Author visits

Author visits, Picture books, School Visits

World Read Aloud Day 2021!

Happy World Read Aloud Day! I had a blast virtually visiting with students from the West Coast to the East Coast today. I enjoy interacting with curious kids.

And they never surprise me with their comments or questions!

These are from today:

“I’m a YouTuber, I know all about editing 24/7.”

“Do you get paid by each book you sell?”

🤣

I admit, I chuckled at the YouTuber but then asked for her name and wrote it down! You never know.

I got a WRAD Challenge from a friend to make a video about what I’m doing today. Here it is. Happy reading!

Author visits, Louisiana, Mardi Gras, Picture books, School Visits

Kings’ Day School Visit

It was a pleasure to have Keila V. Dawson speak to my Kindergarten class about her book The King Cake Baby! She really connected with my kids and had them saying words in French by the end of her visit.  She inspired us to write our own class book!” Elizabeth Gates, Kindergarten teacher, Rothenberg Academy, Cincinnati Public Schools.

On January 6th, the first day of Carnival, I had the pleasure of virtually visiting with Kindergarten students at Rothenberg Academy in Cincinnati. We compared Cincinnati to New Orleans and talked about things that are the same and different. Ok, mostly we talked about food!

And I read THE KING CAKE BABY. So happy to have inspired them to write their own stories, and I can’t wait to read them!

Author visits, Media

2020 Book Tour & Interviews

Click on each image to access a few interviews, videos, and more!

We discuss our No Voice Too Small Book Club featured in the Flipgrid Discovery Library!

Check out this Buckeye Book Fair YouTube introduction to No Voice Too Small.

How to introduce activism to young kids. Asked and answered!

Kidquake Sizzle Reel!

Kidquake presentation.

Author visits

2020 nErDCampPA

It was such a joy to spend time talking books with authors, educators, and kids at the first virtual nErDCampPA! I ended up on three panels, one about nonfiction, another about teaching activism through picture books and a storytime panel reading to the kids I write for.

Already looking forward to next year to talk about my new book!

Author visits, Holidays, Mardi Gras, Picture books

Author Visit: Little Bookworm Bookstore

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Passed a good time at the Little Bookworm bookstore with illustrator Vernon Smith dancing, singing, reading THE KING CAKE BABY and of course eating King Cake! 💜💚💛👑🎭🎺🎵🎷🎶

Author visits, Holidays, Mardi Gras, School Visits

Author Visits: Mardi Gras 2016

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School visits are a wonderful way for authors to share their passion for literacy and share the joys of living a creative life. This baby ran all over New Orleans, over the Mississippi River, and across the Twin Span Bridge! I am very fortunate to have met wonderful faculty and great students during each visit.

The kids and I had a blast reading The King Cake Baby and singing 12 Days of Carnival. My song is all about New Orleans food. And what food tops the Mardi Gras food pyramid? King Cake!

 

I had a blast and passed a good time visiting the following schools:

  • St. Pius X Catholic School, New Orleans
  • Terrytown Elementary School, Jefferson Parish Schools
  • Akili Academy, New Orleans
  • Abney Elementary School, Slidell
  • Westpark Montessori Magnet School
  • Homer A. Plessy Community School, New Orleans
  • St. Michael’s Special School, New Orleans

I also attended my first King Cake Festival, a benefit for Ochsner Pediatrics! And I ate lots and lots of King Cake! Maurice French Pastries won the People’s Choice Award for the second year. Delicious. Félicitations!

I am so fortunate to participate in this wonderful tradition and be a part of a very unique culture. And it’s celebrated year after year! Can’t wait till January 6th to kick off Carnival 2017. Mardi Gras Day is February 28, 2017. Who’s counting? ME, Baby!

Mardi Gras 2017 Countown

Author visits, Holidays, Louisiana, Mardi Gras, School Visits

Author Visits: Mardi Gras 2017

I had a wonderful time celebrating Mardi Gras 2017. The King Cake Baby and I ran all over south Louisiana parishes, visiting with students, parents, teachers, and school librarians.

As a guest author for Scholastic, I met many wonderful educators who work tirelessly to bring books into schools for kids. Book fairs are quite popular and the state is recognized as one of the top sales areas!  📚

And while there, of course, I ate a lot of different types of King Cake!  I even ate a King Cake hamburger. Yes. I. Did. The food truck @FoodDrunknola sold them at the King Cake Festival. To my surprise, it was deliciously sweet and savory. Yum.

I was fortunate to visit Impact Elementary School at their Family Literacy Night. And had delightful visits at Port Allen Elementary and North Iberville Elementary. Watch these Port Allen Pre-K students dance! 🎶🎶

Second graders sang the 12 Days of Carnival. So much fun!  🎶🎺🎵🎷🎶 

Kindergarten students at North Iberville sang “Five Little King Cake Babies“. Cutest babies and baker in the city!

