Illustration of "Brianna's Book Stop" by Jeffrey Duckworth / Book Cover for WHERE DO DIGGERS SLEEP AT NIGHT? (on the bookmobile) by Christian Slade

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good News Day Tuesday: An Interview with Author/Illustrator Joyce Wan (in celebration of her TWO about to be released books!)

Happy Good News Day Tuesday! Today I am so excited to be celebrating with the fantastic author/illustrator Joyce Wan! 

Joyce creates some of the most adorable board books I have ever seen! In fact, she is busy creating lots and lots of amazing books! (Just read the interview to see all that she's working on.) 

And, just like Tina Kugler (the awesome author/ illustrator I interviewed last week), Joyce is also represented by that super-awesome agent, Teresa Kietlinski. :o)

A sketch by author/illustrator Joyce Wan 
Hope you appreciate Joyce's insights into her creative process as much as  I do! Enjoy the interview!:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Keep Reading Fun Day: Why We Love Bedtime Stories (and a list of some of our favorites)!

We love many, many bedtime stories,
is sort of a favorite around here.
Don't know why? ;o)
Yes, I'm a fan of bedtime stories! I think they're awesome (and not just because I wrote one :o) ).

Bedtime stories are such an easy and wonderful way to keep reading fun for young readers.

But a recent study showed that many kids and parents are not cuddling up with bedtime stories on a regular basis (or even at all).  So, for today's "Keep Reading Fun Day", I want to talk about the many benefits of bedtime stories (and to list just a few of our favorites)!:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Go Outside the Rhymes: A Video With J.Patrick Lewis

My published (and soon-to-be-published) picture books are both written in rhyme. And I have published several rhyming poems in magazines as well. But when I was a teacher, I always encouraged my young writers NOT to write in rhyme. This is often good advice for beginning adult writers as well.

Rhyming is hard work. Especially if you want to do it well. And it is important to do it well. (As I have such fun teaching young readers and writers during my "Rhyme Crime Time" workshop where we investigate crimes of rhyme.)

So I absolutely loved this Reading Rockets video with the incredible children's poet, J. Patrick Lewis::


Hope you enjoyed it too!

p.s. Please make sure to visit my critique group's blog, The Paper Wait, for a cover reveal of Robin Constantine's upcoming YA novel, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING! And for a chance to win one of two advanced reader copies! Robin is an amazing author, so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Good News Day Tuesday: An Interview with Author/Illustrator Tina Kugler (in celebration of her TWO upcoming books!)

Happy Good News Day Tuesday! Today I'm so excited to be celebrating with author/illustrator Tina Kugler who has TWO upcoming picture books. Yes, two! Isn't that awesome?

Tina not only has two upcoming picture books. She also has one incredibly awesome agent, Teresa Kietlinski! (Yes, Teresa is my agent too, and Tina and I both agree that she is incredibly awesome. :o) )
written by Leanne Shirtliffe, illustrated by Tina Kugler
(Sky Pony Press Spring/Summer 2014)

Tina was kind enough to do an interview where she shares information about her upcoming books, her illustration process, and the challenges and benefits of collaborating with her husband on a picture book! Hope you enjoy Tina's wonderfully informative and thoughtful answers!:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Keep Reading Fun Day: How Easy Books Can Help Young Readers!

There has been a lot of talk lately about what books are assigned for school reading and what books kids should be reading. A lot of talk got stirred up with this article  For an awesome response to that article read this fantastic blog post.

The basic complaint of the original NPR piece really struck a chord with me. A negative chord. (As it did with many readers. You'll see if you read the comments following the article).

While the piece is talking about high school kids (and I agree with those who debate that many books are often much more complex than a simple analysis of sentence length and word complexity would suggest), there still seems to be a basic assumption in the article that it is good for kids to be reading challenging books (which I agree with) and bad for kids to be reading easy books (which I disagree with).

 This assumption about easy books being a negative exists many other places as well. I often hear people complaining about younger kids' book choices in much the same way.

A child brings a book up to a grown up. "Oh no," says the parent or the teacher. "That one's too easy. Choose something harder." of "for your age." or "at your level."

Now I am a huge fan of pairing kids with "just right books". But "easy books" have a place too. A really important place in my opinion.

Here are just a few ways that easy books can help young readers (and older readers too):

Friday, June 14, 2013

In Honor of Father's Day: Dads and Reading

Father's Day read-aloud on the ferry! 
Just had to share this wonderful article about dads and reading. It really got me thinking and got my husband and I talking. Love the great ideas about how dads can have more fun reading with their kids! And Father's Day seems like a perfect time to get started.

So what is Dad's role in reading in your family?  Are some of the ideas from the article on your family's "to do" list?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Good News Day Tuesday: Interview with Three Authors Who Are in Highlights this Month!

Happy Good News Day Tuesday! After my post yesterday about how wonderful magazines are for beginning readers, I'm so excited to be celebrating with three (yes, three!) authors who are all published this month in magazines published by the Highlights magazine family. Highlights is amazing and these authors are amazing too!

Hope you enjoy this interview with Jeanne Kaufman (JK),  Jody Jensen Shaffer (JJS),and Deborah Holt Williams (DHW)! I'm so excited to be celebrating their good news today. Please enjoy the insights they give into writing for children's magazines!:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Keep Reading Fun Day: Why Magazines are Fantastic for Young Readers!

Yay! It's Monday, or, as I like to call it, "Keep Reading Fun Day"!  And today I'm so excited to talk about something that is super helpful for young readers... magazines!

Around here, we love our subscriptions to Ranger Rick Jr. and Highlights High Five!  And before Ranger Rick Jr,. we loved getting Your Big Backyard and Wild Animal Baby!

And, of course, there are so many other wonderful kids magazines I look forward to subscribing to as my boys get older. (So looking forward to Cobblestone and Cricket and Highlights and  Dig!)

Yes, kids magazines are awesome and they help keep reading fun in soooo many ways. Here are just a few of them:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Good News Tuesday: Interview with Lisa Kahn Schnell, a Debut Nonfiction Author

Profile Picture of Charlesbridge Publishing
So excited to be celebrating Lisa Kahn Schnell,
who just signed a contract with  Charlesbridge!

Happy Good News Day Tuesday! Today I'm so excited to celebrate with Lisa Kahn Schnell who just signed a contract for her first picture book! Congratulations, Lisa!

Lisa was kind enough to agree to do an interview where she shares wonderful information about her book,  her writing process and the unique benefits and challenges of writing nonfiction for kids. (And some wonderful information about horseshoe crabs too! :o) )

Please enjoy Lisa's very thoughtful answers!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Keep Reading Fun Day: Why We Love the Library (and How I Figured Out How to Make Our Library Trips Awesome!)

Yay! It's another Monday/ "Keep Reading Fun Day"! And today I can't wait to write about one of the places in the world that does the most to keep reading fun... the library!

One of the Seattle Public Library's
awesome new options for library cards!
Right now, I am lucky enough to live within a few blocks of the library I went to when I was a child. I remember how excited I was when I was old enough to sign up for my first library card. And I remember the book I checked out week after week. (How I loved "The Shy Little Girl"!)

Now I take my children to the library I used to go to as a five-year-old. It is a pleasure to see them get excited by the treasure trove of books they can check out there. What an incredible resource!

But, now that I am "Mommy," our trips to the library started to come with their own set  of challenges.