Author and Illustrator Nights Bring the World to Your Children’s Fingertips

As a children’s book author, I have had many opportunities to attend Author & Illustrator Nights at various elementary schools across Long Island.

Karen Bonnet is pictured with students, Holly McGullam, Isabella Lewin and Abigail Clarke from Forest Brook Elementary School.

Karen Bonnet is pictured with students, Holly McGullam, Isabella Lewin and Abigail Clarke from Forest Brook Elementary School.

Author & Illustrator Nights showcase many local children’s, and young adult authors and illustrators. During these events, they speak about their books – and why they wrote them – to children and their parents. These events are sponsored by the PTA and the school librarian. Authors are provided with a delicious meal prior to meeting the children, courtesy of the PTA, and then spend an hour-and-a-half to two hours talking to children about their books, answering questions, and personally signing books purchased by the parents and children.

I am always extremely flattered by the attention given to me and the other authors, as the children and their teachers put a lot of time into ensuring the event is a success. The children and their respective classroom teachers create a wall display that focuses on the specific author, which is hung on the wall behind the author’s table at the event. It’s plain to see that a great deal of work goes into this artwork. In addition, the children who create these art pieces also have prior knowledge about the author, as teachers spend time going over the author’s books during classes.

Recently, I had the opportunity, along with fifteen fellow authors, to attend the Author & Illustrator night at Forest Brook Elementary School in Smithtown, organized by Carrie Pecoraro, the school librarian, and the PTA. The children ranged in age from five to 12 years-old. As always, it was a great experience!

Long Island authors would like to see Author & Illustrator Nights expand into more schools, especially in Nassau County. An Author & Illustrator Night is an opportunity to spark your children’s interest in reading by allowing them to  meet the names behind the cover and titles of the books they read. Local authors invited to these events are published members of the Long Island Children’s Writers & Illustrators (LICWI) group, and would be happy to visit one of the many schools or libraries in Long Island. If you are interested in hosting an Author/Illustrator event, please contact Karen Bonnet at 516-527-7860 or fellow Author, Sandy Lanton at 516-396-0763; or you can email her at

Children’s Book Reviews of Whale Island and the Mysterious Bones


For authors of all genres, a great book review is so uplifting that it seems like “music” to their ears and poetry to their souls!

Recently, I had received several book reviews from middle-grade youngsters who completed reading my book, Whale Island and the Mysterious Bones. I learned that Sam, a 12 year-old from Long Island would be writing one for  Boating Times Long Island Magazine, which was published in their April issue.  I did not meet Sam or know him – all I knew was that the editor of the magazine asked him if he would write the review and he agreed. I was pleasantly surprised at Sam’s mastery in crafting beautiful words that described my plot, and the way he felt while he was reading the book. A copy of his review can be found in this link:

Another excellent review recently came to me from Patrick, an elementary school aged boy whose mother is a fellow member of the Long Island Authors Group, a non-profit that promotes authorship on Long Island. Patrick wrote his comments in a book report that described in detail the protagonists’ journey from Cape Cod (where they live) to an island thousands of miles from their home (Whale Island). Patrick ended his book report with this comment:

“I liked this book because it had a lot of twists and turns in it. It was very well-written and it was a very good book.”

I wonder if these children realize that their words are priceless and  are exremely encouraging, especially coming from a youngster. Children today have packed schedules, between school obligations and afterschool activities, so taking the time to write a book review is greatly appreciated – it brings joy to an author! Plus, it’s a wonderful feeling to know youngsters are enjoying their book/reading experiences. I am fond of saying to them and all who love to read books that take you on unforgettable adventures that inspire and enrich the mind, “Keep reading and enjoy the journey!”

Author and Illustrator Night at New Lane Elementary School

The PTA at New Lane Elementary School in Selden has an Author/Selden_New Lane Elementary School1_March 2013Illustrators evening annually where they invite local authors and illustrators to attend and meet the children. What is so nice about this event is that the children learn about the art and/or books of the authors and illustrators prior to the event.

