Shannon Hale's Blog

July 14, 2017

Dean and I are invited guests this year at San Diego Comic-Con, and so we have a pretty robust schedule with lots of opportunities to sign, panel, and meet you. 



1:00 - 2:00 pm, Room 32AB

Panel: Stepping into Another World 

Authors share the magic of books to transport young readers via words and pictures to new worlds, sometimes fantastic and exotic and very different from our own, and sometimes comfortingly close.

Panelists: Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities 6: Lodestar), Judd Winick (Hilo: The Great Big Boom), Dan Santat (After the Fall), Shannon Hale (Real Friends), Dean Hale (Princess in Black), Lisa McMann (Dragon Captives) Moderator: Lucas Turnbloom (Nightmare Escape: Dream Jumper, Book 1)

2:15 - 3:15 pm: Autograph-Area Signing #AA09 

Signing with Shannon & Dean. Books sold by Mysterious Galaxy: Real Friends, Princess in Black, Squirrel Girl, plus the first time the repackaged Books of Bayern are for sale with their beautiful new covers!

6 -7 pm: Horton Grand Theater

Panel: Superhero Family Feud 

Bestselling, award-winning, comic-loving authors Margaret Stohl (Black Widow, Captain Marvel), Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl, Runaways), Jason Reynolds (Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Ghost), Cecil Castellucci (Tin Star, The Plain Janes), Shannon and Dean Hale (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World), Ryan North (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), Nick Lowe (Marvel Comics editor), and other special guests battle to the finish in this superhero-centric Family Feud -style game.


Noon-1 pm: First Second/MCPG Booth #2802, 2800

Book signing for REAL FRIENDS, plus giveaway: bracelets & posters


1:15-1:30 pm: Booth #2329/Marvel LIVE set/Marvel booth

Marvel Live interview with Lorraine Cink

3:30 - 4:30 pm: Room #8

Keepin’ It Real Panel 

Graphic novels featuring realistic stories about kids are burning up the bestseller lists and winning awards. Join some of the hottest comics creators who are working in this genre to discuss why their work is connecting with readers both young and old.

Panelists: Jennifer & Matthew Holm (Swing It, Sunny), Victoria Jamieson (Roller Girl), Shannon Hale (Real Friends), Nidhi Chanani (Pashmina), and Tillie Walden (Spinning); Moderator: Meryl Jaffee


11am-Noon: Room 25ABC

Panel: Capturing Teen Angst Panel

Panelists: Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Erica Henderson, Victoria Jamieson, Marjorie Liu, Scott Westerfeld, Moderator: Mark Waid

Noon- 1 pm: Room 4

Spotlight on Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

1:15 – 2 pm: Autograph-Area Signing #AA20

Signing with Shannon and Dean, books sold by Mysterious Galaxy

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Published on July 14, 2017 12:09 • 255 views

April 26, 2017

ShannonuyensuperherosLeUyen Pham and I are about to hit the road to tour for our new graphic novel REAL FRIENDS, a memoir about the ups and downs of elementary school friendship. Are we touring near you?


4:00pm Launch Event @ Kepler’s Books
Location: 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Contact: (650) 324-4321


12:15pm Public Meet n’ Greet @ Second Star to the Right
Location: 4353 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212
Contact: (303) 455-1527


11:30am Ticketed Event: Lunch Meet n’ Greet
Location: Watermark Books & Cafe, 4701 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67218
Contact: (316) 682-1181


4:00pm Public Event @ St. Louis County Library
Location: St. Louis County Library Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd. Frontenac, MO 63131
Bookstore Contact:  (314) 738-9384


3:00pm Public Event @ Red Balloon Bookshop
Location: 891 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
Contact: (651) 224-8320


Toronto Comic Arts Festival - Library and Educator Day

11:15am Shannon Hale Presentation to Librarians/Educators
Title: No Boys Allowed: The subtle ways we gender books and cut boys off from reading
Location: Epic Room, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W 2G8

12:15pm Librarian/Educator Lunch
Participants: Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham
Location: Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W 2G8


Toronto Comic Arts Festival - Kids Programming Day (free and open to the public)

10:00am REAL FRIENDS Presentation @ TCAF
Location: St. Paul’s Church, 227 Bloor St E, Toronto, ON M4W 1C8, Canada
Participants: Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham
Description: The dynamic duo of Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham are teaming up again for the new book REAL FRIENDS! Join them as they explore the emotional roller coaster ride of friendship, from navigating the tricky waters of cliques and bullies to her never-ending struggle to stay in “The Group.” Come help kick of Kids Day!

11:00am REAL FRIENDS Book Signing @ TCAF (following presentation)
Participants: Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham
Location: St. Paul's Church, 227 Bloor St E, Toronto, ON M4W 1C8, Canada

12:00pm Draw-Along with LeUyen Pham
Location: Beeton Auditorium, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W 2G8
Participants: LeUyen Pham
Description: Come and draw with LeUyen Pham (REAL FRIENDS)

12:15pm Prose to Comics/Comics to Prose PANEL @ TCAF
Location: High Park Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville, 90 Bloor St E, Toronto, ON M4W 1A7, 
Participants: Scott Westerfeld, Shannon Hale, Ryan North, Cecil Castellucci 
Description: The biggest names in YA books talk about how what they love about comics, the challenges of writing in a new medium, and if they think it'll change the way they connect with their audiences.

2:00pm First Second Booth Signing - REAL FRIENDS
Location: First Second Booth @ TCAF, Toronto Reference Library
Participants: Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham


5:00pm talk and signing @ The King’s English

and, 7:00pm talk and signing, in conversation with Megan Whalen Turner @ The King’s English
Location: 1511 S 1500 E Salt Lake City, UT

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Published on April 26, 2017 09:13 • 212 views

March 28, 2017

Hey friends! Like me, many of you were horrified by this news report:

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 9.22.26 AM

 We want to show love for this school and their outstanding robotics team in the form of a book drive. This is a Title 1 school with a very diverse population. Authors, you can sign books to Pleasant Run. Anyone else who can donate is much appreciated! Picture books, early readers, chapter books, and middle grade books most welcome, especially those written by and featuring people of color. Also early readers in Spanish would be a bonus as they have dual immersion language program for some kindergarten classes.

Mail books to:

Pleasant Run Elementary

1800 N Franklin Rd

Indianapolis, IN 46219

If you have books more appropriate for middle or high school, this diverse district would love those too! Mail to:

Metro School District of Warren Township

975 N. Post Road

Indianapolis, IN 46219

ATTN: Kathy Disney

Thank you! And congrats to the robotics team at Pleasant Run. You inspire us!

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Published on March 28, 2017 10:43 • 153 views

January 2, 2017

This year is a busy one for me career-wise. My breakdown:

Feb 7: 

+ book tour Feb, March, and April. This middle grade novel is fun fun fun

May 2:

+ book tour, BookCon, & SDCC. This graphic novel is my heart.


New covers for the Books of Bayern (wait till you see them in print--gorgeous!)

Fall will bring two more books: the 5th Princess in Black and a super secret middle grade novel that will make some of you very happy. Titles and covers TBA.

I’ll post tour schedules here as soon as they’re finalized. Thanks to my readers for allowing me to continue this crazy career. I’ll see you on the road!

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Published on January 02, 2017 10:12 • 544 views

September 1, 2016

I want to tell you a quick story, with permission from who told it to me, of the unexpected ways books connect us. A few years ago I did a photographic essay of men and boys reading Princess Academy to illustrate that, yes, this does happen and yes, it is okay for heaven's sake. One of the participants is this man, who I've known for years:


He is a family man. He has many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and is hands-on involved in their lives in an active, loving manner. He's a treasure. A few years ago one of his grandchildren gave up her two precious children for adoption. As is often the case, even though it was for the best, it was still very hard for the whole family.

