In the Works

DADDY DEPOT (Feiwel & Friends) debuted on May 16, 2017. ANIMAL ZOMBIES & OTHER MONSTERS IN NATURE launched from NatGeoKids on 8-28-18. MY NAME IS WAKAWAKALOCH (HMH) debuts 8-27-19. LET LIBERTY RISE comes out from Scholastic in 2021. For kidlit, I'm repped by agent John M. Cusick from Folio Literary Management. For adult lit, I'm repped by Laurie Fox of Linda Chester Agency.  Please contact me


DADDY DEPOT Launch Party Rescheduled!

Library Event Flyer (4)

Why teach engineering in K-8? How the E in STEM is transforming classrooms

Check out my article in Scholastic Teacher magazine!


Why Can’t Grandma Remember My Name?

why-cant-grandma-coverNovember is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. To help spread awareness, the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation commissioned me to write a children’s book called WHY CAN’T GRANDMA REMEMBER MY NAME? In Q & A format, the book addresses children’s questions about the disease, along with beautiful art created by both children and Alzheimer’s patients. Find out more in my interview with co-author and President & CEO of the Fisher Center, Kent L. Karosen, on Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the book. You can also order the book here.  All proceeds benefit the Foundation in the quest to find a cure.

And This Happened!


Daddy Depot Cover Reveal!

My debut picture book, DADDY DEPOT, will be coming out from Feiwel & Friends on May 16, 2017!fullsizerender-7

Picture Book Biographies

William Hoy StoryWhat’s new with picture book biographies? Check out my guest post at Reading for Research (ReFoReMo)!

10 Reasons to Attend NJSCBWI Annual Conference

Registration for NJSCBWI Annual Conference (June 4-5) is open. Here’s why you should attend!

1. More than 65 workshops to choose from to improve your craft
2. One-on-one critiques with agents and editors
3. Round table manuscript critiques with editors, agents, and peers
4. Inspiring keynotes by kidlit rockstars—author/illustrator David Wiesner and author Suzy Ismail
5. Plenty of opportunities to network with other children’s illustrators and authors (like me!) from across the country
6. Lunch & dinner with faculty & peers
7. First page sessions
8. Illustrator intensives & art show
9. Agent pitch sessions (This is how I met my agent at NJSCBWI 2014!)
10. It’s Jersey baby!


50 Precious Words Writing Contest

This month, picture book author Vivian Kirkfield is running a contest called “50 Precious Words Writing Contest.” Vivian Green Eggs & Hamwrites: “Wednesday [March 2] was the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. One of his books actually came about because of a bet he made with Bennett Cerf, one of the publishing giants of Random House. Cerf challenged Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.

“If you are currently writing picure books…or just reading them, you’ll notice that the average word length is getting shorter and shorter. So I thought, wouldn’t that be a great challenge…to write a story for kids with only 50 words. With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. And I decided to open the challenge to everyone.” Find the guidelines and enter here. Prizes too!

Here’s my entry, dear Vivian!

Gray Day
By Chana Stiefel

Somber sky
Scratchy bark
Dark path
Dreary park

Lonesome squirrel
Metal swing
Dull gray

Is that a ray?
Could the sun
Be here to play?

It pierces clouds
It hits the slide
It wakes the geese
That flutter and glide.

Water droplets fill the air
Rainbow sprinkles

Did Someone Say Pie? Yes! PiBoIdMo!

pumpkin pie November usually conjures up images of turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. For me, November is all about a different kind of pie…PiBoIdMo.

“PiBo, what?” you might ask. It’s an acronym for Picture Book Idea Month, the brainchild of children’s book author Tara Lazar. PiBoIdMo challenges writers to come up with 30 new picture book ideas—one a day for 30 days throughout the month of November. If that sounds simply delicious, read on!

There are many other slices in the PiBoIdMo pie—and toppings too. Each day, you’ll be served a blog post by an expert in the field of children’s writing—encouraging words from authors, editors, and literary agents. These posts are sprinkled with tools of the trade, challenging you to brainstorm fresh & spicy new ideas—the key ingredients to starting a new picture book.

If that’s not enough, you’ll suddenly be connecting with other chefs—er, children’s writers—an extremely supportive group of people from all over the world who are sharpening their pencils and going through the same trials and tribulations that you are when faced with a blank page. They too are writing, revising, editing, submitting, and hopefully publishing.piboidmo2015participant

Also on the PiBoIdMo menu are links to other author blogs, writing courses, and more! And here’s the whipped cream on top: PiBoIdMo offers participants chances to win terrific prizes, including signed author copies of new picture books and even manuscript critiques!

I participated in PiBoIdMo for the first time last year and I can tell you that it’s the gift that keeps on giving—much longer than 30 days. PiBoIdMo trains your brain to constantly churn out fresh ideas throughout the year (which will definitely drive your family crazy—much more than a single Thanksgiving dinner). And the friendships you’ll make are priceless.

So what are you waiting for? Signing up for PiBoIdMo is easy as (dare I say it?) pie! Registration is going on now (through Nov. 5). And it’s FREE! Let’s dig in to PiBoIdMo together. Mmmmm. That’s good!


SKY HIGH Giveaway

skyhighIn honor of the premiere of COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey, I’m giving away two free copies of my book SKY HIGH (Scholastic Inc.), a Middle Grade two-part biography about two men who reached for the stars. One, of course, is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the host of COSMOS and director of the Hayden Planetarium. To enter the giveaway, LIKE this post on Facebook or leave a REPLY below with the subject SKY HIGH. Two winners will be chosen randomly on premiere day, Sunday, March 9, 2014.