International Literacy Association's Reading Today

Monday, December 30, 2013

I just received this e-mail message from Peter Ward, the Director of the Lindenhurst Memorial Library:
Sophia's Stoop Story is on our YouTube Channel and a post on our Create Young Readers @ LML Facebook page.
Thanks so much for helping us out.
Although I am not happy with how my voice sounds....or how I look (on YouTube), I am thrilled with my book and the FABULOUS illustrations by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson.  I am so grateful that Francine Poppo Rich at Blue Marlin Publications chose them to illustrate Sofia's Stoop Story.  I am elated!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A year ago today, we lost my mother, Marie LaPlaca Bohrer.  She passed away just six days after her dear brother, my Uncle Frankie.  They were the last of the seven Affisco siblings.  It was a difficult Christmas this year without them, but we are grateful for the many holidays that we did have with them.  My sister, our husbands, our children, my grandson, and all of our cousins treasure the fond memories we have of them, my dad, Aunt Betty, Uncle Al, Aunt Connie, Uncle Chuck, Aunt Katie, Aunt Helen, Uncle Joey, Aunt Millie, Uncle Bernie, Uncle Tommy, Aunt Rosie....and of course, our grandparents.  We will never forget them and all of the memories made on 18th Street.
Uncle Frankie and my mom in 2011

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My dear Uncle Frankie passed away a year ago yesterday.  My book is a tribute to him...a very special man who greeted everyone with a smile and always had a kind word to say.  Uncle Frankie was a born teacher and a natural storyteller.  He was loved by everyone who knew him. 

Here's the first page of Sofia's Stoop Story, which by the way, was originally titled, Uncle Frankie's 18th Street Stoop Story.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hot Off The Press!!!!

Sofia's Stoop Story:  18th Street, Brooklyn has been selected for CBC's (Children's Book Council's) Hot Off The Press for December!  It is featured on their homepage, Facebook page, and Twitter at CBCBook!  I'm so excited!  This is such an honor.  Please go check it out...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Well, I finally have an advance copy of my book in my hands....and I must say, I am OVER THE MOON!!!  Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson did a fabulous job interpreting my manuscript and enhancing my story with their amazing illustrations.  I couldn't be happier!  I am so grateful to my publisher for choosing them to illustrate Sofia's Stoop Story.  And, I am honored that this amazing husband and wife team were willing to illustrate my first book.  They have illustrated numerous books (I think I own all of them.) for some very famous authors...Maya Angelou, Dr. Seuss, Jon Scieszka, and Mary Pope Osborne, to name a few.  I thought you might be interested in the process they used to illustrate Sofia...  Below is an excerpt from my publisher, Francine at Blue Marlin Publications' Facebook page:
"I recently attended a luncheon at the Children's Book Council, at which I enjoyed listening to Sarah Harrison Smith, children's book editor at the New York Times, discuss what interests her the most when considering which children's books to review. Ilustrations. "So often, I want to know more about the illustrations, how they were done, the media used, etc. I'd really like to learn more about that process." Of course! That makes so much sense."

"So I asked Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson, our illustrators of Sofia's Stoop Story, to comment on their unique style for this book, and here is what they said: 'The illustrations are collage, acrylic paint, and ink on paper. Photos, patterns, and text are manipulated in photoshop, printed out, and collaged onto a rough sketch. Multiple layers of acrylic paint and ink are then applied. Probably, the most unique part is that we both work on each painting. Most people who work as teams divide the work, but we pass the paintings back and forth, working in layers.'"


Sunday, November 17, 2013

You know that light at the end of the long tunnel.... Well, I finally see it!  Although it seemed like a long tunnel to me, in the publishing world, it really was a short one.  One year ago this month, Francine Poppo Rich at Blue Marlin Publications gave me the best news a first time author wants to hear.  Now, after numerous revisions, it is ready to go to print! I can't tell you how excited I am.  Just wait until you see the collage style paintings by the talented award-winning illustrators, Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson.  They truly exceeded my expectations!  I am over the moon!  This week, my publisher informed me that the release date for Sofia's Stoop Story will be February 10, 2014.  Guess what everyone in my family is getting for Valentine's Day?  I'm just sorry that Uncle Frankie and my mom aren't here to see it.  However, I am grateful that they both knew that my dream to publish it was becoming a reality (before they passed away on December 21st and 27th last year).  They were both so happy that I wrote about our Italian-American family experiences on 18th Street.  And Uncle Frankie told his daughter, Elizabeth, that he always knew that I would make him famous.  LOL  I certainly hope I do!

Monday, August 12, 2013

I can't believe I am a blogger.  So I guess it is not so hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  Especially when the teacher is an experienced blogger, author, teacher, and TPT saleswoman named Erica Bohrer.  Yes, she's my daughter.  Thanks, Erica!  I also want to thank Parker Jones for creating this blog for my upcoming book, Sofia's Stoop Story: 18th Street, Brooklyn.

In case you're wondering how Sofia's Stoop Story originated, continue reading. 

I didn’t pen my story until I took a writing class with my colleagues.  The instructor’s first assignment was for us to draw a picture of our neighborhood, including the houses, the neighbors’ names, and a few words about what made them unique.  I drew 18th Street, Brooklyn, where I spent every weekend when I was growing up.  As I began writing the names of the people in the neighborhood, I realized that most were my relatives.  Those who weren’t related to me were shop owners on 5th and 6th Avenue.  I had so many people to write about, so many stories to tell, but I decided to set my focus on a few…Uncle Frankie, my Nana, and the store keepers.  Then I remembered about Uncle Frankie telling me that he saw Carl Furillo play baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.  ‘That’s it!’  I had found my seed, and from that, Sofia’s Stoop Story: 18th Street, Brooklyn was born.  Oh, but that baby didn’t transform into a book overnight.  Oh, no, she took a lot of nurturing.  After six years, more than 26 revisions (enough to fill a 2 inch binder), and countless rejection letters from publishers, my story became a book, thanks to Blue Marlin Publications and the very talented, famous illustrators, Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson.  Perseverance and patience finally paid off.  My book should be out in the winter.