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Catherine Urdahl and Her Reading Team

Go, Grandma, Go!
It’s been a month since I’ve seen my grandchildren, who live five hours away—a month since we’ve snuggled up with our favorite books. For me, a month is a long time.

Constance Van Hoven and Her Extended Reading Team
March 2021

Ranger Rick
I’ll be honest, this installment of Raising Star Readers should be called “Raising Gigi’s Spirits.” The thing I miss most about spending time with my Reading Team is sharing laughter — everything from giggles to rolling-on-the-floor belly laughs.

Ann Angel and Her Reading Team
February 2021

Be Kind
Our Rais­ing Star Read­ers con­trib­u­tor Ann Angel always has a unique take on select­ing books for her Read­ing Team. Here, Ann talks about books that encour­age what she calls “mind­ful­ness moments” — titles that help kids (and adults) slow down and focus dur­ing our cur­rent “wild” times: Our house is home to three gen­er­a­tions. So hus­band Jeff and I live with Ted­dy, a rather ram­bunc­tious five-year-old, and his mom.… more

Anita Dualeh and Her Reading Team
January 2021

Echo Pam Munoz Ryan
Raising Star Readers is grateful to have regular reminders from Anita Dualeh’s Reading Team that reading aloud isn’t an activity reserved only for families with small children. Instead, sharing and talking about books as you read them aloud together is something a family can grow into ...

Constance Van Hoven and Her Reading Team
December 2020

Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman
As we bring this year-like-no-oth­er to a close, Rais­ing Star Read­ers con­trib­u­tor Con­stance Van Hov­en shares a reflec­tion on the pow­er that books hold to con­nect us in so many ways: across time, across space, and across gen­er­a­tions. Here is Connie’s mov­ing reminder that “’tis the sea­son for Read­ing Team angels”: Here’s my read­ing team ready to head out­doors.
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Catherine Urdahl and Her Reading Team
December 2020

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Rais­ing Star Read­ers is delight­ed to intro­duce a new Read­ing Team, this one led by children’s book author Cather­ine Urdahl. Here, Cather­ine shares some heart­warm­ing read­ing moments, with enough book-love and remem­bered sum­mer sun­shine to take the chill out of the cold­est of Decem­ber winds:
Juni and Catherine I read to my daugh­ters from the time they were infants, and now I have the joy of read­ing to my two-year-old grand­daugh­ter Juni and my new grand­son Col­by.
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Constance Van Hoven and Her Reading Team
November 2020

Small Walt Spots Dot
Despite the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic and a way-too-long phys­i­cal sep­a­ra­tion from her Read­ing Team, Con­nie Van Hov­en has con­tin­ued to find cre­ative ways for them to enjoy books togeth­er. Here, Con­nie describes some of the tac­tics she’s using — includ­ing tech­nol­o­gy and canine love — to assist her in Rais­ing Star Readers: My Read­ing Team is going to the dogs!more

Deb Andries and Her Reading Team
November 2020

Dancing Hands
Rais­ing Star Read­ers is delight­ed to drop in again on Deb Andries and her Read­ing Team as they cel­e­brate diverse new offer­ings from Deb’s local library. Here’s how Deb describes the books that are help­ing to bring her joy: Read­ing remains a joy. Read­ing remains a trea­sured moment and a teach­able moment. Read­ing is shared. Joy­ful read­ing occurs when the twins, Myles and Hayes, now 14 months, make every attempt to “sit” and “eat” the book!
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Anita Dualeh and Her Reading Team
October 2020

Yellow Elephant
It’s always fun to catch up with one of our Read­ing Teams and see what titles have become new favorites for them. This month, how­ev­er, Ani­ta Dualeh and her sons are revis­it­ing OLD favorites: pic­ture books that were once beloved by Anita’s boys, but that they have now out­grown at ages 10 and 12. Below, Ani­ta describes what hap­pens when her Read­ing Team reex­am­ines these child­hood favorites through their more “grown-up” eyes: One evening a few months ago, I came down to our office to find my son Adam fin­ish­ing up The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.… more

