Read books, win prizes in the #ReadLocalSummerChallenge

Nita’s First Signs is one of the books in the Read Local Challenge, which features traditionally published authors and illustrators living in Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. (My young adult fantasy novel, Sword and Verse, is also one of the challenge books.) Now we’ve got a great way to extend the fun: the Read Local Summer Challenge!

Read any of our 2017-18 or 2018-19 Read Local Challenge books this summer and enter to win a prize pack of signed books and special Read Local swag! – Each book that you read & share gives you another opportunity to win. If you read all 90 books and share each one on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, that gives you 270 entries!!

1. Read any of the books from our 2017-18 MD/DE/VA/DC Read Local Challenge or get a head start on reading our upcoming 2018-19 Read Local Challenge books.

2. Tell us what you are reading! Each time you finish a book, share it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadLocalSummerChallenge (and be sure to tag us: @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV on Twitter, or @Read.Local.MD.DE.VA.DC on Facebook and Instagram). It’s super easy to enter: after reading, simply click on the book cover at the Read Local Summer Challenge site to access a pre-written tweet!

3. Each separate tweet or post gives you another entry, so share your reading journey widely, across all of your social media accounts! All entries must be received by 11:59pm on September 21, 2018. Anyone with a US or APO shipping address is eligible to enter.

4. A winner will be chosen in a random drawing from entries received across all platforms on or around September 25, 2018.

Learn more at 

FREE Signing Storytime Programs in MD Libraries This Summer

I’m looking forward to sharing stories, songs, and signs with kids and families this summer at Maryland libraries! Join me for these FREE programs!

Saturday, July 7, 10 AM at the Eldersburg Library (Eldersburg, MD)Little Hands Signing: Summer Signs (for ages birth to 8 with caregiver)

Sunday, July 8, 2 PM at the Rosedale Library (Rosedale, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Wednesday, July 11, 1:30 PM at the White Marsh Library (White Marsh, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Thursday, July 12, 11 AM at the Central Library (Denton, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Sunday, July 15, 2 PM at the Hereford Library (Hereford, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Friday, July 20, 3 PM at the Towson Library (Towson, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Monday, July 30, 10:30 AM at the Hyatttsville Library (Hyattsville, MD)Little Hands Signing: Summer Signs (for ages birth to 8 with caregiver)

Saturday, August 11, 10 AM at the Eldersburg Library (Eldersburg, MD)Little Hands Signing: Transportation Signs (for ages birth to 8 with caregiver)


Signed copies of Nita’s First Signs will be available for $15. I’ll also be offering book bundles featuring Nita’s First Signs and Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together, along with an adorable rubber ducky signing I-LOVE-YOU, for just $28. Makes a great baby shower or new baby gift!

Nita's First Signs final cover   Little Hands and Big Hands cover   





NITA’S FIRST SIGNS Launch Event This Sunday at The Ivy Bookshop!

Sunday, July 1, 2018 at 10 AM

The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Rd, Baltimore, Maryland 21209

To preorder your copies (or order signed copies if you can’t attend the event), call (410) 377-2966

Nita's First Signs final cover


I’m looking forward to celebrating the launch of Nita’s First Signs with stories, songs, crafts, snacks, and more! This event will be appropriate for all ages and accessible in American Sign Language and spoken English.

RSVP here.

Register now for Sign Language for Children in Storytime or in the Classroom

Sign Language for Children in Storytime or in the Classroom: A Practical Guide eCourse

Instructor: Kathy MacMillan, NIC, M.L.S.

Asynchronous eCourse beginning Monday, May 7, 2018 and continuing for 6 weeks (Participants will have 12 weeks to complete course materials)


Click here to register.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 36 (Certificate of Completion available upon request)

Sign Language is most commonly used in storytimes for babies, but the applications can go much further. In this new 6-week eCourse, Sign Language expert Kathy MacMillan explores the benefits of signing with all children. In addition to learning basic American Sign Language (ASL) vocabulary appropriate for use with children in library and classroom settings, you will also learn to teach stories, songs, and other activities that incorporate ASL. MacMillan provides you with a linguistic and cultural context to help make your programming more accessible.

After participating in this eCourse, you will:

  • Have a working knowledge of approximately 180 signs (introduced through video)
  • Create two storytime/classroom activities using the featured vocabulary that you can implement in your storytimes
  • Understand relevant aspects of child development and early literacy
  • Understand signing in a linguistic and cultural context

Instructor Kathy MacMillan is a writer and nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter. She is the author of Nita’s First Signs (Familius Press), as well as the author or co-author of many books from ALA Editions, including Little Hands & Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together and the Storytime Magic series. She was the library/media specialist at the Maryland School for the Deaf from 2001 to 2005 and has worked in public libraries since 1996. She presents storytelling programs introducing sign language through Stories By Hand and offers training and resources for enhancing storytimes through Storytime Stuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, was published by HarperCollins in 2016.

Free Webinar this Friday: Accessibility and Libraries

I’m so excited to be participating in this FREE webinar with American Libraries Live!  Hope you can join us!

Free Webinar: Accessibility and Libraries

Friday, September 29, 2017
1 p.m. Eastern | 12 p.m. Central
11 a.m. Mountain | 10 a.m. Pacific

Register now

Technology highly influences accessibility—many patrons use assistive technology, such as screen readers, literacy software, and speech input, to access and use library materials and e-resources. This free episode of AL Live explores the rapid growth and development of assistive technology and will help you stay informed and equipped with the best practices to assist your users and tips to ensure your materials are accessible to everyone.
Because planning considerations range from policies and organizational culture to facilities, technologies, and beyond, librarians need to address these issues in a way that is both stable and flexible.

Join us Friday, September 29 at 1 p.m. Eastern as our expert panel discusses the current state of accessibility, the issues many libraries face today, and what we may see in the near future.

