Check out these beauties, which are part of the current Red Envelope show at Brooklyn's Grumpy Bert.

Fifty-nine artists were invited to decorate red envelopes in honor of Lunar New Year. The show is incredibly fun and runs through February 28.

The artists enclosed mystery gifts, in keeping with tradition. I wish I could tell you what's in mine, but I can't. It's beautiful, though! It's actually one of my favorite things I've made recently.

The pieces are $50 each. The gallery has a simple buy button set up to purchase #1 or #2 if you want to give one a good home.

xo Melissa

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Hey guys! I'm making my first appearance at the Texas Book Festival next weekend!

This is kind of a big deal for me. I'd appreciate it if you would fly to Austin to attend, if at all possible. If you already live there, stay put.

THE SKINNY: Festival organizers are throwing a "penguin party" Sunday morning, Oct 26, in the Read-Me-A-Story Tent.

Caldecott Honoree Molly Idle will be reading from FLORA & THE PENGUIN at 11:30am, and I'll be sharing BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA! at noon.

Don't miss it!

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Today was my last school visit of the 2013-14 school year, and it got me thinking.
 
Nobody tells you that once you're an author, school visits will be the second best thing about your job (after getting paid to make stuff up.)
 
OK, not everyone feels this way, but I do.  Presenting my work is fun.  Talking to kids is really fun.
 
I visited a lot of great schools this year, but maybe my favorite was St. Joseph School in Mission San Jose, CA.  An elementary teacher named Sheila Flanagan made it happen.  (Last year, Sheila sent me a sheaf of stories her students wrote based on BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE, and it remains one of the nicest pieces of mail I’ve ever received.)
 
Student story based on BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE
 
Sheila got the kids excited and ready to show off their talents when I came to visit St. Joseph.  I was greeted with banners and a penguin song-and-dance number led by the president of the school.  
 
 
Every student from pre-K to 5th grade was involved, and some of them spent their whole recess aftewards talking and drawing with me.  
 
 
St. Joseph couldn't afford an honorarium, but they gave me thoughtful thank-you presents, including a gift certificate to one of my favorite restaurants back in Brooklyn.  Talk about doing your homework!  I felt appreciated.  More importantly, I felt useful.
 
It is true, I occasionally get to a school and no one seems to know I was coming.  Incredibly, some of those schools have paid me to come.  I'll find myself talking to a roomful of blank faces and leave feeling like an uneaten lunch.  
 
Thankfully, most visits are arranged by enthusiastic teachers and librarians who prepare their kids to learn and have fun.  Those are the best!
 
If your school would like a visit from The Penguion next year, email me!  And share my school visit flyer with a teacher or librarian.
 
xo
 

 

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WORLD PENGUION DAY 2014

Excited about spring?  Well hold on to your crocuses, people.  It's about to get better!

The most exciting day of the year is just around the corner, on April 25th!  

No, not Easter.  

WORLD PENGUION DAY!  

Some people call it World Penguin Day.  Same thing.

To be quickly followed by two other great holidays: Mother's Day (hint, hint) and Children's Book Week!  

To celebrate, I'm going to give so much stuff away on Twitter | Facebook, it's crazy.  Literally crazy, you can't run a career this way, it's not feasible.  

But don't feel guilty -- get in on it!  All you have to do is follow/like me on social media.  Just if you're into fun stuff.  Up to you!

xo Melissa

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Kids! I'm blog touring for the next two weeks! What's blog touring? I lay in bed eating popcorn and drawing hedgehogs, while you lay in bed eating popcorn and visiting sites to learn about my work and maybe even get free stuff. It's a win-win! Here's the schedule:

Monday, Jan 13: Susan Heim on Parenting
Tuesday, Jan 14: The Children's Book Review
Wednesday, Jan 15: Once Upon a Story
Thursday, Jan 16: Kidlit Frenzy
Friday, Jan 17: Momma Drama
Saturday, Jan 18: Booking Mama
Monday, Jan 20: 5 Minutes for Books
Tuesday, Jan 21: Just A Little Creativity
Wednesday, Jan 22: Satisfaction For Insatiable Readers
Thursday, Jan 23: Geo Librarian
Friday, Jan 24: As They Grow Up
Saturday, Jan 25: Obsessive Mommy

I recently visited two great blogs that aren't on the official tour  -- check those out, too! The Little Crooked Cottage (where Mama Penguin speaks publicly about her experience for the first time) and Annie's Doodlebugz!

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People, BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA has arrived! Please consider getting a copy, because we have...a lot of them.

And The Penguion is going on tour. If I'm in your area, won't you come down? I promise big fun!!

Jan 5 WORD Brooklyn
Jan 11 Greenlight Brooklyn
Jan 12 powerHouse on 8th Brooklyn
  Books Of Wonder NYC
Jan 18 The Red Balloon Baltimore, MD
Jan 25 The Blue Bunny Dedham, MA
Feb 1 [words] Maplewood, NJ
  Town Book Store Westfield, NJ
Feb 8 Boulevard Books & Cafe Brooklyn
Feb 13 Clinton Book Shop Clinton, NJ
Feb 22 The Children's Bookstore Baltimore, MD
Feb 28 Hooray For Books Alexandria, VA
Mar 1 Winchester Book Gallery Winchester, VA
Mar 8 Bernards Township Library Basking Ridge, NJ
Mar 15-29 California! TBD
Apr 26 Farley's Bookshop New Hope, PA
May 8 RJ Julia Booksellers Madison, CT

I'm always adding to the calendar, so check back if your area isn't listed. You can even propose an event on Togather!

If you're still reading, maybe you want to check out my first-ever podcast interview with lovely Matthew Winner, too. Someone actually talked to me for an hour.

Wishing you a very happy 2014!

x, Melissa

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This Saturday afternoon, I'll be talking about making picture books at the incomparable Books of Wonder.  An SCBWI-sponsored event.

I won't bring candy.  Don't you bring any, either!  Blech.

4-6pm, 18 West 18th Street, NYC

Books of Wonder Inside Story Event

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Penguin lovers, join me tomorrow at the Warwick Children's Book Festival!

It's a wonderful day with over 50 authors & illustrators signing their books and meeting their wee fans.

If you need further inducement, I'm raffling off an original drawing for BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE. To enter, stop by my table and draw me a penguin. All drawings will go into the magic hat and a lucky winner will be chosen at random at the end of the day!

Hours and directions to the festival here.

 

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On Saturday, August 3, I'll be the featured guest of the Brooklyn Children's Museum's Penguin Young Readers Series.

I'll read & sign from 12:30-1pm.  The event is free with admission and includes complimentary air conditioning.

Admission for non-members is $9. For directions and other information, visit the website.

Hope to see you there!

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Some quick updates from The Penguion™:

The BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE! board book (those heavy-duty ones for babies) is available for pre-order!

Children's Book Week is almost here! I've got a bunch of events:

May 15, 6:30pm -- Glen Ridge Library, Glen Ridge, NJ

May 16, 4pm -- Darien Library, Darien, CT

May 18, 11am -- Illustrator Battle @ Greenlight Bookstore (w/Sophie Blackall, Melissa Iwai, Sergio Ruzzier, Selina Alko, George O’Connor, Betsy Lewin & Paul O. Zelinsky)

May 18, 2-4pm -- Queens Museum of Art (w/Sergio Ruzzier)

And finally...my second book will be coming out in January 2014! Stay tuned...

Hope you had a great WORLD PENGUIN DAY!

-- Melissa

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