Read About Robots

My childhood was filled with robots from TV and film: R2-D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars, Twiggy from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Maximilian from The Black Hole, Bubo from Clash of the Titans, Rosey from The Jetsons, B-9 from Lost in Space, and Mechagodzilla from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla rounded out the all-stars.

So naturally, when I first started writing books for kids, one of my earliest manuscripts was a rhyming robot picture book. Five years later, Bitty Bot (gloriously illustrated by Tad Carpenter) will be published by Simon & Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books in October 2016. Two other robot books for kids are coming out this year as well. Peter Brown's middle grade novel, The Wild Robot, releases in April, and Miranda Paul's Trainbots, with illustrations by Shane McG releases in June.

That got me thinking about all the bots from books that preceded ours--the Tik-Toks, Robot Zots, and Iron Giants of the world. And boy, are there a lot. Until now, all those robot books have been scattered willy-nilly across the internet. Well, I'm pleased to announce the launch of READ ABOUT ROBOTS, a new website celebrating 150 years of robot books. That's right, people were writing books about steam-powered metal men back in the 1800s! Along with a growing chronological gallery of over 100 robot book covers, we'll have monthly articles, interviews, a robot drawing contest for kids, and more. Plus, on October 11th, we're celebrating Read About Robots Day. Stay tuned!

You can dive into this amazing world of literary robots at http://readaboutrobots.tumblr.com/. And be sure to Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/readaboutrobots/.


BITTY BOT Cover Reveal!

I am so happy to finally share Tad Carpenter's beautiful and delightful cover art for BITTY BOT, my first picture book with Simon & Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books!

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but forget that. I can only promise that it's merely the tip of the robot iceberg. Every page inside BITTY BOT is filled to the brim with Tad's incredible, colorful artwork, including tons of super fun details for young readers to discover. I just can't wait to read this book aloud with kids! Aaaah! WARNING. WARNING. EXCITEMENT OVERLOAD.

BITTY BOT touches down October 4, 2016 at a bookstore near you.


12/5 is National Ninja Day Story Time

Ninjas. They're awesome. Kids and adults love them. There's even a whole sub-genre of ninja picture books that include titles like The Three Ninja Pigs, Ninja Baby, My Grandma's a Ninja, and Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop!

Well, it just so happens that December 5th is National Ninja Day, and a group of crafty ninja picture book authors and illustrators have joined forces, creating a super team to cross-promote each other's books and celebrate ninjas. The result is National Ninja Day Story Time. On December 5th, kids, parents, librarians, and booksellers across the country will be cracking open ninja picture books and reading them together. How cool is that?

Alas, my own ninja picture book, Jack B. Ninja (Scholastic) with illustrations by Stephen Savage, won't be available until Fall 2017. I gotta wait TWO YEARS to jump in on this action?! Patience, Grasshopper. Your ninja day will come.

In the meantime, I'll be reading the ninja books we've got at home with the kids and practicing my karate kicks.

  • Click here to learn more about NNDST. They've got great ideas and free downloadable resources for your own celebrations--big or small.
  • Check out the very cool ninja book list the folks at All the Wonders created here.
  • Read the Publisher's Weekly article on NNDST here.


PiBoIdMo + 12x12 = Sales

I have participated in Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month every November since 2011, and Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 writing challenge since its kickoff in 2012. Now, with PiBoIdMo 2015 quickly approaching, I’m thrilled to announce that this year I sold TWO manuscripts that began as PiBoIdMo ideas and were written as part of the 12x12 writing challenge.

In late November 2013, I was pondering picture book ideas and jotted down the title JACK B. NINJA, a twist on Jack Be Nimble. I left it at that. Nearly a year later in September 2014, I finally returned to that little nugget of an idea and used 12x12 as fuel to sketch out a first draft. Four months (and several revisions) later, JACK B. NINJA was acquired by Scholastic’s Cartwheel Books.

Meanwhile, the initial spark for WATER SONG hit during PiBoIdMo 2014. The idea was to explore the many forms of water through the sounds they make. I liked the concept so much that I jumped to write it in January as my first draft for 12x12 in 2015. Six months later, WATER SONG was picked up by Paula Wiseman Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

PiBoIdMo and 12x12 go so well together. It’s the perfect picture book writing one-two punch. In November, you brainstorm all those story ideas (good, bad, and ugly) right out of your head. Then, throughout the following year, you commit to writing at least one draft per month. These two programs are great ways to keep yourself motivated, bulk up your writing portfolio, and join a supportive online community of children's writers. And hey, you never know which of your bright ideas might one day end up on bookshelves.


Two Appearances in Sacramento: Sept 26-27

Hey NorCal folks. I'll be singing songs and reading TEENY TINY TRUCKS at the Scholarshare Children's Book Festival at Fairytale Town in Sacramento, CA on September 26-27, 2015. Truck on down with the little ones for an incredible weekend event that includes Laura Numeroff (IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE) and Michael Slack (illustrator of NUGGET & FANG).

Click here for complete details, directions, and showtimes.