#littlecreeptakeover Split Rock Books!

 

img_56113.jpeg
For your Creepy Uncle David, there’s nothing like making the Halloween table!

 

When I lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I used to love to drive up the Hudson River Valley, especially during the Fall. It’s a city cliche, I know, but cliche for good reason. Fall is beautiful here in Sleepy Hollow Country and points north, and many valley villages fill every weekend with farmers’ markets, sports, concerts and, best of all, Halloween activities for all ages.

Sunday, I drove my family to Cold Spring, about an hour north of the city, at the invitation of an awesome indy bookstore, Split Rock Books.

Of course, with my history of dark stories for both children and adults, everyone has the idea of inviting me the weekend of Halloween. (I had to politely decline a few attractive invitations to come read, sign and share my work after booking both days this weekend months ago.) But Diane and Olivia and I are glad that Split Rock Books hosted us Sunday, because we felt right at home with booksellers Heidi and Michael Bender, a couple who — after over 10 years working as booksellers in New York, journeyed to Cold Spring to open up their own store.

Like some of the other great stores I’ve blogged here, this is a book store for book people: literary fiction and non-fiction, indy press and deeply into children’s books and other forms of graphic storytelling. The Benders’ Instagram seems to host as many images of visiting pets as books, giving you an idea that yes, this is a warm, welcoming place for warm, welcoming living things. And on top of that — thoughtfully curated books!

44886091_10156570126138400_5386564892482338816_n.jpg
“What does the Wolfgirl say?” “Arrrooo!”

I found the Benders while searching the Hudson Valley for great, kid-friendly indy stores within an hour of our Westchester home, via their (Literary Hub) essay published as they prepared to open their store earlier this year. Reading the musings below, I knew these were people I would invite to sit down at our family table. (Hey, if I wouldn’t want to break bread with you, we probably wouldn’t enjoy each others’ company at a book event, either.)

“For us by far the strangest commentary is people who volunteer ‘I don’t read’ and who then extrapolate this quality to the rest of humanity via the follow up questions, ‘Does anybody read anymore?’ and ‘How do bookstores even survive?’ Frankly, we’re more curious about how tanning salons survive, but I guess the answer is that not every store that exists serves the entire population of earth. We don’t need everyone to read, we just need the people around here who read to find us and to shop with us.”
Heidi and Michael Bender, – THE BIG HIGHS AND DEEP LOWS OF OPENING AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE

Real booksellers know personalized service and a sense of community distinguish them from chain stores and online drone retailers, and Split Rock offers every kind of book event you can think of, including story time for kids. Of course, this week, kids in costumes received a goodie bag from the store, a popsicle stick Little Creep puppet from the Quinns and a chance to participate in the story and take home a signed book.

“Keep darkness close, shut out the Sun/Hold on to our little ones.”

IMG_5660
“Who loves Halloween?” “ARRROOO!” Who loves Monsters? “ARRROOO!” “Who loves Bedtime?” “Whut?”

IMG_5617.jpeg

IMG_5639

44846165_10156570126173400_2509274736484155392_n.jpg

And I signed every copy left in the store before we left, so if you hurry, you may capture one for your own.

Thank you, once again, to my pal Bumblebee and all the creatures, creeps and heroes who helped me sing my lullaby to classic monsters, hitting every boo, bloop and arrrooo! I’m going to miss you all terribly on November 1 when the world shifts gears to the next holiday…  and I am one of the few, the proud, the Still Spooky.

IMG_5674
Split Rock Books 97 Main Street, Cold Spring, NY 10516
(845) 265-2080

 

Costumes! Puppets! Books! Bunnies! Scattered Books in Chappaqua, NY

Sunday afternoon I joined fellow Penguin Random House author David Neilsen  at one of my favorite local bookstores here in Sleepy Hollow Country, Scattered Books.

Repeat “family favorite” in Westchester Magazine, Scattered is a family business and a welcoming, spontaneous celebration of creativity. Down to earth book lovers of all ages are welcome. Yes, kids are welcome. Coffee is welcome. Even pets are welcome. (Four bunnies, Instagram famous, rule the floor and romp, each at his or her own speed and personality.)

