Pick a Circle Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes

Coming Full Circle

On the way to this season’s first football practice last night, my son and the boys we drive talked about the new school year beginning in a few weeks. Each boy admitted (sheepishly) to anticipating what’s to come. This is a signal of life coming full circle—a place of expectation where endings and beginnings meet. Our lives have shape, follow patterns—and these shapes and patterns are reflected in the world. They form part of our first lessons. It reminded me of my first book, Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes, recommended by this authors of this article about teaching the circle shape: http://www.childcarequarterly.com/pdf/spring15_circle.pdf.

Pages from Go round--Teach the circle shapePick a Circle, Gather Squares--A Fall Harvest of Shapes COVER

Speaking of shapes, here’s one of my Pick a Circle, Gather Squares shape-themed activity sheets, while there’s still some summer free time:

Pick a Circle, Gather Squares--Crow Tic Tac Toe activity sheet

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Friendly Faces: Middlesex County Fair 2015

It was anMiddlesex County Fair 2015 man on stiltsother great time at this year’s Middlesex County Fair. My son and his friends loved the rides and exhibits.

Middlesex County Fair 2015 family with books series

A recurring comment: “You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a fried Oreo!” I spent my time at the fair conducting a shape scavenger hunt based on Pick a Circle, Gather Squares, speaking with visitors to the “Hey Kids, Want to Be a Farmer?” pavillion, and signing copies of my books. Here are some of my favorite photos of the new and familiar and always friendly faces I met the past few days…

Middlesex County Fair 2015 adorable book fansMiddlesex County Fair 2015 family with Cheers

Middlesex County Fair 2015 sisters Middlesex County Fair 2015 sisters 2
These sisters were so sweet and funny. As were the friends pictured below. And what a great grandma and granddaughter team! I remember meeting them last year and was delighted to sign all my books for them on Saturday!

Middlesex County Fair 2015 grandma and granddaughter 2
Middlesex County Fair 2015 friends

Middlesex County Fair 2015 grandma and granddaughter

Here’s a photo of the recipient of the first book I signed, and her doting grandma! And below, a book-loving Mom and her beautiful family!

Middlesex County Fair 2015 family with Apple Trees

Many thanks to Mary Lou Conover and the other organizers of the fair for inviting me back this year. It was so much fun chatting with all these great kids and their families that I’m already looking forward to next year’s fair!

Middlesex County Fair 2015

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Pick a Circle, Gather Squares is a 2015-2016 Goldfinch Award Nominee!

2015-2016 Goldfinch Award Nominess

As I continue to work on updating my website, I’m delighted to share a bit of good news. Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes  is among the books nominated for the 2015-2016 Goldfinch Award.

Books chosen for the Iowa Association of School Librarians Goldfinch Award are fiction or nonfiction books written within the last five years that cover a range of topics and reading levels appropriate for children in grades preschool through three. According to the website:

The purposes of the Goldfinch Award are: to encourage children to read more and better books.

  • to discriminate in choosing worthwhile books.
  • to provide an avenue for positive dialogue between teacher, parent, and children about books and authors.
  • to give recognition to those who write books for children.

The award is unique in that it gives children an opportunity to choose the book to receive the award and to suggest books for the yearly reading list.

I’m thrilled and honored that Pick a Circle is among this coming year’s list!

p.s. Please visit my calendar of events for a list of forthcoming appearances.

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Wind and Snow Bring Spring You Know

The Dream in a Snowflake 2, by Jeff Chernesky It may still be winter, but deep beneath the snow spring’s getting ready to bloom!

And I’ve been busy having bookmarks, stickers, and postcards made, booking dates for spring author visits and signings, so there are lots of updates to this website in the works as well.

In the meantime, maybe you’ll enjoy this nice Publishers Weekly review of my forthcoming

Sun Above and Blooms Below:A Springtime of Opposites

In their fourth seasonally themed, concept-driven collaboration (following Sugar White Snow and Evergreens and other titles), Chernesky and Swan allow readers to accompany an ethnically diverse class on a field trip to a farm. As in the earlier books, Chernesky’s upbeat verse puts the concept front and center (“From far away a weather vane/ led us down a crooked lane,/ past straight wood fences, squat red pens./ We parked near barns and clucking hens”), and Swan’s detailed, vividly textured collages invite close study of each page. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Susan Hawk, Bent Agency. (Mar.) Felicia Sanzari Chernesky, Author, Susan Swan, Illustrator


The appearance of Sun Above rounds out the series of books illustrated by Susan Swan that focuses on a season of the year, an early learning concept, and some aspect of a farm visit. I feel both happy and sad, to be honest. Happy to see the series comes to full fruit, and sad to see my collaboration with the wonderful Susan Swan come to and end. Hopefully, we’ll work together again!


For now, I leave you with one of my favorite spreads from the book!


Sun Above and Blooms Below Stop Go Spread
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Retweet to Win a copy of Sugar White Snow and Evergreens from Albert Whitman!

Retweet to win a copy of Sugar White Snow and Evergreens from the publisher:



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The December Countdown Begins!

