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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Book Giveaway, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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26. The Meaning of Maggie, by Megan Jean Sovern | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Meaning of Maggie, by Megan Jean Sovern, + a set of buttons. Giveaway begins May 19, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends June 18, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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27. Guest TA Interview & Book Giveaway with the Amazing Debbie Dadey!

Today I'm thrilled to share a guest TeachingAuthor interview with the prolific and talented Debbie Dadey. We're honored to help Debbie celebrate the release of her latest chapter book, Treasure in Trident City (Aladdin), book eight in the Mermaid Tales series for ages 6-9. Here's a little about the story:

Pearl can't believe it! There is a pirate's treasure near Trident City. If she can find it, she'll be the richest, most famous mermaid ever. Tales of pirate ghosts don't scare Pearl off, but something much bigger just might.
See the end of this post for details on how to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of this fun title! I also share the name of the winner of our last giveaway.

I'm guessing most of our TeachingAuthors' readers are familiar with Debbie's work. She is the award-winning author/co-author of 158 books for children! She is perhaps most known for the best-selling Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series (Scholastic) , which she wrote with Marcia Thornton Jones. Debbie and Marcia also co-wrote a writing book for adults, Story Sparkers : A Creativity Guide for Children's Writers (Writer's Digest). A former elementary school teacher and school librarian, Debbie enjoys working with writers of all ages through school visits and writing conferences. She currently divides her time between Bucks County, PA and Sevierville, TN. She has three children, two dogs, and one very smart husband. You can learn more about Debbie through her website and follow her via Twitter and Facebook.

I first connected with Debbie Dadey years ago, when a member of my critique group invited her to join
us. My son was in second grade at the time, and a HUGE fan of the Bailey School Kids. When I told him that Debbie had joined our group, he could hardly believe it. He said, "Wow, Mom, now you're going to be famous!" Well, knowing Debbie didn't make me "famous," but having her in our group definitely made me a "tighter" writer. Our group called Debbie "the slasher" because she was so great at helping us cut extraneous material. We were all disappointed when she moved away. All these years later, I'm happy to be able to still call her my friend. 

And now, for the interview:

Debbie, would you tell our readers how you became a TeachingAuthor? 

When I was an elementary school teacher, I taught writing to my students. When I was a PK-12th grade librarian, I taught writing to my students. As an author, it was only natural to continue teaching writing through continuing education classes at universities, school visits, and writing conferences. My website has a writing section that I hope is helpful to writers of all ages.

Can you tell us a bit about your Mermaid Tales series and how you came to write it? What was the inspiration behind the newest book in the series, Treasure in Trident City? Are there more Mermaid Tales books in the works? 

Yes, there are more Mermaid Tales books in the works. Treasure in Trident City (think sunken pirate ship, pirate ghosts, and treasure!) is #8 and I have written 12 so far. It is a series about a school at the bottom of the ocean. The merboys and mermaids have normal school adventures, but also get the opportunity to have exciting interactions with ocean animals. In Treasure in Trident City, Pearl becomes friends with a giant octopus! I was lucky enough that Simon and Schuster approached me about writing it.

I’m intrigued that Simon and Schuster approached you. Did they provide the general premise for the series and ask you to come up with the stories? Did they dictate number of books, plot ideas, etc.? Did you already have other series with them?

They suggested a series about mermaids and let me run with it, but first they wanted me to create a world for them to live in, so I created a Travel Guide to Trident City which outlined the world.  Of course, the one I gave to my editor had character sketches, a map (which the artist redrew for the books), and ideas for books. They did not say how many books they wanted to start with, but I thought four was a great number (since I had four main character) to try and they went for it. This was the first work I've done for Simon and Schuster. I thought it was interesting that they contacted me through my website and I was glad that I had a way on there for them to contact me! It doesn't have my email listed, but it comes directly to my email.

Your website highlights you as an author for “reluctant readers.” What is it about your books that appeals to reluctant readers? Do you have any tips for other writers who want to reach this audience?

I hope my books are full of action, which I think draws in reluctant readers. I think books for any young reader needs to be kid-oriented and avoid overdosing on description.

You also list specific suggestions for parents and teachers to help motivate reluctant readers on your website. Which of these ideas to you think are most effective? 

