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Posted on Aug 4, 2023 in Blog, Writing

Countdown to Launch: Ways to Play

Countdown to Launch: Ways to Play

This weekend is the final one before the grand launch of my debut picture book, Ways to Play, illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo and published by Levine Querido, on Tuesday. Yes, this is a glorious “first” for me, as I talk about in my interview on the El Space blog. It’s especially sweet because years ago an editor discouraged me from writing picture books, and it took a lot of vacillating before I had the confidence to say yes to writing this book.

Since my announcement for Ways to Play‘s coveted Kirkus star, the book has received another starred review, this time from School Library Journal! SLJ praised both the writing and art, saying, “The poignant text teams together with ebullient drawings, delivering a welcome and heartwarming message for all young readers.” So far the picture book has netted three reviews, all positive, and two stars. At a time when many new books get two or fewer reviews from trade journals due to staffing cuts and the huge number of books being published, I’m especially grateful for the attention this story for young children has received.

My Charlie doesn’t look at all like Gabriel’s Charlie, but that’s the beauty of the author/illustrator collaboration.

A big first for this book’s launch is that I’ll be speaking about it on a panel at Books of Wonder in New York City. The event will be on Sunday afternoon, August 20, at 1 pm. I’ll update when I find out the other authors and illustrators on the panel. Books of Wonder is my local children’s bookstore, and I’ve attended dozens of events there but never had one of my own. I look forward to meeting the other panelists and talking to families about Ways to Play. I plan to tell the children that the book is all about toys and the best way to play with them.

Now 3, Jonah and Reed are old enough for Ways to Play.

I know toys are a favorite topic for young children. Kids can’t have enough of them, right? I remember when my son was three years old and Richard and I took him to FAO Schwarz. Needing to save money, we told him this was a toy museum, where people could look at the toys but not take them home. That worked for about a year, but Derrick got his revenge on us. When his sister, Maddy, was three and he, seven, he told her while she was watching cartoons on TV that, “You’re supposed to watch the commercials, because they tell you what toys you need to buy.”

If you’re in New York City on August 20, I hope you can join me for the launch of Ways to Play! If not, maybe we’ll see each other in your city or town at another bookstore or event. I’m excited for this “first” and for you to meet Riley and Charlie who have their own ideas and who won’t take “no” and “you can’t” for an answer.

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