Monthly Archives: June 2015

21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference

I recently returned from the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference held at Manhattan College, New York. It was my third time attending the conference and, as always, I had a terrific time. I was able to attend some incredible sessions by several of my favorite authors, including Melissa Stewart and Steve Swinburne. Steve’s talk about the intersection of poetry and nonfiction was great fun and he showed how to roll even when technology goes awry.  I love that he takes risks and is willing to have a sense of humor — singing one of his poems inside a seaweed-filled tidepool. I was also inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity of presenters such as Heather Montgomery. Her book How Rude! 10 Real Bugs Who Won’t Mind Their Manners is bound to be a popular one with kids of all ages.

As anyone knows who’s ever attended a conference, connections with people are what really make an event stand out. As I headed to the evening mix and mingle, I sat down at a crowded table and –lo and behold — the editor who’d just worked on three of my adventure chapter books was sitting across from me. She was fun and great company to hang out with!

I can’t wait to go back next year to the 21CCNFC and make even more new friends and connections!


Want to learn more? Here’s an article from Publisher’s Weekly:


World’s Strangest Foods event at Hamilton Public Library on July 2

Fear Factor Food Challenge with Local Author Alicia Klepeis (Ages 10+) 

Hamilton Public Library from Hamilton
Photo from Hamilton Public Library

Are you afraid of far-out foods, or do you find the unfamiliar fabulous? Ages 10 and up are invited to sign up for our “Fear Factor” Food Challenge and visit with Alicia Klepeis, author of The World’s Strangest Food, on Thursday, July 2nd from 3-4pm. Participants will be offered opportunities to taste of a variety of foods from around the world! If this is not your kind of fare, feel free to come and watch the festivities. Please stop by the Library in advance to register for this event and pick up a parental permission form.

A Visit to the Turkish Consulate


In 2014 my book Understanding Turkey Today was released by Mitchell Lane Publishers. It was fascinating to research. I was lucky enough to have some help from Heather and Cengiz Cigeroglu. Heather taught art at a school in Istanbul and Cengiz grew up in Turkey. They were super generous with their time, teaching me cool things like how to make a kid-friendly version of ebru (Turkish marbled paper) and also how to cook some delicious recipes eaten by people all over Turkey. Here’s a photo of my first attempt:




After reaching out to the Turkish Consulate in New York during the research process, I was invited to meet the Vice Consul, Sadik Serhat Akkoç. So this past Thursday I headed to the consulate where I was able to present a copy of my book as a gift. There we spoke about writing for children and adults, education in the US and in Turkey, and so on. Later that evening the Vice Consul and his wife hosted me to a beautiful dinner full of traditional home-cooked specialties – from soups to pilaf to stuffed peppers. It was, hands down, the most delicious meal I have ever eaten. We talked about culture, food, family and so many other topics. I learned so much and very much hope to go to Turkey in the future to learn even more about this fascinating country!

Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee

Turkish Delight coated in edible rose petals

Turkish Delight coated in edible rose petals

Utah — Petroglyphs at McConkie Ranch

Growing up on the East Coast, petroglyphs were something I’d never actually seen in person. When I was in Utah recently, I had the chance to spend a morning at McConkie Ranch just west of Vernal in the area now known as Dinosaurland.

Even though McConkie Ranch is privately owned, the public is welcome to explore the petroglyphs and pictographs on the property. Don’t know the difference between the two? Petroglyphs are images chipped into the rock. Pictographs are painted onto the rock. The petroglyphs here were made by the Fremont people about 1,000 years ago. Trails are well marked and it’s easy to get around.

One of the many petroglyphs at McConkie Ranch

One of the many petroglyphs at McConkie Ranch

Petroglyph People

Petroglyph People

On the sunny, crisp morning when my daughter and I visited McConkie, we had the place practically to ourselves. Payment is just $4 per car and on the honor system. A metal trash can full of walking sticks for loan is available. Inside the little cabin at the entrance is a metal cash box and a fridge full of beverages. Post-it notes and business cards from visitors wallpapered the inside of the cabin. I left mine too. Everyone is supposed to register in the guest book — there were people from around the globe who’d recently stopped in.


The petroglyphs were abundant — it seemed at every turn, we saw a new image.

The rock formations here were spectacular as well, as were the blooming cacti along the trails.


Cactus in bloom

One of many cool rock formations at McConkie Ranch

Cool rocks and sky

Incredible contrast between rock and sky

McConkie Ranch is just one of Vernal’s gems…keep posted for more! If you can’t wait to see more, check out the following website: