Summer Storytime

This week I will be doing the evening story time at the Orem City Library (located in Orem, UT). So if you would love a free night out with the family, come on by. It is Tuesday, July 22nd at 7pm in the storytelling wing of the children's section.

Come find out which page of the book this little boy appears on...

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Presentation & Book Signing 7/15/14

This Tuesday night at 7pm I will be doing a presentation/story time and book signing for DISCOVER AMERICA: FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA at The Kings English Bookshop in Salt Lake City. I would love to see you there. Here are the details...

Julie Olson | Discover America: From Sea to Shining Sea

Jul 15 2014 7:00 pm
Jul 15 2014 9:00 pm
1511 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City
United States
Join local author, Julie Olson, for a reading and signing of her new picture book, Discover America: From Sea to Shining Sea.
Follow the patriotic journey of a little red balloon as it makes its way from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States. Accompanied by the words of one of America's most beloved anthems America the Beautiful, From Sea to Shining Sea shows the diversity and beauty of our great country through the eyes of our nation's children. To add an interactive experience, kids all across the United States will be able to go online to send their own balloons on their own journey.
Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of Discover America: From Sea to Shining Sea from The King's English.

GET YOUR COPY NOW! Preorder your signed copy ofDiscover America: From Sea to Shining Sea today, by either calling the store at 801-484-9100 or ordering online. Please specify if you will be attending the event and if you want your book personalized.
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ALA 2014 - Las Vegas

This year I was invited by my publisher, Shadow Mountain, to come to the American Library Association Conference held in Las Vegas to sign books in their booth. They put me up in a nice hotel, fed me a wonderful dinner, and treated me like an all out star. They are AWESOME publishers!

The goal for publishers at ALA is to get their books into the hands of librarians, teachers and readers across the country so they will spread the word about how awesome a book is. The perk for those attending ALA, is that they get a TON of free books (with the understanding that they will post reviews and share which books people should buy). The publishers bring in authors to sign their newly released or soon-to-be-released books and it is just a FAN FEST. Many long lines & many short friendships later, you walk away excited to read a book and share it with the world.

My illustrator friend, Apryl Stott, met me at the conference and worked with me to promote my book and helped out at the signing. It was so fun to see her there and to spend some time catching up.

I signed on Saturday and Sunday mornings for an hour each time. On Saturday, the line of people wanting me to sign a book for them was amazingly long (some of the people in line told me my line was as long as the Caldecott winner David Wiesner's line). I hope they all like my book as much as his. :-) I was humbled by this turnout and so grateful for the positive comments people gave me on my book, Discover America: From Sea to Shining Sea.

All in all I had a wonderful time, a wonderful experience and a wonderful trip. Thank you to all the amazing teachers, librarians and book lovers out there. KEEP READING!!!

Here are some pics from the trip:

View from my hotel room

The first of 2 signings at the Shadow Mountain booth 11am Saturday Morning

I was told by people in line that my line was as long as Caldecott Winner, David Wiesner's line. I don't know about that but I did sign for an hour straight. I met so many nice people, teachers, librarians and even kids.

This little girl was the highlight of the signing. She even signed a book she made with her dad for ME! I was honored.

And here I am signing one back for her. (and small world, the guy in the background with white hair is actually my neighbor back home. It just happened that his company had a booth at the convention and he happened by during my signing)

still signing

I had Tshirts made for my friend Apryl and I to wear the first day...a bit of advertising for the book. It worked.

Kevin Henkes signed a book for me and asked for one of my postcards.
And yes, I stood in line for all of my favorite authors and illustrators. I am so not above standing in line. :-)

The amazing Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett

A shot of me with my awesome friend Apryl Stott and one of our signed books

I got to meet Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. He was so kind and personable.

Meeting Rosemary Wells, author illustrator of the Max and Ruby series and now franchise

Molly Idle signing and discussing technique. I can't believe she only uses colored pencil. 

Me and Melissa Sweet. Her collages are beautiful!

Apryl and I ready for a night on the town in Las Vegas. (Of course things don't get too wild when you've got two alcohol abstaining, book loving moms going out)

Me and Karen Zelnick, Marketing Guru for Shadow Mountain Publishing, at the Publisher's Dinner at FIX in the Bellagio. Yummy food. Great company.

Meeting Tom Lichtenheld, author illustrator (of Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site as well)

Second signing on Sunday Morning in the Shadow Mountain Booth. I signed out of all 250 copies the publisher brought to the conference. They were very surprised and pleased to place so many books. I was surprised and pleased so many people came to the signings.

One of my illustrating/story telling heros, Aaron Becker. He signed one of his books for me and I signed one of mine for him. Nice exchange. Very kind person.

I also got to meet up with some of my Utah author friends. Here's me snagging one of Ally Condie's ARC's. Loved the book by the way. We sat together years ago at a signing in a Christian bookstore, before she made it big. Now look at her. What a sweet, kind person she is. She is a wonderful mom to her kids, author for the YA market, and friend to all. YAy Ally!

Getting a quick hug and an ARC from my wonderful friend Carol Lynch Williams. Read her stuff! It's good!

Meeting Oliver Jeffers, hip, cool, creative author/illustrator.

My haul of books from ALA.  I've snagged time to read a few of the Novels and all of the picture books. Love 'em! Good stuff. I'm a lucky gal.

My kids love the books too!

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Book Reviews for Ally Condie's "Atlantia" and Ilima Todd's "Remake"

AtlantiaAtlantia by Ally Condie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited to get an Advance Readers Copy of Ally Condie's "Atlantia."

I'll try not to give out any spoilers here (even if you want me to), but I will say that this is a wonderful story of independence, loyalty, family relationships, love, and sacrificing for the greater good.

I like the fact that this book kind of deals with 2 (well also mentions a 3rd) civilizations. While it focuses mainly on one, you get glimpses into the other. The one it focuses on, Atlantia, is fascinating and created wonderful visuals for me. (I'm ready for a whole Disneyland or Sea World theme park just focused on this place). It was nice to "live" in an undersea world for a while and not in the usual grime of dystopian futuristic novels.

I appreciated Condie's ability to focus on the inner struggles of Rio, the main character, while giving us the sense of the personalities and struggles of the other characters as well. I'm not a fan of when authors jump out of the main character's head and into another's just to be able to tell the whole story. But Condie didn't do this and was still able to tell the WHOLE story.  I love that Rio is a strong female character who makes her own choices without ever sounding like she's whining, even when she gets frustrated or down.

I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the book, (I'll leave out a line though, which I also like, because I don't want to give too much away). This almost sounds like a line out of the author's personal diary (or one out of any teenager's):

"When I was growing up, I often felt trapped by the constraints of my voice, the concerns of my family, the confines of my city. ...I know I am no longer trapped."

RemakeRemake by Ilima Todd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited to get an ARC of this book. Lucky me! When it's available to all, I highly suggest picking it up. Fun, yet thoughtful read.

On the surface, it's a story about gender, choice, and freedom. However, it made me think much deeper about how the relationships we form actually free us to be who we really are, how the choices we make others may see as confining and limiting to our personal freedom. However, those relationships and choices actually make us grow and become more than we ever could have without them.

This book fit right in the dystopian genre, however I really liked the imagery and real-world elements of the island life in the middle. It made me feel even more connected to the world she created (maybe that's because I dream of living the island life). Some people may say, "oh this part is like this other book where people get to be made pretty," or "she named the main character NINE...she must've just added the number 5 to FOUR from that other book." But even though parallels can be drawn (LIKE WITH EVERY OTHER BOOK THAT IS IN THE SAME GENRE), Ilima does a great job in making every character and plot choice relevant to the book. So don't hate on the parts that cause you to possibly reflect on other books or stories. All stories spring from the same elements, and when a book is a specific genre, there are specific elements that MUST be there to put it in that genre. But honestly, I enjoyed this book much more than those other two I slightly referenced above.

I also thought the author created a believable, not-so-distant future, type of world ironically named Freedom. Yes, they have the freedom to choose who they will be on the outside, however, they are distracted by that superficial choice into giving up other freedoms. I think we are often distracted by the superficial in todays world, forgetting what's really important.

The author crafts the story in a way to help the reader and the character within the story naturally form opinions on what is really important in life. Can't wait to read more from Ilima Todd!

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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at

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