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Knock Knock

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,

Knowing My Own Mind 

There are times when I don’t know my own mind. Worse, there are times when I think I know my mind per­fect­ly well and then find an entire­ly dif­fer­ent mind on a lat­er vis­it to my opin­ions. Which feels almost as though I have no mind at all. Some time ago one of my favorite writ­ers came out with a new novel.

Mary Casanova

Babies and Puppies 

What, real­ly, can be more life-affir­m­ing than a beau­ti­ful baby or cud­dly pup­pies? On June 26th, both arrived in our lives. One baby — our first grand­child, Olivia — born to our son and Kore­an daugh­­­ter-in-law. We received the news via Face­Time from Seoul, South Korea. Though they had Broad­way relat­ed jobs in NYC, they opt­ed to move to Korea

Behind the Poem, “What She Asked” 

Lis­ten to Vir­gini­a’s poem, “What She Asked,” on Poet­ry Mosa­ic, the April 7th entry, and then read her descrip­tion of the real-life event behind the poem. In a rur­al Ore­gon high school where I taught Eng­lish more than 20 years ago, we had big teach­ing areas sep­a­rat­ed by screen-wall things, but they came nowhere near reach­ing the high

In Draft 

He was always chas­ing the next draft of him­self.”  Amer­i­can crit­ic Dwight Gar­ner, in the New York Times Book Review on Feb­ru­ary 16 of this year, was describ­ing the child­hood of Hen­ry James. An expand­able list comes to mind, some of our mem­o­rable fig­ures mov­ing toward the next draft of them­selves: Anne Shirley, Hold­en Caulfield, Jo

My Work-Study Internship 

The first col­lege I attend­ed was Anti­och Col­lege in Yel­low Springs, Ohio. It had a work-study cur­ricu­lum in which half your year was spent work­ing off-cam­­­pus on some job relat­ing to your pro­fes­sion­al aspi­ra­tions. At that time, being inter­est­ed in the the­atre, I was offered and took a job at a Cleve­land tele­vi­sion sta­tion. A few days before the job began

Mary Casanova

Below the Surface 

Our park ranger, Earl, which is pro­nounced in three syl­la­bles in south-cen­­­tral Ken­tucky, asks one last time to recon­sid­er this jour­ney if any­one suf­fers from a bad heart, high blood pres­sure, or claus­tro­pho­bia. He waits at the steel door at the base of a sinkhole.

Author Candice Ransom

Borrowed Magic”

Thir­teen years.  The project I began in 2003 has had that many birth­days.  It occu­pies two large crates in my office.  It has dom­i­nat­ed my life, involv­ing trav­el, research, read­ing.  It has spawned four ver­sions, each drag­ging mul­ti­ple drafts.  Rejec­tions span ten years. Nobody, it seems, wants this book.  “Kids won’t be inter­est­ed.”  The sub­ject, Mar­garet Wise

The Birthday Surprise 

I had pret­ty much giv­en up on find­ing an appro­pri­ate gift for my dad’s 82nd birth­day; the last thing he need­ed was more stuff. So I head­ed off to the fam­i­ly lake cab­in for the 4th of July hol­i­day (also his birth­day week­end) with the thought that I’d fig­ure out a clever cel­e­bra­to­ry idea at the last

Saying “Yes!”

Though I’m reluc­tant to admit it, some of the most reward­ing moments of my career have come when I’ve stepped out of my com­fort zone and attempt­ed things I didn’t think I could do: write for teenagers, illus­trate a book with tricky paper engi­neer­ing, tack­le nonfiction. 

Our Collapsing World 

The func­tion of sto­ry — all sto­ry — is to make mean­ing. And mean­ing that we make for chil­dren lasts.

Old 

That’s your Great-Grand­­­fa­ther Who Lost His Arm in the Bat­tle of the Wilder­ness.” That was his name. In a big gold gilt-framed pho­to: a dis­­­t­in­guished-look­ing, white-haired, mus­tached gen­tle­man high above the upright piano in my grandmother’s music room. 

Heather Vogel Frederick

Laughing All the Way 

I fin­ished read­ing The Road to Lit­tle Drib­bling over a week ago, and I’m still laugh­ing. I’m a suck­er for a fun­ny sto­ry, and Bill Bryson has pro­vid­ed me with a steady stream of them since I first dis­cov­ered him in Gran­ta mag­a­zine back in the ’80s. I couldn’t get enough of his wise­crack­ing tales about grow­ing up in Des Moines,

Melissa Stewart

Look at how we’re teaching nonfiction! 

As anoth­er school year winds to a close, I’m feel­ing encour­aged about the state of non­fic­tion read­ing and writ­ing in ele­men­tary class­rooms across the coun­try. In 2010, when the Com­mon Core State Stan­dards were intro­duced, edu­ca­tors began ask­ing me for ideas and strate­gies for imple­ment­ing the Read­ing Infor­ma­tion­al Text stan­dards. And they were hun­gry for tips

Wolf Sighting 

It is not often that I get a call such as I just did. The call came Lar­ry McCoy, who holds a doc­tor­ate in the­ol­o­gy, and teach­es phi­los­o­phy at the Steam­boat, Col­orado Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege. He also builds log hous­es and has a dog named “Helen.” That’s the way folks are here in Routt Coun­ty.  He is one of our near

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