Kids Read: A Book Festival

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On Saturday I had the privilege of attending the first annual Kids Read: A Book Festival in Poughkeepsie, New York, with 35 plus authors and illustrators. It was DY-NO-MITE!

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Aram Kim 

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Karen Kaufman Orloff

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David Neilsen 

Timothy Young

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Me and Kelly Purdy, teacher extraordinaire

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Diana Murray 

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Nick Bruel and Charlotte Bennardo

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A VERY HUGE THANK YOU to John Torres, head of Youth Services for the Poughkeepsie Public Library District, Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District, Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Dutchess County, Dutchess Reads, Merritt Bookstore, and to the amazing staff and volunteers for bringing this incredible day to fruition. Can’t wait for next year’s festival!

Happy International Carrot Cake Day!

Detective Wilcox and Captain Griswold would like to wish everyone a very happy International Carrot Cake Day!

And if you’d like to make the best carrot cake ever, please give Mollie Katzen’s AMAZING  recipe from The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake a try.

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Bon Appétit!

The Bookshop at the End of the Internet with Stacey Horan

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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of stopping by Stacey Horan’s podcast, The Bookshop at the End of the Internet, to talk about books, writing, revision, and more. It’s been a lifelong goal to master the use of “um” and I think I’ve finally done it. So, please click here to give a listen and enjoy!

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Stacey Horan is the award-winning YA author of Inland, The Elixir Vitae Adventures: ORTUS (Book 1), The Elixir Vitae Adventures: JUVENIS (Book 2), and Sycamore Lane. To learn more about Stacey, her awesome books, and The Bookshop at the End of the Internet, please visit her website.

 

 

 

 

2019 Authors in Schools Literacy Program and the Amelia Island Book Festival

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Last Friday I had the extra special treat of visiting Southside Elementary School students in Fernandina Beach, Florida in conjunction with the Amelia Island Book Festival’s Authors in Schools Literacy Program.

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Photo courtesy of Southside Elementary School. 

I spoke to 600 plus kids from kindergarten to second grade about how I became a writer and the writing and revision process. The students asked amazing questions. My favorite question of the day (if one can have a favorite) came from a little boy who was curious about how my son convinced me to get three dogs.

Through the extreme generosity of the Amelia Island Book Festival, 27 authors presented to more than 12,000 students at 16 Nassau County public schools, five volunteer pre-kindergarten programs, and one private school. A grand total of 12,300 books were purchased for students.

The following day I attended the book expo where I had the chance to sign books for some of the Southside Elementary School students, answer many, many questions about Phil, Jim, and Harry, and I also learned that Amelia Island is very peacock friendly.

Here are a few photographic highlights:

I’d like to shout out a VERY HUGE THANK YOU to the Amelia Island Book Festival, Southside Elementary School, and to all of the hard working volunteers at the expo. I can hardly wait for next year’s festival.

I basic-red-heart THE AMELIA ISLAND BOOK FESTIVAL

 

Chicken Soup for a Children’s Book Author on the Mend: The SCBWI’s 20th Annual Winter Conference

2019_NY_conf-home-5.jpgI must confess that I’ve been a tad delinquent about the blog lately. I do have an excuse. It’s a good one too! On January 13th, I had a second seizure. I never thought I’d say this but the first seizure went more smoothly. I was sleeping when it happened. The second one wasn’t as kind. I was standing in the kitchen, thinking about two upcoming author visits and revisions, and the next moment that I remember is sitting on the kitchen floor with two EMTs in front of me asking me questions. And you know you’re having one of those no-good-really-bad days when you get to the E.R. and the doctor warns you that the swelling and black and blues on your face will only get worse over the next couple of days. (Apparently, I had fallen flat on my face and broken my nose.) The bump on my forehead has been wickedly determined to stick around, but I am very happy to report that I’m on the mend. I’d like to shout out a VERY HUGE THANK YOU to everyone for your good wishes.

Now, there’s no better chicken soup for a children’s book author on the mend than the SCBWI’s Winter Conference. It was DY-NO-MITE! I attended three incredible workshops: one on writing picture books (never hurts to go back to the basics) and two on author visits. (Unfortunately, I missed the Golden Kite Gala Awards and Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s speech.)

