Kids Design Queen Mary Ships on Memorial Day Weekend

Here’s just a sampling of the work of the creative kids in San Antonio!  Lots of young readers stopped by to take part in the book signing/kids crafts at San Antonio’s

Barnes and Noble at San Pedro Crossing on Sunday, May 26. With the release of my new WWII era picturebook WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP! and in observance of Memorial Day weekend, kids had the opportunity to decorate their own ships.  Much of WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP! takes place on the Queen Mary, an impressive

Postcards of the Queen Mary

ship (larger than the Titanic) that played an important part in WWII.  Some kids based their designs on the real Queen Mary — we had plenty of postcards and the lovely book illustrations by Doris Ettlinger as examples.  Other young designers chose to go with their own whimsical motifs.  No matter the approach, the results — as you can see –were amazing!

Memorial Day Weekend Event!

Join Catherine Stier for a Memorial Day Weekend Book Signing/Kids’ Crafts
Sunday, May 26, 2013
2 – 3 p.m.
Barnes and Noble at San Pedro Crossing
321 NW Loop 410 #104
San Antonio, TX.

Have fun with patriotic crafts and meet Catherine Stier, author of:

BARNABY THE BEDBUG DETECTIVE (2013), TODAY ON ELECTION DAY, IF I RAN FOR PRESIDENT (Editor’s Choice Award, Library Media Connection), IF I WERE PRESIDENT (100 Best Books, IRA Los Angeles), BUGS IN MY HAIR ?! (Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education) and THE TERRIBLE SECRETS OF THE TELL-ALL CLUB (Teacher’s Pick, Scholastic Instructor Magazine)
And her newest release, WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP!

By Catherine Stier, Illustrated by Doris Ettlinger
In this hope-filled WWII and immigration story, Stier and Ettlinger present an extraordinary historical event – the “Brides and Babies” voyages of 1946 – as experienced by one spirited English boy who sails on the Queen Mary with his war bride mother for a new life in America.

“Heartfelt watercolor illustrations bring to life the anxiety and tentative joys of this unique historical situation.” Booklist

See you there!

Launching a Book with a Tea Party

What’s the best way to launch a new children’s book set in WWII England and on the ship the Queen Mary?  With a British-themed Tea Party, of course!
To celebrate the release of the new historical fiction picture book WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP! (beautifully illustrated by Doris Ettlinger) friends and family joined together for tea sandwiches, scones, fruits and sweets catered by The Madhatter’s Tea Shop.  And British tea, of course!

Professional Storyteller Veronica Gard (known as “Your English Storyteller”) offered a lovely and lilting tale, relating the family stories that inspired the new picture book.  Ms. Gard, who was born in England during WWII, also taught me the proper way to make tea in my grandmother’s heirloom teapot.  And it does make a delicious difference!

Souvenirs from the Queen Mary gift shops – including a Queen Mary Captain Teddy Bear and boxes of Queen Mary tea and postcards – decorated tables, cabinets and counters.

For children, there was a tea set designed for bubble-blowing spread on a child-sized outdoor table, and a “design a royal crown” craft.

Thank you to our friends, Raul and Annie, who provided for us many lovely photos from the day – including those shown here.

 Thank you, also, to the family members who traveled across the country to join us – my parents and my Aunt Pat.  Finally, I appreciate the SCBWI-SWTX board members and all the friends who stopped by to celebrate that day.



I am so pleased introduce my first historical fiction picture book, WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP! (Sleeping Bear Press).  Set during and just after WWII, the story takes place in England and on the great ship, The Queen Mary and features stunning watercolor paintings by award-winning illustrator Doris Ettlinger.  It offers a look at a unique historical event — the Brides and Babies voyages of 1946, when from many parts of the world, the WWII War Brides of American and Canadian servicemen traveled with their children to a new life and their waiting husbands across the sea.

Young Thomas celebrates as his widowed mother marries Jack, a kind American serviceman stationed in WWII England.  But Thomas realizes someday he and Mum will move faraway to Jack’s home in America.

Once the war ends, Thomas is about to embark on a history-making event – the “Brides and Babies” voyages of 1946.  Great ships are readied to transport tens of thousands of “soldier brides,” ladies from across Europe who, like his mother, married American servicemen. They will cross the Atlantic, crowded in small cabins with their babies and children, to awaiting husbands in the United States.

Thomas is excited to sail aboard the famous RMS Queen Mary.  But is he brave enough to leave England – forever?
In this hope-filled WWII and immigration story, Stier and Ettlinger present an extraordinary historical event as experienced by one spirited boy from England.

