SPRING BOOK EVENTS with DIVA DELORES and the OPERA HOUSE MOUSE!

 IMG_5920

Look who’s gaga over what arrived in the mail this week! I’m excited too because the arrival of these author copies of DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE means that books will soon be arriving at bookstores everywhere! So now, in anticipation of the March 6th release of this new picture book, I think it’s time to start sharing some dates! (More events to come…stayed tuned.)

Sunday March 11, 2018 2:00 pm. BOOK LAUNCH PARTY!  Celebrate a DIVA debut at this special story time and book signing with craft!  Barnes and Noble, Rte. 22 Springfield.

*

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 10:30 pm.  Join me for an interactive story time featuring DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE at the Garwood Public Library. Meet my storytelling companions – Delores and Fernando–and enjoy a book-themed craft.  

*
Friday, April 6, 2018 11:00 am.  SPECIAL AUTHOR EVENT: Picture Book Creation with DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, Cranford Public Library, registration required. Ages 5 and up.
*
Saturday, April 7, 2018 10:30 am.  Join me for an interactive AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR Storytime with Laura Sassi. Watchung Booksellers, Montclair
*
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 4:00 pm.  Participate in an interactive reading of DIVA DELORES THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, then create your own book-themed craft out of clay at the wonderful Fire Me Up Studio in Cranford! Signed copies will be available for purchase.
*
More to come… check my Facebook Author Page for updates.  
 
Advertisements
SAVE THE DATE:  It’s a DIVA PARTY!

SAVE THE DATE: It’s a DIVA PARTY!

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY: Win ONE of FIVE Copies of DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE!

9781454922001_ccvr (1)To celebrate the upcoming release of DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, Sterling Children’s Books is giving away FIVE copies in a pre-release Goodreads Giveaway!

Here’s the scoop: Written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by Rebecca Gerlings, DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE tells the story of a new diva and the little mouse who wants to help her, but thinks she deserves BIGGER help than a mouse! Celebrating artistic collaboration and the importance of even the smallest helping hands, it makes a lovely addition to any home, school, or library collection.

Giveaway ends Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 – release day! Click here to get to the GOODREADS GIVEAWAY page.  And if you’re not on Goodreads yet, sign up!  It’s loads of fun.   US residents only for giveaway, per Goodreads rules.

Tell all your friends. Good luck!

GOODNIGHT, ARK sails in from KOREA!

IMG_5786Look what landed on my porch today.  Six copies of the Korean edition of GOODNIGHT, ARK!  The illustrations by Jane Chapman are just as gorgeous as ever and the text looks wonderful. What a delightful experience it is to see my words translated not only into a different language, but into a different language with such a beautiful alphabet.  My next goal is to see if one of my Korean-speaking friends will read it to me.  Story time, anyone?  And will it still rhyme, I wonder?  I will find out and let you know.

In the meantime, keep sailing, Noah and friends.  First English, then German, then Korean. What language next?

WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT: 6 Extension Activities for Two to Four Year Olds

IMG_5747This week I’m delighted to share with you Susanna Leonard Hill’s ADORABLE new board book WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman and published by Little Simon.  It’s the third in her WHEN YOUR… series and just as cute as the first two.  Now, to celebrate reading in general – and this book in particular – here are six  book-themed extension activities perfect for 2 – 4 year olds. So, invite your darling little ones to find a good spot to read… and then extend the fun with one, two, or all of these activities (which rhyme, by the way, just because).

WATCH A LLAMA CLIP! CLIP!! After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, you and your little ones might be wonder what it looks like when a real llama gets a hair cut.  If so, grab your tablet and watch some llamas getting hair cuts with this short but fun youtube video from Galloping Winds Ranch in Florence, Texas:

 

2. TAKE A HAIRY FIELD TRIP! After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, you and your little one may decide it’s time to get your own buzz or trim.  Take along the book and read it while the stylist snip, snips.

3. CREATE A SNAZZY HAIRDO (without scissors)!  After enjoying all the snazzy llama hair-do possibilities, you and your little ones may decide you want to give each other hair-dos.  Make sure there are no scissors in sight, but do encourage gentle combing to remove the tangles.  A spray water bottle will add lots of styling options and help the hair-dos to stick.  Barrettes, ribbons, mousse and gel, optional.  Afterwards, pretend it’s picture day – just like in the story – and say “Cheese!” for the camera.

4. DO A PICTURE READ THROUGH… After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, your child may want to re-read it to you using the pictures as clues! Reading the pictures is a great pre-reading skill because it encourages interacting with the page. So, snuggle up and enjoy being “read” to.

5. HAVE A LLAMA BOOK FEST!  After reading the story, you and your little ones may decide you want to read more llama-themed books! If so, head to the library and have a llama-themed book fest!  Your librarian can help you find some good books.

6. LLAMA CRAFT TIME IS THE BEST! After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, you and your little ones may want to do a llama-themed craft. There are oh, so many, possibilities on Pinterest and elsewhere.  Here are a couple of  links to get you started.  Enjoy!