When I arrived at the school, much to my surprise and delight, there was a beautiful piece of artwork displayed on the wall behind the table where I would have my books and props.  It was a warm and wonderful welcome and unique to experiences I’ve had at other schools where I was invited to provide author talks. I was truly touched by the fact that the children and their teachers took the time to create this piece! It was a large wall display that was similar to the cover of my book, with a beautiful whale leaping up and out of the water….it was plain to see that the children in Ms. Kalinowski and Ms. Babb’s classes spent a good deal of time perfecting their art, as it captured my book cover to perfection!

Being a part of  the Author and Illustrator Night was a pleasure, not only for me but for the other authors and illustrators who were on hand. Some, like me, were members of the Long  Island Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group, a terrific organization that helps promote local authors and aspiring authors. All in all, we had a great evening…and I sold 12 books.

I’m happy to spread the word about my children’s book  to children everywhere…that’s my goal—as well as giving children the same feeling I had when I read a great book and never wanted it to end!

Whales – Gentle Giants of Our Oceans

Boating Times Layout.inddI had the unique experience of adopting a whale named “Kadee” from the Pacific Whale Foundation last spring. The Foundation sent me the entire history and background of my whale. Kadee was distinguished by a beautiful fluke and the fact that she had two calves (calves are their babies, in case you are not aware of it).  The scientists who follow these adopted whales identify them through their tails or “flukes,” which are as different as the features on a person’s face. The two reasons why I chose this particular whale: I loved the whale’s fluke and its interesting history; and my granddaughter’s name is Katelyn. Need I say more?

My passion for whales and helping to preserve the waterways in which they live began years ago when I went on a whale watching expedition in Cape Cod. I was fascinated by these intelligent creatures and have since learned a great deal about them. That’swhy I now include a tri-fold board of mammals of the ocean in my book talks at schools. My book presentation is an interactive, visual Powerpoint with a discussion about how writers get ideas for their book plot, characters, and theme. When I get to the part about why I adopted a whale, many hands go up with questions about the whale – of course, they always ask me where I keep my whale. I laugh and tell them that my bathtub is too small for a whale so I keep track of Kadee through the Pacific Whale Foundation; I also tell them that anyone can adopt a whale and help scientists learn more about these intelligent, gentle giants of our waterways.

One of the most interesting stories I’ve ever heard is the one about Mocha Dick, a huge sperm whale that was the inspiration for the book Moby Dick. The book is based on a true story about a whale that was hunted and harpooned many times during the 1800s (the Whaling Industry) until it turned the tables on these men and began hunting them. Did you ever hear about a whale that took revenge on the very people that hunted it? That’s what really happened.

I had the opportunity to write about Mocha Dick for the magazine, Boating Times Long Island (their Kids Page) and was featured in their February issue. If you want to read the article, I’ve attached a copy of the page as it appears in the magazine.

If you want to learn more about whales, whale adventures, and my book, Whale Island and the Mysterious Bones (which features a whale character named Naleen), you can contact me at 516-764-8774, or stay tuned for the next story!

Deer Park High School’s Career Day

Students learned about colleges and careers from the many volunteer professionals who attended Deer Park High School’s “Career Day”

Last week at Deer Park High School’s “Career Day,” I had an opportunity to share my experience and knowledge about my field (public relations and marketing) and to talk about my children’s book, Whale Island and the Mysterious Bones to hundreds of freshman students.

The students were newbies at the high school level but curious to learn about colleges and future careers they would one day be seeking. During our interactive discussion that included a team of eight to ten freshmen, we sat around a table and talked about colleges they may be interested in applying to in the near future, as well as careers that interested them.

It was a pleasure to speak to the students, and surprisingly, some of  knew at this young age what their future college majors would be. I recall having no idea at the tender age of 14 or 15 what I wanted to be “when I grew up.”  All were curious about my children’s book, as most students said they enjoyed reading. While the conversation started out with talking points about public relations and marketing, it naturally led to how I segued into writing a children’s book because of my passion for creative writing.

