It’s been quite a while since my last blog post. But I am determined that this is the time to change my slow blogging tendencies. On August 15, my new book on Colombia comes out in the Cavendish Square Exploring World Cultures series. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover:
Last summer, before I wrote this book, I had the opportunity to travel with my husband, son, and a dear family friend who is from Colombia. Pilar was the perfect guide — she shared stories, foods, and the beautiful culture of the country where she grew up. She never minded all the questions I asked and had so much energy and enthusiasm for every place we visited and every activity we tried. We went to incredible museums, watched local parades, and even ran into the president of Colombia when having lunch one day! The two graffiti tours we went on in Medellin and Bogota gave a snapshot of art and life in these complex cities. Visiting the produce and flower market at Paloquemao was a feast for the senses. And as a vegetarian, getting to try so many delicious new fruits was fantastic!
Here are some photos that were highlights from my time in Colombia. I cannot wait to return!
Graffiti Art Colombia
Flowers at Paloquemao Market
Pineapple Flower Display – Medellin Flower Festival
Colorful Flower Display – Medellin
La Paletteria — Popsicles in Colombia
Some of the incredible variety of Colombian fruits
Hello and HappyHoliday Season! It’s been a wonderful autumn here in upstate New York. I’ve been able to work on many different projects on topics from historical figures to music trivia to smartphones to rainbows. So for me as a writer, it has been fascinating to learn lots about so many topics.
I just got my first glimpse of the cover of my Australia book coming out next month. Having lived there for two years, this project was a labor of love and made me nostalgic for the people and places of this incredible continent. The book is geared for elementary aged readers and covers topics including sports, food, animals, and much more. Here’s a sneak peak at the cover:
And in case you want to see any pictures from my Australia days, here are a few:
Me with crimson rosella on my head in Blue Mountains
This summer my new book Animal Allstars: African Animals Facts And Folklore was released. I’m really excited about the gorgeous illustrations by award-winning illustrator Florian Bayer. The book includes basic information about all kinds of cool African animals from the fiesty honey badger to the sleek and stealthy cheetah. But there are also traditional folktales and other fun facts about the various animals as seen by different peoples living throughout Africa. Want a sneak peek? Check out some sample spreads from this book!
It seems the spring came and went and in the midst of a frenzy of writing, it was my blog that was left behind. Since the new year started, I have written 13 books on topics ranging far and wide — from biographies of rap artists to books about our government to engineering titles that explain how some of America’s most famous landmarks were built. I have learned a load along the way and am excited to share some of my upcoming titles with readers.
Here are my summer 2017 releases, with their release dates by month — Ask your local library to add them to their collection or pick up a copy for yourself! I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Pythagoras (Jr. Biographies from Ancient Civilizations)
Moses(Jr. Biographies from Ancient Civilizations)
Hot Coal Walking, Hooping, and Other Mystifying Circus Science
Stems (A Closer Look at Plants)
Roots (A Closer Look at Plants)
Leaves (A Closer Look at Plants)
24 Hours in a Lake (A Day in An Ecosystem)
24 Hours in the Taiga (A Day in An Ecosystem)
Kenya (Exploring World Cultures)
Zimbabwe (Exploring World Cultures)
The Boomslang Snake (Toxic Creatures)
The Puffer Fish (Toxic Creatures)
Lewis and Clark and Exploring the Louisiana Purchase (Primary Sources of Westward Expansion)
ESP, Superhuman Abilities, and Unexplained Powers (Paranormal Investigations)
Animal Allstars: African Animals, Facts and Folklore
Hello and Happy 2017 to Everyone Reading This Post!
Wanted to give a heads-up about my 8 books coming out either today (January 1) or later this month. They range all kinds of topics from countries to Calamity Jane. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the titles you get a chance to read. And remember, you can always ask your local library to get a copy of the book for you 🙂
Last weekend I went to the last of my summer library visits. Driving up to Southworth Library in Dryden, NY, I was impressed with its beautiful architecture.
Southworth Library in Dryden, NY
When I spoke to the library director, Diane Pamel, she shared the library’s fascinating history with me. It turned out that many years ago a member of the library board owned an original copy of the victory speech from Abraham Lincoln’s second presidential election. He bequeathed this document to the library. Fast forward to the early 2000s. The library sold the document at auction through Christie’s, earning over $3 million. They used the money to completely renovate and expand their library. Awesome idea! A copy of the original hangs in the library today.
