It's no secret that my literary crush, my author idol, my all-time favorite I-want-to-be-her-when-I-grow up writer is Cynthia Rylant.
I gushed about my stalking here.
Eighteen years ago (1999), I sent her a letter to tell her how much she had influenced my writing.
That letter read, in part:
In my journey to becoming a children's writer, I've searched long and hard for my voice - the voice that will bring authenticity, heart, and soul to my writing. I've read hundreds of children's books - and no writer has touched me like you have. I'm sure I've read Missing May twenty times.
Finally I realized why your writing touches me. You write from the heart - and plunk your characters right down in the middle of your heart's home...That's when I knew how to bring my voice to my writing.
Without this letter, you would never know that your writing has touched another writer to the core - and has continued the chain of creative spirit.
-->Imagine my excitement when she wrote me back!!!
Well, recently, an amazing thing happened.
I received a letter from an author named Sybil Berkey that totally blew me away.
It read, in part:
As you know, there's great power in stories, and your storytelling has affected me deeply, as a person and as a fellow writer. There aren't many people who've impacted my creative process and expression the way you have. Your work consistently challenges me to dig deeper and always make sure I'm giving my everything - story and style - with well-developed characters.
In short, you've encouraged me to find my true place and voice as a writer.
Reading that note was a magical, full-circle moment for me.
I felt such joy and satisfaction knowing that I was able to do for another author what Cynthia Rylant did for me.
And I was so grateful that she took the time to tell me.
Thank you, Sybil.
Funny how the world works that way, isn't it?
Friday, September 22, 2017
Monday, September 18, 2017
What's more exciting than a new book??
I'm super stoked to show y'all the cover of the third Mr. Puffball book coming this spring:
Mr. Puffball: Escape from Castaway Island
Isn't it fantastic??
About the book:
Are you a Hollywood stunt cat?
Do you want fame and fortune?
Could you beat the current feline, Ninja Warrior, in the ultimate challenge of awesomeness?
"Yes, yes, and yes!" says Hollywood stunt cat, Mr. Puffball.
Finally, the fame and fortune he deserves. But what happens when the fame wears off and the fortune is spent? (Hint: tropical island adventure!)
In this third book of the Mr. Puffball series, Mr. Puffball and the gang find out just how real reality TV can be!
Read all about it when Mr. Puffball, Escape from Castaway Island (HarperCollins) comes out on April 24, 2018.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Major thanks to the teachers and students of
Malcom Bridge Elementary School in Bogart, Georgia
What a day I had!!
|The evening before my visit, I had dinner with some of the teachers and the assistant principal. A good time was had by all.|
|The next morning, I was greeted by this great sign!|
|And in the library....this great sign!|
|Check out this AMAZING gift they gave me!! A wish tree along with lots of wishes from students. Special thanks to 4th grade teacher Lee Rogers for the beautiful flower pot.|
|So many wishes!!!!|
|It now has a special place in my office. I will always think of Malcom Bridge when I look at it.|
|The second graders|
|The third graders|
|The fourth graders|
|The fifth graders|
|Alexia presented me with boiled peanuts, y'all!!|
|Joel gave me a great drawing.|
|Elloree gave me this great #1 Author badge to wear!|
|The students were so polite and attentive. I had fun presenting to them.|
|Special thanks to 3rd grade teacher Brittany Breiner, who organized my visit. Thank you, Brittany!!|
|So great getting to know library media specialist (and TEACHER OF THE YEAR, Y'ALL) Julie Payne (BFFs forever)|
|Loved meeting principal Susan Stancil|
|And here I am with teacher Lee Rogers with that great Wish project they gave me (and she painted!!)|
Thank you, Malcom Bridge!!
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
I got to spend the day with students and teachers at Leicester Elementary School in Leicester, North Carolina - celebrating their One School One Book program.
The whole school had read
THE SMALL ADVENTURE OF POPEYE AND ELVIS.
How cool is that?
Here are some pics from that great day:
|Presenting to some eager 3rd graders|
|Being filmed by the local TV station|
|Huge thanks to librarian Caryn Levy for all of her hard work and warm hospitality|
Students had made some awesome projects, including cool boats.
|Posing with the winners of the boat/poster contest|
|Students showing me some of their projects|
Teachers and students made some amazing bulletin board displays
Thank you, Leicester Elementary, for this amazing day!
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
I had an amazing author visit to Paris Elementary School in Taylors, South Carolina, today.
|You know it's going to be a good day when you are greeted with this sign outside the school.|
|And another one inside the school!|
|Students in Mrs. Boebel's class.|
|With my new BFF, Mrs. Boebel|
|Students in Mrs. Boebel's class wrote and performed a skit of How to Steal a Dog|
|I love the set they made for their skit.|
Khamari, Aydan, Reid and Cooper performed an original rap for me. I LOVED it. My favorite line was: "She is the best I see. She's better than Jeff Kinney."
And as if that wasn't enough, they showered me with gifts!!
THE most amazing decoupaged birdhouse you've ever seen!!!
The birdhouse now has a place of honor in my office to remind me of this wonderful day:
They gave me trail mix cookie mix in Bertha's canning jar (from Wish)And gummy worms to thank me for making them bookworms!
Even Martha and Ruby got gifts.
|Waiting patiently for their cookie. (Thank you, Kylie!)|
|Ruby loved the toy.|
Thank you, Paris Elementary, for this amazing day!!!