Dory Day in Italy by abby hanlon

It sounds like I’m making this up, but there is a “Dory Day” in Italy. Created by Terre Di Mezzo, my devoted Italian publisher, more than 100 bookstores throughout Italy celebrated Dory this year. Among the bookstore events, kids played Doryland! Some very crafty person turned the Doryland game from Book 3 into an actual game!

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Head in the Clouds Book Tour by abby hanlon

 

Day 1 Athens, Georgia

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14 events in 6 days! Thank you to my publicist Bridget Hartzler and my editor Lucia Monfried for sending me off! 

First stops on the tour -- Chase Street Elementary where second graders asked amazing questions like, "When did you first find your passion for writing?" Then I spent the afternoon with 300 kids at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary. Thank you to librarians Tanya Hudson and Deirdre Sugiuchi.  And thank you Avid Bookstore for arranging the visits and hosting a wonderful evening event.   

DAY 2 Chicago 

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Welcome signs at Meadowview school in Grayslake, IL. Thank you to literacy specialist Michelle Knott who went above and beyond to welcome me.  

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Thank you to Robert at the Book Stall in Winnetka, IL for getting the kids hyped with this cake. 

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Getting some drawing help here...

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Just some adorable Dory fans at The Book Stall.

DAY 3 Washington DC

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At Sirius XM Radio with Mindy Thomas (From Absolutely Mindy and Wow In the World/NPR) and 6 year old Bram. Thank you Bram and Mindy for the interview! Bram had lots of incisive questions like, "Why is Mrs. Gobble Gracker so sneaky?" And "Why is Mr. Nuggy a man?" 

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First visit to the legendary Politics&Prose

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Signing books with Margaret Orto at Politics&Prose. 

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At the Brightwood School in DC with the Open Book Foundation. Open Book provided four classes of third graders with their own copy of the first Dory book. These kids were such a lovely little audience and they were so thrilled to receive the book. I wished I had more time with them. 

Day 4 Doylestown, PA

After a presentation at Doylestown Elementary School a little girl telling me all about her drawings.

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Thank you to librarian Heather Herwig. She created this board of imaginary friends with her students:

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The little girl who gave me this drawing came to the reading at Doylestown Bookshop dressed as Rosabelle-- wearing many skirts. Her mom told me that she often pretends to be Rosabelle and her mom has been designated the role of "Rosabelle's driver."  

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Spotted this on the white board in the kids section in the bookshop after the reading. 

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Day 5 was a reading at Barnes and Noble is Fairless Hills, PA and then... 

DAY 6 Brooklyn, NY HOME!! 

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Thank you to Emma and Abby at Books Are Magic. 

 
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Original Art Show by abby hanlon

I was pretty much stunned to be a member of the jury for the 2017 Original Art show at the Society of Illustrators. We spent a day looking at hundreds of illustrated books and ending with a spirited discussion and eventual consensus. It was an overwhelming, exhilarating and vigorous process... the details of which remain confidential! Thank you to our chair Sean Qualls, assistant chair Melissa Sweet, and to Laurent Linn and Marcia Leonard, the show's advisors.  

Here are the jurors. With Catia Chien, Rika Simonsen, Megan Cash, Evan Turk, and Shane Evans.

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News from Italy by abby hanlon

Dory Fantasmagory was celebrated at the Turin Book Fair in May.  The book was winner of the PREMIO ORBIL, an award in fiction, given by the Association of Italian Independent Bookshops. My Italian editor, Guilia Rizzo, was there to accept the award.  

Dory #3 launched in Italy at the Bologna Children's Book Fair.  Here is the fabulous Giulia Rizzo, posing with Dory at the fair. 

And the book was reviewed in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica. Here it is!

NCTE/Atlanta by abby hanlon

I was invited to speak at NCTE in Atlanta last weekend.  NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) gathers 6,000 teachers, literacy advocates and authors from around the country for three days of collaboration and learning. I did a terrible job at taking photographs, but I met so many awesome teachers and fellow authors.  Here are the two panels I participated in, both led by librarian Mary Ann Scheuer who blogs at Great Kid Books :

The highlight of the trip was that I got to attend a beautiful talk given by my idol, Kevin Henkes and his long time editor Viriginia Duncan at Greenwillow Books. The talk which Kevin entitled Bird In My Mind was about the complexity of a child's inner world and the unique ways kids have of seeing.  

I was just barely brave enough to introduce myself at the end and give Kevin a copy of Dory. In an industry that can feel so noisy and self promotional, Kevin Henkes' gentle and quiet spirit inspires me more than anything else. 

Highlights Foundation retreat by abby hanlon

I spent three days in the woods with some very talented authors and illustrators.  Top (holding Ashley's bear: Selina Alko, Lauren Castillo, Julia Sarcone-Roach, Denise Fleming. Bottom: Leslie Margolis, Julia Denos, me, and Ashley Wolff.

The Highlights Foundation (Honesdale, PA) has workshops for children's book authors and illustrators, but we signed up for an "Unworkshop," so we all worked on our own stuff and came together for meals and walks in the woods. It was really inspiring being around this kind of intense creative energy and getting a glimpse into each person's process. I'm so grateful to be part of this supportive community of women. 

 Selina Alko and Lauren Castillo 

Selina Alko and Lauren Castillo 

 With Julia Sarcone-Roach

With Julia Sarcone-Roach

And more photos by abby hanlon

Thank you to my friends and neighbors! And thank you to Ezra and Amanda at Community Bookstore for hosting this huge crowd. 

 Mrs. Gobble Gracker cake quickly gobbled up. 

Mrs. Gobble Gracker cake quickly gobbled up. 

 The Unger family 

The Unger family 

Day 3: Austin, Texas by abby hanlon

 With Emily Echols, super librarian at St. Francis (with lots of beautiful black sheep behind us.) 

With Emily Echols, super librarian at St. Francis (with lots of beautiful black sheep behind us.) 

 With Jill Bailey, Penguin Young Readers sales rep and Ellen Greene from Book People. 

With Jill Bailey, Penguin Young Readers sales rep and Ellen Greene from Book People. 

 WIth the extraordinary Bonnie Lang, librarian at Doss Elementary. Please notice SHE IS WEARING A MRS. GOBBLE GRACKER BUN!  And a homemade "Fantasmagory" t-shirt. 

WIth the extraordinary Bonnie Lang, librarian at Doss Elementary. Please notice SHE IS WEARING A MRS. GOBBLE GRACKER BUN!  And a homemade "Fantasmagory" t-shirt. 

 WIth the library crew and their Mrs. Gobble Gracker buns.   The enthusiasm and love for Dory at this school was truly beyond belief.     

WIth the library crew and their Mrs. Gobble Gracker buns.   The enthusiasm and love for Dory at this school was truly beyond belief.  

 

 Three hundred kids wearing crowns they made for the event. Each kid wrote "Fantasmagory" on their crown. 

Three hundred kids wearing crowns they made for the event. Each kid wrote "Fantasmagory" on their crown.