Back to School Season and we’re off!

Looks like Booksicals is taking off with a series of exciting  events for the fall season.  Meeting  teachers, librarians, bookstore owners and parents who are as thrilled as I am about what we are doing at Booksicals is a great boost and very energizing.

We kick off the September season with a special event at Baby Gap/Gap Kids at the Grove in Los Angeles on Wed. Sept 9, 2009.   Sunday October 25 th  Barnes and Noble, the Grove,  is hosting a Booksicals event  at 1:00pm.    

We will be hosted by the  LA Memorial Library for a family event  on Monday evening Dec 21 at 6pm.  

Wizo will be hosting a special Booksicals Event for their annual Hannukah festivity in December. 

 I look forward to an excting season. Please check out our news and events page for dates, times and places for upcoming events.   Hope to see you at a performance!

What Does a Writer Hopes For?

The Blessing of FAMILY!
The Blessing of FAMILY!

What does a writer hope for?  Praise? Acclaim? Fame?  Success?  Yes all those things. 
But what is most satisfying is when a writer knows they have touched someone’s life in some way through their book. 

I was moved to tears after reading your review. I’m touched to know that reading Too Many Visitors for One Little House inspired you to appreciate the blessing of family! Thanks for your review.

 http://reviewfromhere.com/?p=117

My Book Tour and Learning About Me

ist2_2819067-reading-story-bookcomp1What inspires me? Who inspires me? Which authors guide my writing? What goes into writing a picture book? And other questions I answered about my creative process while preparing for my virtual book tour this month taught me so much about my own writing!

Preparing for a book tour can be grueling. However I never realized how educational it  could be  to analyze your own creative process!

I would like to thank everyone for asking so many interesting questions. 

Read my interviews, listen to radio chats and read reviews of  the July 2009 virtual tour of Too Many Visitors for One Little House at these links:

http://budurl.com/boyslovetoreadit                                                                                                  http://budurl.com/ladyDreview                                                                                                         http://budurl.com/moziesreview
http://budurl.com/intothewardrobe
http://budurl.com/unadornedbookreview                                                                                                         http://reviewfromhere.com/?p=117                                                            http://martasmeanderings.blogspot.com/2009/07/review-and-blog-tour-for-too-many.html

Interviews:
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/107489
http://budurl.com/thewriterslife
http://budurl.com/day4booktour                                                                                                  http://budurl.com/petsandtheirauthors

Radio chats:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/KimS/2009/07/14/Chat-with-Susan-Chodakiewitz

http://budurl.com/Storyheartradiochat

BlogRadio Interview with Kim Smith July 13, 2009

ist2_5123866_curious_childrenThank you Kim Smith for hosting me on your blogtalk radio show– Introducing Writers. I really enjoyed talking with you. I think your idea about bringing Booksicals books and programs to kids at ST. JUDE’S hospital in Memphis Tennessee is a fabulous one. I look forward to pursing this idea with you further. Thanks again for having me on your lovely show.

Listen to my interview with Kim Smith at http://budurl.com/blogradiochatwSusan.

From Page to Stage

The magic that happens when actors bring to life something you have written is one of the exhubertly wonderful perks of a writer’s life. The Booksicals Repertory Company is about to debut the musical version of Too Many Visitors for One Little House at the Robertson Library in Los Angeles. Up until now it’s been more work than fun: getting the cast together, recruiting director/choreographer,  coordinating  rehearsals, making script changes, staging, choreographing, recording in the studio, endless tweaking and retweaking of the music tracks, getting props, and putting it all together.  But last night at rehearsal we finally had a  music run through.  Let the joys begin!  Yes theater is magical and oh so wonderful as it brings to life the delights of a children’s picture book .

If you are in Los Angeles.  Join us at the Robertson Library at 4:30 on Tuesday June 2.  Or look for upcoming Booksicals performances.  See you soon!

The Serious Need for Play

Quoting from the Scientific American Mind article by Melinda Wenner on play – “Free, imaginative play is crucial for normal social, emotional and cognitive development. It makes us better adjusted, smarter and less stressed…”
The article goes on to say that some studies show that a play deprived childhood disrupts normal social, emotional and congitive development in humans and animals.

If you have a chance to read the article in Scientific AMerican Mind February/March 2009, I highly recommend it.

