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Recent Articles


The Very First & Last Page

Last week I zoom-visited a kindergarten class to read my own picture book. The class was terrific and at the end we had a time for Q & A. They are working on the difference between asking a question and “sharing.” It’s an important and difficult skill. One little girl, who might’ve been a stringer [...]



The Alchemy of Fry Bread

Fry Bread

Bread brings people together. The ingredients in bread are so elemental. When combined with love, they nourish and sustain a people. At the center of a gathering, at the center of a culture is a foundational grain that sustains life—naan, tortilla, rice, ugali, injera, and fry bread to name a few. Food, then, is a [...]



Anita Dualeh and Her Reading Team
January 2021

Echo Pam Munoz Ryan

Raising Star Readers is grateful to have regular reminders from Anita Dualeh’s Reading Team that reading aloud isn’t an activity reserved only for families with small children. Instead, sharing and talking about books as you read them aloud together is something a family can grow into ...



Making Peace with January

Candice Ransom

This year, Hal Borland’s Book of Days migrates upstairs with me to read during my afternoon rest and before bed. It’s a daily journal beginning January 1, written from his farm in rural Connecticut, meant to help him answer the questions: Who am I? Where am I? What time is it? At 68, I ask [...]



Something Lovely Came in the Mail

Lynne Jonell

I love working with new writers and watching them grow in their craft.



Planetarium

Planetarium

My fascination with outer space is well-documented. I had star charts on my childhood bedroom walls. But this book would have enthralled me … in fact, it still does. The illustrations by engraver and printmaker Chris Wormell are detailed in a way that aids understanding. Scale is a tough concept for our comprehension but this [...]



Fairy Tales, Part 2

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Trina Schart Hyman’s retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” is a familiar one. This was Hyman’s favorite fairy tale, and as a child, she spent a whole year wearing the red cape her mother made for her. On the verso of the title page, Little Red is reading her own story featuring the cover of [...]



In the Neighborhood of Eloise Greenfield

The Great Migration: Journey to the North

In this season of gift-giving we want to look at the gift of poetry, specifically the poetry and writing of Eloise Greenfield. Since publishing her first poem in 1962, she has written more than forty-five books for children and was the recipient of the 2018 Coretta Scott King Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her [...]



Focusing

Lynne Jonell

Christmas is a glorious holiday ... but it's a little funky this year. And I'm having a certain amount of trouble focusing.



Constance Van Hoven and Her Reading Team
December 2020

The Stuff of Stars

As we bring this year-like-no-other to a close, Raising Star Readers contributor Constance Van Hoven shares a reflection on the power that books hold to connect us in so many ways: across time, across space, and across generations. Here is Connie’s moving reminder that “’tis the season for Reading Team angels”: Here’s my reading team ready to [...]



Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration

When Marsha Qualey began this column six years ago, she had us all on the lookout for books about children’s literature. What would add to our understanding of this very particular community of educators, students, collector, and creators? This book about Helen Oxenbury by Leonard Marcus is a gem, filled with the wisdom of a [...]



When Things Get Tough

Lynne Jonell

Working when things get tough. I keep at it. But uncertainty and sadness take their toll.



The Range Eternal

The Range Eternal

I am delighted by the re-issue of The Range Eternal, a picture book that reaches back into history and connects with our senses, our families, our fears, and our reassurances. I have read all of Louise Erdrich's books for adults and children. She never fails to bring me new ways of looking at the world. [...]



Shall I Knit You a Hat?

I’ve received a wonderful early Christmas gift this year—two new regular storytimes to conduct. Both interested in the season’s books—and do I have Christmas books to share! The only downside—and I can live with it—is that it’s via the technologies with which we see people these days. I’m so grateful for the Zooms, the FaceTimes, [...]



Eco-Peace: Reimagining the Possibility

Peace-ology

Part of our work as peacemakers is to properly situate ourselves in a web of life. We are creatures in a vast, brilliant and complex ecosystem called not to dominate, but to live with in harmonious relationship. Children often seem naturally drawn to animals and nature, with an inherent ability to walk gently on the [...]