Heartfelt watercolor illustrations bring to life the anxiety and tentative joys of this unique historical situation.”  Booklist

Upcoming Appearance at Texas A&M – San Antonio

I am honored to be an invited guest to this upcoming event at Texas A&M San Antonio with other San Antonio children’s authors:


Introducing BARNABY THE BEDBUG DETECTIVE by Catherine Stier, Illustrated by Karen Sapp

This just-released picture book features a new kind of hero:
Maybe I’m not the hero type. But I can dream. Sometimes I dream I’m a rescue dog, saving a child lost in the woods. Or a guide dog, helping a person who cannot see. Or a police dog, tracking sneaky robbers. But when I wake up, I must face the truth. It’s mostly big dogs who do those jobs. And I’m just Barnaby, a small mutt living in an animal shelter
Barnaby has big dreams, but he finds his true calling when he’s adopted into a loving home and becomes a bedbug-sniffing dog—helping to find hidden bedbugs in hotels, on airplanes, in movie theaters, and even in people’s homes!
Turn to the last page of the book to meet an adorable, REAL-LIFE bedbug detective, Bernie!
“…engaging characters and a positive atmosphere…just the thing for a family that needs something on bedbugs.'” Kirkus Reviews
“Stier visits a timely subject in this informational picture book. . . .there is plenty of useful information here…friendly illustrations dispel some of the misconceptions about bedbugs.” School Library Journal
(For more reviews, please visit Albert Whitman & Company Publishers’ website at

Election Day Activities at the San Antonio Children’s Museum

I had the chance to share my newest book TODAY ON ELECTION DAY with lots of young, future voters at the San Antonio Children’s Museum today.  Not only did we read the book together, but some kids wrote and illustrated their ideas about what they would do as President of the United States.  Other kids designed artistic, colorful “Future Voter” campaign-type buttons.  Check out the photo of these great buttons, designed by museum visitors Olivia and Kaitlyn.  A big thanks to all who joined in today’s pre-Election Day celebration!

Don’t Miss this Article on Election-Themed Activities with Kids!

 Recently, I was interviewed by San Antonio Express-News writer Richard A. Marini.  I am proud to share the resulting article, which appeared on the front page of the S.A. Life section on October  23, 2012.   The article, titled “Elect to involve children in the process” is currently posted at

Exciting Events for this Election Year!


The Evolution of a Picture Book: One Author’s Perspective      
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 2 p.m., Combined SCBWI-Southwest Texas / Barnes and Noble Educators’ Day event,  Barnes and Noble San Pedro, 321 NW Loop 410
How does a simple idea grow into a real picture book?  Based on her own experiences, award-winning children’s author Catherine Stier first outlines an author’s writing process from initial idea to the completed picture book manuscript.  Next, she discusses how the creative team of author, editor and illustrator each contribute to the exciting process of transforming that manuscript into a picture book. Educators may find parallels in the author’s process — which includes brainstorming, self-editing, multiple revisions and obtaining peer feedback — and classroom writing practices.  Stier brings along her mock-ups, early illustrator sketches, “f&g”s and even a Braille version of her picture book.  This program is geared for educators, aspiring children’s authors, as well as anyone with a special interest in writing.  A book signing will follow!
Election Day Storytelling and Craft with Author Catherine Stier
Saturday, October 20, 2012, 1 p.m., Barnes and Noble San Pedro, 321 NW Loop 410 
Celebrate this exciting Presidential Election Year!  Join award-winning author Catherine Stier as she reads her new book, Today on Election Day.  Then create your own colorful “Future Voter” campaign button and join in a store-wide patriotic parade! 
Today on Election Day Story Book Reading at the San Antonio Children’s Museum   Saturday, November 3, 2012, 12:30 p.m., Children’s Event, San Antonio Children’s Museum, 305 E. Houston St.
Join the fun as author Catherine Stier reads her new book, Today on Election Day.  Then Kids can roll up their sleeves to take part in crafts and activities that celebrate next week’s all-important Election Day! Stier’s books will be available that day at the gift shop.

Dallas Kids Read!

A Great Day at the Dallas Kids Read! Event 2012

What an honor to be included with several notable children’s authors in the Dallas Kids Read! Event on Monday, July 9.  This annual, day-long festival celebrates literature and imagination as authors interact with the students at several Dallas schools.  
The staff and students at the Stevens Park School welcomed me, and together we had fun play-acting as audience volunteers took on the roles of presidential candidates, campaign managers – and even the President!  I appreciated all the warmth and hospitality extended to me that day, and was excited to meet such an enthusiastic group of our country’s young writers and future leaders.