Yes, it’s that time again, when the Shameless Self Promotion Department reminds me that while I love writing books, I actually have to sell them if I want to be able to publish more books. And so:

Did you know that One More Page, my supportive, local indy bookstore, can ship out personalized copies of my books? Just call and order, and I’ll go in and sign them before they ship them out. Or if you want a sticker, let me know that you’ve bought a book and I will put a sticker in the mail to you. (If you live in town, of course, just call: I’ll come over…) Details are here.

You know what would go well with How to Behave at a Tea Party? A tea set.

Nanny X + a secret decoder ring (check out the International Spy Museum to find one) would also make a groovy, gadgety gift. Or Dream Boy paired with a dream journal.

Mother Reader has the best, comprehensive site for giving books as gifts that I’ve ever seen before with 150 ideas. Be sure to check them out!

Posted in marketing, Mission Possible, world domination | Comments Off

Window Shopping

All I do when I walk through NYC is look at the windows in shops — not just during the holidays, but year-round. Which is why seeing this window at Books of Wonder (thanks, Heather Ross!) just makes me super giddy.


window at books of wonder

Posted in how to behave at a tea party, tea, Tea Party | Comments Off

The Importance of Picture Books

It’s Picture Book Month, and that means writers and readers are celebrating  picture books with exhibits, class and skype visits. But mostly, people are celebrating by reading, which is the best way to celebrate anything. Over at the Picture Book Month International, authors and illustrators like Jerry Pinkney, Aaron Becker and Deborah Heiligman are talking about why picture books are important.

And because it’s Poetry Friday, I’m dusting off that part of my brain and adding my two cents (or sense?) in verse…


Picture books are Look! Look!

They are Again.

They are the stories you tell yourself

when your alphabet is still

a jumble of shapes

and P comes after U.

They are hours on a shag rug.

They are Where the Wild Things Are.

Picture books are castles and mermaids and underpants.

They are hungry pigeons and purple crayons.

They are the start of a new day

and the end of an old one.

They are almost ready for bed.

They are Just one more?

They are Yes.

Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Random Noodling. Be sure to check out the round up

I’m also throwing out the Kinks’ song Picture Book, just because I love it so. (They’re really talking photo albums, of course, but I’m co-opting it anyway.)

Posted in dreams, picture book idea month, picture book month, picture books, Poetry Friday | Tagged | 10 Comments

We Need Diverse Books

Can you remember the first time you saw yourself in a book?

For me, it was when I read All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. The book was about five sisters living during the Depression. I had a little brother and was living in the 1970s. They wore starched petticoats and I wore flowery bell bottoms that got caught in the spokes of my bicycle. But I read that book and thought they’re just like me. Because the girls were Jewish and they loved to read. I’d read about girls who liked to read before, of course, but I hadn’t read about Jewish girls. They were quite religious, while my family was not. It didn’t matter. I felt like I was looking in a mirror. I had a place in the world, and that purple-covered book became the most dog-earred one in my collection.








All of this is why I want to make sure everyone knows about the We Need Diverse Books campaign, currently on indiegogo. They are currently three-fourths of the way to their goal of $100,000. Money will be used to diversify classrooms, support diverse authors and programming,  and more. In other words, it will be used to help make sure kids see themselves in the literature that’s out there. Check out the videos, including one from John Green:

While I’m here, I wanted to mention All-of-a-Kind Family was a series, but save the original, the rest have been out of print these past few years. I found this out when I decided my daughter needed a better copy of All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown since mine had lost the cover. The only one I could find was on eBay for $45. But they’re back! Lizzie Skurnick Books reissued the books this summer. I ordered them right away. But I still have my dog-earred copies, too. Even the one without the cover.

When did you first see yourself in a book?

Posted in diverse books, judaism, kidlit | 2 Comments

As long as I’m talking about research: The Charleston Tea Plantation

I’d mentioned research in a recent post. Sometimes, I can’t stop, even after the book is already written. In honor of How to Behave at a Tea Party, for instance, I forced my family to accompany me to this beautiful spot to see how tea was made.

The Charleston Tea Plantation (formerly a potato farm) uses plants that have been cultivated in this country for generations, though the plantation itself didn’t come into being until the 1960s.

Our big takeaway: I always thought there were different types of tea bushes to make green tea and black tea. It turns out, it’s all a matter of how long you let the tea “rest.” Green tea leaves barely have time to sit. Black tea spends more time on the withering table. I’m including some photos here.

Bonus: free tea in the lobby, hot or cold! Julia would have been quite happy there.


Entrance to plantation

Entrance to plantation

Fields of Tea IMG_2096 IMG_2091

Withering Bed

Withering Bed


Posted in how to behave at a tea party, tea, Tea Party | Comments Off