Llama Drawing Project: http://www.smallhandsbigart.com/llama-drawing-project/

Make a Llama Vase: https://abeautifulmess.com/2018/01/make-your-own-llama-vase.html

 

SPECIAL OFFER: PRE-ORDER your SIGNED Copy of DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE!!!

IMG_5696 4Will you help my new book DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE make a BIG SPLASH when it releases in early March by pre-ordering your copy today?  I didn’t realize with my first two books just how important pre-orders can be in capturing the attention of readers, booksellers, reviewers and more.  Here’s a link all about it.  Basically, though, pre-orders are important because those sales get included in the sales numbers for the first week of the book’s release. High numbers can influence how many runs a book has, whether it makes a best-selling list and more.  All good and fun stuff!

So, if you are thinking of purchasing a copy of my newest book, DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, I would be delighted if you would consider pre-ordering it from your favorite book store.  Or…. if you want a SIGNED copy,  my favorite indie has a special deal for you!

If you PRE-ORDER my new book from The Town Book Store, in Westfield, NJ, any time between NOW and MARCH 6, 2018 (the book’s release day), owner Anne Laird is offering a 10% discount off the retail price.  Simply mention that you want the “DIVA DELORES DISCOUNT”.

If this interests you, please call the store to order DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE. Be sure to explain that you would like to have the book signed by the author and pass along the names you’d like included. They will take the order and do the transaction. I will then come in and sign the book or books.  Depending on where you live, you can either pick them up in-store at no extra charge, or have them mailed. There will be a shipping fee to cover the cost of mailing, but they can give you those details.

I thought this was a nice way to make signed copies available, support a wonderful independent book store, and encourage pre-orders!

You can reach The Town Book Store at (908) 233-3535. You can also email the owner, Anne, at anne@townbookstore.com.  Either way, remember to ask for the “DIVA DELORES DISCOUNT”.

Thank you, The Town Book Store, for making this possible and thank you, readers, for supporting my books!

SNEAK PEEK: Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse!

IMG_5684Ready for a sneak peek at what arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon? It’s an advance copy of my newest picture book DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, delightfully illustrated by British artist Rebecca Gerlings and published by Sterling Children’s Publishing.

I’m experimenting with doing little video clips to celebrate its upcoming release (March 6th!). Here’s the first. If anyone can let me know how I can improve the resolution for the next one, I’d love that! Thank you and enjoy!

 

IN MEMORY OF MY EIGHTH GRADE TEACHER:  Thank you, Shirley Vaux!

IMG_5668Thursday night out of the blue, while on Facebook, I was “waved” at by my ninth grade English teacher.  I’d never been “waved” at before, but it seemed fun, so I “waved” back and then she sent me a “thumbs up”.  This teacher and I reconnected on Facebook a couple of years ago when she commented on a mutual friend’s post and I decided I wanted to reach out to thank her for the profound influence she had in fostering my love of writing.  Indeed, Mrs. Rebholz was the first teacher to encourage me not to settle for the first thought that crossed my mind during discussion or when writing, but to “keep percolating” as she called it.  I’ve written a couple of posts about  the influence her challenge to “keep percolating”  has had on my writing. You can find those here and here. But I digress.

After our friendly “wave”, I decided, on impulse, to ask her if she was in contact with another special teacher from my Valley View Junior High days.  Earlier last year, I had attempted to get in contact with this teacher, but without success.  Now, here suddenly, was a new opportunity. Full of hope, I sent her this inquiry via Facebook message:

“Are you ever in touch with Shirley Vaux? She taught creative writing and I had her in eighth grade. I kept a creative journal for her in that class which I still have. I would love to reconnect with her if she remembers me.  Is she on Facebook?”

Her answer stunned me.  “Her funeral was today.  She would have loved to know your success.  Keep percolating.”

Saddened that I had waited too long to say thank you, and a little in disbelief over the sorrowful news, I quickly googled “Shirley Vaux obituary MN” and, sure enough, there it was in the Star Tribune. As I read the obituary, I marveled at what a remarkable woman Shirley Vaux was.  Not only did she teach English for years and years, but she was also (long after I graduated) the principal of my high school.  And I could tell by the obituary, that she was a beloved wife, companion, sister, mother, grandmother, and even great-grandmother.

Overcome with emotion, I decided, again on impulse, to leave a comment using the newspaper’s comment function. This is what I wrote:

“I was just tonight asking Carolyn Rebholz, who I reconnected with via Facebook, if she was in touch with Mrs. Vaux, as I wanted to reach out and thank her for the wonderful creative foundation she helped set in place for my future writing endeavors. Alas, I was just a few days too late. She was a gifted teacher and beautiful soul. I still have (and treasure) the creative journal she had us keep in her eighth grade creative writing class. Blessings to her family.”

But now, as I’ve been percolating over the whole situation, I realize I want to remember her more fully. And the way I want to honor her memory today – is by saying THANK YOU for being one of the best teachers a young, tentative writer could have!

