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Margo Sorenson on The GemsReading AheadSkinny Dip Susan FletcherSelf on the Shelf Melanie Heuiser Hill"Looking Both Ways" by Lisa Bullard in Writing Road TripThe LamppostTimeless Tales ProgramHeidi BreadBig Green PocketbookUh-Oh Lynne JonellWriting Road Trip | Writing Road Kill | Lisa BullardDavid LaRochelleMagination Press

The Gems: Revolutionize Your Teaching of Writing

Margo Sorenson

The stack of stu­dent papers lurks on the cor­ner of your desk, just wait­ing to be marked and grad­ed. Yes, the rubrics and grad­ing stan­dards will be applied con­sci­en­tious­ly, paper after paper. Your stu­dents wait, some in dread, some in hope­ful antic­i­pa­tion, for your final judg­ments on their papers. But wait — there’s anoth­er way to eval­u­ate [...]



Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Such a charm­ing book! From Nik­ki Grimes, we hear the sto­ry of a young boy stalling his bed­time, all the while col­lect­ing a menagerie of imag­i­nary crea­tures. This is a child who has well-prac­ticed ploys for avoid­ing bed­time. His par­ents respond with play­ful­ness and good humor. Mom and dad are patient but, final­ly, the child [...]



A Blizzard of Snow Books

Snowflake Bentley

We’re snowed under right now, what with teach­ing and writ­ing and, well, snow, so we thought we’d offer up a bliz­zard of books about the white stuff that falls from our skies.  Curl up with a child, a cup of warmth, and enjoy win­ter in the pages of a book. The Snow Par­ty by Beat­rice [...]



My Word for the New Year

As in past years, in lieu of a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion, I’ve cho­sen a sin­gle word to frame the year ahead. There are numer­ous web­sites and blogs that cel­e­brate this idea. This is my favorite. The fol­low­ing sen­ti­ment from the site real­ly sums it up beau­ti­ful­ly; My One Word replaces bro­ken promis­es with a vision for [...]



Susan Fletcher

Susan Fletcher

Sto­ry­teller adept Susan Fletcher’s mind has giv­en us The Drag­on Chron­i­cles, Alpha­bet of Dreams, the star­tling Fal­con in the Glass, and most recent­ly Jour­ney of the Pale Bear. As you’ll read below, she has trav­eled to amaz­ing loca­tions and had envi­able expe­ri­ences as she researched her nov­els. Susan taught at the Ver­mont Col­lege of Fine [...]



Melanie Heuiser Hill

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

This stack is large­ly the Self-On-The-Shelf stack of my child­hood. There would be stacks of oth­ers, as well, you under­stand. I was sur­prised how many were miss­ing when I went to pull books for this col­umn, actu­al­ly. Where were all the Judy Blume books? Where was How To Eat Fried Worms? And, I sup­pose if [...]



Library EMT

“The best way to find your­self is to lose your­self in the ser­vice of oth­ers.” —Mahat­ma Gand­hi I went into the week­end pre­pared to take it easy from a long and busy week. I quick­ly shift­ed my focus to the hor­ror hap­pen­ing in Aus­tralia. I was watch­ing a video that showed a small frac­tion of the [...]



Looking Both Ways

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde

Some stu­dents jump into wild cre­ativ­i­ty with­out hear­ing a sin­gle warn­ing rat­tle. Oth­ers stop to look both ways so often that they nev­er suc­cess­ful­ly make it across the writ­ing street.



Timeless Tales Program

Rachel Snyder, Lemont Public Library

Cre­at­ing a Con­nect­ed Com­mu­ni­ty of Read­ers: Inter­gen­er­a­tional Sto­ry­time After see­ing a hand­ful of arti­cles about nurs­ing homes open­ing up preschools in a shared space, as well as the ben­e­fits from this part­ner­ship, I want­ed to find a way to cre­ate the same inter­gen­er­a­tional con­nec­tion in a library set­ting. We already had a rela­tion­ship with our [...]



A Broken Wrist Isn’t All Bad

Lynne Jonell

Some good things have come from hav­ing a bro­ken wrist.



