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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Book giveaway, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 711
1. My Zombie Hamster, by Havelock McCreely | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of My Zombie Hamster, by Havelock McCreely. Giveaway begins August 28, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 27, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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2. Guinea Dog 3, by Patrick Jennings | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Guinea Dog 3, by Patrick Jennings. Giveaway begins August 27, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 26, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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3. Clickety-clack or Scribble-dee-doo: Keyboard or Pen...what's best for you? And happy Poetry Friday!

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Howdy, Campers and Happy Poetry Friday!

Thank you, Irene, for jumping in to host PF this week
(and, Irene!  Congratulations on the upcoming publication
of your first poetry collection for children
which has gotten starred reviews from SLJ and Kirkus!)

We TeachingAuthors are discussing handwriting versus keyboard typing--read which Carmela, Laura, and Esther prefer.

Me? I'm bi.

When I'm in a boring meeting (or even an interesting meeting), under the hair dryer at the beauty parlor, or the passenger on a long trip, I'm happy to write poems in my little notebooks with my favorite pen.
.


But I became a writer as on one of these:

and my brain and fingers still adore keys.

So I wrote two poems today in honor of both:

TYPING
by April Halprin Wayland


It’s a sound idea—
a muscular,
a strong one.

It’s strapping, able-bodied one
it’s beefy—
it’s a long one.

It’s a strapping noun,
it’s her fingers plunked down
with a most decisive click.

It’s a piece of punctuation
that’s sealed—
it sticks.



LONGHAND.
by April Halprin Wayland

liquid longhand sometimes flows
or oozes slow
it drains from a dream 
to its place on the page

where it will not linger 
no, the pen seeps deeper
beneath each line
where longhand makes its own design

poems (c) 2014 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.

And if you haven't already done so, don't forget to enter our current giveaway for a chance to win the historical middle-grade novel Odin's Promise (Crispin Press) by Sandy Brehl. See JoAnn's post for all the details.(We're supposed to sign our names at the bottom of each post...so hi, it's me--April Halprin Wayland!  G'bye!)

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4. Watch Out, Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-called Middle Child | Book Giveaway

Enter to win copies of both CONFESSIONS OF A SO-CALLED MIDDLE CHILD and WATCH OUT, HOLLYWOOD! MORE CONFESSIONS OF A SO-CALLED MIDDLE CHILD, by Maria T. Lennon. Giveaway begins August 20, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 19, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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5. Evil Fairies Love Hair, by Mary G. Thompson | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Evil Fairies Love Hair, by Mary G. Thompson. Giveaway begins August 13, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 12, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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6. Guest Teaching Author Post and Book Giveaway with Sandy Brehl!

I first met Sandy Brehl as the super-efficient contact person for one of the best-planned school visits I've ever experienced. Later, I had opportunities to meet Sandy again through a number of SCBWI-Wisconsin events, also efficiently organized. When I was Regional Advisor, I knew that anything I left in her capable hands could be crossed off my list.

I'm happy to welcome Sandy today as a Guest Teaching Author. Look below for details about the giveaway of her new middle grade novel, Odin’s Promise.

Sandy Brehl retired after forty years of public school teaching in Milwaukee-area schools. Since then, she’s been an active member of SCBWI, devoting most of her time to writing and reading. Sandy enjoys gardening, art, and travel (to Norway, of course). Visit her website to learn more about Odin’s Promise and follow her blog. She also posts reviews and commentary about picture books at Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books. You can follow her on Twitter: @SandyBrehl and @PBWorkshop.

How did you become a Teaching Author?

Teaching came first. I began teaching right out of college and never stopped. For four decades I worked in elementary schools at many grade levels, leading writers throughout those years. The use of mentor text (before it was called that) and the “links to life” approach I used in leading kids to write more successfully, effectively, and with greater engagement meant I was always writing with and for students. This included writing across content areas.

I was always a competent writer, and I wrote often, but I only shared my writing with students and family. It wasn’t until an odd holiday circumstance and my own ignorance of the publishing industry that I gave any thought to submitting my work. I wrote a blog post about this uninformed and inauspicious start to becoming an author.

