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!

The Cranford Public Library’s First Picture Book Palooza

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Yesterday The Cranford Public Library celebrated its first ever Picture Book Palooza. In a nutshell, it was DY-NO-MITE!

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Laura Sassi

Robin&Annie

Me & Annie Silvestro

Ariel

Ariel Bernstein

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Diana Murray

Elizabeth Upton

Me

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I’d like to shout a huge THANK YOU to Lauren Antolino, librarian extraordinaire, Laura Sassi, the amazing volunteers, and to Anne Laird at The Town Book Store for making this incredible day a reality. And oh what an incredible day it was!

 

Upcoming Fall Events!

I can hardly believe that there’s little more than a week left of summer vacation. Where did the time go? On September 7th, I’ll be the crazy lady doing the happy-first-day-of-school dance! I am more than ready for fall and could not be more excited for these upcoming AWESOME events:

9/18 WANDA SYKES will be doing a recorded reading of The Case of the Missing Carrot for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Storyline Online. For more information, click on SAG-AFTRA. Stay tuned for more information! (THANK YOU Wanda Sykes and SAG-AFTRA Foundation!)

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9/24 LUNA PARK’S HALLOWEEN HARVEST

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TIME: 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM

LOCATION: Luna Park in Coney Island, 1000 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Come out for WITCHTASTIC, SPOOKTACULAR, BOORIFIC story time and crafts with Hildie Bitterpickles. For more information about Luna Park’s month-long Halloween Harvest celebration, click on LUNA.

9/30 SOUTHOLD FREE LIBRARY

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TIME: 11:00 AM

LOCATION: 53705 Main Road, Southold, NY

What do a mole and two mouse detectives have in common? Friendship, food, fun, and rodent camaraderie, of course! Listen to Nancy Armo, author and illustrator of A Friend for Mole, and Robin Newman, author of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and The Case of the Poached Egg, share their books and the stories behind their books. Come celebrate this picture book/early chapter book rodentfest palooza with mole-ri-fic, mouse-tas-tic crafts, snacks, giveaways, and more!

10/7 WARWICK CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL

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TIME: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM

LOCATION: Railroad Avenue, Warwick, NY

Bring the kids to beautiful Warwick, NY for this AWESOME event. Come meet your favorite author and illustrator, help support the Albert Wisner Public Library, and be sure to check out the EGGTASTIC swag Wilcox & Griswold will be giving away! For more information, click on WARWICK.

10/21 CRANFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY’S FIRST ANNUAL PICTURE BOOK PALOOZA

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TIME: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

LOCATION: Cranford Community Center, Room 200

Could not be more thrilled to be participating in The Cranford Public Library’s First Annual Picture Book Palooza with the amazing ARIEL GORDON BERNSTEIN, ANNIE SILVESTRO, LAURA SOUTH SASSI, and ELIZABETH UPON. Story time, crafts, swag, and more! For more information, click on CRANFORD.

10/29 WORD Bookstore

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TIME: 3:00 PM

LOCATION: 126 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY

The witches are coming! Celebrate an early Halloween with Grimelda and Hildie Bitterpickles. It’s sure to be a most SPOOKTACULAR, WITCHARIFIC event! For more information, click on WORD.

11/4 NerdCampLI

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TIME: 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

LOCATION: Boyd Intermediate School, 286 Cuba Hill Road, Huntington, NY

Nerdy Book Club + Ed Camp = nErD Camp

If you’re a nerd or a nerd wannabe, Nerd Camp is for you! 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. For more information, please click on nErdCampLI.

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nErD Camp

Lots of great stuff coming this fall. Hope to see you at one or more of these terrific events.

 

 

 

 

BEWARE! Two Witchtastic Spooktacular Events Are Flying to Morningside Heights

If you’re looking for WITCHTASTIC, SPOOKTACULAR fun, have I got the events for you!

On Saturday, October 29th, Hildie Bitterpickles and Grimelda, The Very Messy Witch, will be at Bank Street Book Store on 107th Street and Broadway at the 1:00 pm bewitching hour. Creepy crawley story time, crafts, slimy snacks, and BOO-RI-FIC giveaways await witches, warlocks, ninjas, and princesses of all ages. Be sure to dress up in your favorite costume and be very prepared to be tricked or treated!

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A dream come true to see my book in the front window of Bank Street Book Store.

Thank you, Bank Street! 

On Monday, October 31, come celebrate a SPOOKTACULAR, SCARETASTIC Halloween with A.C.T. at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on 112th St. and Amsterdam Ave. at 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm, followed by an outdoor Halloween Parade from 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm. Hildie Bitterpickles will be on hand for a BOO-RI-FIC story time.

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Happy Halloween! 

 

 

 

 

THANK YOU WARWICK CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL!

 

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If you happened to be in Warwick, New York yesterday, you would have noticed there was magic in the air. It was a day to celebrate children’s literature and oh, what a magical day it was!

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Me and Beth Ferry

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Hazel Mitchell 

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Sujean Rim and her adorable son

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Diana Murray and Mylisa Larsen

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Me and Iza Trapani

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Me, Jessica Olien, Lauren Magaziner, Laurie Wallmark and Diana Murray

Three incredible volunteers 

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THANK YOU WARWICK CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL! A very big THANK YOU to Lisa Laico, Judy Pedersen, Christina Ryan-Linder, the incredible volunteers, Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe, and the Albert Wisner Public Library.

Hildie Bitterpickles, Wilcox & Griswold, the peacocks,** and I cannot wait for next year’s festival.

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**No Peacocks! illustrated by Chris Ewald (Sky Pony Press) flies onto bookshelves fall 2017.

