April 24, 2013

All the Fun Stuff Going On . . .

The past 5 months, I've had some late nights and long weekends writing and revising and re-revising DEATH BY TOILET PAPER.

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of hitting "SEND."  My agent, Tina Wexler, responded with an e-mail that every writer dreams of -- praise so generous it made me tear up.  Twice.

Now, I'll work with my editor, Michelle Poploff, and the awesome team at Random House to make this the best book possible.  I can't wait for its release next year!

I've been doing lots more than writing and revising these past five months.

There have been oodles of school visits, including the week I spent in Fort Worth, TX with incredible hosts, extraordinary students and . . . Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Eager Briscoe Elementary students

I've traveled the country virtually doing tons of Skype visits, like this one with 6th grade students in VA . . .

Thanks, Ms. Buchanan, for sharing your FUNderful students with me.

I've received lovely notes from students, including these thank you letters from Mr. Schu's students in IL and Ms. Luchie's students in ME from World Read Aloud Day

Thank You Notes from Mr. Schu's students.  (Dogs not included.)
Teddy guarding the thank you notes from Ms. Luchie's students.  (Thanks, Teddy!)

I created a fun OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN quiz for Random Buzzers that includes trivia and a chance for kids to earn Buzz Bucks and "buy" books with them.  Check it out!

Recently, I spoke at a luncheon with Jim Cummings.  He spent a year in Africa with no running water or electricity and counts it as the best of his life.  Jim has created an amazing project -- KIJANA EDUCATIONAL EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE -- which connects children across cultures, provides educational spaces, puts books into kids' hands in Kenya and more.

Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative
There are only 4 days left to contribute to his Kijana Lwanda Maktaba Campaign.

There are great "thank you" gifts for even the smallest donation.  Won't you take a moment to donate?  I just did.  Kijana Lwanda Maktaba Campaign.


1.  APRIL IS FOR AUTHORS -- Saturday, April 27th at Palm Beach Gardens High School, 25 authors from around the country will give presentations, participate in panel discussions and sign books at this FREE event from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.   This is a wonderful annual event.  If you live in or near Palm Beach County, FL, be sure to stop by this Saturday.

2.  I'll be attending the 26th annual CONFERENCE ON CHILDREN'S LITERATURE in Ft. Lauderdale Friday.  I had spoken there a few years ago.  This time, I'm going to enjoy a great lineup of speakers, including the Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Walter Dean Myers.  Can't wait!

3.  And I'll be doing THREE days of local school visits. 

I'm excited about each of these visits, but especially about the last one because . . . Thanks to the generosity of Kids in Need, Books in Deed, a nonprofit organization, every one of the students I'll be speaking to at this Title I school has been given a copy of one of my books.  A brand new book to keep.  (Something I never had growing up.)

I can't tell you what it feels like to present to a group of low-income students who ask how they can get a copy of a book, only to be told there are no copies for them.  Kids in Need, Books in Deed is a great organization, and I've already made a donation to thank them for the important work they do here in Florida, getting books into kids' hands in conjunction with author visits.

After the whirlwind of activity the past 5 months and what's on the horizon for the remainder of April, I'm pretty sure on May 1st, you'll find me here . . .


Amanda Coppedge said...

I can't wait to read DEATH BY TOILET PAPER, Donna. Sounds like you have a busy schedule coming up. I am so excited that the students at the one school will all get copies of your book! I would have been over the moon at that age. (Heck, free books put me over the moon now ...)

Janeen Mason said...

Congratulations. Congratulations. Congratulations..... I mean, you've been working your tail off, and you're hitting milestones. Lucky kids who have been able to visit with you in person, and via Skype. AND lucky US, that we've got a new Donna Gephart book coming out! I can't wait...

Jen Swanson said...

Awesome! Donna all your hard work is paying off. What lucky kids who've been able to visit with you and all the great causes you support. Keep up the fanatastic job. (I hope your June agenda includes the SCBWI-FL conference. I hope to see you there!) Cheers!

Wild About Words said...

Thanks, Amanda! We miss you. I will be forced to give you daily weather reports until you come back!

Janeen, YOU my dear work your tail off and have such colorful, fabulous work to show for it. So glad I'll see you Friday!

Jen, I won't be at the June SCBWI-FL conference, unfortunately. It looks wonderful, though. Wish I could be there, especially to reconnect with YOU!

Anna Staniszewski said...

Wow, just reading your post made me tired! Congrats on all the fun things, and I hope you're able to get a nice vacation in soon. :-)