For the Love of Pickles

Connie Van Hoven

Know some pick­le crazy kids? I do! A favorite birth­day din­ner that my grand­kids request is Pick­le Pas­ta (recipe below) — not the cold pas­ta sal­ad vari­ety, mind you, but warm but­tery noo­dles dot­ted with briny pick­les. My daugh­ter cre­at­ed this sim­ple but oh-so-sat­is­fy­ing dish dur­ing her col­lege days when the cup­boards were some­times near­ly bare. I [...]



Equality’s Call

Equality's Call

Writ­ten by Deb­o­rah Diesen in read­able-out-loud verse with a refrain that reflects the cumu­la­tive action in the pre­ced­ing pages, this pic­ture book traces the dili­gent efforts of those who worked for decades to make Amer­i­ca’s vot­ing rights more inclu­sive. There is his­to­ry here for every­one to know. The illus­tra­tions add pas­sion and under­stand­ing to the [...]



Heidi Bread

I real­ized (again) over the win­ter hol­i­days this year that much of hol­i­day friv­o­li­ty cen­ters on food. I’d have it no oth­er way, myself, but I must say that after a couple/few weeks of eat­ing grand meals, too many sweets, and grab­bing tea/coffee more often than usu­al, I crave sim­plic­i­ty when I sit down for [...]



Reading Books Through the Lens of Peace

Peace

Wel­come to Peace-olo­gy. We are two children’s authors team­ing up to review children’s books with peace in mind.  Caren: After all our inter­views for our book Sachiko: A Nagasa­ki Bomb Survivor’s Sto­ry, I asked the book’s inspi­ra­tion, peace edu­ca­tor Sachiko Yasui, if she had any last words she would like to share with chil­dren. Sachiko’s response [...]



Caroline B. Cooney

Caroline B. Cooney

To begin our year of Skin­ny Dip­pin’ for 2020, and in the cold­est month of the year (brrrrr), we inter­viewed Car­o­line B. Cooney, the author of so many beloved books.



Ann Angel and Her Reading Team
January 2020

Wherever You Go

Rais­ing Star Read­ers rel­ish­es this chance to catch up with Ann Angel and her multi­gen­er­a­tional Read­ing Team. For this entry, Ann was espe­cial­ly focused on how the words and visu­al art in pic­ture books lead kids to think and to dream. Here’s how Ann describes it: Long before I had kids and grand­kids, I thought [...]



Arnold Lobel at Home

Candice Ransom

Every win­ter I find myself miss­ing Arnold Lobel, a qui­et­ly bril­liant author-illus­tra­tor who left us far too ear­ly. I pull out my Lobel I Can Read col­lec­tion. Frog and Toad Are Friends was pub­lished in 1970, the year I grad­u­at­ed from high school, bent on my own career in children’s books. Hailed an instant clas­sic [...]



Uh-Oh!

Lynne Jonell

Uh-oh. In a nev­er-end­ing quest for exer­cise (the writer’s life is all too seden­tary), I fall like a chopped oak.



Writing Road Kill

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde

Writ­ing well is hard. If you’re not chal­leng­ing your­self as a writer, you can turn into writ­ing road kill. Besides: angels need a rea­son to show up.



Modern-Day Treasure Hunting

David LaRochelle

Why was I crawl­ing through a frozen sew­er pipe on my hands and knees in the mid­dle of win­ter? I was geo­caching, my lat­est obses­sion. If you haven’t heard of geo­caching, it’s a world­wide trea­sure hunt using GPS to locate hid­den con­tain­ers called geo­caches. There are lit­er­al­ly mil­lions of geo­caches hid­den around the globe. When [...]



Magination Press

Look­ing for a book for a child who is expe­ri­enc­ing a hard time — maybe being bul­lied, maybe par­ents are divorc­ing or some­one is seri­ous­ly ill, or some­thing scary hap­pened at school or in the com­mu­ni­ty. Or maybe a teen feels “dif­fer­ent”? Mag­i­na­tion Press is a book imprint of the Amer­i­can Psy­chol­o­gy Asso­ci­a­tion that — through books — helps fam­i­lies, par­ents, [...]



Writing a Funny Book

One of my favorite books of Gen­nifer Chold­enko’s is One-Third Nerd, in which a broth­er and two sis­ters attempt to solve the prob­lem of their beloved dog being incon­ti­nent in their rent­ed apart­ment, over which the land­lord threat­ens to evict them. They’ve been told a vet could fix the prob­lem, but surgery for their dog [...]



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