Amelia Island Book Festival 2018

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I wrote this post while on the plane flying back to glorious Newark, New Jersey.

Something doesn’t seem right about leaving Amelia Island’s beautiful sandy beaches, not to mention the 70-80 degree weather, for the snow-covered, flu stricken east coast.

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I visited the island for the Amelia Island Book Festival. The festival also runs the Authors-in-Schools Program, whereby authors visit selected public schools and the festival purchases a book for each and every student through sales of ticketed events, generous donations, and sponsorship. This year the festival purchased over 11,000 books for students at 16 public schools across Nassau County.

I spent the day at Hilliard Elementary School speaking with second and third graders. The students had incredible questions, and I could hardly contain my glee when one student came up to me and asked if I was going to talk about figurative language.

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Hilliard Elementary Artwork (Love it!) 

One recurring question at 99% of my school visits is: how old are you? Not sure why this is so important, but I used to give the students the answer. Now I make them do the math. And this was one of the best parts of my visit to Hilliard: one of the second graders got the right answer. It was a first!

And speaking of age, the Amelia Island Book Festival happened to fall on my birthday this year. I could not think of a more wonderful way to celebrate it than with books and literary friends.

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Check out the lovely birthday balloon from Nancy Viau! 

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And this was the most delicious chocolate cupcake!

Thank you Nancy Viau for making my birthday so special. 

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Nancy Viau 

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Evelyne Holingue, Jennifer Swanson and Heather Macht

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Eileen Meyer

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Linda Seymour Carr and me 

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Mike Maihack

I’d like to shout out a HUGE thank you to Danna Crump, librarian extraordinaire at Hilliard Elementary School for making me feel so welcome. Hilliard Elementary School is a very special place and I’m thrilled to have had a chance to visit with their students. I’d also like to thank the festival organizers, volunteers, and the terrific group of authors and illustrators that I met. I can hardly wait for next year’s festival.

 

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Cover Reveal: No Peacocks!

I am thrilled beyond words to share the cover for No Peacocks! (Sky Pony Press) illustrated by the amazing Chris Ewald. Drum roll, please!

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No Peacocks! is a fictional feathered tale about the three real-life mischievous peacocks who reside on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Let me introduce you:

This is Phil.

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This is Jim or Harry.

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Or Harry or Jim.

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(I can’t tell the difference between Jim or Harry but if you ask any of the children, they all know which bird is which.)

For five years, my son attended The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine. And from the moment I saw the birds, I knew I wanted to write about them. There was just one problem. I needed a story. On one extremely fortunate day while I was attending a meeting for the school’s book fair, one of the school administrators came into the room asking if anyone had left a sandwich in a stroller because one of the peacocks ate it. And as soon as I heard that, I knew I had my story.

No Peacocks! is about Phil, Jim and Harry’s quest to taste the school’s very famous mac ‘n cheese. It’s a cheesy story of friendship and teamwork, with a mild sprinkling of criminal activity that’s perfect for influencing the impressionable minds of children ages 0 to 1000. It flies onto bookshelves September 2018.

I’d like to take a quick moment to thank my editor, Alison Weiss; my agents, Liza Fleissig and Ginger Harris-Dontzin; my writing teacher, Jill Davis; my writing group, Jacki Morris and Joanne French; my husband, Michael, who has probably read this story more times than he would have liked; my son, Noah, for the tremendous joy he brings my husband and me every day—even during homework; and anyone else who so much as sneezed on my manuscript.

No Peacocks! is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at your favorite independent bookstore.

 

 

 

Celebrating #WRAD18 @KidLit TV

 

A conversation between me and one of my favorite blog readers:

Me: My sincere apologies for being a little late to the party.

Blog reader: Didn’t World Read Aloud Day ’18 happen last week on February 1st?

Me: It did. I had the best of intentions of doing a blog post last week but I got a tad bogged down with rewrites. And then I found myself complaining about the rewrites that needed rewrites. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

Blog reader: You are quite gifted in the complaining department.

Me: Thank you! Everyone needs a talent. In any event, in spite of my lateness, I had a blast celebrating World Read Aloud Day ’18 at KidLit TV and I wanted to shout out a HUGE THANK YOU to Julie GribbleRocco Staino, and the entire KidLit TV crew for making the day extra special. And if you want to know how very special that day was take a look at this:

Help make World Read Aloud Day an every day event!

Spring 2018 Mini-Conference at Bank Street

Bank Street College Center for Children's Literature

The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street is thrilled to announce:

A Celebration of Bilingual Books and Latinx Communities, March 3rd, 9:00 – 1:30 with keynote speaker Duncan Tonatiuh

Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Drive at W120th and Broadway, 14th Floor, Room 1402

A conference for English and Spanish Speaking librarians, elementary teachers, parents and caregivers who want to grow their repertoire and knowledge of these genres and better serve their communities.

 

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 Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is the author-illustrator of Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México (Abrams 2017) as well as other works. His books have received numerous awards including the Pura Belpré Medal.

