Authors & illustrators

"Hand-selling" children's books = engaged readers

The world is addicted to media and technology. Information whether accurate or not speeds from one corner of the globe to the other in a matter of minutes. Got a question? Google it. Want a book or music? Download it. Want to create a reader? Slow down.

Impact of teachers

Like most of us, I enjoy parties. And outdoor parties on glorious sunny days are among the best.

It was on just such a gorgeous day that, with young friend and his mom, I attended a book party to celebrate the publication of Katy Kelly's newest Melonhead (Delacorte) adventure. (To fully appreciate Adam Melon, you'll just have to read these engaging books — ideal for reading aloud to 6-8 year olds, by the way.)

Gotta laugh

I'm in a decidedly unfunny mood today. I suppose I've been reading too many dour books about dystopian futures, dysfunctional families, and vaguely familiar fantasies.

Why, I wonder, isn't there more humor in books for readers of all ages but especially for children? But then of course, humor is a tough thing to pin down especially when an adult looks at what humor appeals to children.

The space between pictures and words

My newly 7 year old niece, now in the 2nd grade, is visiting us this week during her school district's professional days. She's reading like a champ, gobbling down various (and more difficult) chapter books — fiction and nonfiction — with great gusto.

But she reminded me of the joy of picture books and the pleasure in reading them together or independently for readers of all ages. Michaela's imagination soars in the space left between the pictures and the words.

The secrets to success

Some weeks the same topics seem to come up over and over again. Recently for me, it's been talk of an article from The New York Times asking whether failure is really the secret to success.

Inspiration for lifetime learning

This September continues to be an interesting month. It started with a solemn occasion which included new memorials and remembrances for those lost on 9/11. But additionally, there are less serious celebrations and goings-on during the month.

One of my favorites is the National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress. It will be held on the National Mall on September 24 and the 25th — a two-day event this year.

Imagination never stops growing

When I was a child, I had a particularly loyal friend who accompanied me almost everywhere. I don't remember having grown apart from my friend but there came a time when he no longer went everywhere with me. When I now think of Wormy, it's always fondly.

Did my friend (who is virtually impossible to describe beyond his endless fidelity) move away? Well, he might have had he been a person. You see Wormy (a bizarre name, I know, for a non-worm but very steadfast creature) existed only for me just like Ida's Dotty, who comes alive in a book by Erica S. Perl.

Time to get ready for school

If they're not already open, schools everywhere are getting ready for a new year and so are children and their parents.

In addition to buying the supplies needed, a stop at the library or bookstore may be just the thing to help get children really back in the groove.

Books help children prepare for school in lots of ways whether it's their first time or just to remind them of some of the things that they're returning to.

Notable August birthdays

Lots of fine authors and illustrators of books for children have birthdays in August. If you're reading this, then chances are you've come across their books on Reading Rockets.

Inside and outside

I had the chance to spend time with a terrific children's book writer earlier this week. Mary Quattlebaum and I talked about lots of things though our conversations most often came back to children and books.


"A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket." — Chinese Proverb