A Sneak Peak at Pizza For Breakfast!

Super readers at Eastwood Heights!Whenever I get the opportunity to speak to students, I make it a point to let them know that every lesson they learn, every activity they take part in when it comes to Writer’s Workshop, I have to essentially go through the very same process. From brainstorm sessions to the final draft, I practice the very same process that students are learning in schools.

That’s why it was terrific to take a class of third graders at Eastwood Heights Elementary School in El Paso and give them a sneak peak at my new children’s book, Pizza for Breakfast! 

Thanks to Andrea Darby and her students, the class got to hear me read the book and take part in pointing out slight errors in grammar or the images themselves. I wanted to know what may or may not have made sense, what text resonated with the kids, what went over their heads, etc. And I have to say, the class came through BIG TIME!

Because of their efforts, I was able to provide great feedback to both the publisher and the illustrator. A revised draft is forthcoming – and I’ll make sure to share in the next round of peer review. After all, these kids are authors, themselves, too!



Book of the Month Honors!

IMG_6508Pancakes for Dinner has been named the March/April Book of the Month at Hurshel Antwine Elementary School in the Socorro Independent School District (El Paso TX).  The campus kicked off a month of pancake-related activities and lessons by serving up hot and buttery pancakes, courtesy of the Pre-K team.

I am blown away at how well-received this simple book has been since it released in September. Thank you, thank you to everyone who took part in selecting it as your BOM and I look forward to our school visit in April!

You’re invited to a Pancake Dinner Party

New book served fresh 91.15.17!

With the release of my new children’s book, Pancakes For Dinner! just under a month away (9.15.17), I have been pretty lucky to have encountered more than a few enthusiastic and supportive educators from different parts of the country. A couple of them came up with a pretty bright idea.

They chose August 22, 2017 to hold a virtual pancake dinner party. How are they going to do it? They will enjoy pancakes for dinner with their families and then post pictures on social media with the hashtag #pancakes4dinner.

Consider yourselves officially invited! Tomorrow night make it a fun evening for your family – serve pancakes for dinner and be a part of this ever-growing online event.

  1. Simply take pictures of all the fun
  2. Post to your preferred social media outlet
  3. Tag me – @phillipdcortez for FB, IG & Twitter
  4. Use the #pancakes4dinner hashtag

Remember, Pancakes For Dinner! comes out on September 15, 2017! Can’t wait? Pre-order your copy here!

It’s never too early to book your 2017-18 school visit. Download school visit information here!

Thoughts about Book Expo

The intermittent rain fell from what looked like a marble sky of grey, black and blue that Saturday morning, my final day at Book Expo in New York.

Not yet nine o’clock, the corner of 50th and 8th in Manhattan buzzes with activity, from your morning jogger types and early risers in search of good coffee or the late night crowd staggering home like some apocalyptic zombies (probably in search of coffee). Tourists are aplenty, luggage in tow, emptying cabs in front of hotels while others wait on the sidewalk, waiting on an Uber or taxi while frantically checking their watches.

All of these normal observations can take place in any major city. But perhaps the most surprising (and impressive) observation that stood out was the long and winding cue of kids, teens and young adults inside the Javits Center for the final (and only) day of Book Expo/Book Con open to the public.

In what is supposed to be a dying medium due to the daily advances of technology and how people consume their information, this long line of kids not only provided me with an injection of hope – seriously, if you were to see this line you’d think you were at an Ariana Grande concert – it gave me the boost I needed to keep moving forward with a writing career that has taken me many places over the last 20-something years.

“Yeah but books are big in New York.”

Not so fast – these book fans came from all over the country and across borders to stand in that line and geek out to their favorite authors signing autographs, listen to panels and check out the latest releases hitting stores in the fall. They came in costume, dressed like their favorite book characters and it was refreshing to see that at no time did I see a Marvel costume.

“What’s your name?” I asked a young woman approaching my table. I saw how her eyes gazed across the vast showroom of impressive displays from publishers like Random House, Disney, Harper Collins and Candlewick.

Her name was Diana and she was from El Paso, Texas (my awesome hometown) and she was in New York specifically for this very occasion. I still get goose bumps thinking about encounter.

The bottom line

Looking back on the experience, I realize that there is no long line of book fans on a cloudy and moist Saturday in New York without the influence of teachers, librarians and parents. And for this, I say “Thank you so much.” I fell in love with writing because I had the same support from people providing me stories to read, whether it was the back of a cereal box, a major daily or a novel so thick it could double as a doorstop.

If you find yourself in New York for Book Expo 2018, stop by my booth and say hello. Pizza for Breakfast! is the follow up for Pancakes for Dinner! and I’ll be promoting this title. I’d love to know your name and where you came from.

There’s nothing better than meeting readers in person! Check out information on school visits here!