I had some encouraging successes, with poetry appearing in Spider Magazine and articles published in professional journals.  I eventually joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). With the help of workshops, conferences, and critiques, my writing efforts more consistently approached publishable quality.

Since retiring from full time teaching, I conduct workshops for educators, sharing ways to use the highest quality children’s literature to improve reading and writing instruction.

Odin’s Promise is compelling historical fiction for middle-grade readers. How did you balance the fiction and nonfiction aspects of your story?

I love reading historical fiction, and now writing it, too. Fact and fiction are like the opposite sides of a strip of paper, but they can be skillfully connected, like a mobius strip, making it hard to distinguish where each begins and ends. The story should be so compelling that readers aren’t distracted by the fact/fiction question – until the story ends. That’s when they start asking questions (and pursuing answers) about how much of the story is real.

A secondary plot in this book was inspired by actual events I heard about while visiting in Norway many years ago, told to me by the people who lived them. From the moment I heard their story, I was certain it should be in a book. I knew even then that it would be fictionalized, but wanted to tell it as authentically as possible. It turns out there was a very stubborn part of my brain that was unwilling to move more than a smidgeon away from the actual events and characters.

This story has a history nearly as long as my writing life does. It’s the cumulative result of years and years of continuing research and revisions guided by increasingly knowledgeable sources on a story that wouldn’t let me go. The more research I did, the more fictionalized but credible my story became.

Eventually a particular piece of research opened my mind to an entirely new approach. By then the factual content was as real to me as the characters who emerged.

How can teachers use your book in the classroom?

In a guest post for Alyson Beecher’s blog, Kid Lit Frenzy, I used the mobius strip comparison and suggested the benefits of historical fiction as a tool for launching research to answer personal questions. Typically research is used in a linear approach: start with a topic or other prompt, do research, organize results, then produce expository writing or answer factual questions.

Historical fiction often provides an author’s note addressing the fact/fiction elements. Many books, including mine, provide a list of resources for further investigation and related titles. Websites and digital resources allow students to examine maps, read and create timelines, and access guided questions.

I recommend that teachers introduce historical fiction as a genre and suggest using picture books for a model lesson. The interweaving of fact and fiction, which is the nature of this genre, can be examined in these shorter examples. Encourage readers to use sticky notes or notebooks to actively raise their questions while reading. After the book is complete, readers can pursue and compare their questions. They might offer and justify personal opinions as to the fact/fiction status of the content marked. Back matter and other resources can then be used to seek and share reliable answers to those questions.

Once students develop understanding of the interplay of fact and fiction in this genre, teachers might read aloud the timeless Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, to develop background knowledge. Then Odin’s Promise can be offered to literature study groups along with other titles about Norway’s occupation: Shadow on the Mountain, by Margi Preuss, Snow Treasure, by Marie McSwigan, and The Klipfish Code, by Mary Casanova.

Could you describe your research process?

My research started pre-internet. That meant pursuing hard-to-find sources through the library, then noting the references used to create them. Those served as launching points for further searches. Of course, my notes were all hand-written, the books were often out-of-print (making them expensive or unavailable), and my dedicated research and writing times were limited to summers.

Once I began using online sources to expand my searches, technology made it possible to store and revisit my notes and writing attempts across all those years.

Each time I made a new run at the story or received another critique, I’d dive into further research. Along the way it became clear (to everyone but me) that my ideal audience would be middle-grade readers. I just couldn’t loosen my mental grip on the original inspirational story, which centered on older characters. Only when research led me to a scholarly work that incorporated journal entries, some written by younger people, was I able to see a middle-grade story.

As I read those passages, the fictional voice of Mari, my main character, helped me release my older approach. She shared her thoughts and views of the occupation. As she led me through her own concerns, fears, courage, love, and loyalty, she introduced me to her family and community. She was even generous enough to make space for portions of my original story in her life.

