Tag Archive for Charise Mericle Harper

Stay Home, Please. Don’t Celebrate Children’s Book Day at “Sunnyside” in Tarrytown, NY, 9/25

Just stay home. Please.

Find something else to do.

Each year I do this event, which features more than 60 amazing children’s book authors and illustrators, and it’s always such a disappointment. For starters, check out some of the people who’ll be there, and you’ll understand why I’m so bummed:

Tony Abbott, Nora Raleigh Baskin, Nick Bruel, Bryan Collier, Katie Davis, Bruce Degen, Jean Craighead George, Charise Mericle Harper, Susan Jeffers, Peter Lerangis, Gail Carson Levine, Carolyn MacCullough, Rafe Martin, Wendy Mass, Matthew McElligott, Helen Perelman, Wendell Minor, Gloria Pinkney, Lizzy Rockwell, Todd Strasser, Mark Teague, Jean Van Leeuwen, Eric Velasquez, Sarah Weeks, Ed Young, and more.

Why so down-in-the-dumps you ask? Because I never get to talk to any of them. I never get a chance to meet the new (to me!) people, like Will Moses (Mary and Her Little Lamb), Lena Roy (Edges), Daniel Kirk (Library Mouse), Peter Brown (You Will Be My Friend!) . . .

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. . . and Jerry Davis (Little Chicken’s Big Day). Who are these people? Might they become my new best pals? Um, not likely! Because they are sitting at tables forty feet away, surrounded by happy children, shopping grandparents, and strong-armed educators, hauling bags of books like Sherpa guides.

Best I can do is throw rocks at ’em.

And, oh, hey, look over there, it’s Jean Craighead George. She’s only a freakin’ legend. I can’t throw rocks at Jean Craighead George. She’ll throw them back — and her arm is a bazooka.

Oh,  wait.  Here’s old friends like Mark Teague and Helen Perelman and Peter Lerangis. Can I talk to any of them? Can we hang out? Maybe shoot the breeze? Commiserate?

Nooooooo. I’m too busy signing books, meeting young readers, gabbing with families, prostrating myself before the cheerful & smiling hordes.

Writing is a solitary business, folks. And it’s frustrating for me to sit there at gorgeous Sunnyside . . .

. . . just feet away from my peerless peers, and never have a free minute to chat with them.

So my dream is for just one year, nobody comes. No book sales, no signings, no musicians, no storytellers, no-bah-dee. Just us authors, finally (finally!) enjoying a few moments when we can hang out and complain about the crappy jobs our publishers do with publicity and marketing. It’s how we bond. We bitch and moan about Kindles.

So this coming Sunday, clean the garage, watch football, wax the car. But if you insist on coming . . . click here for full details.

As always, blue skies are personally guaranteed. It never rains on my parade.

Celebrate Children’s Book Day @ Washington Irving’s “Sunnyside” in Tarrytown, NY: 9/19

You should know that children’s book impresarios Susan Brandes and Beth Vetare-Civitello have put together another spectacular lineup of authors and illustrators for this year’s (13th annual?) Children’s Book Festival.

With more than 50 authors/illustrators on hand, the list is too excruciatingly long to include everyone. So I’ll only name my favorites:


Well, it looks like we’ve run out of time. Sunnyside is a gorgeous location, with historic buildings nestled in beside the mighty Hudson . . .

What’s that? Hold on. I just got a text . . .

Tony Abbott: WTF??!!

Anyway, as I was saying . . .

Eric Velasquez: Punk!

Charise Mericle Harper: When I see you there, I will throw a CUPCAKE in your face!

Jean Craighead George: Die, die, die!

Rebecca Stead: How would you like to have a Newbery Medal shoved up your . . .

