My Author Visits in Bryant, Arkansas

In April 2001 I visited Grace Hill Elementary in Rogers, Arkansas. It was one of my first author visits, and at that time I only had one book, Tiny Snail. Katie Thomas, a former teacher at Grace Hill, is now the principal at Collegeville Elementary in Bryant, Arkansas. I was amazed to learn that ten years later Katie remembered my 2001 author visit at Grace Hill, and when it came time for her to select an author for a program at Collegeville, she chose me!

My visit to Collegeville Elementary was Monday morning, October 24, 2011. Collegeville shared the day with Salem Elementary, and both school programs were in the gym. Since there were about 200 kids in each presentation, the schools provided a document camera so smaller visuals could be projected on the wall. Despite the size of the groups, students were very attentive and asked great questions.

K-1st Grades 8:30 AM – 9:05 AM

2nd – 3rd Grades 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM

10:00 AM-10:20 AM Autograph Books

4th – 5th Grades 10:20 AM – 11:05 AM

11:05 AM – Noon Finish Autographing Books and Lunch

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Drive to Salem Elementary and set up in the gym

4th-5th Grades 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM

K- 1st Grades 1:50 PM – – 2:35 PM

2nd-3rd Grades 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

3:15- 3:45 Autograph Books

I am very grateful to both Katie Thomas and Salem’s principal, Mark Scarlett, for taking time out of their busy schedules to organize the author visit and to meet with me personally on the day of the event. It was a lively and very rewarding day.

Students are welcome to keep in touch and send questions via e-mail at


Summer 2011 in Review

I had a very long “to do” list for Summer 2011, and unfortunately I barely scratched off a few lines. The list carries on into Fall, but where did all the time go this year? Why didn’t I get more accomplished? In retrospect, Summer was dedicated to launching and promoting “Sea Horse, run!”. Come to think of it, so was the Spring…

Sea Horse, run! with Award Sticker


My first new book in 7 years, “Sea Horse, run!” (SHR), launched on June 1, 2011.

As a children’s picture book, SHR was entered into 16 different awards.

SHR won the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Award.

Seven fabulous reviews for SHR, the most reviews I’ve ever received for a single book! Several of the reviews were by major, national publications such as Kirkus and PW (Publisher’s Weekly).

Radio interview on Ozarks At Large which is a daily news program on KUAF, an NPR affiliate. Click on the link to access the podcast. My interview for SHR starts 24 minutes into the show.

I finally joined TWITTER in July where I customized my page with a SHR theme. Follow me: @T_CarterBronson.

SHR was featured in the July 2011 issue of Northwest Arkansas’ Citiscapes magazine, page 35.

Three book signings in bookstores: Barnes & Noble Store#2662, Omaha, NE (Tues, May 17th); Barnes & Noble Store #2721, Fayetteville, AR (Sat July 9th); and Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, AR (Sat, August 6th).

I learned that my original SHR website would soon disappear, so I started a Word Press Blog in July to replace it.

SHR featured July 28th at DallasKidsRead!, a Dallas Children’s Literary Festival at the Dallas Public Library.

Waterman Entertainment in Los Angeles requested a copy of SHR in August.

Created a fun video on drawing the art for SHR entitled, “The Ribboned Sea Dragon.”

SHR shipped to IBPA for display at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The softcover of SHR was released September 1, 2011.

So far, five aquariums have ordered SHR for their gift shops.


With all the attention for SHR, I almost forgot my backlist, but out of the blue, a Barnes & Noble store in Lone Tree, Colorado ordered 25 hardcover copies of Polliwog (2004). Go, Polliwog, go!

Mariposa Press agreed to represent all of my books for distribution in France!

A distributor of English language books in Taiwan, Chang Yi Cultural Company, ordered SHRTiny Snail, & Polliwog.

In addition to carrying SHR in their gift shop, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium ordered copies of Tiny Snail.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art ordered Tiny Snail, Polliwog and Kaleidonotes for their gift shop.


Three book signings in bookstores: Barnes & Noble Store#2662, Omaha, NE (Tues, May 17th); Barnes & Noble Store #2721, Fayetteville, AR (Sat July 9th); and Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, AR (Sat, August 6th).

Five conferences: SCBWI Midwinter Conference & Art Showcase (New York City, NY; January 28), Illinois Reading Council (IRC in Springfield, IL; March 17-18), Texas Library Association (TLA in Austin, TX; April 12-15), Arkansas SCBWI Spring Conference (North Little Rock, AR; April 29-30), Tulsa OK Play conference (Tulsa, OK; June 18-19).

2011 Texas Library Association Booth

Two library talks: Dallas Public Library event (July 28th) and Fayetteville Public Library event (September 24th).

Thirty-two author visits (January-September 8, 2011 at Good Shepherd Episcopal School).

For a total of 42 public appearances so far this year.

In the last ten years, the average number of public appearances I make in a year is around 55. Yes, over fifty appearances each year! I have 21 more school visits booked for the fall which brings my 2011 total to sixty-three appearances.

Visit my EVENTS calendar. (Remember to scroll down for the lists of author visits.)


Where did all the time go? Traveling, filling book orders, building 2 new websites/blogs, not to mention mailing packets of books for schools, reviewers, and book awards. It’s no wonder I never found time to revise and submit my novel for possible publication or turn my picture books into e-books. Those “little” projects are now scheduled for completion in the coming months in between the 21 author visits that will take place in 7 different states. I have a feeling there will be more book adventures, announcements, and news in Fall 2011!

