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!




Celebrating INDIES FIRST at Bank Street Book Store


It was a day of celebration at Bank Street Book Store, an INDIES FIRST select store. INDIES FIRST is a special day of reading in recognition of neighborhood bookstores. The date coordinates with Small Business Saturday by encouraging holiday shoppers to support independent booksellers, a most precious and valuable resource for all.

An all-star lineup of authors and illustrators came out in droves to support Bank Street on this very special day.

Here are some photographic highlights:


Robie Harris


Amy Hest 


Chris Grabenstein 


Vin Vogel 


Gail Lauren Karp


Todd Tarpley


Patricia Lakin 


Mike Curato and Steve Light


Steve Light 


A sneak peek of Steve Light’s new book, Swap! 

(Ahoy, Mateys! Swap! sails onto bookshelves February 2016)


Yippee Skippee Puppet Theatre, starring Andrew Laties


Julie Gribble from KidLit TV


The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake on a shelf at Bank Street Book Store.  🙂


Karin Lefranc and Dan Gutman 


Monica Wellington 


Daphne Benedis-Grab and Laura Pedersen

Thank you Bank Street Book Store for a terrific day.


During this holiday season, please remember to support your neighborhood independent bookstore.


Indies First, A Celebration of Independent Bookstores



In this season of giving thanks, I am truly grateful for my neighborhood children’s bookstore, Bank Street.

On Saturday, November 28, Indies First celebrates a special day of reading and literacy activities in recognition of independent bookstores. The date coordinates with Small Business Saturday and is meant to encourage holiday shoppers to support independent booksellers across the country.

Bank Street Book Store has invited authors and illustrators to help celebrate this very special day. And check out this amazing schedule!

11:00 a.m.

Mike Curato

Chris Grabenstein

Robie Harris

Amy Hest


12:00 p.m.

Gail Karp

Patty Lakin

Steve Light

Vin Vogel


1:00 p.m.

Daphne Benedis-Grab

Todd Tarpley

Cindy Weill

Monica Wellington


2:00 p.m.

Yvonne Wakim Dennis

Robin Newman 

Jill Santopolo


3:00 p.m.

Meg Akabas

Dan Gutman

Peter Lerangis

There will also be a 10:30 a.m. story hour and 1:00 p.m. puppet show.


If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, be sure to stop by (and support!!!) your neighborhood independent bookstores. They deserve a very big thank you.



Three Cheers for Picture Book Month!


I am THRILLED to be today’s Picture Book Month Champion.


Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative celebrating the printed picture book. It occurs annually in November, and on each day of the month, a picture book champion explains why picture books are so important.

To see the article that I wrote in honor of this wonderful initiative, please click HERE.

A very big THANK YOU goes out to founder, Dianne de Las Casas (author & storyteller) www.diannedelascasas.com, and co-founders, Katie Davis (author/illustrator) katiedavis.com, Elizabeth O. Dulemba (author/illustrator) www.dulemba.com, Tara Lazar (author) taralazar.wordpress.com, and Wendy Martin (author/illustrator) wendymartinillustration.com, who put together their worldwide connections to make Picture Book Month happen.

And another big THANK YOU to Joyce Wan (wanart.com) for the beautiful logo and to Marcie Colleen (thisismarciecolleen.com) for the Teacher’s Guide and Curriculum Connections in each post.

Don’t forget to “read share and celebrate.”

Happy Picture Book Month!

Happy Birthday, KidLit TV!


It was a wonderful year of firsts for KidLit TV. Founded by Julie Gribble, KidLit TV is the first multimedia website created to aid parents and educators explore the world of children’s literature. It received its first big award, the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and it is currently in the process of launching KidLit RADIO.

“KidLit TV is an exciting and informative destination for authors, illustrators, teachers, publishers, and anyone with a passion for children’s literature.” — Children’s Book Council

“Visitors are almost guaranteed to find something interesting and useful, whether they are consumers, producers, or curators of children’s literature.” — Parents’ Choice on KidLit TV

Authors, illustrators and fans of all ages came out in droves to celebrate KidLit TV’s BIG ONE.

Here are some photographic highlights:


Julie Gribble and Katya Szewczuk


Adam Lehrhaupt and Ame Dyckman 


Roxie Munro and spouse


Kelly Light and Kat Yeh


Nick Bruel and me 


Beth Ferry, Annie Silvestro, me and Kelly Calabrese


Annie Silvestro, me, Katya Szewczuk, Beth Ferry and Ame Dyckman 


Katya Szewczuk, Dan Yaccarino and Julie Gribble 


Katya Szewczuk, Julie Gribble and Nick Bruel 


Katya Szewczuk, Julie Gribble, Rocco Staino and Tad Hills

Rocco Staino and Kelly Light


Paul Zelinsky, Adam Lehrhaupt and Katya Szewczuk

And as part of this jubiliant celebration, KidLit TV teamed up with Tad Hills and ArtWorks for Youth (AWFY). AWFY provides free visual art instruction, academic support, and mentoring to students in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. To learn more about this wonderful program, please visit: http://artworksforyouth.co.za 

Happy Birthday, KidLit TV! I suspect that the BIG TWO is going to be even bigger and better.

For more information about KidLit TV, please visit: http://kidlit.tv