Upcoming Author Sightings

Monday, November 19, 2018
Storytime With the Author
Preschool Classes
St. Joseph Catholic School

1375 Motherhead Road
Cottleville, MO 63304

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Author Visit with 4th Grade Classes
Progress South Elementary School

201 Knaust Road
St. Peters, MO 63376

Saturday, April 6, 2019
Young Authors' Conference
St. Clair county School District
Westhaven Elementary School

118 Westhaven School Road
Belleville, IL 62220


Recent Author Visits

Book Launch at Main Street Books in St. Charles, with some hippy, hoppy readers! March 24, 2018

With Kim Vernon (R) and Rhonda Roberts (L), wonderful coordinators of the White County Creative Writers' conference in Searcy, AR! 9.2.17

White County Creative Writers conference in Searcy, AR on 9.2.17

Reading from NAME THAT DOG at the St. Charles Arts & Literary Festival on 8.26.17--with help from Author, Stephanie Bearce.

Even Batman and Superman stopped to read at the Arts and Literary Festival in St. Charles! 8.26.17

Making paper-cup puppies at the St. Charles Arts & Literary Festival on 8.26.17

Providence Classical Christian Academy May 2017

Guest author at Nancy Polette's children's writing class April 2017

South Central Elementary School, Kinmundy, IL April 14, 2016

ICD School visit March 1, 2016

With Nancy Polette, Writing for Children instructor, October 1, 2015

Picture Book Intensive, SCBWI conference September 2015, Soaring to New Heights

Author visit, with Author and Instructor (Writing for Children), Nancy Polette May 2015

Author visit at Troy Buchannan HS March 2015

Scholastic Book Fair, St. Charles, Missouri December 2014

Scholastic Book Fair, Fenton, Missouri December 2014

Scholastic Book Fair, Columbia, Missouri December 2014

Saturday Writers presentation on writing and marketing a picture book, June 2014, St. Peters MO

Lakeview Elementary School, O'Fallon, MO in April 2014

With Kim Piddington, Missouri SCBWI Regional Advisor, at the Missouri Association of School Librarians convention in St. Louis, April

Indiana SCBWI Spring conference April 2014

Chesterfield, MO children's writers group at Christmas 2013

scholastic Warehouse Book Signing December 7, 2013

At Main Street Books with owner, Vickie Erwin November 30th

B&N with authors Mike Force, Chris DiGiuseppi, and Valerie Battle Kienzle November 22nd

Local Author Open House at MK Library in O'Fallon, November 21st

Carlin Park Elementary School Angola, IN

Sherwood School Scholastic Book Fair in Arnold, MO

ICD Scholastic Book Fair with students--Immaculate Conception Dardenne Prairie, MO

Peggy with children's author Karen Guccione-Englert at the MK Library Local Authors Open House in O'Fallon, MO

Book signing at Indianapolis Fairgrounds, with Mary Igras

Author Visit to Immaculate Conception School (ICD) April 2012

ICD library staff

Edison Elementary School Hammond IN

Lincoln Elementary School Hammond IN

Beta Delta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Hammond IN

Keynote Speakers
MO SCBWI Fall Conference

Heather Alexander, editor at Dial Books for Young Readers

Quinlan Lee, agent, Adams Literary Agency

Suzanne Morgan Williams, author of BULL RIDER

Author Visits
Spring 2011

Kids Ink Independent Children's Bookstore, downtown Indianapolis

Shirley Mullin, bookstore owner, with children's authors Janna Mathies, Peggy, and Nathan Clement

Thank You cards from Holy Family School in South Bend

Fieler Elementary students

Ms Hanneman's class at Northview Elementary

In the classroom at Northview Elementary School

Talking to students at Northview Elementary

Working together to create a poem in Starke County

Talking with students at Starke County

Author Judy Roth and students at the Starke County Young Artists Day

Indiana SCBWI PAL Luncheon and Bookfair at B&N Bookstore

Booksigning at B&N Bookfair

Anderson's Bookshop Children's Literature Breakfast

Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast, with author and keynote speaker Tim Green

December Booksigning at The Bookstore in Michigan City

friendly staff at The Bookstore

Holiday Author Fair
Hosted by the Indiana Historical Society

Author Book Signing

Butler University Chorus entertains with Christmas Carols

Bellaboo's Play and Activity Center

Turkey for Thanksgiving?

Stuffee and the author

Stuffe's lunch!

