NerdCampLI ‘19 Rolls Out the Red Carpet

Nerds from near and far flocked the star-studded red carpet for the Fifth Annual NerdCampLI at the James H. Boyd Intermediate School on Saturday, November 2nd. In a word, it was NERD-A-RI-FIC! (Of course, NERD-A-RI-FIC is a real word! How is that even a question?)

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Tracey Baptiste 

Unlike other celebrity events, this red carpet was rolled out for authors, illustrators, teachers, and librarians. And even though fashion was not a highlight per se of walking the red carpet, I’d like to note that I spotted many nerdies sporting their super cool, exceptionally nerdy NerdCamp t-shirts. In the mix, I also spotted a few #KidsNeedMentors t-shirts designed by illustrator-extraordinaire Jarrett Lerner.


The amazing volunteers! (Photo source: NerdCampLI)

So, you may be wondering, what exactly is NerdCamp? Glad you asked. (I truly have the best readers.) Nerdcamp is a literacy-based, participant-driven, un-conference education camp for educators, librarians, authors, and illustrators. Upon arrival, attendees fill a session board with post-its covering topics for discussion. There are three sessions, and you can present a session, participate on a panel, or just go with the flow, listen, and learn. If a topic is not for you, you can leave at any time and head to another session.

This year’s conference had over 600 attendees. Let me repeat. That’s 600 attendees! And as one speaker noted, these 600 attendees got up before the crack of dawn on a Saturday to attend a conference where they had absolutely no real idea of what was in store for them. Pretty impressive, huh!

I presented on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, Using Picture Books to Teach About Inclusion and Empowerment.


Photo by Nancy Churnin. 

I also participated in a discussion on Using Picture Books in the Upper Elementary Classroom and had the opportunity to sit in on a session given by Katey Howes, Gina Perry, Nancy Churnin, Carol Gordon Ekster and Laurie Wallmark on Idea to Execution: The Picture Book Process.

Left to right: Katey Howes, Gina Perry, Nancy Churnin, Carol Gordon Ekster and Laurie Wallmark. 

Below are some photographic highlights:

Enormous thanks to the amazing, incredible, you-take-my-breath-away organizers, JoEllen McCarthy, Kristen Picone, and Ali McDermott, and to the out-of-this world sponsors and volunteers who used their magic powers to make this day a reality. THANK YOU!

Sadly, that’s a wrap for NerdCampLI ’19, but I can hardly wait for NerdCampLI ’20!


Happy Halloween from Hildie Bitterpickles, Clawdia et moi!


Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday. Nothing better than waking up to a full moon, starting the day with a broom ride, and returning home to a breakfast of cream of eye ball porridge, rat smoothies, and slimy eel fritters. YUM! YUM! YUM! DELISH!

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday. One small piece of advise. Be sure to brush and floss after the rat smoothies and eel fritters (Nobody wants to be caught with rat tails stuck in their teeth and eel breath is apparently the worst. So I’ve been told.)


And on this wonderfully dark and gloomy day, be sure to check out the SPOOK-TA-CU-LAR-LY ADORABLE Hildie Bitterpickles book trailer by Cynthia Nugent at Rascal Media.

One last BOO-RI-FIC note. Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Creston Books), is available at bookstores EVERYWHERE. Be sure to grab your copy before it flies off the shelf. It’s SPELL-BIN-DING-LY fun.




Where’s Waldo? No, not Waldo! Where’s Robin?



Sincere apologies for being M.I.A. from the blog lately but the fall has been crazy busy with book festivals, conferences, revisions, writing, and book deals.

Reader: Wait one second! Did she say book deals?

Why, yes I did.

I am thrilled to finally announce that the third book in The Wilcox & Griswold Mystery Series, The Case of the Bad Apples, illustrated by the amazing Deborah Zemke, will be out fall 2020. Heartfelt thanks to Liza Fleissig, Ginger Harris, Marissa Moss, and to everyone who read, reread, and re-reread drafts of the book.

There’s more good news to come on this front . . . so please stay tuned. YIPPEE KI YAY!

Now, as we all know, being crazy busy for an author is AWESOME! Below is a quick recap of where I’ve been.

First stop, the Highlights Foundation, Honesdale, PA. If you’ve never been, I have one word for you. Go! Actually, two words. Go now! You won’t regret it. Not sure if it’s the pixie dust in the Honesdale air or just the to-die-for food, but Highlights is pure magic. It was beyond wonderful to have a few days to focus on work, and then just be able to ask an editor a question or two.

Sample Author-Editor Discussion Simulation 

Me:  Do you have a minute to read something? Is this working? Does it need another beat? Is it funny enough because my dogs always laugh when I read that line.

Editor: Do you give your dogs treats when you read that line?

Me: Maybe.

I’d like to shout out a very big thank you to Jennifer Jacobson, Juana Martinez-Neal, Gareth Hinds, Nikki Grimes, Padma Venkatraman, Neal Porter, Kathleen Merz, Laurie Calkhoven, and Alison Morris for sharing their words of wisdom, time, and for their encouragement and support, and to the above and beyond amazing Highlights staff for making the weekend extraordinarily special.

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My adorable cabin. 

Second stop, Collingswood Book Festival, Collingswood, NJ. This is one of my all-time favorite book festivals and it was such a treat to be there with so many author friends, including Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Laura Shovan, as well as so many friends from the KidLit Authors Club, including Hallee Adelman, Jodi Moore, Charlotte Bennardo, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, David Neilsen, Jeffry Johnston, Jennifer Robin Barr, and Kell Andrews.

Third stop, West Jersey Reading Council’s Fall Conference, Pennsauken, NJ. The West Jersey Reading Council provides educators, administrators, and parents with literacy-based enrichment programs. This year Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and I presented on Using Picture Books to Teach Empowerment and Inclusion. We also participated in the author meet and greet.

(Note: If we look like drowned rats in the photos, it’s because it was POURING cats and dogs.)

Fourth stop, Easton Book Festival, Easton, PA. Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Easton Book Festival. The book festival was the brainchild of Andy Laities, the former manager of the Bank Street Bookstore. In a word, it was AWESOME!

A quick side story . . . one of my first book signings was at the Bank Street Bookstore. Since I have a detective book, naturally I thought the kids would enjoy a fingerprinting activity. Well, this was a very bad idea. Not just a very bad idea but an exceptionally bad idea. The children were running around the store with ink on their hands while Andy was chasing them down with wipes. (So, if you have a detective book, I strongly advise against any kind of fingerprinting activities.) P.s. I’d like to note that I LOVE Bank Street Bookstore and am so thrilled that I wasn’t banished from the store.

Here are a few photographic highlights from Easton:

There was a spectacular author dinner, with belly dancers. 

I’d like to shout out a super huge THANK YOU to Andy Laities, Sarah Laities, and to all the volunteers for making the Easton Book Festival unforgettable. Can’t wait for next year’s festival.

Where will Robin be next? NerdCampLI on November 2nd and the Huntington Public Library’s Picture Book Palooza on November 10th.

And in the words of the great Porky Pig . . .



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.

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.

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.