Brenda Sederberg and Her Reading Team
October 2020

On the Day You Were Born
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

Ann Angel and Her Reading Team
September 2020

Soar High, Dragonfly
As our Rais­ing Star Read­ers col­umn kicks off anoth­er school year, edu­ca­tors and care­givers both con­tin­ue to face the kind of chal­lenges few of us could have imag­ined last fall. Here, Ann Angel describes how her Read­ing Team is coun­ter­ing the “pan­dem­ic bub­ble” by adding non­fic­tion books to their list of favorite reads:  Hey there, par­ent or grand­par­ent, raise your hand if you’re a pan­dem­ic teacher.… more

Road Scholar

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
I once had an “aha” moment while giv­ing my nephew a ride on a beau­ti­ful sum­mer day. He was in that ear­ly stage of ado­les­cence: old enough to sit in the front seat, but young enough that rid­ing shot­gun was excit­ing. But dur­ing this ride, he was giv­ing off strange sig­nals. He twitched. He wig­gled. He squirmed. When we pulled up to a red light, I turned to look at him.… more

Rev Their Engines

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
Some­times, despite cram­ming plen­ty of action and conflict into my writ­ing, it still falls flat. I want the words to leap off the page and grab read­ers by the throat, and instead they flop around gasp­ing for breath. For­tu­nate­ly, there’s a straight­for­ward revi­sion trick that can reju­ve­nate such writ­ing: a verb check. I start by going through the piece and under­lin­ing or high­light­ing every verb.… more

Ann Angel and Her Reading Team
May 2020

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
In this Rais­ing Star Read­ers update, Ann Angel shares how read­ing aloud helps car­ry on her family’s her­itage of sto­ry­telling. Here’s how Ann describes it:  With Stay-at-Home a require­ment in most states, mine includ­ed, I only see some of my grand­kids via Skype and Zoom. But I have a daugh­ter and grand­son liv­ing with us. That means we’re bal­anc­ing work and Teddy’s school, so, of course, I get involved.… more

Where She Went

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
I love book spine poet­ry, and it’s a great way to get young writ­ers to engage with both books and poet­ry-writ­ing. Check out your own shelves and see what sto­ries emerge. Here are some of my own efforts to show you how easy it can be. Where She Went Look­ing for Alaska 
Chas­ing Vermeer 
Track­ing dad­dy down 
Look­ing for Alibrandi
In search of Mockingbird
Where the kiss­ing nev­er stops Reality check Real­i­ty check:
Don’t you know there’s a war on?… more

Deb Andries and Her Reading Team
April 2019

The Gingerbread Baby
We’re espe­cial­ly delight­ed to cel­e­brate with Deb Andries (a.k.a. Gram­my) this month as she launch­es her newest Read­ing Team. Here’s how Deb describes the experience: My heart has always felt this “explo­sion of love” when we’ve wel­comed a grand­child into our fam­i­ly. I vivid­ly remem­ber when our grand­son Park­er, now 14, was born, and the pure and ele­vat­ed joy I felt.… more

Anita Dualeh and Her Reading Team
April 2020

Home of the Brave
In this addi­tion to Rais­ing Star Read­ers, we check in again on Ani­ta Dualeh and her Read­ing Team. Along with many of us, they’re using books as a dis­trac­tion and a con­so­la­tion while liv­ing with the mas­sive changes brought about by the threat of COVID-19. Here’s how Ani­ta describes this shared moment of history-in-the-making: In the past month, my kids haven’t had much for­mal school­ing.… more

Constance Van Hoven and Her Reading Team
March 2020

Still Stuck
In this addi­tion to Rais­ing Star Read­ers, we check in again on a Read­ing Team that morphs each time we meet them (depend­ing on who’s will­ing to sit still long enough!). This time around, Con­nie (Gigi to her grand­chil­dren), is cel­e­brat­ing a read­ing mile­stone that will res­onate with every book lover. Here’s how Con­nie describes it: I brought along sev­er­al book choic­es on a recent Col­orado vis­it to my Read­ing Team: Priya (3 years) and Nikhil (15 months).… more

Driving a Compact

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
In my town, par­al­lel park­ing was known as the “skill most like­ly to rat­tle” new dri­ving can­di­dates and ulti­mate­ly cause them to flunk their on-road dri­ving test. Luck­i­ly for me, I was assigned a gigan­tic pick­up truck the day we prac­ticed par­al­lel park­ing in the stu­dent lot for Driver’s Ed class. By the time class was over, I could have wedged the Titan­ic between ice­bergs and come out safe­ly on the oth­er side (as long as the ice­bergs had high­ly vis­i­ble orange safe­ty cones stick­ing up out of the water).… more

