EMU’s Debuts proudly presents WE’VE GOT A JOB by Cynthia Levinson

WE'VE GOT A JOB by Cynthia Levinson.

WE'VE GOT A JOB is one of the most important and valuable books your child will ever read.

In late spring of 1963 the front line of the American Civil Rights movement was located in the city of  Birmingham, Alabama. It was a time when the lives of black Americans were continually threatened by the very authorities whose duty it was to protect them. One of the most remarkable events in the annals of our nation took place during this time, an event which saw 4,000 of our nation’s least experienced and most vulnerable citizens rise up against the tyranny of segregation. They were children, some as young as nine years old, and they changed the course of American history.

EMU’s Debuts is immensely proud to celebrate the launch of Cynthia Levinson’s middle-grade debut, WE’VE GOT A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S MARCH. It’s an extraordinary book that’s already earned starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and Booklist. Prominent book distributor Baker and Taylor called it “the cat’s meow,” and School Library Journal’s Practically Paradise blog believes it may be the most important historical account of the Civil Rights Movement that students will read in school (which they will, of course).

As we did for Michelle Ray‘s debut, FALLING FOR HAMLET, we’ll be posting all week long about WE’VE GOT A JOB. There’ll be interviews, quizzes, teaching ideas, wonderful stories, prizes, and just lotsa EMU-esque good vibes. FYI, all you little EMUs who comment this week will receive a free “I can be a hero too!” badge. We’ll also have two opportunities to win a free, personalized copy of the book – the first is by leaving a comment on this blog post.

But first, the story of how this amazing story became a book, courtesy of three major players in its publication: Chris Barton, Erin Murphy, and Kathy Landwehr.

*************

Part I: An Early Recommendation

SHARK VS. TRAIN author and EMLA client Chris Barton.

Celebrated author and early WE'VE GOT A JOB supporter Chris Barton.

Austin, Texas is a fiery mosh pit of accomplished children’s authors and illustrators, and the proposal for WE’VE GOT A JOB had a terrific Austin-based booster early on: picture book/nonfiction author and Renaissance man Chris Barton.

MJ: What did you see in Cynthia’s proposal that spurred you to send it on to your agent?

CB: Cynthia’s materials — two chapters, an outline, and a bibliography — were simply outstanding. The topic was fascinating and undeservedly little-known, her treatment of the events was compelling, her voice was confident, and it was obvious how hard she had worked to polish those materials. Most importantly, I really enjoyed reading them and I was highly interested in learning the rest of the story. It was an honor to put her in touch with Erin and help get her proposal into Erin’s hands so that LOTS of us could read the rest of Cynthia’s story.

*************

Erin Murphy, agent extraordinaire and owner of superdog Lulu.

Überagent Erin Murphy, who knows a good thing when she sees it.

Part II: A Referral, a Tingly Feeling, and an Offer of Representation
Chris Barton’s agent is, of course, the queen EMU herself, Erin Murphy, whose track record speaks for itself.

MJ: You didn’t hesitate to sign Cynthia on as an EMLA client, lucky for us. Why were you so inspired by her proposal?

EM(U): The first thing is that it came on referral from Chris Barton. It’s always good when someone you trust says, “You have to read this,” or something to that effect.

The second was that the proposal was clearly written by someone who knew what she was doing, both in writing and research, and it was revealing an aspect of the Civil Rights Movement that I’d never been aware of. I had that tingly O.M.G. feeling mixed with a bit of panic that someone else would do it first. I couldn’t imagine a better topic for children’s books. The Civil Rights era and its major players have been covered so much in children’s literature, and here was a brand-new take with the most kid-interesting window that I could dare to imagine. This was a book that could change kids’ lives.

*************

Part III: The Right Editor at the Right Time

Peachtree Publisher's Spring 2012 Catalog

Oh, there's some good stuff in here, you know there is.

Kathy Landwehr, VP and Associate Publisher at Peachtree Publishers, was eerily perfect for Cynthia’s book, so much so that I had to pepper her with multiple questions.

MJ: What was your initial reaction to Cynthia’s proposal?

KL: Delight and exhilaration. I was already a bit obsessed with the Children’s March and had been trying to figure out who could write the story—and then there it was! The proposal started off with a bang, as the finished book does, introducing us to Audrey Faye Hendricks, who went to jail when she was just nine years old. Before I finished reading the proposal, I jumped up and ran down the hall to wave it in our publisher’s face and babble incoherently. Fortunately, she’s fluent in Kathy and understood what I was talking about. And she shared my enthusiasm.

MJ: Was there any one aspect of the proposal that compelled you to acquire it?

KL: I was already interested in the story of the event. I loved Cynthia’s approach, focusing on four of the participants and using their personal experiences to convey the enormity of the event. I was also impressed by the thorough and extensive research that she’d already done, and the way she had integrated so many important details into a compelling story.