Here are a few photographic highlights:

 

Welcome and Introduction by Steve Mooser and Lin Oliver

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Opening Keynote Speaker: Jarrett Krosoczka

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Picture Book Workshop taught by Allyn Johnston, Rubin Pfeffer, and Marla Frazee. 

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Women were well-represented at the conference and this little attention to detail was much appreciated (although the sign should be edited to say, “Gentlemen” rather than “Gentleman”). 

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Me and Linda Sue Park

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Meg Medina introducing keynote speaker, Elizabeth Acevedo.

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Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth Acevedo

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Me and the amazing Elizabeth Acevedo

(I so hope every teenager gets to hear her speak. Wow!)

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Upping Your School Visit Game Workshop taught by Phil Bildner.

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Closing Keynote Speaker: Christopher Paul Curtis

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Happy Birthday, Jane Yolen! 

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Peter Brown

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Floyd Cooper

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Laurent Linn

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Elizabeth Acevedo

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Angela Dominguez

Thank you SCBWI for all that you do for each and everyone of us. Fingers and toes crossed I will make it to my first summer conference in L.A.

Special Delivery for Santa

 

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Dear Santa,

What a wonderful surprise to see you at the Princeton Club of New York last Saturday! And let me tell you, you look marvelous! Was that a new suit? You know, not a lot of people can wear a bright red suit but on you it looks fantastic.

I hope you enjoyed story time with the amazing Roxie Munro, Laura Schroff, and Rocco Staino. I managed to take a few photos.

Now, I know you’re quite busy these days but I’ve been a reasonably good author this year. Okay, I’ll confess that I didn’t write every day but I can honestly say that I did mull over my stories and revisions daily. Then, I felt extreme guilt for when I wasn’t writing. Does that count for anything?

My list hasn’t changed much since last year. Here goes:

  • I’d like world peace, an end to poverty, famine, disease, universal access to education, and a special place for every child to call home.
  • Book deals for all of my author and illustrator friends.
  • And any chance you can make all of my books New York Times best sellers? Three books? How about just one? (Figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.)

Also, if you’re looking for last minute gifts, might I recommend some AWESOME books from the KidLit Authors Club?

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For more information about these wonderful books,

please visit the KidLit Authors Club.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday! Here’s to a great new year of reading and writing.

Much love,

Robin xo

Ask Phil, Jim & Harry!

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© Chris Ewald. All rights reserved.

Dear Phil, Jim, and Harry,

Do you have any advice for surviving the Thanksgiving holiday?

Your Feathered Friend,

Gobbles

Dear Gobbles,

Thanks for your letter. As you know, these are perilous times for turkeys—and for birds generally.

None of us should have to live in fear of becoming the early bird special on Thanksgiving. Did you know that before our arrival on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, a peacock had disappeared during one Thanksgiving holiday? Coincidence? We think not!

If you haven’t done so already, pack your bags, put on a disguise (but be sure to stay away from dressing and stuffing), and get out of town fast!

And can we talk turkey? Be sure to let the turkeys in Congress know that you want to change Thanksgiving Day to Happy Eat-More-Beef Thanksgiving Day!

Your Proud-as-a-Peacock Friends,

Phil, Jim, and Harry

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INVASION OF THE NERDS: nErD CampLI ’18 IS OUT OF THIS WORLD!

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Yesterday James H. Boyd Intermediate School in Huntington, New York was invaded by those unusual creatures known as nerds.

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For those unfamiliar with nerds, they come from the dweeb genus and the nerdasaurus phylum (pronounced nerd-a-sau-rus). They have unusual and distinct characteristics, including, but not limited to, bags under their eyes from staying up way past their bedtimes to finish a book; bruises from crashing into walls while reading a book they can’t put down; and they often experience heart palpitations when their favorite librarian sets aside a book they’ve been dying to read. 🙂

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So, what are nErD Camps? Great question. nErD Camps are free “unconference” education camps focused on literacy. They are participant driven by teachers, librarians, authors, and illustrators. Upon arriving, participants are given post-its to fill up a session board with topics for discussion. Anyone can create a session, participate in a session, or leave a session to attend another session of interest. It’s a day of free flowing ideas with the single goal of figuring out how we as teachers, librarians, authors, and illustrators can inspire kids to become lifelong readers.

