A ‘Wonder’ful Occasion

Wonder (Knopf) author R.J. Palacio visited Park Middle School in Scotch Plains, N.J., speaking to some 1,000 students over the course of two presentations, Palacio shared her thoughts on writing, reading, and her reasons for writing about bullying. She also signed a few books for students and staff members. Here, Palacio poses with the Wonder-themed welcome sign created by a Park Middle School student.

29 Balloons

The Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, Minn., celebrated its 29th anniversary at the end of November. Several authors were in attendance over the two days of festivities, including (from l.) Jill Kalz and Rebecca Fjelland Davis. Kalz read from her newly redesigned and reissued book No Snow for Christmas (Capstone/Picture Book Window), illustrated by Sahin Erkocak, while Davis (Chasing AllieCat, Flux) helped to create a wintry mix inside the bookstore using bubbles, marshmallows, and popcorn.

Thank Dog!

On December 3 at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., Marla Frazee presented and signed copies of God Got a Dog (S&S/Beach Lane), a collection of poems written by Cynthia Rylant that Frazee illustrated. The artist read from the book and shared the story behind her collaboration with Rylant (the poems were originally published without images in Rylant’s 2003 collection God Went to Beauty School (Harper), while projecting her illustrations for the standing room-only crowd to view.

Sign on the Dotted Line

Debut middle-grade author Allison Gutknecht held a launch party for her book Don’t Wear Polka-Dot Underwear with White Pants (And Other Lessons I’ve Learned) (S&S/Aladdin) at the University of Pennsylvania, Gutknecht’s alma mater, on November 16. More than 200 people attended the event, held at the university’s bookstore, including many of Gutknecht’s former elementary school teachers and university professors. The author (shown here with a young fan) was dressed in polka dots – as were most of the guests – and she signed for more than three hours.