The event was clearly organized by administrators in charge and by friendly, helpful students who were there in the early morning hours to greet all of the volunteer Career Day presenters. Three hundred fifty freshman students who attended the sessions (which were 15 minutes each) moved easily from table to table to speak to other volunteer professionals during the organized discussion panels.

Kudos to Deer Park High School on arranging an event that was informative, educational, and fun for the volunteers and students!

An Author’s Journey in Writing and Publishing


Karen Bonnet and Linda Maria Frank recently presented their workshop at the Massapequa Bar Harbour Library

As the authors of children’s and young adult books, Linda Maria Frank and I have come a long way since our books hit the online book stores and other outlets where our books are sold. In the span of just two years (one year for me), our exciting journey has take us on many different paths, which include speaking at various venues across Long Island, coordinating author book fairs, being accepted into author book groups, and producing our own public access television show, The Writer’s Dream, featuring Long Island authors and their unique experiences with and publishing.

I am a long time Oceanside resident, and writer/publicist with KLB Services, my own business. My book, Whale Island and the Mysterious Bones (for children age 8 to 11) is an exciting fiction story that takes children on an unforgettable adventure. Linda, a retired science teacher who resides in Massapequa, penned two riveting mystery/romance novels for young adults, The Madonna Ghost and Girl with Pencil Drawing. Our books can be found on,, in many retail outlets across the globe, and on ebook readers such as Nook and Kindle.

Under the banner of “Whale of a Tale Adventure Stories for Young Readers,” we have had the opportunity to present unique presentations for libraries, book stores, schools, senior citizen centers, adult education centers, and non-profits such as The Boys and Girls Club.

Since giving back to the community is important to us, we donate a portion of all our book sales to The Interfaith Nutrition Network (The INN) which is located in Hempstead, Long Island. This outstanding facility provides food and shelter to many needy people throughout Long Island.

Our latest endeavor is to help those who have always wanted to see their fiction tale or nonfiction story in the published pages of a book but were unsure of how to get started. To this end, we provide a visual, informative and interactive Powerpoint presentation and workshop, “So You Want to Write a Story? A Conversation with Two Authors,” that delves into the topics of writing, publishing, marketing and promoting; it also discusses getting an agent, and the entire publishing process.

We are happy to share that our successful program has received accolades from amateur and veteran writers, as well as those in the throes of writing a story!

So You Want to Write a Story? Learn How at Our Workshops

Linda and Karen Present "So You Want to Write a Story" at Long Beach Library

I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop, “So You Want to Write a Story? A Conversation With Two Authors,” at the Long Beach Library on March 19, 2012. There were about 30 people in the audience and all wanted to learn how to get their stories published. Some of the attendees were amateurs, others were experienced writers, and a few were in the throes of writing a story that they want to share with the world.  All were unsure of the next steps to take in the publishing process.

Fellow Author, Linda Frank and I have been presenting workshops to writers from all walks of life which delve into the topics of writing,  self-publishing, social media, marketing and promoting, how to find an agent, and free Web sites on which one can upload a completed story.

Writing an article or book can be an exhilarating experience (it was for me)  but there are many variables to consider after you have finished your work – which can be confusing. For instance, how does one choose a publisher? There are many traditional and self-publishing companies out there. If you choose to go with the self-publishing path, as Linda and I did, then you must do a good deal of research and ask a lot of questions before choosing one. In other words, do your homework before you decide on a publisher and be sure that they have your best interests at heart.

After your book is published, there are a myriad of decisions to be made, including marketing and promoting, and listing on social media sites. There are many ways to market and promote your book and all are important. Below is a list of ideas to help create awareness about your book:

  • Book Presentations/Discussions at various venues
  • Interviews on radio/television stations
  • Creating a Website and blog
  • Email marketing to update your audience on your activities and talks
  • Listing on social media sites such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter
  • Writing press releases/articles about all of your book talks to generate more publicity about you
  • Networking at events (there are dozens on Long Island alone)

All of the above will contribute to the success of your publicity campaign. If you have any questions, please contact me at 516-764-8774.  I’d love to hear from you. Happy writing!

