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Newsletter Header titled, Kidlit, Coffee & Cats from Author Sonja Thomas, along with her photo and images of books, a cup of steaming coffee, and two cats.


And Happy New Year!

Filbert the beaver—aka Stumptown Fil—has predicted six more weeks of winter. Not gonna lie, I'm already missing the warm temperatures and ocean breezes of Florida, where I typically spend my holidays. But the best thing about more Pacific Northwest winter weather? Incentive to stay inside and write!

Now, let's get comfy with our favorite beverage and catch up! 


What's inside

Book News
In other book news
Coffee Talk
Currently I'm...

Book News

I'm so excited to be working again with my amazing editor, Aly Heller, on my next middle grade novel, set for publication in spring/summer 2024!!

It's about a 12-year-old aspiring filmmaker in Portland, Oregon who bands together with an unlikely friend group to protect their beloved state animal—the beaver—while trying to get into a competitive summer film camp. If you're into fantasy films, magic, and ending climate change (with the help of beavers), then this will be right up your alley!

This is my first time writing a novel under contract, and WHEW! It. Is. Hard.

I just wrapped up what I call my "first ugly draft" and now I await impatiently for feedback from my awesome beta readers. Those are people who graciously read the entire manuscript and give a story-level critique. This includes bigger picture items that affect the entire story, like plot, structure, character arcs, and worldbuilding.

Thankfully, revisions is my favorite. So once I receive their feedback, I'll do my best to turn it into a "kinda-good-looking first draft" for my editor. Fingers crossed!

Header: Publishers Marketplace Deal Report: Children's: Middle Grade Fiction, October 14, 2022. Text: Author of SIR FIG NEWTON AND THE SCIENCE OF PERSISTENCE and GOODNIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS contributor Sonja Thomas's untitled #ownvoices story, about a 12-year-old aspiring filmmaker in Portland, Oregon who bands together with an unlikely friend group to protect their beloved state animal--the beaver-- while trying to get into a competitive summer film camp, to Alyson Heller at Aladdin, in a nice deal, for publication in spring/summer 2024, Ronald Gerber at Lowenstein Associates (world)."

In other book news

Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence is a 2023 Oregon Book Awards finalist!!!

Oregon Book Awards 2023 Finalists Leslie Bradshaw Award. Book covers of Dream, Annie, Dream; Little Monarchs; The Care and Keeping of Freddy; Every Bird a Prince; Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence

I'm honored and excited to be recognized alongside so many pawesome Oregon authors. Thank you Literary Arts and to the out-of-state judges: Mary Cronk Farrell, T. P. Jagger, and Alex Sanchez. Winners will be announced live at the 2023 Oregon Book Awards Ceremony, hosted by Luke Burbank, at Portland Center Stage at The Armory on Monday, April 3, 2023. 

Click here for the official announcement.


Coffee Talk

Here's a fun pic showing off my latest (and currently favorite) coffee cup! It sits atop an earlier "really-ugly first draft" of my new middle grade novel, after having read through and revising all 160 pages by hand. My laptop waits patiently for me to type it all up, which I was able to finish in three days. Many cups of coffee were consumed during this process!

Photo: White coffee cup with picture of a brown-skinned female witch holding open palm above an opened book, held over a cauldron. Moon cycle drawn around the witch. Cup sits on a pile of printed pages and notebooks. Laptop on a stand sits in the background.





Meet Airbnb Editorial Kitty (aka "Hungry Stray")!!! This past November, I attended and presented at my very first ever NCTE conference (National Council of Teachers of English) in California. My author friend, Reese Eschmann, was followed home by this adorable hungry stray, who ended up crashing with us at our shared Airbnb.

Boy, did this cat know how to pick'em! Reese is the author of the cat café chapter book series, Home for Meow. Now named Hobbes, he's living his best domestic-life with Reese and her family in the windy city. Check out Reese's IG Reel, documenting this adventure, along with a surprising secret! 

Upcoming Events

February 18 - Willamette Writers - Coast Chapter workshop, Newport, OR 2PM PST

March 13 - Imagined Ink: Teen Write-In guest, FVRL Library, online 4PM PST

April 6-9 - Norwescon 45 panels and workshops, SeaTac, WA

April 17 - Willamette Writers - Vancouver Chapter workshop, Vancouver, WA 6PM PST

Below are some photos from this past November at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conference I attended and presented at in Anaheim.

NCTE panel, "Power of Persistence" with 2022 debut middle grade authors, Nancy Tandon (The Ghost of Spruce Point), Reese Eschmann (Etta Invincible), Jenna Yoon (Lia Park and the Missing Jewel), and me!

Fun fact: we all have the same editor!
Awesome doodle made during our session, by the uber-talented author, Melanie Conklin.
Reese and I met the AMAZING New York Times bestselling author and champion of writers and teachers everywhere, Kate Messner!
We also met some of our favorite middle grade authors! (Bottom left to right: Torrey Maldonado, Barbara Dee, Laurie Morrison, and Chris Baron.
Add Sir Fig Newton to Goodreads
Click Here to Preorder Sir Fig Newton

Currently I'm...

READING: Jennifer Chan is Not Alone by Tae Keller. I absolutely LOVED her last book, and Newberry winner, When You Trap a Tiger, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book about friendship, bullying, and the possibility that there’s more in the universe than just us. The best part? I got a signed copy at the November NCTE conference! 
Book opened to title page: Jennifer Chan is Not Alone by Tae Keller, Random House New York. Personalized signature: "For Sonja - Good luck on your writing journey!"
LISTENING TO: All of Lizzo's music videos on YouTube! 

If you're looking for fun, feel good music, then look no further. I was lucky enough to see Lizzo in concert back in November and was so happy for her 2023 Grammy win for Record of the Year for her Special single “About Damn Time.”

In the words of Lizzo, "In case nobody told you today, You're special."
Photograph of Lizzo, her back-up dancers, and band on stage with big screen behind them and sold-out auditorium.

Until next time

Thank you for joining me on this writing journey. Please feel free to reply with any questions, comments, or just to say hello. I'd love to hear from you. Have a wonderful winter season and see you again in spring! 

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Author photo. Woman smiling, standing outside by trees and bushes.
Kidlit, Coffee & Cats is a free newsletter by author Sonja Thomas. She writes stories for kids of all ages, often featuring brave, everyday girls doing extraordinary things. Raised in Central Florida—home of the wonderful world of Disney, humidity, and hurricanes—and a Washington, DC transplant for 11 years (go Nats!), she's now “keeping it weird” in the Pacific Northwest.
Copyright © 2021 Sonja Thomas, All rights reserved.

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Sonja Thomas's Author Newsletter · PO Box · Vancouver, WA 98661 · USA

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