There is nothing a parent or teacher can to do encourage reading more than modeling that behavior. Reading aloud to them and turning off the TV to read when your child can see speaks volumes!

You’re such a prolific author. Would you share a little about your writing schedule/routine? Do you set writing quotas/goals? Do you have any tricks for generating story/character ideas?

I write every day, except Sunday. I begin my day by updating my website, Facebook fan page, and answering email. Then I dive into writing and strive for 3-4 pages per day and most of that is done in the morning. My website, debbiedadey.com, has a writing section that has ‘worksheets’ that I use to help me learn about my character and my stories. I think they are helpful. My friend Marcia Jones and I created them for a book about writing called Story Sparkers, which we are currently turning into an eBook.

You do so many school and library visits. Can you share a funny (or interesting) story about one?

I’ll never forget the little boy who was crying in the hallway when I visited his school. Why was he crying? It was because he had thought the characters in the Bailey School Kids books (my first series with Marcia Jones) were visiting. When he found out it was just me, he was devastated. To him, the characters were real and he really wanted to meet them!

Well, I can't think of a better compliment to your writing than that, Debbie! Thank you so much for taking time out from your busy schedule to visit with us.  

I hope all the teachers in our audience will visit the Teacher's Page of Debbie's website for book-related activities and other resources. And I hope all our readers check back here on Wednesday, when Debbie shares a favorite writing exercise for our Wednesday Writing Workout.

Now it's time for you to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Treasure in Trident City (Aladdin). Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options specified. If you choose the "comment" option, share a comment to TODAY'S blog post telling us what you'll do with the book should you win: save it for yourself or give it away? And please include your name in your comment, if it's not obvious from your comment "identity." (If you prefer, you may submit your comment via email to: teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com.  )

The giveaway ends on May 30. 

And congratulations to our most recent winner, Elaine Kaplan, who follows us via email. Thanks for being a TeachingAuthors subscriber, Elaine!

Good luck and happy writing!

P.S. If you've never entered a Rafflecopter giveaway, here's info on how to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and the difference between signing in with Facebook vs. with an email address. Email subscribers: if you received this post via email, you can click on the Rafflecopter link at the end of this message to access the entry form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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28. Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer, by Will Summerhouse | Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer, by Will Summerhouse. Giveaway begins May 19, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends June 18, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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29. A God In Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie – Giveaway


9781408847213We love A God In Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie so much we want to give copies of the book away.

1914 and a soldier is returning from Ypres to his home in Pakistan. His loyalty to Britain is about to be challenged. Also in 1914 a young English woman is following an interest in archaeology and travelling in Peshawar. She too is about to have her views challenged, Both of these people, in their own way question the very different societies they live in. Where do your loyalties lie? To your own country rather than another? To your family? To God? To yourself?

The first 15 people who purchase a copy of Kamila Shamsie’s A God In Every Stone we will get a 2nd copy for free to give to a friend, family member, neighbour or whoever they want!

We know you are going to love this book just as much as we did and we want you to help us share the joy of such a great read.

Buy the book here…

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30. Be Honest: Do You Like This Post? Gut Level Truth In Poetry...and in Life

Howdy, Campers!

Note the four exciting announcements at the bottom of this post (including this: today's the last day to enter our current book giveaway.)

Thank you, Elizabeth Steinglass, for hosting Poetry Friday today!

I had a wonderful poetry teacher, Tony Lee, who taught us about voice.

Describing something, as a journalist does, Tony said, is the reporting voice.
  That voice comes from the lips, the mouth, the throat.
from morguefile.com
Writing about feelings comes from the gut, a lower, truer, sometimes scarier place, he said.  

from morguefile.com
This is the deep voice.  The deep voice attracts readers.  It connects them to your story.  Be brave, he told us. Find the feelings. Go there.

So why do some blog and FaceBook posts get nine kazillion comments (not mine!) and some get zip?
from FaceBook

12,341,889 likes ~ 58,962 talking about this

Putting aside JoAnn's terrific post about social media and the perfect lengths for poems, posts, headings, etc. in various online media...

it seems to me that getting your work read (or, more to the point, getting your work read and passed on) is about superficial vs. deep.

