ABA’s Winter Institute 11



It’s “ABA” week in my house. Ironically, as I return from the awesome American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute 11 in Denver, Colorado, my husband is off tomorrow to that other ABA, American Bar Association, in Los Angeles, California.

Not to judge (because I would NEVER, EVER do that), but I have a feeling my ABA conference is (oh, how shall I put this delicately?) way more fun than his. Let’s face it, Kwame Alexander, Newberry Medalist for The Crossover was the breakfast keynote speaker. I think that pretty much sums up my point.



Booked by Kwame Alexander (releases April 5, 2016)

Alexander gave an inspirational speech to a standing ovation of booksellers.


“I believe literature can empower young people . . . Children’s book authors, like teachers, have a responsibility to imagine a better and brighter world. It’s important for each of us to say yes to ideas and thinking out of the box. You all are the way we can continue this legacy of creating beautiful people.” (Quoted from Judith Rosen’s article, Winter Institute 11: Kwame Alexander Becomes the ‘Say Yes Guy’ at the Show, Publishers Weekly (Web.) Jan. 26, 2016.)


Me and Kwame Alexander

For me, a highlight of the conference was attending the small and university presses luncheon where I had the chance to listen to Marissa Moss, editor and publisher extraordinaire, describe Creston Books’ spring list. And I have to say, I may have been a tad giddy (that’s probably the understatement of the year!) when Marissa started talking about Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep.

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It was incredible to finally share Hildie Bitterpickles with so many wonderful booksellers. For this very special occasion, I wore my witchiest Hildie pajamas.


And of course, no witch outfit is complete without a hat.

We could all use a little sleep

Hildie Bitterpickles has been one busy witch. She also flew over to Leslie Zampetti’s spellbindingly AWESOME blog! Please be sure to take a hop, skip and jump over there. Leslie, THANK YOU!!! xoxo

Z is for Zampetti

So excited to see my pal Robin Newman’s second book coming out! Go, Robin!

Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep – take a gander at the trailer and this great interview on “Writing and Illustrating.”


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By rnewman504

Free Fall Friday – Book Trailer and Interview

The Hildie Bitterpickles Book Trailer and Darlene Beck-Jacobson’s awesome interview with Mimi Cross are featured on Kathy Temean’s website. So, please be sure to hop on over! Thanks, Kathy! xo

Writing and Illustrating

Robin Newman’s new book HILDIE BITTERPICKLES NEEDS HER SLEEPis coming out in April. You can pre-order the picture book on Amazon. It is illustrated by Chris Ewald and published by Creston Books.

Thought you might like to watch the cute trailer for the book:

Here is a good Teacher’s Guide for the book.

mimi bookmimi3Darlene Beck-Jacobson has a nice interview with Mimi Cross on her blog discussing her new book and writing. Check it out and participate in the book-giveaway she is doing there.

Here is the link:

Interview With YA Author Mimi Cross + Book Give-away.

This month’s four first pages for critique have been submitted to Alison S. Weiss, editor at Sky Pony Press. Please check back next Friday to find out who the lucky winners were and read what Alison had to say.

There were a lot of submissions this month, so if your first page did not make…

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By rnewman504

Introducing 2016 Picture Book Debut Author Robin Newman

Thrilled to be featured today at On The Scene in 2016.


HIGH RES. 20140513_robin_newman_0051.jpgRobin Newman in three scenes:

1. Robin’s debut picture book, Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Creston Books), is about a witch whose quiet neighborhood has been turned upside down with the sudden noisy arrival of the big bad wolf, the old woman living in a shoe, and other fairy tale characters. What will poor Hildie have to do to get a good night’s sleep?

2. Hildie Bitterpickles Needs her Sleep is fractured fairy tale that explores themes of getting along, consideration for others, conflict resolution, friendship, and introduces children to the exciting world of real estate.

3. Robin was a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she now prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. She is the author of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books), about two hardboiled mouse…

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By rnewman504

Look What Arrived in the Mail!




I would like to shout out a very big THANK YOU to Marissa Moss, publisher and editor extraordinaire. THANK YOU for taking a chance on my quirky little witch; to my very special agents, Liza Fleissig and Ginger Harris-Dontzin, whose magic touch heralded Hildie Bitterpickles to Creston Books; to Chris Ewald for making Hildie Bitterpickles more adorable than anything I could have ever imagined; to Simon Stahl, whose design magic never ceases to amaze me; and to my amazing critique group for helping me persevere during those really awful rough drafts. THANK YOU!!!

2016 ALA Midwinter Conference & Exhibits


I spent an incredible weekend at ALA’s Midwinter Conference and Exhibits in Boston. Where else in the world can you find this many people who eat, breathe and sleep books? In a nutshell, it was AWESOME!

I had a wonderful time meeting and catching up with so many dedicated librarians, teachers, editors, writers, and illustrators. One highlight for me was meeting Lisa Von Drasek, curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota. She included The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake on her “best children’s books to give this year” list and in her discussion on MPR. Here’s the link.

