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Reach Out and Read--ROAR!

It's always nice to be a visiting author. I had a great time reading and talking about my books at Citizens Financial Bank a couple of weeks ago. Donut holes and a cold drink, a goodie bag filled with activity pages, and a story to go with the start of fall, just the right time for a book about pilgrims and a turkey hunt. There were toddlers just the right age for young poems. And there are always kids, and grown-ups, too, who like poems about dogs that they can relate to with their own dogs.

Last Friday I was one of the featured authors at the Reach Out and Read (ROAR) fundraiser, An Evening of Authors, in Indianapolis. ROAR provides thousands of books each year to Indiana children age birth to five years. Books are given out by local health care providers, and are often the first book the child owns and the first introduction to the world of literacy. You can find out more about Reach Out and Read at https://www.reachoutandread.org.

It was a great evening, with lots of nice people, a buffet dinner, story time and children's crafts and prizes. There were wonderful baskets for the silent auction. And of course, authors there to autograph their books which were for sale at the event.

I remember how, as a young child, I loved having books read to me, and my favorite books, Nurse Nancy and Little Red Riding Hood. I remember when I first learned to read stories about Dick and Jane in school, and how my aunt, who was babysitting, let me stay up past my bedtime to read beyond the pages that we were assigned to read at home. I hope that this school year children of all ages will feel that excitement of holding a book in their hands, and be motivated by stories, reading and exploring new worlds through books.  Read More 
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Random Acts of Publicity

Darcy Pattison has declared this week, Random Acts of Publicity Week 2010. The idea is to choose an author or book (or more than one) that you especially like and promote it. I love this idea!

One of the books that I chose was "Fair Cow," by Leslie Helakoski. I met Leslie at O'Hare airport on the way to the SCBWI conference in LA last month. That's when I first read "Fair Cow." I loved it! Leslie is both the author and illustrator.

Petunia Pig is determined to help Effie get ready for the state fair competition. "...we have to get you in shape," she says. She 'fixes' Effie's hair, her hooves, her tail, and her walk. "Don't forget to smile," Petunia tells her. In the end, Effie just can't resist being herself. This is such a fun book!

One of the things that I got out of participating this week for myself was that I wrote my first book review and posted it on Amazon and on GoodReads.com.

I hope you enjoy "Fair Cow" as much as I did.  Read More 
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The Extra Perks of Attending a Writers conference

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.  Read More 
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