Kate’s Book Tour Schedule for THE SEVENTH WISH

My next middle grade novel, THE SEVENTH WISH, comes out June 7th! I’ll be on tour much of June, sharing stories, visiting with readers and signing books. I hope you’ll come say hello if one of these stops is near you, but if not, you can still order a signed copy through my local indie bookstore…

TO ORDER PERSONALIZED, SIGNED COPIES OF THE SEVENTH WISH:

Call The Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid at 518-523-2950 during business hours.

Let them know how you’d like the book signed & they’ll ship it out to you after I sign it on June 9th!

 

Here’s where you’ll be able to find me in person this June & July. All bookstore events are open the public. You can click on the links to RSVP to the event on Facebook & invite friends who might be interested, too. 

The Seventh Wish

June 6 – School visits in Gouverneur, NY

June 7 – Pinebush Elementary, Guilderland, NY

June 8 – Orchard Elementary and Chamberlin Elementary in South Burlington and C.P. Smith School in Burlington, VT

June 9 – Morrisonville Elementary & Tupper Lake Middle School  (and Bookstore Plus to sign orders!) 

June 12 – 1pm – Barnes & Noble – Augusta, ME  (with Carrie Jones & Megan Frazer Blakemore!)

June 13 – Oxford Elementary School & James Otis Kaler Elementary in South Portland, ME

June 13 – 7pm Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

June 14 – Medway Middle School & Dover Sherborn Middle School – MA

June 15 – Wilson Middle School, Natick, MA

June 16 – Bonnie Brae & Mantua Elementary Schools in Fairfax, VA

June 16 – 7pm – Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C. 

June 17 – Swanson & Kenmore Middle Schools in Arlington, VA & Churchill Rd. Elementary in McLean, VA

June 21-22 – American Booksellers Association Children’s Institute – Orlando, FL

June 24-25 – American Library Association Conference – Orlando, FL

July 7 – 3-5pm – The Bookstore Plus, Lake Placid, NY

July 8-10 – International Literacy Association, Boston, MA

July 10 – 4pm – An Unlikely Story in Plainfield, MA (with Carrie Jones & Megan Frazer Blakemore!)

Here’s a little more about THE SEVENTH WISH…

From Publishers Weekly…

Twelve-year-old Charlie—a devoted friend, loving sister, enthusiastic Irish dancer, and budding ice fisher—has read enough stories to know not to be greedy when making wishes, so she is extra careful when a wish-granting fish turns up at the end of her ice-fishing pole. She isn’t always careful, however, to be specific with the wording of her wishes, leading to muddles for her friends and family in this rich and daring novel. What initially seems harmless becomes seriously hurtful when well-meaning Charlie is unable to wish away a loved one’s struggle with addiction, and the book takes a hard but important turn from the ordinary fun of middle-school crushes, sibling rivalry, Irish dancing, and fish-wishing into drug abuse and its aftermath. As she did in All the Answers, Messner lightens a heavy theme with a bit of magic (this time the talking fish rather than a talking pencil) while humanizing a growing epidemic and helping readers understand that even “good people make awful mistakes.”

From Kirkus (*Starred Review*)

In this novel-length riff on “The Fisherman and His Wife,” when Charlie goes ice fishing with pal Drew and his nana, she catches a fish who says it will grant her wishes in return for its release.

Charlie would like some control over her life, so she keeps hooking the fish even as she learns, like her fairy-tale predecessors, that wording matters. After all, Charlie’s hope that Roberto Sullivan notice her goes unfulfilled. Instead, a boy named Robert O’Sullivan shows up! Her generous intentions toward friends and family meet with varying success as well. Drew makes the basketball team, except he doesn’t like sports; and good friend Dasha passes her ESL class only to find keeping up in regular classes difficult. Charlie narrates, making dry, honest observations that zing straight to the hearts of readers, especially as the story builds toward one of Charlie’s most anxious pleas: that her beloved college-student sister be cured of her heroin addiction. But wishing doesn’t make it so. Charlie’s largely white upstate New York world is fully realized, typical in its everyday concerns and complicated by a frightening, news-making epidemic. As Charlie processes the changes in her life, her perspective shifts. Friends of all ages, old and new, support her. And she finds outlets in ice fishing and Irish dance. Most affecting, Charlie begins to understand the serenity prayer. Hopeful, empathetic, and unusually enlightening.

From School Library Journal…

In this realistic novel with a whimsical twist, 11-year-old Charlie catches a magical wishing fish and tries to use it to solve all her problems. Her wishes range from getting rid of her fear of the ice to getting her sister to come home from college for a visit. Not surprisingly, poor phrasing causes her wishes to go wrong, and she ends up making things worse instead of better. The plot covers a lot of ground, ranging from Charlie struggling to save enough money to buy a dress for her Irish dancing performance to helping one of her classmates learn English. The most serious subplot involves the discovery of her older sister’s heroin addiction and her subsequent treatment. Charlie eventually decides she does not need to rely on making wishes to solve her problems. Though somewhat sanitized, the gentle portrayal of heroin addiction may serve as a good way to introduce this serious issue and engender discussion. VERDICT A charming fantasy story with threads of several deep themes that could serve as the basis for thoughtful discussion.

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Teachers Write 2016 – Introducing This Summer’s Guest Authors!

It’s almost time for Teachers Write 2016!  Our free online summer writing camp for teachers & librarians kicks off on Monday, June 27th here on my blog. If you’d like to join us, please sign up by May 26th if you’d like to be entered in a drawing for Scholastic dollars!) If you’d like to know more about Teachers Write, you can learn all about it here.

Now, (drum roll, please…) I’d like to introduce our guest author mentors for Summer 2016.  These writers are all volunteering their time, so we ask that you support Teachers Write by purchasing guest authors’ books when you can and requesting them for your school and public libraries. Please spend a little time checking out these writers’ websites and books. Authors are listed in the order in which you’ll meet them.

Kate Messner That’s me – I’m your Teachers Write hostess & will kick things off with the first mini-lesson on Monday, June 27th. 

The Seventh WishRanger in Time -- Race to the South Pole

Gae Polisner  Gae hosts Feedback Friday on her blog and is generally the best cheerleader this side of the Mississippi. The best in all the land, in fact. Gae wrote these amazing books.

memory

Jo Knowles  Jo will kick off each week with her Monday Morning Warm Up, a writing prompt to get your fingers moving and writer’s brain thinking. Here are some of Jo’s great books. 

stillawork

Guest Authors – These folks will be stopping in to teach Monday Mini-Lessons, offer Tuesday and Thursday Quick Writes, answer your questions on Q and A Wednesdays, and share reflections & essays to think about all summer long.They’re all great writers (as well as editors, educators, and reviewers in some cases) and even better human beings, and I’m so happy to be introducing them to you.

