever before . . . and she likes to eat babies!

Will Jin’s baby brother be next on Zilombo’s menu? As the monster’s powers continue to grow, Jin, Frankie, and Mizz Z must find a way to outsmart Zilombo!

And here’s a blurb of WOLF MARK from Amazon:

Luke King knows a lot of things. Like four different ways to disarm an enemy before the attacker can
take a breath. Like every detail of every book he’s ever read. And Luke knows enough—just enough—about what his father does as a black ops infiltrator to know which questions not to ask.
Luke hopes that this time, he’ll finally have a normal life. He’ll be able to ask out the girl he likes. He’ll hang out with his friends. He’ll be invisible—just as he wants.
But when his dad goes missing, Luke realizes that life will always be different for him. Suddenly he must avoid his father’s kidnappers, while at the same time evading the attention of a mysterious clique of Russian hipsters, who seem much too interested in Luke’s own personal secret. Faced with multiple challenges and his emerging paranormal identity, Luke must decide who to trust as he creates his own destiny.

And here’s a blurb of CAT GIRL’S DAY OFF from Amazon:

Nat Ng comes from a family of the super-Talented: levitation, lie-detecting, chameleon-like blending into one’s surroundings. Her Class D (as in dumb) Talent of talking to cats isn’t something they ever discuss and she’d rather no one—ever—knew about it anyway. Her life would be over if she became forever known as Cat Girl.

But when Nat’s celebrity-addicted best friends show her a viral Internet video of a celebrity blogger being attacked by her own cat, it’s only Nat who can see the true story. To solve the mystery and prevent a murder or two, Nat and her friends must race through Ferris Bueller’s Chicago from movie set locations (such as Wrigley Field) to the suburbs, accompanied by wise-cracking cats. Perhaps Cat Girl might save the day after all!

Thanks to Tu Books for providing the books for this giveaway. (One I won from another blog). To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment telling me which book you'd like (no guarantees) through October 26th. I’ll announce the winner on October 28st. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. MONSTER IN THE MUDBALL is for US residents only. The other two books are for U.S./Canada residents though there will only be one Canada winner at most due to postage costs.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday, I’m interviewing author Ruth McNally Barshaw’s 10th grade daughter for my ASK THE EXPERT series and giving away a copy of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US and THE HERO’S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE.

Next Wednesday, I’m interviewing my awesome critique partner Lori Sawicki, who recently self-published her MG contemporary story, THE POWER OF TWO. It’s a fantastic contemporary story about bullying and friendship. I loved the vivid, complex characters Lori created in Jamie and Pru.

The following Monday, I’ll be giving away my signed ARC of EXILE, book two in the MG fantasy series by Shannon Messenger and a signed copy of her YA fantasy, LET THE SKY FALL, and sharing about getting to meet Shannon. It was SO awesome!

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!


Beth said...

Thanks for sharing the story of Tu Publishing. It's a great reminder that authors aren't the only ones who sometimes struggle to follow their dreams!
(No need to enter me in the contest.)

Joni said...

I'm loving the synopsis for "Cat Girl's Day Off". Adding it to my TBR pile and hoping I win this giveaway! Thanks for the chance and for an awesome blog. ^^

Joni said...


Stina said...

What I would like to see are covers that reflect the ethnic background of the characters. I've seen covers with Caucasian models but in the book the love interest was a hot looking Japanese teen. But this comes down the availability in stock photos.

PK HREZO said...

Love the sound of Cat Girl's too! And how totally cool about Tu! You're so right, it's rare to find the cultural diversity on covers, and yet, Caucasians are fastly becoming minorities in the US. I think it'll be changing soon, thanks to endeavors like Tu.

Maria said...

Hi Natalie, I've never read much YA/Fantasy, at least not in years. But I should. I should get my kids to do it too.

M Pax said...

What a fantastic publishing story. I'd love to see more diversity in adult books, too.

Cece Girl said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing.

Crystal Collier said...

That is so awesome. I don't envy her living in NYC, but I'm so glad she followed her dreams. There's nothing so amazing as someone who sets out to accomplish, and does. Yay!

