Last week I zoom-visited a kindergarten class to read my own picture book. The class was terrific and at the end we had a time for Q & A. They are working on the difference between asking a question and “sharing.” It’s an important and difficult skill.
One little girl, who might’ve been a stringer for the New York Times, or perhaps an after-school prosecutor, so mature and earnest in her questioning was she, asked to see “the very first page of the book.”… more
I’ve received a wonderful early Christmas gift this year — two new regular storytimes to conduct. Both interested in the season’s books — and do I have Christmas books to share!
The only downside — and I can live with it — is that it’s via the technologies with which we see people these days. I’m so grateful for the Zooms, the FaceTimes, the Facebook Lives…it’s the only way to safely see folks and it makes things like storytime possible.… more
On Halloween morning, Pooh Bear came for a visit on our porch. There was coffee for her parents and hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles for her, as well as a round of pastries for all. A lovely morning, however distanced and masked we had to remain.
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 of you who also don’t understand this — though I recognize I’m likely part of a diminishing group of people — a Netflix Party is a new feature of Netflix in which Netflix synchronizes your video watching on your separate devices in your separate places and adds a group chat to the screen.… more
Today, the day I am writing this column, has been a long one. It started with a 4 a.m. alarm. It is the day Darling Daughter moves to college. In Boston. Which is far from Minnesota and so necessitates a plane ride. During a pandemic. Alone, as her university is not allowing parents on campus during this challenging time.… more
I’ve been waiting for Elizabeth Stickney and Gary D. Schmidt’s Almost Time for quite awhile. Seems appropriate — it’s a book about waiting, after all. I read very early drafts of it years ago, so long ago that I can hardly recall details — only that it’s about the making of maple syrup. What I discovered upon reading it in published form is that in addition to being about the making of maple syrup, this book is also about the solace found in waiting and working together.… more
I’ve had the great joy these last few weeks of pulling together “distanced” storytimes for a few families who could use a half hour of sitting on the couch and letting someone else entertain and interact with the kids. This has been a stretch for me. Though I’m grateful for all of the apps and platforms that allow us to see and talk virtually — during this time, especially — I would not choose to do storytime this way.… more
In my current regular storytime group, I have a little one who insists he has whatever book I’m reading at his house, too. I hold up a book and he jumps in excitement. “I have that book at my house!” he says, while his parents shake their head behind him. I tease him saying, “We must have exactly the same bookshelves.”… more
I realized (again) over the winter holidays this year that much of holiday frivolity centers on food. I’d have it no other way, myself, but I must say that after a couple/few weeks of eating grand meals, too many sweets, and grabbing tea/coffee more often than usual, I crave simplicity when I sit down for lunch in the middle of a writing day.… more
“Hey! Unto you a child is born!”
I think of this line each and every Christmas Eve when the Christmas story according to Luke’s Gospel is read. If I’m the one doing the reading, and you were to pay close attention, you’d probably notice that I have to take a nano-second pause so as to drop the “Hey!”… more
In my storytime bag this past month I’ve been carrying The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I don’t always use it, but I like having it with me — I know it will always work. When I pull this book out of the bag, there are smiles, clapping sometimes, and always a chorus of “I have that book!”… more
I’ve been on the storytime circuit this last month as I have a new picture book of my very own. Readers of this column know how much I adore storytime, so wherever I’ve gone to read my book, I’ve asked if I can do a whole storytime, the better to read other picture books, as well.… more
Many momentous things have gone down in our house this summer. #1 Son graduated from college in May, is gainfully employed (locally!) as a software engineer, and has recently moved to an apartment. Darling Daughter started her senior year of high school last week and is busy working on college applications. It makes me a little light headed to think of it.… more
It had been one of those news days…. Actually, there had been a string of such news days — hate-filled headlines, bombastic egos, dangerous threats. The world seemed extra prickly and dangerous. It’s at these times that I especially like reading with kids. Fortunately, I had a reading gig all lined up at an elementary school — it was the week leading up to Read Across America.… more
Last week I was a teacher-presenter at a young authors and artists conference for a couple of days. Tremendous fun — the kids who come to these things want to be there and want to learn. They’re readers, writers, artists! They are an engaged, engaging, and exuberant lot, which I enjoy immensely.
I taught six sessions on bringing conflict to your stories — “Making It Even Worse” was the title of my session.… more
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