Fun Blog Post in JewishBoston

I was so pleased with this entertaining blog post by Kara Baskin in JewishBoston that I will reproduce it below!

Paulie Has a Passover Predicament

And, thanks to this book, you have a last-minute host gift!

TOP PICK MARCH 29, 20180

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

Looking for a host or hostess gift this weekend? Attending a seder with children?

Lexington resident and kids’ book author Jane Sutton has grown children now, but she’s still in touch with her silly side, writing titles like “Esther’s Hanukkah Disaster” (about a gorilla who gives her friends misguided holiday gifts) and “The Trouble with Cauliflower” (about a koala bear named Mortimer who thinks cauliflower gives him bad luck…although, can you blame him?).

“All of my books have an underlying theme of empathy,” Sutton says.

In this foray, Paulie, an excitable moose, is having trouble preparing for Passover (us too, Paulie). This is his first seder, and he wants everything to be perfect. Spoiler alert: Nothing goes as planned. For instance, he thinks horseradish is a radish, shaped like a horse.

“That’s my favorite,” Sutton says. Plus, she says, “I just thought it would be fun for a moose to celebrate Passover.”

Paulie’s friends are animals, and they ask him about each item on the seder plate. Eventually, everything gets sorted out, and the underlying meaning of the holiday, full of friendship and persistence, shines through.

“The warmth and meaning of Passover saves the day,” Sutton says.

Sutton considers herself a kid at heart (“I used to cry on my birthday, because I didn’t want to get older,” she admits). And if you’re beginning to age just planning for this weekend, well, try to temper things a bit with her book. It’s available at local shops like Brookline Booksmith and Belmont Books; pick up a copy while running your last-minute errands.

Just make sure to buy proper horseradish.

Two Paulie Events this Sunday!

I’m excited to be doing 2 PAULIE’S PASSOVER PREDICAMENT story times this Sunday, March 25th…

The first is at the wonderful independent bookstore Brookline Booksmith,
279 Harvard St. Brookline, MA  at 10:30 AM.
Details here

 

 

 

And at 2 PM I’ll read PAULIE and WHAT’S UP WITH THIS CHICKEN?  at the terrific Barnes and Noble in Framingham, MA 1 Worcester Rd. Details here

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I pass out stuffed animals and play director and narrator for the act-out-th- story activities, I never know how the little actors will react. That’s what makes these events the most fun for me. It’s truly improv theater!

Story Time, Times 3

The charming new independent bookstore, Belmont Books, hosts a weekly story time at 11:30 AM. And this Friday, March 23rd, you can hear not 1, not 2, but 3 authors read their books! I’ll  share Paulie’s Passover Predicament, and Ellen Mayer and Carol Gordon Ekster will share their kid-pleasing picture books. We’ll have crafts, too!

Another Paulie Event this Sunday

I’m really looking forward to a combined meet and greet this Sunday with my friend and fellow author, Ellen Mayer. This will be our third time at the Burlington, MA Barnes and Noble, and we always have a great time presenting together.

The event will start at 1 PM.

Ellen and me at a past Barnes and Noble Burlington event

Ellen will read her delightful book Cake Day, complete with audience participation (she’s a master!) And I’ll read Paulie’s Passover Predicament and What’s Up with This Chicken?, followed by dramatic play. We will both have crafts available.

The most exciting part: both our toddler grandchildren will be there!

Wonderful Day at Minuteman High School

Recently, I had an author’s dream of a day. I visited the acclaimed Minuteman High School in Lexington, where Early Education and Design & Visual sophomores are working together to write and illustrate children’s books.

First I talked to the students about my own writing process and career.

Talking about the importance of revision

 

 

 

 

I don’t know what point I was making about my newest book, but I’m sure it was important.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I got to work with each team of students, see their text and art and give feedback.

Hearing about students’ vision for their book

 

Each team had created impressive work, all very different from each other’s. It was a joy to work with such creative, receptive, interested and interesting students.

 

 

 

 

Students sharing their book illustrations 

 

After our meetings we were all treated to a delicious buffet lunch prepared and served by students in Minuteman’s Culinary program! I had a lovely conversation with the enthusiastic and kind teachers, librarian and administrators.

The highlight of the meal was the adorable cake decorated by one of the students. The decoration reproduced the cover of my picture book WHAT’S UP WITH THIS CHICKEN?  and was three-dimensional. The cake tasted as good as it looked!
What a wonderful day!

Cake decorated with the cover of one of my books!!

The talented cake decorator next to her creation

To cap off the day, I captured this ego-boosting photo on a major road near the school entrance.

 

Paulie Gets a Shout-Out!

 

 

 

I was very pleased to see Paulie’s Passover Predicament get an enthusiastic shout-out in a column by Penny Schwartz called “Six New Children’s Books that are Perfect for Passover” on Reform Judaism.org

Read below to see what I mean!

Paulie’s Passover Predicament                                                     

Written by Jane Sutton; Illustrated by Barbara Vagnozzi
Kar-Ben, ages 3-8

Paulie is a guitar-playing moos-ician who is hosting his very first seder and wants it to be just perfect. At the grocery store, he piles his cart with boxes of matzah, candles and lots of grape juice. But Paulie’s guests – a porcupine, bear, bunny and others – giggle and poke fun at his seder plate with its really big ostrich egg, saltwater with pepper, and pine cones rather than walnuts for the ceremonial charoset.

Kids will get in on the action when Paulie sets out to search for the hidden afikomen – until the basement door closes shut behind him. Paulie ingeniously solves the problem and later leads his friends in a rousing rendition of “Dayenu”; he is especially grateful for his freedom.  Jane Sutton’s playful story, enhanced by Barbara Vagnozzi’s brightly colored illustrations, captures the excitement of celebrating Passover with a tender touch that reinforces the importance of being kind to friends.

First Book Event for Paulie and Me

Passover’s coming at the end of the month, and Paulie’s Passover Predicament, my new Passover picture book, is out. Time to share the book with children! Paulie’s and my first story time is next Saturday, March 10th, at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA.
It’s open to all!
_______________________________________________________________________

Passover Havdalah and Story Time for Families with Young Children (1 – 7)
Saturday, March 10, 2018 
6:00 PM – 7:45 PM
Temple Isaiah
55 Lincoln St., Lexington
_______________________________________________________________________

Link to event
Join Temple Isaiah and local author Jane Sutton for a new hilarious Passover story with a surprising message! We’ll begin with Havdalah, a brief service separating Shabbat from the rest of the week. After the reading of Paulie’s Passover Predicament, we’ll join together for some fun holiday crafts and activities, as well as a chance to get one of Jane Sutton’s books signed by the author! Books will be available for purchase with cash or check only.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text
 

The Utah Connection, Continued

After I gave permission for my novel Me and the Weirdos to be transformed into a musical, the two seniors in Blanding Utah, Ashley Berrett and Eva Perkins, got to work writing the script and song lyrics and composing music. Several months later, they invited me to review and provide feedback on their 68-page script, now titled Me and the Krinkles.

As I began reading, I was blown away! 

The dialogue and the stage directions were amazingly professional. The song lyrics were clever and perfectly complemented the plot. The jokes were laugh-aloud funny.

Even more impressive to me was that these talented young playwrights changed aspects of the book in order to render scenes more stage-friendly. They also softened the personality of the book’s villain, Roger Snooterman, hinting that his insulting behavior towards the narrator, Cindy Krinkle, is due to his crush on her and misguided attempts at making conversation. This seemed like such a smart dramatic decision for their middle school cast and audience, who are right smack at the age where fitting in and navigating new romantic feelings are knotty issues. Eva and Ashley also explained that they wanted to show that even this initially unlikeable character is capable of changing and growing. Yes!


I spent many hours reading and commenting on the script. I really loved it and gave suggestions for clarifying characters’ motivations and improving consistency. I appreciated their openness to my input, and they appreciated my providing it!

In the mean time, whenever I told friends and colleagues, or family members about this ongoing collaboration with two girls who lived 2400 miles away from me, they would say, “You should go see the play!”
And I’d think, I would love to…but it’s so far! And the play will be performed in January, with who-knows-what kind of weather. Should I go anyway???

Welcome to the World, Paulie!

I am delighted to announce…drum roll…the release of my 11th book for children, PAULIE’S PASSOVER PREDICAMENT! It’s about a moose named Paulie who wants his seder to be perfect…but, well, it’s not. Despite his series of amusing gaffes, the significance of the holiday and warm friendships make for a joyous celebration.

I’m really pleased with the illustrator’s (Barbara Vagnozzi) colorful, fun pictures that complement the pro-empathy message. You can get any indie bookstore to order it for you or order it online from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, you name it. Just search for the title, or see my “books” page on this website.
Anyone who buys a copy and would like it signed can contact me. If you live far away, I can mail a signed sticker. Oh–and there’s currently an Amazon Giveaway for it:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e1484ce214c94f93

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Yay for Memorial Elementary School!

Last week I had the good fortune to do interactive presentations with grades 3, 4 and 5 at Memorial Elementary School in Leicester, Massachusetts. My topic was revision, and the students were polite, enthusiastic, and engaged. The time and effort administrators and teachers had put into preparation was clear. All the students had already heard several of my books. They had even written poems using their own names, like my character Sidney the poet in Don’t Call Me Sidney. Their charming poems, with illustrations, were posted all around the gym.
The students’ responses to my questions and writing prompts made it clear that the school is doing a great job encouraging literacy. I was told that my presentation inspired students. Well, they inspired me!

Students responding to writing prompt

Hard at work on a writing prompt

A volunteer sharing her stellar writing that served as practice for character development