Bunny at the USO of NC

Bunny hung out with the families of our armed forces all the way in North Carolina! This event was the result of a completely unexpected connection I made through an online group for runners led by my pal, Kelly Roberts. Here's how it happened:

I offered to donate several copies of Bunny's Staycation (Mama's Business Trip) to women in the running group—the only guideline was that I wanted the books to go to families who were struggling financially or otherwise, or to kids that don't have a lot of access to books.

I received several lovely responses from women nominating friends or others. One of them, Amy, told me she was Assistant Director of USO of NC, the oldest continuously-operating chapter of the USO in the world, located in North Carolina. (If you don't know what the USO does, they help our US Military service members stay connected to their family, home, and country while they are serving our nation). Amy told me these parents are on the ultimate business trip—deployed overseas—and her location hosts a weekly storytime for the children. She thought Bunny's Staycation would really resonate with them.

I was so incredibly touched by this thought and quickly put together a package containing a signed book, a drawing of Bunny, an oversized handwritten letter, and a whooooole bunch of passport activity kits. Off to NC it went!

Amy said the story time was a big hit with all of the parents and kids. One mom, who is relocating to Okinawa and applying for passports for her children, even used the kits to help explain what a passport is to her little bunnies! I'm so thankful to Amy and the rest of the staff at USO of North Carolina for these ah-mazing photos from the event and that they have allowed me to share them with you. These kids are making the ultimate sacrifice by sharing their brave parents with all of us.

Thank you, Amy and friends!

These parents and kids are mostly US Marines families. More than half that came to the event have spouses currently deployed.

These parents and kids are mostly US Marines families. More than half that came to the event have spouses currently deployed.

Thank you to this wonderful volunteer who read my book!

Thank you to this wonderful volunteer who read my book!

The drawing of Bunny I sent to the kids will be framed and hang in their family center (I am so honored!!); little bunnies checking out their new passport kits.

The drawing of Bunny I sent to the kids will be framed and hang in their family center (I am so honored!!); little bunnies checking out their new passport kits.

Bunny at STORIES Bookshop

Bunny and I visited my friends at STORIES Bookshop and Storytelling Lab for launch weekend. Kids are responding so positively to Bunny and all the at-home shenanigans. Thank you Maggie and Matt at STORIES for your support!

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Books Are Magic

This weekend I participated in SCBWI's Back2Back program alongside author-illustrator Nina Crews at Brooklyn indie Books Are Magic! I read Pax and Blue and the kids helped me design a character, which they named Alexanderhamilton Socks Biscuit. Kids always think of the best names.

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Brooklyn Museum Children's Book Fair

Thanks to the wonderful folks at the Brooklyn Museum for hosting so many amazingly talented Brooklyn-based authors and illustrators! I was fortunate to share my Pax and Blue as a featured reader.

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#ViewFromMyRun at New York Road Runners

I shared my Instagram project, #ViewFromMyRun, with my new friends at New York Road Runners to celebrate the Bronx 10M. My prints were on display at their RunHUB for a few weeks and we raised over $1400 for Team for Kids and Lulu & Leo Fund through my pop-up art sale!

#ViewFromMyRun is a series where I draw something I see on my run, in the same amount of time as the run. Each piece is stamped with the time & distance.

Storytime at Greenlight Books (x2!)

This weekend brought two storytimes at local indie Greenlight Books. We did the crazy character design game at each location, and turned them into collaborative art projects by having the kids color the final products as a group! I love this activity because it gets kids AND grown-ups engaged and thinking super silly thoughts.

PAX AND BLUE (and Chee-Kee!) at Powerhouse on 8th

I had the pleasure of sharing a reading with the wildly talented and absolutely lovely Sujean Rim, author-illustrator of CHEE-KEE, A PANDA IN BEARLAND. It was a really nice pairing, since both of our books are about kindness, empathy, and being a good friend. Sujean and I have so many mutual connections, it was wonderful to finally meet. Thank you to Powerhouse on 8th for packing the place with kids!

A HOP IS UP at Powerhouse on 8th

Thank you so much to Riley at Powerhouse on 8th! This special little store in Park Slope is such a neighborhood gem. Our reading of A HOP IS UP was followed by a drawing game... which resulted in a dog with an orange (!!) mohawk drinking a pumpkin spice latte near the subway.

Love using movement during this readaloud

Love using movement during this readaloud

We shared the secret case cover art!

We shared the secret case cover art!

Orange mohawk dog

Orange mohawk dog

Doggie crafting!

Doggie crafting!

Photo courtesy of @powerhouseon8th Instagram

Photo courtesy of @powerhouseon8th Instagram

Princeton Children's Book Festival 2016

What a picture-perfect fall day in Princeton! This book fair is bustling and oh-so-much fun to attend. Every last one of our board books of A HOP IS UP went home with adorable kiddos. Thank you so much to Princeton Public Library and JaZams for a wonderful day!

On the Hinds Plaza at the beautiful Princeton Public Library

On the Hinds Plaza at the beautiful Princeton Public Library

My best helpers!

My best helpers!

Team Rodeen! The fabulous Vesper Stamper, Lauren Castillo, Lori Kilkelly, n' me

Team Rodeen! The fabulous Vesper Stamper, Lauren Castillo, Lori Kilkelly, n' me

Piles of books, ready to go home with readers

Piles of books, ready to go home with readers

A surprise visit from my triplet cousins

A surprise visit from my triplet cousins

A HOP IS UP at BookCourt

I've been going to BookCourt as a customer for the past 11 years. To be there for my own book event was so, so amazingly FUN (and mind-blowing!) Thank you to Aubrey and the rest of the BookCourt team for being such lovely hosts to me and A HOP IS UP. Friends and family, you are amazing.

Introducing A HOP IS UP (with my trusty sidekick!)

Introducing A HOP IS UP (with my trusty sidekick!)

Packed house of kiddos and grown-ups.

Packed house of kiddos and grown-ups.

We shared the secret that I hid our family in one of the drawings!

We shared the secret that I hid our family in one of the drawings!

Our interactive drawing game, where the kids and I spontaneously created a dog sporting a mohawk and sitting in a hair salon. Big laughs all around!

Our interactive drawing game, where the kids and I spontaneously created a dog sporting a mohawk and sitting in a hair salon. Big laughs all around!

Line of friends waiting to have books signed. (Whaaat?!)

Line of friends waiting to have books signed. (Whaaat?!)

My dearest former co-workers and work children. I love all of these women!

My dearest former co-workers and work children. I love all of these women!

A HOP IS UP at Books of Wonder

I had the pleasure of being part of September Picture Book Bonanza alongside Jon Agee, David Soman, and Todd Kessler at the iconic Books of Wonder in Manhattan. It was a fun surprise to top off our panel presentation with CUTE PUPPIES (!!!) from R.E.A.D., a literacy organization that uses therapy dogs to help children with reading. The kids got to share our books with these adorable, furry friends.

Even sweeter is this note that just came to my inbox: 

"My son stayed up late last night and I couldn't figure out why. This morning, I discovered he was drawing the dog from your book! He was practicing it over and over. I've never seen him do this before ... You inspired him!"

You can order signed copies of A HOP IS UP from the Books of Wonder website.