Could you share a story about a funny, moving, or interesting writing or speaking experience?
The most surprising thing to me is that this story includes a dog. I am an animal lover, and I even worked for some years in wildlife rehabilitation. I avoid reading realistic stories about animals, particularly dogs, because I may find myself deeply invested in a story but unwilling to finish reading for fear of injury to the animal. I might not even pick up and read this book if someone else had written it.

Earlier versions didn’t have a dog. I realized some potential readers might feel the same as I do about stories with animals. Mari gave me no choice. She needed Odin in her life, and the events that unfold were essential to her own growth and change.

Another surprising aspect to this book is that it was a “work-in-progress” for more than three decades. Once Mari’s voice came to me the story went from draft and revision to contract, further revision, and release in only two years.

Thank you, Sandy!
Readers, you can hear Sandy talk about Odin's Promise in a Milwaukee Public Radio interview.

Book Giveaway
Enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Odin's Promise! The book giveaway ends on August 23.

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 about your experience with writing or teaching historical fiction. 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.)

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.

Good luck!

JoAnn Early Macken a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7. You Are Not Small, by Anna Kang | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of You Are Not Small, story by Anna Kang and illustrations by Christopher Weyant. Giveaway begins August 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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8. Goddess Girls & Heroes in Training | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Goddess Girls #14: Iris the Colorful and Heroes in Training #7: Ares and the Spear of Fear, written by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. Giveaway begins July 31, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends August 30, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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9. A Half Bad Giveaway

I hope you had a good two weeks off. I know I did. My WIP is up to 16K (hooray!), not as far as I’d like to be, but all progress is good so I’ll celebrate that! Today I’m giving away my ARC of a YA novel that I’ve heard compared to Harry Potter. (Yeah, […]

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10. If You Were Me and Lived in … Portugal, by Carole P. Roman | Book Series Giveaway

Enter to win a full autographed set of the If You Were Me series, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman; including the newest addition If You Were Me and Lived in … Portugal: An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures! Giveaway begins July 18, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends August 17, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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11. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia, by Candace Fleming. Giveaway begins July 9, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends August 8, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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12. Children’s Book Trends | July 2014

When you see what some of the prizes are, you won't be surprised that in this month's little peek at the current children's book trends on The Children's Book Review there are some really great giveaways; including a chance to win an Amazon Kindle and a $100 Amex gift card!

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13. The Secret Fairy by Andrea Beck | Book Giveaway

Enter to win the eBook The Secret Fairy, by Andrea Beck Giveaway begins June 22, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends July 21, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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14. Grimmtastic Girls #3: Snow White Lucks Out | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Grimmtastic Girls #3: Snow White Lucks Out, by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. Giveaway begins June 21, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends July 20, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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15. The Birth of Old Man River [Poetry Friday] and Marketable... or Not


Minnesota: The Birth of Old Man River

A lake creates a lazy stream
That flows through pines and slips away,
Then picks up barges, logs and steam,
Becomes a mighty waterway.


Walk on rocks across this sliver,
Cross the current, slow and mild.
It will grow to Old Man River
Though for now it’s still a child. 


--Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
The headwaters of the Mississippi River are in Lake Itasca, Minnesota.  At its start, the river is narrow and shallow, and you can cross the Mighty Mississippi by walking across some rather slippery rocks.



The water is high this year, so that rock path across the beginning of the Mississippi River is a bit underwater! Photo: Laura Purdie Salas

Here I am reading the poem:
Happy Poetry Friday! And welcome to my musings on our current topic, marketability of our manuscripts, and what we do with our unmarketable work.

Ah, this is such a touchy topic! As a poet, marketability is even MORE of a challenge than most other formats/genres. And as my career progresses, I am even more aware of this, always, because I need to make a certain income and want to earn that income by creating books I love. So, do I think about whether a project is marketable before I start it? Absolutely. If I decide it is not, what do I do? I might still write it, if it's something I feel like I just HAVE to write. But if it's not something I have to write, then I might skip it. I have way more ideas than I have time to write, so it's a matter of prioritizing. What project am I excited about writing that I think has at least a decent chance of selling to a publisher? That's what I take on.

Unfortunately, I usually don't realize a project is unmarketable until it's too late! Take my 50 state poems (please, publisher, take it!). Above is the Minnesota poem from that collection, plus a photo I took Tuesday at the headwaters.

