And the Winners Are…Free Books and Skype Visits!

First I’d like to thanks all those who participated in the WHEELS OF CHANGE book and Author Skype visit give-away.  I really appreciate your support and am happy to announce two winners: Susan Cohen and the Sacred School in Camden, NJ, and Shiela Fuller on behalf of her daughter’s school where she is currently student teaching.  Both will receive a signed copy of WOC, a teacher packet with curriculum guides and activity sheets, and the Skype Visit at a date of your choice.

The Target Gift Card goes to: Teresa Robeson, along with a teacher packet to pass on to a local school or library.

Congratulations!  And, thanks again for helping me celebrate!  Can’t wait to see you and your classes via Skype!


Writer with a Cause: By Mabel Elizabeth Singletary

I had the pleasure of meeting author Mabel Elizabeth Singletary at a Dyslexia Conference in August.  Her Mightyway Books are all about empowering children to become their best selves and teaching them to honor and respect others.  Here’s Mabel to tell you about her books:

Even as a child growing up in New Jersey, I realized that words, both spoken and written, were powerful. In stories, words can allow a reader to visit places around the globe, provide scores of information, and open doors to unimaginable possibilities. Words carry the ability to change lives for better or worse. I consider my writing a calling, so when I began writing professionally in 2007, I did so with a purpose and a cause. I wanted to create stories that would bring joy, hope, and encouragement to my readers.
Having spent thirty-two years teaching elementary education, I am certain that period of my life allowed me to get an even deeper understanding of the way positive words can influence children. My second grade teacher, Miss Edith Mayner served as both a mentor and role-model for me and so many others. Each day she chose words that inspired and uplifted her classes of young children and enabled us to dream of better futures. In my case, her example ignited my dream to become a teacher. She reminded us every day of what we could become and what we could achieve in life if we actively and always pursued excellence. When that special school year ended, I left her classroom believing I could become whatever I desired.

Many years later, when I had the opportunity to teach language arts and reading, it became clear during class discussions how good stories can leave a lasting impression upon students. So when I began writing The Double Dutch Club Series, I wanted these books to emphasize the importance of children learning that in spite of their differences, they could successfully work together to accomplish shared goals.

Little Sistahs of Somerset.

Little Sistahs of Somerset.

The themes of the books you’ll find at, including the Also Rans Series and The Young Conquerors Series, highlight and focus on friendship, building good character, developing positive self-image, and learning to have compassion for others. Mighty Way’s newest publication entitled; Finding Alan Treadwell deals with the subject of bullying. This story challenges the reader to look a little deeper at the character of a boy named Jimmy, who in every sense of the word is a bullying nightmare.                Finding Alan Pic #2 .jpg for blog

I enjoy writing because it allows me to create stories from an idea and then begin the process of watching that idea grow into a book. Finally, I write because I have witnessed as well as experienced the effect encouraging words can have in bringing about optimism and hope in children’s lives. Speaking to students at schools, libraries, and book clubs has given me opportunities to talk about the main characters and themes of each story. These moments also allow me to hear about the dreams and aspirations of my young readers. Some have even shared that they hope to become writers someday. That is the time when I get to reflect back to the words of my second grade teacher and I can tell them face to face, “With excellence, perseverance, and hard work; you can become whatever you want.”

Writing fiction for children is one of the most amazing and effective ways to have a fruitful impact on tomorrow. And I love every minute of it!

To contact Mabel:
The Roselle Chapter of Oprah's Book Club.

The Roselle Chapter of Oprah’s Book Club.




Today’s post comes from my writer friend and Internet Radio Host of READ ALL ABOUT IT, Stefani Milan. Stefani’s written a new picture book. One lucky reader will have a chance to win a signed copy.  Details are at the end of the post.  Here is Stefani to tell you about her book:

I Liked You Much Better When You Were Outside by Stefani Milan (Illustrated by Matt Williams), is the small tale written in short rhyming verses about the woes of a cat whose family takes in a stray cat from the outside.                    51QTMoUqd6L

This story is a great one to share with small children to help them learn about acceptance, friendship, and much more. But it is not only for children, as this little story also appeals to cat lovers everywhere. I wrote this story after working with the Animal Welfare Association to trap and release 13 cats. Because each one had grown on me, I decided to train them, and this story was based on a true story of my 20 year old cat’s response to one of the stray cats we decided to take inside. This book is for the 12 cats who are still outside. I love them all, and my ultimate goal is to see them all adopted. A portion of the proceeds of this book go directly to them and to shelter items (food, beds, blankets) for the AWA’s countless other homeless animals.

To learn more, visit Stefani’s Facebook page for the cats,

You can win a FREE SIGNED COPY of  I LIKED YOU BETTER WHEN YOU WERE OUTSIDE by leaving a comment below.  I’ll add your name to my list and then draw one name from the list and Stefani will send the book to you.  Contest ends on 10-6-2015.  Winner will be announced here on 10-7-2015

Anyone with questions about the book can reach Stefani at

Mrs. P’s “Be A Famous Writer Contest” for Kids.

Pets is the theme of the 7th annual    Be-a-Famous Writer Contest. The contest is for K-4 classrooms and the winning classroom is filled with books in every format from the generous sponsors of the contest.

• Contest Closes: November 15, 2015
• Winners Announced January 15, 2016
• For classrooms K – 4th grade
Mrs. P invites classrooms to write a story on the topic of PETS no less than 250 words and not to exceed 1,000 words. It may be fiction or non-fiction. Any classroom from Kindergarten through 4th grade may enter. Just one story per classroom! It can be a collaborative story, or teachers can have their class vote on which child’s story to enter. While the contest is for classrooms only, parents can participate by telling their child’s teacher about it.  Find all the details at my contest website.

New PB by Traci Dunham: MY SISTER LULU AND ME Celebrates Diversity and Acceptance.

With all the latest interest in diversity in books, I am pleased to highlight a unique book recently published by author Traci Dunham titled MY SISTER LULU AND ME. Tracy does a marvelous job talking about the book and how it came to be.  Here’s what she has to say:       cover_redo

My latest book, MY SISTER LULU AND ME (for all children who are uniquely special), carries a message of acceptance. This children’s picture book is about two sisters, and one has a disability. The book shows the sisters doing things such as going to the park and the beach. Even though they can’t do the same things it is just a part of their everyday life. Lulu’s sister lets the readers know it’s OK and God makes everyone uniquely special. I wanted the book to be used as a tool to open up a dialogue between parents and teachers about those with disabilities. There are limitations to what these children can do but they can still engage in the same activities as other children. This is a great book for educating our younger generation about a topic that is not always easy to talk about. Picture books about diversity let the children ask questions and it gives parents and teachers an easy way to talk about the subject. Whether you have a friend or family member who has a disability or not, every child should be educated on this topic.

The book was inspired by my two daughters, Caroline and Paige. Caroline was born with a partial trisomy 18, a chromosome abnormality. Growing up, both sisters were close and I wanted to highlight their relationship. Paige grew up with her sister having a disability, and it never phased her. I wanted to bring the relationship between the two of them and show that if it is O.K. with her, it is OK with everybody else. Caroline is currently twenty-one years old and Paige is nineteen. Through the years Caroline continues to be a blessing to our family and everyone who knows her. Paige is currently in college where she is majoring in occupational therapy.                    006

A portion of the proceeds from the book are going toward the Chromosome 18 Registry and Research Society, an organization for parents across the country who have children with chromosome 18 abnormalities.

The book can be purchased on my website at, along with my previous children’s picture book, THE OYSTER’S SECRET.

Banned Books

A necessary and much needed post on an important topic.

Writing and Illustrating

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2015: September 27-October 3

top two banner books Top Two Banned Books

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books and compiles this information into lists in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools.

The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information. For more information on ALA’s efforts to condemn censorship, please explore Banned Books Week: Celebrating Your Freedom to Read.

List of 100 most frequently challenged books 1990-99
List of 100 most frequently challenged books 2000-09

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015


Uncensored: A Conversation with Banned Authors

Tenley-Friendship Library 4 p.m.

Join Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Deborah Hautzig, two award-winning authors of banned YA books, for a conversation about censorship and intellectual freedom in recognition of Banned Book Week 2015.

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a Newbery Award winner, whose 28-book Alice…

View original post 38 more words

Happy Birthday WHEELS OF CHANGE:Join the Celebration With Free Books, Gift Card and More!

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since the launch of my first MG Historical WHEELS OF CHANGE (Creston Books).  My heartfelt thanks to all who have been so supportive and enthusiastic through the whole process.  I couldn’t have done it without your support!


To celebrate the event, I’m offering TWO signed copies – along with TWO AUTHOR SKYPE VISITS to a classroom or school.  The book is perfect for the 3rd to 6th grade population and can be used as a tie in to units on the Industrial Revolution, racism, the rights of women, or study about changes in Washington DC over the last 100 years.

I have Curriculum Guides, study questions, vocabulary lists, and activity sheets, as well as sheets on Etiquette and Manners at the turn of the Twentieth Century.  The book has been recognized as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for 2015 by the National Council of Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council.       NCSS_NotableSealRP

I am also giving away ONE $25.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE to Target to a teacher or viewer who passes on an information packet about the book to their local school.  I’ll put your name in a hat and pick it out.  Once you’ve won, you can send me your contact information and name of the school and I’ll forward the packet to you to pass on.

