How Much Should I Charge? Aiming for Transparency in Pay for School Visits

It’s Women’s History Month and the children’s literature community is celebrating with 31 days of posts seeking to address gender and social inequalities in our industry. Join the conversation at KidlitWomen on Facebook and by searching #KidlitWomen on Twitter.

Today, Jeanette Bradley and I are launching an anonymous survey to collect data about author and illustrator’s compensation for school visits (Sometimes called author visits). One of our goals is for there to be greater transparency in compensation. There are many aspects we could have chosen to investigate, but we need to keep this survey focused so that people will fill it out and we will be able to crunch the numbers and make sense of the data (This is a volunteer effort, after all).  

To that end, we have had to limit this to residents of the U. S. who have at least one book published. It’s not that we don’t want to go wider. There’s no way for us to manage that much data. (Also, having recently moved back from Ireland where I did some school visits, I realize how very different this is, country by country).

If you are an author or illustrator who creates books for children through young adults and you do school visits in the U.S.  please take our anonymous survey. It will take less than 5 minutes. Please be as honest and accurate as possible. Transparency is important to removing inequities, and the results are only as good as the data we collect.

Please invite everyone you know who does school visits to fill it out, as well.

You may wonder why Jeanette and I are the ones running this survey. I first had the idea to do this because I care deeply about school visits. I facilitate workshops to help authors and illustrators develop engaging school visit programs. One question I face in every workshop is “How much should I charge for school visits?” Or the even more troubling, “Wait. I should be paid for school visits?” (Anecdotal comment: I’ve never had a man ask me that question, which is partially what inspired me to want to dig deeper). Over and over again, I’ve stressed that authors and illustrators should be compensated fairly for their time. Yet, what is the “going rate?” What is fair?  (If you want to know more about why book creators should be paid for school visits, I encourage you to read this excellent post by Caroline Starr Rose).

I asked Jeanette Bradley to partner with me on this survey because her first career was as a policy researcher focused on studying housing and lending discrimination. She has experience writing and analyzing surveys about sensitive topics. Angie Isaacs, another KidLit person with advanced statistics experience will be reviewing our results before we publish them.

Summary of Important details:

  • Respondents must be residents of the U. S.
  • Respondents must have at least one book published, either traditionally or indie/self-published.
  • Respondents must currently do school visits in the U.S.
  • All data is anonymous. No identifying information will be collected, and the results will be reported in aggregate format.
  • The data collected will determine what our reporting looks like. There will be a minimum of one public blog post to share results, but there could end up being a series of posts, depending upon the data we collect.

Our Timeline:

  1. The survey is open from March 15-31.
  2. The results will be published here by the end of April (sooner if we can manage it).

Again, please help us out by taking the survey and sharing it widely so others will take it, as well.

Thank you so much for your time.

 Me during a school visit for my debut, Flying Deep.

Me during a school visit for my debut, Flying Deep.

Flying Deep, Plus Big Life Events

So much has happened in the last 16 months, and yet I haven't blogged in ages. I think it's because I found I really enjoy micro-blogging on Instagram. It's quick and easy and I can do it from my phone when I have a few minutes.

Here's a recap of a few big things that happened since I last posted:

Here's the cover of Flying Deep, illustrated by the fabulous Nicole Wong.

Publication Date: May 2018

Flying Deep.jpg

From the jacket: 

you’re the pilot
of Alvin, a deep-sea submersible
barely big enough for three.

Climb inside the coolest vehicle
around and dive almost two miles
down to the bottom of the ocean.
Follow a typical dive schedule for
the day. Descend at 8 am—

Down, down, down.

Head back to the surface to arrive
by 5 pm—

Up, up, up.

What will you see?
What discoveries will you make?

What do you think of the cover? It's pretty wonderful, right? 

