Author Archives: donalynm

the-great-gatsby_420 October 19

Mouths of Babes by Donalyn Miller

We read to Emma before she was born. Sarah would prop a picture book on Celeste’s belly and read. When Emma came into the world, we brought Aunt Sarah to the hospital to meet her new niece. They didn’t need an introduction. Sarah leaned over Emma’s bassinette—whispered—and Emma turned her face toward Sarah. Recognizing her […]

mutation September 30

Write What You Are Passionate About by Roland Smith

If you’re like me you have a love/hate relationship with series fiction. You love reading about your favorite characters in the newest book, but you hate waiting a year, or more, to find out what happens next. Having written several series I understand this from the both the reader’s and the author’s viewpoint. As a […]

el deafo cover September 24

Hearing Things Differently by Terry Thompson

I’m hearing impaired. But you might not know it if you met me. It’s really not something I like to highlight. Most people who know me don’t even realize I wear a hearing aid. I hide it fairly well. In fact, I can get pretty stealthy with it. I watch your lips (Stop covering your […]

right word September 16

The Right Word by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet, Reviewed by Donalyn Miller

  “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”—Nathaniel Hawthorne   I learned the power of words early. Whining, breaking my things, interrupting me while I was reading, my little sisters were […]

evergreen August 24

Access Point by Donalyn Miller

My husband remembers the book he picked from the RIF bus. It was about this kid who was a troubled youth, and he winds up working for this guy to pay off a debt. The guy marks out his yard in a 7X7 grid of squares and has the kid examine the contents of each […]

Hit Pause by Donalyn Miller

Shifting books around, I realized that I have started five books, but not finished them. No, I won’t tell you their titles. These books sit on my nightstand–with bookmarks sticking out of them—reminders of interrupted stories. I feel guilty about not finishing them. Daniel Pennac gave us the “right to not finish a book,” but […]

Family Stories by Donalyn Miller

  I began the morning with goodbyes. The conference was over and it was time for all of us to go. After a quick hug from my friend, Katherine, she left for a writing retreat and I left for the next leg on a two-week trip. My friend, Paul offered to drive me to the […]

Zombie_#3,_coming June 12

Teachers, Embrace Your Inner Zombie by James Preller

These days, kids are crazy about zombies. That’s just a plain fact. Not every kid, of course, but a lot of them. And I’m here to say: Go with it. Particularly when it comes to student writing. Some girls wants to write a story about a zombie apocalypse? Here’s a pen and paper. Do it. […]

FireHorseGirl_CV-2 June 01

Seeing People, Not Differences by Kay Honeyman

When I first started writing The Fire Horse Girl, I obsessed over getting all the details right. The book opens on Chinese New Year, and I combed through every New Year tradition I could find and jammed most of them into the first chapter (don’t worry, Cheryl Klein, editor extraordinaire, saved readers from that monstrosity). […]

The Sixth Annual Book-a-Day Challenge

New guests to our house always say the same thing when walking into our living room for the first time, “Wow, you’ve got a lot of books.” With thirteen bookcases—most double-stacked—and a custom built-in wall unit crammed with books, the principal decorations at the Miller Ranch are book spines. Anna Quindlen said, “I would be […]