MJ:What kind of impact do you hope this book will have on readers?

KL: I hope that readers will respond as I did—that they’ll jump up, run down the hall, and tell someone that they have to read this amazing book. I hope that, as I do, they’ll marvel at Arnetta, Audrey, James, and Wash and feel amazed at their maturity and accomplishments and grateful for their efforts and sacrifice. I hope they’ll realize (or be reminded) that individuals can make a difference, that people—including young people—can confront tremendous injustice and change the world for the better.

*************

Contest! Free Book! Book Contest for a Free Book!
We’re giving away a copy of the book, including a nifty personalized bookplate direct from the author. To throw your hat in the ring, just leave a comment on this post. And as I mentioned earlier, there’ll be another chance to win a free copy on Friday. One way or another, however, you want to read this book and share it with the children in your lives. Raise a fist to the heavens and shout in triumph, blog readers – WE’VE GOT A JOB is worthy of all our praise and thanksgiving!

m.

*************

Three Starred Reviews

About these ads

56 Comments

Filed under Agents, Book Promotion, Celebrations, Colleagues, Editor, Guest Posts, Happiness, Updates on our Books!

56 responses to “EMU’s Debuts proudly presents WE’VE GOT A JOB by Cynthia Levinson

  1. What a great introduction to WE’VE GOT A JOB. The enthusiasm Chris, Erin and Kathy share is righteously infectious. I can’t wait for the world to meet this book! Happy publication week, Cynthia!

    Like

  2. Congratulations, Cynthia, and best of luck! Can’t wait to see this book in the stores! Thank you for sharing your debut journey with us. :)

    Like

  3. I”M SO EXCITED TO BE LAUNCHING CYNTHIA’S BOOK!!!!!! It arrived in the mail on Friday, and I made myself late for a dinner date with my husband because I couldn’t stop looking through it. It’s a great book, and it’s going to go far! And, it’s giving us Emus a chance to PARTY!!!!

    WOO HOO!!!!

    Oh, and did I mention that I’M SO EXCITED TO BE LAUNCHING CYNTHIA’S BOOK?!!!!!

    Like

  4. This book look’s great. I’m on the lookout for great, middle-grade non-fiction so this also comes at the perfect time.

    Congrats on the launch!

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thank you, Jim! If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  5. We in Austin are so proud of Cynthia and I can’t wait to read the book. Looking forward to the launch party and to seeing the book in stores.

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thanks, Jeanette. I LOVE your book, Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas, and am proud to be a fellow Austin writer.
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  6. Eeeeeee! Hooray for Cynthia. Gonna shout it from the cyber rooftops. Congrats.

    Like

  7. Cynthia Levinson

    Thanks, Mary! I’m happy for your grand writing success, too.
    If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

    Like

  8. What a great introductory post by Mike. Now I really want to read this book! Cynthia, it sounds fascinating and wonderfully researched and written–congratulations and best of luck! I’ll get back online later today and try to spread a little Twitter and Facebook love…

    -Tara

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thank you, Tara, for responding and for spreading the word. Feel free to tell me what you think of the book.
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  9. Congratulations, Cynthia! I just got your book. It’s lovely, and I can’t wait to begin. Have a great launch week!

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Hi, Kathy. I”m already having a great Launch First Day!
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  10. What a wonderful post! I’m delighted by Cynthia’s success. I’ll be buying my own copy of the book, however, if I win, I’ll donate my prize to If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything, which supports children’s libraries in Native tribal communities.

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thank you for sharing the information about If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything. This is not an organization I’d known about but am glad you’re spreading the word about it.
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  11. Happy book launch week, Cynthia! This is such an important story that deserves to shine, shine, shine! And will, I have no doubt! I’m so eager to share it with friends and family because I know they’ll eat it up!

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Happy eating, Jeanne!
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  12. Congrats on launch week, Cynthia! So exciting! What a great story.

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      It is an amazing story, Trish, and I didn’t even have to make it up!
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  13. Yay, Cynthia! And excellent post, Mike! This is such an amazing book. I loved hearing even more of the background, especially Kathy’s excitement. What fun!

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Kathy was amazing. The book truly would not be the book it is without Kathy’s necessarily heavy editorial hand.
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  14. Most enjoyable post! Congrats to all involved.

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thanks, Don. And, you have so many wonderful books to be congratulated on–for illustrating, as well as writing. You’re so multiply talented!
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  15. Wonderful post, beautiful book–best of luck with the launch!

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thank you, Sarah, for stopping by.
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  16. Wow, I LOVE the story of your book’s journey, Cynthia! It sounds like the story of the children’s march was in very good and capable hands, I can’t wait to see how you tell the story. I’m eager to read this to my kids and share with our school’s library.

    Like

  17. **HAPPY DANCE** My enthusiasm for this book (and for its caring, bright, generous author!) is shared by so many, but those numbers will grow much, much higher. From the first time I heard an excerpt of this book, I knew it would do well, and I couldn’t be happier!!! I had such high expectations for WE HAVE A JOB but upon receiving it, I realized it even surpassed those! Amazing. Riveting. Moving. With passages and pictures that, long after you close the book, will remain in your head. BRAVO, Cynthia. And huge congratulatory hugs, too!

    Like

  18. EM

    Hey, what about the part where your story was so awesome that ANOTHER editor wanted it, too, so you had a little not-an-auction-but-sort-of-audition-and-weighing-of-offers thing going on, hmm? I am SO HAPPY (and SO TOTALLY NOT SURPRISED) that this book is getting such a fantastic reception. Kudos to you!

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thanks, Lynda. You and I are in mutual admiration society. I CANNOT WAIT for ONE FOR THE MURPHYS. I’m so excited for you, too.

      Like

  19. Great post! I can’t wait to read this book.

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thank you, Shelli. I hope you enjoy it.
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  20. Susan Larsen

    I’ve been waiting a LONG time to see this! Congrats Cynthia and well-deserved accolades.

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Yes, it has been a long time in coming. No one’s been more patient than Wash, James, and Arnetta but I appreciate your hanging in with me.
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  21. I loved hearing more of the story behind this important book!

    Like

  22. Cynthia Levinson

    And, there are more stories coming tomorrow, thanks to my wonderful EMU’s Debuts buddies.
    If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

    Like

  23. Melissa Braun

    This is so exciting! Looking forward to reading this with my students and my own children.

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thank you, Melissa! What grade to you teach? You might want to take a look at my website, which has lesson plans and will shortly have a fantastic curriculum guide developed by Natalie Lorenzie.
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  24. Natalie Dias Lorenzi

    Cynthia, when I first heard you read an excerpt of this book at the ELMA writing retreat in Chicago, I had goosebumps. And almost two years later, I read the same scenes (with Audrey in her Mary Janes in one scene and the force of that hose in another) in your book and tears sprang to my eyes.

    This evening, I kept sharing excerpt after excerpt with my parents who are here visiting. They did not grow up in the South–my dad is from Connecticut and my mom from Oregon, but as newlyweds they were stationed in Montgomery, Alabama in 1963 (where my dad was in the Air Force). We sat at the dinner table for two hours with your book–I read to them–they told me stories, and no one wanted to get up from the dinner table. I could hardly get through the scene where the fireman and policemen told Bull Connor…well, I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t yet read it. Suffice it to say that this is a gem of a book that has been lovingly tended to by a gem of an author. Many, many congratulations to you, Cynthia!

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Natalie, this is so very touching. Thank you for sharing this–and for sharing the book with your parents. Other people, too, including a book reviewer, who lived through this period even in other places have started telling me what they remember of these times and whether they protested or not. The events resonate, don’t they? And, you’ve picked that up so beautifully in the curriculum guide.

      Like

  25. This is brilliant, Cynthia! I love seeing the comments from the various hands involved in the production of this magnificent book! What a thrill to be at the ground level of a book destined to live as a treasure on shelves forever.

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      It took so long to bring this book to fruition, many Erin gangos were at the basement level when this project started!
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  26. Gwendolyn McIntyre

    Talk about ANTICIPATION!

    Congratulations, Cynthia. I can’t wait to read it.

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      I’ll be curious what you think.
      If you’d like to send me your address off-list, I’ll send you an “I can be a hero, too!” badge (well, a sticker). And, you are now officially entered into the drawing to win a free, signed book!

      Like

  27. Gwendolyn McIntyre

    Reblogged this on Pages for Small Wages and commented:
    Two years ago, Cynthia Levinson read an excerpt for us at the EMLA retreat in Chicago, I had one of those warm tingly moments that told me this was going to be a great book.

    It sure is.

    Like

  28. This looks terrific, Cynthia! I can’t wait to get my own copy and read it!
    Cindy

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thanks, Cindy! And, consider yourself entered into the drawing for a freebie. If you’d like an “I can be a hero, too!” badge, just send me your address.

      Like

  29. I love hearing about the process of how a book comes to life! Thanks for sharing insider details. Congratulations, Cynthia!! I can’t wait to read it!

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thanks, Carmen! And, consider yourself entered into the drawing for a freebie. If you’d like an “I can be a hero, too!” badge, just send me your address.

      Like

  30. This book sounds amazing. Just what adults and children need to see. Congrats on the publication of your book!!!

    Like

    • Cynthia Levinson

      Thanks, Sarah! And, consider yourself entered into the drawing for a freebie. If you’d like an “I can be a hero, too!” badge, just send me your address.

      Like

  31. Pingback: Wednesday Interview: 3 Questions For “We’ve Got A Job”

  32. Pingback: Three Questions For WE’VE GOT A JOB… | EMU's Debuts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s