Tag Archives: reading

Reflections on a School Visit

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.

Bookstore Magic

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?πŸŽ‰ πŸŽ‚We told her we’re both authors of children’s books and Vivian gave her a coloring sheet.

12Books12winners Giveaway US only

Six Months Later – Six Highlights

ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON was released on 2/19/19 (An author’s reflection in no particular order)
  • Reconnecting with children I used to teach and their families and knowing how proud they are that I reached this goal.
  • Being on panels and in groups which connected me with authors of distinguished status.
  • Being part of Apollopalooza in July as the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon.
  • Seeing my book on the shelf at a bookstore or library.
  • Hearing feedback from children and parents that they love the book.
  • As of today Aliana has 62 reviews on Amazon for which I am sincerely grateful.

Tomorrow night a giveaway raffle that I’m participating in will be available! #12Books12Winners – I’ll share the link when it’s live.

Author-of-the-Month (follow up to Shop Local)

I truly enjoyed the month of April as Author-of-the-Month at all four Timbuk Toys stores in Denver. It was lovely meeting people and sharing Aliana Reaches for the Moon. Toy stores are such a happy place.

I received a warm welcome each time I visited a store from both the employees and shoppers. I enjoyed interesting conversations about books, children, science, encouraging curiosity in children, and the importance of boys reading about strong, intelligent girls. In other words, a book with a female main character is NOT a ‘girl book.’ We have to empower our daughters and also teach our sons that girls are their equals. As a reading specialist, this is an important subject on which I have done considerable research and therefore have some strong opinions regarding how literature impacts the way gender roles are portrayed.

Was it Successful? There are many ways to measure success.

  • Was it fun? Yes!
  • Was the book well received? Yes!
  • Did the employees like my book? Yes, one store set up the display above and sent me this picture. It’s humbling, to say the least.
  • Did we sell a lot of copies? Yes! In fact, I broke the previous record of Author-of-the-month sales by over 60% so for those of us who like quantitive information YES!

Shop Local

There are so many ways and reasons why it’s important to support local businesses. Independent book stores are my favorite places to visit no matter where I travel.

It’s been a while since I shopped for toys, but for the month of April I’ll be spending a lot of time at a Denver toy store, or should I say four wonderful stores? Timbuk Toys has four locations and I am the April Author-of-the-Month at all of them. This is a great example of a local store supporting a local author; something that takes ‘Shop Local’ to another level.

It’s fun to spend time in such a happy place as I’ve been able to share ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON with people shopping for birthday gifts, a few teachers, a dad looking for a gift for his daughter, and of course children. Sharing my book with children makes my teacher πŸ’œ so happy! I was even surprised by a friend who came after seeing my event posted on Facebook.

I’ll be visiting all four stores during the month so if you’re in the Denver area, check out TimbukToys and buy a signed copy or two of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON!

 

Why I love Social Media

More from my visit to Chicago

I was a teacher and reading specialist in Chicago for ten years. My final year was full of wonderful memories of children I will never forget.
I had the good fortune to work with two first graders that made every day rewarding. They were both the little sisters of former students so the families are also special. When I went to visit last August, I discovered that one of the two girls who I named ALIANA for was no longer at my former school. 😒 The phone number I had for her mom wasn’t valid any more. My excitement to share my book with her was dashed.
I noticed a parent from my school was following my Facebook author page, but the profile picture didn’t look familiar. I’m active on Twitter and Facebook but rarely used Instagram until my illustrator started an account for the book. Aliana Reaches for the Moon
Suddenly, I had the same parent mentioned above following and liking my Instagram posts, but I still didn’t know who it was.
Then one night, I saw a picture that made me cry happy tears and filled my heart to overflowing! It was the girls I thought I lost. A picture of them celebrating a birthday had me jumping up and down! I woke Charlie who’s always ready to join in the fun.
The following day, I messaged with Maria (the girls’ mom) and told her my plans to visit. We met in the afternoon before school pickup time to get the girls from school together. More happy tears, this time from my little friend who is now a fourth grader. Then, her sister spotted us and more excitement, more hugs, and a very happy reunion.
I love a happy ending, don’t you?

The Book Stall Storytime

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.

Tunes and Tales

I’m very excited with all the wonderful avenues I’ve been allowed to share and celebrate my new book! On Wednesday, I spent the day in Fort Collins, Colorado recording Tunes and Tales with show host Kristen Olsen and Jonathan Bennett!

Link to livestream KRFCfm 88.9

(you can live-stream the show on Sunday, 3/3/19 6PM MST! )

ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON πŸŒ™

Second Star to the Right πŸŒŸ

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