Month of Kindness Kick-off Kinda Cool

Sorry, couldn’t resist the opportunity for alliteration in the subject line. It was fun to be back at Barnes and Noble, where children’s book author Linda DeFruscio-Robinson and I shared our books as part of the Massachusetts Month of Kindness.
(And it never gets old to see one’s own smiling face on an event poster.)












Two more things that never get old: Reading one of my books to little listeners (OK, grown-ups too)…














…and signing books!














Thank you so much to Community Business Development Manager Dominic Copeland and the lovely staff in the Barnes and Noble Children’s Book Department for inviting me back!


Great Event this Saturday, May 6th

I’m really looking forward to this Saturday, when I’ll be part of an awareness and fundraising event kicking off the Month of Kindness in Massachusetts.

From 12-2 PM at the Burlington, MA Barnes and Noble, I will read my picture book WHAT’S UP WITH THIS CHICKEN? and run interactive games and crafts. Fellow author Linda DeFruscio-Robinson will share her book, GINGER AND MOE AND THE INCREDIBLE COINCIDENCE, and related art activities.

A portion of sales proceeds will go to the organization that inspired the Month of Kindness. It’s called HELPIS, or HelpMeHelpSomeone, Inc., whose mission is “to encourage and promote good and charitable deeds by groups and individuals for the purpose of helping someone needing help.” Thanks to them, the month of May each year celebrates “…a spirit of sharing…giving help and saluting those who promote generosity and kindness.”

Saturday’s event at the Burlington store will feature speakers and lots of fun activities for kids from 12-4 PM. Come by and have fun, and help kick off the Official Month of Kindness!

Who Doesn’t Love Fan Mail?

I certainly love fan mail. And when it comes from students in schools I visited, it’s a special treat. Whenever a thick padded envelope arrives with the return address of an elementary school, I sit down and savor each letter. Besides expressing gratifying reactions, they’re often accompanied with charming artwork based on my talk and/or books.
With younger children, I usually explain how an idea eventually becomes a book. But with older students, I talk about character development, revising, descriptive writing – whatever the school requests. I love discovering which points stuck with particular students. And I love the notes that are not just from the head but from the heart, too.
Here are a few of my recent faves sent by upper grade elementary students. (I removed senders’ names.)

Authory-ness 2016, the Finish Line

Last but certainly not least of my winter 2016 appearances and other “authory” activities was a Hanukkah Story Time featuring yours truly, Esther’s Hanukkah Disaster, and my big bag of props for question and answer games based on the story. It’s always fun to see how different children respond, often in unexpected ways! This story time was at An Unlikely Story, the vibrant and attractive bookstore in Plainville, MA created by the one and only Jeff Kinney.

My friend Molly not only kept me company on the drive but held the pictures up so I could concentrate on reading with expression (see photo). We had a ball, and afterwards, bought books and lunch in the café!

                                                               Thank you, Molly!

Resuming…End of 2016 Authory-ness # 5

OK, now that the honeymoon is over for the newlyweds (no, I didn’t mean it like that…my daughter and her new husband are back from their wonderful trip to Hawaii), it’s high time for me to get back to my report on the (snow) flurry of end-of-the-year authory activities.

The panel discussion “Pen to Paper: An Exploration of Writing,” part of the Munroe Center for the Arts Saturday Nights series, turned out to be entertaining and interesting. We had authors in different genres talking about their creative processes and sharing excerpts of their varied work. Other panelists were memoirist Cynthia Anderson, (One Foot in Front of the Other: A Widow’s Journey), Don Cohen (numerous short stories and plays), scientist and educator Abby Hafer (Intelligent Design, The Not-So-Intelligent Designer: Why Evolution Explains the Human Body and Intelligent Design Does Not), and novelist Erin McCormack (Black Eyes in Blue Wonderland).

Moderator Merrill Meadow did a terrific job asking thought-provoking questions and had clearly done his homework reading our books!













As for my me, the lone children’s book author, I had fun reading my picture book Don’t Call Me Sidney to adults. They responded enthusiastically to the humor in the story, and I didn’t have to worry about potential discipline problems!
Kudos to the organizers and participants and the audience members, who asked interesting questions and braved a bitterly cold, snowy evening!

Thanks to panelist Abby Hafer for turning the pages for me!

Reliving a Special Day

…OK, just bear with me for a few more photos. I can’t help but relive the lovely almost 70 degree-in-New England Day!!!! of our daughter’s wedding 2 weeks ago. All right, 2 1/2 weeks. It’s literally heartwarming to think about as I look outside at the fresh foot of snow we got yesterday.  On the balmy wedding day we sure lucked out! We could even take photos outside!

Handsome Caleb and his beautiful Mom all Dressed for Aunt Becky’s and Uncle Dan’s Wedding

Wedding Eve Gathering: Caleb says, “I’ll have milk on the rocks.” I told you the kid’s a party animal!

Bride and Groom at End of their graceful, adorable first dance: to “Vision of Love”

We Interrupt the End of 2016 Authory Report…

…to focus on the breaking news that our wonderful daughter, Becky, married wonderful Dan this past weekend! The ceremony – held in a very cool, gorgeous old mansion – was moving and entertaining, and the festive party afterwards had the crowd dancing for hours! Amazingly, though we’d been concerned about snowstorms and cold spells at the end of February in New England, the temperature was in the 60s!

Becky and her dad walk down the aisle. Cue oohs and aahs!

My girl and me right after the ceremony

Top: my party animal grandson, Caleb, with his Aunt Becky & Uncle Dan at the night-before-the-wedding karaoke party; bottom: Caleb in his wedding finery with his parents (my daughter-in-law, Amberly, and son, Charlie) and with me and my husband

Authory-ness # 4

My number 4 end-of-2016 author-y activity was an interactive story time at Barnes & Noble, Burlington MA, featuring my fellow author of wonderful books for young children and moi. It was our second time at the store in 2 months, and we had a great time reading our books, doing crafts, running activities, and answering questions about being authors.

Ellen and I set up our craft activities before show time.


Young and old participants loved Ellen Mayer’s interactive reading of her book Cake Day.

A highlight of the afternoon was talking with and answering questions from these terrific Bunker Hill College students, who had an assignment to interview authors. Lucky for us, they chose Ellen and me!

Craft activities were a hit!

Eager young actors and I recreated scenes from What’s Up with This Chicken?

One little girl was quite taken with a certain play-acting prop.

Signing copies of Esther’s Hanukkah Disaster never gets old.

Authory-ness # 3

Wellesley Books is an attractive, vibrant bookstore, and my author partner Ellen Mayer and I had a great afternoon there in December. We met lovely employees and customers, displayed our books, and ran crafts activities. See for yourself…Two authors are better than one!








Authory-ness # 2: Book Fair at An Unlikely Story

For the second year in a row, An Unlikely Story hosted the Writers’ Loft Holiday Bazaar and Bookfair. Really fun! I got to meet other authors and check out their varied books, met the wonderful Kathy Carroll of the blog Celebrate Children’s Books. And I got to try out the craft she created to go with What’s Up with This Chicken?
Kids loved it!

Ellen Mayer and moi at our table

Making chicks is absorbing work!

Thank you, Kathy Carroll, for the adorable craft idea!