Nov 30, 2012

Book-a-Day Advent Calendar: Go!

Just for fun, and inspired by others, I'm going to (try to) post one holiday book from my own collection on every day of December.

The month doesn't start until tomorrow, but I'll be here tomorrow, so I'm starting today.

Up first (and randomly selected):

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated with Mary Azarian's stunning woodcuts. A classic.

Nov 19, 2012

Badger State recap Part 3: Illinois!*

On Tuesday, November 13 I was hosted by two schools in the Chicago suburbs: Timber Ridge Middle School in Plainfield and Brooks Middle School in Bolingbrook.

At both schools I talked to awesome, enthusiastic sixth graders and their teachers about writing, revising, and publishing The Brixen Witch. 

At Timber Ridge, I was made an honorary Wolf (go Wolves!), and met lots of smart readers and aspiring writers. 

(above photo courtesy of Brooks Middle School)

At Brooks, I was treated to a Chicago dog (of course!), and met another bunch of kids who are passionate about books and reading.

The kids at both schools asked awesome questions, which proves how intelligent they are, and how much they love books and words and learning. It also proves what great teachers, parents, and librarians they have. And how lucky I was to meet them all!

Special thanks to library media specialists Cathy Askelund and Alan Holtz, and to Anderson's Bookshop for making the day possible.

*OK, Illinois is not the Badger State. But I visited as part of my Wisconsin trip, so... you know.

Nov 16, 2012

Badger State recap, Part 2: University Lake School

On Monday, November 12, I visited the wonderful students and teachers at University Lake School in Hartland, Wisconsin. The school is on a beautiful wooded campus, where the stark beauty of November in Wisconsin was evident from every window.

The day started with lunch in the library. Two students each, from grades 1 -4, were chosen to have lunch with the author, based on a paragraph they wrote about their love of books or reading. (And how did they know I love chocolate cake??)

I got a tour of the school, and stopped to visit with second graders in their classroom. They're writing books of their own, and had great questions about the writing process.

I talked about how a little witch pushed her way into my Pied Piper story. And then I demonstrated my writing and revision process, using Page One of a new story as an example. Lots more great questions from the students in grades 3 through 6.

 We wrapped up the day with the school book fair, where I heard about kids' favorite books, and even met a few aspiring writers. I can't wait to read their books some day!

Many thanks to everyone at University Lake School, especially Adriana Hollenbeck, and to the lovely people at Books & Co. in Oconomowoc.

I had a great day!

Nov 14, 2012

Badger State recap, Part 1: The Wisconsin Book Festival

I've spent the last week in southern Wisconsin, visiting Mom & Dad, eating too much, and meeting a whole slew of kids and librarians.

First up was the Wisconsin Book Festival, in Madison.

A pretty city on a pretty day.

The Festival hosted my visit with kids and their parents at the Middleton Public Library:

Thanks to the library's generous Friends, every kid in attendance received a signed book.
How cool is that??

I also met up with some writing friends who live nearby, and who I don't get to see often enough:

author Pam Beres and me

author Georgia Beaverson and me

It was a special treat to see Brian Farrey, my editor at Flux, and author of The Vengekeep Prophecies, just released this month:

Just a coupla midgrade fantasy authors showing off their new books.

Best of all, I got to meet some awesome librarians: Crystal Brunelle from Northern Hills Elementary School in Onalaska, WI; and Sarah W, who blogs at PageInTraining.

It was all made possible by Middleton librarian super-hero Amanda Struckmeyer, who really knows how to make an author feel welcome. Thank you, Amanda!!

Thanks also to the Wisconsin Book Festival and the Wisconsin Humanities Council for hosting all the events around Madison.

I finished the day in the company of authors Brian Lies, W.H. Beck, Georgia Beaverson, and good-sport spouses. And of course, my sister Steph, who never missed a beat because she is the person we all  want to reach: a well-spoken and thoughtful reader.

There were pints of beer and plates of fried cheese curds, too. Because, after all, this is Wisconsin.