Update: Humboldt County Children's Author Festival and More

I kicked off last week with a visit to Sun Valley School here in Marin. I was very impressed with the student questions. They had so many! I really enjoyed spending a morning with them in their beautiful school.

Then, I headed north to take part in the Humboldt County Children's Author Festival. The festival began at the Morris Graves Museum of Art where participating illustrators' original work was (and still is) on display. Over the next two days, I visited three schools, all of which were fantastically prepared. There were banners! Buglette costumes! Vegan potluck lunches! But most of all, the students were engaged and inquisitive and EXCITED. I was in heaven. I also met a lovely array of authors and illustrators. The volunteers who put this event together deserve loads of praise; it is so valuable to all involved. I have included photos below, although I am sorely remiss about taking as many shots as I should (especially at school visits where I tend to be somewhat distracted until the projector, laptop, and remote are all behaving). Thankfully, there are LOTS of photos on the official Facebook page.

And the festivities continue—in a week and a half, I will be in Las Vegas for the Vegas Valley Book Festival.

In other news, I am looking forward to the release of three new books in 2014. I am also looking forward to starting a quarterly newsletter. More details about the books and the newsletter to come soon!

The art show at the Morris Graves Museum of Art
My art
An entire bulletin board of Buglette dreams!
A character inspired by my presentation, drawn on the spot!
More pigs, drawn during my visit. (I am fond of them all, but I especially like the guy with the belly button.)
The Carson Mansion, after our banquet dinner

Zoe's Room!

It's release day for Zoe's Room (No Sisters Allowed)! This story began nearly four years and three bedrooms ago. Our eldest daughter had a very elaborate bedtime ritual that involved building, jumping, singing, and creating mayhem of various sorts AFTER we put her to bed. All of this activity helped her to wind down from the day, and also, I think she reveled in having her very own space—a place where she was completely in charge. Needless to say, there were more than a few hiccups when we moved her baby sister into the room. It became very clear that the eldest was not going to give up her nighttime activities without a fight. She saw no upside to the situation. At that point, her little sister was a curiosity at best, and more often, a nuisance.

Four years later, they are still sharing a room, albeit a different one (we've done some moving around). In a funny case of life imitating art, their new room has a slanted, beamed ceiling and is in a house overlooking the water, not completely unlike the room I created for the book. Here's the room in its rarest state (clean).

These days, they chatter away at bedtime, have created new elaborate rituals, and I don't think either one is happy to go to sleep when the other one isn't there. I've watched the relationship between the two develop from one of indifference into true friendship and love (with plenty of sibling bickering to keep things interesting, of course). The moments when my eldest began to see her little sister as a real person were powerful and amazing to witness and were my inspiration for this story. Following are links for the trailer as well as some fun Zoe and Addie activity pages from Scholastic:
Zoe's Room trailer
Zoe's Room activity pages