Guest Blogger: Kimberly Willis Holt

When I was a child I resented the stories I read about the ugly mean older sisters. Why did the youngest have to be the kind beautiful one? And why did the eldest always seem to possess the worst flaws? I remember thinking, if I were a writer, I’d never bow down to that storytelling […]

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Tell me about your picture …

Grappling with the value of drawing when it’s the writing I want him to get to… I occasionally volunteer at a local school where I work with a 7-year-old who loves to draw. If there are markers and paper in view, he’ll invariably draw many pictures in a matter of minutes, turning a new page […]

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Digging deeper

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of my favorite holidays.  I get to celebrate a human being who facilitated some amazing social movement in his lifetime. Thankfully, those of us who work with young people can use the award-winning book Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (written by Doreen […]

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Writing crazy sentences

I recently spoke with Ingrid Law to record her reading from her fantastically creative book, Savvy.  When recording a Book Reading, I ask authors to share a little extra special information about how they came to write the book — the inspiration behind the story. In a quiet and gentle voice, Ingrid Law shared with […]

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Caldecott star

In anticipation of the American Library Association’s announcements later this month, we invite you to bring Caldecott-winning illustrator, David Wiesner, into your classroom.  Here are some ideas: 1) Most importantly, learn how to say “Wiesner” correctly. 2) Enjoy (and share) this Original Author Program that we made with David. 3) Explore all of the online […]

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Colorful folktales

When I was a kid, my dad was involved in a project to help retain and transmit Anansi the Spider stories of Liberia, where my parents had served in the Peace Corps.  I remember him having a pile of type-written pages with a single, drawn spider at the top. With today’s technology, we can now […]

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Paying homage

When we learned earlier this fall that Louisiana author Coleen Salley had suddenly passed away, we were humbly privileged to realize what a gift she’d given when she called our author name pronunciation line.  Listening to Coleen Salley’s Author Name Pronunciation gives one a distinct sense of her story-telling capabilities and the ease with which […]

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Mouse tales

A new movie released this month is based on Kate DiCamillo’s Newbery-winning book The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread. Explore Kate DiCamillo’s Original Author Program and learn more about her thoughts on mice being heroes.  You can even get a glimpse into […]

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Sample and savor

Every year around this time my grandfather would give my grandmother a box of chocolates.  I quickly learned that not every chocolate in the sampler box thrilled me.  One year, my sister taught me the trick of picking out a chocolate and ever-so-slightly cracking open the underside to reveal the filling.  When I found an […]

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Diaries — er, I mean, journals — and kids

When I visited my 11-year-old niece during last week’s holiday, I learned that she had recently purchased and donated a copy of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid to her previous 5th grade classroom.  My niece’s former teacher had written her a nice thank you note saying that the students were lining up to […]

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