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My 2016 in Books

Happy New Year! 2016 brought a lot of good–and some not-so-good–so I’m looking forward to starting fresh today. But one good thing about 2016 was the wonderful books I read. Thanks to Goodreads (which makes a great book log), here are the titles that enriched, engaged, and entertained me over the past year:







I read 28 kidlit titles, 7 nonfiction titles, and 31 grown-up fiction titles–for my personal reading. I didn’t track how much kidlit I read at my dayjob, but I’m guessing there’s another 30 or so there.

Here’s to a 2017 full of great books! What was your best read of last year?

nErDcampLI and November

November started off with an amazing day of literacy and learning: #nErDcampLI! This was my first EdCamp experience, and it was awesome. I got to listen to amazing educators and experts speak about topics in literacy and kidlit–like this fantastic session on the importance of back matter that Susannah Richards led.


One of the things she encouraged authors to do is include more back matter on their websites–especially book-creation timelines. I’m hoping to add something for that to the Resources page of my site soon!

The event was held in the wonderful Jericho Middle School, and I loved wandering the halls to see the work that students had posted. This was my favorite sign:


A very wise student wrote that. 🙂

The following week was the election, and like many people, I’ve been processing the results since. It’s no secret to those who have read When Audrey Met Alice that I believe a woman’s place is in the White House. I took this picture on my way home to watch returns on Tuesday night.


More than ever, that is true. Our votes matter, and so do our voices. I’m working harder than ever to use mine to express what I believe in.

Now it’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is almost here–have a happy and safe holiday, and eat lots of pie!


A Week in Wisconsin

Last week I traveled back to Wisconsin for a couple of book events, and it was perfect timing for fall color:

The view from Ski Hi, my favorite orchard. The pies are amazing!

The view from Ski Hi, my favorite orchard. The pies are amazing!

Hiking at Devil's Lake

Hiking at Devil’s Lake

Madison has great coffee :)

Madison has great coffee 🙂

The famous farmer's market is at its very best in fall.

The famous farmer’s market is at its very best in fall.

Green and gold

Green and gold


The view from my Sunday morning coffeeshop

What’s missing? Photos from my talk at the Reedsburg Public Library and my school visit at EAGLE School. I was so excited to meet with readers and writers that I never quite got around to taking pictures . . . oops! But I had a great time talking about reading, researching, and writing.

Now I’m back in NY, working on short fiction and researching a project, and getting ready for nErDcampLI!

How does fall look where you are?


Fall Book Fun, Part 2

Last Sunday, I had a great conversation with author-friends Melanie Conklin and Sarah Darer Littman at Bank Street Bookstore. We spoke about writing three very different books all set (or, in my book’s case–partly set) in the big city. It was a great discussion–thanks, Bank Street!



(I loved sharing a shelf with the HRC books)


This week, I’m off to Wisconsin for a great event at the Reedsburg Public Library and a chance to visit some schools. Hoping to get in a trip to the apple orchard and my favorite state park while I’m back, too–there’s nothing quite like autumn in Wisconsin. 🙂


Fall Book Fun, Part 1

Last Friday I battled NYC traffic to travel to New Jersery (seriously–it took over an hour to drive three blocks to get into the Holland Tunnel) for a wonderful weekend of authoring. Saturday was the annual Princeton Public Library Children’s Book Festival, and it was amazing! Here’s a before picture of me with my books:


There is no after picture, because I sold them all! The five hours of the festival flew by–I had a fantastic time meeting so many wonderful readers and writers. If you want to check out what the day was like, the Princeton Public Library has some video posts on their Facebook.

The next day, I headed down to Neshaminy Falls for a Barnes and Noble event with Lauren Magaziner and Erin Entrada Kelly. We had a great discussion about writing MG, thanks to an enthusiastic crowd and bookseller extraordinaire Mandy Webb.




While I was signing books, I had a fun author moment–I found a copy of Summer‘s second printing. Fun to see that “1” drop off the copyright page!


Thanks to B&N Neshaminy Falls, the Princeton Public Library, and JaZams for helping me have a great weekend connecting with readers and writers.


News & Upcoming Events

I have a few fun events coming up:

I’ll be at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival on September 24. Over sixty fantastic authors will be there–it should be a very delightful day.

And the next day, Sunday, September 25, I’ll be doing a panel at the Neshaminy Falls Barnes & Noble in Bensalem, PA. Author friends Lauren Magaziner and Erin Entrada Kelly and I will be talking about middle grade–come say hi!

More info about those events and others is available on my Events page.