Featured panelists for this webinar are: 

  • Jennifer Moore, associate professor, School of Library and Information Studies, Texas Woman’s University
  • Clayton Copeland, faculty and director, Laboratory for Leadership in Equity & Diversity (LLEAD), School of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina
  • Kathy MacMillan, writer, American Sign Language interpreter, consultant, librarian, and signing storyteller

Don’t miss out! Register today.

FREE Webinar: So You Want to Get Published

Are you a library staff person who wants to write articles or books?  Then check out this FREE online workshop:

So You Want to Get Published

Thursday, 8/4/2016
  • 3:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 2:00 PM (Central)
  • 1:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 12:00 PM (Pacific)

Want to write a book or article but don’t know where to start? Three published authors of resource books and articles for children’s librarians will share the ins and outs of getting published in journals such as School Library Journal and with publishers such as ALA Editions and Libraries Unlimited. Learn about the publishing opportunities that are out there for you, how to write a proposal, and how to get from idea to proposal.

Registration info:

Cost: FREE



Betsy Diamant-Cohen of Mother Goose on the Loose


Julie Dietzel-Glair, author of Books in Motion

Kathy MacMillan, author of Storytime Magic and other storytime resource books

Kathy MacMillan, author of Storytime Magic and other storytime resource books










Celebrate Spring with Miss Kathy This Weekend!

Marylanders north and south, we’ve got you covered this Saturday!

Saturday, April 12 at 10 AM:

Join Miss Kathy at the La Plata Branch of the Charles County Public Library for “Signs of Spring”.  This lively program for all ages will explore springtime with American Sign Language , from April showers to May flowers and everything in between! We’ll share stories, songs, and more as we learn about communicating with our hands and eyes.

Saturday, April 12 from 5:00-7:30 PM:

Join us at the Deaf Camps, Inc. Easter Party!  All ages and all signing levels welcome!

Admission includes:
* Pancake supper
* Signing Easter Bunny
* Easter egg hunt – begins at 5:45pm
* Crafts

Also for sale:
* Deep discounts on limited Thirty One items.
Sugar Prints ceramic hand & foot impressions.

Admission: $6 per person
Children under 12 will receive a FREE picture with the Easter Bunny. Additional pictures $3 each.  All proceeds benefit Deaf Camps, Inc’s 2014 scholarship fund.

Location: Christ Church of the Deaf, 1040 S. Beechfield Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21229

For more information, see

Little Hands Signing in Carroll County, MD

Upcoming FREE classes offered through Carroll County Public Library

Little Hands Signing brings the magic of sign language to you and your child through age-appropriate stories, songs, activities, and games, along with tips and tricks for caregivers on using signs in everyday activities. Each theme-based class will introduce and reinforce signs from a young child’s world. Because our classes use American Sign Language, you and your child can learn another language together, with benefits to last a lifetime. Best of all, it’s so much fun, you won’t even realize you’re learning!  Drop-in classes (no registration required)

Eldersburg Branch

6400 West Hemlock Drive

Eldersburg, MD 21784

(410) 795-3520

Baby Class (for ages birth-24 months with adult): Select Fridays at 9:45 AM (see dates below)

Preschooler Class (for ages 2-6 with adult): Select Fridays at 10:45 AM (see dates below)

  • Friday, January 24: Winter Signs
  • Friday, January 31: Nice Play Signs

Finksburg Branch

2265 Old Westminster Pike

Finksburg, MD 21048


Baby Class (for ages birth-24 months with adult): Select Fridays at 9:45 AM (see dates below)

Preschooler Class (for ages 2-6 with adult): Select Fridays at 11:00 AM (see dates below)

  • Friday, February 14: Valentine Signs
  • Friday, February 21: Weather Signs
  • Friday, February 28: Feelings Signs

For more information, see

Little Hands & Big Hands Parties!

Part storytime, part book-signing event, and ALL fun!

Little Hands and Big Hands coverJoin Kathy MacMillan, author of Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together (Huron Street Press, 2013), as she shares hands-on activities that parents and caregivers can use every day to improve communication, reduce tantrums, and promote early literacy in children ages birth to six. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Children of all ages are welcome at these family-friendly events!


Thursday, January 16 at 10:30 AM

Marilyn J Praisner Library
14910 Old Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, MD 20866
(240) 773-9460

Saturday, January 25 at 3 PM

Happy Baby Company

558 Lincoln Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15202
(412) 734-1354
**Registration and fees apply.  $15 for one person; $20 for a couple.  Children in laps free.  Each party will receive a free copy of the book.  Register online. 

Monday, January 27 at 10:00 AM

Germantown Library
19840 Century Boulevard
Germantown MD 20874

Tuesday, March 4 at 10:30 AM

Damascus Library

9701 Main Street
Damascus MD 20872


Upcoming Webinar: Serving Deaf Patrons in the Library

EditionsWorkshop200x300Presented by Kathy MacMillan

Price: $75 (group rates available)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 2:30pm – 4:00pm Eastern: Session 1

Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 2:30pm – 4:00pm Eastern: Session 2

Sign up now!

I’m so excited to be able to offer this 2-part online workshop through ALA Editions once again!  Join me to learn about:

  • An overview of the different ways deaf people communicate
  • Meeting your library’s legal obligation to serve the deaf
  • Strategies for communicating with a deaf or hard-of-hearing person in the library, including basic library signs
  • Tips for finding, hiring, and working with interpreters
Closed captioning will be provided.
ASL users: please call in to the webinar using your preferred Video Relay Service provider.  When you enter the webinar, please let the host know that you are using VRS.  We will give you a link to pass on to your interpreter, so that he/she can also see the slideshow and better interpret the message.

To learn more or to register, click here.