I Live for School Visits!

(Thank you to An Open Book Foundation for inviting me to speak to these amazing DCPS students!)

As the school year draws to a close and I reflect on the first six months of my debut book experience, I can say with absolute certainty that the best part of writing for children is the opportunity to connect with kids about books! I live for the days I’m blessed to read to kids, discuss writing, books, and making mistakes, and answer their insightful and sometimes hilarious questions. Among my favorites are: “How old are you?” “Why does the blobfish look like jelly?” And, “how did you know to believe in yourself?” (That one yanks my heart!)

If authors weren’t invited to read and present to kids in school visits (in person and Skype) and story times, I probably wouldn’t write for publication. It’s true! I’d definitely still write, of course. But I wouldn’t write for publication if I weren’t able to experience the kids’ experience of reading the book. One of life’s greatest joys is watching kids read, enjoy, laugh, think, feel, and wonder about a book I’ve written especially for them. And more importantly, the ability to help kids understand and experience reading and writing on a deeper level is the most significant work I do.

I can’t wait to schedule more school visits for the 2018-19 school year! For more information, or to schedule a visit, give me a shout!


“Best of 2017” and gratitude

2017 was a difficult year and, for many reasons, I’m glad it’s over. But 2017 included some gifts and joys as well — especially the fact that THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK brought laughter to some young readers! TJ Shay shared the book with his students and this photo after his students read the book now has a permanent place in my mind. I was also THRILLED when so many children’s book people I respect and admire enjoyed the book: the hilarious Betsy Bird included my wacky book in her Fuse 8 Production round up of the year’s funniest picture books; Minh Le dubbed it as one of the year’s most clever books in HuffPost; Michele Knott included it as one of her favorites of the year; and Margie Myers-Culver shared a review that made my heart explode with joy! I’m so grateful! Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2018 has me looking forward to more school visits, a novel writing class, a writing retreat with my Picture the Books debut author pals, and the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville in March. It’s shaping up to be a great year! Here’s to more laughter for us all. Happy New Year!

Teacher’s Guides are available!

I’m thrilled to share the first of two teacher’s guides for THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK! Written by Pam Brunskill of Authors and Educators, these guides – one for grades PreK-2, and one for grades 3-6 – offer educators a deep look into the language arts, science, and social emotional learning opportunities found in the book. Whether you’re working on animal classifications, writer’s voice, growth mindset and making mistakes, or discerning fake news, these guides provide useful analysis and fun and educational exercises and lessons for you as you explore THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK in your classrooms!

Download the Teacher Guide – PreK-2 – This is Not a Normal Animal Book here and the This is Not a Normal Animal Book Teachers Guide Grades 3-6 here!

Let me know what you think or if you have any questions!


Hello and thank you for checking out my author page!

My debut picture book, THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK, releases in the Fall of 2017 from Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (illustrated by Brian Biggs). Check back often for updates on appearances and events, book news, educational resources, or just to say “hi!”

Guess what?! You can now pre-order SIGNED (by BOTH Julie and Brian) books from Politics and Prose, or buy it on Amazon, or request it from your favorite bookseller!

I’d love to hear from you!