Just a heads up, that I’ll be taking a blog-cation as I put on my goggles (see above) and deep dive into giving this blog and website a brand new look – but with the same great content that I hope you have come to enjoy.
I’ll be popping on to my social media feeds daily for support and to stay in touch.
And in a week or two, I look forward to showing you around my new little space on the web.
I’m so excited to be a part of a fabulous reading initiative geared to families, librarians, teachers and anyone, really, who enjoys reading picture books with their kids.
Created by founder and picture book author Rebecca J. Gomez, Read, Discuss, Do! exists to help you extend the magic of story time beyond the last page by following three simple steps:
Read a book.
Talk about the book.
Do a simple activity inspired by the book.
And this summer we are launching our second annual summer reading challenge. Each week features a fun reading theme with suggested books and ideas for engaging with books in creative and kid-friendly ways. Jump in whenever! Download the printable calendar (plus bookmarks) here.
In the super fun category, this week’s theme is Tasty Treats and, as part of the fun, Rebecca has put together a delightful Snack and a Story post featuring LOVE IS KIND. Thank you, Rebecca! Here’s the link so you can check it out.
I’ve been keeping this to myself for a little while, but the announcement ran in Publishers Marketplace last week so I think I can finally share.
I have a new book in the works… a Christmas counting board book for littlest ones!
Thank you, Paraclete Press , for acquiring Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. I can’t wait for little ones and their families to join Mary and Joseph as they count their way to one very special birthday. You won’t have to wait long. The book releases Fall 2022!
Before we got a dog, an early morning walk was basically a solitary affair. But when our pooch, Sophie, arrived everything changed. Soon I was meeting all the dog-owners in the neighborhood and learning all the dogs names. There’s Poncho, Archie, Munchkin and Rocco; Maverick, Hazel, Todd, and Trixie; Luna, Delilah, Max, Stella, and … Wilbur.
Wilbur is a friendly boxer and Sophie and I often stop to say hello to him and his owner on our morning strolls. One morning, while Wilbur and Sophie were greeting each other, I asked his owner, a nice retired fellow, if Wilbur was named after the famous pig from Charlotte’s Web.
To my astonishment, he had never heard of the book! I think I may have gasped, but then I gushed about what a terrific read it was and how it was the story of a special friendship between a spider named Charlotte and a pig named Wilbur. I explained that had been one of my childhood favorites and how my kids had loved it too. And I assured him, that just like his own Wilbur, he would most assuredly love Charlotte’s Wilbur and that he should read it if he had the chance. And that was that.
Then a couple of weeks ago I was visiting my dad. We were thinning some bookshelves, and what should I find but an extra copy of Charlotte’s Web! And that gave me and Sophie an idea. We would surprise Wilber (and his owner) with a little gift.
First, Sophie, wrote a note:
Then we wrapped the book and note in tissue paper and placed it in a bright pink gift bag so they’d be sure to see it. Finally, we tiptoed up to their front door and dropped it off:
We haven’t seen them since, but when we walked by later in the afternoon, the bag was gone. Maybe we’ll see them today and then I will pop back and let you know if they liked it. One thing I do know, for sure — Sophie and I loved the joy of giving it!
During the lockdown, when schools were remote and the library was only open for grab -’n – go, a family on Burchfield Avenue here in my hometown came up with a special plan to bring joy to their neighbors through books. They built and established a Little Free Library known as Suzanne’s Little Free Library.
I first noticed this library on my walks last fall. What a lovely one it is, sturdily constructed by all members of the family and colorfully painted with some of their favorite children’s book characters. Aren’t Babar and Celeste joyfully rendered! And just look at that cedar shingled roof. Wow!
Behind those inviting glass doors, throughout the pandemic, passers-by have been able to explore a thoughtfully curated selection of books for kids and grown ups alike. What a blessing it was during those long months — not just for me, but for the whole community — to be able to open those Little Free Library doors and actually peruse and touch books!
Suzanne’s Little Free Library was actually one of the stops on Little Owl’s Kindness campaign, in which I left a copy of LOVE IS KIND in five area Little Free Libraries, if you remember that from last fall.
Imagine my delight, then, to discover through Instagram, that Suzanne and her family were planning a One Year Birthday Celebration for their library. What a darling idea! Taking a leap, I messaged Suzanne to see if she’d be interested in having a local author (me) be part of the fun with a special story time. She said yes, and I’m so glad she did.
The party was amazing with coloring pages and crafts for the kids and creative book-themed snacks like these delicious book worms. And there were books, of course. Oodles of books.
The attendees were friendly and book-loving. I loved every part of the party – from chatting to snacking to story time.
Of all my picture book characters, Diva Delores is the one who most relishes a party, so I decided to read DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE for the story time. As you can see, Delores and I are very expressive when we read!
I enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this special afternoon. And what did Diva Delores most enjoy? She loved playing a starring role in helping an adorable three-year old attendee overcome his fear of stuffed animals.
Delores also enjoyed snapping this very glam picture of us donating a copy of the book to Suzanne’s Little Free Library. Thank you, Suzanne and team for having us! And thank you for being a shining example of community kindness and positivity.
The nominees for the 2021-2022 Iowa Goldfinch Award, which is given annually by the Iowa Association of School Librarians, have been selected and DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE made the list! For the complete round up of nominees plus links to the book trailers for each click here.