As we book playdates, afterschool acitivities, karate, gymnastics, little league, piano lessons, homework, ballet, yoga class etc. lets remember to make time for our kids to just play with pots and pans, play in the yard, play dress up, play make believe, use their imaginations and simply just play.

And if we are worried about them getting into a good college? Well according to Scientific American Mind – play may just be the thing to puts our kids in the forefront of the competition!

Birthdays – a yearly landmark for the soul

I went to a friend’s birthday gathering the other day. It turned out to be a spiritual experience. I thought I’d share:

John, whose birthday it was, went around to each person at the table and described why each friend in particular was a blessing in his life. He listed each friend’s traits and what they add to his life. He described the blessings in his life and the hope of being strengthened to continue to grow in the right direction. He shared with us the Jewish perspective on birthdays: Birthdays he said, come around once a year to allow a person to evaluate their lives. Is the soul and the body in sync? If not, what can we do to get them aligned? With each birthday we need to re-adjust slightly, take the steps necessary to fulfill the cravings of soul through our physical world. An simple concept, a difficult thing.

Birthdays, John continued, are the time to rejoice in the gift of life, to rejoice in the particular strengths and talents we were given. Birthdays are a time to access our lives, realign our life with the vision we have for it before we get too far off track. Birthdays are the time to ask ourselves: are we fulfilling our calling?

So I started to think…. What is my calling. Is my life on target?

I started to think of all the people in history I’ve admired, people who have changed the world… Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and many more. They affected millions with their actions and decisions. What about me?

Then I started to think. Who have I affected and how do I change the world? Yes, I’ve raised three wonderful sons. But what impact have I made beyond that?

And then it came to me. What I do best . What do I love to do? I love to ignite the creative spark in others. I love to help people realize their passions, pursue their dreams, develop their creativity. I love to encourage people to take the leap, do what they are dreaming of doing. I like to brainstorm and help them find ways to move towards their dreams. Is that a calling? I think it is.

And then I realized that authors of children’s books have a great potential for sparking a child’s creativity, and imagination. Stories often help us unlock and undertstand our dreams, lead us to our calling. So what do you know? Thanks to John’s birthday– I discovered my calling.

Thanks John for an inspirational and uplifting day. Happy birthday to everyone!

Stage Fright

cropped-king-david3Surrounded by the beautiful Arizona mountains and blue skies I should have been relaxed and calm as I walked in to meet Mr. Yacov’s first grade class . It was my first time at King David School in Scottsdale and I was going to read Too Many Visitors for One Little House to the K-1 classes.

While waiting for the kids to arrive, my sister, Anne Grabois, spanish teacher and former music teacher at the King David School who was going to introduce me, whispered in my ear, “Are you nervous?” “I’m petrified,” I replied.

“Petrified of 5 and 6 year olds?” she asked.

“What if they hate the book? ” I quivered.

Then in walked a line of shining smiles and beaming faces. Some waved to me, some jumped up and down, some shyly smiled. Exchanging wide-eyed looks and smiles –we connected!

And suddenly the fear was gone and the magic took over. Bonding through story, colors and pictures we shared an unforgettable afternoon.

In my brain I logged the memory of the reading at Kind David under – Don’t Worry about Stage Fright.

Yes author readings can be scary, especially if your audience is a room full of bright-eyed, honest-to-a fault 4-6 years olds who expect nothing less than total truth. But when they feel your sincere passion they plug right in and author and reader are bonded forever.

Author Reading at Palomino Elementary

palominoelementary3

What a treat to share Too Many Visitors for One Little House  with Ms. Lauren Grabois’  bright and creative 1st grade class at Palomino Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona. 

The children were so excited to meet an author and  share thoughts about how authors gets their ideas.  Each and every one of children realized they had so many experiences —  funny, sad, happy, even scary that could be turned into their own stories!

The highlight of the day for the kids was meeting in the flesh, the real live Grandma and Grandpa from the story. Grandma and Grandpa became instant stars as the kids gathered around with hugs and questions. 

As the kids  asked questions about the family and the dog from the story, we decided, then and there, to launch a DOG NAMING CONTEST.

Be on the look-out  — teachers, librarians,parents and kids-  for news about the Too Many Visitors for One Little House upcoming  DOG NAMING CONTEST.

Thank you children for the beautiful pictures and thank-you notes you made for me.  Thank you Ms. Grabois and Principal Dr. Ana Ramos for having me as a guest at your wonderful school.