Category Archives: Announcements

Creepy Carrots! is out and available!

The wait is over! Creepy Carrots! are out!

RUN!!! – don’t walk – to your nearest bookseller!



Already, Creepy Carrots! is collecting some nice buzz:

“…a spot-on parody of a paranoid thriller,” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Delicious suspense…” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Hilarious!” – School Library Journal

But these carrots won’t be satisfied until they HAVE…IT…ALL!!!

(What can I say? They’re creepy carrots.)


Joey Fly Art Contest WINNERS!

Hey gang!

I’m thrilled to announce the winners of our Joey Fly Art Contest! This contest made for some really tough judging…we received hundreds of fabulous art creations and my office was literally infested with all your creepy crawly renditions of Joey, Sammy, Harry, and all their buggy ilk. The other judges (my kids) and I hemmed and hawed forever, but finally had to narrow down the winners. In the end, we had to add an additional winner to the five we planned on, just because we couldn’t decide.

Thanks a million for all your awesome entries!

So…enough of the dramatic build-up. Here, in no particular order, are the six winners to the Joey Fly Art Contest!

Christine Turner - Age 40

We loved Christine’s cool take on the main bug himself, Joey Fly.

Alex Morales - Age 10

Alex knocked our socks off with his fun and funky version of Sammy Stingtail!

Muhammed Jamsheed - 1st grade

We loved Muhammed’s fantastic in-your-face take on the classic Joey Fly. It was imaginative and awesome in all the right ways!

Diana Wegner - Age 8

Diana’s colorful rendition of Delilah and Flittany tra-la-la-ing along the coast on a sun-shiny day can be described in one word. To quote my daughter: “Joyful!”

Samantha Hanley - Age 9

Samantha was singing the blues with her moody noir take on Joey Fly, but the results delighted us completely!

Jack Turner - 2nd grade

Jack cracked us up and left us screaming for seconds with his fun and funny spin on the munchy ladybug Gloria.

Each winner will receive a signed copy of Joey Fly, Private Eye #1 for themselves, a signed copy of Joey Fly Private Eye #2 for their school library, and a custom-drawn bug caricature of themselves, done by Neil Numberman himself! Congrats!

Thanks again to everyone who entered the contest! You all did great!

Back of the Bus snags ALA nomination

The nominee list for ALA Notable Books for 2010 came out today, and I’m delighted to share that my book BACK OF THE BUS, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, has made the nominee list. It stands in good company, as you’ll see from the full list of picture book nominees below. The American Library Association Notable Books Committee with make final selections later this month at the ALA Mid-Winter Conference. I’m delighted to be on a list with such incredible authors and illustrators.

Here’s the complete list of all the contenders. Congrats and good luck to all the nominees!

Picture Books
April and Esme, Tooth Fairies Graham, Bob
Art & Max Wiesner, David
Back of the Bus Reynolds, Aaron
Bag in the Wind Kooser, Ted
Balancing Act Walsh, Ellen Stoll
Beaver is Lost Cooper, Elisha
Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation Sherman, Pat
Big Red Lollipop Khan, Rukhsana
The Boss Baby Frazee, Marla
Brontorina Howe, James
Bunny Days Nyeu, Tao
Chalk Thomson, Bill
City Dog, Country Frog Willems, Mo
Clever Jack Takes the Cake Fleming, Candace
Dogs Gravett, Emily
Dust Devil Isaacs, Anne
Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn’t Fit Rayner, Catherine
Farm Cooper, Elisha
Feeding the Sheep Schubert, Leda
Floating on Mama’s Song/Flotando en la Cancion de mama Lacamara, Laura
Flora’s Very Windy Day Birdsall, Jeanne
Goal! Javaherbin, Mina
In Front of My House Dubuc, Marianne
It’s a Book Smith, Lane
The Junkyard Wonders Polacco, Patricia
Let’s Say Hi to Friends Who Fly! Willems, Mo
LMNO Peas Baker, Keith
Me and You Browne, Anthony
Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t) Bottner, Barbara
Moon Bear Guiberson, Brenda Z.
Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog Agee, Jon
My Brother Charlie Peete, Holly Robinson and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
My Garden Henkes, Kevin
My Heart Is Like a Zoo Hall, Michael
Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) Barnett, Mac
One Too Many: A Seek and Find Counting Book Marino, Gianna
Pecan Pie Baby Woodson, Jacqueline
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes Litwin, Eric
A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade Preller, James
The Quiet Book Underwood, Deborah
The Rabbit Problem Gravett, Emily
Rain School Rumford, James
Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth! Gay, Marie-Louise
Rubia and the Three Osos Elya, Susan Middleton
Ruth and the Green Book Ramsey, Calvin Alexander
Seasons Blexbolex
Shadow Lee, Suzy
Shark vs. Train Barton, Chris
A Sick Day for Amos McGee Stead, Philip C.
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down Pinkney, Andrea Davis
Sleepy, Oh So Sleepy Fleming, Denise
Snook Alone Nelson, Marilyn
There’s Going to Be a Baby Burningham, John
Tuck Me In Hacohen, Dean
The Village Garage Karas, G. Brian
We Planted a Tree Muldrow, Diane
What If? Seeger, Laura Vaccaro
What the Ladybug Heard Donaldson, Julia
Yasmin’s Hammer Malaspina, Ann
Yucky Worms French, Vivian

The blog tour continues

Hey peeps!