The two kids, a brother and sister, joined a loving family. And not knowing that their birth grandparents knew me, they apparently became fans of my books. One day the grandson is reading through my past blog posts and sees the above picture. He recognizes "Papa." And so the boy has his mother take a picture of him reading Princess Academy in the same manner, recreating the photo. His adoptive mother sends the picture to his birth mother, who shows the birth grandparents. And today, with tears, they showed it to me.

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Published on September 01, 2016 09:48 • 522 views

August 26, 2016

I've been blogging here since 2002 but this past year I haven't been keeping it up regularly. I'm active on twitter, please follow me there for all the news, rants, and adorable things my 5yos say. In the meantime, feast your eyes on the gorgeous covers the Books of Bayern will be getting in 2017.





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Published on August 26, 2016 15:44 • 578 views

April 5, 2016


Our community is coming together to raise money for charities serving the refugee community, most likely UNICEF or Save the Children (we're still researching). We are organizing an online auction to raise money that can literally save lives and change lives. 




Donate goods and services! Email us at with the following info:


1. What you are auctioning with a short description.

2. Minimum bid (as well as the normal value if applicable)

3. Any location restrictions for those bidding who may not live close by. 

4. A short note about your qualifications.

5. Please use a separate comment for each item.


1. A full novel critique, YA or adult, SFF, mystery or contemporary, maximum of 100,000 words, minimum bid $300. I have been an editor of YA fiction at Bloomsbury for 10 years.

2. A dinner with your and/or your book club (up to 10). Within 100 miles of Salt Lake City, Utah. You pay for the dinner. I bring copies of books for everyone involved, their choice. Minimum bid $100. I am an Edgar-Award winning author of 8 novels.


What kinds of goods and services? Anything you think people would want to buy! Manuscript/query letter critiques, Skype visits, phone calls, original art, book cover designs, logo design, website help, beta reading a manuscript for feedback unique to your experience of a minority group, naming a character or place in next book after the highest bidder, etc. These types of things tend to make more $ than signed books, which are also welcome, but note that anything material you offer you will be responsible for mailing to the winner.


If you have nothing to donate, you can still signal boost once the auction is up and bid, bid, bid! THANK YOU!

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Published on April 05, 2016 09:58 • 476 views

January 31, 2016

It's the social event of the season! Who is invited to Princess Magnolia's birthday party? Here's the exclusive guest list.














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Published on January 31, 2016 07:33 • 521 views

October 23, 2015

When writing any book, I always cut more than I keep. I just have to go through a lot of sentences, try out 561d64b17f037.image a lot of ideas, before discovering what works just right. Sometimes what I cut I really like but doesn't work for the best of the story. In this case, Dean and I adored the Epilogue to The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party. It made us laugh. But we cut it for two reasons. 

1. Originally we didn't have a chapter about Frimplepants in book 2, but we decided to add one in order to introduce him again. New readers might not yet be familiar with him. And besides, I just never tire of saying the name Frimplepants. Adding the new chapter 2 also added several pages. We want to be mindful of page count. The more pages, the longer the book for young readers and their parents, the more illustrations LeUyen must complete, and the more expensive for the publisher to print it. This book was already longer than the first, so we had to watch that page count!

2. It was nice to end the story in the celebratory moment with Princess Magnolia and all the princesses enjoying the party. Cutting away to Monster Land after that was funny but also anti-climactic. 

But at the least, I'll post it here. It might be fun to read it with a young PIB reader and help them understand a little bit about the process of writing and editing a book. This epilogue would also be a good one to discuss in terms of reading comprehension and inference.



The pink monster could not get out of that goat pasture fast enough. It was good to be back in Monster Land. No shiny sunlight. No unpleasantly fresh air. No yelling princesses. 

The pink monster put its clawed hands in its pockets. It went for a stroll.

A slimy monster was heading toward the hole. It had its nose in the air. It was taking in the smell of goats.

The pink monster put out a clawed hand to stop it. 

“ROOAARR!” it said.

That meant, “No goat hunting today, my slimy friend. Things are awkward up there. It’s the Princess in Black’s birthday, you see. I wouldn’t dare go up without a gift.”

The slimy monster said, “ROOAAARRR.”

That meant, “Thank you for the warning. You have been most helpful.”