Back to my microblogging for a minute: While I was in Dublin, I posted #DublinLife almost daily on Instrgram. These posts highlighted something about my life in #Dublin that was different compared to my life in the US. Now that we're back, I'm posting #RochesterLife. I hope you'll check it out. If you're not on Instragram, I cross post to Twitter and to my "Michelle Cusolito, Author," Facebook Page.


6th Annual #KidstoParks Day

For the second year in a row, I participated in Kids to Parks Day, both as a blogger and as a parent who took my kids to a park on Saturday.  This year, we visited "Church's Field." A lovely area of protected land managed by the Rochester Land Trust

Readers of my blog know I love the trails that run near my house. But as we did last year, we decided to check out a trail we've never been on. This trail did not disappoint! It's short, but exceptionally lovely, with little places to explore. I'll let my photos tell the story.

Church's Field
wacky kid
mud bridge
mud bridge 2
Mattapoisett River
violets by river
old foundation
contemplating a foundation

Did you get out for Kids to Parks Day? Where did you go? Please share.

A Glorious Spring Day

Yesterday was a glorious spring day here in my sleepy little town, but I had loads of work to do that required my computer and an internet connection. My solution: I bribed myself. "Get the 'administrivia' done as soon a possible so you can hike to your lakeside 'office' and write."

I blasted through my work, ate an early lunch, and headed out.

trail to lake
trail at lake
trail to brook

I love our woods year round, but I especially love early spring days when beech trees display their new finery- delicate, ridged green leaves, soft like silk.

beech leaves
 My "office." A bench built by my 10 and 14 year old and placed so others can enjoy the spot. 

My "office." A bench built by my 10 and 14 year old and placed so others can enjoy the spot. 


Yesterday was a day when I felt deep gratitude to be alive in this place on this particular day.

A day of honking geese whose voices echo off the trees.


Of silent swans flashing feathery fans.


A day of songbirds skittering as they build nests among bushes.

Of bumblebees defying engineering principals and flying even though it shouldn’t be possible.

Of ephemeral Lady Slippers preparing to bloom.

lady slipper

A day of turtles popping periscope heads up to look around and take a breath.

A day of tufty grasses poking through sand.


Of day of dragonflies zipping side to side

and crickets chirping in the meadow on the hike home.


6 Ways to Enjoy the 6th Annual "Kids To Parks Day"

Today is Earth Day, which seems like the perfect day to share an upcoming event.

Saturday, May 21st is Kids to Parks Day. I already pledged to bring my family to a park on that day. Will you join me? In addition to all of the benefits of spending time in nature, you could also win cool prizes. Register at the Kids to Parks Website.

Of course, you don't need any plans to enjoy nature. You can simply get out, hike, observe, and take in the day.

If you prefer a little structure, here are six activities you can plan to do with your family:

1.       Get to know a tree. Feel the bark. Notice the buds/leaves. Give it a hug. Climb its branches. Make a bark rubbing.

2.     Search for plant and animal life in a body of water. Find a pond, lake, ocean, vernal pool or puddle and see what's living in it. Don't just look for large animals- look closely in the water along the edge where insect larvae and small animals live. Turn over a few rocks. See what's there.

3.       Lie on your back in an open patch of grass, sand, pine needles, etc. Watch passing clouds, rustling leaves, or passing birds. Close your eyes. Listen closely. How many natural sounds can you identify? Listen on your own for a few minutes, then whisper to your family to point out sounds you notice. See if they notice different sounds than you. 

4.       Fly a kite. This obviously works best in open spaces. We have a small "pocket kite" we take with us when we travel. Favorite place we've flown it? The National Mall.

5.        Document your excursion in a small nature journal. Provide every member of your family with colored pencils and a small  journal. The journal doesn't need to be fancy. You can even make a simple one by stapling a few pages of copy paper together as a booklet. Hike until you find a place you like. Sit quietly for 15 minutes and sketch something you see or write a few lines describing what you see. You can look far off into the distance or focus on the moss by your feet. See what catches your interest. The idea is to notice details, not to be artists. Compare what interests you to what interests your family members. NOTE: even preschool children can participate if you give them larger pieces of paper. (My post, Nature Observations With Young Children offers guidance).

