When A Dragon Moves In To BookFest PA: Celebrating the Arts

For me, the real “fireworks” start after July 4th.

I’m not talking about the hand-held sparklers, or the loud firecrackers, or even the color-splashed glittering sky.

I’m talking about the brilliance, the luminosity, the light, the love and the sheer joy inspired by art. This past weekend, I was privileged to attend three amazing festivals: The Central PA Festival of the Arts,

blog arts fest

People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts,

blog people's choice.jpg

and BookFestPA. blog bookfest logo.png

Larry and I spent Saturday sharing book – and Dragon! – love at BookFest:

bookfest larry set.JPG

We connected with author friends… (here I am with the amazingly talented Gayle C. Krause and Denise Kaminsky)

Bookfest gayle denise me

…book-loving friends… (fantastic volunteer Amy and brilliant organizer Maria Burchill of Schlow Centre Region Library, who took such great care of us!)

Bookfest maria amy

…and made a TON of new friends! (Yes! I finally got to meet BookFest organizer David Pencek & his adorable son!)

Bookfest jodi david son

Our Dragons received a lot of love.

shari woman's expression reading

BookFest customers reading

And found precious new homes.

Bookfest child reading dragon

Oh! How I wish I could share more pictures of the sweet little faces of Team Dragon, but I would never post a child’s face without their parent’s permission.

I guess it was no surprise that we found Dragons are “drawn” to edible art:

If you give a Dragon a cookie…?

Bookfest baby dragon.w cookie

Some Dragons are into “pop” culture:

arts fest dragon kettle corn

Although the arts festivals run mid-week through Sunday, our schedules only allowed us to have Sunday free. So we walked four miles of artist booths between the two. (It was heaven!)

Of course, since I ran Larry ragged, I treated him to ice cream:

Arts fest ice cream.JPG

Okay…um…that might have been mine. YUM! 🙂

And now, head and heart full to overflowing with inspiration…I must write.

Breaking News: A Dragon Moves Into WTAJ-TV’s Central PA LIVE

Baby Dragon Central PA live

This just in:

Dragon and I were invited to help spread a little book love in anticipation of BookFest PA 2017, to be held Saturday, July 15 from 10 AM to 4 PM under the tent in the parking lot of Schlow Library in State College, PA, in cooperation with The Central PA Festival of the Arts. The full interview can be found here. This year, BookFest PA will host a variety of amazing authors (and illustrators!) sharing picture books, novels, graphic novels, comics, nonfiction and more.

We had so much fun! Baby Dragon fan-dragoned over some of his favorite shows…

Baby Dragon Big Bang

Baby Dragon Stephen Colbert

…and the brilliant anchors & crew – check out all of their awards!

Baby Dragon Commentators Awards

Which made him think perhaps he’d like to be a news commentator when he grows up:

Baby Dragon WTAJ News

Tons of thanks, love and hugs to the fantabulous folks at BookFest PA, Schlow Library and WTAJ for setting this up and allowing us to share a little summer Dragon lovin’! Hoping to see you on July 15th!

And now, I must write. Hugs!

When A Dragon AGAIN Moves Into POLAND!

Sometimes our postal worker delivers bills (and admittedly, since I’m a writer, a few rejections.)

Other times, she delivers a new BABY!

Check out the new Polish edition of When A Dragon Moves In Again!

Polish Baby Dragon

*Tigger dances*

*squeals*

*tosses chocolate confetti*

Baby Dragon and I can’t stop hugging the sweetness!

Thanks, love & hugs to our friends in Poland for adopting both of our Dragons: When A Dragon Moves In and When A Dragon Moves In Again

Polish Both Dragons.JPG

…and (as ALWAYS) to Shari Dash Greenspan and everyone who works so hard in my Flashlight Press family to deliver such joy into my world…into the world.

And now, I must write.

 

Life is A Box of Crayola Crayons

Forrest Gump told us life was like a box of chocolates. Indeed, you never know what you’ll get.

And forgive the cliché, but it’s also important to remind ourselves, especially when life is moving like a high-speed train, to take time to smell the flowers.