The King Cake Baby and I love to Skype with classes, especially during Mardi Gras. We hung out with a great group of first grade students in Kentucky who knew all about Kings’ Day.

Just so happens World Read Aloud Day, known as WRAD, is always during Carnival season. So the baby ran west…to Texas!

All hail the North Pointe Elementary grade 2 Kings and Queens!

                                              💜💚💛🎶🎺🎵🎷🎶 📚

It was wonderful to see kiddos from coast to coast celebrating Mardi Gras, like this Girl Scout troop from San Diego!   💜💚

Every year I bring a King Cake to my tennis club. Guess who got the baby?

Eating King Cake during Mardi Gras is a longtime tradition and fun no matter your age or where you live. But no worries if you don’t eat any by Fat Tuesday on February 28th, there’s always next year!

                                                                                                                                               

Author visits, Holidays, Mardi Gras, School Visits

Mardi Gras 2017 Highlights!

I had wonderful time celebrating Mardi Gras 2017. The King Cake Baby and I ran all over south Louisiana parishes visiting with students, parents, teachers, and school librarians.

I was a guest author for Scholastic and met many wonderful educators who work tirelessly to bring books into schools for kids. Book fairs are quite popular in Louisiana and the state is recognized as one of the top sales areas!  📚

And while there of course I ate a lot of different types of King Cake! The strangest food I tasted was a King Cake hamburger. The food truck @FoodDrunknola sold them at the King Cake Festival. To my surprise, it was deliciously sweet and savory. Yum.

I was fortunate to visit Impact Elementary School at their Family Literacy Night. And had a delightful visit at Port Allen Elementary and North Iberville Elementary. Watch these Port Allen Pre-K students dance! 🎶🎶

Second graders sang the 12 Days of Carnival. So much fun!  🎶🎺🎵🎷🎶

Kindergarten students at North Iberville sang “Five Little King Cake Babies“. Cutest babies and baker in the city!

During Mardi Gras season, The King Cake Baby and I love to Skype with classes. We hung out with first grade students in Kentucky.

Just so happens World Read Aloud Day, known as WRAD, is always in February, during Carnival. So the baby ran west…to Texas!

All hail the North Pointe Elementary grade 2 Kings and Queens!

                                                                                

                                              💜💚💛🎶🎺🎵🎷🎶 📚

It was wonderful to see kiddos from coast to coast celebrating Mardi Gras. Mon amie’s daughter’s Girl Scout troop from San Diego celebrated!   💜💚

Every year I bring a King Cake to my tennis club. Guess who got the baby?

This tradition is fun no matter your age or where you live. If you haven’t eaten a piece of King Cake to celebrate Carnival, there’s always next year!

  Happy Mardi Gras! 

Author visits, School Visits

East Iberville Elementary, St. Gabriel, LA

Had a blast with the Pre-K 3’s and 4’s at East Iberville Elementary in St. Gabriel!

First we read The King Cake Baby.

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Then I found a baker to help me sing a song.

?

 

Then we sang 5 Little King Cake Babies.

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And Ms. Reames brought us donuts for a yummy snack!

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Author visits, School Visits

St. Mary’s Academy, New Orleans, LA

It was a real treat to read The King Cake Baby and sing the “5 Little King Cake Babies” song with Ms. Hutchison’s kindergarten class at St.Mary’s Academy. A perfect start to my day!

Author visits, School Visits

Hammond Westside Montessori

What a fun visit at Hammond Westside Montessori! I had a blast with the kids in Ms. Donnow’s 1/2/3 combo class. They sure know their Louisiana history and geography. We sang the 12 Days of Carnival and they learned to spell Tchoupitoulas. Yes they did!

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But when they learned the King Cake Baby tradition is not well known outside of the state of Louisiana and people don’t eat King Cake DAILY during Mardi Gras they were shocked! C’est ouf! That’s cray cray!

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She can spell TCHOUPITOULAS!!

Author visits, Holidays, School Visits

Abney Elementary School in Slidell, LA

**Abney Elementary Author Visit**

What a fun, fun school visit with Mrs. Lewis’ third graders during Carnival. They sure let the good times roll during Mardi Gras 2016. I made my debut appearance on the Abney Elementary Morning Show! What a fun way to start the day. I saw future news anchors in action.

We read The King Cake Baby, and sang 12 Days of Carnival. Then the class shared their fun MISSING worksheets with me. This class has talent. There are many future authors and illustrators among them. What a fun, talented group of kids and faculty!

Author visits, School Visits

Terrytown Elementary – Jefferson Parish Schools

**Terrytown Elementary Author Visit**

The King Cake Baby ran over the Mississippi River Bridge to visit the pre-k, kindergarten, first, and second-grade classes at Terrytown Elementary during Carnival. The kids sure helped make Mardi Gras 2016 fun! 

We read The King Cake Baby, and everyone joined in to sing my song, 12 Days of Carnival. Scroll down to hear them sing!

These little tigers were a great crowd of students. The wonderful administration and faculty made this visit very special.

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Author visits, Mardi Gras, School Visits

Author Visit: Homer A. Plessy School in New Orleans

**Homer A. Plessy Community School Author Visit**

Had a great school visit with the pre-k, kingergarten, first, and second grade classes at Homer A. Plessy Community School during Carnival! They made my Mardi Gras 2016 very special. The Pre-K and Kindergarten classes joined in the refrain, “No, mon ami! You can’t catch me! I’m the King Cake Baby!

In each class, we read and discussed The King Cake Baby. The pre-K kindergarten and first grade classes joined in the refrain,”No, mon ami! You can’t catch me! I’m the King Cake Baby! The second grade classes sang my song, 12 Days of Carnival. They did a splendid job. Such enthusiasm! Bravo!

 
Author visits, Holidays, School Visits

St. Pius X, New Orleans, LA

**St. Pius X Catholic School Author Visit**

Such a wonderful school visit with all the St. Pius X third grade classes during Carnival. Mardi Gras 2016 was a blast.

We ate King Cake, read and discussed The King Cake Baby, and sang 12 Days of Carnival. The soloist for the 5th Day who sang “5 Bowls of Gumbo”, knocked it out of the park!

Author visits, Louisiana, Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Season 2016

Mardi Gras Season 2016 will kickoff, as always, on January 6th. New Orleans and Brazil are well known destinations for those who want to experience one of the greatest parties on earth – Carnival. Although the season varies, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras day will always fall on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, 40 days before Easter in accordance to the liturgical calendar.

To get this party started, those who celebrate will make, bake, or buy a King Cake on January 6th.

Here’s one from last year. Keyword…”one”…I make, buy, and eat them throughout the season!

2015-02-18 19.55.47

And to show how big a deal these traditional cakes are, the King Cake Festival is an annual event to honor these delicious confections. The 3rd annual festival is January 31st. It’s a FREE family friendly event benefiting Ochsner Hospital Pediatric Departments. There’s something for everyone; music, games, food, and lots and lots of King Cakes to sample! A People’s Choice Award is given to the bakery with the most votes for the tastiest cake of the season.

Past winners included:

2015 Maurice French Pastries

2014 Haydel’s Bakery

Very excited that I will be there in Champions Square this year as a vendor with The King Cake Baby. Click here for more details and updates on this event.

There will be lots of celebrations on January 6th too. Some will attend the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc parade. Joan of Arc is a symbol of New Orleans’ French heritage. January 6th is her birthday.

Some will attend the ball of The Twelfth Night Revelers, a Carnival organization that had their first ball on January 6, 1870, a tradition that continues today. The female from their court who finds the bean- la fève – in the wooden King Cake is crowned Queen – La Reine.

The Krewe of Phunny Phorty Phellows will parade on the St. Charles Streetcar line the night of January 6th. That krewe is known as being the “dessert of Carnival”, a satirical and fun group. One of their mottos is “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men.”

Click here to read my post from last year about the history of Louisiana Creole Carnival celebrations –  Twelfth Night or Little Christmas or Feast of the Epiphany or Kings’ Day and Mardi Gras.

And you don’t have to be part of a high society, live in New Orleans or where King Cakes are sold to celebrate the kick off of Mardi Gras. You can make a king cake in your very own kitchen. Watch Alex the French Guy make a French version –La Galette des Rois, he’s adorable and funny. CookingAndCrafting demonstrates how to make a New Orleans King Cake from scratch. The recipe I put in The King Cake Baby is a very easy one because it’s made from frozen dough. I used it with a handful of adults and a cafeteria full of kids to make 50 King Cakes in a few hours that we sent to our troops in the Wounded Warriors Project at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

If you don’t have a plastic baby, use a bean or a coin (wrap the coin in foil for hygienic reasons) to hide. Just remember, before you take a bite, be sure to check for the baby or whatever is hidden inside!

Bon appétit!

Author visits, School Visits

World Read Aloud Day

I celebrated World Read Aloud Day reading The King Cake Baby at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in their Seacrest Studio. Cincinnati Children’s is one of eight locations that has a studio funded by the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.

