News, Notes & Inside Info from a Children’s Book Author

Archive for November, 2011

Fan Mail Wednesday #130: My First Book

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 Posted in Fan Mail | No Comments »


Here's one I loved . . . Hi, My mom dug out some of my old books from when I was a kid, and I got my old copy of Maxx Trax: Avalanche Rescue back.  I remember loving this book ...

Mark Twain’s Library & Other Pleasures

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 Posted in Around the Web | No Comments »


I won't make you wait for it. My apologies for the spillover into the sidebar, but it would require actual skill to adjust the size of the photo. So, like, that's not happening! This is Mark Twain's first-floor library in his Hartford, ...

Dream Guitar

Monday, November 28th, 2011 Posted in Before You Go, Music | No Comments »


I was happy to come across this article, "Revealed: The Real Guitar Heroes," which features a new book,Instrument, by photographer Pat Graham. (Check out Graham's awesome blog, here.) In the article, various musicians discuss their favorite instruments. I particularly liked Peter Buck's ...

Reading with Cisco

Friday, November 25th, 2011 Posted in The Gender Gap in Reading | No Comments »


Through the miracle of Facebook, I've enjoyed the great pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with an old friend of my sister's, Bruce Donnola. No, my sister's name is not "Bruce Donnola," but I'm too tired to get myself out of ...

I Got Your Back

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 Posted in Around the Web, bullying | No Comments »


I've lost track of the original source for this photograph, so my apologies in advance. I seem to recall the photo was taken of a random student in a coffee shop somewhere, passed along by ABC: Anti-Bullying Coalition, which I ...

I’d Follow Joan Didion’s Mind Whatever It Roams

Monday, November 21st, 2011 Posted in Interviews & Appreciations, Readings, the writing process | 3 Comments »


I just read Joan Didion's new book, Blue Nights. She's just an amazing writer, so precise. I'd follow her mind anywhere. And this book is particularly remarkable, not only for the content, but for the style -- the texture of the ...

Write What You DON’T Know . . . Yet

Friday, November 18th, 2011 Posted in the writing process | No Comments »


First, this is funny: We've all heard it. And most of us have probably said it. Write what you know. Value that singular fingerprint you carry, the gathered sediment of our long hours, the crazy accumulation of days, the fossilized imprint ...

One Book, One School: My Visit to John Winthrop Middle School

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 Posted in Bystander, School Visits | No Comments »


Trying something new today -- typing on my iPad from a hotel in Newberry, South Carolina, about my visit a few weeks back to Deep River, Connecticut. First, an article that gives you all the info you need, plus some snaps. ...

Essential Listening: “Middle School” as featured on THIS AMERICAN LIFE

Saturday, November 12th, 2011 Posted in Around the Web, In the Classroom | 2 Comments »


It's been a busy month, with many school visits and almost no real writing. On Sunday, tomorrow, I'm heading to South Carolina, a trip that begins with three presentations in a middle school. So I thought I'd share my highest ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #129

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 Posted in Fan Mail, Jigsaw Jones | No Comments »


This one is from Canada -- I can tell, because it will cost me almost a dollar to send a reply. And yes, folks, that's a hint! Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. I replied: Dear Troy, Thanks for your letter. I love hearing ...