Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Look Back at 2015 on Happy Birthday Author

I have been celebrating author and illustrator birthdays with my family since 2010. Every year I look back at our most popular reading experiences. This year my children picked out their favorites too.

Click here to see our TOP 10!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

DRAW! Make Your Own Advent Calendar/Countdown to Christmas

Merry Christmas! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season! I am thankful that my family was blessed with another happy and healthy Christmas Day!

I wanted to share with you how our family counted down the days until Christmas. This year's countdown came as a result of not wanting to spend money on another Lego Advent Calendar. (Even though last year's DIY Lego Harry Potter Advent Calendar was pretty epic!) I called this year's countdown, Draw Your Own Advent Calendar. It was simply that. My children drew their own pictures every day based upon the day's assignment.

DRAW! Make Your Own Advent Calendar/Countdown to Christmas
I painted one of our large living room windows to look like a Christmas tree and then taped on envelopes, numbered from 1-25. The envelopes I used were ones that were once used in the back of library books. (However, I would think you could use a regular #10 envelope cut in half.) Then, I placed a blank piece of paper in each envelope. At the bottom of each piece of paper I wrote the day's drawing assignment.
DRAW! Make Your Own Advent Calendar/Countdown to Christmas
Day #4: Snowflakes (drawn by my oldest son). 
DRAW! Make Your Own Advent Calendar/Countdown to Christmas
Day #13: Bells (drawn by my oldest daughter).
DRAW! Make Your Own Advent Calendar/Countdown to Christmas
Day #17: Reindeer (drawn by my youngest daughter).
DRAW! Make Your Own Advent Calendar/Countdown to Christmas
I have four children. So we utilized the whole paper, front and back, top and bottom, by drawing a line in the middle. The card could be flipped to display another drawing at any time.
DRAW! Make Your Own Advent Calendar/Countdown to Christmas
The reindeer assignment was one of the best days! All of their drawings were great. One thing you will encounter, if you try this in your house, is that your kiddos will forget to flip the paper. Notice the bottom reindeer -- it would be covered by the envelope if it was placed in like this. And it would be upside-down if flipped to bring it to the top. Oh well, still a great reindeer!
All of my children loved this year's advent calendar. I enjoyed seeing their drawings each day! It was so much fun and it was FREE!!

Here are the 25 drawing assignments I gave my children:
1. angel
2. candles
3. gingerbread cookies
4. snowflakes
5. mittens
6. St. Nick
7. Christmas tree
8. Christmas lights
9. candy cane
10. snowman
11. wreath
12. drum
13. bells
14. partridge in a pear tree
15. stocking
16. sleigh
17. reindeer
18. gift
19. ornament
20. ugly Christmas sweater
21. holly and berries
22. star
23. stable and manger
24. Christmas cookies and milk
25. Baby Jesus

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The first reviews of THREE GHOST FRIENDS AND THE BATTLE BOOS are here!

A few weeks ago, I read THREE GHOST FRIENDS AND THE BATTLE BOOS to a class of first graders at Craddock Elementary School. The classroom teacher sent me a letter with all the students' comments about the book. The comments were so awesome. I had to share!

"I thought the book was fantastic! I loved it!"

"I liked this story! It was super funny!"

"I thought it was funny!"

"It was good!"

"I liked the cowboy!"

"It was funny!"

"I loved the book! My favorite character was zoombot #20!"

"I liked Battle Boo #0."

"Thank you for the amazing book of 3 little ghost friends! It was funny."

"My favorite character was the spy!"

"I liked Ninja #9!"

"I liked Battle Boo 20. It was awesome!"

"I loved your book because it was really, really funny!"

"I liked Battle Boo #0. I loved the story so much. It was the best 3 Ghost Friends book I ever heard!"

"I like Battle Boo #20!"

"I loved the story because it was so funny and cool and amazing!"

"I was cool!"

"I liked the story. I think you should have gone to 100!"

"I liked the Battle Boo #20!"

"I liked Battle Boo #3!"

"I liked Battle Boo #20! He was so funny and awesome! I thought it was incredible."

"I loved the story!"

"I liked it because it was awesome! I think it was your best book yet!"

"I think that was your best 3 ghost friends book yet!"

"I liked the book because it was better than the other books. They didn't have the Battle Boos!"

THANK YOU, Craddock Elementary First Graders! You made me so happy with these comments!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Three Ghost Friends and the Battle Boos Now Available!

THREE GHOST FRIENDS AND THE BATTLE BOOS is now available in paperback and as an eBook. (paperback and Kindle eBook):

iTunes (iBooks eBook):

Read more about how I made the book in a blog post I wrote on THREEGHOSTFRIENDS.COM.

Thank you!