6.       Photo document your day. Turn off/silence the electronics except for a camera. (Don't view the day from behind a lens- be selective about when and where to take a photo). When you get home, work as a family to create a photo book, blogpost, or movie of your day. If you have older kids with the needed computer skills, ask them to create a movie that reflects their feelings/perspective on the day. (My kids happen to love using iMovie. It's intuitive and they can use it on a desktop, iPad, or iPod). 

Bonus idea for folks living in Rochester, Marion, or Mattapoisett, Massachusetts:

7. Check out a MOBY Explorer Backpack from the public library and take it on your adventure. Use the contents to investigate a topic more deeply.

In exchange for this post, I was offered two sets of books from National Geographic: one set for me, another to give to a blog reader. I will donate my copies to my local library.


If you would like a chance to win a set that includes Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure and National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA Centennial Edition, please do two things:

1.       Leave a comment on this post.

2.     Sign up for the give-away using the rafflecopter below. (Leaving a comment unlocks the other options). It lists other things you can do to earn more chances in the give-away. For example, you can follow me on Twitter or sign up for my newsletter on the right side bar, in the gray box. Once you complete the action, click that option in the rafflecopter. Each actions earns you another chance.

How will you celebrate Kids to Park Day? Share your ideas in the comments.

PEN New England, Susan P. Bloom Children's Book Discovery Award

Last week I received amazing news. I am one of the authors being honored with a PEN New England, Susan P. Bloom Children's Book Discovery Award for my manuscript FLYING DEEP. This award honors emerging writers- writers whose work has not yet been published. 

All of the winners will read their work and receive awards at Simmons College in Boston, MA on the evening of May 15th. 

FLYING DEEP invites young readers to imagine themselves as a pilot of deep-sea submersible Alvin, exploring hydrothermal vents two miles deep where alien-looking life forms thrive far from the sun’s rays. I spent many months researching in order to get the details just right. The highlight of my research was a trip to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) where I met with Bruce Strickrott, Manager of the Alvin Group, and got to climb inside Alvin.

Inside Alvin.

In the pilot's seat.

To learn more about Alvin, and see some of the resources I used in my research, check out the my FLYING DEEP Pinterest board. 

Almost Time?

Last night on Facebook, a friend commented on one of my nature photos, "Almost time..." Today, I got a frantic call from a different friend. "I'm calling about the frogs. I just heard peepers. Did we miss them?"

What were they talking about? Wood frog migration! Around here, in some circles anyway, I'm known as the resident wood frog expert. I've written many picture book manuscripts over the years. One of the manuscripts I'm most proud of, FROG FRENZY, is about this very phenomenon. I spent four springs the watching migration unfold, taking notes, and getting the details just right for that manuscript. I'm still hopeful it will find a home with the right publisher. 

I've been taking my kids and any other families I can round up to see wood frog migration since my kids were young. Before the days of Facebook, friends would wait for a call or text announcing that migration had started and when they could meet me to head out. Now, I often make a quick FB invitation to alert as many people as possible.

In 2012, migration happened on March 8th, but last year it didn't happen until April 22! (Remember that banner year for snow we had here in the northeast? Wood frogs were buried beneath it, frozen solid until April!)

Well, I've been watching the weather, and it looks like this might be the week wood frogs migrate. I never know for sure, but the conditions seem right; peepers were heard (that usually falls a day or two before I see wood frogs), it's going to rain, and it's going to be warm.

In case you're new here and don't know quite what I'm talking about, my kids made videos for you. (Turn up the sound on the first one. You can hear the frogs kwaking). Enjoy!

Kids to Parks Day Give-Away Winner

The "Kids to Parks" giveaway ended last night. The winner is Kimberly H. I emailed Kimberly this morning.