November: Picture Book Idea Month

October Author Events

Author Panel: the Road to Publishing--Kathryn Page Camp moderating

Kate Collins: adult trade publishing, mysteries

Peggy Archer: children's trade publishing, picture books

Katherine Flotz: self-publishing, memoir

Michael Poore: adult trade publishing, fiction

Cynthia Echterling: e-publishing & small press, science fiction

Author visit to Portage Public Library, October 23rd

IN SCBWI presents Esther Hershenhorn:
Getting Your Stories Right
October 9, 2010

Esther Hershenhorn talks about the Reader's story and the Writer's story

Esther shares resources, experience, and opportunities

Trish Batey, Indiana RA

Yellow paper on your back gave a hint of 'What author are you?' for the day

Smiling faces

Peggy Archer gives an overview of the 2010 SCBWI conference in LA

Karen Kulinski gives an update on Indiana's HoosierLinks

Janna Mathies at the piano sings "Why It Matters" by Sara Groves

door prizes

IN SCBWI steering committee with Trish: (L to R) Karen Kulinski, HoosierLinks, Kristi Valiant, Website Coordinator, Alina Klein, Listserv Coordinator, Peggy, ARA (not pictured: Sharon Vargo, Illustrator Coordinator)

New Regional Advisor, Kristi Valiant, talks about plans for 2011

Indiana SCBWI: Outgoing RA Trish Batey, ARA Peggy Archer, Incoming RA Kristi Valiant

Author visits at Citizen's Financial Bank and ROAR's (Reach Out and Read) Evening With the Authors

Visiting with author/illustrator Nathan Clement and son Theo at the ROAR author event

Autographing for a young reader

Story Time at ROAR's (Reach Out and Read) Evening With the Authors Event in Indianapolis

Reading to young bankers at Citizens Financial Bank in Valparaiso

2010 SCBWI Conference for Children's Writers and Illustrators in Los Angeles, CA

Some of the crowd at the SCBWI conference in LA

Ashley Bryan, Golden Kite winner for Nonfiction

with Keynote speaker and Golden Kite winner, Marion Dane Bauer

Illustrator and Keynote speaker, Loren Long

E.B. Lewis, Keynote speaker

with Keynote speaker, Gennifer Choldenke

Keynote speaker, Gordon Korman

Chris Cheng, Australia RA and SCBWI Member of the Year

Kris Vreeland, Independent Bookstore manager, Vroman's Bookstore

Eva Mitnick, LA librarian and reviewer for SLJ

Greg Pinkus and Alice Pope on networking

Bruce Hale--Skyping

with Lin Oliver, co-founder of SCBWI

Steve Mooser, co-founder of SCBWI, with Sally Crock RAE

Indiana SCBWI members Mary Jo, Shannon, and Peggy celebrate in LA with Heart and Soul.

East and Midwest members celebrate at the Golden Kite Luncheon in LA--Peggy, Courtney, Julia and Mary Jo.

Peggy with Alice and Lisa, co-RAs from IL--friends and roommates

Linda V., formerly of Indiana, with her 'dog-in-training,' Dusty.

IWC Writers' Picnic

Anyone for Literary Bingo?

Children's Corner

Knee-high by the 4th of July!

This is the cornfield just down the street from my house on July 13th. That's me with the boot on my foot again!

Springtime Author Visits

Local Authors Day, Valparaiso B&N

Welcome to the Young Artists Fair in Plainfield, IN

Signing books at Van Buren Elementary School in Plainfield, IN

Book Launch Party for NAME THAT DOG!, Valparaiso Public Library

Happy Birthday, Name That Dog!

Little reader loving that dog book!

Celebrating the Book Launch!

Doggy treats at the book launch party

More springtime author visits

With Jocelyn at the Porter County Expo Center for the Be Kind to Animals Celebration

Speaking to readers and writers at the LaPorte County Public Library in April

Our new grandpuppy, Dudley!

Chad & Sara's Wedding Day

The new Mr. and Mrs. Biggs!

Focus on the Novel:
Indiana SCBWI Spring Conference

Trish Batey, Indiana SCBWI RA, Stephen Roxburg, Lisa Graff, Helen Frost, Peggy Archer, Indiana SCBWI ARA

Stephen Roxburg, Publisher of namelos, talked about writing the YA novel, the current state of publishing, and his new company, namelos

Lisa Graff, Middle Grade author, talks about writing the middle grade novel and the Slush Pile

Lisa autographs books with a smile

Introducing Helen Frost, YA author and poet

Question and Answer panel--Lisa, Stephen, and Helen

Registration, getting to know you

Schmoozing with other writers

Trish with author, Valiska Gregory

Books for sale--writers can never have too many!