It’s almost December and the countdown begins… National Maple Syrup Day is December 17! Celebrate with a stack of homemade pancakes and a delicious copy of Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color. Yummy for your eyes and tummy!

Sugar White Snow and Evergreens--Gold spread

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Clinton Book Shop’s Dickens Days Author Event

Clinton Book Shop at Dickens Days--Felicia and Robert 2I had a wonderful time today participating in Clinton Book Shop’s Dickens Days Author Event. I met so many lovely people visiting family from far away—and local people, too, like this cute little boy who is practically a neighbor! Also signing their children’s book, Little Lola, was couple Julie Saab and David Gothard, and I got to chat and exchange books with an old friend, Karen Romagna, who illustrated a book for poet Billy Collins! The book is called Voyage and it’s wonderful!

Thank you to Rob and Harvey of the Clinton Book Shop for inviting me back to participate. It was a great day, and I look forward to returning to the CBS to participate in events next spring, when Sun Above and Blooms Below appears!

Clinton Book Shop at Dickens Days--CarolersAfter the book signing we walked around town a bit before taking a horse-drawn carriage ride. It was COLD but wonderful Victorian fun! Then it was a quick cup of hot chocolate and time to head home for Thanksgiving leftovers with all the trimmings!
Clinton Book Shop at Dickens Days--Carriage Driver
Clinton Book Shop at Dickens Days--Felicia and Eddie
Clinton Book Shop at Dickens Days--David and MichaelClinton Book Shop at Dickens Days--Toby

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East Brunswick Education Foundation Bookfair Bonanza!

East Brunswick Education Foundation Bookfair mob 2

I had so much fun participating in the East Brunswick Education Foundation Bookfair on Saturday, and I just couldn’t believe how many granparents, parents, students, and teachers were in attendance! What a great job Cathy Genna and the staff of the East Brunswick Barnes & Noble do!

I enjoyed myself so much I’m going back for the South River Public Schools Bookfair on December 6. I’ll be there from 10:00 a.m. to Noon, before heading off for another signing at the delightful Book Garden in Frenchtown, starting at 2:00 p.m. It’s going to be another busy, book-filled day!

Here are a few pictures of some of the wonderful people I met on Saturday—from the lovely little ballerina, whose copy of Sugar White Snow and Evergreens was the first I signed

East Brunswick Education Foundation Bookfair first book signed East Brunswick Education Foundation Bookfair first book signed 2

to a thrilling moment with the Mad Hatter

East Brunswick Education Foundation Bookfair, me and the Mad Hatter 2
and other super-enthusiastic teachers such as Katie Yard of Lawrence Brook Elementary School, pictured with a super-enthusiastic student:

East Brunswick Education Foundation Bookfair Miss Yard and student

East Brunswick Education Foundation Photo with Another Miss Ava

Some of the best moments of the morning included watching all the children searching the shelves, their arms full of books! And I really enjoyed speaking with students, like this lovely young lady, about writing Pick a Circle, Gather Squares et al., and how this book series celebrates the seasons and farm life based on visits to farms, farm stands, and farmers’ markets in beautiful Hunterdon County, where my family lives.

Go New Jersey agriculture!

What’s up next? I’ll be at the Clinton Book Shop this Friday, November 28, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. to participate in A Dickens Days book event. (Thank you, Harvey and Rob, for inviting me back!) If you’ve never visited Clinton, it’s a gorgeous town—and the Clinton Book Shop is a great place to browse and pick up holiday gifts.

And speaking of gifts, I just learned I’ll be working alongside the year’s best gift-giver at the Branchburg Sports Complex Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, December 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Santa will arrive by firetruck and a portion of all proceeds go to benefit the North Branch Fire Department. A light brunch will be served, so bring your Chirstmas wish list and I’ll bring the Sugar White Snow maple syrup!

 picture book series

Here’s wishing you a sweet and restful Thanksgiving!

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Tapping into the Holidays! Sugar White Snow and Evergreens Signings

I will participate in several book signings that focus on Sugar White Snow and Evergreens this coming weekend and next.

First up: the East Brunswick Education Foundation Bookfair at the East Brunswick Barnes & Noble at the Brunswick Square Mall on Saturday, November 22. I’ll be there from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

Nino the squirrel and I hope you can stop by!

Sugar White Snow interior page Squirrel

Next: The annual Hunterdon Land Trust Holiday Farmers’ Market on Sunday, November 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Dvoor Farm, 111 Mine St,. off the Route 12 circle in Raritan Township.

Great for last-minute items for your Thanksgiving table—including a signed copy of my book for a host/hostess gift! 

Rainbow spread from Sugar White Snow and Evergreens

Finally: A Dickens’ Days Celebration of Children’s Books Event at the Clinton Bookshop, on Friday, November 28. I’ll be signing books from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Title Page of Sugar White Snow

It’s time to tap into the winter holidays!

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Pass the maple syrup!

Another colorful–and tasty–spread from my newest book, Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color, illustrated by Susan Swan (Albert Whitman, 2014). Pass the maple syrup!
Rainbow spread from Sugar White Snow and Evergreens

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