Monday, November 30, 2015


I am super excited about the latest THREE GHOST FRIENDS book.  Check out the trailer:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

15th Annual Family Reading Festival - New Philadelphia, Ohio

Wow! The 15th Annual Family Reading Festival at the New Towne Mall in New Philadelphia, Ohio was an amazing event. Hundreds of children came out to follow the "Route to Reading" on the Oregon Trail. There were activities throughout the mall and every child walked away with a free book! It was a great event to get families excited about reading.
I had a table in Author's Alley along with fourteen other local authors.
I had the pleasure of meeting this cool kid whose favorite food is grapes! I want to thank him for buying a copy of BABY BEARDS! to read to his new baby cousin!
I jumped at the chance to get my picture taken with a WILD THING!
I met Joanne Kimberly, author of Gingerboy's Search for Christmas and her husband who wore this amazing Gingerboy costume!
I met Sharon Beamish, author of Paw Prints.
My table was next to local sensation, Annie Tipton, author of the Diary of a Real Payne series. Her books were in high demand!
It was such a great day! Thank you to Jim Gill for inviting me to participate and thank you to all the children and parents that stopped by my table!

Friday, October 30, 2015


Proof copies of my next book, THREE GHOST FRIENDS AND THE BATTLE BOOS arrived yesterday. I am so excited to share the book with you. It won't be long. Hang tight!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Visit to Dover Public Library

I had a really fun day at the Dover Public Library. My wife heard my presentation for the first time. I met many really nice people, three enthusiastic young readers, and a few future children's book writers, too! A huge THANK YOU to Dover Public Library staff for inviting me and making me feel so welcome.
I am so happy she was able to hear my presentation.
I shared a few photographs of my children's BABY BEARDS.
I read the awful first draft of BABY BEARDS!.
I had a fantastic audience!
I shared many illustrations from the book.
I haven't met a child yet that hasn't made a bubble beard in the bathtub.
My favorite part of the presentation -- reading BABY BEARDS! to a new group of people.
I gave a copy of one of my Three Ghost Friends books to a young boy who helped me during my presentation. He did a great job and it was his debut acting gig!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

MONSTER Story Time at Miller Elementary School Book Fair Night

Last night, I had a "monster" good time at Miller Elementary School. It was nice to see so many happy children picking out books at the book fair. I read two of my favorite books during story time in the gym -- JUMPY JACK AND GOOGILY by Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall and JEREMY DRAWS A MONSTER by Peter McCarty. Thank you to the PTO for inviting me to participate.

There are so many great picture books about monsters! 
I wore my bowler hat just like Googily. Well, almost...his is green.
"Draw me a hat. I'm going out!"

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Art Tales: Baby Beards! at the Akron Art Museum

I had the most amazing day participating in ART TALES at the Akron Art Museum. Thank you so much to Amanda Crowe, Assistant Educator, for hosting and planning a great event! Your activities and ideas were amazing! Also, thank you to Gina Thomas McGee, Associate Educator, for inviting me to the museum!
My youngest two children and I arrived at the art museum before it opened. The first thing I saw was this amazing story time area set up in the lobby of the museum.
Then, I saw all the activities on the tables. WOW!
There were many photographs of famous people with beards and mustaches. Amanda used these for a hands-on mustache/beard sorting game.
This table had black and white copies of artwork from the museum. Different materials (yarn, black sand, colorful pom-poms, and big fuzzy pom-poms) were provided to make facial hair on the people in the artwork.
A printed copy of the bathtub from BABY BEARDS! was provided along with straws and glittery-watercolors to make a colorful scene to clean those messy beards.
Copies of artwork from the museum were placed within plastic bags. Pudding was provided to paint on beards with a spoon to give it a new look.
Edible beards! Yum! Whipped topping and brown sprinkles for whiskers! Mirrors were used to check out your beard as you licked it!
A Shel Silverstein poem, a beard song set to the tune of Skip to the Lou, and a poem were used during story time.
Lots of great books about beards and mustaches were on display. 
BABY BEARDS! is available at the gift shop!
Amanda opened the Art Tales story time with a few imaginative ways for the children to pretend they had beards and mustaches. Locust seed pods for mustaches and torn black garden fabric for beards! 
Amanda acted out a poem of an old man who had birds make a nest in his beard.
My introduction!
I am a stay-at-home dad that likes to read to his kids, do fun art projects, and take lots of pictures.
I shared some of my favorite messy face pictures of my children. 
I had a brave volunteer help me reenact the day I coined the term BABY BEARDS!.

He didn't know he would be wearing a bib when he volunteered! 
We needed to roll out the red carpet after his great performance! 
After showing the paintings I did for the book, I read BABY BEARDS!.
I am so thankful for this experience.
A pudding beard.
A black sand beard.
Bubble bath art!
My son loved the edible beard station! He loves to get messy.
More beards-on-a-stick.
More edible beards!
He has probably made a dozen beards-on-a-stick at my events this year, but this was the first with glitter!
Giving a famous piece of art a new look. 
I had to try the pudding beard station, too!
He did the edible beard station at least three times!!
I am so blessed for this opportunity to share BABY BEARDS! at the Akron Art Museum. Thank you to my mom and dad for making the trip, too!