My Small Business Saturday Adventure

It’s gift-giving season again! Two years ago I spent Small Business Saturday visiting as many independent bookstores as I and my minions could handle. In 2015, we made it to 9  (see the post here).

This year, we made it to 14 independent bookstores! We traveled 75 miles from door to door between the hours of 9am and 6pm.

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I’m not sure if this means anything, but the trajectory we took sort of looks like a human head, maybe wearing an oddly shaped jester’s cap? Hey, Debbie Ohi, any thoughts?

*** UPDATE ***

Within minutes of tweeting to Debbie Ohi, she came up with this brilliant image:


We made purchases at each of the stores below (in order):

  1. The Concord Bookshop
  2. Belmont Books
  3. Book Ends
  4. Porter Square Books
  5. Harvard Book Store
  6. The Curious George Store
  7. Trident Booksellers and Cafe
  8. Brookline Booksmith
  9. The Children’s Book Shop
  10. Papercuts J.P.
  11. The Blue Bunny Books & Toys
  12. Wellesley Books
  13. New England Mobile Book Fair
  14. Newtonville Books

Remember two things:

#1: Books make the BEST gifts

#2: Independent bookstores do more than just sell books – they’re essential parts of our community.


Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

1. Barnaby Never Forgets written & illustrated by Pierre Collet-Derby

2. Small written & illustrated by Gina Perry


International Rhyming Picture Book Day 2016

Happy International Rhyming Picture Book Day!

International Rhyming Picture Book Day

How are you gonna celebrate this most wondrously magical day of the year?

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. Guess Again! by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex

guess again

2. Iggy Peck, Architect written by Andrea “No Lithgow” Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
Iggy Peck Architect

Emily Arrow’s “Curious Garden” song for a Lennon Award

The John Lennon Song Writing Contest voting opens today. Emily Arrow’s song “Curious Garden” inspired by Peter Brown’s 2009 picture book The Curious Garden is a finalist in the children’s category. I highly encourage you to visit the JLSWC Voting Page and vote for Emily Arrow and “Curious Garden” – if you haven’t listened to it, you can do so on that page (I’m doing that right now).

You can vote once per day during the month of April.

Here’s How Emily Will Thank You For Voting

(Screen shot your vote and tweet, post, or fb message it to her)

Vote 1x – raffle for free album
Vote 10x – raffle for free album AND kazoo
Vote 20x – raffle for free album AND kazoo AND 3 books
Vote 30x – you’ll receive an album, kazoo,
and be entered in a raffle for a song written about YOU!

How will you ever remember to vote every single day?
Click To Sign Up for a Daily Invite to Vote!

Bonus: Here’s the video for Emily Arrow’s “Curious Garden”:

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read – or albums I recommend you listen to)

1. Storytime Singalong Volume I by Emily Arrow

2. The Curious Garden written & illustrated by Peter Brown

#TeachersAreRockStars at the Nerdy Book Club

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan of the Nerdy Book Club (see previous posts I’ve made here, here, and here). Today I was given the opportunity to write a post over at the Nerdy Book Club where I share my love for teachers, librarians, educators, and all that they do. Check it out here.


I also wrote a companion list on The List App (one of my favorite new social media apps) entitled “Reasons Teachers Are Rock Stars” – please feel free to add your own reasons to this list as well. Check the list out here.

Today (and every day) I encourage you to share the your love for educators. And if you do, may I request that you use the hashtag #TeachersAreRockStars in any social media posts you make? Thanks. And go hug a teacher.

Where I’ll Be Next

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. Dario and the Whale written by Cheryl Lawton Malone & illustrated by Bistra Masseva

2. Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine written by Heather Lang & illustrated by Raúl Colón

Thank you, Debbie Alvarez

I didn’t know Debbie Alvarez all that well. I had been following her blog, The Styling Librarian, for the past few years, and I knew she’d been on the forefront of the kidlit librarian blogosphere. I was a fan of Debbie’s ‘Whatever Wednesday’ posts and the fact that until this fall, all of her posts appeared a day early (due to the fact that she was living and teaching in China). I’d always get to her #IMWAYR posts on Sunday nights.

When I found out that Debbie passed away on Monday after a three year battle with cancer, I was both saddened and shocked. I had no idea she wasn’t well. Her blog was one of the best out there and her enthusiasm for books was unmatched.

In reading Facebook posts written by her friends, a blog post tribute shared by Debbie Ohi, and articles in The Oregonian, I learned just how amazing Debbie Alvarez was as a reader, educator, and human being.

Debbie Alvarez, The Styling Librarian (illustration by Debbie Ohi)
Debbie Alvarez, The Styling Librarian (illustration by Debbie Ohi)

Under normal circumstances I probably wouldn’t have written anything about this. But today on, an article posted entitled Styling Librarian Saturday Book Share Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast.

I wish I could thank Debbie for her kind words. I wish her family strength in this difficult time. I wish for Debbie’s passion to live on in every reader she touched.

Debbie says about her Saturday Book Shares: “I’ve had many books I review that I just want to feature. Simple and easy, celebrate a new book encounter. So that’s what Saturday Book Share is about for me, celebrating books!”

Thank you, Debbie Alvarez, for celebrating books.


Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs written & illustrated by Tomie dePoala


2. City Dog, Country Frog written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Jon J Muth


Thank you, Tara Lazar

The 7th annual Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) came to a close yesterday and I’d like to congratulate everyone who took part in the challenge.

I’d also like to thank Tara Lazar, the PiBoIdMo founder and organizer. For those who don’t know, Tara spends countless hours each summer and fall lining up guest posts, contacting agents for prizes, organizing a Cafe Press store (where she donates all proceeds to Reading Is Fundamental – RIF), moderating registration, managing the PiBoIdMo Facebook Group, sorting out and awarding prizes, and probably a dozen more things I don’t even know about.

She does this all for us. PiBoIdMo is completely free. For everyone.

And while all of this work does give Tara’s books some exposure, that exposure doesn’t count for much unless we, the PiBoIdMo participants, take action.

So this holiday season, I encourage everyone to purchase at least one (or more) of Tara’s books, all of which are terrific favorites in my family. If not for yourself, then perhaps as a gift for a child in your life or your local library or school.

While I am a strong supporter of independent book stores (see yesterday’s post), I’ll make it easy for you:

Little Red Gliding Hood

(under $11 at press time)

little red gliding hood

Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

I Thought This Was a Bear Book

i thought this was a bear book

Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

The Monstore

the monstore

Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Normal Norman

(available for pre-order only, releases 3/1/2016)

normal norman

Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Two for You

See the four for you above.

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

water is water