Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Radio Disney at Kidgits Book Blast

On March 5th, I participated in the Kidgits Book Blast, hosted by Radio Disney, at Orland Square Mall in Orland Park.

They had a great turnout!

Fellow Author, Laura Crawford and I each read our books and sold and signed them.

      It was a lot of fun!  

Anderson's 9th Annual Children's Literature Breakfast

On February 19th, I attended Anderson's Annual Children's Literature Breakfast for the third year in a row.  This year was different, though, because I was invited to be a visiting Illinois Author.  As a visiting author, I began the breakfast at my assigned table and I spoke with the other attendees about my book, the Cheerios contest, writing for children and I explained why I had Book Tour Alex with me.  

There were four guest speakers and, between each of their presentations, the other visiting authors and I moved to the next table and spoke with those attendees.  

The first guest speaker, Trent Reedy, wrote the book, Words in the Dust.  It's a story about an Afghan girl, loosely based on his experiences in Afghanistan.  It was very moving.  

Here's a picture of me and two young men at my second table.

The second speaker was Tim Green, the author of The Big Time: A Football Genius Novel.  Tim was an NFL player and has since earned his law degree.  As if that wasn't enough, he's also written several books for adults and middle school readers.  And did I mention, he's also handsome and funny?  What a loser!

My friends and third table mates, Kelly Polark and Laura Ripes.

The third speaker was the amazing illustrator, Mark Teague, who showed us his process of illustrating his latest book Firehouse!  He also illustrated a director's chair that one lucky winner took home - it wasn't me :-( 

The fourth speaker was Kathryn Lasky, author of Shadow Wolf, one of many books about animals.  Ms. Lasky shared a secret with us - even though she often writes about animals, she's not a big fan!

The final speaker was Weird Al Yankovich, who answered pre-submitted questions from the audience and discussed his latest book, When I Grow Up.

In addition to all this, they sold the visiting Illinois authors' books in another room.  I believe I sold one book - to the two cute boys at my table.  Alex and I had fun posing with the stack of 1 Zany Zoo.

Any authors, teachers, librarians and children's book lovers should consider attending next year!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Catching Up

I can't believe it's been two months since I've posted!  Really, I can believe it - thinking about how busy I've been, juggling work, writing/writing events and family & friends.

Work:  Everyone knows how much financial trouble all the schools are in - it's tragic!  As lead teacher of our Hearing Itinerant Program, I need to determine the number of teachers we'll need for the upcoming school year, and it's not always possible to stretch the numbers far enough to avoid cuts.  Because of circumstances beyond my control, our student numbers are down, which means we may not need all the teachers we have.  It's been a long couple of months working on the numbers "creatively" to stretch them as much as I can to avoid losing a teacher.  No decisions have been made yet, but I'm afraid it's not going to be good.

When I'm not lead teacher, I work with students at Stevenson High School and Hawthorn School District.  In the past two months, I've had eight intake meetings (IEP meetings for eighth grade students who will be my students next year at SHS).  I've also had seven other IEP meetings.  Thank goodness for electronic IEPs - at least we're saving some trees!  I've also attended two computer workshops and a teacher's conference.

Writing:  I've been revising, revising, revising my story in prose, Eb & Flo.  I think I may have found the missing "something" I've been trying to pinpoint.  We'll see what my sister (and best editor) thinks!
Writing events: That'll be a separate post.

Family:  My mom has been going through some health issues with arthritis and carpel tunnel surgery.  I'm happy to say, she's doing really well now - she's an amazingly strong person!  I've been able to spend more time with her and my other family members, which has been wonderful!  Sean's still living at home :-)  but not for long :-( and Brian came home for spring break, plus I got to see him at ISU this weekend!

Friends:  While I had to back out on a couple of events, I managed to get together with friends from the neighborhood, college, high school (thanks Facebook), work, and SCBWI.

Wow, I was busier than I thought!  I'm tired just writing it down :-)