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I’m Baaack…sort of.

The year 2018 has been a challenging one for me. I’ve had not one, not two, but three family members face serious medical/health issues. Life has tested me, for sure, and I cannot wait for 2019 and the hope for less stressful, happier, healthier times.

That said, my life is settling back to normal now, except for one thing–I had to have hand surgery earlier this month! When I’m all healed, I’ll have a brand new “bionic” thumb! But for now, I’m in a hand splint and typing one-handed (non-dominant hand). It’s a bit frustrating at times (and yes, I’m aware of dictation software–just haven’t found one I like) but despite my temporary disability (“temporary” meaning 6 months), I wanted to share some news.

Simon & Schuster is releasing a Spanish edition of MAMA LOVES YOU SO! The new edition, CUÁNTO MAMÁ TE QUIERE will be released NEXT WEEK, on August 28! Same gorgeous artwork by Simone Shin but translated into Spanish!

MamaSpanish

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How Much Money Does a Writer Make? [2017]

Non-writers who are thinking about writing often ask me if children’s writers make much money. Once again, Laura Purdie Salas shares her own personal experience with this. Enjoy!

Mentors for Rent

Howdy, writers! First, my annual disclaimer:

If you think it’s impolite to talk about finances, skip this article!

Dollar_SignSo, one question aspiring writers often ask is, “Can I make a living at this?” It’s not a matter of greed, but of necessity. So many of dream of making a living doing what we love. But there’s little reliable information out there about what writers make. That’s partly because writer incomes vary so greatly, and partly because writers tend to be private about their incomes. Those doing very well probably don’t want to brag. Those making very little might feel embarrassed. Those of us in the middle might just be adhering to societal norms of not speaking about money. Luckily, I don’t care about societal norms:>)

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Book Release–Play ball!!!

Well, I’m a day late in announcing the release of my latest book, JACK AND JILL AND T-BALL BILL (Random House Step-Into-Reading). It’s not that I’m not thrilled with this adorable easy reader (illustrated by Sue DiCicco). The problem is that for the past few months I’ve been pulled away from my writing because of a family medical emergency (hence, the lack of blog posts, too). So much so that I’ve cleared my schedule through summer’s end. So, lately I’m a bit behind on everything!

BUT…I do want to share here the great news about “T-Ball Bill” as I affectionately call my new book. In case you’re wondering, it’s a rhyming Step 1 (K-1) reader about Bill, a fun-loving dog, who interrupts a t-ball game by stealing the ball for his own game of Keep-Away. It’s only after Jill comes up with a clever solution to outsmart Bill that they get the ball back and the game resumes!

My hope is that dog-loving, t-ball-loving, book-loving young readers will snatch this one up and want to read it again and again, helping them on the road to becoming lifelong readers.

TBallBillCover

 

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‘Tis the Season…

…for holiday gifts! For those of you still looking for great books for babies and young children, please check out my SCBWI Bookstop pages. (this is the last post I’ll make about them, I promise!)

For babies, toddlers and moms, a board book that expresses a mother’s love for her child that’s as grand as nature itself, MAMA LOVES YOU SO.

For preschoolers and K-1 kids who love nature science, visit this beautiful garden, MY BUSY GREEN GARDEN.

Happy Holidays!

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The Power of Story

Being a children’s author, I’ve always known about the power a story can have on a child. Whether it be a picture book story putting a child on the path of lifelong reading or a young adult novel that reassures a teen he’s not alone in his personal struggles, children’s stories are powerful and empowering. But until I “met” Maria, a student in one of my online writing courses, I hadn’t realized just how extensive this power can be.

Maria lives with her family in Damascus, Syria. Rocket explosions and the violence of war are part of her everyday life, as is the struggle for things we in U.S. often take for granted– food, clean water, electricity, and the internet. But amidst all the uncertainty, Maria finds comfort in stories. More specifically, she uses stories to provide her young son with an escape from his daily reality.

Like Scheherazade of storytelling lore, every night Maria tells her son a new story. “In darkness, we spoon every night on the same pillow and I start whispering the story words inside his ear, and that’s when the magic starts. My son’s soul and mind leave his body secure in my arms and travel to the story world like a hypnotized schizophrenic and never comes back until he hears ‘happily ever after.’” Amazingly, she makes up her stories each night, sometimes continuing them over to the next. But every night, there is a story. A story that her young son relies upon, as much as the food or water he requires for nourishment.

Story empowers Maria’s son, showing him a safer, brighter, happier life. It transforms him to a place where he can escape the harsh reality of life in Syria, giving him hope for his own “happily ever after.”