Upcoming Events and a Witchtastic Limited-Time Offer!

Hildie Bitterpickles, Wilcox & Griswold and I have a super-fun fall lined up. Please stop by and catch us at one of these incredible events!

October 1 – Collingswood Book Festival, Collingswood, NJ, 10 am – 4 pm

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http://www.collingswoodbookfestival.com

October 8 – The Warwick Children’s Book Festival, Railroad Avenue, Warwick, NY, 11 am – 4 pm

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http://www.warwickchildrensbookfestival.org

October 15th and October 16 – Luna Park in Coney Island, NY, 3 pm

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http://www.lunaparknyc.com

Don’t miss a spooktacular story time with Hildie Bitterpickles at the 3 pm bewitching hour.

October 29 – Bank Street Book Store @ 107th Street and Broadway, NY, NY, 1 pm – 2 pm

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http://www.bankstreetbooks.com

http://www.bankstreetbooks.com/event/witch-tastic-halloween-bank-street-book-store

Author extraordinaire, Diana Murray, and I have planned a witchtastic story hour with Hildie Bitterpickles and Grimelda, the Very Messy Witch. There will be spellbindingly fun crafts, snacks, giveaways and more! Feel free to wear your witchiest and warlockiest outfits! Be prepared to be tricked or treated.

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November 12 – 13 NJ SCBWI Fall Craft Weekend, Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer St., Princeton, NJ

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https://newjersey.scbwi.org/events/fall-craft-weekend-november-12-13-2016/

Craft-related workshops with published author/illustrator presenters.

I will be doing my first workshop on writing character-driven picture books. I will also be doing some picture book critiques. It’s always a terrific weekend! I highly recommend it!!!

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Now for the Witchtastic Limited-Time Offer!

Buy five or more copies of Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep books, email me your proof of purchase and address, and I will mail your witches and warlocks-in-training a spooktacular, witchtastic goody bag! Note this offer applies ONLY to residents in the United States and the offer expires midnight on Halloween 2016.

 

The 2016 NJ SCBWI Annual Conference—The Best Conference Ever!

 

Every year the NJ SCBWI Annual Conference gets better and better. This year did not disappoint.

Here are some photographic highlights: 

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Opening Keynote Speaker, David Wiesner

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My amazing agent, Liza Fleissig, and my fellow Liza Royce Agency peeps! 

Yvonne Ventresca, Cathy Breisacher, Laurie Wallmark, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, Erica George, Leslie Santamaria, me, and Liza Fleissig 

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Diana Murray and me

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Johanna Bilbo Staton, Yvonne Ventresca, and Cathy Breisacher 

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Katey Howes

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Lauri Meyers

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Darlene Beck-Jacobson and Carole Lindstrom

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Annie Silvestro and Kim Pfennigwerth

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Me and Cristina Ergunay (Mawrters in the house! Anassa kata!) 

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Beth Ferry 

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Julie Matysik and Yvonne Ventresca

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Jacki Morris

Liza Fleissig, Keisha Senter, Kathy Temean, Carole Lindstrom, Leslie Santamaria, me, Karl Jones, Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Marlaina Cockcroft, and Linda Patterson Kujawski

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Laura Sassi and Diana Murray 

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Leeza Hernandez

Me and Katya Szewczuk

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Tara Lazar 

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Lori Degman 

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Laurie Wallmark accepting the Crystal Kyte Award.

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Julie Gribble 

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Tish Rabe

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Jonathan Rockefeller 

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Guy Olivieri and Charlotte Bennardo 

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Closing Keynote Speaker, Suzy Ismail

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Me and Suzy Ismail 

A very big THANK YOU to everyone who made this year’s conference so special. I’m already packing my bags for next year’s conference. I can’t wait!

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NJ SCBWI

2016 ALA Midwinter Conference & Exhibits

 

I spent an incredible weekend at ALA’s Midwinter Conference and Exhibits in Boston. Where else in the world can you find this many people who eat, breathe and sleep books? In a nutshell, it was AWESOME!

I had a wonderful time meeting and catching up with so many dedicated librarians, teachers, editors, writers, and illustrators. One highlight for me was meeting Lisa Von Drasek, curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota. She included The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake on her “best children’s books to give this year” list and in her discussion on MPR. Here’s the link.

It was also a thrill to see so many of my friend’s books on display and to listen to everyone’s predictions on who might be getting some pretty stickers for their books. (HINT FOR UPCOMING BIRTHDAY PRESENT: Wilcox, Griswold, Hildie, and I LOVE stickers! 🙂 )

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Creston Books

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Me and Laurie Wallmark at the Creston table 

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Mary Skiver, me, and Laura Simeon (Bryn Mawr Classmates, ’89 Anassa Kata!) 

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Laurie Wallmark and Andrea Beaty

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Andrea Beaty’s latest book

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Carolyn Yoder and Laurie Wallmark 

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Lisa Yoskowitz

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City Shapes by Diana Murray and illustrated Bryan Collier (In bookstores June 21, 2016)

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Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks by Coren Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez and illustrated by Dan Santat (In bookstores May 24, 2016)

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Normal Norman by Tara Lazar and illustrated by S. Britt a/k/a Stephan Britt (In bookstores March 1, 2016) 

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Just hanging with Norman

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Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel 

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Cori McCarthy signing You Were Here

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Be a Friend by Salina Yoon

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Laurie Wallmark and her new friend, Oscar

Congratulations to all the ALA Youth Medal Award winners! It’s been an incredible year for children’s literature. And it’s so exciting to be a small part of it. I’m looking forward to another amazing year of kid-lit. Happy reading, writing, and illustrating!