Writing Craft

Picture books, School Visits, Writing Craft

Author Visit: Aga Khan Academy, Kenya

I am thrilled to have had my first in-person school visits with kids since the height of the pandemic at Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya in June. Aga Khan Academy – Mombasa is a primary through secondary dual language, International Baccalaureate World School, with a residential option. Student leadership and community service are important strands within their school programming. The school admin, teachers, and support staff are incredibly dedicated and hardworking. I am thrilled to have had my first in-person school visits with kids since the height of the pandemic at this amazing school. The students made this visit so much fun!

I visited with Year 3, 4, 5 students in the primary school; read The King Cake Baby to the younger class and OPENING THE ROAD to the older classes. And they did some writing too. Students knew about Carnevale and one student even knew about Mardi Gras! They have also learned US history and that people are treated differently in America because of the color of their skin. And now they know more, soaked up that knowledge like little sponges. It was so good to be back among our future leaders. Some things are truly universal because one student asked how old I am! I told her old enough to be her grandmother. LOL!

My last visit was with Year 7 – middle school aged kids. The school asked me to discuss poetry. I promised they will love the poems I’d share from NO VOICE TOO SMALL. Then asked them to “show me” what mood they were in, because poetry is all about emotion and, at their age, they have experienced all kind of moods! HA. At first they were a little reserved, then I struck some poses, some cracked up, and joined in! Middle schoolers! I showed them the video of Charles Waters reading his spoken word poem about DJ Annie Red and they were hooked! They gasped at the story about Noah Barnes and were impressed with how Lindsay H. Metcalf followed rules to write a Tanka sequence about him. And of course I bragged about my friend Marcie Rinka Wessels, who writes beautiful and thoughtful Haiku, then shared my silly version “How to Haiku” when discussing voice. After the presentation, a teacher told me she saw a few boys chatting, walked over wondering what they were up to and they were engaged in a conversation about what is and isn’t poetry while discussing rap music. She was so happy! For the writing part, they started brainstorming and will write bio poems.

What a blast to be with kids again, and to visit with students at Aga Khan Academy – Mombasa.

Picture books, Writing Craft

Reading For Research Author Mentor Text Studies 2020

December – ReFoReMo Best Mentor Texts of 2020

November – Deborah Underwood

October – Margarita Engle

September – Mentor Text Research NO VOICE TOO SMALL Lindsay Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, Jeanette Bradley

September – Tim McCanna

August – Kevin Henkes

July – Nikki Grimes

June – Kim Norman

April – 2020 ReFoReMo Challenge Reflections

May 2020 – Lesléa Newman

January 2020- Julie Abery

Picture books, Writing Craft

Mentor Text Talk: OPENING THE ROAD

Today on the Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) blog, I share how I used mentor texts to write OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK. Coming to a shelf near you this month!

Picture books, Writing Craft

October 2020 Mentor Text Author Study: Margarita Engle

The October Mentor Text Author Study looks at Margarita Engle’s latest picture book about pianist Teresa Carreño. Celebrating Latinx Heritage!

Writing Craft

My Writing Journey + GIVEAWAY!

I had a chat with author Rosie Pova on her blog to discuss my road to publication, my latest picture book release NO VOICE TOO SMALL: Fourteen Young Americans Making History, and what’s next for me. Follow this link to read that interview.

Hope you enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a copy of NO VOICE TOO SMALL!

Available now!

Charlesbridge | ISBN: 978-1-6235-4131-6
40 pages | ages 5-9

Bookshop | Charlesbridge | Amazon | B&N

I’m planning giveaways for my forthcoming book, too. Stay tuned!

Beaming Books | ISBN: 978-1506467917
40 pages | ages 4-8

Coming January 26, 2020

PRE-ORDER:

Bookshop | Beaming Books | Amazon | B&N

Writing Craft

September 2020 Mentor Text Study: Revisiting Tim McCanna

In this month’s author study, I revisit master storytelling Tim McCanna in this month’s Reading for Research blog post!

Picture books, Writing Craft

Reading for Research: Mentor Text Author Studies 2019

It’s been a joy to be a part of the 2019 Reading For Research team of bloggers that study stellar picture books.  