We are looking for authors who would like to be part of a book fair on Sunday, June 24,  hosted by the Caribe Breast Cancer Care. This nonprofit organization supports a surgical team who treats breast cancer patients in the Dominican Republic. The cost for a table will be $30. Details about the event can be found by visiting You may also contact Linda Frank at

Marketing and Promoting: An Essential Ingredient to Success

Book Discussion and Chat Noir Restaurant in Rockville Centre


After ten years of editing and reporting for newspapers, I stumbled upon a company in 2004 that needed someone to fill in as a temporary public relations specialist for a school district. The job required writing articles, which was my “cup of tea.” It also required interviewing students and administrators at school related events for articles that would appear in the school newsletter and in local newspapers for that district. Other responsibilities included digital photography – which I absolutely enjoyed. It was fun and interesting to learn about students’ achievements and to give them the recognition they deserved.

Later, I worked at a well-known non-profit, the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, which was a rewarding, productive experience which later led me to launch a public relations/marketing business, KLB Services.

The experience and skills gained in these jobs was invaluable, especially after completion of my book. I soon realized the importance of marketing and promotion. The most essential ingredient to the success of your book, and in raising awareness in your target audience is marketing – which includes presenting book talks at various venues to attract your audience.

Whale of a Tale Adventure Stories, a collaborative marketing effort of fellow author, Linda Maria Frank and myself, was born out of our passion to give readers a different spin on our book discussions, as well as updated information about our upcoming talks and events on Long Island. This endeavor was another tool in marketing and promoting our books.

Last, but not least, social media sites and networking events proved to be a great source of new contacts. All of that networking led to the creation of our local access television show, The Writer’s Dream, produced by Linda Maria Frank and featuring authors throughout Long Island. Interviewers for the show are Dina Santorelli, Linda and me. You can find The Writer’s Dream on Facebook.

It’s true that all of the above mentioned is a lot of work…but anything worthwhile and successful means spending time and effort. The best part? The rewards are many!


The Writer’s Dream

A new television production for LTV, a cablevision channel aired in the Hamptons, features authors who share their experiences, visions and books with the audience. I had the pleasure of being a part of this amazing segment.
The authors featured, including myself, were Linda Maria Frank, author of riveting mystery novels, The Madonna Ghost and Girl with Pencil Drawing; and Richard Rose, anchorman for Channel 55 News who is the new author of a new science fiction novel, Release the Butterfly.
To learn more about the show, please visit the links below, which feature my interview with Dina Santorelli (another fellow author) – and share your comments! To view the interviews with Richard Rose and Linda Maria Frank, click on and search for Dina Santorelli, moderator for the production.

Children Give Thumb’s Up to Interactive Book Discussion

Recently, fellow Author Linda Frank and I had the pleasure of presenting an interactive book discussion complete with PowerPoint, games and book readings to children and adults at the Oceanside Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union on Long Beach Road. To help celebrate their 75th anniversary and kick off their anniversary year, the organization invited local artists to share their stories.

The theme for the evening was nautical, so we asked children to dress in costumes and to use their imaginations! In addition to book readings and a visual Powerpoint presentation, there were assorted games, as well as snacks and refreshments provided by our host, Regina Esernio, public relations/marketing director at Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union. It was a beautiful summer evening (a Friday night), so we were pleased to welcome about six children and their parents. 

We began by talking about why we wrote our books, how we came up with ideas for the plot and setting, and why we created the characters in our stories — who appeal to the young, and the young-at-heart. It’s so important for children to be able to relate to the characters of a book –and to feel connected to them!

There was a definite connection between the children and the adults throughout the whole evening of nautical merriment. The the children came away with prizes for the games, and a grand prize was given to Victoria Raabe of Massapequa, winner of the costume contest.

When your audience is responsive and a dialogue shared, you know you’ve reached them in a positive way…and what more can you ask for? I can think of only one thing: more children reading your books!