Menu

Authors & illustrators

A birthday of note

Forty is a milestone for anyone, but it's especially impressive for a something that started out small, grew with each morsel consumed, went away for a while, and emerged to fly.

As you've probably guessed, it's the small green, very hungry, and ever-popular caterpillar, of course.

Newbery or not? That is the question

The Newbery Medal has been awarded once again. This year, it was given to Neil Gaiman for The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 2008), a deliciously creepy book about a boy brought up by ghosts after his parents' murder. (Clearly this is not a bedtime tale for the young or faint-hearted.)

The book meets the specified criteria used by the Newbery Committee in order to identify the "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in English in the United States during the preceding year."

This year's winners

It was exciting to be in the audience at the press conference at the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association where this year's "Youth Media Awards" were announced.

How writers write

Lately I've been spending lots of time in my car. This week while driving around I was fortunate enough to hear two children's authors talk about their craft and what writing means to them. I love to discover how authors write, what inspires them, and how hard they work at their craft.

My 8-year-old wants an iPod

My husband loves music; there's always something on in our house. His enthusiasm is contagious, and Molly has announced that "her own iPod" is on the top of her Christmas list. Which she's started. In September.

I'll admit I'm not crazy about the idea. I envision her wearing her ear buds all the time, tuning us out. She's promised she won't do that, and that she'll still talk to us! Even at dinner time!

Favorite classroom read alouds

A friend and I were talking yesterday about the chapter books we used to love reading aloud to our second grade classes. We both have vivid memories of hot and sweaty kids coming in from recess, settling into their desks and our reading aloud for 10, 15 or 20 minutes (!) with the class begging for more chapters.

Pen pals, old school style

On the last day of school, Anna came home with a stamped envelope from her kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Z had offered to be pen pals over the summer with kids from her class. By 4:00 that day (the last day of school, after getting home at 3:00), Anna had written her first pen pal letter.

The Rats of NIMH: THAT'S how people learn to read?

Our current family read aloud is the classic book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. We've just gotten to the Toy Tinker chapter, so don't tell me what happens! The girls are dying to come home from school today and hear more; my husband pleaded that we wait until he gets home so he can listen too.

Spring break reading

We're on spring break this week, but I thought I'd share a few of the books we'll be reading together during our road trip. I've blogged before about some of the terrific read alouds we have read, and my criteria for choosing them. The same ones apply for this list too.

Half Magic is the book I'm the most excited about. It sounds like a fun adventure with wonderful characters. I'm hoping the girls love it!

Do as I say, not as I do

I heard that expression for the first time when my mom was teaching me to drive. She has a bit of a lead foot, and had gotten a spate of speeding tickets when I was a teenager. The new driver that I was, I stepped on the gas to reach the speed limit as quickly as possible. She turned to me and said, "Do as I say, not as I do, especially when it comes to driving!"

I find myself using that same expression these days as I talk to parents about reading to their kids: Do as I say, not as I do. Yes, it's true...I haven't been reading to my girls.

Pages

"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo