It was an honor and a privilege to be invited to Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. The line up of authors was staggering! I was placed in between Carol Weston and Nikki Grimes. They were a study in opposites in handling the crowds.
Carol Weston warned me that she aggressively draws in the kids. She, in fact, has a charming and inviting way to tell the kids about her middle grade series about two sisters living in New York City. She also had a sizeable crowd of girls who were fanatic fans and owned all of her books. As a debut author, Carol is a good role model for authors taking responsibility to sell their own books.
On the other hand, I sat next to Nikki Grimes, the OG of diversity. With more than 100 lauded books, Nikki broke into publishing during a time when #OwnVoices were marginalized.
Without pioneers like her, I would not be sitting next to her with a debut picture book!
Nikki Grimes has a new YA memoir out, Ordinary Hazards. For ages 12 and up, it’s a testament to her strength that she could survive a mother suffering from schizophrenia, a mostly absent father, and a series of foster homes.
Nikki Grimes has a new picture book out coming on January 14, 202o!
My row included Eric Velasquez, Bryan Collier, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace. Our row, which was roughly alphabetical, faced Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Stemple.
These superstars brought the crowd to the back since we were the last row.
I read Sumo Joe for story time to a small audience of adorable children!
I also interviewed Sandra Neil Wallace, Phil Bildner, and Joyce Wan for KidLit TV.
- Who won a greeting card city-wide competition at age 6?
- Who broke the glass ceiling as a sports broadcast journalist?
- Who is or has been a socialpreneur, a teacher, an attorney, and an entrepreneur?
The interviews are here.
This was my first children’s book festival as an author. I had only ever been to the Boston Book Festival before.
Thank you to everyone at Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. It was an amazing experience!
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.