I've returned from central Washington where I visited four different towns and did five different presentations and was warmly received by lots of wonderful people.  Brief snowstorm on Thursday! But mostly the weather was fine and the scenery in that area of Washington is spectacular. It was a fine, though tiring, trip. And just for the record: I hate Wolfgang Puck's airport sandwiches.

I got home Friday night and on Saturday morning joined several other speakers at an event held by the Foundation for Children's Books at the magnificent Boston Atheneum.  Each year they hold an event focusing on "What's New" so I had a chance to show-and-tell not only my newest published book, THE BIRTHDAY BALL, but also several upcoming ones, including one I've done for the newly-revived Dear America series. Mine, set in Maine in 1918-1919, will be called LIKE THE WILLOW TREE. Scholastic has updated the look of the covers of these books and also is now featuring the names of the many authors. It will be easier now for young readers to understand that these diaries are fiction --- there had been confusion in the past. But the historical events are carefully-researched and accurate. I would have loved these books when I was a kid.

Here, for example, is the original book "A Journey to the New World"---about the voyage of the Mayflower---


and here it is, same book, in its new incarnation, revealing the author's name, Kathryn Lasky:


The one I've written (pub. date January 2011) is the diary of an eleven-year-old girl orphaned by the 1918 flu epidemic and raised by the Shakers of Sabbathday Lake, Maine. The Shaker Village there is not far for my own home in Maine and so I was able to spend time in their archives last summer, doing the necessary research.