Friday, March 30, 2012


Spring has a arrived and if you have books about trees and bees like I do, then you're busy sharing them, especially this time of year.

I have a lot of fun events coming up which means I get to meet lots of wonderful students, teachers, and librarians and talk trees, bees, and even seas (since I'm working on that book for 2013). Another fun way authors share books is at book festivals. I'll be going to a few this Spring, including the wonderful Albany Book Festival on April 28th and the huge, spectacular Hudson Children's Book Festival on May 5th in Hudson, NY. 

Guess who's going to be at the Hudson Children's Book Festival, too?
  The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature! Walter Dean Myers himself!  

Check out this great YouTube commercial with kids from Hudson, NY with info about the festival and featuring lots of great books.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bee Book Buzz: PIECES OF US by Margie Gelbwasser

The buzz is all about Margie Gelbwasser and her new young adult novel PIECES OF US, which is now available at your favorite bookstore. Margie's first book, INCONVENIENT was a great page-turner and I'm sure this new story will be the same. Check out the Bee Book Buzz with Margie, a fellow KidLit Author, and visit her website to see a list of her upcoming events.

If you were a bee, which would you be and why?
Queen, drone, or worker?
Confession time: I had no idea what the responsibility of each bee was so I had to look it up. I'm definitely a worker bee because she has the most responsibility. I feel I always have to take care of everything.

Same question for your main character in PIECES OF US? Queen, drone, or worker?
That's a tough one. I have four characters, and I don't know which title best suits each one if any. In the sense of all of them feeling they have a variety of responsibilities, I'll say they're worker bees. But I can see how they would fit into each of the three categories, especially the drone. The drones are victims, and each of my characters has been victimized in some way.

Bees pollinate most of the fruits and vegetables we love to eat. When you were a kid, did you eat your vegetables?
I always ate my veggies. The only vegetable I hated then and still do is brussel sprouts. I have yet to find a recipe that makes this veggie edible.

What's your favorite fruit or vegetable?
I love all fruit. They're all so yummy! Favorite vegetable? I'd say the potato. There is so much you can do with it!

What's your main characters' favorite fruit or vegetable? 
All my characters go to lake houses in the summer. The houses are in the Catskills in Upstate New York, with the woods as a backdrop. Katie's and Julie's grandpa always goes berry picking, and then their grandma makes delicious jam and punch from the berries. She gives some of the berries, jam, and punch to Kyle and Alex's grandparents. So, I would say berries are the characters' favorite fruit.

Bees pollinate plants and flowers, too. What's your favorite flower? 
My full name in Russian is Margarita. My sister named me after her favorite flower, the daisy. Because of this, I've always been partial to the daisy. :-) However, my hubby recently bought me roses and the house smells so nice, so I like these too.

Beeswax is useful for so many products, including skincare items and candles. On your most recent birthday, were you able to blow out all of your candles on the first try? 
There was only one candle on the cake, so yes. :-)

Have you ever competed in a spelling bee?
I did! When I was in elementary school, we had them every week in class. I did pretty well. But in junior high school we had this qualifying exam for like the National Spelling Bee. Did not very well that time.

My causes are bees, trees, seas, and all things affecting our environment. What's important to you besides writing for children and or young adults? 
I'm trying to get more involved in charity work, like working in a soup kitchen or shelter.

Books and bees make life sweeter every day. If you had to choose: Honey or sugar? 
I love the different kinds of honey and the various textures it has, but I also LOVE sugar cubes. Don't really have them now, but they were a special treat as a kid.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bee Book Buzz: Baseball Fan-Grateful-for-Salad-Rock Star Author Audrey Vernick

