Tuesday, February 28, 2023


Dear Nonfiction Writer and Illustrator Friends,

We hope you enjoyed the 2023 NF Fest, which was made possible by all the incredible and generous writers and illustrators who shared their knowledge and tips.

BIG THANKS to Debra Kempf Shumaker, Dow Phumiruk, Annette Whipple, Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, Kari Lavelle, Jocelyn Rish, Katie Mazeika, Sarah Albee, Leah Henderson, Donna Janell Bowman, Songju Ma Daemicke, Selene Castrovilla, and Henry Herz, who posted alongside your faithful Nonfiction Ninja hosts.

Consider showing your thanks in a way that means the most to #kidlit creators: leave a review of one of our books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads; post about one of our books on social media; request our books to be ordered in your library; recommend us as presenters in your schools and libraries.

Now that you are fired up on your nonfiction writing journeys, we have a goal for you: work on a nonfiction manuscript to submit to our very first NONFICTION WRITING CONTEST!! Coming this
fall! Each participant may submit one unpublished manuscript to be judged by the NF Ninjas. There will be prizes! Stay connected with us here on our website for rules and deadlines – as well as our weekly NF Ninja blog posts – and in our NFFest group on Facebook.

We'd like to take this moment to remember and honor the person to whom we have dedicated the 2023 Nonfiction Fest: our good friend, Pat Miller, who helped forge us into the Nonfiction Ninjas, and conceived of the NF Fest.

After a long illness, Pat passed away peacefully in the arms of her loving family on October 11, 2022. Pat was a retired school librarian and award-winning author of many books, including the much adored THE HOLE STORY OF THE DOUGHNUT, a delicious nonfiction treat illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 2016). 

Pat believed passionately in encouraging others to discover the joys of telling true stories and working on our craft to make them irresistible to children. She hoped that these true stories would stimulate children’s curiosity and wonder and inspire them to share stories with friends and new generations. As do we, the Nonfiction Ninjas: Lisa Amstutz, Stephanie Mowry Bearce, Nancy Churnin, Susie Kralovansky, Christine Liu-Perkins, Linda Skeers, and Peggy Thomas.

In honor of Pat, we hope you’ll enjoy a doughnut, share her books with kids, check out her author page, with lots of wonderful activities, and listen to her read The Hole Story of the Doughnut.

If you have the means, we would be thrilled to see you participate in a book donation in Pat’s honor. If you are able to donate a nonfiction book of your choice – it could be any book, but we would especially love to see you honor one by Pat, one of our contributors, and/or the Nonfiction Ninjas -- to a school or library in your community. Then post a comment here or a picture on the NF Fest Facebook site. If you want to post a picture of yourself enjoying a doughnut in Pat’s honor, that’s good, too!

Above all, keep dreaming, keep researching, and keep writing. There is nothing that would make Pat – and all of your Nonfiction Ninjas – happier.


Stephanie, Nancy, Lisa, Susie, Christine, Linda, and Peggy

NF Ninjas hard at work: Lisa, Chris, Pat,
Linda & Stephanie

NF Ninjas taking a break: Linda, Chris, Susie, Pat, Stephanie and Peggy  


  1. Thank you all so much for another wonderful NF Fest! I'll be reviewing, requesting, and donating.

  2. Thank you Cheryl! Which posts did you find most useful?

  3. Dear NF Ninjas and Every Festival Contributor, thank you for this fabulous festival. You've taught. You've inspired. You've cleared the clutter and straightened the path. I'm no longer stuck in a writer's cul-de-sac. Thank you for your generous sharing!

  4. Thanks, NF Ninjas! I always like seeing how other people approach research and writing. I learned something from everyone, but here's a couple I took notes on because they relate to a stage I'm at in the process: Janell's about narrative NF picture books; Christine's with the tables (a totally different way of looking at things); and Stephanie's on writing the proposal. Well done, everyone!

  5. Dear Nonfiction Ninjas and guests,

    My heart is happy as we remember Pat Miller and all she did for the kidlit world.

    Thank you for all that you do to promote nonfiction literature and for another year of outstanding Nonfiction Fest posts.

    I look forward to learning more about NF Ninjas Writing Contest.

    Suzy Leopold

  6. Thanks for an amazing month packed with information and inspiration! And thanks for honoring Pat. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person when I heard her present at a conference. I was able to spend quite a bit of time visiting with her prior to the conference because she and I were the two presenters. (Me fiction, her nonfiction.) At the time I'd only written fiction but the information she shared planted a seed and provided tools. What an encouraging person! She's was warm, delightful and oh.so.knowledgeable!

  7. NF Fest was awesome this year. Felt like I was digging for little gold nuggets to melt into the golden ring of a really good story. Thank you!!!

  8. What a lovely tribute, and what exciting news about the upcoming contest! Fabulous way to wrap up a fabulous month!

  9. Beautiful tribute. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures as well. It was so nice to see all the smiling faces. ❤️❤️❤️

  10. Thank you for a wonderful NFFest. And a spe ial tri ute to Pat. Excited about the contest.

  11. Thank you so much, Nonfiction Chicks! Your NFFest helps me keep my hope alive!

  12. Thanks so much for hosting the NF Fest. Enjoyed it so much.

  13. Thank you so much everyone involved. I loved every single post.

  14. You are all amazing! Thanks for another incredible festival of nonfiction inspiration!

  15. Thanks for a great month of insight and learning. I appreciate you all.

  16. A GREAT BIG HEARTFELT THANK YOU to ALL the AMAZING Nonfiction Ninjas for the HARD work they put in to making this event happen every year, so we can continue to be INSPIRED to write stories that matter. And A BIG THANK YOU to EVERYONE--ALL the presenters and fellow Ninjas--for ALL the INSPIRATION! And THE BIGGEST THANK YOU OF ALL: to Pat, for her dedication to "opening the world . . . one book at a time." I will DEFINITELY be reading her homage to doughnuts---and maybe eating one or two!--in her honor. THANK YOU to the NF Ninjas for continuing Pat's legacy and for INSPIRING us to do the same in our own work.

  17. Thanks so much for hosting this valuable fest. Also, condolences to Pat’s friends and loved ones.