Archive | Author Blog Posts

Robie Harris on Presenting Human Development and Sexuality to Children and Teens

Author Robie Harris and illustrator Michael Emberley have worked closely together to create nearly a dozen age-appropriate books for children and teens on human development and sexuality, including It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families (Candlewick, 1999)and It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health (Candlewick, 1994). For Harris and Emberley, the entire research process is of the utmost importance when it comes to creating accurate informational books. From finding the right resources to portraying information in word and illustration, these two have insights to share about the inquiry process.
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Nikki Grimes on Writing From the Inside Out and Back Again

Nikki Grimes is an author of fiction and poetry who has received five Coretta Scott King Book Award recognitions. In this column she discusses her writing process. Whether it’s her focus on character development, the story behind Bronx Masquerade (Penguin, 2001), or her personal experiences that influence her research and writing, Grimes’s insights reveal the dialectical nature of writing.
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Guest Blogger: Laurie Halse Anderson

When I was kid I used to make movies in my head. Many of them were vaguely Arthurian in tone, with a dash of Tolkien reconfigured with strong female characters who liked to read. I tried putting myself in the lead role – warrior princess or pirate queen, say, but not that often. I am, at heart, a profoundly shy person, and even an imaginary spotlight was uncomfortable.
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Guest Blogger: Author Avi

Historical fiction is a complex genre. It can strive to be as absolutely accurate as the writer can make it (as I attempted in Crispin: Cross of Lead) or it may go no further than to create a general sense of time and place (as in Midnight Magic). The work that is merely dressed up in a general sense of time and place is rather like a musical comedy. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, and in fact there are some real advantages. The primary advantage is that one can deal with very modern ideas and simply place them where one can have the most fun.
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Elizabeth Partridge on the African American Civil Rights Movement in photos

Powerful photographs helped change the tide of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. Some of these very photos moved author Elizabeth Partridge (goddaughter of the influential photographer Dorothea Lange) when she saw them 40 years later. Consider the role that photographs, books, and interviews play in historical research as Partridge discusses her process of selecting viable sources for Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary (Penguin, 2009).
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Guest Blogger: Author Sharon M. Draper

I went to Ghana several years ago and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the land and people, as well as the history of the place that hovered just out of reach. When I visited the slave castles, where millions of Africans were housed like cattle before being shipped as cargo and sold as slaves, I felt their spirits crying out to me. Crawling on my hands and knees through the Door of No Return, which led from the darkness of the prison to the incomprehensible vastness of a beach, I knew I must tell the story of someone who had passed that way.
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Guest Blogger: Mary Ann Hoberman

Why memorize poetry? For the sheer joy of it! If there is a poem you love, nothing is more satisfying than committing it to memory. You’ll get to know the work far more deeply when you have read it aloud a number of times and familiarized yourself with its rhymes, rhythms, and repetitions as part of a living composition.
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