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Teach It ForwardBrian P. ClearyWriting Road Trip | Overdrive | by Lisa BullardReading Ahead HumanimalTwo for the ShowSmall Press MedleyWelcome to Lizard Motel

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

“Hey! Unto you a child is born!” I think of this line each and every Christ­mas Eve when the Christ­mas sto­ry accord­ing to Luke’s Gospel is read. If I’m the one doing the read­ing, and you were to pay close atten­tion, you’d prob­a­bly notice that I have to take a nano-sec­ond pause so as to [...]

Anita Dualeh and Her Reading Team
December 2019

A Season of Gifts

Rais­ing Star Read­ers is delight­ed to intro­duce a new Read­ing Team, one that high­lights how reward­ing it can be to con­tin­ue a prac­tice of read­ing aloud with chil­dren as they grow old­er. Ani­ta Dualeh’s Team includes her sons Adam, age 12, and Caleb, age 9. As Ani­ta explains, “While I encour­age inde­pen­dent read­ing, I believe [...]

I love that you always find a bookstore!”

After post­ing pho­tos on Face­book of a recent trip to Chica­go, my friend Joanne post­ed the above com­ment. My heart soared a bit, know­ing that my pas­sion for books and book­stores gar­nered such a love­ly, pos­i­tive obser­va­tion. It’s no secret that just about any­time I find myself traips­ing through a new town, I am eager [...]

Skinny Dip with Brian P. Cleary

Brian P. Cleary

We’re pleased to wel­come author and poet Bri­an P. Cleary for a Skin­ny Dip this month. His books have made kids guf­faw and chor­tle, all while learn­ing parts of gram­mar or math! Impos­si­ble, you say? Not for Bri­an, whose brain just works this way.


Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde

There’s a quote about sculpt­ing, attrib­uted to Michelan­ge­lo, that I often para­phrase for stu­dents when I’m talk­ing about the art of revis­ing: In every block of mar­ble I see a stat­ue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and per­fect in atti­tude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls [...]

Pterodactyls and Dragons

Candice Ransom

“The Boy chiefly dab­bled in nat­ur­al his­to­ry and fairy-tales, and he just took them as they came, in a sand­wichy sort of way, with­out mak­ing any dis­tinc­tions; and real­ly his course of read­ing strikes one as rather sen­si­ble.” The Reluc­tant Drag­on Ken­neth Gra­hame wrote “The Reluc­tant Drag­on” as a chap­ter in his book Dream Days, [...]

Aimée Bissonette

A few days ago, I scanned my many book­shelves in antic­i­pa­tion of writ­ing this piece. My charge was to assem­ble a small stack of books that had sig­nif­i­cance to me.  Per­haps, I thought, I’ll write about my love for mys­ter­ies. After all, I spent count­less hours as a young girl devour­ing the Hardy Boys and [...]


Lynne Jonell

Yeah, so I’m a lit­tle grumpy. It took me years to tame my (admit­ted­ly mon­u­men­tal) author’s ego …


This book is a page-turn­er in all of the right ways. It’s an immense­ly read­able non­fic­tion book that deliv­ers mem­o­rable infor­ma­tion. Best of all, I believe it will change hearts and minds about our rela­tion­ship to ani­mals, a nec­es­sary step in our evo­lu­tion if we’re engaged in sav­ing our plan­et.


Mr. Cookie Baker

Jack­ie: Novem­ber is a month to cel­e­brate food and fam­i­ly, to cel­e­brate mak­ing meals and eat­ing togeth­er. Phyl­lis and I both love pie. And we often review pie books in Novem­ber but we are run­ning out of pie sto­ries. (Writ­ers out there: more pie sto­ries, please.) So, this year we decid­ed to look for cook­ie [...]

Sleeping Bear Press

Nature's Friend

A is for Alpha­bet! Sleep­ing Bear Press is known for their intrigu­ing and infor­ma­tion­al alpha­bet books. But Sleep­ing Bear also pro­duces a vari­ety of both non­fic­tion and fic­tion books for read­ers young and not so young.

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 [...]


Mod­eled after the One School, One Book premise, Phillips­burg School Dis­trict Ele­men­tary ELA & Social Stud­ies Cur­ricu­lum Direc­tor Dar­lene Noel cre­at­ed a school-wide event called #OneS­tate­lin­er­Sto­ry: Every Class­room. Every Stu­dent. Every Fam­i­ly. The fun­da­men­tal pur­pose of this event is to build a com­mu­ni­ty of read­ers through a shared read­ing expe­ri­ence. Think of it as a [...]

Snapshot: Wordless Books

Word­less pic­ture books are great for many rea­sons. They empha­size the impor­tance of art, build on impor­tant lit­er­a­cy skills, help chil­dren become sto­ry­tellers, and they are a reli­able source for imag­i­na­tion.

An Autumn Salad from Karen Cushman

Print Recipe Warm Salad with Roasted Squash, with Cranberry Vinaigrette, Hazelnuts, and Chèvre I must admit I’m more of a free-form cook. I don’t real­ly fol­low recipes but adapt them to what I have on hand or what my cre­ative juices are call­ing for. Usu­al­ly. The fol­low­ing recipe I love so much that I make [...]

Skinny Dip with Marsha Wilson Chall

One of my all-time favorite books is Up North at the Cab­in. There is some­thing quin­tes­sen­tial about the cab­in expe­ri­ence for many peo­ple who live in the Upper Mid­west. This book, by our Skin­ny Dip­pin’ author Mar­sha Wil­son Chall, has engaged read­ers and lis­ten­ers for 27 years! Mar­sha has cre­at­ed many pic­ture books that show­case [...]

Welcome to Lizard Motel

There is a spe­cial peri­od of … child­hood, approx­i­mate­ly from five or six to eleven or twelve — between the striv­ings of ani­mal infan­cy and the storms of ado­les­cence — when the nat­ur­al world is expe­ri­enced in some high­ly evoca­tive way … It is prin­ci­pal­ly to this mid­dle age range … that writ­ers say they return in mem­o­ry in [...]