Contributed and written by Melisa Kraehenbuehl

Fading Stripes is truly a whimsical tale of how one little girl can illuminate an issue and make others see it through different eyes. The author does a wonderful job of being a storyteller of a mythical tale that turns out to be nothing short of reality. Through Fading Stripes children can see what a series of events can lead to and how to change the course of history. By standing up for animals and the world we live in some of the wonderment can be preserved and protected for generations to come.

Halloween is drawing near and a great pick for the season is The Legend of the Jersey Devil, a picture book by Trinka Hakes Noble (2013). Review by Sheila Wright.

Travel, if you dare, into the dark, misty swamps of the Pine Barrens, with award-winning author Trinka Hakes Noble, as she retells the legend of the Jersey Devil. With language reminiscent of the early 18th century, the story recounts a stormy night when one Mrs. Leeds, a suspected witch, gives birth to her 13th child—the Jersey Devil. The author weaves a wondrous tale of woe about colonial inhabitants of the “Pines” who are tormented by this awful creature with the head of a horse, wings of a bat, hooves of a goat, and fiery blazing eyes.

Reviewer Sheila Wright,
NJCWG Co-Founder

The author’s language is rich in description, and the artwork by Gerald Kelley completes the spooky atmosphere that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Readers can almost feel the night coolness from the fog-laden swamps and breathe the dank air of the bogs as the Jersey Devil roams the countryside preying on his victims. Though a frightening tale, the illustrations also draw upon humorous aspects of the story, which to some degree, lighten and add to the fun of reading it.

The author, a longtime New Jersey resident, writes about the Pine Barrens with the confidence of someone who knows this intriguing coastal region and its historic mysteries well. The illustrations are an excellent match to a fresh look at an old legend.

Rated on as being best for grades 2-5. In my own view, I would lean towards the upper end of this grade range.

Do you need a special outfit or prop for those school visits or book signings for kids?  Then maybe you can find just what you need at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Costume and Prop Sale.  Not a bad idea for Halloween, too!  All the world’s a stage, look like a player!

Our own Tony Siniscalco and his grandson have entered the Hunterdon County Library photo contest in the month of October.

If you’re in the area, drop in and vote.  The photographs will be on display in the library lobby through the month of October.  Tony’s grandson is entry #28, and Tony is #29.  Voting ends October 10th, with the awards ceremony being held on the evening of the 10th.  As Tony said, “Maybe you’ll see a photo that will inspire a new children’s work - or maybe a thought for an illustration in something that you are now working on.”

A photography tips program will also be presented at the awards ceremony by photographer Walter Choroszewski,

In the third installment of his series, member Marvin Mayer continues recounting his experiences attending the 2010 Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop.

Member Marvin Mayer This month, I want to “take” you inside some of the sessions I attended and offer a “snippet” I picked up here and a “gem” I garnered there; words of wisdom from some of those uniquely qualified folks I introduced to you last month.

Our conference began on Saturday night with a Welcoming Banquet in the dining room of the Atheneaum Hotel. After being served an excellent dinner, we were officially welcomed to Chautauqua and told just a “smidget” of what we might expect in the week ahead. Then Donna Jo Napoli took the podium to deliver our keynote address. (more…)

In the second installment of a monthly series, member Marvin Mayer writes in with his experiences attending the 2010 Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop.

Member Marvin Mayer Last month, I shared with you the “experience” that was Chautauqua. I listed the various individual workshops and general sessions, and talked about the daily social interactions with editors, publishers, multi-published and often award-winning authors, and other registrants.

In this article, I want to focus on specifics of some of those gifted people who were there to mentor us. Where else but at a workshop can “unknown” authors like me get to visit with people of this stature?

And when I say visit, I mean face-to-face, one-on-one, no limitations time with the “pros” in the industry.


Member Sandra K. Lee has written in with several fun recommendations for little trick-or-treaters and their parents this fall. Thanks Sandra!

Child in Snoopy Costume
© Sandra K. Lee


In the first installment of a monthly series, member Marvin Mayer writes in with his experiences attending the 2010 Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop.

Member Marvin Mayer It was a financial stretch for me, but by flying at “off peek” times, sharing hotel rooms, and with the help of some scholarship funds, I managed to attend the 2010 Writers Workshop. This was the 26th year that the Highlights Foundation has sponsored their week-long workshop at Chautauqua. Highlights Foundation is the parent organization for the Highlights For Children and Highlights High Five magazines, along with book publisher Boyds Mills Press and their various subsidiary imprints.

Congratulations to member Al Walker, whose work took first place in The Hot Pink Hubcaps Writing Competition!

The competition was founded this year by NJCWG member Danielle Ray, and she has offered to make this an annual event for Guild members. This year’s winner received a three day paid trip to BookExpo America in New York City.

To read Al’s winning entry, and to learn more about Danielle’s journey as a writer, visit

Our thanks to Danielle for her generous support of The New Jersey Children’s Writer’s Guild, and congratulations to Al on his big win!

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“When I write, I am always struck at how magical and unexpected the process turns out to be.”
— Ralph Fletcher