Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Announcing the Winner! (AND the Title of the Next Ninja Book!)

A BIG thank you to everyone who stopped by and helped Corey and me celebrate our new book deal! Are you itching to know if your guess was correct?

First, the winner.

The winner of the $20 Amazon gift card is Bridget Wilson! Congratulations, Bridget! I hope you spend your gift card wisely. Like...on books or something. No, you didn't guess the title correctly. And surprisingly, neither did anyone else.


You want to know?


Okay, okay.

First came The Three Ninja Pigs.

Then came Ninja Red Riding Hood.

And now...

joining the other ninja tales with a stealthy swoop...

My attempt at a ninja chicken

Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks!-- a fast and feathery reimagining of the classic fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. Like Corey's other ninja stories, this one will be illustrated by Caldecott winner, Dan Santat, who will no doubt create a much better Ninja Chick than me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

GREAT NEWS! And Celebrating with a Giveaway!

Once upon a time, two authors got together to write fun, rhyming picture books. Their names were Corey and Rebecca. They worked very hard, writing solo and as partners, and soon Corey sold a ninja-fied version of The Three Little Pigs. You know it as The Three Ninja Pigs. It was an instant hit. Soon after, she wrote Ninja Red Riding Hood.

In the meantime, these two creative girls sold a book titled, What About Moose? It was their first book together, and they were very proud and excited to be able to share it with the world!

And then, Corey's publisher requested that she write a third ninja-fied fairy tale. So Corey said to Rebecca, "You should write it with me!"

Rebecca had always wanted to fracture a certain fairy tale, and she was certain it was just the right story to ninja-fy. It took some time to convince Corey, but eventually they set out to do what they do best: write a kick-butt rhyming story.

Never had they worked so hard on a manuscript. There were times when it seemed an impossible task! But they pressed on, and after months (or was it years?) their efforts paid off. The savvy picture book writing duo had another picture book deal! 

"What fairy tale did they ninja-fy?" you ask. That little secret will be revealed in due time.

But first...to celebrate their success, Corey and Rebecca are holding giveaways on their blogs. Corey is giving away a ninja prize pack, including a soft-cover copy of The Three Ninja Pigs, a hardcover copy of Ninja Red Riding Hood, and some bookmarks and stickers. Rebecca is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card. All you have to do for a chance to win is to guess the title of the next ninja-fied fairy tale. 

So, enter the contest below! And then head on over to Corey's blog for another chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Are Kids' Books Just for Kids?

Silly question, right?

Apparently not.

An elementary school teacher once told me she hadn't read The Hunger Games because it was "a kid's book." This left me a bit stunned, considering that teachers are tasked, in part, to encourage their students to read. How can they do this if they don't read books (especially current books) that are directed at their students?

Reading children's fiction enables you to make recommendations to kids based on more than what you read as a child, or the library catalogue, or monthly book orders. Great books are being written and published all the time. But if you're not reading them, how would you know? Of course, it's impossible to read everything that's geared toward kids, but if you are an educator you have a responsibility to your students to know what you're talking about when it comes to books. The same goes for parents.

That responsibility doesn't end with recommendations. As a teacher or a parent, reading children's fiction helps you engage in conversations with your students and/or offspring about the books they are reading. And that should go beyond what they are reading in school. My kids and I have had many conversations that began with a book we had each read. Those moments are priceless.

Reading children's fiction also helps you remember what it was like to be a child, and connect with younger generations of readers. What are kids learning about or talking about? What kinds of struggles might they have that didn't exist when you were younger? What kinds of experiences, good or bad, never happened to you as a child, or that affected you differently than they might someone else? The point is that reading helps you learn empathy, and that shouldn't stop when you grow up.

All of these things are important. But to me, the best reason to read children's fiction, whether it be for middle grade readers or young adults, is because stories written for younger readers are so pure, not muddied by all the grown-up issues that can clutter adult fiction. They help you to see the world through a child's eyes. That view may seem like it would be too simple to some. But if you really take a look, you will realize how wondrous the world of children's fiction truly is.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and read a children's book today!

Monday, February 09, 2015

Moosey Monday: Sneak Peek of WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?

WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? will release in exactly FOUR months! To celebrate, here is a little peek into the book.

Darling, right? Don't you want to see more? Well, you can, by clicking here to visit the WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? page on the Simon & Schuster website.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


Snow Day

Today I was pulled out of dreams of writing
by the ringing of the phone on the nightstand,
a 5:37 a.m. wake-up call,
an apology,
an announcement,
no school today due to
"bad" weather.

Bad weather
that deposits millions of shimmering ice crystals
on every branch,
every twig,
every deck rail.

Bad weather
that lures the children outside
to play in the cold,
creating snow forts
and snowmen
and snowbombs
with glove-covered hands.

Bad weather
that keeps children at home,
free to sleep in
and bake cookies
and sip cocoa
and play games

and forget, for a little while
about essays and tests
and who will share their table
at lunch.