The selection of books and gifts is both deep and tasty — and if you can’t find it, Laura Schaefer and company will find it for you. In conversation with Laura, Diane and Olivia and I felt graced to be talking to someone who lives and breathes the pleasure of stories, learning and curiosity.

I think this skill and passion have powered her to become one of the best independent business owners we know. Laura impressed me so much, I asked her to partner as my bookseller for my non-store meet and greets, like the event we plan for December at The Harvey School.

IMG_5432.jpeg
Laura Schaefer, holding bookstore bunny, flanked by zanies who tell stories.

So, Sunday after a browse around that yielded a huge stack of must read books to buy — including David Neilsen’s latest — my family and I settled into our roles.

Despite the sad cancellation of the day’s Ragamuffin Halloween Costume Parade, we still had a steady stream of kids of all ages, many in costume. Diane helped them assemble “Little Creep” popsicle stick puppets, crafted from photocopies of Ashley Spires’ lovable designs from our book. A face painting artist decorated hands and faces. Olivia photographed them. Bunnies bunnied them.

And the two authors read to them and signed their books.

img_5151.jpg

IMG_5423.jpeg

IMG_5429.jpeg

IMG_5419.jpeg

And read we did. My colleague with the older kids, including Olivia, and me with the tiny terrors, really getting them booing with Ghost Baby, blooping with Gill Mama and Gill Baby and howling when Wolfgirl lets loose to sing down the Moon at dawn.

“Arrroooo!”

IMG_9560.jpeg

IMG_1039.jpeg

All this makes me want to hang out with Laura and her people and the bunnies again soon, pure and simple. Words like “home,” “haven,” and “sanctuary” come to mind. And if that’s overkill, try “community.”

But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.

IMG_5442.jpeg
“Again.”

 

 

UPDATED 10/25: Story and Art Parties with the Author in Briarcliff Manor, NY

IMG_1036.jpeg

A Maze in Pottery — and yes, that is Olivia painting in the background with our friend Edith, one of the amazing artists and the manager of the business

Sunday morning we instigated art and entertainment — including some fine howling at the Moon — at the first of two Spooky parties for young people at A Maze in Pottery, a paint your own pottery studio for all ages. I became friends with the artists here over years of painting here with Olivia; she’s made a dozen projects for her Mom here since she was very young. I think we bonded with founder Agi Shah, not only over fun, but also over a deeper shared belief that making art can be vital to our lives, our personal expression. And not just for capital A Artists — for everyone!

As we said in the invitation to the party online, “NO ART EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.”

In the bright space, filled floor to ceiling with finished, fired pottery and raw pieces ripe for painting, we began with a reading of the book by your favorite Creepy Uncle David

IMG_1014.jpeg

“Cookie good.”

My favorite part?

When the kids and even, sometimes, the parents, joined in to shout out the Mamas, Dadas, Arrrooos and Boos.

And thanks to expert artist Nancy, this room full of little ones were armed with their very own Wolfgirl paper bag puppets, based on the cunning creature in the book envisioned by Ashley Spires.

IMG_5351.jpeg
“Arrrooo…”

Then it was time to paint — today’s project perfect for Autumn and Halloween. A dinner plate featuring a cute, funky Little Ghost that incorporates a child’s handprint, with cameos by a Baby Frankenstein and Wolfgirl created by the child’s thumbprints. Fun and personal.

Once painted, the adult artists glazed and fired each plate — and I’ve updated this series of photos to include some of the final pieces of original pottery the families took home with their puppets and signed books!

IMG_5389.jpegIMG_5404.jpegIMG_5571.jpegIMG_5576.jpegIMG_5566.jpegIMG_5584.jpeg

Agi and Nancy join me to howl, “Happy Halloween — and may all your nightmares be little ones!”

IMG_5354.jpeg

My Wolfgirl with one of Nancy’s Wolfgirls
IMG_5586.jpeg
Olivia took time to make Micro Jack and Dapper Ghost, who happens to be a salt and pepper shaker.

IMG_5366.jpeg

A Maze in Pottery, North State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY  (914) 502-0088

 

 

Stories in the Pumpkin Patch at #HarveyHomecoming2018

Saturday, families braved early rain (which cleared off by noon) to enjoy a 5K run, a full run of athletic events and a Homecoming Fall Festival at The Harvey School here in Westchester.