An Antidote to Holiday Cookies

Nature's Yucky

The Nature’s Yucky! three-book childrens non-fiction series features animals doing what we humans perceive as gross behaviors. My co-author Karen Shragg and I then describe how these yucky actions help the animals survive. Karen likes to cook and does a lot of experimenting, whipping meals together. Since she likes cooking so much, we include a [...]



Catherine Urdahl and Her Reading Team
December 2020

The Stuff of Stars

Raising Star Readers is delighted to introduce a new Reading Team, this one led by children’s book author Catherine Urdahl. Here, Catherine shares some heartwarming reading moments, with enough book-love and remembered summer sunshine to take the chill out of the coldest of December winds: I read to my daughters from the time they were [...]



Magic Needs Humble Soap

Candice Ransom

When I was ten, I wanted to be a detective-veterinarian-artist-writer-ballet dancer. Never mind I couldn’t stay up late, stand the sight of blood, or ever had a single dance lesson. Ten-year-olds view the world as limitless. When I was a teenager, my dreams shifted to more specific: a writer of children’s books and an animator [...]



Research & Development

Lynne Jonell

Is it possible to write while on vacation?



You Should (Not) Read These Books

You Are (Not) Small

I remember my neighborhood friends standing on opposite sides of a driveway, angry, yelling loudly at each other. I don't recall why, but I can still feel those emotions. That's how strong feelings are. Our children deal with a multitude of emotions every day. You were probably remembering similar instances from your childhood. And what [...]



Books about the Night

The Tinaja Tonight

Nighttime is a magical time for kids. It’s a time for exploring the night skies. It’s a time for dreaming cozy dreams.  It’s a time of mischief when it comes with the thrill of being allowed to stay up late. Nighttime picture books have always had an allure for me because of the topics they [...]



Nomad Press

Nomad Press

For teachers, parents and anyone looking for “school-at-home” nonfiction books, Nomad Press is an excellent resource for activity-based nonfiction books. With Nomad’s informational series, students not only “read about” important topics of our times but also investigate, “ask about” and “do about” these topics. First I tried out several of their books. I found excellent [...]



Together from Afar

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." (Ryunosuke Satoro) Tis the season to be… It is hard to sometimes understand how difficult the holiday season will be this year. Although this is difficult, technology has made it possible for us all to connect and participate in holiday fun. For my article this [...]



Poetry Teatime

On Halloween morning, Pooh Bear came for a visit on our porch. There was coffee for her parents and hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles for her, as well as a round of pastries for all. A lovely morning, however distanced and masked we had to remain.



Candice Ransom

Candice Ransom

One green thing I wish everyone would do: Give up plastic bags. It’s hard, I know, to remember to carry a bag into a store. I wish we could give up other forms of plastic, like the blister packs encasing everything from Barbie dolls to Bic pens. Back in the days of five and ten [...]



Gennifer Choldenko

Gennifer Choldenko

I’m so pleased to have Gennifer Choldenko grant Bookology an interview about all the questions I’ve bottled up since reading Orphan Eleven, her newest novel. Each one of her novels is a page-turner from first to last, often introducing history we didn’t know but can’t wait to learn more about. Those are my favorite sorts [...]



Curiouser and Curiouser with John Owens

One Summer Up North

Once in a while a debut book comes across my desk and I'm too curious to put it into a to-be-read pile. I glance at the cover throughout the day until I can't resist opening the book. What is it about? Am I going to like it? Then I keep turning the pages, marveling over [...]



Bookstorm™: Orphan Eleven

Orphan Eleven

Four orphans have escaped from the Home for Friendless Children. One is Lucy, who used to talk and sing. No one knows why she doesn’t speak anymore; silence is her protection. The orphans find work and new friends at a traveling circus. Lucy loves caring for the elephants, but she must be able to speak [...]



Picture Books Minus the Age Stereotypes and Ageism

Nature's Friend

Modern day children’s books riddled with negative stereotypes of age? Sadly yes, they are all too easy to find.