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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Recent Articles

Phuoc Thi Minh Tran Teach It Forward Writing Road Trip | Curves Ahead | by Lisa Bullard Reading Ahead Summer Reading Red Reading Boots Becky Kruger Red Reading Boots Waiting 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

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 [...]


I had the pleasure this past weekend of accompanying an energetic eight-year-old boy down Washington Avenue on the University of Minnesota campus. We were on foot—his feet faster than the rest in our party, but we easily caught up at each of the pedestrian intersections because he stopped at the light at each and every [...]

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 [...]

Pomelo Books

What do a university professor from Dallas and a lawyer from Princeton have in common? Both are passionate about poetry, specifically, poetry in the classroom for everyone, everyday, and about anything, even algebra. Sylvia Vardell, professor and author of educational books for teachers, and Janet Wong, lawyer and author of several dozen books for children, combined [...]

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 [...]