So, after eating (way too many) Easter chocolates, I needed both physically and emotionally to take a walk and seek out some blossoms.

What I found was that sometimes life mirrors a box of Crayola crayons:

b tulips

b cardinal

b pink closeup tree

b purple red

b pink flowers

b dandylion.JPG

b firey sunset

*sneaks one more piece of chocolate*

And now, refreshed, renewed and re-inspired, I must write.

Authors & Librarians & Chocolate – oh my!

I’ve been away. Not just away from the blog, but away away. As in super busy. Traveling. Writing. Critiquing (I’m honored to be a Critique Ninja for the online 12×12 challenge this month.) Then traveling again.

Thankfully, I got off to a running start at the PA School Librarian Association conference in Hershey, PA, with their lovely morning spread of treats. Which only goes to show, one can do anything when one begins the day with chocolate butter…

b chocolate butter

…spends the day sharing love, hugs & laughter with librarians and other authors…

b PLSLA

…and caps off the conference with an enlightening, inspiring and inclusive discussion on diversity.

b panel.jpg

Simply put, librarians rock.

I’ll blog more about my adventures soon…but now, I must write.

We Need Diverse Books

I’m headed toward the Pennsylvania School Library Association conference today, where I’ll get to connect with (and hug!) the people who get books into the hands of those who need them most.

This year, I’m not only on Authors Alley, I’m part of a panel on diversity with authors Maria Andreu and Jeffrey W. Johnston on Saturday, which is both a huge honor and an intense responsibility. Has this issue ever been more important?

Along with topics such as We Need Diverse Books, In Our Own Voices, and Window & Mirrors, we plan on sharing lists of books and activities (which I’ll update here after the conference!) Most importantly, we hope to facilitate a safe environment where attendees feel comfortable discussing topics which often feel, well, uncomfortable.

Because discussion is key. We can’t change anything without talking – and listening – to each other.

We need diverse books logo

The conference’s focus this year is on “curiosity.” In this case, I think we can learn a lot from the children themselves. How many times do we shush someone’s questions, saying it’s “not appropriate to ask such a thing”?

Kids notice. Kids ask. It’s their job.

And it’s our job to answer them.

When our boys were toddlers, we read a story featuring an African American family. About halfway through the book, Alex pointed to an illustration, his forehead crinkled. “Why doesn’t that daddy look like mine?”

There was no malice in his question. He was curious.

“Some books do show Daddies that look like yours,” I answered. “But how do you think Wesley feels (one of his best friends, who is African American) if he never gets to see Daddies that look like his?”

“Oh.” Alex nodded with a smile. “That makes sense.”

And that was it.

Because that does make sense.

People need to see themselves reflected in books to know they’re not alone. And people need windows, to see – and hopefully venture – outside of their own walls: to appreciate, to understand and to connect.

Stop shushing. Start talking. Start sharing.

Children aren’t born with prejudices. They are, however, born with curiosity. They’re born to ask questions. Books can help answer them.

We need diverse books.

When A Dragon Moves In – the Graphic Novel? !!!

Today I received a truly splendiferous email. It seems a fifth grade teacher challenged her students to take a favorite story and turn it into a graphic novel.

And guess what?

*drum roll*

One of her students chose When A Dragon Moves In…and her mom not only shared it with me, but gave me permission to share it with all of YOU!

*Tigger dances*

Words can’t describe what an honor and a thrill this is. And so without further ado, it’s my privilege to share the work of this brilliant young artist:

(SPOILER – check out the alternate ending!!!)

1 When A Dragon Graphic Novel

2 When A Dragon Graphic Novel

3 When A Dragon Graphic Novel

4 When A Dragon Graphic Novel

Isn’t this fantabulous? Isn’t this young artist fantabulous???

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sarah. Like Howard McWilliam (the illustrator for When A Dragon Moves In and When A Dragon Moves In Again), you’ve brought my characters, my vision – my dream – to life! You’re an inspiration to all of us, and we can’t wait to enjoy more of your talents!