September 22-24, 2017
Author book signing
Friday, September 22nd
12:00 noon to 3:00 pm
Saturday, September 23rd
2:30 to 4:30 pm
ICD Catholic School Book Fair
Dardenne Prairie, MO
Listen to a past Author Interview
with Brenda Fraser of
Butterfly & Moon
November 11, 2016
Click to listen to the recording
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
Heather Alexander, editor at Dial Books for Young Readers
Quinlan Lee, agent, Adams Literary Agency
Suzanne Morgan Williams, author of BULL RIDER
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
Booksigning at B&N Bookfair
Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast, with author and keynote speaker Tim Green
friendly staff at The Bookstore
Author Book Signing
Butler University Chorus entertains with Christmas Carols
Turkey for Thanksgiving?
Stuffee and the author
November: Picture Book Idea Month
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Anyone for Literary Bingo?
This is the cornfield just down the street from my house on July 13th. That's me with the boot on my foot again!
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
Happy Birthday, Name That Dog!
Little reader loving that dog book!
Celebrating the Book Launch!
Doggy treats at the book launch party
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!
The new Mr. and Mrs. Biggs!
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.
Afternoon Tea with the author in Mitchell
Alexis talks about storytime for the very young
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
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
Name That Dog! ISBN: 978-0-8037-3322-0
Writing friends from the beginning!
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
Family Book Basket
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
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
Smile and say 'author'!
Ready to start!
Sara Grant, Editor, Working Partners
One on one with Sara
Author and Editor...
Getting to know you...
Sharing thoughts... connecting
Our Kentucky friends...
Trish, RA, Peggy, ARA, Christi and Alina, steering committee members
Picture book author, April Pulley Sayre, speaking in South Bend.
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.
Critique group gathering at Peggy Miller's house. Karen, Fred, Mary Ann, Katie, Judy, & the two Peggy's in front.
Our daughter, Sarah & our son, Dan both sang original songs at the Porter County Fair in the Colgate Country Showdown.
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.
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.
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.
May 22, 2016
It’s always very special to be able to share good news and a new book by a writing friend, but especially so when it’s such a great picture book. I learned about the Heifer project and the seagoing cowboys from Peggy Reiff Miller
when we met through our critique group for children’s writers in Northwest Indiana. Since that time, through her research and interviews with former seagoing cowboys, she has become an expert on their history. Peggy has had several magazine articles published about the subject, as well as a DVD documentary, A Tribute to the Seagoing Cowboys
. Her first picture book The Seagoing Cowboy
, was released earlier this spring. Peggy has also had children’s stories published in Highlights for Children
and in My Friend
. Please welcome, Peggy, as she tells us a little bit about her book and her passion for writing it.
What was the inspiration for your book? Why did you feel a need to write it?
My grandfather was a seagoing cowboy to Poland in 1946, but I never heard him talk about his experience. When I got interested in writing, I thought the topic would be great for a YA novel. I had an envelope of photos from Grandpa’s trip that my father had given me, and I knew some men who had been seagoing cowboys, so in 2002, I started interviewing them. I realized this was a lost, but important, history that needed to be told; and I’ve been telling it for all ages in as many ways as possible ever since.
What kind of research did you do before writing your book?
I started with the interviews of men who had made the livestock trips to Europe after World War II. One cowboy led to another, and another, and I’ve interviewed nearly 200 of them and have been in contact with about that many more. For my novel (still unpublished), I did a lot of reading about the organizations involved in the livestock shipping, the ships, World War II on the home front, Poland’s history, etc. I read books written and watched movies made during that time period. I collected copies of diaries and photos of the seagoing cowboys and studied those. I made trips to several archives to find the historical materials behind the story. So I was able to draw on all of this research for the picture book, which is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the larger story but, at the same time, is a composite summary that captures the seagoing cowboy experience.
What kind of marketing did you do—was it easy to find an editor who wanted to publish this book?
I’ll answer the second part of the question first. I had seven rejections before Brethren Press
bought the manuscript. The story is a piece of Brethren history, so they were the natural fit for the book. The kind of marketing I did pre-publication is the reason Brethren Press was willing to take on this project. I had been researching, writing magazine articles, and speaking about this history for ten years before I received my book contract. In addition, I had produced a DVD photo-story documentary from the photos cowboys had shared with me, which I had successfully marketed; and I had created a seagoing cowboys website. With this platform, Brethren Press knew I would be actively involved in marketing the book. Had I not had any of that past involvement, I seriously doubt they would have taken the chance on it, as they are a small press and picture books are quite expensive to produce.