Anne Marie Pace

Sarah Albee

Jody Feldman

Liz Garton Scanlon

Lisa Schroeder

Caroline Starr Rose

Susan Hill Long

Elana K. Arnold

Lisa Papademetriou

Cynthia Lord

Kekla Magoon

Nancy Castaldo

Michelle Cusolito

Anne Nesbet

Kristen Kittscher

Mara Rockliff

Megan Frazer Blakemore

Karen Rivers

Phil Bildner

Debbie Reese

Erin Hagar

Erica Perl

Mike Jung

Kat Yeh

Barbara O’Connor

Heidi Schulz

Ammi-Joan Paquette

Dayna Lorentz

Cheryl Klein

Linda Urban

Madelyn Rosenberg

Hannah Barnaby

Laurie Ann Thompson

Jen Malone

Tracey Baptiste

Grace Lin

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Audrey Vernick

Nanci Turner Steveson

Augusta Scattergood

Karen Romano Young

Tracy Holczer

For now, please check out the links above. Buy some books. Get to know your guest authors. Follow them on Twitter & find them on Facebook if you like to hang out in those places, too. We’ll be back Monday, June 27th to get started writing!

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Dear Grace: Hiking Your Mountain on 10.19.15

May 15, 2016

Dear Grace*,

The snow has melted in the valleys, but I could still see patches up on the High Peaks driving up the highway from yesterday’s track invitational in Queensbury. It reminded me that soon, mud season will be over, the black fly clouds will thin, and it will be time to climb again. It also reminded me that I never told you about my last mountain of the fall ’15 season. It was your mountain – Grace Peak, on October 19th. 

The forecast was for warm temperatures, but snow had fallen in the mountains the night before, so autumn’s reds and golds were laced with white.

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My friend Marsha and I were taken off guard (even though we shouldn’t have been) to find the rocks on the water crossings covered with ice. We’d started the first crossing without micro-spikes and had to sit down halfway across to fish them out of our packs and put them on. 

This wasn’t our first trailless peak, but it was the most difficult. Between the fallen leaves and new snow, the herd path from Rt. 73 was often challenging to follow. We had to take it slow on the way up, keeping a close eye out for the cairns that occasionally marked the way.

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When we made it to the ice-covered slide, we ventured out for a few quick photos but veered quickly back to the herd path for more solid footing. The first slide climb is something we’ll save for another day, with less ice and a more experienced climber friend along for advice. 

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The summit was beautiful, as always. It took us 4.5 hours to climb up (this includes time wandering around to find our way) and 3 hours to descend. Busy schedules and more snow on the way meant this was my last High Peaks climb of 2015.

But writing this now, smelling spring in the air, has me longing to go back. Soon…

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Good climbing!

~Kate

—————–

* Grace is Grace Hudowalski, the first woman to climb all 46 high peaks. She was a founding member of the Adirondack 46ers, the group’s 1st president, and later on, its secretary and historian, roles she filled until she died in 2004. It used to be that if you wanted to be a 46er, you had to log each climb by writing a letter to Grace. And Grace would write back. She answered thousands and thousands of letters, with encouraging words and sometimes, her own reflections on a climb, too.  Today, the 46er application process is simplified; one only needs to keep simple climb records on a club form that can be downloaded. But I wish I’d had the chance to climb these mountains and write letters about them when Grace was around to read them. I love her story and her strength and the way she urged others to get outside and explore and tell their stories. So I’ve decided to write the letters anyway. I think Grace would have liked that.

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Time to Write Revision Retreat – November 4-6, 2016

TIME TO WRITE REVISION RETREAT with Linda Urban & Kate Messner

November 4-6, 2016

The What:
The 2016 Time to Write Revision Retreat will include daily craft lectures from Linda and Kate, mentor-facilitated small-group critique sessions, lively community meals, and quiet work time.  Cost: $480 – includes all lectures & workshops, snacks and meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Lodging is not included. See below for options.

The When:
November 4-6, 2016.  Arrive any time after noon on November 4th (first session begins at 4pm) and depart after lunch on November 6th.

The Where:
Valcour Conference Center is located on beautiful Lake Champlain, just south of Plattsburgh, NY. You can read about the inn here:
        http://www.plattsburghcas.com/valcour-conference-center

The Valcour Conference Center has nine bedrooms with different nightly rates depending on the level of accommodation and occupancy. Some are large with lake views, porch access, and private bathrooms. Some are smaller with a shared bathroom. Most rooms can accommodate 2-3 people, if you’d like to have a roommate or two to reduce lodging costs. There are also larger hotels in Plattsburgh, just a few miles away, and of course, if you live nearby, you are welcome to sleep in your own bed and commute.  Room options and rates are here:
http://www.plattsburghcas.com/valcour-conference-center/main-house/main-house-guest-rooms

The Who:  
Linda Urban and Kate Messner are award winning children’s authors and friends who love to teach and mentor other writers. Between the two of them, they’ve written more than thirty books, presented at over a dozen state and national conferences, and consumed approximately four hundred mocha lattes. Read more at their websites: www.lindaurbanbooks.com and www.katemessner.com. 

Who should attend?
This is a retreat for experienced novelists, both published and not-yet published.  The workshop will be aimed at writers who are working to revise a completed (or mostly completed) draft of a middle grade or young adult novel or chapter book.  We’ll be asking for writing samples – just your first few pages – when it’s time to register, so that we know you’re in a place where what we’re offering will be useful and relevant.  We can accommodate up to twenty-two writers in this lovely, intimate setting and will cap the retreat at that number.  

The How:
Valcour Conference Center is on Lake Champlain in Northeastern NY, 1.5 hours from Burlington, VT, 2.5 hours from Albany, about 4 hours from Syracuse & Boston, and 5 from New York & Rochester.
http://www.plattsburghcas.com/valcour-conference-center/directions
You’ll see that the website gives driving directions from Plattsburgh International Airport, but this is not an airport that services many places. The nearest full-service airport is in Burlington, Vermont a little over an hour away (including a ferry ride). If you fly, it will probably be necessary to rent a car or find a friend who’s passing through Vermont to pick you up at the airport.

How to sign up: 

Send an email to timetowriteretreat at gmail dot com with your name, address, email, and phone number. Please include a quick note about what you hope to be working on and share a short writing sample (700 words or less) if you’re not a returning writer. Don’t worry about this being a tryout or application; our goal is to make sure the workshop will be useful to you, and this will help us to plan our sessions. If you’re hoping to room with someone at the retreat, please let us know that as well. Thanks!

Application Deadline: JUNE 5th, 2016

We’ll respond all applicants via email by June 12th . To reserve a spot at the retreat, participants will be required to submit a $120 deposit at that time, with the balance due by October 1st.  It’s also fine to pay the full amount when you pay your deposit. Deposits are fully refundable until September 1st. After that time, payment is only refundable if we are able to fill your spot from the wait list.

Please note: We need at least ten writers to run the retreat and can take up to twenty-two. 