It's an exciting day at the hive! These bees are buzzing books with writer pal extraordinaire Audrey Vernick. She's the author of several great books for kids, including two new fabulous picture books, SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR and BROTHERS AT BAT: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team.
SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR (Walker Books for Young Readers)illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds, is the essential primer on everything rock ’n’ roll. With an interactive text that encourages young readers to get up and move and retro illustrations that balance fantasies of stardom with real-world rocking out, this book has something for everyone—budding singers, musicians, and their parents, too!
After the bees rock out, it's time to buzz over to the ball field where the bases are loaded with Audrey's second picture book out this Spring. BROTHERS AT BAT: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMAZING ALL-BROTHER BASEBALL TEAM (Clarion Books for Children), illustrated by Steven Salerno, has already hit a home run with Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Junior. He says, "I was lucky to play in the big leagues with my brother as a teammate and my dad as our manager. It was a very special time. The story of the Acerra brothers brought those memories back. It is a wonderful illustration of what a great game baseball is and how it brings families together on many different levels. BROTHERS AT BAT is a story any baseball fan will enjoy and one that we all should know." 
BROTHERS AT BAT will keep you buzzing through the pages to discover more about a truly fascinating family. The Acerra family had sixteen children, including twelve ball-playing boys. It was the 1930s, and many families had lots of kids. But only one had enough to field a baseball team . . . with three on the bench! The Acerras were the longest-playing all-brother team in baseball history. 

Audrey Vernick has plenty to buzz about with her new books. Read on to read her Bee Book Buzz:
If you were a bee, which would you be and why?
Queen, drone, or a worker?
I suspect I might unionize. These options are limited—we must fight for more choices! We will not be oppressed bees any longer! But if forced to choose, I would likely be a worker bee, though my nectar-gathering skills definitely need some work.

Bees pollinate most of the vegetables and fruits that we love to eat. Did you eat your vegetables when you were a kid?
I did, but it was easy. I was the third child. My mother no longer bothered trying with traditionally not-kid-friendly vegetables like brussel sprouts, cabbage, etc. We ate a lot of broccoli, green beans, and salad. In our family at that time, cauliflower was kind of exotic….

What's your favorite fruit or vegetable?
I love roasted root vegetables, spinach sauteed with garlic, cherries and melons in the summer. I’m also kind of pathetically grateful whenever someone makes me a tasty salad.

What's your main character's favorite fruit or vegetable?
In Brothers at Bat, a nonfiction book, there are 16 children in the family—12 brothers who formed their own baseball team, and four sisters. I would guess that the brothers would be happy whenever a fruit or vegetable reached them.

Bees pollinate plants and flowers, too. What's your favorite flower?
I have a history of annoying children on school visits, because they always ask what’s your favorite _________ and I say I only have one favorite and that’s my favorite ice cream flavor (Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz), but you just reminded me that I also have a favorite flower: ranunculus.

Are flowers mentioned in your latest book?
They are not, and so I shall offer you a bit of Audrey Vernick lore to compensate. My family took a cross-country trip when I was two. While I was sitting in my stroller, someone handed me a carnation, and when backs were turned I ate it as though it were a lollipop.

How old is your main character?
In Brothers at Bat, there is a 25-year age span between the youngest and oldest brother.

Have you ever competed in a spelling bee? If so, what was the winning or losing word for you?
I have, but I don’t remember the losing word. My daughter came in second in her elementary school spelling bee a few years ago. I was impressed that she knew how to spell tsunami, but I forget what word—a much easier one than tsunami—was the losing word.

My causes are bees, trees, seas, and all things affecting our environment. What's important to you besides writing for children and or young adults?
I can’t call baseball a cause, but I sure do love it.
I donate my time to a number of literacy organizations. In terms of financial support, I always find myself seeking out organizations that provide food and fight hunger.

Books and bees make life sweeter every day. If you had to choose: Honey or sugar?
Sugar. Lame, but true. 

Thursday, March 08, 2012


I've been buzzing around a lot these days. Read Across America, World Read Aloud Day, and a few hive visits, too. I also stopped over at Dare to Read for a fun interview about my Road to Publication.  
Check out this fabulous book trailer by Sarah Snow, fabulous illustrator of This Tree Counts, This Tree, 1, 2, 3, and These Bees Count!