Just like a book in which the author rips off her shirt and shows us her scars (as Anne Lamott does), FaceBook and blog posts that come from the gut are the ones that resonate.

I was at a meeting the other day; each of us had three minutes to talk about anything we wanted.  The first two minutes and 30 seconds I talked about some success I had had.  In the last 30 seconds, my mouth opened and an embarrassing truth popped out.  I said that Robyn Hood Black had very kindly gifted me homemade granola.  It was especially touching because Robyn knows I can't eat sugar, so she made it with sugar-free maple syrup.  I could actually have it.  Delighted, I sat down for lunch, thinking I'd taste just a spoonful, just to see what it was like.

Good granola is dense, so you don't need much.  And you and I know that you're supposed to eat two cups of granola over a period of several days--with fresh blueberries and your pinky finger raised, right?

Not me... immediately my mouth opened, a vacuum turned on, my brain turned off, and nearly two cups of absolutely delicious granola were gone.  Gone!
This isn't Robyn's granola.
Hers had yummy bits of coconut in it.
But...um...I didn't have time to take a picture of hers.
So this is from morguefile.com
As we went around the room sharing, do you think others in the group commented on the nicely packaged pithy wisdom in my first two minutes and thirty seconds?  Nope.  Nearly ALL of them talked about my granola adventure.  It hit a familiar nerve. We've all been there.

It was no longer mine...it was all of ours.  

During Poetry Month this year, I had what I called a metaphoraffair--I practiced finding metaphors, posting one each day, both on my website (where, it turned out, the comment mechanism was broken) and on FaceBook and Twitter.

The metaphor which drew the most interest was my final post for Poetry Month 2014, written with and about my mother, who is 91 and not doing great.  It was hard for me to post; it was true. It was from my gut.

I drew this in November, 2010, after Mom and I walked around a park in Malibu...and suddenly I was the parent
I drew this in November, 2010, after Mom and I walked around a park in Malibu…suddenly I was the parent
The point is, be brave, cut deep beneath the skin, share from the gut, share your humaness. That's all we have.
                                                                             *   *   *   *
LAST CALL! If you haven't entered our current giveaway, it ends today!  To enter, go to Jill Esbaum's post to win your very own autographed copy of Jill's Angry Birds Playground: Rain Forest (National Geographic Books)!

Will you be in New York on May 18th? I'll be speaking on the Children's Books Panel of the Seminar on Jewish Story in New York City on Sunday, May 18th.  Here's my interview the seminar organizer, Barbara Krasner published on her blog.

For an example of a beautifully written post which hits a nerve, read Jama Rattigan's gorgeous and heartfelt Mother's Day post.

And, last but not least, happy Children's Book Week!  Be brave. Go forth and share the very thing that hard to share.

posted with love by April Halprin Wayland...but you knew that, right?

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31. Children's Book Week!

Happy Monday! My clippings all have to do with this being the start of Children's Book Week.

It's not too late to make it a big deal for your kids/students. How? Check out these websites:

What is Children's Book Week?  http://www.bookweekonline.com

From the Pennsylvania School Library Association – Top 10 Ideas for Celebrating Children's Book Week:  http://www.psla.org/assets/Documents/Advocacy/Top-Ten-List/Childrens-Book-Week.pdf

Fabulous ways to celebrate CBW from Smore.com:

My favorite from the site above? Take a pic of yourself with your favorite children's book, then share it on Twitter using the hashtags #plaea #cbw14. Fun!

From Colorado Parent, 5 ways to celebrate CBW:

And all the way from Australia, here are easy book-related costumes:


Also, if you happen to be in a bookstore this week, my newest picture book debuts Thursday (we'll have a book giveaway sometime this fall). Keep your eyes peeled for I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!

Or the Australia/New Zealand edition:

Jill Esbaum

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32. Children's Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop

I'm so excited to be part of the Children's Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop. Reading books with my kids has always been a special part of our time spent together. I hope WISH YOU WEREN'T will become one of those books that parents and kids enjoy reading together, that kids enjoy reading under the covers and that people enjoy enough to share with each other. Want to check it out for yourself? You can enter to win a copy below!

