Writing quote

Sure, it's simple writing for kids...Just as simple as raising them.
— Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, June 21, 2013


   I received some wonderful news yesterday, Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas (Charlesbridge Publishing, Jan. 2014) has been selected by the Junior Library Guild for their premier reading list of 2014! The JLG only picks several hundred books out of about 3,000 submitted every season. What a terrific start for a book that's 7 months shy of its release date. I appreciate this honor even more so because Goldy Luck's publication is the culmination of a nine-year journey which included rejections, a revolving door of editors, and a cancelled contract with Random House/Tricycle Press. This book is my poster child for perseverance. So, to all you writers out there, I just want to say: Believe in your stories, Believe in yourself as a writer, and Never Give Up!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


 When I first saw Judy Blume live and in person at the 2011 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, I thought she was wonderful—so down to earth, warm, and encouraging of aspiring writers. Here's another reason why she's terrific:

Friday, June 14, 2013


   I have just discovered Paper.Li and Scoop.it courtesy of social media guru Frances Caballo, author of Blogging Just for Writers and Social Media Just for Writers. Frances has a new blog Social Media Just for Writers which offers some great information and social media tips. Ever feel like you've run out of interesting things to say on Twitter or Facebook or don't know what to blog about next? Paper.Li and Scoop.It will help you cull content from around the internet based on topics you choose. For example, I select topics about writing for children as that's my area of interest and that's what my blog is about. Several of my recent Twitter posts are content "scooped" from Scoop.it. Here's a great blog post from Laura Brown about how to curate information from this site. With Paper.li, you can even create your own newsletter. Check out mine below and let me know what you've found "scoop-worthy". In the meantime, Happy Scooping!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


  I love school visits! I didn't used to. They used to terrify me. What? Speak in front of 100 kids? But then I found out how much kids LOVE author visits. And for a writer, it's a built-in audience, unlike bookstore events, where you might sometimes get 5 people to show up and half of them are bookstore employees. Someone posted this on Facebook once.

I love the "What Kids Think I do". It's true. It doesn't matter if only your mother has heard of you and your books, if your name is on a book they've read or their teacher has read to them, they think you're a star. School visits are a writer's 30 mins. of fame. At my last school visit at Potter Valley Elementary School, the kids lined up to have me sign Cixi, The Dragon Empress bookmarks. All 60 of them!

   But that's not why I love school visits. Wait. Yes, it is. Okay, besides that...I love connecting with the kids. I love answering all their great questions. I love it when they tell me they like my book or the story. It makes me smile when they share that they have a cat at home like mine.
   School visits aren't what they used to be—the bread and butter of a writer's income. With budget cuts to schools and kids who sometimes can't even afford shoes, books are a luxury. If I sell a handful of books at a school visit, I consider that an amazing success. But I've learned that school visits are not about selling books—or selling yourself as a writer—it's about connecting with kids. It's about sharing the stories you wrote, or how you came to write them, and it's about inspiring them to write and read. My biggest joy comes from kids (or parents or teachers) who tell me that after my presentation, they want to be a writer like me.
   Like most writers, I have an author visit fee, but for the schools in my local school district, I do school  visits for free. It's my way of giving back to the community in which I live. But what I get back is so much more. And here's one of the reasons why:

If you're interested in an author visit at your school, check out my Press Kit or Author Visit info. You can email me or go to Book an Event in the sidebar.