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Books for a Big Snow

The meteorologists have been buzzing for days, and that giant icy blob on the weather map is headed your way. The wood is stacked, you’ve been to the grocery store, and the hot chocolate is on the stove. There’s just one more snowstorm priority. What will you read while you’re cozied up and hunkered down? 

This morning, the Albany Ave. Elementary Library in North Massapequa, NY sent me a photo of some excited readers getting ready for their big snow with my picture book OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW.

kidssnow

OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW is the story of a girl who goes cross country skiing with her father and discovers the secret world of animals under the winter snow. It’s a book I wrote because I’ve always been a fan of snowy weather and wait every winter for that first big storm. 

Here are some other suggestions for reading by the fire when that first big storm arrives…

For Younger Readers:

I had to start with this one because it’s a winter-storm classic, now and forever. Thank you, Ezra Jack Keats, for THE SNOWY DAY.

Jane Yolen’s OWL MOON illustrated by John Shoenherr was one of our family’s favorites when the kids were small. It’s about a father and daughter on a quiet, snowy, moonlit adventure in the woods, searching for owls.

WINTER BEES AND OTHER POEMS OF THE COLD is a lovely, frost-laced poetry collection by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen. This one is perfect for reading aloud by the fire.

BLIZZARD by John Rocco helps us to remember the adventure of going outside for the first time after that big, big snow. It’s a little like being an Antarctic explorer!

And finally, I love THE LITTLE SNOWPLOW by Lora Koehler, illustrated by Jake Parker. This story of a small plow training for the big day is a great one for young truck fans.

For older readers:

 

TWELVE KINDS OF ICE by Ellen Bryan Obed, illustrated by Barbara McClintock, is one of the loveliest cold-weather read-alouds you’ll ever find.  With the quiet joy of a freezing lake, it introduces readers to all the kinds of ice we see while we’re waiting to skate. 

COLD AS ICE is Book 6 in Sarah Mylnowski’s Whatever After series of fractured fairy tales, popular with 2nd-4th grade readers. This one will be a particular treat for fans of the movie Frozen, since it plunges two kids into the icy world of The Snow Queen

BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu is a Snow Queen retelling for older elementary readers. For everyone, really… This is one of my all-time favorite novels, so lovely and frosty and magical you’ll be able to see your breath when you read it.

ICE DOGS by Terry Lynn Johnson is a great title for middle school kids to curl up with while the storm rages outside. It’s the story of a teen dog sledder struggling to survive a storm and save her team.

For grown-ups:

WINTER WORLD: THE INGENUITY OF ANIMAL SURVIVAL was a book I picked up while I was researching OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, but it’s one I’ve read many, many times since. Whether he’s writing about ravens, summer trees, or winter insects, naturalist Bernd Heinrich has a way of looking more closely than the rest of us – and reminding us through science how magical it is to wonder.

What are some of your favorite “big snow” reading recommendations to pick up when a winter storm rolls in?

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Skype with an Author on World Read Aloud Day 2016!

Hi there – and welcome to the World Read Aloud Day author Skype volunteer list for 2016!

If you’re new to this blog, I’m Kate Messner, and I write books like these:

Ranger #3 Final CoverHow to Read a StoryLink to Up in the Garden and Down in the DIrtLink to All the Answers

I also read lots of books, and reading aloud is one of my favorite things in the world. When I was a kid, I was the one forever waving my hand to volunteer to read to the class, and still, I’ll pretty much read to anyone who will listen.

For the past few years, I’ve helped out with LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day by pulling together a list of author volunteers who would like to spend part of the day Skyping with classrooms around the world to share the joy of reading aloud.

World Read Aloud Day 2016 is Wednesday, February 24th!

Unfortunately, I’ll be traveling to a conference in Missouri on that day and won’t be around to Skype myself, but I promise to share a special video read-aloud here on that day, so bookmark this page &  you’ll be able to share that with your students!

The authors listed below have  volunteered their time to read aloud to classrooms and libraries all over the world. These aren’t long, fancy presentations; a typical one might go like this:

  • 1-2 minutes: Author introduces himself or herself and talks a little about his or her books.
  • 3-5 minutes: Author reads aloud a short picture book, or a short excerpt from a chapter book/novel
  • 5-10 minutes: Author answers some questions from students about reading/writing
  • 1-2 minutes: Author book-talks a couple books he or she loves (but didn’t write!) as recommendations for the kids

If you’re a teacher or librarian and you’d like to have an author Skype with your classroom or library on World Read Aloud Day, here’s how to do it:

  • Check out the list of volunteering authors below and visit their websites to see which ones might be a good fit for your students.
  • Contact the author directly by using the email provided or clicking on the link to his or her website and finding the contact form.  Please be sure to provide the following information in your request:
    • Your name and what grade(s) you work with
    • Your city and time zone (this is important for scheduling!)
    • Possible times to Skype on February 24th. Please note authors’ availability and time zones. Adjust accordingly if yours is different!
    • Your Skype username
    • A phone number where you can be reached on that day in case of technical issues
  • Please understand that authors are people, too, and have schedules and families just like you, so not all authors will be available at all times. It may take a few tries before you find someone whose books and schedule fit with yours. If I learn that someone’s schedule for the day is full, I’ll put a line through their name – that means the author’s schedule is full, and no more visits are available.  (Authors, please let me know that if you can!)

World Read Aloud Day – Skyping Author Volunteers for February 24, 2016.

Authors are listed here (kind of randomly, actually…in the order they emailed me) along with publishers, available times, and the age groups for which they write.  (PB=picture books, MG=middle grades, YA=young adult, etc.)

 

Phil Bildner
 FSG and Chronicle
Older Elementary 
9-12 (Eastern Time)
www.philbildner.com
​philbildner@gmail.com​

Jennifer Maschari
HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray
Older Elementary & Middle School
8 am- 12pm EST
http://www.jenmaschari.com   
jen.maschari@gmail.com 

Joanne Levy
Aladdin M!X (forthcoming), Bloomsbury
Middle School
8 am  – 4 pm EST
http://www.joannelevy.com
joanne@joannelevy.com

Stacy McAnulty
Random House Kids
Elementary
8:30 am- 2pm EST
www.stacymcanulty.com
author.stacymcanulty@gmail.com

Kim Norman
Penguin, Sterling & Scholastic
Younger Elementary
10am-3pm Eastern Time Zone
www.kimnormanbooks.com
kimnorman@mac.com

Ammi-Joan Paquette
Philomel/Penguin
Elementary
11am – 3pm EST
www.ajpaquette.com
joanpaq@gmail.com 

Melanie Crowder
Atheneum / Simon & Schuster

Upper Elementary, Middle School or High School
8 am -11 am MST
www.melaniecrowder.com

Julie Falatko
Viking Children’s Books
Elementary
9 am – 2 pm EST
http://juliefalatko.com
julie@juliefalatko.com