A copy of one page of Lincoln’s 1864 Victory speech
I had a great time sharing my book Assassin Bug vs. Ogre-faced Spider:When Cunning Hunters Collide with an enthusiastic audience of young readers.
Garett and Chris from Grey Biological were on hand to share all kinds of creepy critters from Madagascan hissing cockroaches (available to hold and pat) to a red-rumped tarantula (that stayed in its cage).
We had a great time — I look forward to returning to this great library!
What a summer it has been — it’s hard to believe that the month of July has come and gone. Kids in some parts of the country are already back to school! But many young readers are happily still in vacation mode. I’ve been able to meet lots of them at some of my summer reading events. Librarian Sara Knobel received a grant to bring me to four public libraries in Central New York in connection with my book Assassin Bug vs. Ogre-Faced Spider: When Cunning Hunters Collide.
I shared this book aloud at all of the library events and also did some Q&A — with both the kids and the adults who brought them to these fantastic events. Garrett and Chris of Grey Biological brought some live bugs to share at some of these library visits. I gathered my courage and held a variety of creepy critters, including a vinegaroon, a Madagascan hissing cockroach (which hissed at me while running up my arm!), and even a large rose hair tarantula!
Holding a Madagascan hissing cockroach
Holding a rose hair tarantula
I also had a terrific time visiting the Red Jacket Community Library in Shortsville, NY. This visit was related to my multicultural picture book Francisco’s Kites. The kids in the audience and I had a great time making — and flying — kites, as well as eating kite-shaped cookies. (These childrens’ mom gave me permission to use this picture.)
Children making kites at Red Jacket Community Library
June has been a great month for writing, traveling, and school visits with kids of all ages. What I have been writing this month? I wrote a book about Israel that’s part of the Exploring World Cultures series published by Cavendish Square. Here’s some more info about that series:https://cavendishsq.com/series/Exploring-World-Cultures
I also worked on a book about beavers for young readers. Sometimes known as nature’s engineers, these creatures are hard workers. They create lodges that are tough for predators to invade. And they work in groups to build their dams and maintain their lodges.
Another fun project I worked on was an article for National Geographic Kids. It’s about an animal called a pademelon. If you’ve never heard of one, don’t feel badly – -I hadn’t either. The adorable creatures that I was focusing on live on the island Tasmania in Australia. They are small marsupials. Want to see a Tasmanian pademelon?
I also wrote a book for teens immigrating to the US. I’ll talk more about that book in an upcoming post…
On June 7, I had a wonderful day with the students and teachers at Hamilton Central School in Hamilton, NY. I met with small, grade-level groups ranging from kids in Pre-K to 5th grade. We talked about the writing process, why nonfiction is awesome, and even played a fun game “What’s In My Bag?”. With some classes, I also read my book Francisco’s Kites. Here’s one photo from the day:
Talking to 5th graders about the writing process and why nonfiction is fun!
With the glorious weather that summer brings, sometimes you have to take a day off and just enjoy the sunshine! That’s exactly what I did…here’s a photo of a fantastic day off in Cooperstown, NY!
Enjoy the summer — I’ll be sure to post again in July!
It’s only mid-May and already there are loads of things on my writer’s calendar that I am excited about. I just found out that my book The World’s Strangest Foods was added to the Society Of Children’s Book Writers And Illustrators (SCBWI) Official Reading List for Summer 2016! They have recommended it for kids in grades 3-5.
Last week I had a great time visiting with kids in grades 3-6 at Virgil Elementary School in Cortland, NY. Librarian Katy Charles was kind enough to share some pictures from the event. The students were a wonderful audience and asked so many good questions.
Talking about the fun of nonfiction
I am very excited about presenting next week to a group of librarians at the North Country School Library Systems Conference being held in Lake Placid on May 23. The subject of my presentation will be “Bringing the World to Young Readers.” I’m really looking forward to talking about the connections to geography and the world’s cultures through my magazine articles and books. There will even be some sneak peaks from books coming out this summer:
Brazil (Exploring World Cultures) book — due out in August!
I’ll also be doing an event related to my picture book Francisco’s Kites at the Red Jacket Community Library in Shortsville, NY on June 29. Here’s what their website says:
Book Reading & Discussion-Francisco’s Kites (Ages 7-11)
When: Wed, June 29, 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Description: Author Alicia Z. Klepeis will visit the library for a book reading & discussion of her book “Francisco’s Kites”. Children can also partake in a kite making craft. A yummy snack will be provided.
Tune in again soon to see what else is happening — it should be a fantastic summer!