Marten doesn't believe in the power of wishes. None of his have ever come true. His parents ignore him, his little brother is a pain and his family is talking about moving to Texas. Not cool. So when he makes an impulsive wish during a meteor shower, he doesn't expect it to make any difference.

Until his annoying brother disappears.

With the present uncertain and his brother’s future in limbo, Marten finds himself stuck in his past. And if he runs out of time, even wishes might not be enough to save the ones he loves.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a children's book or teen literature blogger, an author, a publisher, or a publicist looking to share copies of a fabulous book?  Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews are joining forces to provide you with the opportunity to take part in the Children's Book Week Giveaway Hop 2014, featuring links to giveaways for fabulous children/teen's books, gift cards, cash, or other prizes.  What better way to celebrate Children's Book Week?

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33. The Very Fairy Princess: Graduation Girl, by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Very Fairy Princess: Graduation Girl, by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, illustrated by Christine Davenier. Giveaway begins May 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends June 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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34. Post-Poetry Month Tidbits

What a Poetry Month we've celebrated! Now I hope to backtrack and read the many intriguing posts I've bookmarked for later enjoyment. In case you missed any of ours, here's a recap:

We each read one of our favorite poems aloud. (Of course, it was a difficult choice!) You can hear:

I had tons of fun writing Wednesday Writing Workouts about different poetry forms. I gave myself a weekly writing assignment and wrote a new poem (or several) to accompany each one:

For our Fifth Anniversary Blogiversary Book Bundle Giveaway, we gave bundles of 5 books each to 5 winners. We are thrilled with our readers and tickled to read all of your smart, funny, thoughtful comments. Thank you for inspiring us!

If you haven't yet, you can still enter for a chance to win a copy of Jill's Angry Birds Playground: Rain Forest.

And now it's May, which so far looks a lot like April . . .

. . . except in my neighbor's yard!

May is Get Caught Reading month!

Be sure to check out the We Need Diverse Books Campaign. Use the hashtag ‪#‎WeNeedDiverseBooks on Twitter and/or find it on Facebook.

Katya hosts today's Poetry Friday Roundup at Write. Sketch. Repeat. Enjoy!

JoAnn Early Macken

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35. Blogiversary; Goodbye, Poetry Month; and Angry Birds Playground: Rain Forest Book Giveaway

Happy Spring!

Since I didn’t get to post about our 5 year blogiversary, I’ll jumping in here to say a quick THANK YOU to friends who have been with the blog since the beginning or found us somewhere along the way. I love knowing that 5-book bundles are even now winging (wheeling?) their way to 5 of you who entered our contest. Woot!

Another of my National Geographic books was released a couple of weeks ago, so it’s time for a book giveaway. If you have any kiddos in your life who like the Angry Birds or might enjoy a lively book about the Amazon rain forest and its animals, please enter. I’d love to send you a copy of Angry Birds Playground:  Rain Forest.

This fourth book in the series (the third written by me) was my favorite to research. I quickly compiled a lonnng list of the amazing creatures that live in the Amazon. Narrowing it down was actually the toughest part of writing this book. Reading about some of them made my jaw drop.

-Like Hoatzin chicks. Those are born with temporary claws on the front edges of their wings. When a hawk or other predatory bird attacks a nest (which are built hanging over the water), the chicks can ploop to the water below, then swim underwater to the bank until the threat is over. Then they use those wee claws to climb back up the tree to their nest. (I couldn’t get photo permission in time for this post, but check out this quirky, chicken-sized bird!)

-Like the wide-mouthed Amazon Horned Frog. This bugger will attack and try to swallow anything that crosses its path – including human ankles. They're so aggressive that they're often found dead with some poor, too-big-to-swallow beastie halfway in.

                                                                                    Photo by George Grall

-Like the Golden Lion Tamarin, a photo of which you can see here. This fiery, red-orange (and endangered) species always looks so big in photos. Did you know they’re really only the size of a 5-year-old child’s foot?

Readers will learn about the four layers of the Amazon, the river itself, and the basin in general. Add cool lizards and turtles and insects and snakes, a few animals that consume their own … um, droppings, 5 primate species, and a frightening assortment of animals trying their darnedest to eat each other, and you’ve got one fascinating, four-layered place to discover.

