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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Recent Articles

Skinny Dip with Margarita Engle Rufus Blasts Off! Writing Road Trip | Lisa Bullard | Hands on the Wheel Geoff Herbach Journeys Tricia Springstubb

The Wild Flag

Fifteen years ago this summer, I stood weeping in our local public library while making copies of letters on the public photocopy machine, dimes in one hand, folded linen stationary in the other. I remember it was fifteen years ago because I was enormously pregnant with Darling Daughter. People walked a wide circle around me [...]



What’s a Favorite Book of Yours?

Lately I’ve been asking groups about their favorite books—as a get-to-know-you activity of sorts. You know: “My name is Melanie…and one of my favorite books is Anne of Green Gables.” That sort of thing. I’ve asked groups that include children and groups with only adults. (I ask groups of kids this a lot—great marketing research.) [...]



Describe 10 Things in Your Perfect World

Money that grows on trees. Free houses, free cars, free food, and free phones. More books, more pets and more medicine for sick people. Clean water. Parents who don’t fight. These are the wishes of JD, a sincere and striving eleven-year-old reader I am tutoring this summer. The prompt that produced his wish list (which [...]



Knowing My Own Mind

There are times when I don’t know my own mind. Worse, there are times when I think I know my mind perfectly well and then find an entirely different mind on a later visit to my opinions. Which feels almost as though I have no mind at all. Some time ago one of my favorite [...]



What the Heck is Creative Nonfiction?

Melissa Stewart

The term creative nonfiction was first used by Lee Gutkind in the 1980s as a synonym for narrative nonfiction. Gutkind wished to convey the idea that nonfiction wasn’t always dry and utilitarian. By employing such elements as character, dialogue, scene building, strong voice, innovative structure, point of view, and literary devices, writers could craft nonfiction [...]



License Plate 007

Lisa Bullard

Story dialogue is charged with the large task of helping to tell the story: it reveals characterization, advances the plot, and provides action.



Skinny Dip with Cathy Camper

Cathy Camper

Are you fans of the Lowriders graphic novels? We are! And we can’t wait for the next one. The author who thinks up those great stories is Cathy Camper. We invited her to Skinny Dip with the Bookologist … and she said yes! When we asked her pointed questions, here’s what she had to say. [...]



Babies and Puppies

Mary Casanova

What, really, can be more life-affirming than a beautiful baby or cuddly puppies? On June 26th, both arrived in our lives. One baby—our first grandchild, Olivia—born to our son and Korean daughter-in-law. We received the news via FaceTime from Seoul, South Korea. Though they had Broadway related jobs in NYC, they opted to move to [...]



Capitulate vs Conquer

As I eagerly gathered up my ideas and insights for a follow-up article about last month’s “Mystery Reader” topic, I found myself trying to negotiate two seemingly incompatible schools of thought regarding effective literacy teaching and learning. I am a huge proponent of student choice and voice (instead of teacher- or curriculum-dictated text selections), teacher [...]



Pinkerton & Friends

I had a “Why in the world….?” moment the other day. It was unexpected and a little strange and it was this: When I imagine picture books that I am writing and/or thinking about writing, I imagine very specific illustrations. From a very specific illustrator. Even though I admire the work of many illustrators. (I [...]



Me, All Alone, Reading This Book

Me, All Alone, at the End of the World

Sometimes, the illustrations are wonderful but the language is captivating. You know how you read a picture book and you can’t decide which part to focus on? Should you look at the picture first? Should you read the story because it’s the thread that’s pulling you through? Well, when you read “He was a long-leggedy [...]



Death and Grief

My Father's Arms Are a Boat

Our Chapter & Verse Book Clubs read three books about death, written for children, in April of 2017. We had a many-faceted discussion. Several of our librarian members stated that they receive many requests from patrons for books that help children understand death. Our members around the country put their heads together to make recommendations [...]



Bless This Mouse

Over the last month or so, my nieces and I have been reading Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry. We started it on one scaryish night when I picked them up at the hospital emergency room. My brother-in-law had a mishap with a chisel in the garage resulting in a flesh wound that created an [...]



Next Exit: Adventure

Lisa Bullard

Sometimes just a town’s name is enough to entice you. Who could drive past the exit for Last Chance, Idaho—or Hell, Michigan—or Happyland, Oklahoma—without at least contemplating how your life might be changed if you took that unexpected detour? All on their own, names tell a story. That’s why I often do an online search [...]



The Best Wish of All

Once in awhile I find a book on my reading pile that I’ve passed by a few times. It might be that the cover doesn’t make sense to me and I shuffle through to choose another title. Or the title might be silly (in my mind) and I don’t open the book because something else [...]



Skinny Dip with Suzanne Costner

Suzanne Costner

We’re thrilled to Skinny Dip with outstanding educator Suzanne Costner, Thanks to Suzanne for answer our questions during her very busy end-of-the-school-year hours. Who was your favorite teacher in grades K-7 and why? My favorite teacher was Mrs. Hill in 4th grade. She read to us every day after lunch: Stuart Little, Where the Red [...]



English Syllabus

I used to hate the night of the first day of school. I loved hearing about the first day details, new teachers, old and new friends…but The Forms nearly did me in. A whole packet for each kid filled with multi-colored papers, many of which asked for the very same information—so many emergency numbers, medical [...]



Skinny Dip with Aimée Bissonette

Aimee Bissonette

We’re thrilled to Skinny Dip with Aimée Bissonette, who is the author of two acclaimed picture books so far, North Woods Girl (Minnesota Historical Society Press) and Miss Colfax’s Light (Sleeping Bear Press). Thanks to Aor taking time away from writing and work to answer Bookology‘s questions! When did you first start reading books? My best [...]



Theater Geeks!

All the World's a Stage

If your children (or you) are captivated by talent shows on TV, or dreams of acting on the stage, or the next theater production at school, there are a chorus line of books just waiting to audition for your next favorite. Here’s a mixture of classic and new stories, ranging in interest from grades 3 through [...]



Three Tips for Writing Teachers

Melissa Stewart

Teachers often feel frustrated when the revisions students make to their writing aren’t improvements. And so they ask me how to help the children make their manuscripts better. I wish I had an easy answer for these teachers and for their students, but here’s the truth: Revision is messy. It’s fraught with detours. Even experienced [...]



Tricia Springstubb

Tricia Springstubb

I’ve been reading Tricia Springstubb’s books ever since her first picture book, Phoebe & Digger, was published. I eagerly await each new book. They are books that resonate with many young readers: chapter books, middle grade novels, and one picture book. They are stories of families, neighborhoods, and the changes that confront every child. They [...]