To enter, please leave your comment below for one entry.  Tweet or share this post of FB or other social media for another entry.  Let me know how many entries I should count for you. You have until Sunday, 9-27-2015 to enter.  I’ll announce the winners on Monday 9-28-2015.

Celebrate Grandparents Day: Help a Senior Citizen.

Grandparents Day is Sunday 9-13, 2015. While some of us are lucky enough to have grandparents, there are others who do not.  And, there are many seniors who would welcome a visit or time spent with young people.  If you have some seniors in your neighborhood who are alone, why not take the kids over for a visit? You could bring a picnic, or have some tea and cookies.  Or take a senior out for lunch or an ice cream cone.  No seniors nearby?  You and the kids can still help by contributing to one of the following organizations that benefit seniors:

  1. Meals on Wheels: One in six Americans over 60 faces the threat of hunger.  Meals on Wheels is there to help. There are chapters in all 50 states.  You can donate, or join the crew that delivers healthy food to shut ins.
  2.  Fund a Furry Friend:  Pets provide companionship and love to their owners. By donating to  you can help a senior get a cat or dog.
  3.  Through Volunteers of America, you can assist seniors with tasks such as raking, mowing, and minor home repairs as part of their America’s Safety of Seniors Handyman Program.
  4.  Teach Technology: You can sign up to teach older adults computer and technology skills through Senior Net.


Five Great Picture Books.

On my early summer trip to the American Library Association (ALA) Convention in San Fransisco, I was thrilled to meet some of my favorite authors and to get signed copies of some great books.  Here are five picture books I highly recommend from some of my favorite authors.

  1. WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? by Debbie Redpath Ohi (Simon and Schuster): Spencer loves his books.  Spencer ADORES his books.  Spencer can’t find his books!  They are disappearing from his shelves and soon they’ll all be gone.  What’s going on?  Young readers will be delighted to help Spencer solve the mystery of his disappearing books in this engaging PB.   2014-08-25 02.19.08

2. SEAVER THE WEAVER by Paul Czajak is the latest book from the author of the popular MONSTER NEEDS Series published by Mighty Media Kids.  Seaver is a spider.  But not an ordinary spider. His webs are extraordinary, marvelous and wonders to behold. This is a delightful tale of how being different is something to be celebrated.

2014-08-25 02.30.30

3. GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz) is the second book from author Laura Sassi, following on the popular GOODNIGHT, ARK published in 2014.  Like ARK, MANGER is a beautifully written and tender story that is perfect for bedtime reading.  As baby Jesus tries to sleep in a manger full of livestock and visitors who come to see him, what will his parents do to quiet the excited crowd?  How will they get their baby to sleep?     2014-08-25 02.19.44

4.  LAND SHARK by Beth Ferry (Chronicle Books) is the second book for the author of the New York Times Bestseller STICK AND STONE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).   Bobby has only one wish for his birthday: To get a pet shark.  He leaves hints all over his house so his parents will know.  Bobby is sure he has a fool proof plan.  Until his birthday arrives and he gets a…puppy?  Can this shark-loving boy learn to love a land critter?  This is a perfect book for kids to sink their teeth into!    2014-08-25 02.18.59


5. THIS ORQ (Boyds Mills Press)  by David Elliott is a hilarious “prehistoric” tale of a cave boy and his woolly mammoth friend who have to deal with a couple of bullies.  The whimsical and humorous illustrations by Lori Nichols add to the fun. From the book jacket: “Orq and Woma best friends. Dorq and Caba mean. Story BIG.”  A guaranteed delight!       2014-08-26 01.38.17

Next time you’re at the library or bookstore, why not check out some of these great books?!

Monarch Butterfly Update.

Back in July I did a post about the importance of planting a garden that is Monarch friendly.  Since the butterflies only lay their eggs on MILKWEED, these are the best plants to encourage their re population.  Last week I went out into our garden and found these sights to behold:

Monarch caterpillar on the underside of a milkweed plant.

Monarch caterpillar chewing away on the underside of a milkweed plant.

Monarch chrysalises attached to the house...which is next to the milkweed plants.

Monarch chrysalises attached to the house…which is next to the milkweed plants.

Several days later…there was this!

monarch hatching from the chrysalis.

monarch hatching from the chrysalis.

monarch that just emerged from chrysalis and was drying its wings

monarch that just emerged from chrysalis and was drying its wings.

So amazing to see nature do what it does best!