Want to win a copy? Just enter via Rafflecopter below. I’ll send one winner their very own book. Contest runs through May 16th.

Jill Esbaum

Side note #1:  Farewell, Poetry Month. But if you're into rhyming picture books, I’m the guest blogger today over at Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo.

Side note #2:  If you’re a picture book writer and are looking for a summer writing workshop, consider joining my author friend Linda Skeers and me at our Whispering Woods Picture Book Workshop. Follow link for more details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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36. Goddess Girls: Athena the Proud, Book 13 | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Goddess Girls #13: Athena the Proud, by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. Giveaway begins April 24, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 23, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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37. Burn Out, by Kristi Helvig | YA Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Burn Out, by Kristi Helvig. Giveaway begins April 19, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 18, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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38. Mighty Dads, by Joan Holub | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Mighty Dads, story by award-winning author Joan Holub and illustrations by James Dean, creator of the bestselling "Pete the Cat" books. Giveaway begins April 15, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 14, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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39. Happy Blogi-VERSE-ary!!!!!

Hip (to the 5th power) Hooray!
It’s our Blogiversary!!!!!
Our TeachingAuthors group blog has been teaching authors since April of 2009!

To celebrate the occasion, we’re celebrating you!  Enter our Raffle drawing to win one of FIVE Blogiversary Book Bundles – each bundle a set of five books hand-selected by a TeachingAuthor that includes at least one autographed TeachingAuthor book.  Check the end of this post for details.

But wait!
It’s also our Blogi-VERSE-ary, so smartly re-named by our reader Mary Lee of A Year of Reading, because we six TeachingAuthors chose to celebrate the occasion by reciting our favorite poem in honor of Poetry Month.

I suggested the idea once I read about the Poetry Foundation’s current Favorite Poem Project: Chicago which grew out of former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s national Favorite Poem Project – Americans Saying Poems They Love which celebrates poetry as a vocal art. 

Poetry Foundation President Robert Polito shared in his project description that “a favorite poem can be a talisman or mantra, a clue, landmark or guiding star and dwells deep down in our psyches.”

Thank you for your interest in the Favorite Poem Project: Chicago. Check this page regularly to view the six videos in the series which will be release twice each week starting on Monday, April 14.Hana Bajramovic
"The Order of Key West" by Wallace Stevens
Naomi Beckwith
"The Children of the Poor" by Gwendolyn Brooks
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
"Chicago" by Carl Sandburg
Thank you for your interest in the Favorite Poem Project: Chicago. Check this page regularly to view the six videos in the series which will be release twice each week starting on Monday, April 14.Hana Bajramovic
"The Order of Key West" by Wallace Stevens
Naomi Beckwith
"The Children of the Poor" by Gwendolyn Brooks
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
"Chicago" by Carl
FYI: the Poetry Foundation, located in beautiful downtown Chicago, is an amazing resource – for writers and readers, for teachers, of course, but really-and-truly, for anyone human.
To plan a (highly-recommended) visit, click here.
To explore the children’s poetry resources, click here. 
Students can find recitation tips and look for poems here.
Teachers can learn all about Poetry Out Loud in the classroom by clicking here.
So you’re never without a poem nearby, click here to download the Poetry App.

The poem I chose to recite via SoundCloud (and – fingers-crossed – successfully uploaded to today’s post so you can hear it) is Robert Louis Stevenson’s MY SHADOW.

The poem dwells deep, deep, deep in my psyche, placed there by my mean-spirited third grade teacher Miss Atmore at Philadelphia’s Overbrook Elementary.  (Think every gruesome teacher Raoul Dahl created, to the max (!), down to the spit that sprayed the air when she’d lean in close to admonish a mistake.)

In between Halloween and Thanksgiving of that third grade year, each of us was to choose, memorize and then recite before the class eight lines of a poem.  I instantly knew the poem I’d choose.  I treasured my copy of A CHILD’S GARDEN OFVERSES.  How could I not choose my favorite poem, My Shadow? I loved the poem’s sing-song rhythms; I loved its playfulness. I even recall jumping rope while I recited the poem, practicing, practicing, practicing.  I so wanted to get it right.  Standing before my classmates in the front of my classroom, beside Miss Atmore seated dispassionately at her desk, demanded Courage and Moxie, both of which I lacked.