Program Schedule

For Adults

Cost: $50.00

Register 

9:00 – 9:30

Registration, light breakfast and coffee

9:30 – 9:35

Welcome

Cynthia Weill, Director, Center for Children’s Literature

Bank Street College of Education

9:35 – 9:45

Opening Remarks

Emma Otheguy, New York University

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By rnewman504

STORYSTORM 2018 Day 22: Robin Newman Has Food for Thought

Today is THE day! So excited to be participating in the incredible TARA LAZAR’s Storystorm. Grab a snack and hop on over to Tara’s! Happy writing everyone! xo

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

by Robin Newman

Psst, Storystorm reader! Are you hungry? I could use a snack. Got anything good in the fridge?

Food is a recurring theme in my books. Although writing about food has its consequences (last I checked it was about 10 pounds of carrot cake consequences), food is a wonderfully rich source of nourishment for a writer. You can steal it, share it, trade it, play with it, cook it, investigate it, idiomize it, dress it, accessorize it, travel to, for, or with it, procrastinate with it, eat it, digest it, and so on.

Food is also extremely flexible. It works equally well in fiction and nonfiction from board books to YA. It can be the conflict of your story where two squirrels are battling it out for the very last acorn on earth or be part of the setting in a brewing coffee shop romance.

By now, you…

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By rnewman504

STORYSTORM 2018 Registration is OPEN!

Thrilled to be blogging in January’s monthlong STORYSTORM! Thirty-one days of writing inspiration from authors and illustrators, prizes, and more! What a great way to start your writing year! Happy holidays!

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

What a glorious feeling!

It’s that time of the year again, when you will be showered with inspiration!

Story ideas are gonna rain down like cats and dogs! (And maybe some will be about cats and dogs!)

Last year I changed the name and month of my annual writing challenge, from Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) to Storystorm. Why? Answer’s here.

Any writer interested in brainstorming new story ideas in January is invited to join. Any genre, any style; student, amateur, hobbyist, aspiring author or professional.

How does STORYSTORM work? It’s simple…

  • Register here by signing your name ONCE in the comments below. Teachers participating with a class can register under the teacher’s name.
  • Registering makes you eligible for prizes.
  • Visit this blog daily (right here at taralazar.com) in January for inspirational essays by guest bloggers—professional authors, illustrators and experts in creativity.

  • Instead of visiting the blog directly, you can…

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By rnewman504

The Cranford Public Library’s First Picture Book Palooza

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Yesterday The Cranford Public Library celebrated its first ever Picture Book Palooza. In a nutshell, it was DY-NO-MITE!

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Laura Sassi

Robin&Annie

Me & Annie Silvestro

Ariel

Ariel Bernstein

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Diana Murray

Elizabeth Upton

Me

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I’d like to shout a huge THANK YOU to Lauren Antolino, librarian extraordinaire, Laura Sassi, the amazing volunteers, and to Anne Laird at The Town Book Store for making this incredible day a reality. And oh what an incredible day it was!

 

The Bank Street Writers Lab Receives a Carle Honor

Congratulations to Cynthia Weill and the Bank Street Writer’s Lab!

Bank Street College Center for Children's Literature

On Thursday, September 28th the Bank Street Writers Lab (BSWL) received a prestigious award from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.

Each year, the Carle gives out four awards to individuals “whose creative vision and dedication are an inspiration to everyone who values picture books and their role in arts education and literacy.”

The BSWL received the Carle Honors Mentor Award which recognizes editors, designers, educators, librarians, scholars and others who champion picture books and picture book art.  The BSWL received the award “in recognition of its leadership and support of writers and artists throughout its long history.”

Members of the Bank Street Writers Lab were present at the gala event which took place at Gustavino’s in New York City. Also, present was the legendary author and founder of the museum, Eric Carle. The awards ceremony was moderated by Newbery award winning author, Jack Gantos. Other

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By rnewman504

Ahoy Mateys! Luna Park’s Halloween Harvest Is the Pirate-tas-tic Best Party of the Year!

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There’s something wonderfully magical in the air at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Every time I go I feel like a kid again. And this year’s pirate-themed Halloween Harvest is spellbindingly AWESOME!

Hildie Bitterpickles and I had a blast doing Polly the Parrot’s story time and ARGGHS & crafts with the kids. I know you must be wondering but isn’t Hildie a witch? She is a witch but she also comes from a long line of pirates on her father’s side of the family.

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Photo by Luna Park

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Halloween Harvest runs through October 29th with special author visits scheduled every weekend. And on October 14th don’t forget to bring your four-legged, furry best friend for the dog parade and costume contest. Click here for information on how to sign up! May the best dog win! Woof!

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Ahoy Mateys! Time to set sail for an incredible adventure at Luna Park.

 

KidLit Cares: Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort

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KidLit Cares, the brainchild of the incredible Kate Messner, is an online auction to support the Red Cross relief efforts in communities hit by Hurricane Harvey. Over one hundred and fifty AWESOME donations from authors, illustrators, editors, agents, and the SCBWI. Please visit Kate Messner’s website by clicking here. And if you’d like an in-person school visit OR Skype visit AND some signed books from yours truly, please click here and leave a bid in the comments. So open your hearts, open up your wallets, and let the bidding begin. The auction ends Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 8pm EST.

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THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! 

 

 

 

By rnewman504