#KidsNeedMentors

I am THRILLED to be a participating author in the inaugural year of #KidsNeedMentors.

#KidsNeedMentors was created by authors Ann Braden and Jarrett Lerner in cooperation with fifth grade teachers, Kristen Picone and Kristin Crouch. The program matches authors with schools for an entire year with the goal of getting kids excited about reading and writing. Authors will touch base once a month with their schools via old fashioned snail mail or Skype. They’ll give students a “behind the scenes look” at the work involved in writing a book, including sharing outlines, character studies, works in progress, dummies,** F&Gs, etc. Title 1 schools are given first priority in the pairings. Authors are also encouraged to do an in-person visit by year’s end.

I have been paired with third graders at Longridge Elementary School and students at Locust Valley Intermediate School. I cannot wait to get these books and all of this swag in the mail for them.

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For more information about #KidsNeedMentors, visit Ann Braden’s website. See also Kara Yorio’s article for School Library Journal about the program.

I’d like to shout out a huge THANK YOU to Ann Braden, Jarret Lerner, Kristen Picone and Kristin Crouch for organizing this incredible program.

It’s going to be great academic year. Go #KidsNeedMentors!

**Note for authors and illustrators: Never ever use the term “dummies” or “dummy” during school visits. For school visits, I refer to dummies as mock-ups. At my very first school visit, I made the mistake of calling a mock-up a dummy. Every single hand in that classroom was raised as soon as I said the word. “Excuse me. Ms. Newman, did you say, dummy?” Lesson learned.

Book Giveaway: NO PEACOCKS by Robin Newman

Fly on over to Kathy Temean’s awesome blog to read her interview with Phil, the peacock, and for a chance to win a copy of No Peacocks!

Writing and Illustrating

Author Robin Newman has a new picture book titled NO PEACOCKS! coming out on September 4th. She has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Robin!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Every day Phil, Jim, and Harry are fed sunflower seeds by the staff who care
 for them at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. But one day, they decide they’re sick…

View original post 1,075 more words

By rnewman504

Shameless Self-Promotion for my Next Book: No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies

I’m not the kind of author who would post non-stop about my upcoming book, No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies.

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Subliminal message: PLEASE buy the book. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your favorite local indie. It flies onto bookshelves September 4th.

What kind of tacky author does that kind of thing? It’s in exceptionally bad taste.

Subliminal message: PLEASE tell your friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, neighbors, favorite librarian, favorite teacher, actually doesn’t even have to be your favorite anyone, and heck, why not share it with your enemies too. Emotional support peacocks will love the book, and I’ve even heard emotional support scorpions are super eager to get their pincers on a copy or two.

But let’s suppose blog readers are a little curious about the book. No Peacocks! was inspired by the three real-life peacocks residing on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

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This is Phil.

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This is Jim or Harry. 

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Or Harry or Jim. 

Subliminal message: Yes, it’s true! Peacocks DO live in Manhattan. And these particular peacocks, Phil, Jim, and Harry, have been roaming the cathedral’s grounds freely (sometimes roaming off of the grounds too!) and getting into loads of fun trouble since about 2002.

And on the cathedral’s grounds, there is also The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine, where my son had been a student. 

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My son on his first day of school. 

Subliminal message: Of course, there’s a real school! And the students love the peacocks, as do the tourist-filled buses that line up along Amsterdam Avenue to get a chance to meet these three famous feathered neighborhood celebrities.

And if you’re wondering what the book is about, it’s about the peacocks’ quest to try the school’s very famous mac ‘n cheese.

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Subliminal message: The Cathedral School’s mac ‘n cheese is the absolute best mac ‘n cheese in the universe but as blog readers may have figured out peacocks are: A) not allowed to eat mac ‘n cheese; and B) not allowed in the school. So how are they going to get their wings of the school’s mac ‘n cheese? That is the big conundrum.

Now, if I happened to be one of those shameless self-promoters (which I didn’t say I was), I’d probably try to make my readers hungry for more books about food.

 

Subliminal message: PLEASE check out my Wilcox & Griswold Mystery Series, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and The Case of the Poached Egg. Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your favorite local indie.

Blog reader: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE with sugar on top, stop now.

I’m done.

 

Triple Trailer Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday from Wilcox & Griswold. Hope you enjoy Triple Trailer Tuesday!

Our feature film stars the amazing Wanda Sykes reading The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Storyline Online.

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and The Case of the Poached Egg are currently on sale at Amazon. For more information, please visit carrot and poached egg.

Coming soon the book trailer for No Peacocks!

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No Peacocks! is currently available for pre-order. For more information, please visit Phil, Jim, and Harry.

 

 

 

 

Third Annual Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival

Website-2018-header.jpgRecovering from surgery has caused me to be a “tad” behind on work. But as the saying goes, “better late than never.”

On June 16, 2018, I had the privilege of participating in my Third Annual Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival with all of these incredible authors and illustrators.

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In a nutshell: it was AWESOME!

Check out these photographic highlights:

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David Lubar, Timothy Young, and Nancy Viau

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Julie Segal-Walters

Jonathan Roth and Jackie Azúa Kramer

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Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Laurie Wallmark, and Chris Robertson

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David Neilson

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Maria Gianferrari and Jia Liu

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Suzanne Bloom 

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Members of the KidLit Authors Club (left to right): David Neilson, Timothy Young, Colleen Rowan Kosinski, me, Nancy Viau, and Laurie Wallmark 

For more information about the KidLit Authors Club, please click here.

I would like to shout out a huge THANK YOU to Timothy Young, the staff of the Talbot County Free Library, the sponsors, and to all of the volunteers who made this event extra special.

Can’t wait for next year’s festival!

Look What Arrived in the Mail!

I could not be more excited to receive and share advance reader copies for No Peacocks! And first thing this morning, I stopped by The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine and A.C.T. to drop off these long awaited copies.

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The gorgeous flowers are from the AWESOME Barr family! Thank you!

While on the grounds, I couldn’t help but notice Phil, Jim, and Harry’s fancy new coop.

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Unfortunately for me, it was a one-peacock day. I saw either Jim or Harry or Harry or Jim.

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I can’t tell you which peacock is which, but supposedly ALL the children know which one is Jim and which one is Harry.

Have a great day everyone!

 

 

Three Weeks, Three Days! (Who’s Counting?)

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Sincere apologies for having been M.I.A. from the blog for a while. But this time I have a real excuse. I am three weeks and three days post brain surgery. Sure, life throws you lemons and curve balls, but for me, this was a cannon ball.

May 5th started out like any other Saturday. Wake up to hungry dogs climbing all over me, complaining that breakfast is late. Feed dogs. Walk dogs. Return home, feed son, and then take son to science day at Rockefeller Institute. Come home. Nap. Work. My son’s best friend arrives for a sleepover. Feed boys. Rinse and repeat as necessary. Walk dogs. Let spouse put boys to bed. Crawl into bed and fight for a spot on the bed that hasn’t been claimed by a dog, and drift off to sleep.

This is where the story changes. At around 12:30 am, I’m woken up by an E.M.T.

“Can you walk?” I hear him say.

“What?” I said.

“Ma’am, can you walk? The gurney will not fit through the doorway.”

“Huh?”

“Honey, you had a seizure.” I hear my spouse say.

“Huh?”

“Hold on to me!” says one E.M.T.

As I walk toward the foyer of my apartment, I pass my son’s room. I see my son and his best friend standing back in the room. Eventually, I’m helped onto the gurney.

Before leaving the apartment, I see my son’s best friend’s dad and I hear my son yell, “I love you mom.”

Minutes later I’m wheeled into an ambulance and headed to Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital. When we arrive at the hospital, my husband is holding my hand and telling everyone, including me, what happened. I don’t have any recollection of the seizure.

“Yes, her eyeballs were in the back of her head. She was unresponsive when I yelled her name, and foaming at the mouth.”

My husband says all these words to the MDs before I’m wheeled off for scans and tests.

By morning, I see a neuro-surgeon and his team.

“You have a brain tumor.”

“I have a brain tumor.” Pause. Process. Rinse and repeat.

The surgeon pulls up a machine with a picture of a brain. Apparently, this is my brain. It’s a 2.3 cm meningioma tumor. It needs to come out. It caused my seizure.

I make the call to my twin sister. I hear a lot of:

“What?!? Are you sure? I’m on my way.”

And once my twin sister knows, the entire universe knows. She’s not good at keeping secrets. Not that this was a secret. I do a quick post on Facebook to let everyone else know (she’s not on Facebook), and more important, to let them know if I’m late on something I have a good excuse. If I have a brain tumor, it might as well be useful for something. Right?

And this is part that was unexpected. An outpouring of sweet, encouraging notes from everyone I’ve ever known. Cousins. Aunts. Uncles. Grade school friends. High school buddies. College and law school classmates. Former bosses and colleagues. Authors. Illustrators. Teachers. Librarians. Editors. My amazing agents. And students. Adorable letters from students to get well soon. Talk about medicine for the soul!

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On May 17th, my husband and I went to Mt. Sinai West Hospital for my surgery. My twin met us at the hospital. I wore my Bryn Mawr College hat and sweatshirt like a protective coat of armor. Nobody messes with a Mawrter. Surgery lasted eight and ½ hours I’m told. I woke up in the Neuro-ICU disoriented and swollen. I could hear one of the nurse’s saying:

“We need to clean her up. She’s got a relative waiting to see her.”

I couldn’t help but wonder how much of a mess was I that I needed to be cleaned up. And then my twin sister walked in: I took one look at her face, and I knew.

Recovery has been slow. Very slow. At first I thought I could steam roll through recovery but while attending the NJ SCBWI Annual Conference two weeks post surgery (my favorite conference ever!), I accidentally walked head first into a wall. Lesson learned regarding slowing down and am extremely grateful that the only injury I suffered was a bit of embarrassment and a bruised head. (I normally do a blog post about my favorite conference but this year my hands were too shaky and 99% of the photos I took were blurry.)

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Three weeks, three days post surgery I feel like the luckiest person in the world. My tumor is benign. Who’s afraid of a couple of cannon balls? No sweat! Bring it on.

I am eternally grateful for the incredible doctors, nurses, family, and friends, who took care of me. And I would like to shout out a HUGE THANK YOU to EVERYONE for your encouraging words, sweet notes, prayers, and kind thoughts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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By rnewman504

Amelia Island Book Festival 2018

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I wrote this post while on the plane flying back to glorious Newark, New Jersey.

Something doesn’t seem right about leaving Amelia Island’s beautiful sandy beaches, not to mention the 70-80 degree weather, for the snow-covered, flu stricken east coast.

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I visited the island for the Amelia Island Book Festival. The festival also runs the Authors-in-Schools Program, whereby authors visit selected public schools and the festival purchases a book for each and every student through sales of ticketed events, generous donations, and sponsorship. This year the festival purchased over 11,000 books for students at 16 public schools across Nassau County.

I spent the day at Hilliard Elementary School speaking with second and third graders. The students had incredible questions, and I could hardly contain my glee when one student came up to me and asked if I was going to talk about figurative language.

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Hilliard Elementary Artwork (Love it!) 

One recurring question at 99% of my school visits is: how old are you? Not sure why this is so important, but I used to give the students the answer. Now I make them do the math. And this was one of the best parts of my visit to Hilliard: one of the second graders got the right answer. It was a first!

And speaking of age, the Amelia Island Book Festival happened to fall on my birthday this year. I could not think of a more wonderful way to celebrate it than with books and literary friends.

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Check out the lovely birthday balloon from Nancy Viau! 

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And this was the most delicious chocolate cupcake!

Thank you Nancy Viau for making my birthday so special. 

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Nancy Viau 

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Evelyne Holingue, Jennifer Swanson and Heather Macht

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Eileen Meyer

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Linda Seymour Carr and me 

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Mike Maihack

I’d like to shout out a HUGE thank you to Danna Crump, librarian extraordinaire at Hilliard Elementary School for making me feel so welcome. Hilliard Elementary School is a very special place and I’m thrilled to have had a chance to visit with their students. I’d also like to thank the festival organizers, volunteers, and the terrific group of authors and illustrators that I met. I can hardly wait for next year’s festival.

 

Cover Reveal: No Peacocks!

I am thrilled beyond words to share the cover for No Peacocks! (Sky Pony Press) illustrated by the amazing Chris Ewald. Drum roll, please!

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No Peacocks! is a fictional feathered tale about the three real-life mischievous peacocks who reside on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Let me introduce you:

This is Phil.

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This is Jim or Harry.

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Or Harry or Jim.

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(I can’t tell the difference between Jim or Harry but if you ask any of the children, they all know which bird is which.)

For five years, my son attended The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine. And from the moment I saw the birds, I knew I wanted to write about them. There was just one problem. I needed a story. On one extremely fortunate day while I was attending a meeting for the school’s book fair, one of the school administrators came into the room asking if anyone had left a sandwich in a stroller because one of the peacocks ate it. And as soon as I heard that, I knew I had my story.

No Peacocks! is about Phil, Jim and Harry’s quest to taste the school’s very famous mac ‘n cheese. It’s a cheesy story of friendship and teamwork, with a mild sprinkling of criminal activity that’s perfect for influencing the impressionable minds of children ages 0 to 1000. It flies onto bookshelves September 2018.

I’d like to take a quick moment to thank my editor, Alison Weiss; my agents, Liza Fleissig and Ginger Harris-Dontzin; my writing teacher, Jill Davis; my writing group, Jacki Morris and Joanne French; my husband, Michael, who has probably read this story more times than he would have liked; my son, Noah, for the tremendous joy he brings my husband and me every day—even during homework; and anyone else who so much as sneezed on my manuscript.

No Peacocks! is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at your favorite independent bookstore.