Thursday, March 28, 2013

How a book is made, a video series by Lauren Oliver

I just came across this marvelous collection of videos made by bestselling children's book author, Lauren Oliver. 

Teachers, you're going to love this video series! 

You can watch all seven episodes by clicking on the link below.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ava's 6th Grade Savvy Book Talk

I love seeing the great work readers come up with. Thanks Ava's mom for sharing this with me!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Having Fun with Spine Poetry

Inspired by Jesse Stommel's, I had to try a bit of book spine poetry for myself. It's fun! Raid your bookshelves and give it a whirl! I call this one: The Making of a Poem.

The Making of a Poem:
red glass...
a crooked kind of perfect
The ruby notebook,
33 minutes.
Good enough!

Thanks authors: Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, Anne Ursu, David Almond, Laura Resau, Linda Urban, Lauren Myracle, Laura Resau (again), Todd Hasak-Lowy, and Paula Yoo, for the wonderful titles used in my spine poem.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Poison, by Bridget Zinn

I'm often asked what it was like to see my first book in print, to see it sitting on a bookshelf inside a bookstore, waiting to be purchased by some eager reader who happened to like the cover or the description inside the jacket flap. It was a thrilling moment. A moment filled with an overwhelming sense of giddiness and disbelief. Of excitement. Of dreams fulfilled.

This week marks the release of Bridget Zinn's debut novel, Poison. Bridget, sadly, died of cancer before she could see her book in print, before she could go into a bookstore and poke the cover and run away giggling, the way my kiddo and I did together when we first found Savvy, released a week early, on a shelf in Borders. 

Since Bridget, who was also a librarian, is not here to see her book on the shelves of a library or bookstore, there are many, many, many other people--people who knew her, people who didn't--who are celebrating for her this week and sending our thoughts to her husband, Barrett Dowell.

About Poison, Kirkus wrote: 

"Don't let the title or cover fool you! No grimdark teen fantasy or angst-y heroines here; just a frothy confection of a fairy tale featuring poisoners, princesses, perfumers and pigs, none of whom are exactly what they appear (except maybe the pigs)…. Good silly fun—a refreshing antidote to a genre overflowing with grit and gloom." We're sure this is the first of many happy reviews to come for Bridget's debut.

I've read that Bridget's last tweet was, "Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect." Bridget was 33.

I hope your day, this day, is filled with sunshine and a brand new book... maybe a brand new book by a lovely woman, taken too soon. A lovely woman named Bridget Zinn.

To learn more about Bridget's life, and her book, check out her official website:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

I am so thankful to have grown up in a family that valued reading aloud. I have the best memories of my mom reading The Chronicles of Narnia and The Little House on the Prairie books to my sister and I while we ate breakfast each morning, before we went to school. And I'll never forget my father's voice, and his laugh, as he read aloud The Princess Bride every night after supper one summer, back when I was nine or ten years old.

My dad was also my 4th grade teacher and the highlight of any school day was "Story and Drawing." Dad read our class the Chronicles of Prydain while we drew anything we wanted--none of us ever wanted 'Mr. Visser' to stop reading. I was also blessed with an older sister who read aloud to me into my teens (and beyond)--particularly during summer vacation. Michelle introduced me to the books of Diana Wynne-Jones, Dorothy Gilman, Joan Aiken, Gillian Bradshaw, P.C. Hodgell, and more.

For myself, I was lucky enough to have a child who wanted a bedtime read-aloud until birthday #17. I got to read so many wonderful books aloud for so many years--we went all the way from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to The Mouse and the Motorcycle to The Ranger's Apprentice series to--coming full circle--The Princess Bride.

Today, via Skype, I had the opportunity to read aloud to group of 4th and 5th Graders at Mill Pond School, in Massachusetts, in honor of World Read Aloud Day. I hope everyone gets the chance to read to someone special before the day is done. Pick a book! Pick a poem! Find a child! Find a friend! Read, read, read, read, read!