I had the privilege of having Mrs. Shirley Vaux for a one semester creative writing class in the spring of my eighth grade year. Over the course of the semester, Mrs. Vaux opened the channels of imagination and wordplay for her students. We wrote poems, character sketches, short stories and even picture books.  But the assignment that forever shaped who I have become as a writer was her introduction of a writer’s journal. Each day for eight weeks, we were to keep a daily writer’s journal because good writers, as she explained, needed space to write freely and explore.

IMG_5659This is the journal I chose to use. Over the course of the next eight weeks, I diligently wrote in it every day. And those moments of writing were the best moments of each day. I couldn’t wait to write!  I wrote about my memories of living France. I captured snippets of conversations on the school bus. I experimented with free verse.  And each week, Mrs. Vaux, diligently and lovingly read each entry and responded!  With comments like theseIMG_5661… and these.IMG_5663

And after the eight weeks ended, I kept writing. I’m not kidding.  By the end of high school, I had filled this many journals….IMG_5664

by the end of college, this many…IMG_5665

by the end of my first eight years of teaching this many…IMG_5666

by the time my children were school age, this many…IMG_5667

and to date… this many!IMG_5668

And when I stopped teaching to raise my family, I started submitting stories and poems to magazines.  Lots and lots of magazines.. a whole thick binder of clippings worth! IMG_5669 2 And then I delved into picture books with first one… then two…then three… with one more due out at the end of next year… with hopefully more after that!

 

 

Dear Mrs. Vaux,  I am so sorry that I missed the chance to thank you for the special role you played in getting this ball rolling.  But now, I hope, that perhaps by posting this, your loved ones can know, as indeed they must already know, what a special person you were!

THANK YOU, Mrs. Vaux and rest in beautiful peace.

(Please share, if you are so moved, in the hopes that Shirley Vaux’s loved ones will know that – near and far – she is remembered fondly and with great respect.)

Sincerely,

Laura

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Introducing Diva Delores and Fernando (the Opera House Mouse!)

9781454922001_ccvr (1)

In just three months Diva Delores, the star of my next picture book, DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling Children’s Books, March 6, 2018) will make her debut, as will her darling sidekick, Fernando.  And all of a sudden, last week, it hit me — what will they wear?  I mean a diva can’t  just wear any old thing to her debut. And neither can her companion.  They need to look special. They need to look dazzling.  They need to take your breath away.   I realized, I better get busy!!!

So, over the holidays, with the help of a couple of sweet elves (a special thanks to Dianne Herrick and Nancy Benz!), and inspired by Rebecca Gerlings wonderful illustrations, we got Diva Delores and Fernando all dressed up and ready to go. Since I plan on attending each and every book event and school visit as well, we pulled together a little something special for me too!

Ready for a sneak peek? Enjoy!

IMG_5614.jpg

Both Delores and Fernando were extremely cooperative with the whole “glam” up process.  Here they are right before we got started, chilling out with the notions on Dianne’s sewing table.

IMG_5616

Here I am sewing on Delores’ pearls.  She was a very patient seal and the pearls look “daahling”.

IMG_5620

Delores was dee-lighted with Dianne’s superb sense of style in creating a dazzling headpiece. Fernando, meanwhile, was extremely patient, though he did manage to get into the cheese while Dianne was sewing the headpiece in place. (See below.)

IMG_5624

With headpiece and pearls in place, it was time for me to drape and sew on Delores’ boa.  After all that work, she and I decided to take a little break and practice our cadenzas.

IMG_5634

After a few more cheese and crackers, we were ready to return and get Fernando dressed in a snappy blue jacket.  I’m still working on his spectacles.

IMG_5564

And since I plan to attend Diva Delores’ many events as well, we thought it only proper that I have something dazzling to wear too.  A big thank you to Dianne for finding the shoes and to Nancy for providing the snazzy pink fascinator, not to mention the long black gloves and gaudy baubles.  The pearls were my mother’s.  See you at the opera!  =)

SIX Nativity Activities to Teach 6 – 8 Year Olds About Christmas (Plus a GIVEAWAY!)

          One of my favorite Christmas memories is of watching my daughter play with the Baby Jesus that was part of our Christmas nativity. Pretending that Baby Jesus was crying, she’d gently take him out of the manger, rock him, feed him a bottle, and softly sing a lullaby or two.
         Here she is – several years ago – sweetly singing “Away in a Manger” with me after playing with the Baby Jesus. In the background (when we sway) you can even see that little nativity.

    
         Wasn’t that adorable?!  Her sweet play inspired me to write “Goodnight, Manger”, a Christmas bedtime picture book that not only serves as a fun reminder that Jesus was once a baby who cried and felt everything we feel, but which also keeps Christ, rather than Santa, as the focus during the holiday season. 
         With all this in mind, this week I am a guest over at Noelle Kirchner, The Ministering Mom’s website, noellekirchner.com,  sharing SIX Nativity Activities to Teach 6 – 8 Year Olds About Christmas , plus there’s a giveaway for one signed copy of GOODNIGHT, MANGER! I also previously shared on her blog 8 Nativity Activities to Teach Little Ones About Christmas so please check that out as well.
Thank you for having me, Noelle!!
Blessings, all!