Whoa, whoa, people, CALM DOWN! Obviously, some of these “artists” — and I’m using the term loosely — have ego issues. Touchy, touchy. Seriously, I don’t even know these people. And I don’t want to know them! But, okay, here’s a few other names before I get into any more trouble (but believe me, I’m pretty confident I can handle Jean Craighead George in a tussle, if it’s a fair fight and she doesn’t carry a crude knife fashioned out of tree bark and a plastic spork; and as far as Ms. Stead’s “offer,” that may be as close as I’ll ever get):

Nora Raleigh Baskin * Judy Blundell * Katie Davis * Jules Feiffer * Susan Jeffers * Peter Lerangis * Gail Carson Levine * Wendy Mass * Wendell Minor * Jerry Pinkney * Peter Sis * Hudson Talbott * Ed Young * James Howe * Michael Rex * Nick Bruel * Bruce Degan * Diane Goode * and many, many more, including JAMES FREAKING PRELLER!

I’m also glad to see that my friend, Matthew McElligott, will be attending this year. His new book, Even Monsters Need Haircuts, looks pretty great.

Maybe I’ll offer him a ride . . . if he pays for gas.

And tolls.

Show time: 12:00 – 4:30.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. I’ll do something that these other children’s authors and illustrators are afraid to do. That’s right: I am personally guaranteeing a beautiful day. Blue skies, warm sun, good times. Trust me on this, people.  It’s my personal promise to you.

This year, I mean it.

So come on out and bring lots of money bring the kids!

Click here for full details, directions, etc.

This Week’s Greatest Things (yes, plural!) Ever

You know those annoying, pestering people who have to share everything? Every great experience they ever had, they want you to have. They are constantly pressing books into your hands, making you stop to look at some stupid lake, insisting that you try a specific dish at a new restaurant, or listen to a song rightthisverysecond, or keep hounding you about a movie you absolutely have to see.

Confession: I’m one of those people. So here’s a round-up of some of the things I needed to share.

* My oldest boy, Nick, age 16, is a huge fan of The Office. We watched the wedding episode together last week. In it, Dwight wears his Three Wolf Moon T-shirt.

The shirt has become a cultural phenomenon, so as a surprise I bought it for Nick. And for a brief few moments, I became the coolest dad on the block (it’s a short block). As I type this, the shirt is currently #2 in clothing sales on Amazon, with 1,508 mostly hysterical reviews.

* At Children’s Book Day at Sunnyside, I sat next to author Charise Mericle Harper. She writes the Grace books. I got a really good feeling about her; she seemed real, not the least bit phony. I think we both have eight-year-old daughters. I’m charmed by her website (added to my blog roll), the creativity and humor. Her blend of hand-lettered text and illustration reminds me of Lynda Barry — and that’s a huge compliment. Anyway: Please read this about a bookstore signing gone bad, then good! It’s freakingfantastic.

* Last night, members of Monty Python celebrated their 40th anniversary. Have you ever asked yourself: Self, what are the 20 Greatest Monty Python skits ever filmed? Here’s a contender:

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* I recently discovered the joys of Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s Inky Girl blog (aptly subtitled: “Daily Diversions for Writers”). For your convenience and mine, I’ve posted the link under “Random Pleasures” on my blog roll. Debbie does many things well, but one of my favorite features is her “Comics for Writers” series.

* It takes a certain kind of typography nut/cheese freak to enjoy this site. Link sent to me by my old pal, Ellen Miles.

* Imagine that you lived in a movie. Who would be the most fearsome movie teacher of all? This site proposes 13 strong candidates. Can you think of any others?

* Lastly, I’m very excited because I just bought two tickets to see one of my all-time musical heroes, the great Ray Davies, “rock’s most literate songwriter.” I’ve never sat down to try to figure out  my list of Top 100 Songs of All-Time, and I probably shouldn’t, but I have to believe this tune would be near the top:

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A couple of other easy picks would be “To Live Is To Fly” by Townes Van Zant, “Girl from the North Country” by Bob Dylan (which Liam Clancy performs beautifully, here — with such depth of emotion, regret, loss: I need you to hear it and love it rightthisverysecond ) . . . and, hey, wait a minute! You can’t trick me into this impossible task. My brain would explode.