New Publication: Count Me In and the Great Backyard Bird Count

This month, I’m particularly proud of my new article in the October 2019 issue of Muse magazine “Count Me In: Participate in Important Scientific Research Just by Counting Birds.”

With the bird population declining by 29%, and the threat of state birds not even being able to live in their “home” states, paying attention to birds is more than just a hobby. It’s an act of awareness and conservation. I’m really excited to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count this coming February and hope to join in other bird counts as well.

photo of magazine article about great backyard bird count

A “How to” Flow Chart for Writing Picture Books

I’m wondering if a “how to” flow chart for writing picture books would be helpful. I sketched out a quick draft of a flow chart, but thinking it would be faster to just type up a Q&A.

I see a lot of questions in different writing groups from people who have written a picture book and just aren’t clear on the next steps. It got me thinking that a flow chart, or set of instructions, might be helpful. I jotted down this draft, but I’m not sure it’s the best format for presenting the info. And there are many more questions to fit into this chart, like “when should I take a class?” or “do I need a website for my book?” or “this company says it will print my book for me, it costs $10,000, should I do it?”

I want to help people who are just starting out writing picture books, but I also know there are many non-traditional paths to follow in this process. Would a chart like this be helpful or limiting? Even discouraging?

I mean, who says we have to follow the rules? But maybe these aren’t rules, just an outline of the typical paths people follow when writing picture books.

Writing picture books is both difficult and stressful but also wonderful and fulfilling. Let me know if this chart idea is worth doing or not.

Children’s Book Academy Graduate!

I’m so pleased to be a Children’s Book Academy graduate. I had a great five weeks of learning from Mira Rosenberg and her incredible faculty.

Thank you Mira!

The Morning Rush – a Poem for Busy Writers

Get Your copy of So You Want to Be President of the United States!

I’m so excited to announce you can now get your copy of my new book So You Want to Be President of the United States! (Capstone, 2019).

Cover of the non-fiction book for children called "So You Want to Be President of the United States"

So You Want to Be President of the United States.

Wanted: Someone to be the face of America. The president is responsible for signing laws, making sure the laws are followed, and figuring out the best way to run the country. Find solutions to problems. Clean up natural disasters. Meet with other leaders. It’s a big job. Do you have what it takes?

Order your copy below!

 

Paperback:

 

Hardcover/Library Binding!

Writing Non-Fiction for Children Resources

Writing non-fiction for children is one of my favorite kinds of writing.

In the past year, I’ve written three non-fiction books, one large non-fiction text book chapter, and numerous non-fiction magazine articles all for young readers. I have at least three non-fiction manuscripts waiting for the right publisher to fall in love with them.

Non-Fiction is an essential and exciting part of children’s literature.

It’s also a great way to develop your writing career. If you are interested in making a living as a children’s writer, non-fiction is a great place to start.

And if you’re like me, it’s an easy way to keep learning about the world around us.

I was so grateful that SCBWI offered so many session for non-fiction writers at the annual summer conference in Los Angeles. During the conference, I connected with other wonderful non-fiction lovers!  And, I also learned about some excellent websites for non-fiction writers. I have added these to my weekly “to read” list. You should, too!

Check out Melissa Stewart’s Science Books and Non-Fiction Teaching Resources

Don’t miss The Classroom Bookshelf from School Library Journal.

Writing with Conscious Style

In August, I attended the SCBWI annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles. While I was there, I learned how to be a good regional advisor for Pennsylvania West, my home region. I learned about how to submit book manuscripts with back matter ideas. I learned that people in LA take their dogs into Target.

And I learned that writing with authenticity and respect in terms of diversity and representation is a part of CRAFT. It’s not about being politically correct or following a trend. It’s about doing research, learning everything you can, and writing or illustrating accurately.

Writing with Conscious Style

I was intrigued to find a postcard on a resources table for the Conscious Style Guide.

 

This website offers articles and resources to help creators be more conscious in their work. I’m reading an article a week to help me learn about what I don’t know.

Last week, I read an incredible article on the role of sensitivity readers by Marjorie Ingall. I know lots of people think they can’t write about any characters that aren’t like themselves now. They wonder if everything they create will go through some kind of screening. They are conflating sensitivity readers with censorship.

But sensitivity (and accuracy) is not censorship.

Ingall writes, “It’s also vital to note that white writers can still write characters of color; writers without disabilities can still write characters with disabilities; straight and cisgender writers can still write LGBTQ characters. They just have to be … well, sensitive. When they get it right, in my reading experience, they rarely attract opprobrium.” 

And author Julie Berry argues, “Why wouldn’t you want to be as accurate as you can and as reverent as you can be about the real, lived humanity of the people you’re depicting?”

This week, I indulged in a favorite topic: science fiction and fantasy. I was thrilled to read about two of my favorite authors, N.K. Jemisin and Octavia Butler. I was also excited to add four new excellent fantasy series books to my To Read list.

Visit the Conscious Style Guide often. Read and learn. It will improve your craft.

 

Writing Stories is Like Ice Cream

Some days, writing stories is like ice cream, the hard kind you scoop out of a container and it is still so frozen it bends your spoon. It can be a lot of work to get that story out. Usually it’s amazing after you’re done. You feel like you earned it.

Other days, writing stories is like ice cream, the soft serve kind. You pull down the handle and it just flows out, like you’ve hit the jackpot on a slot machine. Nothing is stopping the words from spiraling out onto the page. It’s so easy. And it tastes great, too.

New Children’s Writing Publication: Go Get It, Don’t Quit It

I’m excited that my story “The Best Web” is now available for readers of all ages who need a little encouragement!

Writing for Children is So Fun

I love writing for children. I have a long list of why, and I plan to write a post about it. But for now I just want to say again writing for children is so fun!!

Here’s why.

I get to create cool crafts like this one that is in Highlights for Children!

Pick up a copy of the August 2019 issue and try out the Paint Poppers activity!

My youngest said it didn’t work for him, but it worked for me. Let me know if it works for you.

And HAVE FUN!