March 16


Maybe it sounds crazy, but I do some of my best writing on planes. Perhaps it’s the tight space or the lack of distraction….but I find focus in the cramp quarters. Usually, I use flight time to revise….work on each sentence to tighten, refine, improve. But in August of 2014, my grandson was born. We […]

March 14

The Help that Finds Us by Jack Cheng

  At the beginning of See You in the Cosmos, my eleven-year-old protagonist, Alex, sets off for a rocket festival in the New Mexico desert accompanied only by his dog. What he doesn’t know yet is that his quest to launch his iPod into space will turn into a sprawling journey across the American Southwest—a […]

March 13

5 Reasons I Love My Middle Grade Book Club by Sandy Deyoe

They help me find great stuff. You wouldn’t think I’d need to find more — I work in a public library — but there is SO much out there, and our lives are busy with other distractions like working, doing laundry, taking care of family members, watching Netflix.  I never know what we’re going to […]

March 12

It’s Not About Us by Donalyn Miller

  Two weekends ago, I volunteered at the North Texas Teen Book Festival, a two-day event in Irving, Texas. I travel to lots of literacy and literature conferences, but it’s a rare treat to attend such a fantastic conference without leaving home. The first day of the festival is an Educator Day for teachers and […]

March 11

Spontaneous Reading: 2016 and My Personal Literary Revolution by McKinsey Crozier

To say that I read constantly would be an understatement. Many of my childhood memories occurred while peering over the edges of a well-worn paperback (usually Harry Potter, let’s be honest). I love reading, so much so that my family has grown long-accustomed to and long-annoyed by the fact that I forget to engage in […]

March 09

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner – Review by Kevin English

I first learned about Jeff Zentner’s Goodbye Days from a contact at Random House. She kept reminding me over and over again that if I liked The Serpent King then I would absolutely love Goodbye Days. And she was right. So very right. Think about the last time you sent a text message. For me, […]

March 08

Butterfly Moments Are All Around—Let’s Go Catch Some by Beth Ain

Every time my children sit down to write something, they freeze.   “I don’t know what to write.” It is a mantra they repeat as when I open the refrigerator and say “I don’t know what to make for dinner.”   “What did you do in school today?” I might ask, willing a dinner idea […]

March 07

A Look at Expository Literature by Melissa Stewart

Let’s start with a quick activity. Make a list of five nonfiction children’s books you love. Place an N next to the books with a narrative writing style. These books tell a true story. Place an E next to the books with an expository writing style. These titles inform, describe, or explain. Look at your […]

March 06

Why Twenty Yawns Almost Made Me Cry by Deana Metzke

I purchased the book Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Lauren Castillo because 1) I have an addiction to children’s literature and 2) it is one of the books our school will be reading for our Mock Caldecott award this year. As I often do, I decided to take it home to read and share […]

March 05

Magick, Science, and Why It Matters by Mary Losure

I began writing Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d when I learned that as a boy, Isaac Newton kept a tiny, secret notebook. In it, he wrote down snippets from two books he’d borrowed from an apothecary: Mathematicall Magick and The Mysteries of Nature and Art.  I hoped the story of a magic-seeking […]