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Authors & illustrators

What's a picture worth?

What goes into creating an illustration, especially for informational picture books? How do illustrations work with text? And if it's a book of science or social studies — or any other topic, really — how do readers know that the illustrations accurately represent what they are supposed to?

Company on a snowy day

Blizzard [bliz-erd; a long, severe storm; often pleases children]

Stuck inside [stuhk in-sahyd; often bores children; frequently concerns parents and other adults]

If this is something that you confront, you may want to make sure that you've got some company, things to talk about, ideas that may be just plain fun. You may want to start with these books.

Kate DiCamillo's characters could possibly change the world!

When I think back to the positively LOVABLE characters that I truly adore discovering with my kiddos each year, here are the names that come to mind: Winn-Dixie. Edward Tulane. Despereaux. Mercy Watson. The true loves of our classroom life! That's the funny thing about teaching character analysis, our kids have already come to love these characters that they hold so dear to their hearts.

Winning books

Once again at the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association, the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals have been announced. Some of my favorites of the year are among the 2013 winners.

Fit for a President

It happens every four years. There's an increase in visitors, heightened activity, lots of temporary structures being built in the nation's capital. Regardless of the weather, regardless of the political chatter, there's a Presidential Inauguration to prepare for.

A new year

A new year is about to begin. It's a fine time to think about sharing with family and friends old and new. And what better to share than a good story? Readers may find a new friend or come across an old buddy.

A simple tradition to bring some comfort

Our hearts are heavy during this time for our neighbors in Connecticut. During tough times, I find comfort in returning to simple pleasures and traditions. This is our third year for "a book on every bed," and it's a tradition that I love, and one part of my shopping that I actually look forward to!

Slow down with a book

The media reminds us constantly that this is the most wonderful time of the year. Children — and adults — pick up the message often becoming overstimulated.

How can parents and teachers help children slow down (and maybe even themselves)? Sometimes all it takes is a good book and maybe a shared laugh.

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.

Pages

"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio