Great review of Francisco’s Kites

I just received a lovely review of my book Francisco’s Kites on the Spark & Pook blog. Here are a few tidbits from the review:

“This book is recommended for children ages 4-8, but I think you could easily extend it up to age 10 or so.  This would be a great book to add to a collection of high quality bilingual children’s books, but I think it would be great for all children. I would also recommend it to teachers and parents teaching about Hispanic culture or recycling.”

Want to see the other things the reviewer liked about the book?

The Fun of Proofs

Sometimes it can seem funny how a kids’ book gets put together. An editor gives you an assignment with word count, style guidelines, and so on. Then you’re off to the races…frantically gathering information from as many sources as you can find. Being a child of the 1970s, I love inter-library loaning a huge stack of books as a way to get information and inspiration. The internet can be super-helpful too, of course, but there is something magical about leafing through the pages of a real book. Earlier this spring I was thrilled when a research librarian was able to get in a first edition book about British Goblins — even signed by the author.

Months, or sometimes even years later, an email arrives saying that it’s time to look at the proofs for your work. It can seem like a foreign entity to you if the wait is long enough. But I am always grateful to see how the editors, layout and design team take a Word file and turn it into a thing of beauty. Photos that match the text I wrote? Cool. Illustrations an artist created especially for my story? Awesome. And while it may be embarrassing to admit, I also get excited to see my name on whatever design of cover has been chosen for my work.

Recently, I have seen my name in close proximity to a coffin for my vampires book, below a man having his head drilled for a book on bizarre medicine, and nearby a group of freaky-looking goblins for a mythology book.

Vampire book cover Cairo, Camels, and Chaos cover

Some authors may dread the proofs but not me. Bring them on!

New Amazon author page

As August 1 approaches, I’m getting super excited. Why? I have 5 new books all being released on that day. So I have updated my Amazon author page where anyone who’s interested can see the new book covers and find out more about these titles. Interested in vampires? Check out Vampires: The Truth Behind History’s Creepiest Bloodsuckers. Like wacky history? Take a peek at Bizarre Things We’ve Called Medicine.

Vampire book cover

If you or someone you know likes fiction and adventure stories, I have three new ones coming out this week. One is set in Egypt, another in India, and the last in Italy.These beautifully illustrated chapter books are about 100 pages each and are geared for readers in grades 3-5. Here’s the cover of Cairo, Camels, and Chaos

Cairo, Camels, and Chaos cover


To see all the covers, check out the following link:


Francisco’s Kites event — August 1

On Saturday, August 1  the Colgate University Bookstore in Hamilton, NY is hosting an event to celebrate my new picture book, Francisco’s Kites.

Francisco's Kites poster

Since the book in bilingual, I will read the book in English. My good friend Pilar Mejia Barrera, who teaches Spanish at Colgate, will read the text in Spanish. We’ll also be making kites.

Homemade kite image

We’ll have a book-related treat…it’s a surprise so please come and find out what yummy delight awaits! I hope to see you there!

Here’s the official press release for the event:

Francisco’s Kites Press Release

The World’s Strangest Foods event — Success!

On Thursday, July 2 I hosted an event at the Hamilton Public Library to celebrate my book The World’s Strangest Foods.

Strange Foods book cover

I brought all kinds of unusual food from countries including Japan, England, Ecuador, Germany, and many others.We started out with horned melon from New Zealand, and dragon fruit from Vietnam. I offered about 19-20 different items, which varied from the tame (British candy and coconut soda) to preserved eel (in a can),  and Limburger cheese. I never would have expected so many kids to try every item on the menu!

Culinary options at the Strange Foods event

Culinary options at the Strange Foods event

Horned melon from New Zealand

Horned melon from New Zealand

While I’d been expecting about 15 kids to attend, we ended up with more like 35-40 kids. They ranged in ages but there were lots of tweens and teens and many boys in the audience. I read segments from the book and got the requisite oohs and aahs at some of the more bizarre culinary offerings (fermented shark meat, anyone?).

I would love to bring a presentation like this to other libraries and schools. We had a terrific time!

This is what Library Director Hilary Virgil had to say about the event: “Limburger cheese, dragon fruit, canned roast eel, seaweed crackers, lychee candies, coconut soda and more! We had a fabulous feast exploring foreign foods with local author Alicia Klepeis…and we learned our teens are fearless! Thank you, Alicia!”

Library Board of Directors member Maureen Wallace said, “What a fantastic event. I cannot believe how attentive and willing the participants were to try everything! Alicia did a wonderful job!”