Taking it all in.

School visits
Chesterton, IN

Mitchell, IN
Library Event

Afternoon Tea with the author in Mitchell

Alexis talks about storytime for the very young

Starke County Young Artists Day
North Judson, IN

My little corner--I love when students come up to talk.

HOW many dogs do you have?!

Authors of the day

Keynote address: Growing an Author with Peggy Archer

Making a book with Katie Mitschelen

Research--detective work, with Peggy Miller

Crafting a poem with Mary Ann Moore

Becoming an artist with Edwin Shelton

Music with the Band

One small hand holding onto another

Sharing the Christmas holiday with writer friends

Name That Dog! Sharing F&G's and write-up in Dial's catalog with group.

Writers Christmas lunch and meeting in Michigan City

Meeting up with Esther and Karen in Chicago

F&G's for Name That Dog!

Name That Dog! ISBN: 978-0-8037-3322-0

Christmas Writing Celebrations

Writing friends from the beginning!

November Author Visits

Drawing a turkey at Hussey-Mayfield Public Library-- Zionsville, IN

Autographs at Hussey-Mayfield Library, Zionsville

"Who likes to eat turkey at Thanksgiving?" --Morton Elementary School, Hammond, IN

Thank you cards from Morton Elementary students

Reading to my grandson's pre-school class at Zion Lutheran School-- Bethalto, IL

Ladies Tea
St. Mary's Church

Family Book Basket

Indiana SCBWI Fall Picture Book Conference

Courtney Bongiolatti, Editor S&S

Laurent Linn, Art Director S&S

Terry Harshman, Editor CBHI

Author-Illustrators, Kristi Valiant and Sharon Vargo

Kristi Valiant, IN-SCBWI logo winner

Our volunteer crew (minus a few)

author Katie Mitschelen and Peggy enjoying the conference

...Pawprints on the heart.

Snickers 2009

Snickers 1998

IWC Dinner Event
The Business of Writing

Janine Harrison, opening remarks

Sharon Palmeri, President IWC and speaker

Kathryn Page Camp speaks on Taxes for Writers

Kate Collins, mystery book author and Keynote speaker

Gordon Stamper, secretary IWC

Peggy, Sally, and Karen--writing friends enjoying the dinner event together

Autographs with a smile :)

Smokies in the morning

Writing the Picture Book
Rensellaer, IN

Smile and say 'author'!

Ready to start!

"Ghostwriting" with Sara Grant, Editor,
Working Partners

Sara Grant, Editor, Working Partners

One on one with Sara

Author and Editor...

Getting to know you...

Sharing thoughts... connecting


Smiling faces...

Our Kentucky friends...

Trish, RA, Peggy, ARA, Christi and Alina, steering committee members

Writing the non-fiction picture book

Picture book author, April Pulley Sayre, speaking in South Bend.

Writers and Friends


Esther and Heidi

Esther with Steve and Sally from National SCBWI

Heidi and Peggy, friends and poets

We came from Indiana...

...from California and Iowa

and enjoyed the friendships.

Peggy, Karen & Esther--connecting once again.

Summer Critique Meeting

Critique group gathering at Peggy Miller's house. Karen, Fred, Mary Ann, Katie, Judy, & the two Peggy's in front.

Songwriters in the Family

Our daughter, Sarah & our son, Dan both sang original songs at the Porter County Fair in the Colgate Country Showdown.

Indiana SCBWI Summer Schmooze

From Fort Wayne to Whiting, we gathered to talk & gain some bit of insight into the world of creating children's books.

Enjoying the company of other children's writers & illustrators.


Meeting other children's writers.

Sharing thoughts.

Smiles were free.

Peggy Archer talks about trade publishers.

Judy Roth talks about working with a small publisher.

Karen Kulinski talks about working with an agent.

Karen fielding questions.

ALA 2009 Chicago

Peggy with the Cat in the Hat

Katie and the Cat in the Hat

I won a collection of autographed books from the IL SCBWI (Society of Children's Writers & llustrators) booth at ALA for the Valparaiso Public Library. An awesome prize! Thank you IL SCBWI!

Peggy, presenting books won at ALA to Connie Sullivan, Branch Manager and Leslie Cefali, Youth Services Assistant, Valparaiso Public Library.

A Visit with Mark Teague, and Children's Choice Book Awards

May 21, 2013

Tags: Mark Teague, Children's Choice Book Awards, St. Charles MO community library

Mark Teague

Two weeks ago the Spencer Library Branch in St. Charles, MO hosted a visit with children’s author and illustrator Mark Teague. He read his book, THE THREE LITTLE PIGS AND THE SOMEWHAT BAD WOLF, and talked about writing and illustrating his book.

Afterwards he autographed copies of his books, adding an original illustration to each one. After his presentation I couldn’t resist buying a copy of the Three Little Pigs book to read to my grandkids. I also took along my copy of HOW DO DINOSAURS GET WELL SOON, which was already signed by the author, Jane Yolen, and he added his autograph and illustration. It was a great evening for kids, parents, authors and anyone who loves children’s picture books.

Click here to see an interview with Mark Teague.

The winners of the sixth annual Children's Choice Book Awards were announced on May 13 at a ceremony in New York City hosted by the Children's Book Council. More than a million children cast their votes for the awards!

Book of the Year awards went to:

Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta, illustrated by Ed Young (K to 2nd grade)

Bad Kitty for President by Nick Bruel (3rd to 4th grade)

Dork Diaries 4: Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess by Rachel Renée Russell (5th to 6th grade)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (teen)

Jeff Kinney was named author of the year for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 7: The Third Wheel.

Robin Preiss Glasser was named illustrator of the year for Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet, written by Jane O'Connor.

Children’s Book Week and Summer Reading

May 15, 2013

Tags: CBC, Children's Book Week, Summer reading programs, summer reading ideas

This week, May 13-19, 2013, is Children’s Book Week. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes -- wherever young readers and books connect! To learn more, visit the Children’s Book Council (CBC) website.

Children's Book Week originated in the belief that children's books and literacy are life-changers. In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, proposed creating a Children's Book Week, which would be supported by all interested groups: publishers, booksellers, and librarians. children’s Book Week was established in 1919 and is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.

With the end of the school year coming very close, it’s also time to start thinking about how to keep kids reading during the summer. Here are some ideas to get kids excited about summer reading.

--Libraries across the country are sponsoring summer reading programs. Get the kids to your local library to sign up! Libraries offer different kinds of incentives for kids who read during the summer, from prizes for books read each week to story times, field trips or author visits. Many libraries also offer reading programs for adults which coincides with the children’s program. Kids learn from the example of adults, so make summer reading a family affair and sign up!

--Set a special time for reading each day. Read in the middle of the day for some downtime, or for a set time before bed. Let them choose which books to read. Read out loud to younger children. If you have an older child whose interest is beyond their reading level, choose appropriate books and read out loud to them, too. It gives them motivation to read those books, and others, on their own.

--Choose a different location to read. Make a special reading corner in your house. Set up a backyard tent, or go to a park. Combine reading with a picnic. If the weather’s not cooperative, set up your ‘outdoor’ setting indoors.

--Do an activity that goes along with the book. If your story has characters roasting hot dogs over a campfire, make a campfire and roast hot dogs. If your book is set in Mexico, play some Mexican music or try some Mexican food. If it’s a book about cowboys or pirates, dress the part. If your book features a beautiful sunrise, get up early and watch the sun rise. Color a picture or do a craft that fits the theme of your book. If your book has an elephant in it, go to the zoo to see the elephants.

--Have your young readers use their creative juices to write a different ending to the book. With my picture book, Turkey Surprise, I sometimes ask kids to think about how the story might change if the little pilgrim brother just refused to hunt for a turkey. Would the big brother go on the hunt alone? How would that change the story? Or what if the brothers went on the hunt together and caught the turkey? How would the turkey get out of becoming Thanksgiving dinner?

There are more great ideas and resources to be found online. Check out Reading Rockets, or the KPIRC website.

Whatever you do this summer, be sure to make reading part of it!

Picture Book Mothers

May 7, 2013

Tags: mother's day, picture books

When writing for children we are cautioned to keep the parents out, or on the perimeters. But what about picture books?

The spectrum of picture books covers a wide age group. Mothers are usually the most important figure in a young child’s life, and so it’s not surprising that they play a big part in stories for very young children. But as the child becomes older and begins to take on some independence, the mother in picture books becomes less prominent. Still, they need to be present at times to provide reassurance, guidance, protection or for other various reasons.

With Mother’s Day coming close, I thought I would share some picture books about mothers or that have mothers in them.