 

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This is my third nErd CampLI. This year I had the opportunity to take part in a wonderful session on author visits. I also attended three fabulous sessions, one by David Neilsen about “Inspiration is everywhere! Unlocking Students Imagination,” and another by Jackie Azua Kramer focused on “I wish my teacher knew … The question that can change everything for kids.” There was also a “mini” session about #KidsNeedMentors.

 

David Neilsen 

 

Jackie Azua Kramer 

#KidsNeedMentors is the brainchild of Jarrett Lerner, Ann Braden, Kristen Picone, and Kristin Crouch. The program pairs authors with schools for an entire year. Once a month, authors touch base with their schools where they share books and their thoughts on reading and writing. I have been paired with third graders at Locust Valley Intermediate School and Longridge Elementary School. It’s been an absolute privilege to work with these AMAZING third graders.

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Kristin Crouch, Ann Braden, Kristen Picone, Jarrett Lerner

If you are an author interested in participating in #KidsNeedMentors, please send an email to jarrett.lerner@gmail.com or annbbraden@gmail.com. There are still many schools interested in participating that have been waitlisted.

 

I received this wonderful letter is from Locust Valley Intermediate School third graders. 

Here are a few photographic highlights from nErD CampLI ’18:

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Artie Bennett, Timothy Young, JoEllen McCarthy

 

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Members of the KidLit Authors Club

Timothy Young, Artie Bennett, me, David Neilsen, Jodi Moore, Laurie Wallmark 

I would like to shout out a HUGE THANK YOU to the superhero organizers of nErD CampLI, JoEllen McCarthy, Alison McDermott, and Kristen Picone, and to all of the teachers and librarians who arrived at 8 am and gave up their Saturday to be there.

I can’t wait for nErD CampLI ’19. And be sure to save the date for nErD CampNJ on May 18, 2019 at Chatham High School.

The Carle Honors Annual Benefit and Art Auction

On September 27th, I had the privilege of attending The Carle Honors Annual Benefit and Art Auction. The benefit and art auction raise funds for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. The evening also celebrates four honorees who have made lasting contributions to picture books, arts education, and literacy in the following areas:

  • Artist, for lifelong innovation in the field;
  • Mentor, editors, designers, and educators who champion the art form;
  • Angel, whose generous resources are crucial to making picture book art exhibitions, education programs, and related projects a reality; and
  • Bridge, individuals who have found inspired ways to bring the art of the picture book to larger audiences through work in other fields.

This year’s incredible honorees were: Paul O. Zelinsky (Artist), The Sendak Fellowship & Workshop, represented by Lynn Caponera and Dona Ann McAdams (Angel), The Bologna Children’s Book Fair, represented by Elena Pasoli (Bridge), and Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop (Mentor). The event was hosted by the amazing Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Here are a few photographic highlights:

Eric Carle and the Funkrust Brass Band

from Brooklyn, NY.

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Leonard S. Marcus, Founder of The Carle Honors

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Andrea Davis Pinkney

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Paul O. Zelinsky

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The Sendak Fellowship & Workshop

Represented by Lynn Caponera and Dona Ann McAdams.

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The Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Represented by Elena Pasoli.

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Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop

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Steve Light and Christine Cincotta

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Illustration from Swap! by Steve Light 

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Dr. Cynthia Weill, Director of the Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street

Represented the Bank Street Writers Lab, a 2017 Carle Honor recipient.

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Fran Manushkin, Kwame Alexander, Samantha Berger

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Joyce Wan 

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Tara Lazar and Margery Cuyler

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Jane Yolen and Tara Lazar 

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And an AWESOME loot bag full of books. Best. Giveaway. Ever.

If you are interested in supporting The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, please visit their website.