The slimy monster turned away from the hole. It went home. 

It wrapped a gift.

Hopefully the Princess in Black liked toenail clippings.

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Published on October 23, 2015 08:03 • 377 views

October 16, 2015


My fourteen-year-old, green-haired, artist of a daughter is dressing as a gender-bending Spock for Halloween. There are no Spock dresses; she is sewing it herself. This is a surprise to no one. Sometimes my kid dresses like a “boy.” Sometimes she dresses at a “girl.” She sees gender as a spectrum and sexuality as fluid, and isn’t afraid to tell you either of those things. 

These ideas did not come from me, though I embrace them. My daughter is part of what I think of as the Tumblr generation, a universe of middle schoolers who are growing up in constant communication with each other, and who define themselves in terms of specific fandoms and individual self-expressions, particular memes and re-imagined cosplay themes. 

In my daughter’s world, gender rules are different. In one of her favorite popular fandoms, Steven Universe has three de-facto “moms,” and Gems like Steven can combine and re-combine into powerful partnerships regardless of their gender. 

Even my daughter’s language is different. She wants to “marry” both Foggy and Matt Murdock from Daredevil, and isn’t afraid to tell you that, in the same way she isn’t afraid to try out “boy” eyebrows in brown eyeliner on her face. On the first day of school this year—at an admittedly arty, liberal private school in an urban environment—she wrote DON’T ASSUME MY GENDER on her arm in Sharpie. Nobody bullied her; in fact, one of the senior girls told her she thought she was cool. 

She is cool, but so is the kid that could say that. Why can’t we all be that cool? Our world changes every day. Why can’t we let it? Why can’t we admit it? All we have left to do, as parents and teachers and educators and grown-ups, is to follow our children’s lead. 

Why should a bookshelf be more rigid than reality?

Sometimes I want to borrow my daughter’s Sharpie and write DON’T ASSUME MY GENDER on every book in the Middle Grade or Young Adult shelves. Books shouldn’t be less gender-fluid than the kids who read them. Growing up, even I identified with Holden Caulfield, Ponyboy, and both Murray siblings, Charles Wallace and Meg. When Pam Ling and Tessa Roper and I held our Dark is Rising fan club under the steps of the classroom bungalow in third grade, we all wanted to be the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, what Susan Cooper considered the most powerful of her magical race of ancient Old Ones. It never even occurred to me that there would be a gender issue there, because we were Will Stanton, all of us. We knew what it was like to be him, because we had been him, for as long as we’d read the books. 

My latest book, BLACK WIDOW: FOREVER RED, out this week, has three main characters and three POV’s. Two are female and one is male. Is it 2/3 a girl book? Or 1/3 a boy book? How do we define either one of those labels? All three characters are equally heroic. All three kick major butt. All three write their own destiny, star in their own story arc, rescue themselves and each other on any given page. 

At YALLFEST and YALLWEST, two book festivals I work with, Veronica Roth invented a panel called “STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS UGH!” In other words, it’s the WHY DO WE STILL NEED TO HAVE THIS PANEL PANEL. In the same way, when Shannon asked me to contribute to this week of posting, I thought -- books are for everyone. Of course they are. Why do we still need to write a post about that?


Maybe I can’t write that on all the books, so I’ll try to write it into your brain. Because my kid may not be the norm but the truth she is trying to articulate is far bigger than just one Vulcan in a dress. 

She’s a person.

People are people.

Books are books.

Readers are readers.

Stories are everyone.


Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times Bestselling co-author of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES Novels and DANGEROUS CREATURES novels, as well as the author of BLACK WIDOW: FOREVER RED (Marvel YA), and the ICONS Novels. Prior to becoming an author, Margaret worked in the video game industry as a writer and lead designer for sixteen years. She is also the co-founder of YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), two of the biggest kid/teen book festivals in the country. An alumnus of Amherst College, Stanford University, and Yale University, Margaret lives in Santa Monica with her family, two rescue cats, and two bad beagles.

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Published on October 16, 2015 13:30 • 349 views