Lisa Jahn-Clough
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Elementary K – 3 (picture books)

High school (YA novels)
9 am – 2 pm EST
www.lisajahnclough.com
jahnclough@gmail.com

Sarah Albee
Random House/Bloomsbury/National Geographic

Middle School, Older Elementary
1 – 3 Eastern Time
sarahalbeebooks.com
albees@taftschool.org

Josh Funk
Sterling Children’s
Younger Elementary
8am – 6pm EST
http://www.joshfunkbooks.com
joshfunkbooks+av@gmail.com

Jennifer Swanson
National Geographic Kids, Charlesbridge, Capstone 
Older Elementary, Middle School, High School
 8am to 2pm EST
www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com
 Jennifer@JenniferSwansonBooks.com

Miranda Paul
Lerner Publishing Group & Macmillan Children’s

Elementary
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (Central)
http://mirandapaul.com
wisconsinauthorsbooking@gmail.com

Molly B. Burnham
Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins
older elementary
East Coast time available school hours
www.mollybburnham.com
mollyb.burnham@gmail.com

Anne Marie Pace
Disney-Hyperion, Scholastic, Henry Holt, Beach Lane
Younger Elementary
9-3 Eastern time, minus 1:45 – 2:15
http://www.annemariepace.com
annemarie@annemariepace.com

Augusta Scattergood
Scholastic

Upper Elementary, Middle School      
2-5 PM EST
www.ascattergood.com
gsgood2@gmail.com

Nanci Turner Steveson
HarperCollins Children’s
Upper Elementary/Middle School 
8:30-11:30 Mountain Time
www.nanciturnersteveson.com
Ponywriter7@gmail.com

Alma Fullerton
HarperCollins, Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Elementary
8am – 2pm EST
www.almafullerton.com
almafullerton@almafullerton.com

Erin Dealey
Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, Sleeping Bear, Kane Miller

Elementary
Flexible to your needs–worldwide. (I’m PST)
http://www.erindealey.com

Laura Sassi
Zonderkidz (HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
Younger Elementary, Preschool

10am – 2pm EST
www.laurasassitales.wordpress.com

Hayley Barrett
Candlewick Press
Younger Elementary
9-12 EST
https://hayleybarrettwrites.wordpress.com
hayleybarrettwrites@yahoo.com

Deborah Freedman
Viking Children’s Books
Younger Elementary
9 am — 3 pm EST
http://www.deborahfreedman.net/

Nikki Loftin
Penguin (Razorbill)
Older Elementary
1 pm – 4 pm Central
www.nikkiloftin.com
nikki@nikkiloftin.com

Sarah Darer Littman
Scholastic Press/S & S Aladdin
Upper Elementary/Middle School/High School
8 am- 4pm EST
http://sarahdarerlittman.com
sarahdarerlittman@gmail.com

Sarah Jamila Stevenson
Flux Books
Middle School/High School
10am – 3pm PST
http://www.sarahjamilastevenson.com
sjs@sarahjamilastevenson.com

Michelle Edwards
Random House Books for Young Readers, HMH
Younger Elementary
9 am- 3 pm  CST
www.michelledwards.com
michelledwardsmail@gmail.com

Katy Duffield
Two Lions Publishing
Younger Elementary
9am to 3pm EST
www.katyduffield.com
katysduff@yahoo.com

Rosanne Parry
Random House Books for Young Readers
Older Elementary
8:30 to 2:30 PST
www.rosanneparry.com
rosanne@rosanneparry.com

Allison Ofanansky
KarBen
Younger Elementary
9 am to 5 pm. Israel (2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time)
www.karben.com
allison.ofanansky@yahoo.com

Lauren Magaziner
Penguin Books for Young Readers
Elementary
9 am – 6 pm EST
http://laurenmagaziner.com/
lauren@laurenmagaziner.com

Nancy Castaldo
Houghton Mifflin/Random House/National Geographic
Elementary, Middle, High
1-3 pm

Abby Cooper
FSG/Macmillan
Older Elementary/Middle School
9 AM – 4 PM Central 
www.AbbyCooperAuthor.com
AbbyRCooper@gmail.com

Gretchen Kelley
Henry Holt for Young Readers
Older Elementary/early middle school
Available 8:00- 2:00 EST
gretchenkelleywrites.com
glelley2012@gmail.com

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen
National Geographic Kids and Capstone Press
Upper Elementary/Middle
8:30 am- 2pm EST
http://OnceUponAScienceBook.com
wheelertop@gmail.com

Denis Markell
Little Simon (Simon and Shuster) 
Younger Elementary
9am – 2pm EST
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/534331.Denis_Markell
Dmarkell@aol.com

Kerry O’Malley Cerra
SkyPony Press
upper elementary, middle school
9AM-2PM Easter Standard Time
 
Madelyn Rosenberg
Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins and Holiday House
Younger Elementary, Older Elementary, Middle School
9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Eastern

Lindsey Leavitt
HarperCollins, Bloomsbury
Older Elementary,  Middle School, High School
9am-3pm Mountain
www.lindseyleavitt.com
contact@lindseyleavitt.co

Margie Palatini

Simon & Schuster, Harpercollins, Hyperion, Clarion, Dutton, Abrams, Scholastic
All Elementary
10 am to 2 pm (Eastern Standard)
www.margiepalatini.com
margiepalatini@netscape.net

Lisa Schroeder
Scholastic and Henry Holt
Elementary and Middle School
7 am to 10 am PST
 

Laura Murray
GP Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Random House Books for Young Readers
Younger Elementary
10:30 am – 12:30 pm EST
www.LauraMurrayBooks.com
LauraMurrayBooks@gmail.com

Dana Alison Levy
Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House
Elementary
9-3 EST
www.danaalisonlevy.com
dana@danaalisonlevy.com

Jennifer Roy
Middle school
Amazon, Simon and Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
9 – 2 EST
 
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins
Elementary/Middle School
8:30 AM am- 1pm EST
http://olugbemisolabooks.com
olugbemisola@olugbemisolabooks.com
 
Sue Fliess
Random House Children’s Books, Little Golden Books & Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Younger Elementary
9 am – 1 pm EST
 
Keila Dawson
Pelican Publishing Co., Inc.
K-3
8:00am – 3:00pm Eastern Standard Time
www.keiladawson.com
keilavdawson@gmail.com
 
Lee Gjertsen Malone
Aladdin/S&S
Older Elementary/Middle School
8am – 2pm EST
 
Kirsti Call
Character Publishing
Elementary, Picture Book
1:00-2:00pm  EST
http://www.kirsticall.com/
Kirsti.call@gmail.com
 
Jeanie Franz Ransom
Charlesbridge, Magination Press, Peachtree
Younger Elementary
9 AM-3:30 PM CST
www.jeanieransom.com
ransomink@pobox.com
 
