Curiouser and Curiouser
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 [...]
I live and work in a train community and often use trains as an analogy when I talk about storytime. Like a train, storytime offers an audience a chance to hop on board to experience a new world with characters. The characters of a story can help us understand some of the experiences the children [...]
Okay, so it's true. You can't write ALL the time.
Author Gennifer Choldenko contributes this recipe, which is just right for autumn, Halloween, or curling up with a good book. Have you read her Orphan Eleven yet? It's nummy, too. Honey Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls ½ cup honey 3 T peanut butter 2 T water 4 T butter 12 cups popcorn 1 cup salted mixed nuts [...]
Once I finished reading Yasmin the Zookeeper, I was charmed. I wanted to find out more about this young Pakistani American girl who is curious about everything.
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 [...]
Red Reading Boots
I sent the email as a joke, really. Netflix sent me the announcement that the much anticipated Enola Holmes movie would premier on the upcoming Wednesday, and so I sent our (grown-up) kids an email with words I certainly never thought I’d utter and don’t really understand: We should have a Netflix Party! (For those [...]
Modern day children’s books riddled with negative stereotypes of age? Sadly yes, they are all too easy to find.
On my “final” draft of Bones in the White House: Thomas Jefferson’s Mammoth, I drew a line of little mastodons trooping across the bottom of the manuscript pages. Each animal bore a date that matched a sidebar fact or referenced the main text. I thought this was a clever way to remind readers of the [...]
Living from a Place of Inner Peace Ellie: Michael Hall’s Red: A Crayon’s Story is the tale of a blue crayon with a red label. The crayon was not very good at being red. He couldn’t draw strawberries or work with yellow to draw an orange. Everyone tried to help. Even scissors and sharpeners made [...]
Raising Star Readers
Raising Star Readers is delighted to hear that Brenda Sederberg’s Reading Team has added to its membership: welcome, Baby Phoebe! Brenda is also focusing on adding something else—she is expanding on the list of her Team’s old favorites by intentionally looking for books that are diverse and inclusive
Big Green Pocketbook
My first inkling there was a thing called children’s literature came at a yard sale. I picked up a thick green textbook, Children’s Literature in the Elementary School, by Charlotte S. Huck. I marveled at the idea that people discussed and studied the books I loved and planned to write, that children’s books were literature, [...]
I said "NO" again this week ...
Our collection of cookbooks is vast. Some of them are in use more than others, and some of them are in rough shape from too much use. I'm always on the lookout for good cookbooks that will encourage young people to cook and to read about cooking, just as I did with the gift of [...]
When We Reach Them
As teachers and writers, we all love words. Wouldn't we love to be able to infuse that same love into each and every one of our students! Teaching English to middle schoolers and high schoolers for years gave me plenty of opportunities to try out different ways of attempting to kindle enthusiasm in my students [...]
If any good has come from the quarantine of 2020, it’s made me a heavy library user—my personal library, that is, since the public libraries are closed. I found this book in a dresser drawer. (When I redid my office, I didn’t want the clutter of bookcases, instead opting for vintage dressers and armoires—lovely to [...]
Two for the Show
This month we want to celebrate the work of John Steptoe, brilliant artist and writer, who was born on September 14, 1950. His work is a year-round birthday present to all of us.
Caldecott Lines of Connection
The typical post-World War II nuclear family was sidelined during the political and societal turmoil of the 1960s. Due to divorce, remarriage, and blended families, the 21st century has seen an increasing number of grandparents involved in their grandchildren's lives. To celebrate Grandparents Day in September, this article examines the portrayal of grandparents and great-grandparents in [...]
Small Press Medley
I am enchanted … with the fresh, delightful, and imaginative books published by this independent publisher. Their doors opened in 2003 and even during these tumultuous times, their doors have stayed open and their vision has stayed strong. Enchanted Lion Books come from a diversity of sources and voices that have been under-represented, translated books from other [...]
Quirky Book Lists
Blue is beloved for the awesome beauty of its various shades on display in the natural world, and for the feelings of calmness, security, loyalty, and friendliness, it evokes. So, without further ado: a collection of ten lovely and compelling books, plus one, that celebrate blue.
Who the next U.S.A. president will be is pre-occupying many minds around the world right now. This book takes a stance by telling us about the distinctive presidents of the past, a couple of sentences about every one of them, #1 through #45, and asks us to realize that the next ten presidents are probably [...]
Researching in nonfiction isn’t much different. You run into many dead ends. But the key may be in knowing when to find a different route and when to change up your purpose. Is the story important and viable? Then I believe there are ways to work around those dead ends and get the car moving [...]