#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!

 

 

 

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The First Annual Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival

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Over 30 authors and illustrators from eleven East Coast states and the Midwest participated in the First Annual Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival to support the Talbot County Free Library in Easton, Maryland. It was an extremely special day.

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And check out all of their amazing titles!

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Here are a few photographic highlights:

The Author and Illustrator Dinner 

Talbot County Free Library 

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Lee Gjertsen Malone and Jennifer Wolf Kam 

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Alison Ashley Formento

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Corrine Smith 

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Tara Lazar reading Normal Norman

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Jean Taft

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Stacy McAnulty 

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Dianne K. Salerno, Nancy Armo, Wendy BooydeGraaff and me

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Nancy Armo

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Wendy BooydeGraaff

Three cheers for Timothy Young, who created the incredible posters for the event, and for Marie U’Ren, all of the volunteers, as well as the sponsors who made this event extraordinarily special.

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Wilcox, Griswold, Hildie and I cannot wait for next year’s festival.

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!

Three Cheers for Picture Book Month!

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

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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!

2014 NJ SCBWI Annual Conference—The BEST CONFERENCE EVER!

Every year NJ SCBWI’s annual conference gets better and better, and this year was no exception. And I would like to shout out a very big THANK YOU to everyone who made this year’s conference so very special.

Volunteer Committee

The Incredible and Amazing Volunteer Committee 

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Me and Leeza Hernandez

Rosanne Kurstedt

Rosanne L. Kurstedt

Lauri Meyers & Tara Lazar

Lauri Meyers & Tara Lazar 

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Mike Allegra perfecting his “I won the 2014 Highlights for Children Fiction Contest” look. 

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The good old “thumbs up.” 

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And of course, the “I can’t believe I won” look! 

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Opening Keynote Speaker Floyd Cooper 

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Sheri Oshins, Annie Silvestro & Laurie Wallmark

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Corey Rosen Schwartz 

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Kami Kinard 

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Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen 

Ame and Adam

Adam Lehrhaupt & Ame Dyckman 

Creston Authors

Laurie Wallmark, me & Darlene Beck-Jacobson 

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Rachelle Burk 

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Kim Pfennigwerth  

Robin Fox

Comedian Robin Fox 

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Closing Keynote Speaker Rachel Vail 

Not to sound preachy, BUT if you are a writer or illustrator considering doing one conference this year, this is THE conference! It is invaluable for making professional connections, getting editorial and agent feedback, and best of all, it’s just a ton of fun!

THANK YOU NJ SCBWI!

Happy Birthday Blog!


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Today marks my blog’s one-year anniversary.  And what an amazing year it’s been!

Originally, I didn’t want the blog.  What to put on it was a big concern.  If you have one, you have to put something on it—even if it’s the word “something.”  And I seriously wondered how many times I could do that.

But the great Kathy Temean, who designed my amazing website and blog, convinced me it was important.  I’m so glad she did.

The blog’s taken me out of my comfort zone.  And as a writer, it’s good to get out once in a while.

Some highlights from the past year include:

  • Interviews with The Rockdoves, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Jill Davis, Tara Lazar, Corey Rosen Schwartz, Doreen Cronin, Summer J. Hart, Rosanne Kurstedt, Becca Zerkin, Tori Corn, Monica Wellington, Ame Dyckman, and Adam Lehrhaupt;
  • Meeting Mara Rockliff and William Low at their book signing for Me and Momma and Big John at the Bank Street Bookstore;
  • Tori Corn and Danielle Ceccolini’s book launch for What Will It Be, Penelope?;
  • The 2013 NJ SCBWI annual conference; and best of all,
  • Learning that my two hard-nosed mouse detectives, Wilcox & Griswold, were heading to Creston Book for their first adventure, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake (release date, TBD).  Woo-hoo!

After all of this, I just want to shout out a very big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me through this adventure.

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Please stay tuned . . . there’s more to come!