Saturday, May 25, 2019

Your First Day of Circus School by Tara Lazar


written by Tara Lazar
illustrated by Melissa Crowton
published by Tundra Books



In true Tara Lazar style, this circus story is a totally new spin on the first day of school. It is full of puns, heart and humor. A nervous child will see how this boy copes with all the feelings and questions the first day of school brings in such a fun setting.  As a child, I lived near the winter quarters of a circus. I loved being able to visit the animals, who I believed were my friends. As an adult, I see that they probably didn’t have the best life which is disheartening. Your First Day of Circus School brings me back to the magic of the circus animals and will be a welcome addition in schools and libraries everywhere! The illustrations are perfect.

Thank you NetGalley and Tundra Books for a digital copy to review. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Children's Book Academy



My word for the 2019 is INTENTIONAL. I have a calendar year filled with goals and have been ticking them off!

One of my goals was to write my chapter book and my series premise, outlines, etc. I got it accomplished and it felt great! Then, I wanted to workshop it. That's when I found this amazing class. Well, actually, I've had them on my radar for a long time. It's hard to decide which class to take!

So, I'm taking my first Children's Book Academy class, and it's amazing! It's only day 5, and there's been so much information! I highly recommend any class through the Children's Book Academy. Everyone has been so kind and generous.

My weekend job is to read the first two chapters and the last chapter of many chapter books. OK! I'm off to read!!!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo


written by Kate DiCamillo
published by Candlewick

Beverly, Right Here is another wonderful middle grade story by Kate DiCamillo. I feel like Beverly was older than the characters were in the other two companion books. I liked that, though I’m not sure which age bracket to really put this in.  Beverly struck out on her own in search of her true self. She wanted to re-invent her life and leave her troubled family life behind. She winds up in a beach town and befriends an older woman in a trailer home. Having grown up in a Florida beach town myself, Kate’s attention to detail for this setting was spot on. It even brought back memories of my own. 


When I close Kate’s books, I always want to re-read them. Thank you NetGalley and Candlewick for a digital copy to review.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Writing Essential




written by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi


I am thrilled that I found this book.  It's been an invaluable tool as I was getting to know my characters while planning for my chapter books. There's actually a series of them. I have had no hesitation purchasing other titles from this series as I've needed them. I think I have four now.

The Collection!




Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 A New Writing Year

I love the promise of a new year and all the dreams it has to offer. I truly love my writing journey. The beginning of the year offers many resources for writers. Here are my top 3 for January. I have my eye on more for February!


First, there is Tara Lazar's StoryStorm. Here we read a motivating post each day of the month of January. Generally, we learn ways to see the different ideas all around us from true-for-real authors! It's a great resource for writers or teachers of little writers! You can always access older posts under the StoryStorm tab.




Next is Julie Hedund's 12x12 Writing Challenge. It was initially set up to motivate writers to get that crappy first draft down on paper...one a month. But, it is SO much more. It is a community of kid lit writers who travel the ups and downs of this journey together. We are all at different places in our lives and our careers, but this is for anyone who wants to write picture books for kids.



Then there is the new and improved Aree Chung's StoryTeller Academy! This is the first year for the membership version. The classes that I took last year were phenomenal. This year offers those and a whole lot more! 



Happy Writing in 2019!



Thursday, December 20, 2018

Prepping for the New Year

A very long story short...I happened upon a book by RIF at Half Price Books. It was their 40th anniversary fundraiser book. I opened it to find illustrators' journeys, and what brought them to illustrate books for children. Being a book nerd, I bought it and love this little treasure I found. Each illustrator has a 2 page spread. On one side they've written about their childhood favorite book memories and the other side, they've reimagined an illustration from one them.



As I prepare for a new year, I decided to write a post on my journey. My favorite childhood books will be on another post. This is the big picture of my reading/writing journey.

Not Me

I am so grateful for this journey. I started long ago writing poems and things for family when I was a child. I also read a LOT.

Not Me

I went to college and became a teacher. I loved creating engaging lessons that would motivate and resonate with my class. I almost always started with a story. I always placed a collection of books on a table with the topics we were learning about for the kiddos to explore.

Not Me

Next, I stayed home with my boys, and boy, did we read books! I taught at a preschool for a few years and wrote for The Mailbox Magazine, Inc.

Not My Kids

Then when my boys got much older, I went back to school and earned my Masters of Library Science and opened a new school as the librarian. It was amazing! Talking about books and authors, technology and how to find information with kids all day!

ME

After a few magical years, my husband and I decided, in order to be able to travel with him and his job, I would leave my school position. It was with such mixed feelings that I did. But...could I really leave kids and books. NO! On my travels, I seek out book places...whether BIG

Melk Abbey Library


or small.

Book Cart in Prague


AND...I've now spent the last 2 full years learning the craft of writing for children!

My Desk


I found my place. I found my people. It IS a fabulous journey.

Not Me







Monday, December 10, 2018

My Year in Books 2018


               This Year I Read:


      Interesting average book length.
I read a LOT of picture books this year!

What a difference!

All data collected by GoodReads. If you don't use GoodReads, you really should give it a try. It's a great place to keep track of books you've read AND books you want to read!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Texas Bluebonnet Announcement


It's always so exciting when the new list comes out! I grabbed this early photo of the list! I hope you can read it. I've even already read some! I'll add more with links when it's available from TLA.

2019-2020 TX Bluebonnet List