Spring is the perfect time for . . . Author Visits!

A scene from a recent LITERACY NIGHT: Great time working with K – 5th grade students as we discussed — and they acted out a skit, about how an author researches material for a new book. In fact, I think I’ve found the perfect crew to dig up some new information for my next book project . . . Super Students!

Join the Safari: FUN with Animal Facts!

Join the Safari: FUN with Animal Facts!

New School Visit: Success Tips for Writers

Had a great spring visiting many schools! I introduced a new program, Success Tips for Writers —  and enjoyed sharing this program with upper elementary and middle school students. I talked about what it takes to be a writer and which strategies students can use to enhance their writing.

This is a highly participative program and we had a lot of fun. Here are a just a few of the comments I received:

From an 8th grade L.A. teacher:
Eileen “gets” middle schoolers. Her conversational, participatory presentation manner kept my eighth graders highly engaged during the entire session. She spoke to them writer-to-writer and shared the struggles & joys she has experienced in developing her craft and with the publication process. Key word: Resilience! This was a great term for her to use, as that quality is one of our school’s key character traits. It was an important message for the students to hear. She so inspired my students that some of them began writing essays (that were not assigned in class!) that week and asked me to contact her for publisher information. I would love to have her return soon!

From an elementary school principal:
The Success Tips for Writers program reinforced everything that we have been working on this school year!

Here are a few photos from the assembly:


Lucky Me! Mailbox Surprise . . .

Last week I received a delightful surprise in the mail — letters from students I met at a recent school visit! Lucky me! Hearing from young readers always makes my day.
Here are a few snippets:
“I love your fantastic writing!”
“Thank you for visiting our school and calling us up to be assistants in your program. It was fun.”
“Your books were cool to look at.”
“I was thinking about this program all week. Thank you for letting us ask questions.”
As I said — Lucky Me! I can’t wait for my next mailbox surprise.

Evanston Literary Salon: Publishing Books in the 21st Century

Enjoyed appearing on a panel at the Evanston Library last Saturday to discuss writing books for children. The panel was moderated by Betsy Bird, SLJ blogger and Evanston Library Manager, and included (l to r): Sara Shacter (author and SCBWI-IL Asst. Regional Advisor), Ruth Spiro (author), me (author and SCBWI-IL Network Rep.) , Terri Murphy (illustrator/author and Illustrator Network Coordinator), Betsy Bird, and Gemma Cooper (agent based in Chicago).

Evanston Program Pic Feb 2016

It’s the Season for . . . School Visits!

January is a great time to get out of my office and visit schools. Always ENJOY my time with readers and teachers! Here I am visiting an Illinois school and we’re talking NF research and writing during a 30 minute program for each grade level. Great enthusiasm from the students. Would show you photos of the kids in action with a fun skit . . . but most schools/parents don’t want any student photos posted with faces displayed — which I completely understand. The principal did say this . . .
“The staff and students LOVED having you. The elementary kids are very impressionable at this age and truly take what you say to heart. We had more kids wanting to write their own story after you left….. so I know you made a true impact on them.” HOORAY for School Visits!


Another nice review . . .

Sweet words for SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS! from School Library Journal:
“This mix of bedtime sleepytime verses and interesting content makes for an enjoyable two for one.”

Sweet Dreams Front Cover

Join me at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest on June 6th-7th!

This year marks the 31st annual Chicago Tribune Printer’s Row LitFest — June 6th-7th.
I will be appearing both days at the Lil’ Lit Park, Kids Stage.

Sat June 6th – 12:45 – 1:15 pm
We’ll high-five all things baseball for young readers and listeners with my picture book, Ballpark. Kids will join me in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, doing some baseball stretching exercises, and listening to my book.

Sun June 7th – 3:15 – 4:00 pm
Celebrate sports with the Poetry Team U.S.A.! During their lively program, they’ll share entertaining poems and skits with the crowd. These Illinois writers have poetry featured in the award- winning anthology, And the Crowd Goes Wild! Wear your favorite sports t-shirt and come join in the fun!

Kirkus Review

Sweet Dreams, Wild Animals!  releasing April 1, 2015

“Slumber and science in harmonious combination, equally suitable for bedtime reading or for sharing with wakeful groups.”

— Kirkus Reviews, 2015

Scholastic Book Fair/Club News!

GREAT NEWS — Ballpark, my picture book released in spring 2014, will be included in Scholastic’s Book Fairs / Book Clubs for the next 5 years! Excited that this story will reach more young listeners and readers through Scholastic’s marketing programs. Hooray!