Tracey Baptiste
Algonquin Books for Young Readers
Grades 3-8
9am-noon EST
 
Deborah Guarino
Scholastic Press
Younger Elementary
School hours EST

Julie Segal Walters
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Younger Elementary
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
http://www.juliesegalwalters.com/
julie.segal.walters@gmail.com

 Brenda Ferber
FSG and Dial
Elementary and Middle School
10am-noon EST
 
Tamara Ellis Smith
Schwartz & Wade/Random House
Middle school 
9-1:30 EST
 
Carmela LaVigna Coyle
Rising Moon, Taylor Trade, Rio Nuevo
Younger Elementary
9 am- 3pm  MST
 
Jennifer Fosberry
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Elementary
10 am -2 pm PST
http://jfosberry.com
jennifer@jfosberry.com
 
Jane Sutcliffe
Charlesbridge, Lerner
Older Elementary, Middle School
8am-2pm, EST
 
Robin Yardi
Arbordale & Carolrhoda
Elementary
8:15 am – 2pm PST
 
Rob Buyea
Penguin Random House (Delacorte)
Older Elementary
10:00-1:00 EST
 
Carmella Van Vleet
Charlesbridge, Holiday House, Nomad Press
All Elementary
9:00 am – 3:00pm EST
 
Dianne Ochiltree
Blue Apple Books
Younger Elementary
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
 

Dianne White
Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster
Younger Elementary
10 – 3 pm MST
http://diannewrites.com
dianne@diannewrites.com

Stephanie Greene
Putnam Books for Young Readers
Younger Elementary
9-3 EST
www.stephaniegreenebooks.com
scgbooks@aol.com
 
Sarah Prineas
HarperCollins Children’s
HarperCollins Teen
Older elementary/Middle/High school
Central time zone (Iowa).  Available all day.
 
Anne Ylvisaker
Candlewick
Grades 3-6
9:30 am – 3pm  PST
 
Janet Sumner Johnson
Capstone Young Readers
Older Elementary
8 am – 12 pm PST
 
Ann Jacobus
St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan
High School
8:30am – 2:30 pm PST
 
Jasmine Richards
Harper Collins
Older Elementary/Middle School
PST 12-3PM
www.jasminerichards.com
jasminenrichards@gmail.com
 
Susan Laidlaw
Penguin Random House
High School (14+)
Available 2pm – 4pm PST; 9-11 am EST/CST (I live in Vietnam ICT)
 
Debbie Dadey
Simon and Schuster
Younger Elementary
Afternoon EST
 
Katy Kelly
Random House/ Delacorte
Older Elementary (Second- Fifth Grades)
9 AM – 3PM EST
 
Karen Romano Young 
Chronicle Books 
Upper elementary or middle school 
10-6 EST
 
Tricia Springstubb
HarperCollins
All elementary and middle school
1-4 PM EST
 
Shelley Pearsall
Random House Books for Young Readers
Older Elementary and Middle School
12pm to 3pm. EST
 

Marcie Colleen
Macmillan/Imprint, Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, Scholastic
Elementary
9am-4pm PCT
www.thisismarciecolleen.com
marciecolleen@gmail.com

Patricia J. Murphy 
Penguin Random House 
Pre-K – 3rd Grade  
Central Standard Time (8:30-3:30 p.m.)
www.patriciajmurphy.com
 
Gail Nall
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster; and Epic Reads Impulse/Harper
Older Elementary and Middle School
10 am – 2 pm EST
gailnall.com
gailnallwrites@gmail.com
 

Robbie Byerly
ARC Press Publishing
Younger Elementary 
10 am – 4 pm EST
www.trainingwheelsseries.com
Robbie.byerly@americanreading.com

Dee Romito
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
Older Elementary/Middle School
9 am- 2 pm EST
http://www.deeromito.com
dee@deeromito.com

David A. Kelly
Random House Books for Young Readers / Lerner Publishing
Elementary
9 am – 5pm EST
http://davidakellybooks.com
davidakelly@gmail.com

Melanie Conklin
Penguin (Putnam)
Older Elementary or Middle School
10am-2pm EST
http://www.melanieconklin.com/
melanie@melanieconklin.com

Dianne K. Salerni
HarperCollins
Older Elementary/Middle School
9 am – 5 pm (EST)

Nancy Viau
Albert Whitman & Co.
Younger Elementary
Noon – 3 pm EST
www.NancyViau.com
nancyviau@comcast.net

Monica Tesler
Simon & Schuster/Aladdin
Older Elementary, Middle School
10-2
 
Laurie Wallmark
Creston Books
Elementary
9-12(Eastern time)
www.lauriewallmark.com
laurie@lauriewallmark.com
 
Gail Donovan
Penguin (Dutton, Dial)
Older Elementary
 
Stephanie Bearce
Source Books/Prufrock Press
Upper Elementary, Middle School
8am-3pm CST
 
John Bianchi
Douglas & McIntyre
Grosset & Dunlap
Elementary
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM MST
 
Monica Carnesi
Penguin (Nancy Paulsen Books)
Elementary
9 am – 5:00 pm EST
 
Darlene Beck Jacobson
Creston Books, Berkeley, CA
Grades 3-6
11:30 Am- 2:30 PM EST
http://www.darlenebeckjacobson.com
djac2185@verizon.net
 
Robin Mellom
HarperCollins
Older Elementary (3rd-6th)
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Pacific)
www.robinmellom.com
robinmellombooks@gmail.com
 
Robin Newman 
Creston Books 
Younger Elementary
9:00 am – 12:00 pm EST
 
Jenn Bishop
Knopf / Random House
Older Elementary, Middle School
11 am – 4 pm EST
 
Deb Pilutti
Simon & Schuster/Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano
Elementary 
8 am – 10 am and 2-3pm EST

Dan Paley
Tilbury House
Young Elementary
8am- 3pm PST
www.danpaley.com
dp@danpaley.com

Jesse Klausmeier
Chronicle Books
All Elementary
10:00 – 5:00 CST
 
Margo Sorenson
Pelican Publishing, Marimba/Just Us Books, Perfection Learning
Elementary/Middle
7 AM-2:30 PM Pacific
www.margosorenson.com 
ms@margosorenson.com
 
Sarah Sullivan
Candlewick Press
All Elementary
8 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST
 
Wendy BooydeGraaff
Ripple Grove Press
Younger Elementary
12 pm – 3 pm EST
 

Gerry Swallow (Dr. Cuthbert Soup)F
Bloomsbury
Older Elementary and Middle School, ages 8-12.
10-12AM Pacific 
awholenotherbook.com
doctorcuthbertsoup@awholenotherbook.com

Bridget Hodder
Macmillan/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Upper Elementary & Middle School (Grades 4 -8)
Available 10:00 – 2:00 EST
 
Annemarie O’Brien
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House
Elementary / Middle School
9:30am – 3pm PST
 
I’ll be updating this list every few days until WRAD, so if you check back, you’ll find that the options will change. Schedules will fill, so some folks will no longer be available, but there will also be new people added.