Brenda said...

That's such a wonderful Kickstarter campaign idea and nice to hear how it made her dreams come true. Love The Monster in the Mudball cover.

Nicole said...

Love that story! And it sounds like they're cranking out great books too! Congrats all around.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What a wonderful story! Starting a publishing company is scary.

S.P. Bowers said...

Thanks for sharing the story of Stacy and Tu publishing. I get more and more aware of the lack of diversity in books and I'm glad to see people trying to fix it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kickstarter stories are just amazing. Especially as she got such a huge chunk of money at the very end.

Denise Covey said...

What a positive publishing story. Loved reading about Stacy and Tu...

Lydia Kang said...

What a cool story! Thanks Natalie. :)

Gina Gao said...

This was such a great story! Thanks for sharing.


Carl Scott said...

Wow that is a killer story. Good for her and good on L&L as well. These all look like lots of fun. I'd particularly like Wolf Mark or Cat Girl's Day Off.
I follow your blog by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx and I tweeted a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/390699956182339584 so everyone can get in on the good thing. Thanks.

Stephanie Garber said...

I loved this. I'd never heard of Tu publishing but I'm so glad they exist. There's definitely a need for more diversity in YA fantasy/Sci-Fi!

Anonymous said...

Hi. The Tu Publishing origin story is really inspiring. Thanks for sharing it.
Would love to read Cat Girl's Day Off. kimmarc@mac.com

Anonymous said...

Oh, I want Cat Girl's Day off! What a fantastic idea for a story! mjbcroth@frontier.com

Natasha said...

I would love Cat Girl's Day Off.
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Rosi said...

Very interesting story of Tu Publishing. The books sound great, but my TBR list is gigantic, so please let someone else win.

mshatch said...

I agree with you about the homogenous nature of MG and YA books. My niece was adopted from Ethiopia and while there are a fair number of books for younger kids that aren't 'white' I notice very few once you move into MG and YA. What a great idea! Kudos to Stacy :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Tu Publishing sounds great, I will check out their website. I like the monster book a lot.

Jasmine Stairs said...

I'd love to win Cat Girl's Day Off! I've been hoping to read it for years. (And my email is jasmine dot medusa @ gmail dot com )

Anonymous said...

Love Kickstarter projects! What an amazing journey. I'm also an adoptive mom of kids from another culture and am constantly looking for books that reflect their reality and the reality of my students. Thanks so much for bringing these titles to my attention. I'd love to add Cat Girl's Day Off or Wolf Mark to my classroom library. Thanks so much!

awamom at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Wow that's pretty crazy, that she raised so much in such a short amount of time! Awesome for you for supporting her too!

Anonymous said...

That's great about the campaign.

These books look awesome. I have my eye on the Bruchac book since I've read him before. sharif(at)sharifwrites(dot)com

Candace said...

I'm always looking for books with more diversity so I'm glad you let us know about this imprint! I love that you told us her story too. I hate when there's a kickstarter I believe in and they don't meet goal, that's SO frustrating so I'm glad she made it!
Wolf Mark sounds particularly great to me but Cat Girls Day Off sounds awesome too!

Theresa Milstein said...

I know Stacy, but I didn't know her whole story. Amazing! So glad more diversity is getting out there.

Unknown said...

They all sound wonderful, especially the one about the cat girl - what a great idea! I loved hearing about Tu Books and why it hits so close to home for you. Thanks for the post and good luck to Stacy and Tu Books. It's about time there was some diversity in publishing. :-)

Anonymous said...

I remember when they did that kickstarter thing and I'm very happy for their success and growth. One day maybe I will get lucky enough to review some books from them.

I shared this on twitter for an extra entry:


Stacy Whitman said...

I actually avoided (intentionally) NYC for most of my career, but when the opportunity came along to make Tu even better, I couldn't turn it down. :)

And Natalie, thanks for spotlighting Tu and our books!

Unknown said...

I think that cat girl's day off sounds good. I shared this on twitter.