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!