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Some Great School Vistits in March

Sandwiched between author Phil Potempa and children's author Judy Roth

March has been a busy month for young authors! I've had a great time at school events, including the most recent at Starke County Young Artists Fair in North Judson, Boone Grove Young Authors Program in Boone Grove, and speaking to the students at Northview Elementary School in Valparaiso. Tomorrow I'll be speaking to the students at Fieler Elementary School in Merrillville. Kudos to the teachers and adults who plan these events for kids!

One student asked what the best thing about being an author was. My answer--to finally see my book published, and then to see a child reading it and know that they are loving it. And right up there on top is talking to kids about my books, about reading and about writing. Kids are fun to be around. They say what they're thinking. They're interesting. And they have great questions. I got to hang around with students during book signings, see the wonderful books that they created, and take silly pictures with the class. I also got to rub elbows with some of the teachers and staff(I'm wondering how that volleyball game turned out!). Obviously March was a good month for me.

Another perk of school events at times is seeing friends who write for children, and meeting other authors. Judy Roth was also a guest author at the Starke County Young Artists Fair. Her picture book, Good-Night, Dragon, will be out from Hyperion in December 2012.

Check out some more pictures here on the left.  Read More 
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Indiana Author-Illustrator Brunch and Bookfair

Children's authors and illustrators featured at the Bookfair

I attended a teriffic event for children's authors and illustrators in Carmel, Indiana on Saturday. The event honored Indiana children's authors and illustrators, and was the first event ever sponsored by Indiana SCBWI to honor PAL members. PAL stands for 'Published and Listed,' meaning books released by trade publishers.

Featured were fifteen Indiana authors and illustrators with books for children published in the past three years.

The morning began with a brunch at Bubs Burgers & Ice Cream, and yes, they serve breakfast foods. It was a great opportunity to chat with the others there, and the food was great. After breakfast, each of the featured authors or illustrators introduced themselves and said a few words about their latest book. The morning closed with Saundra Mitchell, who talked about online marketing, something that those with published books need to at least be aware of in today's digital times.

In the afternoon, B&N in Carmel teamed up with SCBWI to host a Children's Author & Illustrator Bookfair, with booksigning and panel discussions. Authors and illustrators were there to meet with patrons, autograph their books, and answer questions.

The afternoon began with two panels featuring Middle Grade and Young Adult authors. The authors shared information about their craft and answered questions.

At 1:00 pm it was time for the picture book crowd. Children's author Janna Mathies opened the first panel by leading a sing-along with a song that she had written about books and where they take us. Picture book authors then talked about their books, their craft, and answered questions about writing for children.

Lynn Rowe Reed, author and illustrator, kicked off the second panel with an illustration demonstration, followed by authors and illustrators who offered insight into writing and illustrating for children.

The afternoon was a great success. I loved meeting and talking with visitors to the bookstore as well as the friendly staff there. It's so rewarding to see so many people who stopped in for the bookfair. Thanks to everyone who went out of their way to be a part of the event, and those who helped bring it to life.  Read More 
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Poetry at the Zoo

Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield IL
Have you been to the zoo lately? Last fall, my husband and I went to Brookfield Zoo, just outside of Chicago, where we enjoyed one of the last nice days of the season. We went to spend time outside. We went for the exercise, the change of pace, and to see the animals. Our expectations were met. But an added surprise was to find poetry at the zoo! As we walked, we found poetry on stone, signs, and glass as well as in the beauty of nature.

Etched on a large rock:

Earth, people and poetry
are one and the same entity
bound together by mysterious
subterranean passageways.
When the earth flowers,
the people breathe freedom,
the poets sing and show the way.

Written on a wall:

To the earth, to the earth.
He has renewed our life,
He has taken pity on us.

I did a little bit of research on line and found this information.

Aside from majestic North American animals and beautiful exhibits, Great Bear Wilderness also embraces the “Language of Conservation,” an initiative aimed at deepening conservation awareness through poetry.

With the support of a $1 million National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Poets House (national literary center and poetry library headquartered in New York City) has partnered with five zoos to create approximately 200 unique poetry installations in New Orleans, Milwaukee, Little Rock, Jacksonville, and Chicago. The selected zoos have seamlessly woven poems into the habitats of animals such as polar bears, snakes and flamingos to inspire millions of zoo visitors to become better stewards of the environment.

If you are a poet at heart, and even if you aren’t, and you are near any of the areas near the zoos mentioned above, you won’t want to miss an afternoon of Poetry at the Zoo.  Read More 
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