What were the challenges in bringing your book to life?
The biggest challenge was finding and creating a concise story line that did everything I wanted the book to do. With so much research behind me, it was hard to let go of the nonfiction “telling.”
What encouragement helped you along your way?
Our writers’ critique group, The TaleBlazers
(we miss you since you moved to Missouri!), and another critique group I was in at the time gave me incredible encouragement and support. As did my husband and daughters and my church family.
What kind of networking do you do as an author?
I belong to SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
, and I’ve made many wonderful contacts through that organization, networking not only with other writers, but also with publishing professionals. Because of having submitted my manuscript for a marketing critique by the wonderful Blue Slip Media
team at an SCBWI conference, and then recommending Blue Slip to my publisher, Brethren Press hired them for some promotional work that has gotten the book into places that would have been hard for us to reach without their help. I’ve also done a lot of networking among seagoing cowboys and their families, as well as within Heifer International
, the development organization of which the seagoing cowboy history is a part.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m serving as a historical consultant to Heifer International and doing research for a German author who has been contracted by Heifer to write a book about their shipments to Germany throughout the decade of the 1950s to help Germany recover from the war. I’m also gearing up to write an adult history of the beginning decade of Heifer. An adult book about the seagoing cowboys has long been in the works, and I blog twice a month about this history on my seagoing cowboys website. I also have another picture book manuscript related to Heifer’s German shipments that I’m ready to start submitting. More than enough to keep me fully occupied!
Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
The seagoing cowboys are my inspiration. Sitting in their homes and hearing stories from a very formative time in their lives has been an honor and a privilege. As for the future, I keep telling my friends that I have enough work to keep me busy until I’m 110 (I’m currently 68). So my plans are to keep doing what I’m doing, but hopefully at a slower pace than I’m currently managing. When my husband retires at the end of this year, we’ll want to make more time in our lives for our married twin daughters, their husbands, and two little grandsons to whom the book is dedicated.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given about writing?
Not to take rejections personally. Revise when needed and re-send.
Do you have any advice for beginning children’s writers?
Persistence pays off. There are many talented writers who are never published because they give up when the rejections start coming in. And there are many mediocre writers who become good writers because they continue learning at every opportunity and persist in sending out their work. It’s not a profession for the faint-hearted. But the rewards of hearing from satisfied readers or watching a child hug his or her new book makes it all worth the effort.
Thank you for your insight and inspiration, Peggy! Peggy lives with her husband, Rex, in Goshen, Indiana. You can find out more about Peggy and her book on her author website
. Read more about the cowboys on Peggy’s Seagoing Cowboy website
and her Seagoing Cowboy blog
The Seagoing Cowboy
, Brethren Press 2016
by Peggy Reiff Miller, illustrated by Claire Ewart
February 11, 2015
I love sharing good books with other readers, in person and online. But I don’t do it often enough. Thanks to Carrie Finison
for the push to blog about books that I love this month!
I read about the Book Love Blog Hop
on Carrie’s blog, Story Patch
. I hope you’ll join me in blogging about books that you love this month.
BOOK LOVE Blog Hop Instructions:
Pick some books you love (any genre) that you think deserve more attention than they are getting.
Post reviews for the books you chose on Goodreads, or any social media. The reviews can be brief - even posting a short review helps. Posting on Amazon or Shelfari is great, too, or Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. The more places you can publicly proclaim your love, the better!
If you want, you can also post the reviews on your own blog, or link your blog back to your reviews on social media.
Feel free to display the BOOK LOVE badge on your blog - and if you want, link it back to this post so your visitors know what it's all about.
Tag some friends to do the same! Tag friends through their blogs, or on Facebook. That's it! If you don't want to wait to be tagged, you can jump right in and start reviewing and tagging yourself.
Here are some of the most recent books that I’ve read and loved.