Just updating you on the blog tour that me and Joey Fly illustrator Neil Numberman have been doing. We’ve made a bunch of great stops, but many more are planned for the coming few weeks. Please stop by, leave a comment, say hey, ask a question, and be part of the conversation. Kids and teachers especially welcome!

Here’s the schedule for the rest of this week. More updates to follow.

Today (Dec 1) – Christine Fonseca’s Blog

Dec 2 – The Bookanistas

Dec 3 – A Writer’s Journey (prizes and give-aways will be given!)

Show up, would ya?

Blog Tour Begins!

Only 19 days until the second installment of the Joey Fly, Private Eye series is released! The new book, Joey Fly, Private Eye 2: Big Hairy Drama, comes out on November 23 and has already received some fun attention, including being picked as a Junior Library Guild Selection for 2011.

To celebrate the release, the illustrator (Neil Numberman) and I will be traveling around the blogosphere on a Blog Tour throughout the months of November and December. There will be interviews, video appearances, fun give-aways, and contests with cool prizes, so subscribe to this blog now and get regular updates on the tour stops and locations. You won’t want to miss all the creepy crawly buggy fun!

First stop: Today at Tara Lazar’s blog Writing for Kids (while Raising Them). Should be a blast, so come on by! And be sure to drop your comments on her blog…every commenter has a chance to win a custom bug-caricature of themselves drawn and signed by Neil Numberman. Here’s one he did of me:

Are my antennae really that big?

Don’t miss out on the buggy mayhem!

For those of you who like to plan, here’s a complete run-down of the blog tour schedule. More will be added in coming days. And I’ll be posting regular updates here from the (virtual) road, as well as reminder announcements for each stop, so be sure to hit subscribe now to have these show up automatically in your mailbox.


Joey Fly #2 Blog Tour Schedule

Nov 4 – Tara Lazar, Writing for Kids (while Raising Them)

Nov 20 – Kathryn Packer Roberts, Literary Works in the Works

Dec 1 & 2 – Christine Fonseca, The Bookanistas

Dec 3 – Beth Coulton, A Writer’s Journey

Dec 6 – Melissa Fox, Book Nut

Dec 7 – Corey Schwartz, Thing 1 & Thing 2

Dec 12 – Karen Wang and Nancy Tsai, Kidsmomo

Dec 13 – Kathy Burnette, The Brain Lair

Dec 14 – Patrick Hoecherl, Kids Book Buzz

Dec 16 – Elana Johnson

Dec 20 – Cheryl Tasses, Reading Rumpus


See you there!



New School Presentations!

This summer, in between writing way too little and cooking out way too much, I created some brand new author visit presentations to offer schools. With the launch of the new school year, I’ve performed them at several schools already, and the results have been way fun, entertaining for both me and kids, and even educational!

As always, all of my presentations are far from your standard lecture/Powerpoint fare. I work hard to create author visits that are hilarious, hands-on, and completely interactive. So, here’s a run-down on my newest presentations. And if you’re a teacher or librarian, get in touch for some first-hand fun!


Superhero School Smackdown!

Aaron’s newest picture book is the jumping-off point for a dynamic interactive hour of reading, superheroes, and (believe it or not)…math! Kids will see that even superheroes need to know how to overcome numbers as they divide and conquer their math fears…superhero style! Ideal for all elementary ages.




The Joey Fly Creepy Crawly Mystery!

2010 is the “Year of the Children’s Mystery Book” and this year, “Joey Fly, Private Eye” was nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Mystery Award! In this fast-paced, hands-on presentation, students will sleuth alongside Aaron to solve a creepy crawly mystery before the hour is up. Along the way, they’ll discover all the elements that make great mystery books go bump in the night. Perfect for grades 4th-8th.


I’ll get some photos loaded of the presentation in action very soon. But let’s just say, costumes will be involved.


Joey Fly in LEGO

It finally happened. Not only has my work been immortalized in the written form of a book (a long-time dream of mine) but it has now been immortalized…in LEGO. I never dared to dream such a lofty achievement could come to pass, but I may be just as delighted by it as I was when my first book came out.

LEGO sculptor Dave Xandegar and his nine-year-old son Johnny were first exposed to my books through my Tiger Moth, Insect Ninja series. They honored me by creating a 3-foot LEGO Tiger Moth last year.

But they’ve outdone themselves in creating a new addition to their LEGO line-up, straight from the pages of Joey Fly, Private Eye. And the results…they bring a lump to my throat. And that’s not just my acid-reflux acting up.

Here’s LEGO Joey with creators Dave and Johnny Xandegar. LEGO Joey is made of over 1000 LEGOs and took Dave and Johnny 16 hours to complete. As you can see, he stands about 2 feet tall, in all his multi-legged glory. Dave and Johnny are well-known on the LEGO circuit…his 40-pound Buzz Aldrin creation enjoyed a 14-stop tour in 2009, including a six-week stint at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as part of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Anniversary.

Looks like Joey will be spending his own time on the road. This year, he’ll be touring schools, libraries and museums all around the Chicago area and beyond, including the Madison Children’s Museum in Wisconsin and the Lyndfest Exhibit in Cleveland, OH.

Live in the Chicago area? Interested in getting LEGO Joey Fly to take a short residency at your library, school, bookstore or museum? Well then, Dave and Johnny would love to hear from you! They’re thrilled to bring their handiwork your way for the ooh and ahh enjoyment of kids everywhere. You can reach them to chat more about this at

I may never write a classic piece of literature like Moby Dick. I’ve come to peace with that. Then again…Melville never got a 40-pound LEGO whale created in his honor.

Eat THAT, Melville!