Thank you Chicago, ALA, and The American Writers Museum!

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Chicago was anything but the windy city this weekend. It was warm and welcoming as it greeted thousands of librarians, publishers, editors, writers, illustrators, and literary aficionados for ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference and Exhibition.

It’s hard not to feel like a kid in a candy store when attending ALA. And like a well-prepared kid ready to take home a treasure trove of loot, I came prepared with my empty bags. In my years of attending ALA, I have also learned that the extremely patient Fed Ex worker, who is silently laughing at my creatively wrapped packages, has become my new best friend. (At this time, I would like to shout out a very big thank you to my Grandpa Harry for teaching me how to defy the laws of physics with masking tape.)

Here are a few photographic highlights from #alaac17:

 

Creston Books

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Detectives Wilcox & Griswold, me, and Marissa Moss

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Nancy Churnin

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Marcia Goldman and Princess Lola

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Laurie Wallmark and Sue Conolly

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Marissa Moss and Kathryn Otoshi

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Carol Weston

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Monica Edinger and Donalyn Miller

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Tracey Baptiste

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Me and Emma Otheguy

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The AWESOME Mr. Schu!

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Laurie Wallmark, Mr. Schu, and me

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Panel discussion, “Women Aren’t Funny (And Other Essential Untruths for Middle Grade Readers) with Sharyn November, Erica Perl, Betsy Bird, Cece Bell, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Andrea Beaty

During this literary palooza of a weekend, I also had the privilege of being invited to do a reading at the The American Writers Museum. With the mission of “celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture, and our daily lives[,]”[1] The American Writers Museum opened its doors on May 15, 2017.

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While walking around and gazing at the words and portraits of many of my writing superheroes, it was impossible not to reflect upon the impact each of these authors have had on all of us—how they’ve stirred our imagination; comforted us in times of grief; given us a serious case of the giggles; and put us to bed night after night.

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As a writer, I also couldn’t help but think about the number of rewrites each of these authors had to do. How many authors were on the brink of giving up when they finally got their lucky break? What’s the tally on the number of rejections vs. successes?

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Untitled Mural by Paul O. Zelinsky

Next time you’re in Chicago be sure to stop by this inspiring magical place. I promise. You won’t be disappointed.

[1] Source: http://americanwritersmuseum.org/history/

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KidLit TV’s Live Stream Read Aloud

I’m a tad late to the party in posting about this AMAZING event hosted by KidLit TV, but better late than never.

March is National Reading Awareness Month and to celebrate KidLit TV invited authors and illustrators to read their picture books for their first Live Stream Read Aloud Marathon on Friday, March 3, 2017.

The Read Aloud received over 3,000 views and was featured in Publisher’s Weekly column, In Brief.

Below are a few photographic highlights:

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Rocco Stanno and Katya Szewczuk

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Cynthia Weill and Orel Protopopescu

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Laurie Wallmark 

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Roxie Munro, Barbara McClintock and Elizabeth Upton

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Kat Yeh

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Me, Laurie Wallmark and Orel Protopopescu

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Roxie Munro and Carol Weston 

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Julie Gribble 

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Steve Light 

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Selene Castrovilla

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Me and Rosanne Kurstedt

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Kelly Light

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Susanna Reich

Katya Szewczuk and Laurie Wallmark 

That’s one scary witch! 

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Erica Rand Silverman and David Weinstone 

Orel Protopopescu, Cynthia Weill and Susanna Reich 

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Rosanne Kurstedt 

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Laura Sassi 

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The Reading Ninjas 

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Ender, a super adorable Reading Ninja, reading Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep.

 (This made my day!) 

A GINORMOUS THANK YOU to the amazing Julie Gribble, Erica Rand Silverman, Katya Szewczuk, Rocco Staino, and to everyone at KidLit TV who made this extraordinary celebration of reading so very special. Happy Reading!

 

 

 

#nErDcampLI Rocks!