"My poem is My Shadow,” I bravely began, and Miss Atmore stopped me, cold, mid-sentence.
“Po-em is a two-syllable word, child!” she shouted. “How many times must I tell you all that?!  Now raise your head, start again and this time, for goodness sake, speak the words correctly!”
The rhythm of the lines ran away (probably scared); I mispronounced "India" as "Indian." All I could do was stare at the two shiny pennies that adorned my new brown loafers. 
But that failed recitation serves as a landmark. Thanks to Miss Atmore, I knew then and there that when – I – grew up to be a teacher someday, everything that Miss Atmore was, I would spend my lifetime making sure I wasn't.                                (IIllustration by Ted Rand)                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Ironically, when I was first trying my hand at writing for children, I wrote a poem entitled “P-O-E-M is a Two-syllable Word.” In time the title became a line in the first poem I ever sold, to Ebony Jr. magazine.  I’ve searched high-and-low for my copy so I might share the poem, but alas, no luck.  Even today, I can’t speak the word “poem” without enunciating clearly its two two-letter syllables.

           My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head.
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow –
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

[Note: If you're receiving this post via email, here's the link to the Sound Cloud reading of Robert Louis Stevenson's My Shadow by Esther Hershenhorn ]

             * * * * * * * *
I offer at least five bundles of thanks to you, our readers, for embracing our blog, and to my fellow TeachingAuthors too – Jill Esbaum, JoAnn Early Macken, Carmela Martino, Laura Purdie Salas, April Halprin Wayland and currently in absentia but always in my heart, Mary Ann Rodman and Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford, for embracing me.

I did indeed find that long-ago missing Moxie and each of you makes sure I maximize it bi-monthly.

Here’s to a month of poetic celebrations!

 Oh, and don’t forget to enter our BlogiversaryRaffle to win one of FIVE Blogiversary Book Bundles. 

Good Luck!

Esther Hershenhorn

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40. Total Eclipse of the Moon

redmoonTax day approaches – everyone's favorite day of the year. Tonight I plan to stay up past midnight and watch the day arrive. Not because I waited until the last minute to do my taxes (although there's that) but because tonight there will be a total lunar eclipse.

Most of North America will be able to see the eclipse and since the moon is close to full it should be pretty dramatic. Because of the timing of the eclipse, sunsets and sunrises in other parts of the world will make the moon look blood red. Kinda cool! If you have cloudy skies or too many city lights to see it, The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will broadcast the eclipse live starting at 9:45 p.m. PST.

This is also the last week of the blog tour for WISH YOU WEREN'T. Here are the planned stops.  

The Book Cellar: Erica posts an interview about my reading and writing habits.  
Books and Needlepoint: Kristi will post her review of Wish You Weren't.  

Book Loving Mom: Amy will post her review of Wish You Weren't.

I want to thank all of the bloggers who hosted me during this tour. Book bloggers are seriously the coolest people. They don't make money from this. They do it because they love books and I'm totally honored to have been part of so many awesome blogs.

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41. Wonders of Life: Exploring the Most Extraordinary Phenomenon in the Universe | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Wonders of Life: Exploring the Most Extraordinary Phenomenon in the Universe, by Prof. Brian Cox. Giveaway begins April 11, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 10, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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42. Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. Giveaway begins April 9, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 8, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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43. GoodReads Giveaway for Caught Between Two Curses

1655060_10202352586313888_1471055173_oEnter to win a print copy of my YA novel, Caught Between Two Curses, on Goodreads by clicking below.

Here’s what it’s about: Seventeen-year-old Julie Nigelson is cursed. So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular curse, either-it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy Goat” on the Chicago Cubs. Julie must figure out this mystery while her uncle lies in a coma and her entire love life is in ruins: her boyfriend Gus is pressuring her to have sex, while her best friend Matt is growing more attractive to her all the time. Somehow, Julie must figure out how to save her uncle, her family’s future, and her own love life-and time is running out!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Caught Between Two Curses by Margo L. Dill

Caught Between Two Curses

by Margo L. Dill

Giveaway ends April 21, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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44. How I Became a Teaching Author (+ Giveaway)

When I was a kid, I had no thought of being an author OR a teacher! As the youngest of four girls, I was always one of the students when we played school. As I think of my sisters, Miss Trunchbull comes to mind—ha! I never ever got to be the teacher! (On the plus side, this helped me become an early and voracious reader). And while I loved to read, it never occurred to me that real people wrote all those books I devoured.

