17th Annual Collingswood Book Festival…Another Great Year!

A wonderful recap of the Collingswood Book Festival by Darlene Beck-Jacobson. It was an AWESOME day!

Darlene Beck-Jacobson

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, I had the pleasure of attending the COLLINGSWOOD BOOK FESTIVAL, in downtown Collingswood, NJ.   http://www.collingswoodbookfestival.com/

It’s the festival’s 17th year and I am proud to have been a presenting author for the fifth year. There was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for all things to do with reading and books. And, each year, I get to talk about books and hang out with fellow authors from all over NJ and beyond. The organizers and volunteers behind the scenes always make members of the KidLIt Authors Club feel welcome.  http://www.kidlitauthorsclub.com

Here are some of this year’s highlights in photos:





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By rnewman504

An Evening of Celebration with a Kick at The Corner Bookstore

Last night was the launch party for Rosanne Kurstedt’s latest book, The Karate Kid, illustrated by Mark Chambers (RP Kids). In a nutshell, it was KARATE-TAS-TIC!

“Solid color backgrounds keep readers focused on the book’s entertaining but accurate content, and the smoothly written text incorporates the mental component of the sport. . . . [A] solid introduction to karate.”Booklist

The Karate Kid (as you may have guessed) is an adorable kid goat who is a dedicated student of Karate (Karateka). And the book takes you on the kid’s journey as he learns his stances, kicks, punches, strikes, and blocks.

Here are a few photographic highlights from yesterday’s packed launch party:

If you were unable to attend last night’s festivities, you can catch Rosanne at the Easton Book Festival on October 26th. (I’ll be there too!) 

For more information about Rosanne, please click here to visit her website. And be sure to check out the super-adorable book trailer.




Celebrate National Macaroni and Cheese Day With Phil, Jim, and Harry.

Who knew there was National Mac ‘n Cheese Day? Mega thanks to the amazing Darlene Beck-Jacobson for this wonderful post! xoxo

Darlene Beck-Jacobson

Did you know that Sunday, July 14th is NATIONAL MACARONI AND CHEESE DAY? I think it’s fitting to have a special day for such an iconic food. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love some form of this dish? Many of us grew up with that orange-staple-in-a-box and survived college eating it. Just about every restaurant has some kind of mac & cheese on its menu. And, I’m sure we all have our favorites.

To celebrate the day, I am giving away a copy of the delightful PB by Robin Newman titled NO PEACOCKS, where peacocks Phil, Jim, and Harry set out to sample the local school’s world famous mac & cheese.

No Peacocks!: A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies

To enter for a chance to win, please share what you think is the best macaroni and cheese ingredient ever. The one special thing you add to your recipe that elevates it to new heights. I will…

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By rnewman504

Looking for That Perfect Summer Read? The KidLit Authors Club Has Got a Book for You!

What is the KidLit Authors Club? So glad you asked. (My readers always ask the best questions.) The KidLit Authors Club is a dedicated group of (you guessed it!) kidlit authors from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, who have banded together to promote their books.

And I realize I may be a tad biased, BUT we truly have AMAZING books. Check out these AWESOME titles!

Whether you like fiction, nonfiction, romance, fairy tales, horror, or humor, from board books to YA, we’ve got you covered!

So grab your bug spray, sunscreen, shades, and books, and have a great summer!

For more information about the KidLit Authors Club, please visit our website.



The Fourth Annual Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival

image.pngAs many of you know, the last year and half has been a rocky one. One brain tumor removed. Check. Two seizures. Check, check. One broken nose thanks to that second seizure. Check, check, check. But with all of these rocks thrown my way, there has been so much more good thrown my way as well. And I cannot tell you how incredibly grateful I am for the encouragement and support that I’ve received from the kidlit community.

I know you must be wondering how does any of this tie into the Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival? Good question. I was just about to get to that.

Because of the seizures, I can’t drive. And the benefit of not being able to drive meant I could bum a ride to and from the Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival with the AMAZING Doreen Cronin.


Doreen Cronin 

I met Doreen back in 2012 when she came to my son’s school for an author visit. At the time, my website and blog were brand spanking new and I hoped Doreen would let me take some photos of her visit for the blog. Not only did Doreen let me take some pictures, but she also let me do an interview. (Click here for the link to that interview.) Since I was beyond excited to do the interview (never mind the fact that I can’t draw), I even did a quick comic strip titled, “Tales From ‘I Can’t Believe My Mom Took My Beloved Doreen Cronin Books.’ ”

Now, onto Chesapeake. It was nothing short of AWESOME!!!!

On Friday night, Timothy and Melanie Young hosted an incredible author dinner at their lovely home. Their dog, Presto, provided much entertainment chasing their two cats. (The cats didn’t seem to be bothered by Presto’s antics.) Since I was so enjoying The Presto Show, I forgot to take pics.

But at the festival the next day, I did manage to grab a few shots. Below are some photographic highlights:


The 2019 Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival Authors and Illustrators 


I would like to shout out a GINORMOUS THANK YOU to Timothy Young, Melanie YoungSabine Simonson, Laura Powell, to all the amazing volunteers at the Talbot County Free Library who made the day extraordinarily special, and to Presto and the cats. One of the things that makes this festival so special is that students can participate in the Talbot County Free Library Summer Reading Program entitling them to receive one free book.

This year’s festival was also dedicated in loving memory of the amazing Susan Kehoe, who ran the 2018 fundraising efforts for the festival.


NerdCampNJ 2019


Apologies for the crazy late post. I had the best of intentions of writing this up a week ago but it’s currently the hundred-yard dash to the last day of school in my house, with finishing up final projects, locating missing homework that somehow mysteriously disappeared in the blackhole of my son’s book bag, and last, but not least, cramming for final exams.