Best of 2019 from the Reading for Research Team

November 2019

Reading for Research Mentor Text Study: Cece Bell

October 2019

Reading for Research Mentor Text Study: Yuyi Morales

September 2019

Reading for Research Mentor Text Study: David Michael Slater

August 2019

Reading for Research Mentor Text Study: Susan Verde

July 2019

Reading for Research Mentor Text Study: Ashley Spires

June 2019

Reading for Research Mentor Text Study: Lesléa Newman

May 2019

Reading for Research Mentor Text Study: Anika Aldamuy Denise

March 2019

Five Favorite Mentor Texts

January 2019

Reading for Research: Mentor Text Study: Tim McCanna

Picture books, Writing Craft

August 2020 Mentor Text Study: Revisiting Kevin Henkes

Revisiting author/illustrator Kevin Henkes today over at the Reading for Research blog. Imagery, repetition, and alliteration, oh, my!

Picture books, Writing Craft

Picture Book Summit 2020 Author Study #3

Join us at this year’s Picture Book Summit to hear the very talented picture book author-illustrator Peter Reynolds!

I was honored to write about his work. Read my author study to learn more about him and while there register for the virtual conference.

Picture books, Writing Craft

Picture Book Summit 2020 Author Study #2

Register for Picture Book Summit to hear the very talented picture book author Lesa Cline-Ransome! I was honored to write about her body of work. Read my author study to learn more about her and while there register for the virtual conference.

Picture books, Writing Craft

Picture Book Summit 2020 Author Study #1 –

Register for Picture Book Summit to hear the very talented author and illustrator Sophie Blackhall! I was honored to write about her books. Read my author study to learn more about her and while there register for the virtual conference.

Picture books, Writing Craft

July 2020 Mentor Text Study: Revisiting Nikki Grimes

It’s time for another Coronavirus Creative Mentor Text Author Study post!

In August 2018, I wrote a mentor text author study featuring poet and author Nikki Grimes. Since then, Grimes has released two new picture books this year. Let’s look at those books. Read more at the Reading for Research blog.

Happy reading! Stay safe!

Picture books, Writing Craft

June 2020 Author Mentor Text Study: Revisiting Kim Norman

This month I discussed informational picture books and looked at at Give Me Back My Bones by Kim Norman, illustrated by Bob Kolar over at the Reading for Research blog. What a fun read!

Picture books, Writing Craft

May 2020 Author Mentor Text Study: Revisiting Lesléa Newman

I took a look at Lesléa Newman’s latest book for our May Reading for Research mentor text author study!

Happy reading!

Picture books, Writing Craft

January Mentor Text Author Study: Julie Abery

Today I looked at books by Julie Abery for my January Reading for Research Month post. What a wonderful way to start 2020!

Picture books, Writing Craft

Best of 2019 from ReFoReMo

Head over to the Reading for Research Month blog to read about the stories ReFoReMo contributors picked for best picture book mentor texts of the year! Read on!

Picture books, Writing Craft

November Author Study: Cece Bell

Newbery Honor–winning author-illustrator Cece Bell is well known for her graphic novel El Deafo, the autobiographical book about living with her hearing loss from childhood. In this post, I look at Bell’s picture books and how she uses imagination and more to connect with a younger audience.

Read more at the Reading for Research Month blog…

Picture books, Writing Craft

Picture Book Summit 2019 Author Study #3

Read about the talented author and storyteller Rukhsana Khan. I was honored to write about her books. We will hear from her tomorrow and many others at this year’s fifth anniversary of Picture Book Summit!

Picture books, Writing Craft

October Mentor Text Author Study: Yuyi Morales

We’re celebrating Latin culture and Latinx Heritage Month over at the ReFoReMo blog today using books by the talented Yuyi Morales!

Picture books, Writing Craft

September Author Study: David Michael Slater

This month I look at picture books by by word whiz David Michael Slater over at the Reading for Research blog! His word play is filled with puns and idioms. And his humor is delightful.

Picture books, Writing Craft

August Author Study – Susan Verde

This month’s Reading for Research author study takes a look at books by Susan Verde. Read how she connects with kids and invites them to learn and grow. Her books address compassion, empathy, mindfulness and community.

Picture books, Writing Craft

Picture Book Summit 2019 – Author Study #2

Coming this October: Picture Book Summit – all the content of a conference, in the comfort of your home! I took a look at the books by this year’s presenters and was honored to write about them. Join me as I look at books by Matthew Cordell!

Register here for Picture Book Summit 2019. See you there!

https://picturebooksummit.com/registration-2019/

Picture books, Writing Craft

Picture Book Summit 2019 – Author Study #1

Coming this October: Picture Book Summit – all the content of a conference, in the comfort of your home! I took a look at the books by this year’s presenters. Read about the work of author Samantha Berger.

Register here for Picture Book Summit 2019. See you there!

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