Having Fun With Ice Cream

Whether you’re a homeschooling family or a family that has kids on summer vacation, everyone likes ice cream. And we as parents know that even if kids don’t admit it, learning is often fun. A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for The Old Schoolhouse that was a unit of study all about ice cream — the science behind it, the history of it, and of course how to make your own. My own children had loads of fun with the activities. Here’s the link to the original article:

Screen shot 2015-07-10 at 9.59.33 AM

Kids Making Ice Cream from Scratch


I was also thrilled to discover this morning that my article was featured on the Modern Homeschool Family website: Cream Unit Study

21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference

I recently returned from the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference held at Manhattan College, New York. It was my third time attending the conference and, as always, I had a terrific time. I was able to attend some incredible sessions by several of my favorite authors, including Melissa Stewart and Steve Swinburne. Steve’s talk about the intersection of poetry and nonfiction was great fun and he showed how to roll even when technology goes awry.  I love that he takes risks and is willing to have a sense of humor — singing one of his poems inside a seaweed-filled tidepool. I was also inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity of presenters such as Heather Montgomery. Her book How Rude! 10 Real Bugs Who Won’t Mind Their Manners is bound to be a popular one with kids of all ages.

As anyone knows who’s ever attended a conference, connections with people are what really make an event stand out. As I headed to the evening mix and mingle, I sat down at a crowded table and –lo and behold — the editor who’d just worked on three of my adventure chapter books was sitting across from me. She was fun and great company to hang out with!

I can’t wait to go back next year to the 21CCNFC and make even more new friends and connections!


Want to learn more? Here’s an article from Publisher’s Weekly:


World’s Strangest Foods event at Hamilton Public Library on July 2

Fear Factor Food Challenge with Local Author Alicia Klepeis (Ages 10+) 

Hamilton Public Library from Hamilton
Photo from Hamilton Public Library

Are you afraid of far-out foods, or do you find the unfamiliar fabulous? Ages 10 and up are invited to sign up for our “Fear Factor” Food Challenge and visit with Alicia Klepeis, author of The World’s Strangest Food, on Thursday, July 2nd from 3-4pm. Participants will be offered opportunities to taste of a variety of foods from around the world! If this is not your kind of fare, feel free to come and watch the festivities. Please stop by the Library in advance to register for this event and pick up a parental permission form.

A Visit to the Turkish Consulate


In 2014 my book Understanding Turkey Today was released by Mitchell Lane Publishers. It was fascinating to research. I was lucky enough to have some help from Heather and Cengiz Cigeroglu. Heather taught art at a school in Istanbul and Cengiz grew up in Turkey. They were super generous with their time, teaching me cool things like how to make a kid-friendly version of ebru (Turkish marbled paper) and also how to cook some delicious recipes eaten by people all over Turkey. Here’s a photo of my first attempt:




After reaching out to the Turkish Consulate in New York during the research process, I was invited to meet the Vice Consul, Sadik Serhat Akkoç. So this past Thursday I headed to the consulate where I was able to present a copy of my book as a gift. There we spoke about writing for children and adults, education in the US and in Turkey, and so on. Later that evening the Vice Consul and his wife hosted me to a beautiful dinner full of traditional home-cooked specialties – from soups to pilaf to stuffed peppers. It was, hands down, the most delicious meal I have ever eaten. We talked about culture, food, family and so many other topics. I learned so much and very much hope to go to Turkey in the future to learn even more about this fascinating country!

Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee

Turkish Delight coated in edible rose petals

Turkish Delight coated in edible rose petals

Utah — Petroglyphs at McConkie Ranch

Growing up on the East Coast, petroglyphs were something I’d never actually seen in person. When I was in Utah recently, I had the chance to spend a morning at McConkie Ranch just west of Vernal in the area now known as Dinosaurland.

Even though McConkie Ranch is privately owned, the public is welcome to explore the petroglyphs and pictographs on the property. Don’t know the difference between the two? Petroglyphs are images chipped into the rock. Pictographs are painted onto the rock. The petroglyphs here were made by the Fremont people about 1,000 years ago. Trails are well marked and it’s easy to get around.

One of the many petroglyphs at McConkie Ranch

One of the many petroglyphs at McConkie Ranch

Petroglyph People

Petroglyph People

On the sunny, crisp morning when my daughter and I visited McConkie, we had the place practically to ourselves. Payment is just $4 per car and on the honor system. A metal trash can full of walking sticks for loan is available. Inside the little cabin at the entrance is a metal cash box and a fridge full of beverages. Post-it notes and business cards from visitors wallpapered the inside of the cabin. I left mine too. Everyone is supposed to register in the guest book — there were people from around the globe who’d recently stopped in.


The petroglyphs were abundant — it seemed at every turn, we saw a new image.

The rock formations here were spectacular as well, as were the blooming cacti along the trails.


Cactus in bloom

One of many cool rock formations at McConkie Ranch

Cool rocks and sky

Incredible contrast between rock and sky

McConkie Ranch is just one of Vernal’s gems…keep posted for more! If you can’t wait to see more, check out the following website: