Introducing Karate Kid

Karate Kid Cover

I am so excited to announce that KARATE KID will be released on September 3, 2019. I recently received the F&G (folded and gathered)— the colors are so vibrant and Karate Kid’s expressions are priceless. Mark Chambers has done such an amazing job illustrating the different Karate moves. Each time I read the book, I have a new favorite.

I’m so thankful to Julie Matysik at Running Press Kids, my agents Liza Fleissig and Ginger Harris, and all my writing friends who are some of the smartest, kindest, and thoughtful people I know.

A goat kid loves to do karate! And he is sure to inspire young kids to try karate as well. Follow Karate Kid as he goes through the major stances and karate moves, teaching readers to channel focus and build strength through each pose. Karate Kid‘s simple, measured, and meditative text is complemented by playful yet instructive illustrations by Mark Chambers to teach youngsters how to get involved in karate–and to have fun while doing so, too.


OPPORTUNITY: NJSCBWI Fall Craft Weekend – Book Winners

Fall Craft Weekend is always amazing. Making writer friends, learning about your craft, and enjoying a fall weekend in Princeton.

Writing and Illustrating


Judy Sobanski won Beauty and Bernice by Nancy Vaiu

 Marcia Strykowski won Drive by Joyce Moyer Hostetter

Carl Scott won Rock & Roll Woods by Sherry Howard

Winners please send addresses.

Princeton Theological Seminary
Princeton N.J.

Weekend Overview:

(You can sign up for Saturday-only or the full weekend)

Enjoy an editor/agent/art director panel, followed by an afternoon of workshops with published author/illustrators to help you further your skills in the world of children’s books. (Critiques will be scheduled throughout the day for those signed up for the full weekend.)
Breakfast with the faculty and opening editor/agent/art director panel. Writers will meet with editors and agents in first page sessions, and round tables. Illustrators will work with an art director and an illustrator mentor in an illustration Intensive project. Lunch with the faculty is also included.
You will be able to book a room on the…

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Author Visits Change Lives: A Babymouse Story

Author Visits Change Lives: A Babymouse Story

The potential impact of author visits is immense. Listen to Colby’s story.


I believe that author visits are an amazing way to inspired kids as readers and writers. In this video I share a story about seeing one of my former students at a book store, and how our conversation quickly turned towards her favorite day of elementary school.

Check out the video below to hear the rest of the story!

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Keeping Afloat with Books by Debby Smith

Keeping Afloat with Books by Debby Smith

A beautiful and important post about the power of sharing stories.

Nerdy Book Club

Each school year has its own personality, its own way of being remembered. Last year was like trying to maneuver a raft through whitewater while blindfolded without paddles. After two decades in the classroom, I thought I knew what to expect and what to do. But when one of my students died unexpectedly, standards and curriculum gave way to my greatest responsibility­ ­— responding to the children in front of me dealing with traumatic grief. During this life-changing time, we found much-needed comfort and guidance from characters, books, and authors.

We navigated the beginning of the year smoothly with the help of Gertie and her desire to be the best fifth-grader ever. Gertie’s Leap to Greatness, our first read aloud, engaged my students and helped us create a community comfortable having hard conversations. With the help of Kate Beasley’s writing, we explored our own identities, friendship, fitting in, and…

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Keynote Speaker Tami Charles’ Words of Wisdom

Still thinking about the keynote this week. Go Tami!!!

Bmore energy

Author Tami Charles

Charles delivering her keynote speech at the NJSCBWI18 conference.

Inspiration for Everyone

Tami Charles, whose middle grade novel Like Vanessa debuted in March, delivered a keynote speech at the NJSCBWI18 conference this past weekend.

She talked about the value of hope. “Somewhere between no and yes lies hope.”

She talked about rejections. “The word no has empowered me, broken me, and put me back together again.”

She talked about persistence. “You keep writing. You don’t stop.”

And she said, “Step into your greatness.”

Thanks, Tami, for words of wisdom that ring true for me as a writer and also for anyone trying to reach a seemingly insurmountable goal.

Click here to watch a short video about Charles and Like Vanessa. Take one guess which book I’m buying as gifts for some important tween girls in my life.

In this semi-autobiographical debut novel set in 1983, Vanessa…

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EXTRA! EXTRA! News Reporter Miss A. Weighs in on Latest AUTHOR VISIT!

A budding journalist reports on Laura Sassi’s author visit.

Laura Sassi Tales


As part of our homeschool time together, I have looked for opportunities to make writing experiences as authentic as possible for my reluctant writer, so when Miss A. asked if she could join me on a Friday afternoon author visit to her old elementary school, I said yes – IF she agreed to be a journalist for the afternoon – taking notes on the visit, conducting a few interviews, and then putting it all together into a news article, using the format we’ve been examining while reading our local newspaper together.  She fully embraced the assignment!  Take it away, Miss A!


By Miss A.

CRANFORD – On Friday, May 4th, my mother, picture book author Laura Sassi, came to Bloomingdale Avenue School to share her new book, Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse with kindergarteners through second graders. The purpose of her visit was to…

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It’s Not Complicated by Donalyn Miller

It’s Not Complicated by Donalyn Miller

This post from Donalyn Miller is at the heart of what The Author Experience promotes.

Nerdy Book Club

I have been blogging, writing, and talking about children’s independent reading lives for over ten years—starting with my first Ask the Mentor column for Education Week Teacher in 2007. I am not the first or the last educator to take on this topic. Scores of literacy leaders, like Daniel Fader, Rudine Sims-Bishop, Stephen Krashen, Teri Lesesne, Alfred Tatum, Richard Allington, Laura Robb, Nancie Atwell, and many more have been fighting for the reading lives of young people their entire careers—long before I came along. The work will continue long after me—led by folks like Pernille Ripp, Cornelius Minor, Kimberly Parker, Sara Ahmed, and Tricia Ebarvia.

Literacy still matters, but the literacy opportunities we provide children have to change. We have to change. The children cannot wait while we figure it out. I know more about the conditions…

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