Last week I was lucky to witness an unusual and terrific writing program. At the Heritage School (grades 2-4) in Charlton, MA, children and their parents wrote picture books in pairs in a series of workshops, with attention to the six traits of writing.
At the final session the participants displayed their books, which were varied and wonderfully written and illustrated. Some pairs collaborated on their books; others created separate books on the same topic, e.g., a family vacation, a wedding. I felt lucky to see the final products but also to notice how meaningful the shared experience was to both parents and students.
Author and Authors!
Earlier that day I had given presentations to each grade on Using Your Senses to Make Your Writing Come Alive, and I was struck by how engaged the students were and what a great job their teachers are clearly doing on writing. In the evening I gave another talk to the pared writing participants. My favorite question, from a young student: “How do I get an agent?”
I’m looking forward to Saturday, May 17th, when I’ll be participating in Indies First Storytime Day from 10-11:30 AM at Bestsellers Cafe in Medford, MA. Similar events will be held at the same time in independent bookstores across the country in conjunction with Children’s Book Week.
Author/illustrator Shennen Bersani and I will read our stories and run crafts projects and games in this cozy bookstore in Medford Square! Signed books available!
Sure, you know them. They have numbers and come in different shapes and colors, and you have to peel them off or get an unpleasant surprise with your bite of pear. One morning many years ago I was packing school lunches…As I peeled stickers off apples and pasted them on a paper towel to be tossed, I thought, “I’ll make an art project out of these!”
And that’s how my art series was born. Whenever I peeled off fruit stickers, I’d place them in rows on blank white paper. When the paper was full, the stickers became kind of a Rorshach test as I turned them into…well, you’ll see…Here’s #1 in my sticker art series, entitled Sticker Shock.
After the longest winter evah!!! there are encouraging signs of spring (of course, tomorrow’s April 16th forecast is for highs in the 40s, but still…). Over the last few days in our backyard we’ve seen goldfinches, a rabbit, a baby snapping turtle, a toad, and this determined, repeatedly puffing up and displaying-his-tail-feathers male turkey trailing 4 seemingly unimpressed females. The elephant didn’t seem interested either:
Celebrity authors are able to cut the line to the editor’s office right past writers like moi, legends only in our own minds. With sad, envious eyes, we watch them bypass the slush pile and wish they’d stick to their own vanquished fields. I’m talking ’bout Madonna, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Lithgow, Billy Crystal…et tu, Keith?
Last Sunday morning, allegedly spring, was raw and rainy. I wondered if people would rather stay home than venture out to the Open House at the North Suburban Jewish Community Center in Peabody, where I was doing a program. But venture out they did: lots of friendly families with adorable pre-schoolers, who created a warm contrast to the chilliness outdoors.
To go along with my picture book Don’t Call Me Sidney, about a poetry-writing pig who wants to change his name to one that’s more rhymable, I lead rhyming activities. I point out that some words are really hard to rhyme: rhinoceros, yogurt, and deodorant (always a crowd pleaser), for instance. My favorite response of the day was to my question: “Can you think of a rhyme for ‘elephant’?” One shiny-eyed little boy raised his hand and offered, “Smellaphant!”
I’m looking forward to this Sunday (March 30), when I’ll be reading my picture book Don’t Call Me Sidney and playing rhyming games at the North Suburban Jewish Community Center in Peabody. It’s an Open House–with balloon animals (made by a professional, not moi). I’ll be reading at 10:15 AM.
Here’s an article about the event in the Salem News:
On Saturday, March 15, I was the “celebrity author” at Book Blast in the Northshore Mall, Peabody, Massachusetts. It was a fun, well-attended event that promoted literacy. I read two of my picture books, played games with the adorable listeners, and answered questions about writing from people of all ages. A blast indeed! Kudos to the Guest Services Dept. for running an ongoing series of entertaining, educational events for kids!
Last week, I had the pleasure of reading my picture book The Trouble With Cauliflower and sharing my writing process with the kindergarteners and first graders at North Grafton Elementary School. When I asked the audience if any of them were authors and illustrators, I was thrilled by the response: a sea of hands! Clearly, the teachers at the school are doing a wonderful job promoting literacy.
I love writing books, but it is a solitary pursuit. Witnessing these little ones’ enthusiasm for reading and writing…and hearing them laugh heartily at the humor in my story…was great fun.