Monday, May 23, 2011

Celebrating Kids Ink's 25th Birthday

On Saturday, May 21st, Indiana picture book authors Peggy Archer, Nathan Clement and I signed books at Kids Ink children's bookstore's 25th birthday celebration. I love this store. It's the place where my three kids first attended story time, hung out at the train table while I perused new releases, and where they still go when they have a little cash to spend. It was an honor to be included in celebrating one of the few remaining independent children's bookstores, located right here in my Indianapolis neighborhood. So special, in fact, that Publisher's Weekly's online Children's Bookshelf ran a blurb on June 9th. Congratulations to Shirley Mullin and all the staff at Kids Ink. Thanks to all who stopped in! (pictured l. to r.: Shirley Mullin, me, Peggy Archer, Nathan Clement)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bookfair at Barnes & Noble, March 5, 2011

Signing for special friends and singing in Pooh Corner

L. to R.: Kristi Valiant (illustrator of The Goodbye Cancer Garden!), author/poets Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Peggy Archer, and me

Had a wonderful time Saturday at Barnes & Noble in Carmel, Indiana. The Indiana SCBWI hosted a bookfair with 15 authors and illustrators. We signed books, played guitars (well, I did anyway), did art demos and talked about writing/illustrating books. This was my first signing for The Goodbye Cancer Garden, and what a pleasure it was to share this book with kids and their families. I also walked away inspired by my fellow authors (and illustrators), some of whom have been at this craft for more than 20 years. Thanks, everybody!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Starred review!

In anticipation of The Goodbye Cancer Garden's March release, I was thrilled to receive a starred review from School Library Journal (Feb. 2011). Here's what the reviewer had to say:
* K-Gr 3–In January, Janie’s mom breaks the news that she has breast cancer. The doctor tells Janie and Jeffrey that she will probably be better by “pumpkin time,” so they decide to plant a garden as a symbol of health and hope. “Then before we know it....Hello, pumpkins, goodbye cancer!” The family members nurture the garden and one another, and by harvest time their hopes have been fulfilled. Smoothly told in a reassuringly matter-of-fact and understated way, this is less a story about cancer than about one family’s response to it. Details about the treatment and the woman’s physical reactions to it are worked in unobtrusively. The family and their supportive circle maintain a humorous and positive attitude, from the neighbors who crown Mom queen when they come over to serve her dinner to the uncle who buzz cuts her hair at the head-shaving party. Realistic emotions like her general sadness or Janie’s brother’s dismay at his mom’s baldness are included, but are downplayed. The sketchy illustrations are tender and sweet. After the first “breaking the news” scene, every page depicts grateful smiles and loving camaraderie. Outdoor scenes provide a feeling of fresh air and the healing of nature. An uplifting, hopeful story, well told and beautifully illustrated.