Sunday, February 17, 2008

IggyPalooza - part trois! Iggy goes to Legoland!

I had two delightful surprises waiting for me when I arrived in California last month to begin my book tour for IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.
First was a beautiful bouquet from my family! I have the best family. Thank you, Wonderful Family. You really made my day!

The second delightful surprise awaiting me was a beautiful box from my publicist filled with advanced reader copies of my first novel, CICADA SUMMER!

CICADA SUMMER comes out in May and I can't wait! You can find a review from the Publishers Weekly Shelftalker and another at Welcome to my Tweendom!

And then, there was Legoland!
What can I say about Legoland except that I LOVE IT! Where else can you find a 5 foot tall statue of Spongebob Squarepants made entirely from Legos?

I mean, really! Spongebob and Legos. It's the perfect pairing. Like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Hey! You got Legos in my Squarepants! Hey! You got Squarepants in my Legos! Happiness ensues.

I would love to work at Legoland. Partly because I would smile every time I saw Albert Einstein immortalized in plastic. (I think Al would approve.)

Even more, I would love working with so many great people. EVERYONE I met at Legoland was wonderful.
Here's a picture of Lynn Crockett, the Education Manager at Legoland California.

Lynn is the force behind many great educational events at Legoland, including the Beginner Book Club in which students K-2 can visit the park, read books and meet an author. Then, they hit the roller coasters!

Might I just take one moment to emphasize how such a field trip compares to the ones I had as a kid? I think I can do so in three little words: Sewage Treatment Plant.

Not to say that a visit to the Pooh Factory isn't an educational experience unto itself. It was, in fact, a cornucopia of adventure for all the senses! But try as it might, it would not make a good theme park. 'Nuff said.

The event was a blast. It began with Construction Man Dan (played by actor Jaysen Weller) building giant Lego towers with the kids from the audience. Then, I read Iggy while the kids read from a gigantic projection of the book's images behind me. (Special thanks to Mercedes who produced the event and everyone who helped make it a big success!)

After the Beginner Book Club, I got to run around the park a little and take some pictures of Lego creations that would surely make Iggy's heart sing! Thanks Legoland!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Iggypalooza Part Deux

I enjoyed a lot of things about California. It's hard not to enjoy this:

But even more fun for me,
was visiting wonderful independent bookstores and meeting the fun folk who run them. Booksellers are the greatest. Here are a few of the fantastic shops I visited and some of the folk I met and had the pleasure of hanging out with. In La Verne, I visited the wonderful Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop, though I didn't actually meet Mrs. Nelson (I am told she lives somewhere not far away). This shop had the most amazing selection of toys interspersed with books (including some of my own displayed so beautifully!) I could spend all day browsing and reading and hanging out with Christa (whose picture, sadly, did not turn out -- sorry Christa!)

And then it was off to Pasadena to Vroman's! I loved Pasadena. The downtown was vibrant. The food was tasty. And, they had a shop dedicated to cupcakes. (Please note, the cupcakes were much yummier than my sad photograph. My sad photograph does not have sweet creamy frosting and tastes a lot like HP toner. If you do not believe me, you can print it out and taste for yourself.)

Vroman's was awesome.
Vroman's has been around since 1894 and it's easy to see why. This store has it all! Great books, a dandy and delish coffee shop, and a killer kids' section manned (and womanned) by people who love books as shown in this completely candid photo of Mr. Steve, Robin and Chris.

My only sadness in Pasadena was not getting to meet Lisa Yee who lives nearby and who, sadly, was attacked by a horrid flu bug that probably looked like this:

Luckily, I shall meet Lisa this week at the St. Charles Literature Festival! Hopefully, she will no longer have a flu bug. (I'll bring a net, just in case.)

After Pasadena, I headed west. I just kept driving until I found a large puddle of salt water. Who knew? I landed in Newport Beach and visited with Kim and the gang at The First Page.

Though my pictures don't do it justice (next time, I'm adding more frosting to the insides of my camera!), I have never seen a shop with more books displayed face out. What a marvelous place to browse and buy and browse some more. I'd go back in a heartbeat!

Finally, it was off to San Diego to visit Legoland (more about that later) and one last fantastic bookstore called Yellow Book Road. The name alone is enough to bring me back over and over again. Once you get to this great store, you'll love it. It's bright, beautiful, and brimming with booky goodness! And, maybe, you'll get to meet the young master of the store, Alex. He's shown here with the Co-owner Mary.

Thanks to all the wonderful booksellers who invited me to visit their stores and who have shown my books so much love! Thanks to the schools who let me come and hang out with kids even for a short while. And special thanks to all the wonderful folks who came out to meet me and shop!

I can't wait to come back very soon!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

IggyPalooza Part 1

It seems that there are lots of Paloozas these days. Rockapalooza. Pirate-palooza. Paloozapalooza. Well, last week, there was Iggypalooza! My first book tour, ever!

I left home with a sub-zero wind chill and 6 inches of snow on the way. Then I landed in California and instantly knew I wasn't in Kansas (or Chicago) anymore. It seems that in California, oranges grow on strange arboreal plants instead of cans in the freezer section of the grocery store. Who knew?

First stop: The Frugal Frigate in Redlands, California.

I knew I had found new friends when I walked into this truly wonderful bookshop and met Brad and Jana Hundman. Their energy and passion for kids and books -- and especially for Iggy was amazing.

(Brad, Me and Jana: Notice the Big Bad Wolf ears and schnoz I am adorning. It's actually part of a cool mural painted by one of their lovely daughters, Taylor or Laura. Sorry, can't remember which one! Blame my lack of memory from the sugar coma produced by the lovely gift basket of snacks and chocolate! Shown here as Brad's head.

I appreciated the snacks very much over the next couple of days while tooling around the state. Thanks!!!

I spent the whole day at the Frugal Frigate, chatting with customers and signing books and reading to kids. It was a beautiful way to spend the day. Thanks Frugal Frigate! Can't wait to come back to see you again!

More later about IggyPalooza!