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Happy Birthday, Kids Ink!

Talking to young readers and their dad who were there to join the birthday party.

Happy 25th Birthday to Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore! Thank you for promoting children’s books and supporting children’s authors for a quarter of a century.

I love independent bookstores. They’re warm and fuzzy. It’s like family. The staff is creative and loaded with enthusiasm. The people who browse and shop there are so friendly. And let’s face it, where else do you get to autograph the bathroom wall?! Seriously, check it out!

I was invited to join in on the celebration, and a couple of weeks ago my husband and I drove down to Indianapolis where Kids Ink is located. I signed copies of my picture books, got to talk to writers and artists and readers of all ages, and schmooze with the staff and other children’s authors who were there. Janna Mathies signed copies of her picture book THE GOODBYE CANCER GARDEN, and Nathan Clement signed copies of his newest picture book, JOB SITE. My own picture books NAME THAT DOG! and FROM DAWN TO DREAMS were there for the signing.

Congratulations, Kids Ink, and many more years to come!
Find Kids Ink on facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Kids-Ink-Childrens-Bookstore/84267983634
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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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Family Book Basket

I believe the Christmas season brings out the best in people, and there are always those who stand out among the rest for their generosity. The Belles of St. Mary's Church in Kouts, Indiana raffled off themed gift baskets once again this year in early December as a fund raiser. One of the baskets was a Family Book Basket. The books included in the basket would be a prize by themselves, but what made this one so special were the books that were donated and autographed by the authors and illustrators. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the following authors and illustrators, as well as a children's book reviewer and a bookseller, who very kindly donated books for the basket.

Nathan Clement, author and illustrator, for his picture book, DRIVE published by Front Street/Boyds Mills Press. Find out more about Nathan, including his up-coming book, at his website, http://stickman-studio.com/.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich, author, for her picture book, GRANDPA LOVES, published by HarperCollins. Visit Rebecca and her books on her website at http://www.rebeccakaidotlich.com/.

Esther Hershenhorn, author, for her picture book, THERE GOES LOWELL’S PARTY!, published by Holiday House. You can find Esther and view her books on her website at http://www.estherhershenhorn.com/lucky.html.

Kristi Valiant, author and illustrator, for the following chapter books which she illustrated and that accompany the Our Generation dolls: THE MYSTERY OF THE VANISHING COIN and THE ADVENTURES AT SHELBY STABLES. Find Kristi and more about her books at http://www.kristivaliant.com/.

Mary Harris Russell, children's book reviewer, who donated several picture books which she recently reviewed for the Chicago Tribune. See http://articles.dailypress.com/2002-12-24/news/0212240020_1_eric-carle-sloth-jack-prelutsky.

And finally, Darlene McDonald of Barnes & Noble in Valparaiso, who donated several books for different ages to the book basket. Find out what's happening at B&N in Valpo at http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2138.

One of the un-anticipated pleasures of writing for children has been meeting the many wonderful people in the world of children's books. And that alone is its own reward.  Read More 
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