IMG_5257.jpeg

We were there to help keep the pumpkin patch humming — many thanks to Bruce and Dale Osborne from donating all the pumpkins — and share my book for kids, Go to Sleep, Little Creep.

Diane and Olivia and I brought home many great family gifts and fresh bread, fresh eggs and many other treats, happy to know that a portion of all the market’s bounty was supporting our great school.

IMG_5255.png

IMG_5266.jpeg

Thanks to Harvey School for letting us decorate pumpkins with your fun, clever kids! (And pups!)

IMG_5261.jpegIMG_5263.jpeg

IMG_9323.jpeg

I’ll be returning to Harvey School December 1st for a reading, presentation and signing for all ages as part of the school’s Harvey Presents program.

IMG_5250.jpeg

 

 

This Guy Jonathan Sounds Like the Brother I Didn’t Know I Had…

“Sometimes the world can be a scary place,” writes  on GeekDad, “And it’s important for our kids to learn how to manage their fears.”

“One way to do that is through experiences that are just a little bit scary, but not too much. Laughter and curiosity can both make a scary situation a little easier to handle.”

I couldn’t agree more, Jonathan, and I am grateful you included our Toddlers of Terror on your short list, “Stack Overflow: Scary-But-Not-Too-Scary Stories.”

Go to Sleep, Little Creep by David Quinn, illustrated by Ashley Spires 
“How do monsters get ready for bed? This rhyming verse shows monster parents putting their wee ones down for the day—vampires, mummies, ghosts, zombies, bigfoots (bigfeet?), and more. There’s actually nothing particularly scary in this one—it just depicts all the monsters as loving families with sweet bedtime routines.”

GeekDad® is a parenting, technology, and culture blog staffed by a diverse team of contributors, working together to inform, educate, and entertain parents everywhere who have a geeky nature and want to raise their kids the same way.

 

Northern Westchester Chinese School Welcomes #gotosleeplittlecreep

Chinese School occupies Saturday mornings during this school year for the Quinns; Mom bakes treats for our breakfast club fundraiser, Dad volunteers as Co-Chair and Ke Ting (Olivia) works her eighth and final year of Mandarin language and cultural studies, including Art, Calligraphy, Dance and Kung Fu.

When we adopted our daughter in China in 2006, we promised we would ensure she had an opportunity to learn Mandarin and enjoy open access to her heritage. It’s really just a slice of her interests in total, and I know some years the added homework seemed a chore, but its a culture we all feel close to, especially after so many volunteer hours in our welcoming community.

I don’t write this (just) to promote the value of the school. (Though you are welcome to visit us any time if you want China in your family’s mix of study and fun!)

Speaking of fun and fundraising, this week the school offered books for sale and I signed for friends who bought copies to support both me and the school’s 50th Anniversary Fund.

I projected the beautiful pages of the book — thanks to my illustrating partner, Ashley Spires, and the team at Crown Books for Young Readers, design maven Liz Tardiff, assistant editor Elizabeth Stranahan and of course, our editor and publisher, Phoebe Yeh — and read the rhyming lullaby while the kids all chimed in on the monster baby word balloon sounds!

IMG_0951.jpg
I am your Saturday morning cartoon.

IMG_0948.jpg

“We’ve had a wild and woolly night, now come give Daddy one more bite.”

IMG_9104.jpg

“Sing it with me, BlupBlupBloooop.”

IMG_0939.jpg

“What does the Wolfgirl say?”

IMG_5166.jpg

Kid Cthulhu and Baby Ghost Cupcakes by Diane Quinn

Thanks for the Honor, Red Tricycle!

We love Red Tricycle! A great resource for families that promises, “We believe the best memories are created when families do fun things together and we believe every day is an opportunity to create new stories.”

“We know you’re busy (we’ve got kids too), so we wade through the multitude of ideas to present a small, well-edited list of activities that are really worth your time.”

That said, we’re honored to be included in,  “Our Favorite Halloween Books This Season”

Go to Sleep, Little Creep

“Even little creepy monsters, howling werewolves and tiny trolls have bedtime rituals to attend to, and bedtimes to adhere to. This perfectly sweet rhyming picture book is a great night time read this October or any time of the year. Authored by David Quinn and adorably illustrated by Ashley Spires.” Shop it now.

20181004_193300.jpg

The Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075