Jambalaya Writers Festival

Jambalaya Writers Festival-9341

I spent a lovely day Saturday at the Terrebonne Parish Public Library in Houma, Louisiana, for the Jambalaya Writers Festival. I am pictured here with Monique Martin, who flew in from California to talk about her paranormal time travel romance novels. In addition to signing books, I gave a talk on the art of making nonfiction picture books illustrated with photographs.

Jambalaya Writers Festival-9333

We had gorgeous weather for the outdoor lunch (Jambalaya, of course) and the sunset party on the patio.
I’ll be back on the road on Wednesday for the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at USM in Hattiesburg. See you there.

Guest Posting at Elizabeth Dulemba’s Blog

Today, I offer tips on finding and working with experts when you are writing nonfiction for children. My post appears on the blog of children’s author/illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba, a friend from SCBWI’s Southern Breeze region. I hope you’ll click here to read the post. You could win a free copy of Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature.

Elizabeth has a new novel out next month called A Bird on Water Street. I read an advance copy and I think she did a masterful job of exploring the environmental impacts of resource mining through the eyes of boy growing up in Appalachia.

Physically, I am in Boston for the annual convention of the National Science Teachers Association. I will present in a session titled, “A Real-Life Page Turner: Award-winning Trade Book Authors Share Their Research Strategies” and then Richard and I will sign copies of Mysterious Patterns. I’ll post pictures when I get back home.



Mysterious Patterns Launch at Lemuria

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and signing Mysterious Patterns at Lemuria yesterday. My mother took a ton of pictures and I’m happy to share some here.

reading MPThis is actually one of my favorite pages, with fractal patterns in leaf veins and human lungs.

big crowd shotHere’s Jackie Hayes, a retired teacher, talking about how teachers use books to extend the curriculum.

showing sierpinski carpetA group of students from Davis Magnet IB World School came to the signing, including four who have been part of this book’s journey for a few years. Read about my Davis Magnet critique group here.

Emily G selling booksHere’s Emily Grossenbacher, the manager  of Lemuria’s Children’s section, helping sell my books!

signing for Barbara Signing books for Barbara McLaughlin and her granddaughters, Tinsely and Tatum.

critique groupMy faithful critique group.

Mysterious Patterns Book Launch at Lemuria

MP coverI know I’ve been talking about Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature for months, but the date of publication is finally upon us. Next week, in fact. So, please join me at Lemuria bookstore on Monday, March 31, at 4 p.m. to officially launch Mysterious Patterns.

I’ll read from the book and answer any questions you have about fractals.

In the meantime, you can read reviews here.

Later next week, Richard and I will travel to the National Science Teachers Association‘s Annual Convention in Boston. I will join other authors for a session titled “A real-life page turner: Award-winning trade book authors share their research strategies,” and we will sign books at the booth of Stenhouse Publishers, a sister company to my publisher, Boyds Mills Press.

We will also visit our son, Graeme, who is in his first year at MIT. We can’t wait!




Jane Yolen Headlines 2012 Children’s Book Festival

Jane Yolen was this year’s Medallion recipient and she gave a very nice speech about the importance of story.

Jane YolenAs all of us struggle to figure out how stories will find their audiences in our digital world, it is surely important to remember that story matters most.

This is my fifth Kaigler festival; each one seems better than the last.

This year Julie Owen came along and co-presented with me. Our newest workshop is “Read a Book, Make a Book!” We had more than 50 librarians (and a few writers and illustrators) in the room. We were so busy with the hands-on bookmaking that we didn’t get a single photograph. Errrrgh!

We had good suggestions from Micha Archer, an honor winner in this year’s Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Contest.

 Meg Medina and Micha Archer

Meg Medina, winner of the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award for her book, Tia Isa Wants a Car, with Micha Archer, who illustrated Lola’s Fandango.

Jenny Sue's familyPatrick and T, the husband and daughter of Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, who won the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award for her illustrations of Same, Same But Different. She also was an honor winner of the EJK new writer award for Same Same But Different. One of my favorite bits of the signing time at Barnes and Noble was my tea party with T, while her mom signed books.

Margery Cuyler
Margery Cuyler

Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Matt de la Pena

Matt de la Pena signing We Were Here, which he gave (GAVE!) to Julie after his speech, which was very inspiring!
Denise FlemingDenise Fleming, leading librarians in a dance.

Sarah with Floyd Dickman

I spent some time visiting with Floyd Dickman, learning about the curriculum work he’s done with quilts and children’s books in Ohio.

Sarah with meridian librarians

During my signing time, I met some librarians from Meridian.

Claudia Pearson

I spent time with my SCBWI friends at the Southern Breeze table. Claudia Pearson and Jo Kittinger worked hard to spread the word among librarians about homegrown writers and illustrators and to encourage would-be writers and illustrators among the librarians to join us at SCBWI.

Hester Bass

Hester Bass, author of The Secret World of Walter Anderson, hosts the Southern Breeze table.

Diane ButlerDiane Butler, librarian at Magee Middle School, wins the Kaigler-Lamont Award, which is given to a librarian who has done outstanding work in turning kids on to books.

Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco, who were signing their book, True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries.

Thanks, Julie, for coming along, and for taking the pictures that include me.

Em’s Lemuria Signing

Some photos from the signing at Lemuria for Civil Rights History From the Ground Up: Local Struggles, a National Movement, which is edited by Emilye Crosby. She was joined in discussing the book by Charles M. Payne, a professor at the University of Chicago, who contributed an essay. I introduced her because she’s my big, no, scratch that, older sister.

Em Crosby
charles payne
Sarah introducing
signing w susan
g with chambliss
From the Ground Up Group

This picture also includes Patty and Dave Crosby and Gustina Atlas, who taught Emilye and me algebra and trigonometry at Port Gibson High School.

Civil Rights History From the Ground Up

Come see my sister, Dr. Emilye Crosby, at Lemuria this evening at 5:30 p.m. for a discussion of her new book, Civil Rights History From the Ground Up: Local Struggles, a National Movement. Dr. Charles M. Payne, who contributed an essay to the book, will also be there. Payne taught me at Northwestern University 24 years ago, but he is now teaching at the University of Chicago. His essay is titled “Sexism is a Helluva Thing.”

Read a review of the book on Lemuria’s website here. There are lots of nice pictures, too.

Off to Seattle for Page Ahead Book Party

page ahead logoToday I leave for Seattle to attend the Page Ahead Best Books for Kids Award Ceremony. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature is a finalist in the nonfiction category. I’ll be visiting with some friends I’ve known since the day I started kindergarten in Evanston, IL. It’ll be a quick trip, but my son, Douglas, is coming along and we are going to pack as much in as we can.

Thank you, Washington School

I spent a great day with students and teachers at Washington School. I had sessions with first graders through fifth graders and the emphasis shifted over the course of the day from more Wolfsnail to more Growing Patterns. The students had wonderful questions; there were a bunch of young scientists in the library that day. Thank you, Louise Potin, elementary librarian at Washington School, for the invitation and the tremendous time.
Washington School Kids with Sarah
Sarah presentation
Sarah signing wolfsnail
Signing Wolfsnail with washington school girl
Louise Potin with Sarah at Washington School

Books By the Banks Festival in Cincinnati

I spent last weekend in Cincinnati for a mixture of work and pleasure. I signed books and talked with readers at Books by the Banks, a festival organized by librarians and others interested in promoting literacy in the Cincinnati area.Family Examining Growing Patterns

boy examines pinecone

I woke up with a very scratchy throat on Saturday and proceeded to lose my voice over the course of the day. I had help from my table mate, author Julie K. Rubini, who greeted all-comers to our table, and from my Aunt Mary, who explained the Fibonacci sequence and helped kids and adults use the Private Eye magnifying loupes to examine a pinecone and a nautilus shell.

A girl examines a pine cone with private eye

I have many relatives living in Cincinnati and several came to see me at Books by the Banks.

john crosby and chrissy ayersHere I am with my Dad’s brother John and my cousin, Chrissy.

terry paul ann and sarah

Here I am with my mother’s cousin Paul, my mother’s brother, Terry, and my great Aunt Ann.

karen and sarahHere I am with my cousin, Karen, who teaches kindergartners. She used to teach older students and was delighted with the math content of Growing Patterns.

margaret ryanHere I am with Margaret Ryan, one of my mother’s high school classmates.

Earlier on Friday, I read Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature to several groups of third graders at Pleasant Ridge Montessori.

reading Growing Patterns

After we read the book, we made our own growing pattern, starting with 5 and 5.

making our own growing patternOn Friday evening, the Books by the Banks organizers hosted a very nice reception for authors at The Mercantile Library in downtown Cincinnati.
Sharon Draper and Sarah at BBTB

Here I am pictured with Sharon Draper, author of many books for young readers, including the most recent Out of My Mind. She and I crossed paths earlier this year at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival in Hattiesburg, MS.

reading room at the mercantile library
I enjoyed being in this reading room. The wooden tables reminded me of the library at Corpus Christi College in Oxford, where I studied politics and philosophy.