So, what's my solution? Well, I have 6 poetry collections that I want to get out there. Four of them got lovely, wonderful responses from editors--some even went to acquisitions--but were deemed too hard to sell. Another one never went out because my agent felt it wasn't strongly marketable, and the final one I wrote for my blog in April. I am having trouble moving on from these unpublished collections. So...I've decided to e-publish them. I've got wonderful educators writing some teaching activities, and I'm going to try to market them TO educators, primarily.

I am fairly certain I won't recoup the monetary cost of producing the books (I'm estimating about $2,000 for the six books together), because self-published e-books typically DON'T sell well at all. At. All. Not to mention the many hours of work it will take. But my big hope is that I will connect with more teachers and librarians, spread some poetry love, and, ultimately, share my name and work. And that I can get some closure and put all my creative energy into new projects instead of constantly looking backward at what feels like unfinished business.

P.S. Don't get me wrong. I have LOADS of unpublished, unmarketable manuscripts that I would not consider putting out there. Some manuscripts are unmarketable for good reason:>)

P.P.S. Jone at Check It Out (who does the wonderful April poetry postcards!) has the Poetry Friday Roundup. Enjoy!

P.P.P.S. It's almost the end of our Rafflecopter Giveaway for Joan Bransfield Graham's THE POEM THAT WILL NOT END. Just go here and click on the link at the very end of the post. Good luck!

--posted by Laura Purdie Salas

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16. And then there was one...

...one winner, that is. Without further adieu, the winner of the Grasshopper Jungle ARC is...

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 6.02.27 AM
Congratulations, Danielle! I'll be sending your book out later today. I hope you enjoy reading it! And if anyone is looking for some more good reading, Lucy Silag from Book Country interviewed me on their blog today. This Penguin community for writers is a great place to meet critique partners and get your work read in a public forum. WISH YOU WEREN'T is an Editor's Pick this month (yay!) and I was thrilled that they wanted to profile me.

If you'd like a chance to win your very own copy of WISH YOU WEREN'T, don't forget about the other two blogs I mentioned yesterday. Sheri Larsen at Writer's Alley interviewed me and she's giving away a print book and an e-book. And the delightful Rosi Hollinbeck, a reviewer for the San Francisco Book Review, posted her review of WISH YOU WEREN'T on her blog, The Write Stuff, and she's giving away a print copy.

Oh, and one more thing! If you live in Santa Barbara County and want to learn more about writing for middle grade readers, I'm leading a workshop at the Solvang Library with three other authors: Valerie Hobbs (Sheep), Gwen Dandridge (The Stone Lions) and Kimberley Troutte (Saving Miner's Gulch). The workshop is on Saturday from 1 to 3:30 and we'll be doing a book signing from 12 to 1pm. To find out more, you can visit the library's website. I'd love to see you there!

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17. All About the Win

You were probably expecting a post today announcing the winner of GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE. But since I entered the wrong date on the Rafflecopter, there's still a few hours left to enter the contest. If you haven't already signed up to win, do it now. I'll be back tomorrow to let you know who won.

In the meantime, if you've been wanting to read a copy of WISH YOU WEREN'T, there are three copies up for grabs on two different websites. Somehow I lucked out and two different bloggers featured my book for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Sweet!

Sheri Larsen at Writer's Alley interviewed me and she's giving away a print book and an e-book. And the delightful Rosi Hollinbeck, a reviewer for the San Francisco Book Review, posted her review of WISH YOU WEREN'T on her blog, The Write Stuff, and she's giving away a print copy.

Thanks to both of them for their generous giveaways. Now it's all up to you. Go forth and win!

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18. Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader for Kids Only! Collectible Edition | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader for Kids Only! Collectible Edition, by Bathroom Readers' Institute. Giveaway begins June 16, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends July 15, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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19. Let’s Review – Goodreads or Point of Purchase?

