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Why are Picture Books in Prison? 2.7 Million Reasons…

This is truly a wonderful cause to support.

Michelle Eastman Books

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The number of kids with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80% in the last 20 years, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than 2.7 million children have a parent who is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point.  The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma.http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/reading-inside

But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melts away when kids and parents are able to share a special book together. Through an audio-tape reading program wherein imprisoned parents/grandparents read books to their children/grandchildren on tape, family bonds are strengthened and literacy skills improve as parents encourage their children to read with them and in their absence. Read this touching NY Times…

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By rnewman504

American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute #WI12 ROCKS!

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We’re all familiar with that “online bookseller who shall be nameless,” who’s been huffing and puffing and trying to gobble up the independent-bookstore market. Well, let me tell you a little secret. It’s not working. Indie bookstores are here to stay. And best of all, they are thriving!

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Lesley Stahl and Ann Patchett

I had the privilege of attending my second American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute. In a nutshell, it was AWESOME!

I attended some terrific sessions about:

  • Starting a children’s book festival (I have this fantasy that the North Fork of Long Island will some day have a children’s book festival of its own); and
  • Working with small and university presses.

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Left to right: Wendy Morton Hudson, Nantucket Book Partners (Nantucket, MA); Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston, TX); Todd Dickinson, Aaron’s Books (Lititz, PA); Tom Roberts, Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe (Warwick, NY).

I also sat in on two wonderful lunches. The first was an education lunch for authors conducting events at independent bookstores. Some takeaways from the lunch were:

  • It’s never too early to contact a bookstore. Contact the store 5-6 months before a book releases.
  • Be sure to be honest with the bookstore regarding the number of people you believe will be in attendance.
  • People expect to be entertained at a bookstore event.
  • Do not read the entire book at an event (unless it’s a picture book). If you read the entire book, there’s no incentive to purchase the book.
  • Some bookstores like PowerPoint presentations. Others, not so much.
  • Presentations for kids generally follow this formula: 15 minutes to read a story; 15 minutes of Q & A; and 20 minutes to sign.
  • Be sure to engage kids and their parents during a presentation.
  • Multiple author events need cohesion. E.g., An evening of alligator stories, etc.
  • And always be sure to work social media. Make sure you put links to the bookstore on your website.

The second was the small and university presses lunch. The highlight for me was listening to Marissa Moss, publisher and editor extraordinaire of Creston Books, present the spring titles.

Below are a few photographic highlights:

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Marissa Moss, Editor and Publisher of Creston Books, discussing the spring releases. 

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Kate Warne, Pinkerton Detective by Marissa Moss and illustrated by April Chu (Creston Books 2017). 

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Rumors by Denys Cazet (Creston Books 2017).

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The Case of the Poached Egg, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books 2017).

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Marissa Moss with her first adult novel, Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love (Conari Press 2017). 

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The Galley Room 

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Emma Donoghue signing, The Lotterys Plus One (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic 2017).

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William Joyce signing, Ollie’s Odyssey (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books 2017).

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Josh Funk with his latest book, The Case of the Stinky Stench (Sterling 2017), and me (naturally holding a carton of eggs to celebrate the upcoming release of The Case of the Poached Egg).

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Ann Patchett signing, Commonwealth (Harper 2016). 

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Detectives Wilcox and Griswold are in the house! 

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Thrilled to be signing the latest Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, The Case of the Poached Egg (Creston Books 2017). 

Please support your local independent bookstores. Not to preach (because I would never, ever do that) BUT . . . independent bookstores are anchors in our communities. They bring us together. They keep our kids off electronic devices and get them excited about the written word. Independent bookstores give us opportunities to know and understand worlds beyond our own. They support us in so many ways. Please be sure to support them.

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For comprehensive coverage of #WI12, be sure to check out these wonderful articles from Publishers Weekly.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Family Festival at A.C.T.

Are you looking for something super fun to do with the kids this weekend? Look no further.

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A.C.T. at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue is having its Winter Family Festival this coming Saturday, January 7th, 12 pm – 4 pm. There will be face painting, gaga, crafts and more!

Come by with your junior detectives, witches and warlocks-in-training to make detective badges, masks and paper dolls with Wilcox, Griswold and Hildie Bitterpickles. Signed copies of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep will be available for purchase. All proceeds from book sales will be donated to A.C.T.

The A.C.T. program, Adults and Children in Trust, provides year-round educational and recreational programs for children and families on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

“Get in on the ACT” this coming Saturday.

Happy New Year!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

These are dangerous times to be a bird. And Phil, Jim and Harry, the peacocks on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, aren’t taking any chances. Sporting their “Proud as a Peacock” t-shirts, they’ve decided to fly the coop for the holiday before they become the early bird special.

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Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving like beef, tofu and mac ‘n cheese. Speaking of mac ‘n cheese, No Peacocks! illustrated by Chris Ewald (Sky Pony Press), flies onto bookshelves Fall 2017. In their first caper, find out how Phil, Jim and Harry manage to steal The Cathedral School’s famous mac ‘n cheese. WARNING: This picture book is a feathered tale of cheesy antics appropriate for children ages 0-999.

Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep

A wonderful review of Hildie Bitterpickles.

Sweet Tea & Paperbacks

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Having trouble finding the perfect book for the young child on your holiday list? Look no further! Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, is a sweet story that will leave little ones begging to have it read over and over again. Written by Robin Newman and Illustrated by Chris Ewald, the story will take your imagination to far away lands and leave images dancing in your mind.

Hildie Bitterpickles is a young witch who likes things done her way. In this fun story, young readers will learn how to handle situations when things don’t go their way, and how to implement problem solving skills in their lives.

Newman has written a beautiful character in Hildie Bitterpickles, and pulls in characters from fairytale favorites. Newman’s ability to bring new imagination and life to older characters is a great feat that she accomplished in a way that seems like it’s her second nature.

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By rnewman504

A Declaration in Support of Children

faceofhope Illustration by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Children’s literature may be the most influential literary genre of all. Picture books, chapter books, middle-grade and young-adult novels all serve the most noble of purposes: to satisfy the need for information, to entertain curious imaginations, to encourage critical thinking skills, to move and inspire. Within their pages, seeds of wisdom and possibility are sown.

Therefore we, the undersigned children’s book authors and illustrators, do publicly affirm our commitment to using our talents and varied forms of artistic expression to help eliminate the fear that takes root in the human heart amid lack of familiarity and understanding of others; the type of fear that feeds stereotypes, bitterness, racism and hatred; the type of fear that so often leads to tragic violence and senseless death.

Our country is deeply divided. The recent election is a clear indication of the bigotry that is entrenched in this nation, of…

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By rnewman504

#nErDcampLI Rocks!

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Nerdy Book Club + Ed Camp = nErD Camp

Have you ever had the experience of walking into a room and automatically knowing you were among your peeps? On Saturday, November 5th, I found my wonderfully nerdy peeps at the Second Annual nErD Camp Long Island held at Jericho Middle School.

nErD Camp is described as the “unconference” edcamp. It provides a fluid forum for educators, authors, and illustrators to discuss “all things” literary; get inspired and give inspiration; and teach and learn from one another.

So, how does nErD Camp work? Upon arrival attendees fill a session board with topics of interest. You can attend any session, participate in any session, create a session, and/or leave a session if there’s another one that is more tailored to your interests.

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I attended a terrific session by Jackie Azúa Kramer and Selene Castrovilla about Reader’s Theatre, an immersive interactive story-telling experience that encourages students to act out written works. I also gave a talk about using fairy tales as a means of getting kids excited about writing—a tale of how to create fractured fairy tales. The discussion started with fairy tales and somehow morphed into a discussion about using mysteries in the classroom.

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Selene Castrovilla and Jackie Azúa Kramer

Jackie Azúa Kramer, Annina Luck Wildermuth, me, the AWESOME Mrs. C and her SUPER AWESOME daughter

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Selina Alko

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Corey Rosen Schwartz

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Carol Weston

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Selene Castrovilla 

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Tracey Baptiste

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Josh Funk 

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Tara Lazar

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Carol Gordon Ekster

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Nancy Armo

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Sean Qualls and Selena Alko

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Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick

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The line to buy books! 

I would like to shout out a HUGE THANK YOU to JoEllen McCarthy, Alison McDermott, and Kristen Picone for a fantastic day. nErdCampLI rocks!

 

 

 

BEWARE! Two Witchtastic Spooktacular Events Are Flying to Morningside Heights

If you’re looking for WITCHTASTIC, SPOOKTACULAR fun, have I got the events for you!

On Saturday, October 29th, Hildie Bitterpickles and Grimelda, The Very Messy Witch, will be at Bank Street Book Store on 107th Street and Broadway at the 1:00 pm bewitching hour. Creepy crawley story time, crafts, slimy snacks, and BOO-RI-FIC giveaways await witches, warlocks, ninjas, and princesses of all ages. Be sure to dress up in your favorite costume and be very prepared to be tricked or treated!

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A dream come true to see my book in the front window of Bank Street Book Store.

Thank you, Bank Street! 

On Monday, October 31, come celebrate a SPOOKTACULAR, SCARETASTIC Halloween with A.C.T. at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on 112th St. and Amsterdam Ave. at 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm, followed by an outdoor Halloween Parade from 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm. Hildie Bitterpickles will be on hand for a BOO-RI-FIC story time.

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Happy Halloween! 

 

 

 

 

Luna Park’s SPOOKTACULAR Halloween Harvest

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Witches, aliens, super heroes, and ghouls were out in force yesterday at Luna Park’s SPOOKTACULAR Halloween Harvest in Coney Island.

Hildie Bitterpickles and I had a WITCH-A-RI-FIC story time and blast making paper dolls during creepy crawly craft time.

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Luna Park’s Halloween Harvest continues through October 30th. Be sure to bring your princesses, ninjas, ghosts, and warlocks-in-training. They will have a BAT-TAS-TIC time painting pumpkins, monster mashing, and jamming to the latest kooky spooky karaoke hits.

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