Thursday, April 30, 2009

I dare you..... buy this.

Only $49.99

I like to died

Here's a great letter that is a perfect example of how kids can learn about other parts of the country (and the world) by reading books:

Hi our names are C--, Z--, and K--.

We are in the Fifth grade at -- Elementary School in --, New Jersey .

We are reading your book How to Steal A Dog and we are enjoying your book so far! Our favorite part so far is Mookie who is living in the back of the vacant house.

We are writing because two things have caught our eye and we wanted to know if they were on purpose. The first one occurs on page 116 and says, “It like to broke my heart to look at it.” Should it be “It broke my heart to look at it?” On page 117 it says, “I like to swallowed my gum when he said that.” Should it say, “I almost swallowed my gum when he said that?”

We are fascinated with what you have to say.

Please let us know if it was done on purpose or was it a mistake. Thank you for your time and we can’t wait to hear from you.

C--, Z--, and K--

We would take $500 dollars if we are right about the mistake :)

And the winner is.....

The winner of the Useless Information Contest is.....


(She always did beat me at Jeopardy. Dang....)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Show me the money

My husband is a serious car guy.

Last night at the dinner table he showed me a picture in a car catalog and said, "I'll give you $100 if you name this part."

I did it!


Can YOU name this part? (But I'm not giving you $100.)

P.S. It's amazing what useless information you absorb after 25 years of marriage.

P.P. S. Hmmm....this would have been a good contest for a free arc of my next novel. Problem is, I don't have any arc's yet. I'll have to come up with something equally as enthralling.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Arlington Part 5

The students at Anderson Elementary School really got into the spirit!

They made great posters. This one shows how much they have thought about the elements of the story, such as main characters, time, place and goal.

They wrote terrific letters and even drew pictures of me! (I look pretty good!)

This boy had made a graphic novel-type version of my visit, with photos showing me receiving cards and letters, writing books, and even students cheering for me:

And a wonderful welcoming banner:

Thanks so much, Anderson!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Arlington, Texas Part 4

I had a great visit with the gang at Corey Elementary School.

They had a fabulous mural in their library.

The kids were fantastic and really got into the spirit by dressing as characters from Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia. Thanks, Corey!

Here I am showing the Danish version of Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia to the students of Larson Elementary.

They had great questions and had really thought about the stories.

Thanks, Larson!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Arlington, Texas Part 3

Then it was off to Short Elementary School.

They have a fireplace in their library! Here I am (center) with librarians Linnette (left) and Julia (right), who did an amazing job helping to prepare for my visit.

Here I am showing the students my sixth grade report card.

Thanks, Short Elementary School!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Arlington, Texas Part 1

The folks at the Arlington Independent School District in Arlington, Texas, sure know how to roll out the red carpet for an author!

Here I am with the readers who took part in the Battle of the Books at Butler Elementary School:

Signing books for students at Butler Elementary School:

Thank you to Butler Elementary School!

Arlington, Texas Part 2

Here I am trying to get the students at Amos Elementary School to guess how every book starts. (They got it right.)

The fourth grade reading class of Amos Elementary School presented me with a fantastic book of drawings from Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia:

Thank you to Amos Elementary School!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Here are some pics of an authorfest I was part of in Winchester, MA last Friday.

This is an amazing event that has been happening for many years now. Every grade and every school in town has an author and/or illustrator presentation (about 20 author/illustrators!)

There is a lovely luncheon at the town library.

At the end of the day, there is a book signing at the town hall. It's a real family affair and such fun for all of the children to buy the books and meet the authors.

The folks who participated this year were:

Jamie Spencer, Susan Lubner, Karen Day, Nancy Poydar, Loree Burns, Kathleen Duble, Maryann Cocca-Leffler, Judith Jango-Cohen, Brian Lies, Allen Kurzweil, Jacqueline Davies, Dan Mahoney, David Biedrzycki, David Elliott, Heather Panahi, Jeff Nathan, Scott Magoon, Mark Peter Hughes, Steve Krasner and me.

(l to r) Mark Peter Hughes, Steven Krasner, Kathleen Duble

(l to r) Karen Day, Jamie Spencer, Nancy Poydar

(l to r) Dan Mahoney, Jeff Nathan, Scott Magoon

(l to r) Scott Magoon and Susan Lubner

(l to r) Allen Kurzweil, Judith Jango-Cohen, David Elliott

(l to r) Allen Kurzweil, Judith Jango-Cohen, Jackie Davies, Maryann Cocca-Leffler, Loree Burns, David Biedrzycki

The whole gang (minus me, taking the photo)

Thursday, April 16, 2009


My husband and I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant the other night.

When we were leaving, we went through the bar area to go out the back door.

There was a large group of burly, leather-clad biker dudes in there having a meeting of some sort.

One burly leather-clad biker dude was standing in front of everyone, speaking.

This is what I heard:

"I've been a member of this writers' club for almost ten years now and blah blah blah."

Me to husband: A writers' club! Wow! That's cool.

Husband to me (with look of incredulity on his face): Not writers' club, you ninny, RIDERS' club.

Me to husband: Oh.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hello? Anybody home?

I HATE this part of the writing life....

....that scary time between projects.

My idea box is empty.

I will never have another idea as long as I live.

This happens to me EVERY time I finish a book.

EVERY time.

I stare into my box of ideas....

...and it is empty.


I am all washed up.

I am a has-been.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis

A few folks had filters that prevented them from seeing images posted earlier, so I'm reposting with Blogger images that will probably come through - although somewhat smaller and harder to read.

Coming September 2009

Check this out

This is an amazing school project done by a 4th grader in Illinois!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Horned Toad Tales

I recently learned that How to Steal a Dog was voted as the winner of the Horned Toad Tales Award.

This award is voted on by the 49,000 elementary school students of the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District in Texas.

I just received the trophy for the award.

Can there be a cooler trophy than this??!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A great day

I recently had the honor of visiting The Masters School in West Simsbury, CT.

One word:


What a great day!

It started out by waking up in a canopy bed! How cool is that?

Then I walked in the door and was greeted with an amazing display all the way down the hall: felt banners representing scenes from How to Steal a Dog!

The students had done so many creative and interesting projects using my books.

The fourth graders wrote in their journals from the perspective of some of the minor characters in the book, like Georgina's friend and her teacher. I was impressed by how they were able to see the same story through different eyes.

The fifth graders drew their own versions of the covers of some of my books. Again, a great way to think about the books and what the students saw as some of the more important story elements that could be highlighted.

The third graders made these lovely welcoming cards for me.

And the sixth graders had so many thoughtful and intelligent questions for me about my books.

One student made this awesome poster of Willy on some cool foam material.

And another student made a How to Steal a Dog Easter egg!!! Here it is on my Easter Egg tree.

And here it is up close.

And the day would not have been complete without this mummified chicken.

Thank you, Masters School, for such a lovely and memorable day.