THE THREE BILLY GOATS FLUFF
, by Rachael Mortimer
, illustrated by Liz Pichon
Opening line: “Trip-trap. Trip-trap. How was he supposed to sleep?” The story plays on the well-know tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. The problem: Mr. Troll can’t sleep with the goat children trip-trapping across his bridge all the time. Kids will love how the goats end up solving the problem and make a friend in the process. Illustrations are big and colorful, adding to the experience. Scholastic 2010
DOUG UNPLUGS ON THE FARM
, by Dan Yaccarino
Opening line: “This is Doug. He’s a robot.” On the way to visit a farm, Doug’s parents plug him in so he can learn all about farm things. But when Doug gets un-plugged, he learns about a farm first hand, and picks up some things that you just can’t get any other way. Alfred A. Knopf 2014
BIG BAD WOLVES AT SCHOOL
, by Stephen Krensky
, illustrated by Brad Sneed
Opening line: “Rufus was a young wolf who spent his days turning over rocks, rolling in the grass, and running like the wind.” Rufus’ parents send him to the Big Bad Wolf Academy to learn more about being wolf-like. He is not exactly the best student. In the end he saves the day just by being himself. Simon & Schuster 2007
ONE THOUSAND TRACINGS, HEALING THE WOUNDS OF WORLD WAR II
, by Lita Judge
Opening lines: “When I was three, Papa left home to join the war. When I was six, the war was over.” Written in a lovely poetic voice, this follows the true story of how one family helped to ease the suffering of many Europeans following World War II. Double spreads are captioned with titles and dates. This story is a picture of how seemingly small efforts make big differences. Hyperion Books for Children 2007
TOP SECRET FILES: THE CIVIL WAR
, by Stephanie Bearce
Opening line, chapter 1: “Railroad baron Samuel Felton knew a terrible secret—one that could change the course of history.” If you think you don’t like history, this book will change your mind! No computers in the 1800’s? No phones? No problem! Find out how men, women, slaves and even young boys worked together for a cause that they believed in. Readers will be caught up by these true stories about people, and events that happened in the Civil War. Then they can try out their own spy skills with the activities provided throughout the book. Prufrock Press 2014
Tag, you’re it, Sue B. Edwards!
Tag, you're it, Margo Dill!
Tag, you're it, Joyce Ragland!
Ok, blog friends. I tag you!
February is Valentine’s Day, but the love doesn’t have to stop there. So hop on, and share some of your favorite books!
August 27, 2013
When I walk, my favorite places to go are those where you are surrounded by nature—plants and flowers, lakes and ponds, and squirrels, deer and other creatures that live there.
I love the peaceful atmosphere, and the sounds of the things around us. Earlier in the spring at a near-by park, before they filled in the swampy area with wood chips, you could listen to the bullfrogs harmonize. This month the cicadas are in full chorus. And in any season, birds are always tweeting back and forth.
If I were to put these sounds into words, called onomatopoeia, I’d spend a lot of time thinking about it before I found the right words. For example, cicadas kind of buzz, but not like bees do. It’s more of a beeeeze-it
, or something. And I’d want to think of a word more original and real than croak
for the bullfrog sound.
Kids love to hear
the sounds that things make in books. Not only animal sounds, but things like the sound of the wind (whoosh!
), an old truck (rucka-rucka
), or a flower pushing up through the ground (pffft!
Here are some examples of sound words used in some of the books on my shelves.
Robert Munsch is great at using onomatopoeia to add humor to his books. MMM, COOKIES! is full of ‘sound’ words—“…sprinkled it with sugar—Chik, Chik, Chik, Chik, Chik
.” He “…washed out his mouth. Burble Burble Splat Splicht Bwahhh
.” Kids crack up when hearing those words.
In SITTING DUCK Jackie Urbanovic uses words like WHOOMP!
and Boing, Boing!
to bring sounds to life.
In THE PERFECT NEST by Catherine Friend you’ll find CRACK!
and Crackety-Crackety Boom!
to show baby animals coming out of their eggs.
In DRUMMER BOY by Loren Long you can hear the little drummer boy playing his drum with a Boom pump pum boom pum
and Boom pat pat boom tat
And in GRANDDAD’S FISHING BUDDY by Mary Quigley, the simple plop
of the fishing line landing in the water places you in the scene.
I’ve discovered that there is help on the web for those of us who need it when it comes to finding words that imitate sounds! Here are a few websites that I came across.
At Written Sound How to Write the Sound of Things: onomatopoeia and words of imitative origin
, you’ll find an explanation of the term, a list of topics to click on for different kinds of sounds, examples of children’s poetry using onomatopoeia, and more about words that are used to imitate sounds.
At Song Written
, a website meant for song writers, the post Sounds Good: The Art of Describing Ambient Sounds in Lyrics
can help you zero in on the sounds that you hear, which can be helpful to writers, as well.
On Word Object
, you can find a list of the Six Families of Noise
s. Another post on the site lists Words Commonly Used to Describe Sounds
Reading out loud is one of the things that make picture books so great! When you’re revising your manuscript, you might want to try using some onomatopoeia to help bring your story to life.