It was also a thrill to see so many of my friend’s books on display and to listen to everyone’s predictions on who might be getting some pretty stickers for their books. (HINT FOR UPCOMING BIRTHDAY PRESENT: Wilcox, Griswold, Hildie, and I LOVE stickers! :) )

Here are a few photographic highlights:


Creston Books


Me and Laurie Wallmark at the Creston table 


Mary Skiver, me, and Laura Simeon (Bryn Mawr Classmates, ’89 Anassa Kata!) 


Laurie Wallmark and Andrea Beaty


Andrea Beaty’s latest book


Carolyn Yoder and Laurie Wallmark 


Lisa Yoskowitz


City Shapes by Diana Murray and illustrated Bryan Collier (In bookstores June 21, 2016)


Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks by Coren Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez and illustrated by Dan Santat (In bookstores May 24, 2016)



Normal Norman by Tara Lazar and illustrated by S. Britt a/k/a Stephan Britt (In bookstores March 1, 2016) 


Just hanging with Norman


Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel 


Cori McCarthy signing You Were Here


Be a Friend by Salina Yoon


Laurie Wallmark and her new friend, Oscar

Congratulations to all the ALA Youth Medal Award winners! It’s been an incredible year for children’s literature. And it’s so exciting to be a small part of it. I’m looking forward to another amazing year of kid-lit. Happy reading, writing, and illustrating!

Starting the Year with a Bang! ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston


Happy New Year! Can you believe ALA is THIS week? And Creston Books authors will be in the house!

Where: Booth 2130

When: Saturday, January 9, 2016

Robin Newman   10:00 am – 11:00 am

Laurie Wallmark 11:00 am – 12:00 pm 

Please come by to say hello to Wilcox, Griswold, and Hildie Bitterpickles. Have your mug shot taken with a silly hat and mustache, take home some super cool swag, and expect lots of fun. Hope to see you there!

A Writer’s Phone Call to Santa


ROBIN: Hey Santa, it’s Robin Newman. How are you?

SANTA: Robin who?

ROBIN: Robin Newman. Remember me from last year? I’m the author of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep.

SANTA: What time is it?

ROBIN: It’s 5:00 a.m. New York City time. What time is it on the North Pole?

SANTA: Much earlier.

ROBIN: Geez Santa, I’m sorry I woke you. I was just so excited to talk to you. I noticed that Starbucks started its Christmas season early and then every radio station is decking the halls, so I thought I might try to catch you a little earlier this year.

SANTA: Robin, have you been good?

ROBIN: Don’t you think “good” is one of those words that’s subjective and open to interpretation? You know it’s like an editor reading your story and hating it because she has a thing against talking animals. I mean like what kind of person doesn’t like talking animals, right? Or another editor hyperventilating when she sees your word counts are hovering around 160,000 and she’s having a hard time believing this is a picture book.

So, I would like to say that I’ve been sorta good . . . , in the neighborhood of good . . . , and at the very least, extremely well intended.

SANTA: And how’s the writing been going? Are you writing every day like you promised?

ROBIN: It’s funny you should ask. Did I mention you look marvelous? A lot of guys can’t get away with the beard and red suit, but on you they look great.

SANTA: Robin, are you trying to avoid my question? I’ve been dealing with a lot of politicians lately and they ALL keep telling me how great the beard and red suit look before they go into their presidential wish list.

ROBIN: No, worries! I would never run for office, although I wouldn’t mind living in the White House. I’d love to have an indoor swimming pool.

SANTA: So, back to the writing.

ROBIN: Right! I have tried to write something even if it’s the word “something” every day. I have been a very well-intentioned writer.

SANTA: And what do you want for Christmas?

ROBIN: As always, I would like all of my writing and illustrator friends to find agents and get publishing contracts. And if it’s not too much, could I get 10 publishing contracts of my own? Ten is such a nice round number, don’t you think?

SANTA: Ten seems like a lot.

ROBIN: Nine?

SANTA: Robin, I’m not doing nine for my authors who write every day. A well-intended writer is not getting nine contracts.

ROBIN: Well, what kind of numbers are we talking about? One’s as low as I’m going.

SANTA: Robin, you know this is a busy time of year for me. I get a lot of requests from authors and illustrators, but I’ll see what I can do.

Now, I’m going back to bed. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and a very Happy New Year. Goodbye!

ROBIN: Wait! I’m not done with my list. I’d like world peace, an end to hunger, poverty, disease, and a national holiday celebrating the cheese donut.


By the way, if you’re looking for stocking stuffers, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, is a great gift for kids on both the good and naughty lists. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your favorite neighborhood indie on the North Pole. And I just signed a number of copies at Bank Street Book Store. You can even pre-order Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local indie. If you happen to order it from Bank Street Book Store, I’d be thrilled to stop by and sign a copy when it arrives. :)

Did you get all of that, Santa? Santa? Are you still there? Did you just hang up on me? We must have been disconnected. Let me redial.

RECORDED MESSAGE: You have reached the North Pole. Please leave your name and number and an elf will return your call in the order that it was received. Thank you for calling the North Pole. Happy holidays!