Reading Gender Into It – Children’s Books and Beyond

There's an ongoing discussion in the kid lit world about why boys don't want to read "girl books," meaning books that star female protagonists or feature fairies or princesses on the cover or in the title. Is this "preference" intrinsic, or are they steered away from such interests, starting at a very young age? Shannon … Continue reading Reading Gender Into It – Children’s Books and Beyond

Life, Love, and LTYM Show – San Francisco

When my son was three, he was fascinated by all things siren-related. One night in the Mission District of San Francisco, an ambulance was parked outside the restaurant where we were eating. No emergency, just hungry paramedics waiting for their "TO GO" order.  When we left the restaurant, my son ran to the ambulance and … Continue reading Life, Love, and LTYM Show – San Francisco

Black Diamond Wisdom – Writers Take Note

Yesterday, at 10:59am PST, I despaired. Piles of research lay scattered about my desk, in my backpack, across the kitchen table. Papers I'd been shuttling around since last fall. I was trying to finish a revision of a nonfiction picture book I've been writing since last September, but I felt scattered. And I couldn't figure … Continue reading Black Diamond Wisdom – Writers Take Note

Illustrator Influence

My 11-yr-old son has discovered Russ Cox, a wonderful illustrator. You can see his work at Smiling Otis Studio.  [Yes, Mike Allegra (HeyLookAWriterFellow), Otis was one of Russ's cats. They're everywhere! And BTW, a mouse snuck into our pantry and tore into the brown sugar, dried beans, and pancake mix. I'm thinking we've got a diabetic … Continue reading Illustrator Influence

Halloween Cinderella?

Susanna Leonard Hill's Halloweensie 100-word story writing competition (using the words pumpkin, broomstick, and creak) inspired me to produce the following piece of classic literature this week. It also inspired my son to create an illustration for the story. I hope you enjoy it. And if you don't, well, I'll sick the flying monkeys on you. … Continue reading Halloween Cinderella?

Spätzle (Spaetzle) 911 — aka U.S. vs Germany, World Cup

In honor of tomorrow's game, I'm reblogging a post from May 2012, a tribute to my German heritage.   When my son came out of his bedroom this morning wearing black sweatpants tucked into the tops of his yellow soccer socks and a red shirt to celebrate family heritage day at school, I knew I … Continue reading Spätzle (Spaetzle) 911 — aka U.S. vs Germany, World Cup

Night Hiking & Writing – Facing Your Fears

As part of my son's school curriculum, the entire 4/5th grade classes (about 40 kids) went to farm school this past week in rural northern California, a place where you're more likely to encounter a cow, sheep, or bobcat on the road than a vehicle. Hawks and turkey vultures circled overhead while hummingbirds buzzed about … Continue reading Night Hiking & Writing – Facing Your Fears

Celebrate Dueling Doodlers!

  My 10-yr-old son, the cat lover vs. Mike Allegra (HeyLookAWriterFellow), the rodent lover   Mike posted the "naughty kitten" doodle he drew (reluctantly) for my son, and in return, Mike received a tribute to furry creatures with front teeth that never stop growing.   My iPhone photo of a copy of the original turned the … Continue reading Celebrate Dueling Doodlers!

What do David Shannon and My Son Have in Common?

According to my 10-year-old son, the American Revolution can be distilled to four panels (click photo to enlarge): He loved drawing this cartoon and spent a couple of joyful hours completely absorbed in his work. Note that the Loyalist character's voice comes from off the page, showing how the Loyalists either operated under cover, "lost … Continue reading What do David Shannon and My Son Have in Common?

Gingerbread Tales

Most holiday gingerbread creations are lovely houses filled with magical red and white peppermint swirls, candy canes, Necco wafer roofs, and gum drop borders. A harmonious vision of how sweet the world should be. In others, the story is a little less benign. A creaky old woman wearing a scarf and apron (we know who … Continue reading Gingerbread Tales