May UBFP Newspaper Article AND 12×12 Update!

**UPDATE to my post! Check out an interview I did with Kid-Lit author Sue LaNeve on Quirk and Quill click HERE!

First I wanted to do my 12×12 update. I know I am VERY late with the update, but I had a surprise visit to Disney World in the first week of May and I am trying to catch up!


I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge again this year. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2013. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it. For the month of April I did pretty well. I got an idea to use a book I wrote back in second grade. In that book, I interviewed people from all over the world that my mom worked with. I asked them about their favorite folk-tales from when they were kids. I have folk tales from England, Ukraine, Norway, India and Cuba. In April I started to make a picture book about a boy who visits the different folk tale. I am going to keep working on this idea in May!

On to my next subject!

I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the April issue! The print version came out May 1st, but the online version was just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 17). I got the idea for the article when I went to a book signing for author Suzanne Bloom (the 2013 PA One Book author) and her book “The Bus For Us.”


Ms. Bloom’s “limo” for the event was MY local library – The Columbia County Traveling Library A.K.A. the coolest bookmobile EVER! With the coolest librarians EVER – Lydia Kegler and Kara Walsh!

What was extra cool is that at the book signing, Ms. Bloom read her book,

photo credit Kara Walsh Columbia County Traveling Library

photo credit Kara Walsh Columbia County Traveling Library

let us ask questions and took a request from an audience member to draw a picture. She drew  an AWESOME (and handsome) superhero called SUPER READER!

superread3Does he look familiar?

What was extra-extra-cool is that at the book signing, I met (in real life), Pam Brunskill, a kid-lit writer that I “met” before online through Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog. Ms. Brunskill just won the April pitch contest on Ms. Hill’s blog for her book “Flood Dogs” (you can read about it HERE)!


Finally – here is the article I wrote! I hope you enjoy it!

2013 PA One Book Author Suzanne Bloom

Have you ever heard of Pennsylvania’s One Book? I didn’t until I went to a book signing, where I met Suzanne Bloom, author of “The Bus for Us,” the PA One Book for this year. I learned that the PA One Book, Every Young Child program’s mission is to promote reading skills in younger children. The website describes the program like this:

“For the eighth consecutive year, Pennsylvania’s One Book, Every Young Child program will lead the way and highlight the importance of early literacy development in preschoolers ages 3 to 6.

The collaborating agencies involved with the program all believe strongly in supporting early literacy efforts. They are working together to develop a multifaceted program accessible to all areas and populations of the state. There are more than 595,000 children in the target age group, many of which are in the state’s childcare facilities, Head Start programs, licensed preschools, or kindergartens.”

The book for this year, 2013, “The Bus for Us,” is described in a press release from the PA One Book program:

“Pennsylvania’s One Book, Every Young Child 2013 selection is The Bus for Us, a delightful book written and illustrated by Suzanne Bloom for children ages 3 to 6. Published in 2001 by Boyds Mills Press, this story follows Tess on her first day of school as she waits with her friend Gus for the bus. She’s very excited and wonders what the bus will look like. As they wait, Tess sees many different vehicles drive by, including a taxi, a fire engine and a tow truck. And as each one passes she asks, “Is this the bus for us, Gus?”

PA One Book authors go on a book tour around Pennsylvania, visiting schools and libraries. I got to go to one of the stops. When I was at the book signing, Ms. Bloom was very kind and let me ask her a few questions.

Erik – What does it mean to you to have been chosen as the PA One Book author for 2013?

Ms. Bloom – I am tickled pink to be the PA 1 Book author/illustrator for a second time.  When I toured the state several years ago with Goose and Bear, I loved cruising over the roller coaster hills, seeing new towns and cities, watching out for wolves in The Wilds – just kidding.

I visited grand libraries and tiny libraries – all working hard as community hubs to creating programs for all ages and interests.

Erik – Your book tour does seem like a lot of fun! What is the best thing about being the PA One Book author?

Ms. Bloom – It’s always about the people I get to meet and the ideas we get to share.  From babies to bus drivers – everybody has a story.

Erik – I like meeting new people too! “The Bus For Us” is written for younger kids, but there is a lot of humor in the illustrations you drew that older kids and adults will love. Did you do that on purpose?

Ms. Bloom – Absolutely!  Details, nuance, attitude!  With a story of very few words, lots more information can be conveyed in the illustrations.

In fact, additional story lines can be suggested.  Conversations might arise based on character’s body language or facial expression.

Of course I want kids to say, “Read it again,” to their parents, but I also want to create a story that parents will gladly repeat.

Erik – I know I really liked reading your book! How does PA One Book and your book “The Bus For Us” help with early childhood literacy?

Ms. Bloom – Visual literacy begins before reading.  Even the tiniest tot is acquiring information by observing and listening.  Having a grown-up guide, who takes the time to read with a child, creates a safe and positive learning time.  A book is a gateway to a bigger world, for every reader!

Erik – You are so right! We are always learning by listening and seeing – and books are great for that!

To learn more about the PA One Book, visit their website at

To learn more about Suzanne Bloom, visit her website at

For more on reading and book reviews, visit my website!


Categories: Newspaper Columns

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22 replies

  1. I loved this article Erik. Really, are you 11. I don’t think I could write it so eloquently and i wish for a mobile library like that. I can see a picture book in that alone Great job and hooray for Disneyland.

  2. Great article and interview. And that Super Reader drawing is just too cool. You do the best poses!

  3. Erik, your book idea is fabulous! I had a folk tale on my PiBoIdMo list, but I haven’t attacked that one yet. And I love your “Super Reader” pose. 🙂

  4. This post was so great I hardly know where to start! I love your idea for a picture book. And that picture of Super Reader is, well, SUPER! Excellent interview as well. Thanks, Erik!

  5. Erik- You are one busy kid! I don’t know how you do it all! First of all- yeah about the surprise trip to Disney. How awesome. Secondly- I love the picture book idea. I think the pictures of the authors and the mobile are fabulous. You really are Super Reader! Love it! 🙂

  6. Great interview Erik! Ms Bloom sounds like a really cool lady! i wish that we had a bookmobile here. I love bookmobiles. It’s my dream to have our very own that I can ride around in and hang my head out the window.

  7. Excellent as always, Erik. (I want a bus like that!) 🙂

  8. Wow! What a jam-packed post, Erik! I love that you continue to participate in 12×12…what a great idea to revisit stories you’ve previously written and turn them into picture book drafts. 🙂 Glad you got to go to Disneyworld…what fun! And the book signing sounds like a wonderful event…love the illustration of you! Thanks for giving us some insight into Ms. Bloom’s writing adventure with a super interview.

  9. Enjoyed your interview with Sue for the paper. And, I really liked your idea for a picture book — has a lot of potential. And, of course the super reader illustrations was super cool!

  10. Great questions, Erik! I loved reading the interview. And yes, I agree with Jama, you do the best poses ever. Love the Super Reader caption. 🙂

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