Where: Newtonville Books, 10 Langley Road, Newton MA
Story time read-aloud of PIRATES DON’T GO TO KINDERGARTEN and launch celebration. Book reading and a brief discussion of the book’s inspiration and journey. Kids can make a pirate flag and spyglass! Cookies for all.
Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.
Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa’s fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.
A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)
I started writing for children in 2007; now, ten years later, I’m anticipating the publication of three picture books, all of which received contracts in early 2017. During this journey, I always read with great interest other authors’ stories about their path to publication; I paid close attention to those authors for whom it had taken a looooong time to get published. Those authors were my role models, beacons of hope that encouraged me to continue in spite of many setbacks. And when I read that it was necessary to receive over 100 rejections before I might be close to publication, I chose to look at each rejection as a stepping stone that was bringing me closer to the goal. (After first feeling dismayed and sad, of course). The rejection and ultimate decision to move on from my first novel (now hidden deep in my computer files) was particularly difficult for me; nevertheless, I persisted, continuing to write and submit.
In the end, the writing keeps me going. Telling tales and playing with words calls to me, even in the face of rejection and self-doubt. I can’t seem to stay away from it, even after pledging to stop writing after I encountered a major, devastating rejection in 2016. (Oddly enough, that rejection turned out to be for the best, but I didn’t know that until many months later). My critique partners keep me going as well . . . they are on the same path, at various stages of the journey, and so their wisdom and encouragement continues to lift me up and out of the doldrums. My family has supported me throughout, taking great interest in the stories I write and comforting me and cheering me on.
I’ve written three novels and dozens of fiction picture books, several nonfiction picture books, and a chapter book. In the midst of it all, while working and taking care of my children, and helping my mother who died in 2011, I obtained my MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University. In December of 2016, I started working with Alyssa Eisner Henkin, of the Trident Media Group, an enthusiastic champion of my work and a talented, energetic and savvy agent.
I’m looking forward to writing and submitting and seeing where this journey takes me . . .