With my big sisters, Janet (left), Gail (center),
and Patty (right). I'm the peanut in front.

When I started college, I planned to be a veterinarian. My first creative writing class killed that plan, and I knew I would do something with books, reading, and writing. That something turned out to be LOTS of things.

First, I became a magazine editor. When the publication was sold, I decided to try teaching (I was certified for Secondary English). I taught 8th-grade English for two years, and it was exhilarating, exhausting, and life-changing. I knew I did not have the stamina to stay in it for the long haul and try to be an amazing teacher while dealing with administration, assessment (even back then!), politics, and parents. But I loved my 8th graders and their wild creativity—and the books we were constantly reading.

Our two daughters, ca. 1998
A seed was planted. I wonder what it would be like to write kids’ books?

Then my husband and I moved to Minnesota. While doing freelance writing for grown-ups, I held part-time jobs over the years as a copyeditor, a personal care assistant for young adults with disabilities, a teacher in our school-age latchkey program, etc. When we had kids, the thousands of books we read with them nourished that seed and helped it grow: I want to write books for kids.

So, of course, I joined SCBWI and set to work learning how to do that. In October of 1999, I went to a local SCBWI conference, where two editors from educational publishers spoke. Because I was conference volunteer, I got to be one editor’s helper and I got a manuscript critique with the other. I ended up writing books for both companies.

BookSpeak! Poems About Books
(Clarion, 2011)
I had been submitting (bad) picture book manuscripts and magazine stories for a couple of years. I had a few children’s credits, but I really wanted to write a book. So when Jill Braithwaite (who was an editor at Lerner at that time) asked if I would be interested in writing an upper-elementary biography, I said, “Sure!”

Even though that was by far NOT my first choice.

And thus began my history of writing children’s books. To date, I have written about 110 nonfiction books for the educational market, 12 poetry collections, and two rhyming nonfiction books.  In fact, my newest book, Water Can Be..., comes out on April Fool's Day, and we're doing a giveaway of it here on TeachingAuthors.com! You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post. Enter through April 1, 2014, the pub date of Water Can Be...!

Water Can Be... comes out on April 1!
One of my biggest surprises has been how much I get to still teach. I teach adult writers through conferences like SCBWI’s, the 21st-Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference, and the Loft Literary Center’s Children’s and Young Adult Literary Festival. I have taught in-person and online classes on writing for children, finding publishers to submit your work to, and more. A colleague, Lisa Bullard, and I also mentor children’s writers through Mentors for Rent, an hourly-based critique and coaching service for children’s writers.

At a school visit in 2013

I also get to present to educators and librarians, which I love! I’m usually spreading poetry joy—in fact, in a couple of weeks, I’m going to present at the UNLV conference. I can’t wait. Presenting through IRA, ALA, and NCTE have been highlights for me.

And I get to connect to kids, too, through elementary author visits and young authors conferences. I have a blast getting kids excited about reading, writing, and poetry. And I don’t have to assess them or do any of the other ongoing tasks teachers have to keep up with.

A Leaf Can Be... (Millbrook, 2012)
Don’t get me wrong, teaching is still hard work! But it’s immensely satisfying, too. I look at how much public speaking I do now and think, Wow. Not bad for someone who was so terrified of public speaking I put it off until I was a senior in college! (Though I was not quite as bad as my best friend, who had to calm her nerves with a glass of wine before our 8 a.m. speech class on presentation days.)

My work as a teacher and an author are entwined in my mind. I can’t imagine one part of my career without the other. If I weren’t a writer, I obviously wouldn’t be invited to speak to teachers and writers and students. But if I didn’t do the teaching, I do think my writing would suffer. Getting out there and being in schools, with kids, helps me stay in touch with kids’ real lives today, especially now that my own two are officially adults—gulp.

And…that’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about my writing journey!

--Laura Purdie Salas

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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45. It Begins!