The mission of the foundation is to build broadcast media centers within pediatric hospitals with the belief that creativity found in media like radio and television can have a positive effect upon children and their parents during the time spent in the hospital. Access to stimulating multimedia can entertain patients  and give them respite from thinking about a procedure, or treatment, or length of stay away from home.

There is no better gift than receiving a smile from a child!

The King Cake Baby says, “It’s story time!”

   

 

Author visits

Cincinnati Public Library – Deer Park Branch

Thanks to Cincinnati Public Library – Deer Park Branch for inviting me to share The King Cake Baby and the sights, sounds, and tastes of New Orleans on February 19, 2015.

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           Reading The King Cake Baby!

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      Making candy bracelets and necklaces

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      Masks!

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         Parade!

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         Beads!

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      He put the baby back in the box. The baby belongs in a king cake!

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Author visits, Holidays, Mardi Gras

Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore & Decafé

Thanks for having me at Carnival Story Time Blue Manatee! What a wonderful way to celebrate Mardi Gras day! I read The King Cake Baby, we listened to Mardi Gras music, had a parade, and ate king cake. Yes! Someone got the baby!!

I had a blast sharing the sights, sounds, and tastes of New Orleans!

reading

Reading The King Cake Baby

reading 2

Where is that Baby going? He’s running away!

reading 1

   Who will he meet? Who will get the baby? Who will catch him?

future parade goers

    Parade! Music! Masks! And beads!

catching beads

    Raise your arms high, wave, and yell, “Throw me somethin’ mista!”

Emma beads       Leilah beads

   Great catch! Look at all those beads!

Emma & Leilah    Emma book

   Made some new friends!

keila & jen   cutting king cake

  Grown up friends came to visit!                                                                       And we had king cake!

eating king cake

                                                     And someone got the baby!

signig

        And autograhed books

Happy Mardi Gras!

Author visits, Holidays, Mardi Gras

Little Toy Shop, New Orleans

Little Toy Shop, 900 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116, French Quarter

Thanks for having me over for a Meet The Author event on a beautiful day in New Orleans!

First sale!
Little Toy Shoppe Kennedy2
Little Toy Shoppe on Decatur1
Little Toy Shoppe Teacher sale
Author visits, Mardi Gras

Maple Street Book Shop

Maple Street Book Shop meet the author event. Thanks for having me, serving king cake and allowing me to read my debut book The King Cake Baby during story time! Visit them at 7529 Maple St, New Orleans, LA 70118.

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Author visits, Media

2015-16 Interviews -Radio & Print

Blogging about THE KING CAKE BABY!

  • Christie is a writer and blogger who runs! Check out her site for loads of writerly advice and author interviews. To see the interview about my runner, The King Cake Baby, on Christie’s HIGH FIVE page, click here.                                                                                                                                             
  • WVXU 91.7 (NPR) interview, aired on February 1, 2015, Lee Hay, host of the program Around Cincinnati, interviewed me about my debut book, THE KING CAKE BABY. Click here to listen to the interview.   
  • Marcie Atkins is a librarian and blogger who graciously shares her knowledge about using mentor texts as resources for teaching and writing. Visit Marcie’s blog to see my post from March 17, 2015, “Finding Authentic Voice in Cultural Mentor Texts” and much, much more.                                         
  • Jennifer Cunningham Sommer’s blog interview from January 19, 2015, about my debut release.         
  • Sub It Club featured the query letter that lead to the acquisition of my manuscript for The King Cake Baby. To see that post from February 7, 2015, click here. I blogged about Sub It Club here.
  • Author interview by Debbie LaCroix co-creator of the Debut PB Study Group on Facebook. To see the February 11, 2015 interview, click here.
  • Carissa Mina’s blog, Writer and stuff to read her March 6, 2015, First-Time Picture Book Author Cover Letters, Exposed!

     

 
Author visits, Holidays, Louisiana, Mardi Gras

NOLA kids

NOLA kids Meet the Author & Illustrator event. Thanks for having us! Visit them at 333 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130.

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Vernon making his mark

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Krewe of Barkus rolling through the French Quarter

Author visits, Louisiana, Mardi Gras, Picture books

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble Meet the Author event. Thanks for having me B&N! Visit them in Metairie at 3721 Veterans Blvd., (504) 455-4929 or in Harvey at 1601B Westbank Expy, (504) 263-1146

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Author visits, Mardi Gras, Picture books

ZukaBaby

ZukaBaby Meet the Author & Illustrator Events at 2122 Magazine, Uptown and 3248 Severn Ave in Metairie.

Thanks for having us, and allowing me to read my debut book The King Cake Baby during story time!

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Our baby!                                                                                     Carla, a friend from high school came!

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