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.

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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:

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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

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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

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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.

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Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

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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.

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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?!!!

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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.

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Artie Bennett et moi 

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Diana Murray being interviewed by students. 

Wendy BooydeGraaff

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

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Sherry Howard 

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2016 Picture Book Debuts (left to right):

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

Jessica Young and two adorable fans

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Check out those author signatures! 

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Group shot

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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 

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Creston Books in the house! Me and Ingrid Palmer 

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Barbara Deeb during an interview for Outside the Book. 

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Susan Eaddy

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

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Adorable! 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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