AWC Podcast Series: Little Rex, Big Brother

Today we are talking with author Ruth Symes about her picture book, Little Rex, Big Brother as well as teaching children’s book writing.  Click below to listen to the podcast.



Ruth and her dog Traffy

Ruth Symes write books for all ages and has published 15 children’s books. Her latest picture book is ‘Little Rex, Big Brother!’ And the next Little Rex book, due out in April, is called ‘Little Rex and the Big Roar’. Her most recent children’s novel, published last month, is called ‘Bella Donna’ (Piccadilly). As well as children’s books she has also written an adult memoir, under the pseudonym of Megan Rix, about the experience of being a puppy parent for a charity that provides highly trained dogs for disabled people: ‘The Puppy that came for Christmas and Stayed Forever’ (Penguin) was published last week.


AWC Podcast Series: Ghostwriting and a Pumpkin Head

We would like to expand upon last week’s podcast topic, ghostwriting, and here with us is Boxcar Children ghostwriter Theresa Golding to give us more insights into how she spins new stories for the eighty-plus-year-old-series.  Click below to listen to our conversation.

In addition to ghostwriting The Pumpkin Head Mystery and The Vampire Mystery for The Boxcar Children series, Theresa Golding is the author of including such books as Abby’s Asthma and the Big Race, Memorial Day Surprise, Kat’s Surrender, The Secret Within, The Truth About Twelve, and Niner.

Her books have been nominated for and received numerous honors including The Mark Twain Award, The Rhode Island Teen Book Award, The Georgia Book Award, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction, Society of School Librarians International Honor Book, PA State Library Association Top Forty Fiction, Keystone State Reading Award, YALSA 2009 Best Books for Young Adults, and Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading.

A Step into the Boxcar

By Josalyn Moran

Putnam, Connecticut is home to the Gertrude Warner Museum — a town of sorts — replete with the buildings in which Gertrude Chandler Warner led her life…the houses in which she lived, the church she attended, and of, course, the school in which she taught for decades.


School where Gertrude taught first grade


A step into the boxcar is like a step into the first boxcar book itself.


Exterior of the boxcar (before it's recent paint job)


One end of the car is devoted to reproductions of items that were used by Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny.  Whether it is Benny’s wagon, his teddy, or his pink cup with the crack, one is transported back into the setting of the story that started it all.  On one wall there is a silhouette of Jessie watering her garden.  There is an old railroad light hanging from the ceiling; their pine bough beds are recreated (using hay this time of the year). It is such a charming spot.


Recreation from Book 1 Scene


Another nook is filled with memorabilia from the author’s teaching days.  She taught first grade for most of her career.  There are classroom pictures, report cards, as well as samples of the silhouettes and birthday cards that she made for each of her students.


GCW with class of 1945

A real highlight of the collection, however, is the desk and typewriter at which the stories were written.



GCW desk and typewriter



AWC Podcast Series: Ghostwriting The Boxcar Children

Today we are talking with Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon, the ghostwriters behind many of The Boxcar Children books, including the recent Cupcake Caper. We talk about the rewards of writing characters for long-running series, screenplays of upcoming blockbusters, and cupcakes (as well as a certain secret ingredient that is so secret you’ll just have to find out when you read the book).  Click below to listen.


Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon are the #1 New York Times best-selling co-authors of more than thirty children’s books. In addition to their award winning creative chapter book series entitled, BLAST TO THE PAST (Simon and Schuster), Stacia and Rhody have also published non-fiction texts, a young adult romantic comedy calledIN THE STARS (Simon and Schuster), and HOT PURSUIT, a civil rights story (Kar-Ben/Lerner). Their works have won them the Teacher’s Choice Award, the Arizona Glyph, and a SCRIBE award. Stacia and Rhody have also written several licensed properties, including NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW (Simon and Schuster) and THE BOXCAR CHILDREN (Albert Whitman).  They have also written junior movie tie in novels for summer blockbuster films, including BATMAN, THE DARK KNIGHT(HarperCollins) and CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (Simon and Schuster).  Stacia Deutsch, an ordained rabbi, lives in Irvine, California with her three children. Rhody Cohon, a college math teacher, lives with her three children in Tucson, Arizona. They talk on the phone a hundred times a day.


Larger than life at the Frankfurt Fair

By Josalyn Moran

When I think of the book fair, I think of everything larger than life…the sculptures around the fairgrounds…

like the Hammering Man, a large kinetic sculpture created by Jonathan Borofsky that stands at the foot of the Messeturm. The black sculpture, which seems to be hammering at a constant pace, symbolizes the working man. It is made of steel and stands 21.5 meter (71 ft) tall. The Hammering Man was erected here in 1991 at the occasion of the completion of the Messeturm. The sculpture is part of a series; other Hammering Man sculptures can be found in cities such as Seattle, New York and Seoul.


Inside the fair jumbo-sized items were also evident if it was the Darth Vader made out of Legos at the DK booth,or the largest book of all time, At the Millennium House booth one could view the world’s largest book, the platinum edition of Earth.  Opened it measures 6 by 9 feet.  It showcases the craftsmanship of more than 100 international cartographers, geographers, and photographers.  Only 31 copies will be produced, so one should place one’s order quickly.  The retail?  Only $100,000…

…Or the weighty marble and stone bookends for sale at the market on the grounds.  The one I brought home weighed four pounds and  was sculpted from beautiful blue Brazilian granite (azul bahia).

AWC Podcast Series: Cornelia Maude Spelman

Today we are fortunate enough to speak with writer, artist, and clinical social worker Cornelia Maude Spelman.  We discuss her body of work ranging from children’s books to her own memoir and how they represent a life’s journey through the lost puzzle pieces of a family legacy.

CMS is a writer, artist, and former clinical social worker who writes about the importance of emotion in the lives of children and families.  Her ten books (and two board books) for AWC, judged “gentle” and “reassuring,” include her “The Way I Feel” series, widely used by state agencies, schools, pediatricians, parenting groups, social service, child abuse and disaster agencies, and special needs parents and educators, and have been featured on PBS and network TV. They’ve won awards including “Best Children’s Books of the Year” from the Children’s Book Committee of Bank Street College, and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award.  Her works have been translated into seven languages. Her first book for adults, a memoir, MISSING, about the emotional legacies in her family, will be published December 1st by Northwestern University Press.

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AWC Podcast Series: Baby Goes Beep

Today we are talking with author Rebecca O’Connell about her books Danny is Done with Diapers and Baby Goes Beep. Click below to listen. (RT: 3:00)


Rebecca O’Connell is a writer, teacher, and librarian.  She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and two cats. Visit Rebecca online at