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


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


Detectives Wilcox & Griswold, me, and Marissa Moss


Nancy Churnin


Marcia Goldman and Princess Lola


Laurie Wallmark and Sue Conolly


Marissa Moss and Kathryn Otoshi


Carol Weston


Monica Edinger and Donalyn Miller


Tracey Baptiste


Me and Emma Otheguy


The AWESOME Mr. Schu!


Laurie Wallmark, Mr. Schu, and me



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.


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.




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?


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:


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


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!