Last month, I had a lovely school visit with Kalamazoo Christian Elementary School. What a creative audience: the younger students made KCES Salad Pie (recipe posted below) and the older students came up with a story that featured me, eating ice cream in the Arctic. I hope some of them write that story down, and explain exactly why I’m eating something so cold in a place that’s so cold! There was a collective gasp when I revealed that I don’t like ice cream all that much (though I’ll eat it for the sake of the story :)).
Save the date! On April 26 and 27, 2019, I’ll be signing books at SOKY Book Fest. Click the logo below to see some of the headlining authors, including Angie Thomas, Silas House and Rita Mae Brown. More updates to come.
After days of 90 degree weather, Sunday’s 60 surprised us all with how cold and windy it felt. We Michiganders are known for our toughness regarding the weather, but the weather always changes, and quickly. Here’s a group of us at the SCBWI-Michigan table, talking books.
Standing by all the picture books—SALAD PIE is in good company.
And, signing amid all those Michigan-authored board books, picture books and novels. Thank you, Bookbound, for selling our books at Kerrytown Bookfest 2018.
Sunday, September 9 is the Kerrytown Bookfest in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I'll be there from 10:30 to 12:30 (event goes until 5), along with twenty-three other Michigan authors and illustrators. Bookbound will be selling our books, and we'll be on hand in shifts to sign.
It's coming! Every year, I book free classroom Skype (or Google Hangout) visits for World Read Aloud Day. This year, I'm opening up time slots for February 1, 2019 now so you can schedule early. Just contact me via my contact form, and let me know what grade your class is, and a few times that would work, as well as what time zone you live in.
Each Skype visit is about 15-20 minutes long. I introduce myself, read aloud SALAD PIE (with a bit of audience participation), and then answer a few of the students' questions (please have them prepared in advance). I also show and talk about a few books that I love that I didn't write, so students can get all revved up about reading!
Did you know that there's a whole host of research out there about why reading aloud to children is so good for them? Reading aloud allows kids to develop phonological awareness and other literacy skills, increases attention, increases vocabulary and enhances social-emotional development. So in addition to having fun, all kinds of growth is happening at the same time.
This Saturday, I'll be at Sterlingfest's Local Author Book Sale, a first for me. A whole host of authors and illustrators will be there, including:
Also, there will be many activities for kids. Check out this photo and website via Sterlingfest's Twitter account.
Looks like too much fun to pass up! See you there?
On July 28, 2018, I'll be at the Sterlingfest Art & Music Fair in Sterling Heights, Michigan at the SCBWI booth along with several other Michigan-based authors and illustrators. Check out the whole list of local authors here. We'll have our signed books for sale, local restaurants will have food, there's a midway with rides and a soundstage with live music. I can't wait! Festivities begin at 10 AM.
Today, in celebrating World Read Aloud Day, I read SALAD PIE with some classrooms in Wisconsin and Texas. One of the classes had questions about the book binding process. I tried to answer as well as I could. Some of the questions were tough: Do they sew the pages together by hand? I thought there was a machine that did it. Why don't the pages fall out? Well, they use glue, too, I think. So, I found this video from Chirp Books that shows books being made in a factory. I hope it answers many more of those questions!
Also, a really fun picture book about the book making process is Mac Barnett and Adam Rex's How This Book Was Made.
Happy World Read Aloud Day! And thank you to all of those children, teachers and librarians that hosted me via Skype or Google Hangouts. It was a pleasure meeting you.
World Read Aloud Day is February 1, 2018. Every year, LitWorld promotes this event to read aloud and change the world.
Kate Messner provides a list of authors that are willing to Skype with classrooms for free in honour of World Read Aloud Day, and I'm one of those authors. If you'd like a free Skype visit, contact me via my contact form. And visit Kate Messner's blog to find out more information about the event and more authors who are doing Skype visits.
Saturday, I went to the Frenchtown-Dixie Library in Monroe County, Michigan, for the 5th annual Children's Author Meet and Greet. What an event! I was greeted at the door by Maggie, a local middle schooler, reader and event photographer, and then, I saw this picture book display:
Amy Nielander and I shared a table, full of picture books and activities.
From picture book to YA novels, there were many Michigan authors and illustrators to meet.
Of course, Frenchtown-Dixie library patrons had great ideas for their Salad Pie recipe:
And in closing, the whole group with books, posing for a photo. Thank you to everyone at Frenchtown-Dixie Library for a warm and welcoming event!