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 Tues­day by David Wies­ner.… more

Ann Angel and Her Reading Team
January 2020

Wherever You Go
Rais­ing Star Read­ers rel­ish­es this chance to catch up with Ann Angel and her multi­gen­er­a­tional Read­ing Team. For this entry, Ann was espe­cial­ly focused on how the words and visu­al art in pic­ture books lead kids to think and to dream. Here’s how Ann describes it: Long before I had kids and grand­kids, I thought I’d grow up to be a visu­al artist.… more

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 read­ing aloud is equal­ly impor­tant, and for every age.… more

Overdrive

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 that imprison the love­ly appari­tion to reveal it to the oth­er eyes as mine see it.… more

Ann Angel and Her Reading Team
October 2019

Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree
Rais­ing Star Read­ers is delight­ed to intro­duce a new Read­ing Team cen­tered around YA author and Wis­con­sin res­i­dent Ann Angel. Ann says: “One of my great­est plea­sures as a grand­par­ent is shar­ing a book with my grand­kids that was a favorite with my kids when they were grow­ing up. Anoth­er great plea­sure is see­ing my grown kids pull out a book they loved and read to it their chil­dren with the knowl­edge that they’re shar­ing a great love of sto­ry and reading.… more

Constance Van Hoven and Her Reading Team
October 2019

The Stuff of Stars
This addi­tion to Rais­ing Star Read­ers fea­tures the theme “If you read it, they will come.” As Con­nie (Gigi to her grand­chil­dren) explains: “Our read­ing team hit a bump in the road! On a recent trip to Col­orado, I intro­duced the pic­ture book Grumpy Mon­key (writ­ten by Suzanne Lang and illus­trat­ed by Max Lang) to Priya (now 2½) and Nikhil (now 10 months).… more

Brenda Sederberg and Her Reading Team
September 2019

Bookol­o­gy read­ers first met Bren­da Sederberg’s Read­ing Team part­ner Sylvie when she was only two days old. At that time the two were shar­ing one of their very first read-alouds. Now Gram and Sylvie have had the chance to share a whole won­der­ful year of read­ing together! To cel­e­brate Sylvie’s first birth­day, Bren­da is high­light­ing the three books that have become Sylvie’s favorites over that spe­cial year.… more

Deb Andries and Her Off-to-School Reading Team
September 2019

The Day You Begiin
Start­ing kinder­garten is a spe­cial time, and it’s real­ly spe­cial when you get to read books with Gram­my to get you ready! For this addi­tion to our Rais­ing Star Read­ers fea­ture, we’re delight­ed to once again be show­cas­ing Deb Andries, a Nation­al Lit­er­a­cy Con­sul­tant who lives in Wis­con­sin, and two of her grand­chil­dren, who are both start­ing kinder­garten this fall.… more

Travel-Sized

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
Some­thing that has always stuck with me from pio­neer tales is the images of the keep­sakes and oth­er non-manda­to­ry items pio­neer fam­i­lies often had to dis­card on the trail as the trip became hard­er and the oxen grew weary of pulling the over­loaded wagons. This is just one of the rea­sons on the very long list of why I would have made the world’s worst pio­neer — I can’t pack for a week­end with­out schlep­ping along half my house­hold goods.… more

Deb Andries and Her Reading Teams
May 2019

Guess How Much I Love You
For this addi­tion to our Rais­ing Star Read­ers fea­ture, we’re delight­ed to once again be show­cas­ing Deb Andries, a Nation­al Lit­er­a­cy Con­sul­tant who lives in Wis­con­sin, and her grand­chil­dren: Fin­ley and Grayson, who live in Cum­ber­land, Wis­con­sin, and Emmer­syn, who lives in Sartell, Min­neso­ta. Gram­my and her Read­ing Teams recent­ly shared Guess How Much I Love You, writ­ten by Sam McBrat­ney and illus­trat­ed by Ani­ta Jer­am, while enjoy­ing mile­stone read-togeth­ers dur­ing their Mother’s Day celebrations.… more

