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 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!
Spring in 150 words or less? A contest? Sure, I’ll give it a whirl!
The Promise of Spring
The first warm day brings the promise of hope. Bulbs planted months ago poke through the ground. Colors appear. We bend to admire them, catching the scent of hyacinth. Deep breath, eyes closed. Senses awakened. The warmth of the sun and longer days create a vibrant garden. Spring is our favorite.
Winter laughs, she’s not ready to leave. Snow! Snow covers our beautiful new garden. Sadness fills our hearts. Will our crocus and tulips survive? Are the hyacinth wishing they waited? We cheer for spring to win this battle.
Sun to the rescue. Using gentle persuasion, Sun dismisses all traces of snow. Our battle weary blooms recover, then wither. Their leaves provide nutrients for next year’s flowers.
New growth continues. Ducks waddle in pairs near the pond, trees unfurl fresh leaves, and the return of music from the branches delights us once again.
Spring delivers on her promise.
For more about the contest Check this out!
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 💜 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!
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.