So back to the topic at hand, NerdCampNJ. What is NerdCamp? Glad you asked. NerdCamp is a “literacy focused ‘unconference’ ” for teachers, school administrators, librarians, students, and authors with the goal of inspiring students to become lifelong readers and writers.

Each NerdCamp has its own way of creating its nerdgenda (don’t you love the nerdlingo?), with fluid workshops, which can take the form of conversations, interactive presentations/panels, hands-on learning, etc. Nerds are encouraged to participate, sit back, listen, and share their knowledge.

This was my second NerdCampNJ and it was NERD-A-RI-FIC! The morning started off with five amazing keynote speakers:

  • Tricia Ebarvia
  • Emma Otheguy
  • Jarrett Lerner
  • Andrea J. Loney
  • Laurie Halse Anderson

Subsequently, everyone went to workshops. Selene Castrovilla, Gryffyn Jade Phoenix, and I led an interactive workshop on helping students break through writer’s block. Afterwords I attended two wonderful workshops: one by educator, Nesrin Amabile, on teaching students how to create storyboards, and another by third-grade teacher, Jaclyn Flanagin, on classroom: book-a-day, the program inspired by Donalyn Miller.

Here are a few photographic highlights from my AWESOME nerdy day:

I would like to shout out a SUPER HUGE THANK YOU to the incredible Oona Abrams, Juli-Anne Benjamin, Sarah Mulhern Gross, Julia Guthrie, Nicole Mancini, ​Emily S. Meixner, Denise Weintraut, Larry Zuares, and to all the volunteers for a NERD-TAS-TIC day.

Tucked-in Tuesday with Dr. Belinda Richardson-George


Photo by KLA Photography

If you haven’t heard, seen, or read about the incredible work Dr. Belinda Richardson-George is doing as a first-year principal of Homer Drive Elementary School in Beaumont, Texas, you’ve been missing out.

Every Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm CST, you can catch Dr. George on Facebook Live reading bedtime stories to her students, whom she addresses as scholars. In total, she has 680 scholars at her school.

Dr. George was inspired to read to her scholars by the Facebook group, Principal Principles Leadership, and her love for her students. Ninety-four percent of her students come from economically disadvantaged homes, according to an interview Dr. George did with the TODAY show, and she wanted to ensure someone was reading to them.

Sporting PJs, Dr. George always gives a shout out to her students who log in. After her reading, she will often invite the author and/or illustrator to talk about his or her book.

This coming Tuesday, May 21, I am so honored that Dr. George will be sharing No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies (Sky Pony Press) with her scholars. Just click HERE for the link.

Following Dr. George’s reading, my three mischievous dogs, Cupcake, Madeleine, and Mathilde, are planning to say a quick hello to Dr. George’s scholars and perhaps share a bite (oops! I mean word) about their favorite peacocks, Phil, Jim, and Harry.




Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?


Below are a few photographic and video highlights of this incredible day courtesy of the amazing Joanne Kaplan.

Unveiling of Sesame Street. 

May 1, 2019 officially declared Sesame Street Day.




Mayor de Blasio “high-fiving” with Big Bird.

Sunny Days singalong

SOKY Book Fest 2019

I have a confession. I’m terrible at keeping secrets. So do you want to know a secret? SOKY Book Fest is one of my all-time favorite book festivals.

On April 26 and 27th, I attended my second SOKY Book Fest in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Needless to say, it was AWESOME! Day 1 was Teen and Children’s Day with author presentations throughout the day ranging the gamut from picture books to YA, with a focus on getting kids excited about craft—both written and illustration. Day 2 included more author presentations and three dynamite keynotes by Angie Thomas, Rita Mae Brown, and Silas House. I participated in a picture book panel with Sherry Howard, Shutta Crum, Eddie Price, and Susan Eaddy, where much of the discussion seemed to focus on traditional versus nontraditional publishing.

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I also had the opportunity to interview with the amazing Barbara Deeb from WKU-PBS/WKU-NPR for her show Outside the Book. Stay tuned for the interview.

Here are a few photographic highlights:

Pre-conference: While I was at LaGuardia Airport grabbing a quick breakfast, I spied with my little eye Skyhorse Publishing on the kiosk. How cool is that?!!!


Diana Murray and Greg Howard at the pre-conference author dinner, with Debbie Dadey in the background at the Preservation Tasting Room and Bottle Shop.


Artie Bennett et moi 


Diana Murray being interviewed by students. 

Wendy BooydeGraaff


Me and the crew: Phil, Jim, Harry, Wilcox & Griswold, and Hildie Bitterpickles


Sherry Howard 


2016 Picture Book Debuts (left to right):

Mary Reaves Uhles, Diana Murray, moi, and Wendy BooydeGraaff

Jessica Young and two adorable fans


Check out those author signatures! 



Group shot


Sara Volpi, SOKY Book Fair Coordinator extraordinaire

Meet the Authors Reception at Knicely Center 

Left photo: Stephen Messer, Wendy BooydeGraaff, Shutta Crum, and Diana Murray 


Creston Books in the house! Me and Ingrid Palmer 


Barbara Deeb during an interview for Outside the Book. 


Susan Eaddy


Wendy BooydeGraaff, moi, Susan Eaddy, and Jessica Young (photo by Susan Eaddy)



I’d like to shout out a huge THANK YOU to Sara Volpi, SOKY Book Fest Coordinator extraordinaire, Barnes & Noble, Warren County Public Library, WKU Libraries, and to all the volunteers for making the conference so very special.