When We Reach Them
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 [...]
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 [...]
Two for the Show
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 [...]
Teach It Forward
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 [...]
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 [...]
Self on the Shelf
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 [...]
“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 [...]
Writing Road Trip
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.
When We Reach Them
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 [...]
Some good things have come from having a broken wrist.
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 [...]
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 [...]
Red Reading Boots
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
Raising Star Readers
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 [...]
Big Green Pocketbook
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. In a never-ending quest for exercise (the writer’s life is all too sedentary), I fall like a chopped oak.
Writing Road Trip
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.
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 [...]
Small Press Medley
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, [...]
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 [...]