Authors & Illustrators: If your schedule is full & you need to be crossed off the list, please email to let me know. If you’d like to be added to the list, directions are here. Please note that this particular list is limited to traditionally published authors/illustrators, only to limit its size and scope. I’m one person with limited time. However, if someone else would like to compile and share a list of self-published, magazine, and ebook author/illustrator volunteers, I think that would be absolutely great, and I’ll happily link to it here. Just let me know!

Happy reading, everyone!

“World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.”              ~from the LitWorld website

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World Read Aloud Day 2016 – A Call for Skype Read-Aloud Volunteers!

Hey, author-illustrator friends! To help schools plan their celebrations for LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day I’m putting together a list of author & illustrator volunteers who would like to read aloud to classrooms on that day. 

(image courtesy of LitWorld)

World Read Aloud Day 2016 is Wednesday, February 24th. For the past several years, some authors & illustrators have spent part of their day reading aloud to classrooms via Skype to help schools celebrate. These aren’t long, fancy presentations. They typically run 10-15 minutes each, and a typical one might go like this:

  • 1-2 minutes: Author introduces himself or herself and talks a little about his or her books.
  • 3-5 minutes: Author reads aloud a short picture book, or a short excerpt from a chapter book/novel
  • 5  minutes: Author answers a few questions from students about reading/writing
  • 1-2 minutes: Author book-talks a couple books he or she loves (but didn’t write!) as recommendations for the kids

 Interested in volunteering? If you’re a traditionally published* author or illustrator, here’s how to sign up:

  1. Send an email to worldreadaloudskype@gmail.com.
  2. In the subject line, write WRAD Skype volunteer.
  3. In the body of the email, please put these SIX pieces of information, in this exact format, so that it can be copied & pasted into the list:

-YOUR NAME

-YOUR PUBLISHER

-GRADE LEVEL FOR WHICH YOUR BOOKS ARE MOST APPROPRIATE

      (Younger Elementary, Older Elementary, All Elementary, Middle School, or High School) 

-HOURS YOU’LL BE AVAILABLE AND YOUR TIME ZONE

-YOUR WEBSITE

-EMAIL WHERE YOU’D LIKE TO BE CONTACTED WITH WRAD SKYPE INQUIRIES OR A LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE CONTACT PAGE

 

So…the body of your email should look something like this example:

Laurel Snyder
Random House Books for Young Readers
Elementary
8 am- 2pm EST
http://laurelsnyder.com

Laurel-email@gmail.com

 

Thanks for using this exact format. It saves so much time. Once I have all of your information, I’ll add you on the list and share it. 

IMPORTANT: Whenever your schedule for WRAD is full, please send another email to worldreadaloudkskype@gmail.com to let me know that, and I’ll cross your name off the list so you don’t keep getting requests.

 

*This list is limited to traditionally published authors/illustrators to limit its size and scope. I’m one person with limited time. However, if someone else would like to compile and share a list of self-published and ebook author/illustrator volunteers, I think that would be absolutely great, and I’ll happily link to it here. Just let me know! 

 

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The Power of Place in Researching Ranger in Time: Long Road to Freedom

Writing the Ranger in Time books is a dream job for a long list of reasons. I get to spend my days making up adventures for a time-traveling golden retriever. I write for amazing, enthusiastic readers who devour chapter books like M&Ms. And every time I send Ranger off on a new adventure in history, it feels like I get the chance to time travel, too. I read piles of books and devour diaries, journals, letters, and newspaper articles from each time period Ranger visits. I tend to save my favorite part of the research for last — the field trips.

When I was working on Rescue on the Oregon Trail, I traveled to Independence, Missouri, a jumping-off point for the Oregon Trail, to see where Ranger would have met the Abbott family for the first time. Danger in Ancient Rome sent me overseas to explore the ruins of the Roman Colosseum and Ludus Magnus gladiator school where Marcus and Quintus trained.  

The third book in the series, Ranger in Time: Long Road to Freedom, is the story of two enslaved children who escape from a tidewater Maryland tobacco plantation and make their way north in search of safety and freedom.

Ranger #3 Final Cover

Ranger travels with Sarah and Jesse through Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont. I decided that the best way to gather details from all those settings was to plan a road trip that traced my characters’ imaginary journey, so in the summer of 2014, my daughter and I flew to Philadelphia, rented a car, and drove south to the Mount Harmon plantation in tidewater Maryland, where we’d arranged a tour. This planation became the model for the Bradley planation in Long Road to Freedom. 

bighouse2

formalgarden

So often, details of a site visit help to inspire the plots for my Ranger in Time books. That’s why a creekside tobacco prize house, where tobacco is packed in barrels for shipping, plays an important role in Long Road to Freedom.

prizehouse

prizer2

The plantation house at Mount Harmon has a widow’s walk, where someone could spot an approaching boat. That scribble in my notebook became a plot element, too.

widowswalkriver

From Maryland, Sarah and Jesse escape through Odessa, Delaware to Philadelphia. My daughter and I explored real-life settings like William Still’s house and the Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia, and I took notes on details that I thought Sarah and Jesse might notice, too. 

WilliamStillHouse

MotherBethelChurch

From there, Sarah and Jesse make their way to Albany and end up, for a time, at Rokeby, a farm owned by the Robinson family in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. That farm is a museum now and tells the story of two real-life enslaved men who found their way north to Vermont in the 1800s. Interestingly enough, the “hidden rooms” that we hear about in many Underground Railroad stories are nowhere to be found here. Vermont was a free state, and historians say it was no secret that the Robinson family, who were powerful land owners, were helping and employing people who had escaped from their enslavers. Some of those men reportedly slept in a not-so-secret room above the kitchen and worked openly in the fields and with the sheep, alongside the other workers.

RobinsonFarmBedroom

RobinsonSheepDip2 RobinsonSheepDip

Across Lake Champlain, in Northern New York, it was a different story. In early 19th century Clinton County, historians believe that about a third of people were against slavery, about a third were pro-slavery, and a third wanted nothing to do with the whole issue. That meant that abolitionists who did help escapees had to do so more in secret. This barn owned by the Keese Smith family, documented abolitionists, does indeed have a secret room that might have been used as a hiding place.

NY Barn

HiddenRoom

I spent some time in this damp, cobwebby space with my notebook, soaking up the details and imagining what it would have been like on a dark night, with cows walking over the boards on the floor above. 

As I read and research and travel and read some more, elements of the story take shape, and then it becomes even more fascinating to try and see all these places through my characters’ eyes. You’ll recognize some of these settings if you read Ranger in Time: Long Road to Freedom – and I hope seeing these photos from my research will help you to imagine their journey even more vividly.

rangerpromo

Want to hear more about my research for the first two Ranger in Time books, set on the Oregon Trail and Ancient Rome? Check out this virtual author visit!