MY MOTHER IS MINE by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Peter Elwell, Simon & Schuster 2001.
Told in first person from the viewpoint of a child, this book is told in rhyme. It begins: “My mother is soft./ My mother is strong./ My mother watches me/ long and long.” Soft illustrations match the gentle text. Written for ages 1 to 5, this book is all about mothers and things that make them special to their children.

LLAMA LLAMA HOME WITH MAMA, written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney, Viking 2011.
This is another picture book told in rhyme, which makes it appealing to young children and helps develop language. It begins “Llama Llama, morning light./ Feeling yucky, just not right.” Mama is very present in the illustrations, giving comfort to little llama who is sick and stays home from school. In the scenes where Mama is not there, you know that she is near-by, which is reassuring to readers. A twist at the end puts little llama in charge, doing things that she learns from her own mother’s actions.

BEDTIME FOR MOMMY by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, Bloomsbury 2010.
This is a twist on bedtime, with the child getting mommy off to bed instead of the other way around. “Time for bed, Mommy! (the little girl says). Five more minutes? (says Mommy). Okay—five minutes, but that’s it.” And so on, until Mommy is finally tucked into bed. Mother is still a big part of the story, but the child is now in charge, and imitates what she’s learned from her mother.

MUD PUDDLE by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sami Suomalainen, Annick Press 1982/1985.
In this book the main character, Julie Ann, is most prominent. She solves the problem without any help from her mother. Her mother is in the story only as necessary. “Mummy, Mummy! A Mud Puddle jumped on me.” (says Julie Ann). “Her mother picked her up…She washed out her ears. She washed out her eyes. She even washed out her mouth.” In this story, Julie Ann, and the readers, know that her mother will be there if she needs her. Her mother does not scold Julie Ann for getting muddy. In fact, there is no dialogue at all for her mother. She only enters the story at Julie Ann’s calling.

TESSA’S TIP-TAPPING TOES by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Marsha Gray Carrington, Orchard Books 2002.
Tessa, a mouse, prefers to dance in Mrs. Timboni’s kitchen at night instead of joining in while her family raids it for crumbs. Mrs. Timboni has a new cat, Oscar, who loves to sing. “As soon as Tessa’s mother heard Oscar’s crooning, she worried that the new cat would catch her dancing daughter.” And on the next page, “Mrs. Timboni worried that (the neighbors) would ask her to get rid of her chorusing kitty.” What happens when Tessa and Oscar meet in the kitchen one night changes everything. The reader, of course, knows that mice and cats are not good company, and will worry along with the mothers, about Tessa and Oscar. In this funny book the mothers provide the tension by pointing out danger and trouble that could result from their children’s actions. But the story is driven by Tessa and Oscar. And the twist at the end will have readers dancing and singing along.

A MOTHER FOR CHOCO, written and illustrated by Keiko Kasza, G.P. Putnam’s Sons 1992.
This is one of my favorite books about mothers. To me, this was a book about adoption, but it is for stepmothers or foster parents as well. It begins “Choco was a little bird, who lived all alone. He wished he had a mother, but who could his mother be? One day he set off to find her.” A lovely story about all kinds of mothers, and about acceptance of those with differences.

Here are a few books that include grandmothers as well.

OFF WE GO! by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Laurel Molk, Little, Brown & Company 2000.
“Tip-toe, tippity toe,/ Over the leaves and down below,/ Off to Grandma’s house we go,/ Sings Little Mouse.” In this book, told in verse, young animals leave their homes to go to Grandma’s house. Mothers are absent in the story, but the reader is caught in the excitement of going to Grandma’s house, which makes them feel safe and loved.

DOWN IN THE WOODS AT SLEEPYTIME by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Vanessa Cabban, Candlewick Press 2000.
Deep in the woods a mama bear, a mama hedgehog, a mama rabbit and a mama toad call out, “It’s sleepytime” to their little ones, who are not quite ready to settle down. Then “Deep down in the woods/ on her branch above them all/ wise Grandma Owl hoots,/ “Whoo-hoo!/ It’s storytime.” As a board book this has all the elements of a good story.

CHERRY PIES AND LULLABIES, written and illustrated by Lynn Reiser, Greenwillow Books 1998.
This is a collection of four stories, each showing something that is done in the childhood times of great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and child. And “Every time/ it was the same/ but different.” A lovely story, bringing generations together. Much is shown in the illustrations.

This is only a taste of the many wonderful picture books showcasing mothers.

Wishing all the mothers out there a fantastic Mother’s Day! May you be blessed with attention from your children during the day, and have time to relax at the end of the day.