Thanks to all of you who entered and thanks to National Park Trust for the terrific prize pack. 

 I hope you'll participate in "Kids to Parks Day" next year. But I also hope you don't wait until then to visit a federal or local park. Get out there exploring this summer.


"Kids to Parks Day" is May 16th!


Have you heard the news? This Saturday is Kids to Parks Day- a national movement dedicated to getting kids and their families out exploring local and national parks.

I pledged to participate. Will you?

Here's what you need to know:

  • The 5th annual National Park Trust Kids to Parks Day will take place May 16 at local and national parks all over the U.S. All you have to do to participate is get outside in a local or national park. (Find an organized event in your area)
  • Parents, teachers, caregivers and friends, pledge to bring a child to a park on May 16! When you register you'll be entered to win a Nikon COOLPIX L830 camera! Register here: Last year, there were more than 447,000 participants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. This year, the goal is to have more than 500,000 people enjoy Kids to Parks Day.
  •  Kids to Parks Day has been endorsed by many organizations including:  American Academy of Pediatrics, Boy Scouts of America, Children & Nature Network, National Education Association, National Geographic Kids, National Wildlife Federation, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let Move Outside! Initiative, half the nation’s governors, and many more
  •  Active Kids are Healthy Kids. At a time when the obesity epidemic touches nearly 1 in 3 children, cities across the nation are encouraging their residents to use Kids to Parks Day as the first of many days spent outdoors, at local parks and recreation sites, to develop more active, healthy lifestyles.
  •  Kids to Parks Day brings families together for important and irreplaceable outdoor and family time, to create lifelong memories, traditions and fun.
  • National Park Trust encourages children across the country to explore their neighborhood parks and discover science, history, nature and adventure right around the corner or just across town.  Their website can help jumpstart your adventure. Visit them at 
  • National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. As people spend more time indoors and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants to build a greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of our country's public lands and parks. 
  • Local friends, this dovetails with our MOBY library program. Check out an "Explorer Backpack" from Marion, Mattapoisett, or Rochester library and bring it with you.

Note: I received no compensation for this post. I participated because I believe in the mission. However, you have the opportunity to win this this gift pack provided by National Park Trust.

gift pack

Kids to Parks Giveaway Prize Package Contents

"Buddy Bison” mascot stuffed animal, 2 National Geographic Books (National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks and National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A.), a CamelBak BPA- and BPS-free reusable bottle, a T-shirt, and a NPT Park Activity Guide ($75 value.) 

The give-away starts today and ends at midnight on Tuesday, May 19th.  The winner will be posted here on Wednesday, May 20th.

Will you participate? Share you plans in the comments. Even better, once you get home, let us know what you did!

Remember, register at ·  

Family, Friends, and Frogs

This is my favorite time of year.  Who doesn't love the rebirth that happens once the snow melts and days become warmer? My particular fondness, though, is for vernal pools and the wood frogs that migrate to them to reproduce in early spring. No matter how stressful my life is, when I reach the pool and hear the quacking of wood frogs, I instantly feel calmer.

This year, we were buried under three feet of snow for months, so it took a LONG time for all of that snow to melt- an unusual circumstance for Southeastern Massachusetts. That means the wood frogs were late to emerge this year. So while we usually hear just wood frogs for a few days at our vernal pool before the peepers emerge, this year they arrived simultaneously

Wood frog migration is an event I love sharing with others, so I always invite local families along. We hiked about 1 mile in to our favorite vernal pool.


Along the way, we saw a Mourning Cloak- the first butterfly to emerge in spring.

When we reached the vernal pool, exploration began immediately! (I mean, why wouldn't it?)


The sound of wood frogs and peepers was deafening. We even heard the occasional tree frog. (Listen above). Loads of froggie eyes were visible in the water and many swam past us while we watched. This one stayed quiet and still for a long time:

wood frog by michellecusolito

Soon it was time to head home, tired but happy.