On Saturday, November 4 from 12 - 3 pm, a host of Michigan authors will be at the Frenchtown Dixie Library in Monroe County. Come and meet us all! Buy books and get them signed!
Enjoy an Autumn afternoon with 12 amazing authors of books for
children of all ages! Come meet and greet our authors, buy some of their books and spend a couple of hours with us.
Our Guest Authors Include:
• Ruth McNally Barshaw
• Wendy BooydeGraaff
• Kelly DiPucchio
• Debbie Diesen
• Tim Dziobak
• Kathy Higgs-Coulthard
• Dena Jayson
• Kristin Bartley Lenz
• Sierra Masson
• Heather Smith Meloche
• Amy Nielander
• Jordan J. Scavone
Frenchtown Dixie Branch Library2881 Nadeau Rd, Monroe, Michigan 48162
Last Sunday, the 15th annual Kerrytown Bookfest took place in the market space in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The crowd was impressive as were the many vendors. We saw books, new, used and rare; a retro-looking ice cream truck serving treats; made-in-Michigan artwork, paper cutouts and cards.
Last stop was the SCBWI booth, where lots of Michigan authors and illustrators were signing books (including me!).
Kerrytown Bookfest is this Sunday, September 10, 2017 in Ann Arbor. Several Michigan authors and illustrators will be signing books at the SCBWI tent, and Nicola's Books will be selling our books. Below is a selection of the titles we'll have there. Click on the book cover to find more out about the author and/or illustrator.
One special class in Grand Rapids read HUNDREDS of books in March for reading month, and I got to visit them. We talked about what we love, and how that gets to be part of the stories we write. I love the outdoors, imagination, books, and food. All of those elements can be found in SALAD PIE.
Then we made East Leonard Salad Pie. Everyone wrote down what they would put in Salad Pie, and we put it into a big bowl, and mixed it up.
Here's the recipe for East Leonard Salad Pie, up close. Good thing it's a pretend pie!
Keep reading and writing, East Leonard!
On March 16, I visited Hopkins Elementary to share presentations on how I became a writer, the writing process, and SALAD PIE with grades K through 5. Each grade level had a slightly different focus. Here is the third grade class:
The younger elementary grade levels learned about imagination and applied their imaginations to creating a pretend Hopkins Salad Pie.
We mixed up all of their contributions in this big salad bowl and came out with a lovely concoction. Here is the recipe for Hopkins Salad Pie:
Grades four and five discussed the writing process and we came up with the idea for some creative stories, complete with the beginnings of a plot so they could run back to class and write a first draft about. . . Eating Asparagus Ice Cream while in a museum at midnight? Brussel Sprout Brownies while contemplating turning into a unicorn? Tomato Donuts on the roof of the school? I'd love to see how some of these stories end up after revisions.
Thank you for inviting me, Hopkins Elementary, and may your imagination lead the way to many more exciting stories.
March 2 was Read Across America. I celebrated with two classrooms via Skype. Here I am reading and chatting with K- 2nd grade students at Avalon Elementary in St. Clair Shores, Michigan (near Detroit).
The students had some great questions at the end of the reading, such as "Will Herbert and Maggie stay friends?" and "Is Herbert always there to catch her?"
Thank you, Mrs. Decker for sending along the photos of the students and Skype session. Avalon Elementary has reading activities and challenges planned all March long, and Mrs. Decker is going to raffle off a copy of SALAD PIE for one Avalon reader at the culmination of the reading celebration.
I also read and answered questions with Mrs. Maldonado's 1st grade class in Lorena, Texas.
(I Skyped with Mrs. Maldonado's class last year, too) We read SALAD PIE, and I told them all about my favourite Dr. Seuss book, MARVIN K. MOONEY WILL YOU PLEASE GO NOW! They had some great questions that really made me think. I could tell they did some research on me before I talked with them. Thank you, Mrs. Madonado!
On February 16, I participated in World Read Aloud Day. I skyped with students in Wisconsin, Georgia and New Jersey. What fun! After reading SALAD PIE (and singing along with me--one group in New Jersey had a great new tune. I wish I had recorded it!), students had a chance to ask me questions. They asked me all sorts of interesting things: if Maggie was just like me, why I loved MARVIN K. MOONEY (a favourite childhood book of mine), if I would write a book called Sandwich Stew, and what the weather was like here in Michigan. I had a blast!