I've been somewhat of a slacker recently on Goodreads, actually with reviews in general. I used to write reviews for books whether or not I liked them, but that took a lot of time. So I started only writing reviews for the books I loved. Then after hearing about the rise of fake reviews, I stopped reviewing all together.

But the thing is – fake review or real – I read reviews before I buy a book. And having my own book out there makes me realize how important it is to have those reviews from real readers. (I'm so grateful to every person that has ever written a review of my book, even if it wasn't a glowing review. I just appreciate their time first in reading, and second in writing the review.) So the question remains: how do you get legitimate reviews for a book without begging, bribing or otherwise paying for them? And where do people look for reviews? Goodreads? Amazon? Barnes & Noble? Or old-fashioned word of mouth?

 I love reading the reviews that come through my Goodreads feed, telling me what books my friends have read. (And if we aren't already friends over there, send me a friend request!) I have definitely read someone's review and then gone online to buy the book. But otherwise, I tend to just look at the reviews at whatever online portal I'm buying the book from.

What about you? Do you generally review books that you read? How much do reader reviews inform your purchases? And where do you go to find reviews?

And speaking of Goodreads, author friend Dawn Malone is giving away 10 copies of her new novel, Bingo Summer. Pop on over to enter for your chance to win!

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20. Interview with Poet Joan Bransfield Graham and Book Giveaway for Joan's New Book--Happy Poetry Friday!

.
Howdy, Campers!

Before we get to Poetry Friday, before you enter our newest book giveaway to win a new spanking-new poetry book, I'm thrilled to announce the winner of an autographed copy of Debbie Dadey's Treasure in Trident City (Aladdin).
(
Here's Carmela's guest TeachingAuthor Interview with the Debbie.)

And the winner is...drum roll, please...Catherine A!

Congratulations, Catherine!  

And now onto Poetry Friday, which is hosted by Carol, of,
interestingly enough, Carol's Corner. Thanks for hosting, Carol!


And today, we're lucky ducks. Why?  Because my dear friend, poet
Joan Bransfield Graham, is stopping by for a glass of iced tea!  Here she comes now ~ um...looks like I'd better bring a trough of tea...
.
The effervescent, inventive and truly original author and poet,
Joan Bransfield Graham. 
 

In January, when her latest book of poetry--The Poem That Will  Not End: Fun with Poetic Forms and Voices, illustrated by Krysten Brooker--was published, TeachingAuthors was proud to be part of Joan's blog tour.  At our stop of her tour she offered a Wednesday Writing Workout called the Olympic Writing Challenge.

Today, Joan has agreed to be tied to a spit and grilled with our tough TeachingAuthor interview questions.  She has also been kind enough to offer an autographed copy of  The Poem That Will  Not End: Fun with Poetic Forms and Voices to one of our lucky readers. (Here's Miss Rumphius' fabulous interview with Joan to whet your appetite for this book.)

This book giveaway runs from midnight, June 6 to the end of the day on June 21, 2014.  See below for entry details.

As I reported in January, Joan is an award-winning poet who can't STOP writing poetry. She has files and piles of poems, which have been featured in anthologies, magazines, textbooks, and on CDs. She likes to think "outside the page" because poetry is "everywhere." Her books SPLISH SPLASH and FLICKER FLASH--shape poems about water and light--were both chosen as School Library Journal Best Books of the Year and NCTE Notables, among many other honors, and have been described as "ingenious," "wonderfully evocative," and "stunningly delicious." She loves photography, art, traveling and lives not-too-far from me in Los Angeles, CA.


 Celebrating its 20th Birthday!

Celebrating its 15th Birthday!

So, Joan, how did you officially become a TeachingAuthor?

I officially became a TeachingAuthor when my teacher brain and my writer brain merged!  My favorite part about teaching was helping students leap beyond knowledge into creativity, to use their imaginations to see the world in new ways.

What's a common problem/question that your students have and how do you address it?

"Does a poem have to rhyme?"  Of course not.  I tell students rhyme can be like a wild horse that wants to take you in the wrong direction.  You have to be in charge of your poem and guide it; don't throw in any word just to make it rhyme.  Expressing what you want to say is the most important thing--use the form that works best. 

