It’s November! And that means...

I can talk about my new Christmas book! The Best Parts of Christmas was released over a month ago, but who wants to hear about Christmas in September?!? Now that it’s cold and raining and I find myself dreaming about long underwear and slippers, it’s time.

We have a small collection of Christmas picture books that I read to my girls—The Christmas Quiet Book, The Christmas Magic, and Olivia Helps With Christmas. I love these books because they celebrate the simple pleasures of the holiday season. I wanted to write that sort of book. It also dawned on me that I’d never read a Christmas story that chronicles the entire emotional journey of the holidays. Taking down the tree in our house really does seem like this:

So, I made the tree the centerpiece of this story. It’s brought into the house, decorated, loved, and encircled during all of the family’s special moments. When the time comes to take it down, our protagonist finds a way to keep the holiday spirit going. Many thanks to Candlewick Press and my editor, Kate Fletcher, for bringing this story to life. Here’s one of my favorite images from the book:

Fritz and his family from  I Feel Five  are back again in  The Best Parts of Christmas .

Fritz and his family from I Feel Five are back again in The Best Parts of Christmas.

There’s also a parent/bookseller/teacher guide to go along with the book. That can be downloaded from the activities section of the book page. It includes discussion questions as well as suggestions for a few simple ornaments that can be made by hand. This only seems appropriate since Fritz creates all kinds of great decorations for his Christmas tree.

I’ll be at Diesel Bookstore in Larkspur on November 28th in the morning if you’d like to have one signed for a child (or adult) in your life!

And finally, my October school visits continue to pay dividends as I receive letters from students. These are my favorite packages to find in the mail. I’m including a few art highlights below—many are based on my drawing presentation. They’re inspiring, uplifting, and sometimes, brighten my day with a good laugh. To that point, please see the recommendation that I write more nonfishin books. I will definitely take that into consideration.

Happy November!

School Visit Season (Subtitle: two weeks of amazing potlucks)

October has been school visit season for me, and I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with students in schools from San Francisco to Humboldt County. I’m guilty of not taking as many photos as I should, but that’s because I’m usually distracted by the awesomeness of the schools, teachers, and students (not to mention the unbelievably yummy potlucks that are often also part of the deal).

I had a lovely time at the Tenderloin Community School in SF a few weeks ago with an amazing crowd of authors (photo below). Then last week, I headed north to the Humboldt County Author Festival. It’s only my second time participating, but these people know how to do it RIGHT—maybe because the volunteers have been organizing this incredible event since the 1970s. Wow. There are so many highlights between the two days of school visits and reader’s theater, but I think the Friday night dinner is my favorite part. Each author speaks for three minutes—it’s such a fun way to learn about people. And after returning to the Bay Area, I had the pleasure of visiting Jefferson Elementary School in SF for the first time—great authors, great teachers, great students, great questions, and AGAIN, great food. I'm truly blessed.

I'll be back soon with exciting news and info about upcoming appearances and books. It’s shaping up to be a busy fall/winter, and I can hardly wait. In the meantime, I’ve collected some photos below, a few of which are mine. The rest have been borrowed from people who actually remember to take pictures.