I’ve been meaning to share this for a week but I’ve been under the weather and had a few deadlines.
I love visiting schools to share ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON with children. It’s fun to watch them respond to the story and then talk about it afterwards. I also share a slide show with a bit about me when I was a child, my inspiration for writing the book, and some of my photography. The photo above is the skylight in the space where I did a recent presentation. In the book, Aliana uses a skylight to create the surprise at the end of the story so it was a magical feeling to read the book beneath one.
I was welcomed by a display case with information about me, ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, and phases of the moon which is part of the story.
Connecting with children is the thing I miss most about teaching. I knew every day in the classroom I was changing lives and making a difference. It was both an honor and a responsibility. The feedback was immediate and also something I could see over time. They were also changing my life in the process. With writing, the impact on children is still there, but I may not even know about it except when I’m able to visit a school.
Written with gratitude for librarian Jolene Gutierrez, the teachers, and the children of Denver Academy.
The picture book community is full of supportive people who help each other in a variety of ways. We are an interconnected web of authors and illustrators who may have never met in person, but truly are friends. The photo above, taken last Friday, has two of the most supportive members of this community. Julie Hedlund who is the force behind 12×12, part of Picture Book Summit, and other great resources.
The reason for our gathering, Vivian Kirkfield was in Colorado reading FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN at Second Star 🌟 to the Right in Denver, for a wonderful story time.
In the KidLit community, Vivian is one of the shining stars ⭐️ who most people know, not because she had three books released this year with more on the way in 2020. It’s because she never passes up the chance to share her wisdom, support another writer, or act as cheerleader to the many people she meets along the way.
Here she is enjoying a game of peek-a-boo with a little one before reading.
After we left the bookstore, some of us were fortunate enough to extend the time by having lunch with Vivian’s son, daughter, and son-in-law. When everyone else had left to do some shopping or go back to work, Vivian and I enjoyed visiting on a bench before it was time to leave for the airport. While we were there, an adorable little girl with both of her parents stopped to tell us something important, “It’s my birthday!” she announced.
Could she sense that we were the perfect audience to share this news with? How did she know there couldn’t have been two people more excited to hear her news and celebrate with her?🎉 🎂We told her we’re both authors of children’s books and Vivian gave her a coloring sheet.
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I’ve always believed in putting positive energy into the world. I cheer on my friends when something wonderful happens; their joy is my joy. I try to be encouraging when they are facing challenges. Sometimes just letting someone vent or have as much time as they need to talk about what’s bothering them, is a gift.
This is also my habit on social media and with people I don’t know. You never know when your smile, your kindness, your acknowledgment of someone will make a difference.
Last week, after a successful day of two school visits that included seeing children who used to be my students and their families, I was driving in Chicago to meet a friend for dinner. I saw a man spreading out newspaper on the wet street so he could kneel and change a flat tire. I had an empty box that had been full of books that morning. I stopped and offered the box to the man and the woman whose tire he was changing. They were grateful and I was happy to be able to help.
I mentioned that I would appreciate it if they would recycle the box when they were done because it had my name and the title of my book on it. They asked to see the book and each of them bought a copy! When I stopped, selling books wasn’t even on my mind. I just felt like I could spread a little joy after a wonderful day.
photos of the wonderful families who I used to teach who came to see me.
I spent a fantastic Saturday morning at The Book Stall in Winnetka, a wonderful independent book store with 75 years in the community. Author events and book clubs fill their calendar.
It was a dream-come-true feeling, reading ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON and answering questions from the crowd which included babes in arms, engaged children sitting on the floor, longtime friends in the area, and a lovely elderly woman from the neighborhood who attended with her caretaker. While signing books, I was able to have some wonderful moments with the attendees. The perfectly dressed older woman asked if I’d come home with her and read again later.
I’ve created an entry for #50PreciousWords This contest is offered by Vivian Kirkfield. I’ve been lucky to be part of Vivian’s debut year, she has three books coming out and I have one, but who’s counting? We met through Picture Book Buzz which is a fantastic group of authors and illustrators. The contest runs through March 6, if you’d like to enter.
Sitting Atop the World
Together. Like a team. We climb.
Feel the strength underfoot.
My hand waits, if you need it. Reach for blue sky.
The branches are like stairs. We climb.
The tree holds us, hugs us, loves us.
Lean my way. Feel the sun’s warmth. Beauty surrounds us.
Sitting atop the world.
Independent Bookstores are the best way to celebrate a book launch!
Yesterday I was the featured author at a wonderful new location of a beloved Denver bookstore, Second Star to the Right.
If that name sounds familiar but you have never been to Denver, Colorado, it’s probably because of the song from Peter Pan. These opening words from the book sum up how I feel about the past week launching Aliana Reaches for the Moon.
“The second star to the right shines in the night for you. To tell you that the dreams you plan Really can come true”
I’m over the moon to have such wonderful friends help me celebrate the launch of my new book!
Second Star to the Right 🌟🌟🌟song
ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON is out today!
Here are the countdown illustrations from the past two weeks.
I hope you want to buy this book for the children in your life or for a gift if you don’t have children.
Aliana Reaches for the Moon
It’s also helpful if you ask your library to buy the book so that many readers can have access to it.
And reviews online (Amazon, Goodreads) make an important difference for new books.