Lately, I've  been surprised when students haven't been able to tell me what a poetry "anthology" is.  The word anthology comes from the Greek word "anthologia," a "flower gathering."  Isn't that a great way to think of it . . . a bouquet of voices rather than poems from only one writer. 
Bouquets at the Davis, CA Farmer's Market
Recently in an assembly, before we were going to do a poem together in sign language, I asked, "What is sign language?" A kindergarten child said, "Using your hands to communicate."  Wow.

What one piece of advice do you have for teachers?

Share and enjoy poetry with your students across the curriculum--it fits everywhere!  Do poems in "call and response" so that everyone can participate, be part of the poem.

Tell us about one particular school visit which stays with you.


Spending a day in the life of a school is an honor and a joy.  Each school has its own personality.  Between assemblies at one school, a teacher came up to me with a little boy and told me he had come to the school speaking no English and also had developmental problems.  After my presentation, he went back to the classroom, picked up my book, and was singing the words he was so excited.  He wanted to give me a hug to thank me.  That's why we write, isn't it?  To open the world for ourselves . . . and others.



And what's next on the horizon for you?

I've just had an incredibly busy May in California, which took me down to San Ysidro, up to Bakersfield for their amazing week-long Young Author Fair, down to San Clemente, and, on May 16, to my daughter Aimee's graduation from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. 

June 28 - 30 I'm headed to ALA in Las Vegas, where I'll be reading in the Poetry Blast.  I have lots of poems due to come out in anthologies--April and I have been "flowers" in many of the same anthologies--at various times and many projects in the works.  On Oct. 25 I'll be doing a Spotlight presentation at the SCBWI CenCal Writers' Day at California Lutheran University.  March 7, 2015 you'll find me in Teaching Author mode conducting a workshop--REV YOUR POETRY POWER:  Poetic Forms, Voices, and Choices. 

And finally, since it's Poetry Friday in the Kidlitosphere, do you have a poem you'd like to share with our readers?

I'm torn about which poem to share.  I've been having so much fun with my "Conductor" poem from THE POEM THAT WILL NOT END.  I pass out my ocean drum, rain sticks, wooden frogs, thunder stick, and we have an environmental symphony.  Those who don't have an instrument are part of the "wind chorus."  I direct all this--"Conductor" is an Italian sonnet--with my large pencil baton as I read the poem. 

But I think I'll share my haiku:

                     Footprints
     Smooth patch of white snow,
stretched out before watchful eyes--
                  an invitation!

poem © 2014 JoanBransfield Graham. All rights reserved

I say to students, "The next time you look at a blank sheet of white paper, think of it as a freshly-fallen field of snow, just waiting for the footprints that only you can make."
from morguefile.com

My character Ryan O'Brian writes because he has to, he has a "Fever" (Can you hear Peggy Lee singing?).  Thanks, April, for this opportunity to connect with kindred "fevered" spirits.

Thank YOU, Joan--and g'bye!  (Readers, be sure to enter below for a chance to win Joan's newest book!)


Joan with her trusty camera.  Behind her is one of her many fans.

Now it's time for you to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Joan's The Poem That Will  Not End: Fun with Poetic Forms and Voices. 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 June 21st. 

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.
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21. Mouseheart by Lisa Fiedler, Illustrated by Vivienne To | Summer Reading Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of MOUSEHEART by Lisa Fiedler, Illustrated by Vivienne; plus The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi, and Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs. Giveaway begins June 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends July 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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22. Grasshopper Giveaway

The 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature were recently announced. And the winner in the fiction category? Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.

I was lucky enough to get an advanced reader copy of this YA back in early February before the novel was released and I have to say, it was one of the strangest books I've ever read. Parts made me laugh out loud, and parts made me wonder what Andrew Smith was smoking when he came up with this plot. Six-foot-tall grasshoppers taking over the world? Yeah. Like I said...

But the backbone of the story – the relationship between Austin, his girlfriend and his best friend – make it a worthwhile read. Even if you do have to suspend your disbelief as an enormous grasshopper makes a meal out of the chemistry teacher. Or when you happen upon chapter titles like, "Never Look for Ice Cream in a Sperm Freezer."

