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
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
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
I don't often feature long nonfiction books, but I was smitten and gobsmacked (I love both of those words) by "The Girl Who Drew Butterflies," a new 148-page picture book by the poet, Joyce Sidman. Maria Merian was born in Germany in the mid 1600s. If you haven't heard of her, you're not alone. She's … Continue reading The Girl Who Drew Butterflies – Perfect (Older, Nonfiction) Picture Book Friday
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!
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
In 2015, I sat in a darkened auditorium in a hotel in Los Angeles, wanting to throw up. I had word poisoning. What was the source? The messenger's message. In that dark room, Shannon Hale, a keynote speaker at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference, was turning the spotlight on gender bias. … Continue reading Who Are You? Gender Bias – #KidLitWomen