July 30, 2013
My husband and I like to walk. One of our favorite places to go walking is at Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville, Missouri. It sports a beautiful paved walking trail which is about three miles long if you go from the parking lot to the end of the loop. You can make it longer or shorter depending on how you do it.
Our walks take us through sunny and shady areas, past several playgrounds (one featuring a sculpture of two children and a rabbit), a dog park, and one fairly challenging uphill climb. But one of the most beautiful and serene areas is over a bridge and around a small lake. We’ve seen turtles, ducks and squirrels, a snake, fish, and once a deer that crossed our path. It’s peaceful and inspiring, and good exercise.
But there was an added dimension this summer with the posting of the pages from Peter Brown’s picture book, The Curious Garden
. On the first board was the title page from the book, along with the following message:
“Welcome to the Picture Book Walk
at Quail Ridge Park, a partnership between the St. Charles county Parks Department and the St. Charles City-County Library District. You’re about to read The Curious Garden
by Peter Brown, a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and author of books for children. While you walk around the trail, enjoy the story of Liam, a young boy who turns a dreary industrial area into a beautiful garden. Savor the story and its lovely illustrations as you enjoy being in the beauty of nature.”
For a children’s author, what could be better than combining a picture book about a garden with nature itself!
"The picture book walk begins at the paved trail below the Quail Ridge Lodge and wraps around the picturesque lake. The nearly one-mile-long walk features 17 numbered signs which encompass all 32 colorful pages of Brown's popular children's book. The walk was designed for families with young children in mind, and is convenient for strollers and bicycles to easily maneuver around the lakeside path." --from the St. Charles County Parks department website
"The picture book walk promotes the love of reading with the enjoyment of the outdoors," says Parks Director Bettie Yahn-Kramer. "It's a free, festive, educational program that appeals to all ages."
If you live in the Wentzville area, west of St. Louis, you can still enjoy this outdoor experience which will be in place at the park through August 31. Quail Ridge Park opens daily at 7 a.m. and closes a half hour after dusk.
The Curious Garden
, written and illustrated by Peter Brown, is a NY Times bestseller, an ALA Notable Children’s Book (2010), and received the E.B. White Read-Aloud Picture Book Award (2010) and the Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year Award (2010). Visit Peter Brown’s website
for more information about the author/illustrator and his books.
The Curious Garden
by Peter Brown, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 2009,
June 27, 2013
Check out my friend, Cynthia Reeg's blog
celebrating Blog Hop!
While you're there, look around her site for some great posts for children's authors and for young readers.
December 23, 2011
Day 2: December 23rd—Christmas Lights
Christmas lights are so beautiful! In the evening the tree inside the house gives you a warm, cozy feeling. But I also love to see all the outdoor decorations that people display. They’re like greeting cards to the neighbors and those passing by.
Our books might be like those twinkling lights at Christmas. It feels warm and cozy to have finished writing a book and be able to share it with others. But there are so many other books to look at! So many there for us to enjoy.
One new book that I discovered this Christmas is A CHRISTMAS GOODNIGHT by Nola Buck, illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright, Katherine Tegen Books 2011. A child says goodnight to the people and the animals at the first Christmas, then to the things in nature. Later illustrations show the child in his own home with his own nativity, again saying goodnight to the baby Jesus. The illustrations are colorful and simple, with smiling faces and sometimes sleepy eyes. This is a beautiful addition to my collection of children’s Christmas books.
Do you have a favorite children’s book of the season? Perhaps you’d like to share it here.
January 25, 2011
On January 10th the American Library Association announced the 2011 awards for best books, videos, and audiobooks for children. Selected by judging committees of librarians and other children’s and young adult experts, the ALA awards encourage original and creative work. Following is a partial list of the winners.
Award Winners for Children’s Books 2011
The Caldecott Medal, awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children:
A SICK DAY FOR AMOS McGEE, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press
The John Newbery Medal, given for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House Inc.
The Michael L. Printz Award, for excellence in literature written for young adults:
SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
The Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults:
ONE CRAZY SUMMER, by Rita Williams-Garcia is the 2011 King Author Book winner. The book is published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
DAVE THE POTTER: ARTIST, POET, SLAVE, illustrated by Bryan Collier, is the 2011 King Illustrator Book winner. The book was written by Laban Carrick Hill and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
The Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:
THE PIRATE OF KINDERGARTEN, written by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Lynne Avril and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, for children ages 0 to 10.
