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Authors & illustrators

Strong, vivid narratives inspire, in nonfiction, too!

Sid Fleischman was best known for his novels. His fiction often demonstrates a sense of humor and always provides insight into human nature. Fleischman brought his writing skills to several longer biographies (and a memoir).

Reflections on 'A Wrinkle in Time'

The sure sign of a classic is reader response. If adults reread a childhood favorite and it reads well, if it continues to "speak" to new generations of readers, if it feels fresh again and again — well, in my estimation that book is a classic.

Though it was considered an odd book when first published in 1962, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time has become a classic. Readers remember, read, reread, and discuss it.

Red flowers honor and remember

On the 11th hour on the 11th day in the 11th month of 1918, a ceasefire agreement between Allied forces and Germany went into effect. This armistice ended the Great War which was to become known as World War I. Also in 1918 the red poppy became the symbol of remembrance for those who served.

Truth (or is it fact?) in fiction

Can a story about a family of mice be realistic? Can readers empathize with a rodent and her family's history? The answer to both is an emphatic yes.

Point of view in nonfiction picture books

In a recent article, Washington Post columnist Jay Matthews points out there's a battle brewing over the use of fiction or nonfiction in the Common Core standards. He calls it the fiction vs. nonfiction smackdown.

Why a smackdown? The literature of both fact and fiction can engage and educate.

Book-inspired costume ideas

I don't know what to be! Every day my girls have a different idea for their Halloween costume. One year, Anna changed her mind around 5 PM! Thankfully a stocked dress up box meant she could throw something together last minute. That year she went as a … hmmmm … someone wearing crazy mixed-up clothes!?!

An important message: no bullying allowed!

Everyone has been there in real time or vicariously. It sometimes feels like its reached epidemic proportions. There are all kinds of reasons, none of them good. Each incident has numerous victims who come in all sizes and ages.

I'm talking about bullying, of course. And because bullying is so prevalent, October has been designated as National Bullying Prevention Month sponsored by PACER.

Sometimes a week is too short

Sometimes a week is just not long enough. And sometimes a month-long celebration can begin in the middle of the month.

This is true of National Hispanic Heritage Month which begins on September 15 and continues until October 15.

A national celebration

Tents have been growing on the National Mall for a few weeks now. Authors have been visiting local schools and bookstores this week, too. There's excitement building around D.C. — and it has absolutely nothing to do with elections. In fact, this is something that everyone can enjoy!

It's time again for the National Book Festival!

Full STEAM ahead

Have you ever blown off steam? Or maybe you've run out of steam.

I got a new appreciation for the power of STEAM at a recent panel discussion convened by Reading Is Fundamental (aka RIF).

Their newest effort combines quality children's books with art and literacy activities to help adults (educators, families, and the community) to enhance STEM education — science, technology, engineering, math — for young children. The activities are presented in a brief, accessible way for both busy teachers and parents who may not read comfortably.

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"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass