Category Archives: Surprise Sunday

March 31

Why We Need Summer Stories by Gillian McDunn

Toward the end of first grade, my son started wearing glasses.   Once we got past certain logistical issues, such as: where to store them? (not on the floor!) and when to wear them (not while swimming!)–he loved his new, improved vision. Reading had always been his favorite activity, and with the new glasses he […]

March 10

Gaining Visibility: How books helped me find myself by Jessica Rinker

My parents raised me like a free-range chicken. They set me out on eight acres, surrounded by hundreds more, and basically said, “Come home by dark.” Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think they ever said that. I did have a bedtime, however, and that’s quite simply the only rule I ever remember […]

March 03

The Kindred Spirits of Nancy Churnin by Gary Anderson

Since Nancy Churnin’s publication debut, The William Hoy Story in 2016, she has consistently produced high-quality, award-winning picture book biographies.  Manjhi Moves a Mountain; Charlie Takes His Shot; Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing; and The Queen and The First Christmas Tree comprise a remarkable body of work produced in a relatively […]

February 10

Writing for the Middle by Laurel Snyder

When I was in the sixth grade, there was this girl—we’ll call her Liv—who “developed” earlier than I did. Liv was the sort of girl grownups refer to as “fast.” She wore skimpy clothes. She was loud and sometimes rude.   She was also my friend. One night, during a sleepover at Liv’s house, we were […]

February 03

You are enough, just as you are by Deborah Underwood

Bearnard’s Book came about in an unusual way—appropriate for a book about being yourself!   Usually a picture book author writes a manuscript, and if she’s lucky enough to sell it, the editor and/or art director at the publishing house choose the illustrator, who then designs the characters.   With Bearnard’s Book, Misa Saburi’s adorable […]

January 20

Teachable Moment by Stacy Tell

Picture walks confused me. There, I’ve said it. I’m already feeling better about this post.   Throughout both my undergraduate and graduate school experiences, I spent a lot of time absorbing strategies and skills that would allow me to become an effective reading teacher. I’d heard the term picture walk before, as educators love a […]

January 13

What Happened to My Reader? by Sarah FitzHenry and Jared Passmore

“What happened to my reader? Last year, he was in the library every week picking out books. I had to take his book away at meals. Now, I can’t get him to read anything. It’s like he has no interest in it.” This mystery baffles parents, librarians, and teachers alike. As students pass through middle […]

September 09

On Becoming a Black Girl Reader by T.R. Simon

I can’t remember when I wasn’t a reader. Because I was an only child, and my father’s job required that we move every few years, I was often alone. I dealt with feeling lonely by making up stories. Everything in my room became a character: stuffed animals, dolls, Barbies, even our dogs and cats. The […]

September 02

Looking for Light by Ginger Johnson

I am a great believer that small things can have a big impact. So on January 1, 2017, I began a yearlong search for the beauty in everyday life—in people, in places, and in the world around me. I wrote on Facebook:   One specific thing I’m going to do this year is to look […]

August 26

THINKING OUTSIDE CATEGORIES FOR READER SUGGESTIONS by Ariel Bernstein

A child’s journey of reading books can seem pretty linear. They start with board books and picture books, usually read to them by an adult. Soon enough, many begin to recognize words in early readers. Sometimes an adult will read them chapter books, and often a young reader will begin reading those books on their […]