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Nerdy Book Club + Ed Camp = nErD Camp

Have you ever had the experience of walking into a room and automatically knowing you were among your peeps? On Saturday, November 5th, I found my wonderfully nerdy peeps at the Second Annual nErD Camp Long Island held at Jericho Middle School.

nErD Camp is described as the “unconference” edcamp. It provides a fluid forum for educators, authors, and illustrators to discuss “all things” literary; get inspired and give inspiration; and teach and learn from one another.

So, how does nErD Camp work? Upon arrival attendees fill a session board with topics of interest. You can attend any session, participate in any session, create a session, and/or leave a session if there’s another one that is more tailored to your interests.

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I attended a terrific session by Jackie Azúa Kramer and Selene Castrovilla about Reader’s Theatre, an immersive interactive story-telling experience that encourages students to act out written works. I also gave a talk about using fairy tales as a means of getting kids excited about writing—a tale of how to create fractured fairy tales. The discussion started with fairy tales and somehow morphed into a discussion about using mysteries in the classroom.

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Selene Castrovilla and Jackie Azúa Kramer

Jackie Azúa Kramer, Annina Luck Wildermuth, me, the AWESOME Mrs. C and her SUPER AWESOME daughter

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Selina Alko

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Corey Rosen Schwartz

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Carol Weston

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Selene Castrovilla 

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Tracey Baptiste

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Josh Funk 

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Tara Lazar

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Carol Gordon Ekster

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Nancy Armo

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Sean Qualls and Selena Alko

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Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick

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The line to buy books! 

I would like to shout out a HUGE THANK YOU to JoEllen McCarthy, Alison McDermott, and Kristen Picone for a fantastic day. nErdCampLI rocks!

 

 

 

Independent Bookstore Day at Bank Street Book Store

 

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When I think about what makes my Upper West Side neighborhood so special at the tippy top of my list is Bank Street Book Store. Where else can you enjoy free story time, meet your favorite authors and illustrators, and help your children explore cultures and worlds far beyond the Upper West Side?

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Nothing makes me happier than to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day at Bank Street.

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Here are a few photographic highlights of this very special store on this special day.

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Peter Ackerman, Chris Grabenstein, Bill Wurzel & Claire Wurtzel

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Carol Weston 

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Elizabeth Zunon

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Me & Chris Ewald 

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Chris Ewald

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Chris Ewald sketching 

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Bank Street Book Store is a treasured gem of the Upper West Side. It is one of two children’s bookstores in all of Manhattan. That’s right. Two.

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The next generation of authors and illustrators

So, please be sure to make Independent Bookstore Day more than an annual event. At your next visit to Bank Street Book Store, don’t forget to buy lots of books and shout out a very big THANK YOU to this incredible bookstore for enriching both our children and community.

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Bank Street Book Store

Mark Your Calendars for Bank Street Book Store’s Grand Opening

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On March 7, 2015, Bank Street Book Store is having their Grand Opening at their new location at 2780 Broadway (corner of 107th Street and Broadway).

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:00 am will be followed by an all day Story Time Festival featuring over twenty children’s book authors. Please come by to check out the new space, schmooze and enjoy refreshments.

Guest Authors:

Peter Ackerman

Meg Akabas

Betsy Bird

Jill Davis

Alix Delinois

Monica Edinger

Tim Federle

Isabel Gillies

Chris Grabenstein

Robie Harris

Deborah Heiligman

Amy Hest

Nina Jaffe

Sandra Jordan

Susan Kuklin

Patricia Lakin

Peter Lerangis

Carolyn Mackler

Robin Newman – Reading at 4:00 pm!!!

Jerry Pinkney

Doreen Rappaport

Chris Raschka

Jill Santopolo

Eliot Schrefer

Rebecca Stead

Rachel Vail

Cynthia Weill

Carol Weston

I will be reading The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, Spring 2015), at 4:00 pm. Hope to see you there!