Biggest Star By Far

Well, hello!

How has FIVE months gone by without a peep from me? Eek!

Where have I been? Well...

As of September, I'm doing what I love MOST again...teaching first grade!

(Fireworks should be going off now!)

Honestly, I missed it so much. Too much. Many of my writer friends say they feel antsy and cranky if they don't write. That's how I feel about teaching! I'm now in South Brunswick at Dayton School. Great community, great colleagues, and fabo kiddos!

Yea, me!! :)

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Biggest Star By Far

Woodfern School and Old York School Visits

The last few weeks brought an end to my school visits for the year. How lovely to finish this year so close to home!

First up: Old York School in Branchburg, NJ. Each year, the district brings all the third graders from the other schools together for the day. Each group (of 50 kids) rotates through all of the author presentations of the day: Robert Blake, Alan Katz, Herman Parish and yours truly. It was the first time I had met Alan. What a nice man! Besides being a huge fan of his books, I can now say I'm a huge fan of him as well! (Loved his tie. Designed by kids to support Jimmy fund) Here's a picture of him with my fabo assigned helper of the day:

Here's Doris Jennings, the third grade teacher who organizes the day and makes sure everything runs smoothly. This event is paid for by a grant from the Branchburg Education Foundation. Thanks, Doris! I hope to come back again.

A few days later, I visited Woodfern School. What a treat! Here's the group of kids that won a contest to have a Q&A Dessert session with me. I love talking to small groups like this. I was so impressed with their questions and how much they knew about me and my books. Some of the desserts were made from recipes on my website.

Thanks to the reading specialist, Colleen Consalvo, and the media specialist, Jenna Kmiec, for having me and making sure the kids were so well-prepared! Jenna created her own creative contest for the kids and I enjoyed looking over the entries.

Lucky me! Not only did I come away with fond memories of the students and staff, I came home with lovely flowers as well!

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Biggest Star By Far

Wrapping it Up...

I just handed in my last Katharine book. The 12th and last in the second set of the series. I've been writing this set for a bit over a year now.

Although I can't share the art, I can share the titles:

1. The Artsy Fartsy Auction
2. The Write Wrong Stuff
3. The Ding Dong Ditch-a-Roo
4. The Purr-Fect-O Present
5. Swimming With the Sharks
6. Hair's Looking at You

Titles could change. But at this point, I think they're set.

It's funny how some of the stories just flowed out of me (Hair's Looking at You and The Write Wrong Stuff), how some left me feeling a bit like a fish out of water (Swimming With the Sharks!.. Had to meet with a young swimmer a few times to make sure I had facts/descriptions correct) and others were written and rewritten a zillion times until I finally felt satisfied. (Ding Dong Ditch-A-Roo. )

I've seen two covers so far (LOVE THEM!) and can't wait to see/share the interiors and the covers with you. That won't be until October at least. The second set comes out in January.

Phyllis Harris is not only an incredible artist, she's a lovely person and has become a friend. We hope to meet in person soon. I feel SO LUCKY to have had her breathe life into my characters. Katharine simply wouldn't be Katharine without her! Here's her art blog:

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Biggest Star By Far

Entertainment Weekly + Libba Bray + Jay Asher

Entertainment Weekly is on my must-read list every week. We've been subscribers for about 10 years and I read each issue cover to cover. Always such a variety inside and I like how they often showcase YA and books in general. (It never hurt that they loved Jack Bauer as much as I did, too)

Last week, Sarah bought Libba Bray's new book Beauty Queens. We came home to see it featured in EW's The Must List (The Top Ten things they love that week.) Sarah actually noticed the book in EW first and I could tell that she was quite proud of herself for buying it before realizing there's a buzz about it.

Today there's a GREAT article (on a book I LOVE!) called "How This Guy's Mystery Novel is Saving Teen Lives" about Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why


It's been on her dresser forever...maybe this will propel it to the top of the pile. Hope so!

And the fact that Selena Gomez has bought the rights to the movie may even make Matthew want to read it. :)

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Biggest Star By Far

Thrill Seekers

Who? My kids. Not me.

At all. I am a certifiable wimp.

Sarah is dying to skydive. She is 13. SKYDIVE? She hasn't seen a ride she doesn't love or a wave she didn't want to conquer in the ocean.

Matthew has slowly learned her ways.

He just texted from Great Adventure. He went on Kingda Ka. A ride he said he'd never go on. That was 6 months ago.

It goes from 0 to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds. It's the tallest roller coaster in the world and the fastest in North America. The ride is over in 59 seconds.

Here's a video from The Travel Channel.

I get quivery just watching it.

He texted to say he survived. "It was AWESOME. Want to go back on."

My thrills come from knowing he survived!

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Biggest Star By Far

A Must for Next Year...

Can I say how much I wanted to go to this today:

It just couldn't fit into our schedule this weekend. I

Yesterday, Sarah had a field trip to The Franklin Institute. John chaperoned. He saw the program and snagged one for me. Sweet of him to torture me, huh? :)

Look at the lineup today:

Next year is a must. Who's with me?

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