New YouTube Channel!

Welcome to our new YouTube channels with a read-aloud of chapter 1 from Jack vs. the Tornado!

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Frog and Toad . . . and Grace

Arnold Lobel, the author of the classic Frog and Toad books said this, and I love it . . . To be making books for children is to be in a sort of state of grace. He explained that writing children’s books allowed him the freedom and pleasure of being an adult but also the […]

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Tales of a Fifth Grade Reader

middle grade book

Mr. A rarely smiled and his dress shoes—as black and shiny as his slicked down hair—squeaked. I think I saw him smile once. A little. I don’t remember. He was quiet like me. I do remember the five-shelf classroom library he stocked with books just for the fifth and sixth graders who shared the same room all day long.

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Nature is marking this long trail of days

I just barely remember my first walk in the woods. My grandmother took me. Maybe it was in the patch of forest across the street from her square little house with the wringer washer and the beagle who ate locusts.

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Animal Tales and Tails: A review and reflection

Amanda Cleary Eastep I don’t recall how old I was when I realized Aslan the lion was an author’s fantastical version of Jesus. I had been raised in church and Sunday school, so although this connection should have been obvious, it didn’t quite dawn on me. But once it did . . . I felt […]

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Twisters and Big Book Announcements

By Amanda Cleary Eastep For the book announcement, skip down the page to The Third Tornado! The First Tornado “Is this a war?” That’s what I remember thinking when it happened. We were driving back from a family reunion on a long stretch of road that cut through Midwest corn fields . . . acre […]

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#readerinthewild

The frustrated photojournalist in me couldn’t resist the scene … what else could I do but hide behind a rack of something that smelled like a hamper and covertly take his photo?

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Holding the wild story in small hands

My father had watched the rabbit’s nest for days and didn’t see the mother return. Still heartbroken over the event and not realizing then that the mother was probably caring for the remaining babies early in the morning, he decided we needed to rescue them…

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The power of your naming…

As much as I hate the “tell us your name and something about you” exercise, I planned for this time of introduction with teen writers to be a little more creative . . .

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In Honor of Independent Bookstore Day

There is a scent. Sometimes it makes me sneeze.

The smell of books:

One like a door closed on a dusty attic that, when opened, overwhelms you with its secrets and want of discovery…

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