AFTER EVER AFTER, written by Jordan Sonnenblick and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc, for middle-school readers (ages 11-13).
FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, written by Antony John and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., for teens (ages 13-18).
The Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children’s video:
Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly Ellard of Weston Woods, producers of THE CURIOUS GARDEN. The video is based on the book of the same name, written and illustrated by Peter Brown, and is narrated by Katherine Kellgren, with music by David Mansfield.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The 2011 winner is TOMIE DE PALOA, author and illustrator of over 200 books, including: “26 Fairmont Avenue” (Putnam, 1999), “The Legend of the Poinsettia” (Putnam, 1994), “Oliver Button Is a Sissy” (Harcourt, 1979) and “Strega Nona” (Prentice-Hall, 1975).
The Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States:
THE TRUE MEANIING OF SMEKDAY, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group. The book is written by Adam Rex and narrated by Bahni Turpin.
The Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children:
KALAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD’S STRAGEST PARROT, written by Sy Montgomery. The book features photographs by Nic Bishop and is published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book:
BINK AND GOLLIE, written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile. The book is published by Candlewick Press.
The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults for the best nonfiction book published for young adults during a November 1 – October 31 publishing year:
JANIS JOPLIN: RISE UP SINGING, written by Ann Angel. The book is published by Amulet/Abrams.
Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2011 ALA Awards for Children’s literature!
And now we’ve got some reading to do!
For a complete list of winners and runners up, go to: http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pr.cfm?id=6048.
September 3, 2010
Attending a conference for children’s writers and illustrators has more perks than you might imagine. It’s about talking to people who you know and also to those you don’t know. Here are some of the extra perks that I got when I attended the SCBWI conference in LA that didn’t come from the conference itself.
--was able to put faces to names from the listservs I belong to for children's writers
--re-connected with old friends
--met new friends
--met new and re-connected with other SCBWI members from Indiana
--met the manager of the children’s department of the largest independent bookstore who knew my books without my showing them to her
--met some great people from Japan and Australia and other countries
--shared the flight out to LA with another author/conference attendee who I’d just met, and shared websites to look at and books to read, and made a new friend
--shared a room with two of the best roommates at the conference
--met lots of dog-loving, book-loving people
--met a librarian who also does reviews for SLJ
--met Verla Kay of the Verla Kay message board for children’s writers, and got an informal personal guide to working my way around the message board from her
--met Alice Pope of the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market book, and now the head of the SCBWI Team Blog
--sat next to an editor who gave me his card after looking at my picture book
--talked with Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser, founders of SCBWI
--got to tour the SCBWI offices
--shared some birthday cake for another author
--got tips on networking and school visits from other authors
--got to see the ocean, the beach, the big city buildings, and the mountains all in one view
--got a head shot, video shoot, and a website consultation
--got more websites to look at
--got tips on holding conferences and events
--got tips on promoting my book from other authors
--was able to purchase books personally autographed by the author or illustrator
--was able to sell and autograph my books along with other PAL published authors on Friday evening
--got a special gift for someone special
--sat in a whirlpool tub and talked about writing
--attended the Heart and Soul celebration with the best costumes ever
--shared illustrations for our books with another author at the airport
--had some great meals that I didn’t have to cook
--met a man from Hawaii at the airport whose wife is a teacher
--enjoyed meeting a woman from Texas and her granddaughter at the hotel when my flight was delayed another day, and shared e-mail information
--met a young lady who was traveling to Ireland on her birthday
--laughed a lot and had fun
--was totally inspired by everyone that I met and saw there
The next time you are trying to decide whether to attend a conference for children's authors and illustrators, keep in mind the perks that are waiting for you along with the information that you'll get from the conference itself.
February 9, 2010
Instead of the word 'lonely,' let's substitute 'solitary.'
You certainly can say that 'writing' is a solitary job. The story is yours alone. The characters, the setting, the voice. No one can write it just the way that you can. So you sit with your pen and paper, or at your computer, alone. And you write the story that's in you head, and in your heart.
Once your story is down on paper, however, there are many ways that you as a writer can connect with others to help you along (more…)
September 2, 2009
For the past 17 years we been blessed with Esther Hershenhorn, Illinois SCBWI RA, whose catchy enthusiasm, positive thinking, and insight into the world of children's books has helped many children's writers and illustrators move forward. She encouraged us to tell our stories, pointed us in the right direction, and helped us to connect. Lucky me, that her generosity spilled over into Indiana. (more…)