You can read The Horn Book review here. But if you'd like to read this YA novel for yourself, I'm giving away my ARC. Fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

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23. Summer Writing - with Kids

While the official start of summer is still two weeks away, writers with kids newly freed from school may already be wondering if they'll ever write again. At least that's how I felt every June about this time. I was fortunate to stay home with our kids, and there were a couple of really frustrating summers early in my writing career (and boy, am I using that term loosely). I drove myself crazy trying to follow the old "write every day" advice. Why wouldn't my kids cooperate?!


But my dad had his own advice:  Enjoy your kids. They won't be little forever.

So I gave myself permission to take my own summer breaks. Play with the kids. Enjoy life. Store up memories. 






Back then, I was specializing in rejected picture book manuscripts. But I also submitted lots of poetry to kids' magazines, much of which was accepted (Thank you, Carus!). Oddly enough, I wrote MORE poems during those summers than at any other time ... usually after getting the kids to bed. We'd say our nighty-nights, then I'd spend an hour or so deciphering odd snippets of rhyme from the sticky notes I'd been slapping onto my desk throughout the day.

So if you're ankle deep in Legos and Play-Doh and soap bubbles and sidewalk chalk right now, relax and enjoy. But keep your eyes and ears and hearts open. And take notes.

If you're more determined than I was to keep your writing front and center through these summer days,  here are tips and advice from others who have found ways to make it work:





In the end, you have to do whatever works for YOU. Good luck!



Jill Esbaum

P.S. Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway to win a copy of Joan Bransfield Graham's The Poem That Will Not End:  Fun with Poetic Forms and Voices.

P.P.S. Two books I've written are part of a new series from National Geographic especially for 3-6 year olds. Hitting shelves June 25th are Explore My World:  Penguins, and Explore My World:  Snow Leopards. Watch for them!  :)

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24. The Sandman, by Andrew McLeish | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of The Sandman, by Andrew McLeish. Giveaway begins June 10, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends July 12, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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25. Back to the Backyard

In a recent blog post, Marion Dane Bauer addressed a topic important to all writers who hope to have their work accepted for publication. “When I begin a new manuscript,” she says, “especially one that will require a major commitment of time, I pause to consider whether what I want to write will be marketable.” In the series of posts that starts today, we Teaching Authors discuss our own experiences with and thoughts about the question of marketability.


For five summers now, I’ve been gathering monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars and raising them in our backyard, protected from predators by a mosquito net tent. Last winter, I finally—finally!—found a way to write about the process in a series of haiku. Sidebars include facts about monarchs and tips for readers who might want to raise them, too. I call the poems “butterflyku” and the collection Butterflyku and Monarch How-To.

Here’s an excerpt:


Searching milkweed leaves,
I find what I’m looking for:
tiny monarch egg!

Five rejections later, I’m facing the prospect that this subject, important as it is to me, might not be acceptable in this form. Although I know that many manuscripts are sold after more than five rejections, I also understand that poetry collections are notoriously tough to sell. So I’m taking a different approach, a narrative nonfiction one that I hope will be more appealing to both editors and readers.

As I organize my thoughts in this new direction, I’m still learning. I attended a symposium last week at the Chicago Botanic Garden with brilliant speakers who elaborated on the urgent issues affecting monarchs today. I soaked up every word, took pages and pages of notes, and collected handouts to study.

To prepare for this year’s monarch project, I started three varieties of milkweed from seeds we collected last fall.

top to bottom: common, whorled, and butterfly milkweed
Now the monarchs are back! Eggs are hatching! Caterpillars are growing! Today's tally includes 4 eggs and 7 caterpillars. I’m heading back outside to keep an eye on the amazing creatures and their awe-inspiring transformation so I can try, try again with a topic that’s not only important but also fascinating and dear to my heart.

Wish me luck!

Don’t forget to enter our current giveaway for a chance to win an autographed copy of Joan Bransfield Graham's new book, The Poem That Will  Not End: Fun with Poetic Forms and Voices!

JoAnn Early Macken

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