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Knock Knock

Margo Sorenson

Playing Your Troubles Away 

Fan­ta­sy and feel­ing lie deep­er than words…  and both demand a more pro­found, more bio­log­i­cal expres­sion,  the prim­i­tive expres­sion of music.”  (Mau­rice Sendak in “The Shape of Music”) Tied up in knots — nots — er — words? Are sen­tences slith­er­ing past you and para­graphs para­chut­ing from your brain? If so, maybe it’s time to step away from the writ­ing task, or any chore

David LaRochelle

Modern-Day Treasure Hunting 

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 I first start­ed playing,

Aimee Bissonette

Try Something New, Have a Blast! 

A few months ago my daugh­ter, Aliza, came over after an evening out with her work friends. Aliza told us she and her friends had gone to the Min­neapo­lis Boul­der­ing Project or MBP, an indoor climb­ing gym where peo­ple climb “cir­cuits” of up to 17 feet high with­out ropes or har­ness­es. She was so excited

Stephanie Calmenson

Books Are Our Emissaries 

As authors, we send our books out into the world and, if we’re lucky, they con­nect us to good peo­ple whose paths we would­n’t oth­er­wise cross. For 28 years, Din­ner at the Pan­da Palace has been my excel­lent emis­sary.  Din­ner at the Pan­da Palace start­ed as a sim­ple count­ing and sort­ing book with lots of ani­mals and a par­ty atmosphere

Virginia Euwer Wolff: The Guys’ Clubhouse 

I didn’t even ask why I was turn­ing into Hold­en Caulfield. I was fif­teen, a brochure girl for post­war inno­cence. And I was a farm kid, three thou­sand miles away from Holden’s Man­hat­tan; I took vio­lin lessons, rode my bike through orchards, mem­o­rized social stud­ies facts, picked straw­ber­ries to make mon­ey, earned Camp Fire Girl hon­or beads. I also sought the right

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 watch­ing the

David LaRochelle

The Kindness of Teachers 

I loved first grade. Fifty-one years lat­er, I still have vivid mem­o­ries of my teacher, Miss Fol­lett. She played the piano every day. She read to us from her giant book of poet­ry. She showed us pho­tos of her trips to exot­ic places, like Alas­ka and Hawaii. At Hal­loween we screamed in ter­ror and delight when she

Amanda Panda

Art and Words, Words and Art 

Thir­ty years ago, I bought a poster of “Jun­gle Tales” by J.J. Shan­non (1895) at the Met in New York City. I took it to my favorite framer, but when it was ready, I was hor­ri­fied to see they’d cut off Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art, The Children’s Book­shop at the bot­tom, fram­ing just the image.  No one thought the

Mary Casanova

Tiny House, Cozy Cabin 

A few months ago, my hus­band and I sold our home of 30 years and decid­ed to live full-time in our cozy cab­in in the woods. We left behind greater square footage, a quaint and some­times bustling vil­lage on the water­front, and a home with lots of fam­i­ly mem­o­ries. But it was time for a change. Time for more

Marion Dane Bauer

On Growing Older … Old 

Why is “old­er” an accept­able word and “old” almost for­bid­den? To answer my own ques­tion, I sup­pose it’s because we’re all grow­ing old­er, even the four-year-old next door. But old … ah, old smacks of incom­pe­tence, of irrel­e­vance. Even worse, old smacks of that tru­ly obscene-to-our-soci­e­­ty word … death. I am approach­ing my birth­day month. It won’t

Author Candice Ransom

Windward into Revision 

In August 2016, I trav­eled to Vinal­haven Island off the coast of Maine to par­tic­i­pate in a week-long fes­ti­val hon­or­ing for­mer res­i­dent Mar­garet Wise Brown. I gave a talk one evening, and, most fun of all, led a work­shop in which atten­dees penned poet­ry and even a pic­ture book in Margaret’s lyri­cal style. Back home again, I wrote about my island experience

Always the Weather 

(orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten in Octo­ber 2016) Accord­ing to the real estate estab­lish­ment in Steam­boat Springs, Col­orado, there are, on aver­age, 242 days of sun­shine. That is, they claim more shin­ing sun than in Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Los Ange­les. That’s the way it is today: An absolute­ly clear blue sky, with not one cloud. The

Author Candice Ransom

A Working Writer’s Life, Part 2 

[con­tin­ued from Part 1] After sev­er­al months, I real­ized New York didn’t rec­og­nize I was the Next Big Thing. I’d actu­al­ly have to write my sec­ond book and sell it. Tim­ing was on my side. It was the ear­ly 80s, when paper­backs filled mall book­store racks. Series books with new titles each month, priced for kids, were

Author Candice Ransom

A Working Writer’s Life, Part 1 

One Sun­day morn­ing in May, 1970, I sat on the mus­­­tard-col­ored sofa in our liv­ing room with the Spring Children’s Books issue of the Wash­ing­ton Post Book World. I stud­ied the reviews as some­one who intend­ed to have her book reviewed in that pub­li­ca­tion, prefer­ably the Spring 1971 issue. The back page fea­tured an ad for Lothrop,

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