Want to learn more about wood frogs? Check out these posts from my old blog:

Wood Frogs are Traveling

Travelin' Wood Frogs

Polliwog by Polliwog

My Wood Frogs/Vernal Pools Pinterest board has links to books and websites about vernal pools and wood frogs. There's also a cool video that shows a wood frog thawing after being frozen solid in winter. Yup. Frozen solid. Their lungs and hearts stop when they freeze. As soon as they thaw they race to the water to reproduce- the frog frenzy of wood frog migration!

Have you seen or heard wood frogs or peepers in your area? We went out to see them on April 12th. If you live north of Boston, however, you might be able to see wood frogs at vernal pools in your area. (We heard a few yesterday). Wood frogs live in cool woodlands all the way up to the Arctic circle!

Winter's Waning, I Can Feel It!

I went for a woodland walk with my daughter and her friend yesterday. It was 38 degrees F and sunny, which felt glorious after months of being buried in snow and cold weather.

We were surprised, however, by how much snow is still on the ground. Walking was tough- we'd go a few steps on top of the snow, then suddenly sink in.  We got quite a workout.

But the sun was warm and lovely, so we stopped at a fallen tree to appreciate the sun and stillness, and beauty. 

I lounged on a fallen tree watching beech leaves sway against a blue sky

while the girls recorded their poetry ideas.

Then we headed back feeling relaxed and refreshed.

What fun nature experiences have you had lately?

Successful Bookbinding Workshop

Last weekend, 10 students were fortunate to create their own nature journals using traditional bookbinding techniques. This MOBY class (paid for with federal funds through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners) was free to participants.

Teacher Benares Angeley, owner of the Children's Art Lab in Mattapoisett, MA, taught students to create two kinds of books: the 3-holed pamphlet stitch and the secret room book.

Students started by making a small pamphlet stitch journal out of paper.

 Students were encouraged to decorate their paper journals using a variety of beads.

Students were encouraged to decorate their paper journals using a variety of beads.

Then they learned the secret room book, which involves folding and cutting one piece of paper. While Benares prepared the cereal boxes students had brought for the project, students "broke in" their journals. Benares told students a great piece of advice she got from a teacher she once had: If you don't write in your newly created journal, it can become too precious and you never want to write in it. So she gave students an open-ended prompt to get them started.

I completely understand Benares' point. I had to stop buying nice journals for my day-to-day writing. I wouldn't use them because I worried the writing might not be worthy of such a journal. I now write all of my first drafts in regular old school notebooks or composition notebooks. I save the journals for when I'm traveling. I generally choose one journal per trip and include all of my notes, sketches, and ephemera from that trip.

Once students had a chance to break in their journals, Benares took them through the 3 holed pamphlet stitch again. This time they created a larger journal with a cardboard (cereal box) cover. Once students finished stitching their journals together, they were encouraged to decorate them however they chose using the variety of materials provided. They were given beads, paper scraps, markers, pencils, colored pencils, etc. Benares told them to ask if they wanted a material and didn't see it. Several students asked for fabric and within minutes, Benares reappeared with scraps of material, ribbon, and lace. I enjoyed watching how students surveyed the materials, selected what to use, and then executed their ideas. One student collaged with paper, another with yarn, and others with ribbon. One student was inspired by a sample journal and used waxed linen to stitch animal tracks on her cover.

 The beginning of a bear track.

The beginning of a bear track.

 a few examples of their creations in progress.

a few examples of their creations in progress.

Overall, the feedback was excellent. Several students said they want to come back to learn more advanced techniques. 


Create a Nature Journal/Learn Bookbinding

Some of my new readers are particularly interested in the library program I’m part of called My Own BackYard (MOBY). I decided to share this event here, even though many of you live far away, because MOBY is something any library can replicate.

