My World Read Aloud Day 2017 Experience

On Thursday, I visited 21 classrooms in 12 states, 6 time zones, 4 countries, and ALL the hemispheres.

You see, Thursday, February 16th was World Read Aloud Day (#WRAD), presented by litworld.org, an organization whose goal is to cultivate a love of reading and fight illiteracy worldwide. According to LitWorld, WRAD “calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories” and “is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries.”

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What was my involvement? Well, to do my part, I virtually visited (via skype) a score of classrooms across the world on Thursday – and one on Wednesday night in Kuala Lumpur (but it was Thursday morning for them) – see the map below. Some of the visits were with a single classroom. Others were with entire grades or even multiple grades congregating in libraries and media centers. I saw all grade levels from K through 5. For each 15-20 minute visit, I read a sneak peek copy of THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH (the upcoming sequel to LADY PANCAKE & SIR FRENCH TOAST) – even though it’s not out until May 2nd. Then I took questions from the kids for the remaining time. And all the visits were completely free of charge.

But 21 visits? How did I manage that? At the beginning of the school year, all-star author Kate Messner puts a call out to authors who are willing to skype with classes and then lists them for educators to find. We can call Kate the WRAD Matchmaker. Between Kate, Twitter, Facebook, the contact page on my website, and the network of my educator friends, my schedule filled up pretty quickly.

It was a blast to share THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH, but the best part was interacting with the students. They asked so many amazing questions. I shared my writing and revision process, my favorite books (now and as a kid), how I come up with ideas, and more. These kids did some serious research and some even completed their own versions of my ‘fill-in-the-blank’ bio. And twice I was asked about my system for getting as much syrup on the bottom pancake as the top (I didn’t give away the secret, don’t worry).

Here’s a snapshot of my day:

It was a totally fabulous day. The tech was virtually flawless (thanks, Skype Classroom). We may not have hoverboards, but Marty McFly would be proud.

If you’re interested in learning more, definitely check out LitWorld.org and follow Kate Messner & Skype Classroom – and start getting ready for #WRAD18!

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. The Green Umbrella written by Jackie Azúa Kramer & illustrated by Maral Sassouni

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2. Adrift: An Odd Couple of Polar Bears written & illustrated by Jessica Olien

Dear DEAR DRAGON, Happy Book Birthday!

My third book – Dear Dragon – comes out today!

Dear Dragon Book Birthday

Wait. Didn’t Pirasaurs! just come out? Yes. Due to a quirk in publishing, both books are being released a week apart. What an incredible ‘problem’ to have!

What’s Dear Dragon about?

George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and Science Fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face? A sweet and clever friendship story about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.

Dear Dragon is illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo and published by Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Watch the Dear Dragon Book Trailer:

Want Activity Pages? Download the Free Dear Dragon Activity Pages Here! (right click save link as)

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Want read more about Dear Dragon? Check out these reviews, interviews, and guest blog posts:

Want to see me read Dear Dragon in person (and get a Dragon Latte)?

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Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. A Fire Truck Named Red written by Randall de Sève & illustrated by Bob Staake

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2. Before I Leave written & illustrated by Jessixa Bagley

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Heading to ILA?

On Saturday, I’ll be attending the annual ILA Convention in Boston. What is ILA, you ask? According to their website:

The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a global advocacy and membership organization of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers, and experts across 75 countries. With over 60 years of experience, ILA has set the standard for how literacy is defined, taught, and evaluated.

Why am going? The ILA Convention is a great place for publishers to share their upcoming titles with educators from around the world. I’m scheduled for a couple hours of signings, but when looking over the list of other authors … it kind of blew my mind.

From 11am-12pm I’ll be signing Dear Dragon at the Penguin booth #306. Here are the other Penguin authors signing over the weekend:

ILA

From 1-2pm I’ll be signing Pirasaurs! at the Scholastic booth #2107. Here are the other Scholastic authors signing over the weekend:

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Starstruck? Me, too. But I’m really looking forward to meeting educators and other book people. After all, that’s really why I’m going.

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. Ghost in the House written by  Ammi-Joan Paquette & illustrated by Adam Record

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2. Surf’s Up written by Kwame Alexander & illustrated by Daniel Miyares
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Happy Mother’s Day Brunch!

To celebrate Mother’s Day, I was invited to the KidLit TV kitchen to cook pancakes and french toast with Storymakers host Rocco Staino and Jason Greene of One Good Dad. Watch me cause crazed culinary chaos …

See the full KidLit TV post here. And Happy Mother’s Day!

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. Where’s My Mummy by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by John Manders

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2. Gator Dad written & illustrated by Brian Lies
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B&N National Storytime on 1/2/16

As you probably know, I’m a strong supporter of my local independent book stores – and I’m lucky to have so many near me in New England. But I also know that for many others, the only brick and mortar book store option is Barnes & Noble. And today I have some great news!

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast has been selected as the first national storytime read of 2016 at all U.S. Barnes & Noble locations!

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On Saturday, January 2, 2016 at YOUR local Barnes & Noble, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast will be featured with activity kits and more (probably at 11am). I’m very thankful that Barnes & Noble has chosen to highlight Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast to start the new year!

So on January 2nd, I recommend a hearty brunch, followed by a trip to the book store at 11am! And while you’re there, be sure to check out …

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. I Don’t Like Koala written by Sean Ferrell and illustrated by Charles Santoso

i don't like koala

2. I Love You Already! written by Jory John and illustrated by Benji Davies

i love you already

My Shop Small Adventure

One cool thing about being a a Penguin Kids author is that my fabulous editor Leila Sales (who is also a YA/MG author) sometimes reaches out to “her” authors to take part in events that involve the larger literary community. Last year, Leila encouraged us to support Banned Books Week, so I made this video. This year, Leila and Penguin Kids suggested we support #ShopSmall Saturday by visiting independent bookstores and tagging @penguinkids.

So this past Saturday, I took to the road with my trusty pair of assistants. Let me preface this by saying I’m very lucky that the Boston area has so many independent bookstores. We were able to shop small at NINE different indies between 9:30am and 4pm.

We traveled to (in chronological order)

  1. The Concord Bookshop
  2. Porter Square Books
  3. Harvard Book Store
  4. The Curious George Store
  5. Brookline Booksmith
  6. The Children’s Book Shop
  7. The Blue Bunny Books & Toys
  8. New England Mobile Book Fair
  9. Newtonville Books

You can see all my tweets from the day here.

Below is the path we took:
map36.4 miles. 16 books purchased. But by 4pm, my trusty assistants were too exhausted to continue and we didn’t get to all the stores we wanted.

At least now we’ll have a number to beat next year!

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. One Day, The End written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Fred Koehler

one day the end

2. Water Is Water written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

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Shop Small on French Toast Day!

November 28th is a great day! Not only is it French Toast Day, but this year it’s also Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is a movement encouraging people to support local business, especially book local indie book stores.

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So if you’re inclined to shop today, whether for yourself or for others, I highly recommend that you visit a local brunch establishment followed by a local independent book store (click here to find a local indie near you). I know that’s what I’ll be doing! #ShopSmall

Two for You

1. Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show written by Michael Buckley and illustrated by Dan Santat

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2. Rex Wrecks It written and illustrated by Ben Clanton

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