Friday, January 29, 2010

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day.

Here are some of the Picture Books in rhyme that are popular with my teachers, parents and students:

"Millions of Snowflakes" written by Mary McKenna Siddals, illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles -- a celebration of winter.

"Is Your Mama a Llama?" written by Deborah Guarino, illustrated by Steven Kellogg -- a favorite read-aloud.

"Hilda Must Be Dancing" written by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Suzanne Watts -- 2008-2009 CYRM nominee.

"Bats at the Beach" written and illustrated by Brain Lies -- another 2008-2009 CYRM nominee last year.

Friday's Famous First: Can you identify the title and author or this first line?

"Give me a push, Beast," Emily called to her friend Richard Best.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's Writer's Wednesday

Last week I wrote about the circumstances that surround the ways in which I write. For more on modes of writing check out the great interview with author and illustrator Warren Hanson over at CYNSATIONS -- the blog by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Monday, January 25, 2010

Are you looking for a book?
There are a wide variety of reading lists available. Consider looking for a selection of books related to your personal interests. For example, the property where I live is A National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat so I took a look at The NWF Grab Bag of Books.

Friday's Famous First:
"It was in May, 1918, that a new friend and companion came into my life: a character, a personality, and a ring-tailed wonder." Newbery Honor book - Rascal by Sterling North.

Friday, January 22, 2010

This week's Poetry Friday Round Up is at Liz Scanlon's Liz in Ink.

For all of you out there who are involved in children's literacy as teachers, librarians, parents, etc. check out the January 20th article Make It Easy for New Readers to Succeed over at Reading Tub.

Friday's Famous First: Can you identify the title and author of this first line?

"It was in May, 1918, that a new friend and companion came into my life: a character, a personality, and a ring-tailed wonder."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Writer's Wednesday and I've been thinking about how and when I write.

The fact is, it changes from time to time. I love it when I have an idea that has me humming with possibilities...when I can scarcely wait to get to my computer and my fingers can't keep up with the story that is brimming over with fun.

Most of the time though it's more about the need to be very disciplined. I'll sit at my computer even when I feel uninspired or would rather not. At first it's such a struggle...where will I start? What do I really want to say? Is this idea any good? On those days it seems like I could find a hundred excuses to do something else. I tend to feel disconnected from my work which can be a good time to edit, but not always a good time to create. Until...some small change in my manuscript or notes sets off sparks. Then, if I'm paying attention, I may have an opportunity to explore a new idea or take my story in a new direction.

On the filpside, it seems there are often days when I honestly can't be at my computer do to other commitments. There are also those times when the story that's in my head hasn't taken on enough form to be set down on paper. On those days, although I might not be physically writing, I will turn stories over in my mind trying on different characters, voices, and plots as I look for The One.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The 2010 American Library Association Medal winners and honorees have been announced. The Newbery and Caldecott Medal and Honor Books are listed. The Bathchelder, Belpre, Camegie, Geisel, Odyssey and Sibert Awards can be found here.

Newbery Medal: "When You Reach Me," by Rebecca Stead.

Newbery Honor Books: "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice" by Phillip Hoose, "The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate" by Jacqueline Kelly, "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" by Grace Lin, "The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg" by Rodman Philbrick.

Caldecott Medal: "The Lion and the Mouse" Jerry Pinkney illustrator and author.

Caldecott Honor Books: "All the World" Marla Frazee - illustrator and Liz Garton Scanlon - author, "Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors" Pamela Zagarenski - illustrator and Joyce Sidman - author.

Friday's Famous Firsts:

"There was once a boy named Nikolai who sometimes felt uncertain about the right way to act." The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday's Poetry Roundup is being hosted by Great Kid Books.

And while we are on the subject of poetry, don't forget to check out the Poetry Finalists for the 2009 Cybils.

Friday's Famous Firsts: Can you name the title and author for this first line?
"There once was a boy named Nikolai who sometimes felt uncertain about the right way to act?"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's Writers Wednesday.

I recently critiqued a picture-book manuscript for a fellow writer who has written in other genres, but is new to the picture-book format. After I sent off the manuscript with my comments, I began to consider the revision process that each writer must undertake. This particular manuscript is in it's early stages, but I know the writer is highly motivated and anxious to produce a quality piece of work that will be ready for publishing ASAP.

I sincerely hope that the initial enthusiasm for this project will be balanced with the patience and perseverance that is essential to sustain a writer through the multiple drafts of the revision process. I've known more than one project that's fallen by the wayside because the writer became discouraged by the need to revise and rewrite multiple times.

I've also know writers who never managed to finish their manuscript because they couldn't say "enough" and continued to alter their work long after the changes were helpful or even necessary. It was almost as if the revision process provided a sort of "safety-net" that protected them from ever having to actually submit their work and face the possibility of a rejection letter.

For more on this topic there is a thoughtful article titled "Revisionland" posted January 3rd at The Writer's Chronicle.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's great to be back after the holiday break. I'm wishing all of you a happy, productive and successful 2010!

For all you fans of poetry in all its many forms: recently pointed readers to author and poet, David L. Harrison's Blog ,where there is a conversation about poetry going on. I checked out the Saturday, January 9th post which began with a discussion of the value and perceptions of humorous poetry. Over fifty comments from readers provide a wealth of ideas and viewpoints that are well worth considering. Thanks David for giving this topic a platform. And thanks to Greg for sharing.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer