Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Merry Christmas, Little Elliot!

Well, whether you like it or not, it’s Christmas time. Some of us love Christmas! And that’s great! But for others, Christmas can be difficult. Maybe you had a hard year, and it’s challenging to get into the spirit of things. Maybe you lost a loved one or can’t be with the ones you love. Maybe you don’t celebrate this holiday, and you are so tired of hearing about it every waking moment of the day. In any event, I feel you, and so does Little Elliot. He just wasn’t into it this year either.

Our holiday schedules are often packed with Christmas plays and movies, sitting on Santa’s lap, tree lighting ceremonies, sledding and playing in the snow (if you live somewhere like that), ice skating, eating a ton of baked goods while drinking hot cocoa, shopping, shopping, shopping, and more shopping. THIS IS WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO BECAUSE IT’S CHRISTMAS…right? All that can be fun, but the joy we garner from these things is fleeting. We can still walk away feeling like we’re missing something important.

Now, I know there have been ten thousand books instructing us about “the true meaning of Christmas,” and I suppose this book could be lumped in with them, but let’s set Christmas aside for a second. I think many of us are looking for real meaning in our lives the whole year round. And sometimes, we just don’t know what it all means. We make lots of decisions based on what we hope will make us happy. In America, often those decisions are material based. Again, I know I haven’t come to some sensationally unique perspective when I say that life is about the connections we make. We are all out there looking for each other, searching for love, friendship, camaraderie, mentorship, family. And when we go through the motions of what we’re “supposed to do” and don’t find what we’re looking for, it can leave us feeling disconnected. And during the holidays, the stakes seem even higher because it’s “supposed” to be a time of great joy.

But though this world can be big and disappointing and scary, there are real miracles happening everyday. People do find each other despite their tough situations. I wrote this book because life has shown the cynic in me that despite all the loss we can experience, there’s so much healing that a kind gesture can accomplish. Sometimes the thing that we are missing is a person we don’t even know. They’re a stranger who lives far away in a different world, a different life, than your own. And somehow the universe conspires to unite you through one chance moment, and it could spark a whole new reality.

In this book, Little Elliot experiences his own little miracle (which just happens to be on Christmas). Somehow, he finds the person he needs, who also needs him. And who do we thank for that? Santa?¬†Their individual determination not to give up hope? The wind? I don’t know, but I’m so grateful when it all works out.

OK, I’ll stop with all the mush! I know everyone loves a good Easter egg (no matter the holiday), so here are a few you’ll find in Merry Christmas, Little Elliot:

In this little crowd, you’ll find my nephew, nieces, and puppy!

Yes, that is Macy’s in the background. I’m not trying to promote them per se, but they are pretty iconic when it comes to Christmas in New York. Also, it’s just an awesome doorway. What can I say, I wanted to draw the cool lamps.

“Who is Freya?” Freya is my adorable niece, so she gets things named after her. The same train is featured on the opening spread in the toy filled window (if you squint you can see her name).

Also, what is perhaps my favorite part of the book is hidden! Take a peek under the dust jacket for a little surprise. It will add a little more meaning to the story as well.

Macmillan made a limited run of these sweet Little Elliot Christmas ornaments which they distributed to select indie bookstores nationwide for them to give away free with purchase of Merry Christmas, Little Elliot (while supplies last). Check with your indie to see if they have any left!

If you would like a signed copy of Merry Christmas, Little Elliot (or how about the whole series!), you can place an order with the Eric Carle Museum Shop. I will stop by to personalize and sign them, and the Carle will happily ship to (almost) anywhere in the world! Conveniently, they’re having their Holiday Sale today, 11/23 through Sunday 11/25 (use coupon code¬†HOLIDAY to get 15% off or 30% off for members). I will also be at Books of Wonder in NYC on December 1st at 1PM, if you would like your books signed in person.

And one more thing: Macmillan is having a Merry Christmas, Little Elliot sweepstakes from from 11/19-12/10. Enter here to win your very own Little Elliot collection!

That’s all for now, friends. No matter what you do or don’t celebrate, I hope that you’re enjoying life’s small miracles today and every day.

xo Mike

Click here to read reviews for Merry Christmas, Little Elliot!

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Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Merry Christmas, Little Elliot Tour!

Hello Friends!

Little Elliot and I are hitting the road again with our new book, Merry Christmas, Little Elliot! Check out this list of cities where you can join us for book reading events. Please visit my events page for more details!

Can’t make an event, but still want signed books for the holidays? You can place an order at any of the stores I’ll be visiting, and they can ship anywhere in the U.S.! You can even call and ask for personalization, and I’ll take care of it when I’m in town.

Hope to see you soon!

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Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot, Fall Friends

Every Autumn, my family would make a pilgrimage to Wilcklow Orchards in New Paltz, NY. We‚Äôd spend the day hiking through rows of apple trees, sampling the different varieties (for quality control, of course), and procuring enough apples to ensure that my mother could bake enough pies to see us through to the new year. It’s no surprise to me (and probably not to my loyal readers) that apple pie is one of the heroes of my new book, Little Elliot, Fall Friends.

Fall Friends,¬†the fourth book in the Little Elliot series, came out the same day as All the Way to Havana, but I wanted to wait to talk about it so that I had proper time to reflect on each book. In All the Way to Havana, we go on a trip from the countryside to the city, while in Fall Friends, we journey from the city to the countryside.¬†Elliot and Mouse travel to the country for a reprieve from urban life, where they experience all the delights of the fall season. During a spirited game of hide-and-seek, Elliot is suddenly lost. The day is saved due to a combined effort by Mouse’s savvy, the kindness of strangers, Elliot’s instincts, and a piping hot apple pie in a window.

Until very recently, I lived in large cities for my entire adult life. Like Elliot, my days were filled with weaving through the busy sidewalks trying not to get stepped on in the pursuit of finding that perfect cupcake. But some days, the city can be a bit much. No matter where we live, it’s good to get out of our bubble, and every city dweller will find themselves in need of fresh air and quiet (though some of us prefer a private beach resort over a bumpy country road, but still!). Sometimes, we are able to travel to a place that’s so different that it can overwhelm us in unexpected ways. While it can be exhilarating going to a completely different place, it can also be scary. You leave your familiar world behind, and you’re left vulnerable. In a way, you lose yourself. But through this act of casting off your identity and being immersed in another world, you can find a whole new part of yourself that you never knew existed.

In these divisive times, it’s important to remember that there are many places and people outside of where you’re from. There’s a growing rift between city and country in America, and¬†I am hoping to reach out to our friendly country neighbors via my polka-dotted urban ambassador. Both places have much to offer, and there exists great potential for many friendships if people are willing to be vulnerable, experience different communities, and meet different people.¬†

And when you’re lost, remember to always follow your nose…

Behold! The power of pie!

Please visit my website to order your copy of Little Elliot, Fall Friends, read reviews, download the activity sheet, and more! Join me at Books of Wonder in NYC on Sunday, October 1, from 1-3PM for the book release party, or check out my events page to see where I’ll be presenting next.¬†

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Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot Goes to China!

littleelliot_dolphinLittle Elliot and I just had an amazing trip to China to promote the release of Little Elliot, Big City in Mandarin! My Chinese publisher, Dolphin Media, invited me to Wuhan and Shanghai to meet some new little friends. While there is so much to talk about, I am working on a tight deadline for the fourth book: Little Elliot, Big Country! So, in lieu of writing all about our adventures, here are some selected photos from the trip. You can see more on my Instagram account. Many many thanks to Dolphin Media for an experience of a lifetime! Xie xie!

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Little Elliot, Big Tower

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Here we are at the ancient Ming Quing market street.

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A pic with our gracious hosts

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Students work on their own Little Elliot stories.

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood

iREAD 2017

I’m happy to announce that Little Elliot is featured in the 2017 iREAD summer reading program! iREAD is part of the Illinois Library Association, and they’ve been promoting literacy since 1981! Here is the poster I designed for them.

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Their mission is to provide high quality, low-cost resources and products that enable local library staff to motivate children, young adults, and adults to read. You can purchase this, along with a bunch of other Little Elliot reading incentives (like t-shirts, plush dolls, puzzles, bags, and more) via the iREAD program. All proceeds help to promote and assist the great work of libraries! To learn more, please visit www.ireadprogram.org.

¬°Y tambien en espa√Īol!

¬°Y tambien en espa√Īol!

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Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot is Board!

Many have asked, and Macmillan has heard! Little Elliot, Big City is now available as a board book! It’s a great gift for our littlest friends who enjoy some light reading and heavy snacking! You can order it from your local indie bookstore, or any online book retailer.

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For more info about Little Elliot, Big City, or to download a free activity kit, check out my website!

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