Chickenology – Perfect Picture Book Friday

I don't know why, but ever since I watched Chicken People, the documentary about people who breed and show chickens, I've found chickens to be somewhat engaging. And after reading this book, I find them fascinating, too. Did you know they can count up to four? Cats can only count up to three. (oh, the … Continue reading Chickenology – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Half a Chance – Middle Grade Book Review

I've read three middle grade novels by Cynthia Lord over the past few weeks. She has a very distinctive, gentle style. One that features the concerns of Tweens, no matter how small, and makes them seem extraordinarily important. Of the three I read, HALF A CHANCE will stay with me the longest. Synopsis of Half … Continue reading Half a Chance – Middle Grade Book Review

Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe

You want VOICE? Here's VOICE. Cover copy: "All her life, Cricket's mama has told her stories about a secret room painted by a mysterious artist. Now Mama's run off, and Cricket thinks the room might be the answer to getting her back. If it exists. And if she can find it." The expectation set, readers … Continue reading Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe

Image credit: 123RF_Wrangel

The Benefits of Being an Octopus – Review

Thirteen-year-old Zoey and her mom and three younger siblings live with a man named Lenny. He owns a nice trailer. He's bought her mom a new set of teeth. And he's bent on undermining any self-confidence that Zoey's mother ever had. From the first few pages, the reader is pulled into Zoey's world, an impoverished … Continue reading The Benefits of Being an Octopus – Review

The White Witch vs. Jacob Marley’s Ghost – Debatables

I'm sure you have an opinion. What is the most ominous wintry scene in children's literature? CricketMuse argues that Edmund's encounter with the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia takes the prize,  —while I argue that Jacob Marley's visitation of Scrooge has put the fear of miserliness into children for over 170 years. What … Continue reading The White Witch vs. Jacob Marley’s Ghost – Debatables

Kidquake – Dream Big!

Litquake San Francisco, an annual literary festival comprising 850+ authors and hundreds of events in the span of 10 days, can be exhausting and daunting, but it can also be exhilarating and inspirational.  I'm a co-producer of Kidquake, an event that draws 1,000 elementary school kids, their teachers, and chaperones to four assemblies and 10 … Continue reading Kidquake – Dream Big!

Guest Post – Rutgers One-on-One Conference

See that lighthouse? That was me at the Rutgers One-on-One Conference last year, a juried one-day event that pairs writers/illustrators with editors, agents and published authors. Fellow #kidlit author, Jennifer Prevost, just posted my rundown and tips about the conference. If you're wondering what it was like, or if you're thinking about applying, take a … Continue reading Guest Post – Rutgers One-on-One Conference

The Town of Turtle – Perfect Picture Book Friday

First, a confession. This post is not solely about picture books. For, while I am smitten by I am truly smitten by all the works of this writer, Michelle Cuevas.  She tackles deep topics beautifully with a feather touch. On her website, she says that she mostly writes about people (and animals, shadows, space creatures...) … Continue reading The Town of Turtle – Perfect Picture Book Friday

The Book of Chocolate by H.P. Newquist

Are you drooling yet? Go ahead, wipe your chin. I'll wait. Just in time for Halloween! A treatise on that treat of treats!!! To research this book about chocolate, Newquist suffered through chocolate tasting after tasting, from "Venice to Vietnam." I'm sure it was a horrible slog. Who isn't interested in chocolate? But, arguably, a … Continue reading The Book of Chocolate by H.P. Newquist


I've just spent some time reliving the first ten years of my childhood with the help of Deborah Wiles and the first two books of her stellar (and I mean STELLAR) 1960s trilogy. Although they feature middle grade age protagonists, I'd also say that these books would be instructive and interesting for high school and … Continue reading Countdown