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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Recent Articles

Swimming in a Sea of Ideas Phuoc Thi Minh Tran Teach It Forward Writing Road Trip | Curves Ahead | by Lisa Bullard Reading Ahead Summer Reading Red Reading Boots Becky Kruger Two for the Show - Ducks Eliza Wheeler Pat Schmatz The Key to Everything Earth Day What's So Special about Shakespeare? Melanie Heuiser Hill Planting Giant Pumpkin Seeds Linda Sue Park

Anna and Johanna

Anna and Johanna

Anna and Johanna: a Children’s Book Inspired by Vermeer Geraldine Elschner illustrated by Florence Koenig Prestel Publishing, 2018 published in French in 2016 ISBN 978-3-7913-7345-4 Delft. Delft blue. The book begins with blue and yellow. 1666. Two friends born on the same day. This day, their birthday. They are each making gifts for the other. [...]

Taking Time for a Close Look

Woodpecker Wham!

Jackie: Phyllis is on the road with her beautiful and informative new book Searching for Minnesota’s Native Wildflowers. [While Phyllis is out of the room, I will say that I love this book. It makes me want to get out and find flowers. Iowa has many plants in common with Minnesota and I look forward to [...]

Swimming in a Sea of Ideas

Aimee Bissonette

Where do successful nonfiction writers get their ideas? So many places! The topics a nonfiction writer can write about are limitless. Sure, some ideas have been written about before, but nonfiction writers take that as a challenge. They ask what unusual angle they might take or if there is a different (or better) format in [...]

Skinny Dip with C.M. Surrisi

C.M. Surrisi

Have you read the Quinnie Boyd middle-grade mysteries? The Maypop Kidnapping, Vampires on the Run, and A Side of Sabotage? I discovered them this spring and I stayed up several nights to read them. The author of those books, C.M. Surrisi, is just as interesting as you’d think the writer who dreamed up Quinnie, her [...]

Little Women

Darling Daughter and I watched the recent PBS version of Little Women last weekend.I was out of town when the first episode aired, but she waited for me and we streamed it Friday night so we’d be caught up to watch the final two episodes Sunday night. I liked Little Women just fine as a kid. I [...]

Groundwood Books

Groundwood Books celebrates diversity. In the words of the late Sheila Barry, former publisher, their commitment is to publish “the most exciting Canadian voices we can find. Whether it’s a picture book from Nunavut in the Arctic or a Carnival story about a new Canadian from the Caribbean ….”   Groundwood publishes not only all [...]

Skinny Dip with Phuoc Thi Minh Tran

We are pleased to Skinny Dip with Phuoc Thi Minh Tran this week. As a librarian, author, storyteller, and mother, she adds her perspective to the richly textured quilt of books for children. What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever read a book? In the hospital, I read my newly released book My First Book of [...]

Read-Alouds That Leave a Lasting Imprint

The gift of a favorite teacher reading aloud an unforgettable book is an experience likely to leave a lasting imprint on a student’s heart. For me, it was Ramona the Pest, introduced by my second-grade teacher. I’ll always remember Tammy Burns, the girl in my class who had beautiful ringlets just like Ramona’s classmate Susan. [...]

Summer Reading

When I say “summer reading,” you think about … a good novel, right? I have a couple of suggestions. Every kid should have these two books tucked in their beach bags, ready for a car trip, or packed for summer camp. Seriously. In between the reading out loud of those novels you’ve been saving up [...]

You Write Books with … Messages?

Yes. Yes I do. Sure, I know there’s a whole school of thought that says “sharing a message” in a children’s book is something to avoid. That children will learn more, feel more, by reading books—stories—that evoke an emotional response and increase empathy through strong characterization and vivid language. Yes. Yes that’s true. But. . [...]

Curves Ahead

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde

I was thrilled when Teenage Nephew 1 grew old enough to mow my yard. We negotiated a price and then headed outside. I knew that at his house, his father was King of the Riding Mower, so mowing was a completely new skill to Teenage Nephew. So I carefully reviewed the basics with him: mower [...]

The Giant Jam Sandwich

Recently, I was invited to a baby shower. I love shopping for baby showers, because I almost always give books and knit a wee little hat—two of my most favorite things. I had the hat all done except for the top little curly-cues, but I was fresh out of board books and so went on [...]

The Gift of Books:
Terrific Titles for the Classroom Library

As teachers across the country take to the streets to push for adequate compensation and work conditions, it’s a wonder we still have young people entering this noble profession. And yet, at college and university graduation ceremonies everywhere, new teachers will be receiving their credentials as they embark on what will likely be one of [...]

Skinny Dip with Becky Kruger

Becky Kruger

We are so fortunate to have dedicated and inspiring librarian educators working with children in many schools throughout our land. Becky Kruger not only serves as the librarian at Ray Miller Elementary School in Missouri but she also helps organize the annual Truman State University Children’s Literature Festival. Which book you read as a child has [...]

Some Illustrator!

Candice Ransom

In my next life, I’m coming back either as a cat living in our house (think Canyon Ranch for cats), or Melissa Sweet. I’ve followed her career since she illustrated James Howe’s Pinky and Rex (1990). I love this book for its atypical characters (Pinky is a boy who loves pink and stuffed animals, and [...]

Don’t Let the Dinosaur Drive the Bus

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde

Some basic story lines that rarely fail to provide excellent starting points for struggling young writers.


Peter Lourie

A well-known journalist in a local bagel joint, after not seeing me for a few weeks, would always greet me with, “Welcome back, Pete.” It wasn’t because he knew where I’d been, but he knew I traveled a lot to write my children’s adventure books. Since I’d seen him last, I’d probably been out climbing [...]

Summoning Spring

Jackie: Spring is a little late coming to the Midwest this year. But we can remember sunny days with violets and trillium blooming and rainy days that turn the grass green (instead of the snow we continue to get in mid-April). Rainy days make us think of ducks and we are going to beckon reluctant [...]

Eliza Wheeler

Eliza Wheeler

Eliza Wheeler is the fascinating illustrator of many books, including John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Pomegranate Witch, and Tell Me a Tattoo Story. You can read about her work on her Wheeler Studio blog. For this interview, we are focusing on a series she has illustrated for Candlewick Press, the Cody [...]

Skinny Dip with Pat Schmatz

Pat Schmatz

Pat Schmatz is the smart, well-read, insightful, and talented author of books such as Lizard Radio, Mousetraps, Bluefish, and her most recent The Key to Everything. She occasionally teaches writing, especially to middle school and high school students. If you have a chance, attend one of her classes. What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever read a [...]

What’s So Special about Shakespeare?

We celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23rd (or thereabouts). Consider reading excerpts of this book to your classes. In What’s So Special about Shakespeare?, the author, Michael Rosen, walks into a house with us, peeking into rooms where Shakespeare’s plays are being enacted. Such variety! It’s an inspired way to place young readers among [...]

Planting Giant Pumpkin Seeds

As I write this, Minnesota is in line to get hit with another Major Winter Storm. I know many of you in the northern latitudes can sympathize as we’ve all been hit, but it’s mid-April, and even by Minnesota standards, this is demoralizing. Proms are being cancelled this weekend, the grocery stores are crazy, everyone’s [...]

Linda Sue Park

Melanie Heuiser Hill recently interviewed Linda Sue Park, curious about her daily work habits as a writer, and how Linda Sue balances life and work. Do you have specific writing goals that you formulate and work toward—a certain number of words/pages a day, a draft finished by a certain date, revision done in x number [...]