 

 

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33 Rules of Writing from Some of the Most Brilliant Women in Children’s & YA Literature

Yesterday, I spoke to class of teachers and soon-to-be-teachers at our local SUNY college. Their professor had asked me to talk about how authors plan and draft and revise, and how those practices might apply to student writers, too. I spent a wonderful hour doing that but also promised the teachers that if they brought in a dozen other authors, they’d hear about a dozen different processes. A process or strategy that works for one of us might or might not be effective for another — and that doesn’t vary only from author to author but from book to book. So perhaps the best advice for writers of any age is to understand that – and to honor lots of different processes, in the classroom, the coffee shop, and the office.

I love posts like this one from Brain Pickings, sharing Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing. But I couldn’t help thinking, in reading this, that it would be even more interesting to see a list of rules that didn’t all come from one guy. So I reached out to some friends, and we’ve come up with…

33 Rules of Writing from Some of the Most Brilliant Women in Children’s & YA Literature

Do the work. Don’t waste your precious energy on doubt, except where it shows you more opportunities for growth. Pretend you’re working on the last thing you’ll ever write. Give it that much ferocity and that much love. That’s the book the world needs from you.

~Martha Brockenbrough, author of The Game of Love and Death

My newest novel is teaching me this one: Keep showing up, and you start to run out of mistakes to make.

~Caroline Starr Rose, author of Bluebirds

Often, the story comes during the act of writing, not thinking. So even if you have no idea where you’re headed, start writing.

~Barbara O’Connor, author of The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester

Write the book that you (or that you as a child) would want to read.

~Christina Diaz Gonzalez, author of Moving Target

Regarding process, whatever works is what works best for you.

~Sarah Prineas, author of Ash and Bramble

Keep your story materials in one place. I keep a dedicated notebook for each novel in which I brainstorm ideas, jot critique partners’ notes, work through issues, etc. I stuff hard copy research materials in a pocket in back.
For you, a folder or 3-ring binder or envelope might work better–but figure out something to keep your work together. It saves time and serves as a map if you get stuck or lost in your story–you page through and, chances are, there’s an idea in those pages to help you along.

~Erin Dionne, author of Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting

 

Fast-drafting is fine, but don’t be afraid to go slow. When I begin something new, it helps me to focus on each word, as if I’m writing a poem. To sit with each line, and think about tone and voice. Those first paragraphs matter so much.
A very wonderful poet once told me that he sits down at his desk and gives himself an hour to come up with a line. If he gets that line, he gives himself an hour to come up with the second line, and so on…   I like to remember this, when other people talk about word counts per day. In the end, I’d rather find the ten right words than the 2,000 quick words.
The main thing, I think, is to remember we all write differently. Slow or fast. Clean or sloppy. One book at a time, or with 4 manuscripts open simultaneously. When people tell you to NEVER do something, or to ALWAYS do something, they’re generally wrong. Write in the way that feels best to you.

~Laurel Snyder, author of Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova

There is no one writing process, and if anyone tells you there is, they’re selling you snake oil. What works for me, might not work for you. And what works for me on one book might not be the right process for the next book. As brilliant female author Laurie Halse Anderson said at Kindling Words (and this helped me SO MUCH) each book requires different tools from the writer’s toolbox. For me, writing the first draft quickly helps because it helps me trick what I call “The Inner Crazy Lady.” If I can get the first draft mostly written before she wakes up and tells me everything I’ve written is complete garbage and all of my (insert previous number of published books) were flukes, I can be much more productive. I also find that when I write the first draft quickly, my subconscious leaves me nuggets that I can tease out later to make the novel richer and more nuanced.

~Sarah Darer Littman, author of Backlash

Become familiar with the subtleties of your own particular brand of crazy. I have a hard time discerning whether I’m avoiding writing or giving my subconscious some time to pick apart a tangled plot point. I think it’s important to trust your instincts when they insist you need time away from a particular project but always examine the true root cause. Avoidance wears many deceiving disguises.

~Audrey Vernick, author of Screaming at the Ump

Keep reading until you find a book that blows open the doors of what’s possible.

~Melanie Crowder, author of Audacity

I tell my students that what elevates a book to that Next Level is tiny details and huge risks. Fill your work with tiny details, all kinds of unique specificities, little moments that add texture to the greater plot of the book, and then take huge risks as you’re writing. Take unexpected turns and push to go beyond what feels comfortable. I love that writing requires both that careful attention to detail and that ferocious risk-taking.

~Corey Ann Haydu, author of Rules for Stealing Stars

Write to your passion. The world is full of zippy plots and larger-than-life characters; these are important, of course. But what’s going to elevate YOUR book is finding that story that only you can tell, and setting it down in the way that only you could tell it. Write what thrills you. Write what terrifies you. Write the big questions lurking at the edges of your mind. This is how your book will stand out from the rest.

~Ammi-Joan Paquette, author of Princess Juniper of the Hourglass

Don’t read your reviews.Even the good ones will probably not be good enough to fill up that gaping hole you were hoping to fill. And the bad ones will gut you like a fish, stealing all your joy. You need the joy in order to believe in the next idea when it settles itself around your shoulders.

~Ellen Wittlinger, author of Parrotfish

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Experiment with form. Write beyond what you feel your abilities are. You are allowed to write whatever you can dream up.  When your inner voice starts asking, “But what if it won’t sell? What if I am wasting my time on this?” gently tell it to hush. Tell that voice what you are learning from the writing and how it energizes you. Remind that voice that you are allowed to define your own idea of success. And then write with wild abandon.

~Heidi Schulz, author of Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code

 

Beauty comes from honesty, no matter how ugly the truth is. Let your writing shine light on that dark place–that’s where hope starts to grow.

~Jo Knowles, author of Read Between the Lines

Backside in chair. Lots of people talk about writing, but to be a writer, you have to write. You have to close your mouth and sit down and do it – with a monklike self-discipline. And that’s where you find the joy.

~Kate Hannigan, author of The Detective’s Assistant

It’s okay if you return to the same thematic material over and over again. In fact, it means that you have found something that matters deeply to you.

~Elana K. Arnold, author of The Question of Miracles

Try not to be scared. But if you are scared, use it as fuel to push through whatever is in the way.

~Tracy Winfield Holczer, author of The Secret Hum of a Daisy

Go for a walk, preferably in the woods. Going for long walks away from the keyboard allows your ideas to work themselves out without the pressure of writing them down in the moment.

~Karen Rivers, author of The Girl in the Well is Me

Read your work aloud. Listen to the rhythm and musicality of your words. You’ll hear repetition and problem sentences. I do this for individual scenes and whole novels, walking and reading. Don’t do it in public though – people will think you’re nuts.

~Cheryl Blackford, author of Lizzie and the Lost Baby

The moment you are frustrated and ready to quit on a manuscript: Don’t! It means you are on the verge of a breakthrough.

