Nikki Giovanni, Flannery O’Connor, The Dalai Lama, James Baldwin, and Me by Nora Raleigh Baskin

This is the speech Nora gave as a Key Note Speaker at The Wamogo Oratory Invitational on March 22, 2019.   “Writers don’t write from experience, though many are resistant to admit they don’t. I want to be clear about this. If you wrote from experience you’d get maybe one book maybe three poems. Writers […]

April 09

The Story, My Story by Todd Strasser

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of my first young adult novel, Angel Dust Blues. Like many first novels, it was quite autobiographical, the story of a young man living two discordant lives.  In his suburban home town, he is a druggie (or “head” as we called ourselves back in the day). […]

April 08

Ten Bios of Women Artists Who Found their Place in History by Mary Zisk

“My cousin had given me his History of Art textbook, but when I poured through that fat book page by page by page, there were no lady artists in it at all! In 572 pages! And I went through it three times. Frontwards and backwards. There were plenty of paintings of ladies—a lot of them […]

April 06

The Joys (and pains) of Book Talks with Upper Elementary by Carrie Rodusky

Teaching upper elementary in a pre-k to eighth grade school with one class per grade is no easy feat. If you are a teacher of fourth and fifth graders, or a parent of a child around this age, you know that some days are better than others. I won’t go into the developmental characteristics of […]

April 05

On Being Raised by Books and Boats by Fran Wilde

My childhood library — Tredyffrin Easttown, in suburban Philadelphia — had blue and white reading nooks that were big enough to stretch out in. They were gently curving structures with soft, carpeted bases, and high walls. These perfect shelters were even better when piled with books and pillows. A few miles away, my favorite independent […]

April 04

How Books Help Us Love Ourselves by Laurie Morrison

Almost 20 years ago, Katherine Paterson gave a lecture called “The Invisible Child.” The lecture is printed in a collection called The Invisible Child: On Reading and Writing Books for Children, and Paterson’s wise words from 1999 get at the heart of why books mean so much to me and why I wrote my new […]

April 03

‘The Complete Guide To Asterix’ by David Litchfield

One Saturday afternoon, many, many years ago, my nan bought home a book called ‘The Complete Guide To Asterix’. She picked the book up from Kempston Library thinking it was another narrative adventure in the series of books she knew I loved so much.  The book was in fact a detailed text book  written by […]

April 02

What Good Does It Do To Break A Child’s Heart? by Jo Knowles

The first book that broke my heart was The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams. In it, a child’s parents take away his beloved stuffed rabbit when he gets ill, for fear it carries disease. I sobbed for that rabbit, suddenly all alone in the world. I sobbed over the unfairness of it all.   “When […]

April 01

Understanding Representation to the Core by Ro Menendez

This year I posed the question of representation in stories, to my readers grades 1st-6th.  It was an exercise in understanding what representation means, creating awareness of their, and others’, right to be represented and then examining what they felt once they could find a piece of themselves in a story. I also reflected on […]

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 […]