One component of MOBY is “Explorer Backpacks,” that include materials and books to get kids out exploring nature. Every backpack also includes a small journal. We hope students will record a few observations from their adventures so others who check out the backpacks can see them. We also hope students will be inspired to keep nature journals of their own.

That’s where this class comes in. Local artist Benares Angeley will teach students in grades 6-8 book binding. Students are invited to use their journals however they choose, but we hope they’ll use them for nature journaling or to document their letterboxing adventures. Journals will be created using a combination of found and purchased materials (all participants are asked to bring an empty cereal box).

This arts program ties in nicely to our STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) focus.

Create a Nature Journal flyer draft revised mar 3 2015.jpg

If MOBY interests you, I hope you’ll sign up to receive blog posts in your inbox (there’s a box to the right to enter your email). You can also like the MOBY Facebook page and follow #MOBYfun. We’re building this collaborative program as we go, so more details will emerge over time. We hope other libraries will be inspired to develop similar programs.

MOBY "Snow Mob"

If you don't know about the My Own BackYard library program I'm part of, I hope you'll hop over to my MOBY Tab and read about it.

Our three libraries (Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester Massachusetts) held simultaneous flash mobs we decided to call "Snow Mobs." 

Here's a sampling of what happened at each of the libraries:

Kids and their families gathered at the libraries to sled on snow piles.

Do a little reading.

Play games.

Decorate and fed the birds.

Test out the snowhoes the library has available for check-out.

And study the perfectly symmetrical snowflakes that decided to fall just for us.


We have lots of fun programming coming throughout the year. I hope those of you who are local will join us. If you live elsewhere and want to know more about our program, please email me at michelle(at)michellecusolito(dot)com or contact one of the libraries (linked above).

What cool programs are happening at your library?


Unless you've been away from all media recently, you know the northeast has been buried in snow these past couple of weeks. It's snowing again today.

One day, after all the snow was cleared from our driveway and walks, my son and I went out snowshoeing.


 Some cross country skiers had been down the trail before us.

Some cross country skiers had been down the trail before us.

 we went straight to one of my favorite places.

we went straight to one of my favorite places.

The Lake was frozen so we walked out a little ways. But we'd had enough recent warm days so we didn't want to venture too far. We couldn't tell how deep the ice was under the snow.

Of course, my son had dragged his sled out, so there was sledding..

Then is was time to head home.

 I find this trail so peaceful. For my regular readers... "my" wood frogs are frozen solid, hiding under leaves and logs all through these woods.

I find this trail so peaceful. For my regular readers... "my" wood frogs are frozen solid, hiding under leaves and logs all through these woods.

We found some "snow urchins."

 It's really bundles of white pine needles that landed at just the right angle to resemble an urchin.

It's really bundles of white pine needles that landed at just the right angle to resemble an urchin.

We studied shadows cast by beech leaves clinging to trees.

And tracked some animals.

  A deer left tracks, then the wind blew leaves into the tracks.

A deer left tracks, then the wind blew leaves into the tracks.


When's the last time you had fun outdoors?

Are you  in the Northeast? If yes, your kids are probably home again today. Head outside for some snow play. Then share what you did in the comments.

Warm weather friends, I don't want to hear about it.  He he. Just kidding. Please share your adventures, too. 

What nature fun is  happening in your part of the world?

2014 Accomplishments

Welcome to my new website and blog. I hope you like it! It's still new, and I have lots more to do here, but it's a start. I'll be adding more content over the coming months.


Regular readers of my old blog know that I stopped blogging last year when life got too complicated. We lost several loved ones and others faced difficult medical issues. With so much happening in my personal life, something had to give.

My primary goal has been to work as a children’s author.  Blogging can help raise an author’s profile and build a brand, but all that is pointless if you don't publish a book. So, I decided to stop blogging and to spend any time I had for building my writing career to focus on the writing. I’m happy to report that I made the right choice, for even though this last year has been incredibly difficult, I wrote more than ever and signed with literary agent, Jill Corcoran. My hope is that a book sale isn’t too far in the distance.

The other day, Children's author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants in her “12 Days of Christmas for Writers” series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year's resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity - what DIDN'T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution!

I thought this would be a great way to launch my new website and blog.

So here is my list for 2014. I’ve left off many of the smaller accomplishments I listed in my journal and bolded the ones I’m most proud of.

  •  Completed the "Start the Year Off Write" challenge.
  • Participated in Julie Hedlund’s 12 X 12 Picture Book Challenge.
  •  Drafted 5 new picture book manuscripts. Two are “on submission.”
  • Completed more than two dozen revisions.
  • Drafted and revised 3 cover letters.
  • Submitted a query letter for critique by Emma Walton-Hamilton.
  • Submitted a manuscript for the Penn/New England award.
  •  Submitted manuscripts to 5 different agents.
  • Received critiques on 4 different manuscripts.
  •  Applied for the SCBWI Work-in-Progress (WIP) grant.
  •  Applied for the (NE-SCBWI) Glass Scholarship.
  • Applied for a Boyds Mills "un-workshop."
  • Signed up for Video Idiot Boot Camp. (In 2015 I WILL create a welcome video for my website).
  • Signed with Jill Corcoran Literary Agency.
  •  Attended the NE-SCBWI spring conference.
  • Read FROG FRENZY at the NE-SCBWI open mic.
  • Met more than 20 “12 X 12” participants at NE-SCBWI.
  • Worked with 3 library directors to apply for a STEAM grant. Our program, called My Own BackYard (MOBY™), focuses on getting students in grades 3-8 outside exploring the ecosystems in our area.  We got the grant! (Twitter: @MOBYfun #MOBYfun. Facebook: MOBYfun™). You will also be able to learn more by clicking the My Own BackYard tab on this website once I add the details.
  • Completed my work as “Writer in Residence” for grade 2 students at Rochester Memorial School. All students published an illustrated story or poem.
  • Solicited blurbs from two teachers to use on my website.
  • Submitted 2 workshop proposals for the NESCBWI 2015 spring conference. My workshop on School Visits was accepted. (Will I see you there?)
  • Loosely participated in KidLit Summer School by Nerdy Chicks Sudipta and Kami. 
  •  Applied for a "Tiny Letter" Residency.
  •  Launched MOBY.
  • Presented MOBY™ at a small libraries conference with tri-town library Directors Gail Roberts, Susan Pizzolato, and Elizabeth O’Neill.
  • Began a focused study of structure in non-fiction with another NF author.
  • Participated in PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) during November. Came up with 33 ideas. Two are already manuscripts.
  • Completed full reads of 3 YA novels for critique group members.
  • Contacted an expert to arrange an interview for my WIP.
  • Drafted back matter for FROG FRENZY and TIDE POOL SECRETS.
  • Arranged for Wood Frog expert to vet FROG FRENZY manuscript and back matter.
  • Launched this new website! (Which still needs work, but I wanted to get something up).

How was your 2014? What were your successes? Please share them in the comments.

Waiting for Spring

It's been a long hard winter for my family for many reasons. The hardest part was the illnesses, hospitalizations, and loved ones lost. But there was also a polar vortex that kept us buried under snow with temperatures in the single digits for far too many days at a time. I knew my family had had enough when my 8 year-old daughter told me she was sick of snow. That, my friends, is a sure tip-off that winter is no longer welcome!

My calendar tells me that wood frog migration should be any day now. So do my daffodils:

Alas, my observations tell me that is not likely...
Much of the ground is still covered with snow.

The lake out back it totally frozen. (So is the "frog pond" where they mate)

Yes, the  temperature the last two days has gotten into the 50's, but snow is predicted for tonight.

I'm hanging in for spring and hoping that I'll see those wood frogs soon!

How's the weather where you are?