Also, I heard the good news recently that Summer of Lost and Found went into a second printing over the summer. Hooray! Thanks to all the readers who have joined Nell, Ambrose, and Lila (and Sir Walter Raleigh) on their adventures.

And for my next book adventure: I found out The Last Grand Adventure is tentatively set to release in March 2018. I can’t wait for Bea and Pidge to be out in the world–but I do need the next few months to edit their story. 🙂

End-of-Summer Adventures

Today it doesn’t feel like summer is over–it’s sunny, 87 degrees, and super humid. (Although, if you go by the calendar, we do have a couple of weeks left of the season.) But some of the leaves are starting to crisp, and kids and teachers are back in school. Believe it or not, even as a slightly fanatical summer-lover I’m glad. Fall is the time for fresh starts, and I’m ready to tackle The Last Grand Adventure edits with fresh eyes. I have a nightstand full of books to help me research a new project, too.

But I will miss my favorite time of year, especially:

Outdoor movies! I saw INSIDE OUT in the park, and it was delightful.

Outdoor movies! I saw INSIDE OUT in the park, and it was delightful.

Fire Island sunsets. The hazier and moodier, the better.

Fire Island sunsets. The hazier and moodier, the better.

Lake life in my hometown, Madison, WI.

Lake life in my hometown, Madison, WI.

In the middle of all my summer adventures, I managed to read eighteen books. I love summer reading–I try to make it all about discovery and pleasure, making sure that the books I pick from May-September I pulled from the shelf purely because of fun and curiosity. That makes reading a vacation itself. I look forward to this kind of reading all year–in fact, I’ve already started my book list for next year.

What adventures did you have this summer, on and off the page?

MG Palooza at The Voracious Reader

Last Thursday, author-friends Tara Dairman (the All Four Stars series), Lauren Magaziner (The Only Thing Worse Than Witches and Pilfer Academy), Michelle Schusterman (the I Heart Band and Kat Sinclair series) and I had a great time meeting readers at The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY. The delightful bookstore is only 30 minutes north of Grand Central, in a charming suburb. There’s an ice-cream shop on the same block. Does it get any better than that?

We each did a brief reading from our latest books, and then opened up for questions. The enthusiastic readers and writers had some great ones for us, and it was so much fun to spend the evening with them. This was our second “palooza” at The Voracious Reader–we were all there in 2014 when our first books came out–and we can’t wait to go back.

The ad Michelle and I stumbled on in a neighboring Starbucks, which got us even more excited about the event.

The ad Michelle and I stumbled on in a neighboring Starbucks, which got us even more excited about the event.

Our beautiful books on display

Our beautiful books on display

Authors in their happy place :)

Authors in their happy place 🙂

The wonderful readers who came out to see us!

The wonderful readers who came out to see us!


MG fun at One More Page

Last Thursday, author-friends Tara Dairman (the All Four Stars series) and Jen Swann Downey (The Ninja Librarians series) and I had a great time meeting readers at One More Page in Arlington, VA. I love that bookstore–not only does it have a wonderful selection of books–with lots of notes from the booksellers to help you pick the perfect read–but it also sells delicious chocolate and wine. Basically, it’s my happy place.

Jen had the great idea to do a different spin on a reading: a “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me–Bluff the Listener”-style game. We all read three short passages from our latest books, but only one of the three passages was really in our books. The other two? Carefully crafted fakes. A volunteer from the audience guessed which was the real selection–and won a bag of delicious donuts from Jen’s store (Carpe Donut in Charlottesville).

The enthusiastic readers and writers and educators had great questions for us, and it was so much fun to spend the evening with them.


Tara Rebecca Jen Kicking off Bluff the Listener

Tara Rebecca and Jen Signing books July

Tara Rebecca and Jen July 2016

My Summer Island

The earliest drafts of Summer of Lost and Found had the book start with Nell anticipating summer fun on a New York barrier island–but those Fire Island sections were cut because “killing your darlings” is a task us authors really have to do. Can you blame me for wanting to sneak a few darlings about my favorite summer place into the book, though? Fire Island is just an hour and change from Manhattan, but a world away. No cars, no chain stores, no tall buildings: just a necklace of friendly communities strung along miles of white sand. I was lucky enough to spend some time on the island earlier this month.

Fire Island architecture

Fire Island architecture

Welcome to the Atlantic

Welcome to the Atlantic

The iconic lighthouse

The iconic lighthouse

Stunning sunset

Stunning sunset

All winter I dream about being back on the beach, where I can dig my toes in the sand while digging into a good book.

What’s your favorite place to read when the days are long and hot?