My final school visit of the year was such fun. It had been a while since I’d shared my picture book The Trouble With Cauliflower, about a superstitious koala bear, so I was pleased that the librarian chose that one from my “menu.”
Waiting for students to arrive
The students—pre-schoolers to middle schoolers—were attentive and asked interesting questions. My favorite: “What advice would you have for an up and coming writer?”
With a proud grin, one student presented me with a picture he’d drawn of me, including the culminating slide of me dunking a basketball that illustrates my joy of writing.
Thank you to Aesop’s Fable for inviting me to do a Saturday morning story hour. It was such fun to discover this terrific new independent bookstore in Holliston, Massachusetts. I’ll be back!
Several months ago Doreen Buchinski and I spoke to students at Minuteman High School in Lexington about our writing (me) and graphic designing and illustrating (Doreen) processes. Then we met with teams of students and provided feedback on their alphabet book projects.
Last week we were invited back to see the results. The students’ books impressed us with their vibrant colors, sophisticated graphics, and varied visual styles, as well as content.
As you can see we really enjoyed seeing what students had created!
I’m excited to do a story hour at a new independent bookstore I’ve heard enthusiastic reports about! Aesop’s Fable just opened this year!
400 Washington St., Holliston, MA
After I read Don’t Call Me Sidney, about a pig who wants to be a poet, I’ll run interactive rhyming games. And following a reading of What’s Up with This Chicken?, I’ll invite young listeners to reenact scenes from the book, always a hoot. Then we’ll make chicks out of egg cartons. Come join the fun!
Once again, I think you will forgive the gap between posts. I won’t assign causality, but there is definitely a correlation between such gaps and welcome distractions — in this case, the arrival of adorable Gabby, our third grandchild and first child of our daughter, Becky, and her husband, Dan. See for yourself …
2 Hours Old!
Deep in thought
From a very special Mother’s Day. Not the most flattering shot of me, but look at those 3 cuties: Linny, Caleb, and Gabby!
The sweet new family: Becky, Dan, and little Gabby
In my young adult novel, Defintely Not Sexy, Diana Pushkin and her friends discuss the relative sexiness of their high school classmates and assign themselves to the lowly category of the book’s title. Struggling with low self-esteem, Diana navigates various hurts and hilarity and her major crush on a new student, eventually discovering that some of the classmates she most admires for their sex appeal look up to her for her intelligence and wit.
When it came time to dedicate the book, I thought back to my seventh grade teacher, Douglas Dannay, whom I was lucky enough to have for both English and Social Studies. He was dynamic and challenging and taught me to be a better writer and more analytical thinker. I will never forget the first day of class on the first day of junior high. We were already buzzing in our seats when he held up a piece of yellow chalk and asked what it was. Someone responded, “Chalk.” “No, it’s not,” the teacher said. “Yellow,” someone else called out. “No, it’s not,” the teacher insisted. Or he might ask, “How do you know?” This went on for some time, and we wondered who this guy was and what kind of school we had enrolled in. By the end of the class, Mr. Dannay had convinced us that the words we had been calling out were not the thing itself but mere labels.
Cover of Little, Brown Hardcover
Cover of Bantam paperback
I loved learning philosophy in this way and also having ammunition to go home and annoy my parents by trying some of these strange exercises on them. It didn’t hurt either that the teacher was young and handsome, with striking blue eyes. So I guess it makes sense that besides honoring him for what he had taught me, I dedicated a book featuring a crush to him.
I recently got out my junior high yearbook and found what he had written to me: “To the most unusual student in a most unusual class.” I remembered that he had told the parents that our class was amazing, so I feel honored by what he wrote to me!
Here’s the dedication of Definitely Not Sexy:
The two-book story time I did at The Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, MA was a blast! Thank you to everyone at this attractive, friendly store for hosting me. The kids listened attentively and were eager to participate in the dramatic play follow-up … wait … so were the adults!
Al, my sweetheart husband, held up the pictures of PAULIE’S PASSOVER PREDICAMENT so I could concentrate on reading.
We read; they listened to the story of a moose who wants his first seder to be perfect, but, well, it’s not.
“Who wants to help me act out Paulie’s story?” I asked. “I do!” “Me!” “Me too!” Music to my ears!
This little cutie really liked Evelyn the Bear, who comes to Paulie the moose’s seder.
I was delighted that audience members of various ages expertly acted out scenes in WHAT’S UP WITH THIS CHICKEN?
Thank you to the North Suburban Jewish Community Center in Peabody, MA for inviting me to do a get-ready-for-Passover program! After a warm welcome from the staff, I had fun sharing my picture books PAULIE’S PASSOVER PREDICAMENT and DON’T CALL ME SIDNEY. The follow-up activities and crafts were a hit. And the breakfast afterwards was yummy. What more could a guest author want?
Ready to read. Thank you, Liz, for holding up the pictures!
Listeners ranged from 8 months to 89 years old.
Actors eager to re-create Paulie the moose’s not-so-perfect Passover seder
Children’s responses to my questions showed how carefully they had listened to the story.
Cutie-pie artists coloring a seder plate
I’m looking forward to sharing two of my picture books and running fun follow-up activities this Tuesday, 4/16 at 11 AM, at The Blue Bunny Bookstore, 577 High Street, Dedham Square, MA!
I’d heard great things about The Silver Unicorn, an independent bookstore in West Acton, MA, and I was not disappointed. I was there with other contributors to the Writers’ Loft’s An Assortment of Animals poetry anthology and loved the warm atmosphere of the store. We presenters had as much fun as the audience! Thank you, Silver Unicorn!
Anthology presenters at The Silver Unicorn: Bob Thibeault, Jodie Apeseche, moi, Doreen, Buchinski, Ellen Cohen, and Alice Fulgione
Doreen Buchinski, Anthology designer and illustrator of many of the poems, explains her illustration process.
Jodie Apeseche displays her collage techniques, inviting children to touch the components.
Poet Ellen Cohen shares her charming centipede poem.
Illustrator Bob Thibeault takes sketch requests from young attendees.
Doreen Buchinski and I pose before sharing the poem I wrote and she illustrated, “The Superb Blue-Crowned Mot-Mot.”