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Thank You Teachers!

This is National Appreciation Week. May 8, 2018 is National Teacher Day. A day doesn’t quite do it. Nor can a week. We owe teachers so much more, not only for what they have done for us, but for what they do for our children every day. Days in school are only a piece of

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Written by Somebody’s Grandmother?

Who’d want to read a book about some random girl going West written by somebody’s grandmother?” Last year when Katie Schmidt talked with her class about the prospect of piloting The Black Alabaster Box, this was a question one of the children asked. I had to laugh when my granddaughter, a member of the class,

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Can you have a book launch without gingerbread cookies?

Thursday was the book launch for The Black Alabaster Box. I read the SCBWI website  for children’s book authors and illustrators. I talked to authors. I hadn’t done a launch before.  When my academic books were published, I put the title on my vita, and the publisher did the rest. So all this launch and publicity,

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What do cats have to do with it?

This is Butterfly. She is looking at me resentfully. I am spending too much time getting ready for launching THE BLACK ALABASTER BOX and not enough time with her. When she thinks that I have been working too long, she comes and sits, looking at me with this look. If I ignore her, she comes

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What’s in a Launch?

What’s in a book launch? I’m getting ready for THE BLACK ALABASTER BOX Book Launch on April 5th so I’m thinking about it a lot. I think about launching a rocket—will it fly? I think about launching a boat—do we break a bottle of champagne over the book or over me? Children are invited, maybe

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Life on the Oregon Trail?

When I taught fourth grade in Portland Oregon–that was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth–we had a unit on Westward Expansion. A lot of schools teach about pioneers settling the West in fourth, fifth or sixth grade. We used Mary Jane Carr’s Children of the Covered Wagon as a read-aloud. It was a good match

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What Do Writers Do?

Writers write. Right? Wrong. Maybe wrong is too strong. Writers do write. But that isn’t all they do. They also work on their craft. They meet with other writers and talk about their work. They share ideas about writing. They take workshops and go to conferences to help them learn more about writing. When you study

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Reviews that count

When I began work on The Alabaster Box my granddaughter, Amelia, was of enormous help. I tried chapters out on her and we talked through issues. It was like having a junior editor. I asked friends, Isaiah and his mother, Sarah VanTiem, if they would kindly read it once I had a good draft. Isaiah is

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Where did you get the idea?

“Where did you get the idea for the book?” This is one of the questions Mrs. Schmidt’s class wanted to know when I visited her 5th grade class. It’s a good question. Where do ideas come from? Writing is different for every writer. Many writers say you should write from experience. You write from who

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