Good Shepherd Episcopal School

My first author visit of the 2011-2012 school year was yesterday at Good Shepherd Episcopal School in Dallas, Texas. We spoke to kindergarden through 2nd grade, and the presentations were in the new library which houses almost 29,000 books, an aquarium filled with corals and tropical fish, two parakeets, and a yellow rat snake! Their amazing library is located in the school’s new Center for Creative Learning which is the first elementary school in Texas to be awarded LEED Gold certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council.

From left to right: Author Matthew Shane Bronson, Author/Illustrator Tammy Carter Bronson, and Librarian Liz Fleskes.

Both the librarian, Liz Fleskes, and her assistant, Claudia Hinton, made us feel very welcome. They treated us to lunch from the Corner Bakery along with coffee, snacks and a beautiful display featuring our books.

Good Shepherd's Book Display

The students were well prepared for the visit. They were familiar with every story, and several students sent us fan mail after the program. My favorite is from the youngest student to ever send me an email:

“Hello–My name is Jordan. I am a pre-Kindergarten student at Good Shepherd Episcopal School. Thanks for coming to visit with us today. I wish that I had brought you some flowers. I hope you can come and visit us again.


P. S. My daughter was insistent on sending you this thank you email. You obviously made quite an impression today. Thank you.”

What a perfect visit to begin the new school year! Thank you, Good Shepherd Episcopal, for inviting us to your school. We enjoyed meeting your students, and we are grateful for the wonderful memories!

Corals in the Good Shepherd Aquarium

Good Shepherd Episcopal School Author Visit

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9:10-9:40 – Kindergarden/Pre-K (~50 students)

9:55-10:40 – 2nd Grade (53 students)

10:40-11:35 Book Signing

11:35-12:15 First Grade (55 students)

12:15-1:30 Lunch

1:30-2:00 Kindergarden/Pre-K (~50 students)

2011 Fall Retreat

If you want to write for children, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is a great organization to join. Although it is an international organization with annual meetings in New York City (January) and Los Angeles (August), your membership entitles you to participate in conferences and/or retreats happening in any state or region around the world. Attending a conference or retreat will give you the opportunity to fine tune your manuscript by getting feedback from an editor or literary agent. You will also learn what types of manuscripts editors or literary agents want to publish.

St. Scholastica Monastery

The Arkansas SCBWI writer’s retreat occurs every fall, and in recent years writers from across the state have converged on the Saint Scholastica Retreat Center in Fort Smith for three days of intensive work on their writing. The retreat center, sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters, shares a 66 acre wooded area with Saint Scholastica Monastery, and the secluded setting is the perfect spot for contemplation and inspiration. I attended in 2009 and 2010, and during both retreats I made great progress with the revisions for my novel.

Sadly, I will be out of the state during the conference this year, but you may be able to attend! If you submit pages from your manuscript by October 1st, you will receive feedback from the editor at the retreat. The 15th annual Arkansas SCBWI Fall Retreat for Writers of Children’s Literature (November 4th-6th, 2011) will feature hands-on workshops led by Stacy Cantor Abrams, editor at Walker Books for Young Readers, and guidance on craft issues by Anna Myers, an Oklahoma author of nineteen novels for middle-grade and young adults.

You must be an SCBWI member to attend. Registration is usually by invitation only, and reservations are on a first come, first served basis. Email the Retreat Director (retreat @ if you are interested in joining SCBWI and attending the retreat.


SCBWI Membership: First year is $85. Annual renewal fee is $70. Join SCBWI

Arkansas Fall Retreat: $280 (Includes meals, snacks, all sessions, and private rooms with a shared bath.)

For more information, visit these websites:

Arkansas SCBWI

Arkansas SCBWI Retreat Page


Anna Myers Main Website

Books Published by Bloomsbury Kids

Readers Make Books Real

THE TELEGRAPH reported yesterday that Penelope Lively, the Booker Prize-winning author of MOON TIGER, said e-books are for “bloodless nerds” and are no substitute for real books. Responses to Ms. Lively’s statements vary. Sarah Crown, a blogger at the, agrees with Ms. Lively (Read Sarah’s Post), but someone needs to speak on behalf of the “bloodless nerds.” I guess that will be me!

I believe Ms. Lively needs to expand her definition of a ‘real book.’ What makes a book ‘REAL?’ My definition of REAL comes from an old picture book entitled, THE VELVETEEN RABBIT:

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” 

The Velveteen Rabbit

Image via Wikipedia

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit…

The way a book is made does not determine whether or not the book is REAL. An agent, editor or publishing house does not make a book REAL. Distributors, wholesalers, and bookstores do not make a book REAL. The paper the book is printed on does not make a book REAL. What is a REAL book? A book becomes REAL when it is loved very, very much by a reader. If that is the case, it doesn’t matter how a book comes into the world. If a reader loves it, the book is REAL.

Take care, Ms. Lively. Those “bloodless nerds” will determine the future of your books. If you insult your readers, they might just decide that your books are not REAL after all.

Further Reading:

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT by Margery Williams
(Please note: Both the e-books and print versions are REAL;)