Today starts the blog tour of awesome around the internet. Twelve stops, twelve chance to win a copy of WISH YOU WEREN'T and astronaut ice cream – yum!

Here's where you'll find me this week:

Monday: Mundie Kids (I'm guest posting about -- you guessed it -- wishing on stars!)
Wednesday: Cover2Cover (This time I'm talking about other ways to wish)
Wednesday: The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl will be posting a review Friday: Sher A. Hart will have a book review

In addition to the tour, I'm thrilled that the esteemed Middle Grade Ninja will be featuring me this week on his amazing blog. Tuesday he'll do his Book of the Week review of WISH YOU WEREN'T and on Thursday, I'll be answering his famous 7 Questions Interview. If you're a writer and you've never visited the Middle Grade Ninja, do yourself a favor and go now. He's got interviews with agents, editors and writers like Sara Crowe, Tina Wexler, Kendra Levin, Lynne Reid Banks and Ingrid Law. Seriously cool interviews I'll be rubbing shoulders with!

If you're looking for more chances to win, the contest is still open over at Literary Rambles. You can win a copy of the book, a wish token and a pocket watch just like the one Tör uses to manipulate time in WISH YOU WEREN'T. (Although I don't guarantee that this watch will have the same magical properties as Tör's!)

Whew! It's going to be a busy week! I hope I'll see you around the web!

And just in case you forgot, you can always get your very own copy of WISH YOU WEREN'T from these magnificent retailers :)
Amazon   |  Kobo  |  B&N  |   Smashwords  |   Solvang Book Loft

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46. So You Think You Babysit Monsters? (The Abercrombie Family Business: Totally True, Tir Griffin Story #1) | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of So You Think You Babysit Monsters? (The Abercrombie Family Business: Totally True, Tir Griffin Story #1), written by Leslie A. Susskind. Giveaway begins March 26, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 25, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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47. "Winter Rain" (by Christina Rossetti) and a Water Can Be... Wrap-up

Happy Poetry Friday!

I first read this poem just last month at Keri Recommends, and I love it! I've been immersed in writing educator materials and creating videos for Water Can Be... the past couple of months, and this celebration of what water does for our world completely enchants me. (The three stanzas I highlighted in blue are my very favorite--in case you don't have time for a longer poem today:>)

    Winter Rain

    Every valley drinks,
        Every dell and hollow:
    Where the kind rain sinks and sinks,
        Green of Spring will follow.

    Yet a lapse of weeks
        Buds will burst their edges,
    Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks,
        In the woods and hedges;

    Weave a bower of love
        For birds to meet each other,
    Weave a canopy above
        Nest and egg and mother.

    But for fattening rain
        We should have no flowers,
    Never a bud or leaf again
        But for soaking showers;

    Never a mated bird
        In the rocking tree-tops,
    Never indeed a flock or herd
        To graze upon the lea-crops.

    Lambs so woolly white,
        Sheep the sun-bright leas on,
    They could have no grass to bite
        But for rain in season.

    We should find no moss
        In the shadiest places,
    Find no waving meadow grass
        Pied with broad-eyed daisies:

    But miles of barren sand,
        With never a son or daughter,
    Not a lily on the land,
        Or lily on the water.

--by Christina Rossetti

Isn't that amazing? And here I am reading this poem aloud:

And this is the final day of our weeklong celebration of Water Can Be... here on Teaching Authors. Thanks for letting me share so much! If you're interested in book trailers, the teaching guide, reviews (it got starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly--my first stars ever!), etc., just check out the Water Can Be... page on my website. And don't forget to return to Monday's post to enter our giveaway for a personalized copy of my book. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of that post. Good luck!

Teacher and poet Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading has today's Poetry Friday Roundup--enjoy!

--Laura Purdie Salas

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48. The Mark of the Dragonfly, by Jaleigh Johnson | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Mark of the Dragonfly, written by Jaleigh Johnson. Giveaway begins March 29, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 28, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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49. Puddle Pug, by Kim Norman | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Puddle Pug, written by Kim Norman and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi. Giveaway begins March 30, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 29, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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50. Even Monsters …, by AJ Smith | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Even Monsters ..., by A.J. Smith. Giveaway begins April 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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