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  • Jen Bryant

What Gets Left Out

Jen Bryant

In my three decades as a pro­fes­sion­al author, I’ve writ­ten about many intrigu­ing, accom­plished peo­ple: the Wyeth fam­i­ly of artists, painter Geor­gia O’Keeffe, abo­li­tion­ist Lucre­tia Mott, author Peter Mark Roget, poets William Car­los Williams and Mar­i­anne Moore, self-taught artist Horace Pip­pin, inven­tor Louis Braille, and most recent­ly Pulitzer Prize-win­ning play­wright August Wil­son. In every case, [...]



The Rabbit Listened

  In my cur­rent reg­u­lar sto­ry­time group, I have a lit­tle one who insists he has what­ev­er book I’m read­ing at his house, too. I hold up a book and he jumps in excite­ment. “I have that book at my house!” he says, while his par­ents shake their head behind him. I tease him say­ing, [...]



Knowing Your Past to Make Peace

Shi-Shi-Etkp

Wel­come to Peace-olo­gy. We are two children’s authors team­ing up to review children’s books with peace in mind.  Ellie: The oth­er day, I looked over the shoul­der of my five-year-old to see what he was draw­ing. There was the Ire­land flag on the left, the Nor­way flag on the right, and he was fin­ish­ing the [...]



Norma Gaffron and Her Reading Team
February 2020

Bartholomew and the Oobleck

Nor­ma Gaffron is thrilled to have this chance to share her family’s long tra­di­tion of read­ing aloud. Her chil­dren and grand­chil­dren are now grown, but they took the time dur­ing their Christ­mas Eve cel­e­bra­tion to share a pic­ture book togeth­er. Norma’s son Tim took the pho­tos of Lau­ren (21), Nor­ma (88), and Erik (25) enjoy­ing [...]



Catherine Friend

Catherine Friend

We wel­come author Cather­ine Friend to our Skin­ny Dip col­umn this month. You may know her for her pic­ture books The Per­fect Nest and My Head is Full of Col­ors, or her chap­ter book Barn Boot Blues. You may have thought about becom­ing a farmer after read­ing Hit by a Farm, Sheep­ish, and The Com­pas­sion­ate Car­ni­vore. Per­haps you’re [...]



The Crack in the Door:
How I Came to Write Bones in the White House

Candice Ransom

I’ve been keen on dinosaurs and Ice Age mam­mals my whole life, since I read Roy Chap­man Andrews’ All About Dinosaurs. When I was nine, I added pale­on­tol­o­gist to my string of future occu­pa­tions (writer, artist, bal­let dancer, detec­tive). My love for Jef­fer­son began when we moved to Fred­er­icks­burg in 1996. I was tour­ing James Monroe’s [...]



Lincoln or Jaguar?

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde

Names are one-word poems. I often do tons of research to figure out which name is the best match for the indi­vid­ual I’m invent­ing; it mat­ters that I get it right.



Elizabeth Verdick

Freddy the Detective

When I pic­ture myself as a kid, I think of my bed­room in our split-lev­el West Vir­ginia house, a room I loved but had to leave behind at age eleven when my fam­i­ly moved to Mary­land. For years, that room was my own lit­tle world, my book nook, my place to cud­dle my cat Rag, [...]



Creativity Flourishes

Lynne Jonell

My cre­ativ­i­ty tends to flour­ish when I have a phys­i­cal chal­lenge.



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 [...]



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 [...]



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 [...]



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 [...]



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