Possible Detours

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
Once, in one of my (not uncom­mon) moments of think­ing that I could no longer han­dle the finan­cial uncer­tain­ty of the children’s book writ­ing life, I read a book that pur­port­ed to match cre­ative peo­ple to poten­tial career pur­suits. I read the advice, filled out the quizzes, and final­ly received my assigned “type.” With great antic­i­pa­tion I turned to the sec­tion at the back of the book where pos­si­ble career paths were list­ed by type.… more

Headlights

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
Recent­ly, I’ve been think­ing back on a time when my focus was riv­et­ed on help­ing to care for a fam­i­ly mem­ber who was deal­ing with seri­ous med­ical issues. It’s been stress­ful to have this large “life moment” dis­rupt my nor­mal rou­tine, but it also brings with it a cer­tain kind of clar­i­ty. It’s kind of like dri­ving at night on a coun­try road, when the only thing you see clear­ly is what is illu­mi­nat­ed by your head­light beams; you’re aware of the shad­owy shapes of oth­er objects flash­ing by along the road­side, but the illu­mi­nat­ed area in front of you is what gets your pri­ma­ry attention.… more

Watching for the Brown Truck

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
A few years back, I had one fright­en­ing week. I had my head down, work­ing hard, when I heard a com­mo­tion out­side. I got up to look out my front win­dow and saw the SWAT team march­ing towards my house, car­ry­ing guns and wear­ing bul­let-proof vests. Once the sound of the news heli­copters alert­ed me to turn on the TV, I found out what was going on: there had been a work­place shoot­ing in my nor­mal­ly qui­et neigh­bor­hood, and at first law enforce­ment thought the gun­man might be on the loose.… more

Emergency Car Kit

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
When I was a kid grow­ing up in the north woods of Min­neso­ta, a group of my neigh­bor­hood friends had a “Chip­munk Fort.” It was con­struct­ed out of a pile of old fenc­ing mate­ri­als in my friend Paul’s back­yard; each kid had their own “house” in the fort. We spent some time col­lect­ing pret­ty rocks and odd­ly shaped sticks and soft clumps of moss to dec­o­rate our hous­es.… more

Constance Van Hoven and Her Reading Team
February 2019

The Stuff of Stars
For this addi­tion to our Rais­ing Star Read­ers fea­ture, we’re delight­ed to be show­cas­ing anoth­er new Star Read­er: Baby Nikhil was just 2 months old when he joined the Read­ing Team that also includes his grand­moth­er Con­stance Van Hov­en (Con­nie) and his big sis­ter Priya (2). The team was cel­e­brat­ing Connie’s first oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet her new grand­son, who lives with his fam­i­ly in Colorado.… more

Brenda Sederberg and Her Reading Team
February 2019

The Stuff of Stars
For this addi­tion to our new Rais­ing Star Read­ers fea­ture, we’re hon­ored to be show­cas­ing a brand-new Star Read­er: Baby Sylvie was only two days old when this pho­to was tak­en! She’s pic­tured with Gram (Bren­da Seder­berg), as the two of them share Debra Frasier’s clas­sic pic­ture book On the Day You Were Born at Sylvie’s home in Duluth, Min­neso­ta.… more

Deb Andries and Her Reading Teams
January 2019

The Stuff of Stars
We’re delight­ed to fea­ture Bookol­o­gy fol­low­er Deb Andries and her grand­chil­dren to kick off our new Rais­ing Star Read­ers col­umn! The column’s goal is to show­case dif­fer­ent Read­ing Teams as they read togeth­er dur­ing mile­stone celebrations. Deb, a.k.a. “Gram­my,” was able to enjoy two mile­stone read-togeth­ers to kick off her Christ­mas sea­son. In the pho­to above, Gram­my shares The Polar Express, by Chris Van Alls­burg, with grand­sons Grayson (5) and Fin­ley (3) in Wis­con­sin.… more

In the Driver’s Seat

Lisa Bullard. Photo by Katherine Warde
To be able to learn how to get some­where, I have to dri­ve the route myself. Rid­ing shot­gun doesn’t work if I’m try­ing to mem­o­rize the route; some­how the feel­ing of the nec­es­sary twists and turns has to seep up through the steer­ing wheel and into the pores of my hands for me to be able to reli­ably retain it.… more