Monday, February 22, 2010

Congratulations to Jamie Weiss Chilton!!

My agent, Jamie Weiss Chilton, has been received a well-deserved promotion from associate agent to agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, inc.!   I'm so happy for her!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Anderson's 8th Annual Children's Literature Breakfast

Yesterday, at the crack of dawn, I attended 8th Annual Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast - though it was only my 2nd annual.  I went there with my friend, Suzanne Slade, who was one of the 65 Illinois authors invited to attend the breakfast.  As part of the program, guest authors sat with the approximately 500 attendees for "table chats".   At different times during the program, between speakers, the authors moved to different tables to mix and mingle and talk about their books.  I really enjoyed meeting authors who I knew by name and book titles but had never met - Brenda Ferber, Katharine Kendzy Gingold, Robin Luebs, Janet Nolan, and Beverly Patt.

As usual (at least both times I've been there) the Andersons provided a lineup of fantastic speakers: Pam Allyn, Jordan Sonnenblick, Francoise Mouly, Patricia McKissack, Henry Cole and Richard Peck.  In addition, Jan Dundon and Kathleen March, Anderson's Bookshop Children's Coordinators, did a wonderful presentation of some of their favorite books released this year.  To me, the highlight was Jordan Sonnenblick - his talk was genuine, humorous, and touching!  I bet this middle grade English teacher is the most requested teacher by parents and students!

I came away with a bag full of goodies, ton of inspiration and a long list of story ideas sparked by the speakers' presentations.  I'm already looking forward to attending again next year!

Tara Lazar's Short but Sweet Writing Advice

A fellow writer, Tara Lazar, had a great post on her blog that I want to share.  In he post "Saying a Lot with a Little" Tara reminds us that, in picture books, less can be more.  The writer can write a short, succinct sentence and leave it to the illustrator to fill in the details.  She does a great job of explaining it so I'll let you read her post, rather than try to explain it myself!

It's funny how rules or advice or suggestions that you've heard before (and you think you're always conscious of) can sound brand new when presented a different way.  Thanks to Tara, I'm going to take a hard look at my two "finished" picture books to see where I can make more - less.

Here's the link to her post   While you're there, read her other posts - they're terrific!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Guest Author on It Happened in Chicago blog

I'm so excited, my very first blog interview!  Check it out at It Happened in Chicago 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Five-year-old girl's 911 Call - listen

I LOVE this girl!  Listen to the story about her 911 call that saved her father's life!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Two Book Releases by Two Friends

Two of my friends - one from grad school and the other from SCBWI - have had books released in the last month.

Amber Buetel's book, SPELLING WORD PRACTICE by Enasco is geared toward children in grades 1-3.  It features spelling activities that can be used in spelling centers,  weekly spelling packets,  at home.  The book is divided into four categories: word shape, word characteristics, word practice, and word use and includes activities for individuals, partners or groups.

I ordered the book online and it came in a couple of days.  I'm giving it to my son, Sean, who is student teaching first grade right now, but it has some really great activities that I'm going to use with my students before I hand it over to him.  I'll probably order another copy to keep for myself.  I think this would be an excellent gift for a beginning teacher!  Congratulations Amber!!

The other book, WRITING AND PUBLISHING: THE ULTIMATE TEEN GUIDE by Scarecrow Press, was written by Tina Schwartz.
In her book,  Tina offers tips on writing fiction and nonfiction, as well as poetry and songwriting.  She also provides information on the importance of critique groups (I'll attest to that), and attending classes and workshops.  She even explores various writing carreers and the basics of publishing and marketing.  What a great resource for young writers.  Congratulations Tina!!
So if you're looking for fun and motivating ways to get your children or students to practice their spelling or if you know a teen who wants to break into the publishing field, these are the books for you!