~Kirby Larson, author of Audacity Jones to the Rescue

Remember the books you loved to pieces as a kid? Remember all those authors you never wrote to? Out there in this world is a kid who will love the book you are writing just as much as you loved those books. You will never hear from that kid. The love, however, will be real. That’s the person you are writing this book for. On his or her behalf, thank you, thank you, so much!

~Anne Nesbet, author of The Wrinkled Crown

Find peers who will cheer for you and challenge you. (They don’t have to be the same people and they don’t have to do both at once.) The right friends will help you get through the rough times, push you to become a better writer, and enrich your life in general.

~Jenn Reese, author of Above World

Write the first word that pops into your head– even if that word is “the.” The rest will always follow.

~Danette Vigilante, author of The Trouble with Half a Moon

Writing is fun until it isn’t and then it is hard work, plain and simple. But trust that if you show up and put in the work, day after day, the universe will respond. Magical moments will happen, often when you least expect them, giving you goosebumps because the words are so right and true, and exactly what the story needs. A lot of grit + a teensy bit of magic = how the book gets written.

~Lisa Schroeder, author of My Secret Guide to Paris

All the advice in the world ain’t gonna help you write the #$%@ book. So quit looking for reasons to procrastinate and just write the #$%@  book. Remember the difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer is that they persevered.

~Ellen Oh, author of Prophecy

The first draft is going to be awful. Briefly acknowledge that, then move on.

~Lisa Yee, author of The Kidney Hypothetical

Behind every “breakout hit” is a whole lot of hidden study – study of craft, of the classics, of what’s being written right now – and an even greater dose of perseverance and discarded material.

~Janet Fox, author of The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle

Don’t be afraid to go big. Allow crazy things to happen in the plot, make room for wild emotions and passions, be brave and risk your characters’ hearts. You can always dial it back a little later if you have to, but you don’t want to regret not having gone far enough.

~Liz Garton Scanlon, author of The Great Good Summer

1. You *are* a writer. Not “trying to be”, or “aspiring” — you are.

2. Know that *your* story is precious and powerful.

3. Nothing you write is a waste, even if you don’t explicitly “use” it.

4. Value every scrap, phrase, or bit of an idea by writing it down as soon as you can, preferably the old-fashioned way, on paper. Then don’t worry about it. When you need it, it will be there.

Olugbemisola Amusashonubi-Perkovich, author of 8th Grade SuperZero

Don’t give up! If your first book doesn’t get published, write another book. If your second book doesn’t get published, write a third book. It took me 8 years to get a book published. Most of the people in my first critique group never got published. Most aren’t even writing anymore. And they were all better writers than I was at that time. The reason I got published and they didn’t is because I didn’t give up.

~Dori Hillestad Butler, author of The Haunted Library

Find your way of writing. I had a ton of instructors who said you should overwrite because you can always cut. But I don’t work that way. I start slight and add layers. It took me years to shake the idea that I was doing it wrong.

~Megan Frazer Blakemore, author of The Friendship Riddle

Don’t be afraid to fail. Fail often and joyfully and make lots of things. If you do, you’ll get better at it. And some of them may work out. (I have a whole post about this advice as it relates to picture books here.)

~Kate Messner, author of the Ranger in Time series

Ranger #3 Final Cover

So there you go. 33 rules to follow. Or not. But hopefully, some of them will resonate for you.

Go on now.

Write.

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My NCTE 2015 Schedule: Research, Writing, Revision, Magic, and Book Signings

As a former middle school English teacher (and always a teacher at heart!) I’ll admit that I’m partial to the annual NCTE Convention and look forward to this one the most. I have a super-full schedule at this year’s NCTE Convention and hope that I’ll see many of my teacher, librarian, author, and reader friends. Here’s where I’ll be speaking…

The Power of Passion Driven Research with Deb Perryman, Laurel Snyder, Jennifer Vincent, & LeUyen Pham

FRIDAY 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM in Minneapolis Convention Center, L100E

From baseball to ballet, Minecraft to marshmallows, favorite topics paired with authentic research opportunities unlock a love of learning in students. Two educators, three authors, and an illustrator share experiences with passion-driven research in and out of the classroom that promotes creativity, motivation, and engagement.

Read, Write, Think, Research, Rewrite…Writing is Not Linear with Susannah Richards, Katherine Applegate, & Heidi Stemple

FRIDAY  12:30 PM – 1:45 PM in Minneapolis Convention Center, Auditorium 3

While we often teach students that writing is a linear process, most writers will say that it is not. In this session authors Katherine Applegate & Heidi Stemple, a former teacher/author Kate Messner and a teacher educator will share strategies to teach writing that reflect the process of published authors.

Close Writing: Reading, Reflecting, and Revising Through a Writer’s Lens with Paula Bourque, Andrea Bryant, Sarah Albee, Linda Urban, Lester Laminack, & Selene Castrovilla

FRIDAY 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM in Minneapolis Convention Center, M100J

We teach students to closely read other authors’ writing, but what about their own?
Close Writing strategies help writers build a stronger relationship with their writing through reading, reflecting, and revising. In this session, teachers and authors will share some of these strategies from the classroom and beyond.

Global Read Aloud: Making Connections Around the World, Within Communities, Classrooms, and Ourselves with Pernille Ripp, Sharon Draper, Katherine Applegate, Jenni Holm, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, & Michelle Kedzierski

SATURDAY 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM in Minneapolis Convention Center, 101D

Imagine 300,000 students, immersed in a book, discussing with students and authors, using technology to spark a global conversation; this is the Global Read-Aloud. Join our panel featuring the founder as well as alumni authors. Be inspired to connect and be inspired to create your own global project!

Exploring Tough Issues Through Magic and Fantasy in MG and YA Literature with Linda Urban, Anne Ursu, Laura Ruby, Tracey Baptiste, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Nikki Loftin, and Colby Sharp. 

SATURDAY 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM in Minneapolis Convention Center, 101E

One of “the arts of language” is its gentle ability to help us understand the world and ourselves. Sometimes, the most fantastical stories push us to confront the hardest truths. In this session, six authors and a teacher-blogger explore using fantasy and magical realism to explore tough themes with readers.

 

I’ll also be signing books at my publishers’ booths. Here’s where I’ll be, when I’ll be there, and which titles I’ll be signing at each booth…

FRIDAY – 2:00-3:00 – Scholastic – Ranger in Time series

SATURDAY – 9:30-10:30 – Chronicle Books – OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, UP IN THE GARDEN & DOWN IN THE DIRT, HOW TO READ A STORY, and TREE OF WONDER: THE MANY MARVELOUS LIVES OF A RAINFOREST TREE

SATURDAY – 4:00-5:00 – Bloomsbury – ALL THE ANSWERS, THE SEVENTH WISH (ARC)

  

Hope to see many of you in Minneapolis!

 

 

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