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 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.
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.
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) andTHE 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.
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.
George Washington Carver is known largely for his work with the peanut. He developed hundreds of different uses for it including peanut butter; but he did so much more to grow agricultural education as Susan Grigsby writes about in her book, In the Garden with Dr. Carver. Click below to listen to our conversation. (RT: 5:50)
Susan Grigsby teaches creative writing in K-12 schools, museums, and nature centers. A nationally published poet, “In the Garden with Dr. Carver” is her first picture book.
While doing research for a teaching project at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Carver Garden, she felt like she’d discovered a mentor in Dr. Carver – someone who cared deeply about teaching children to ‘listen” to the plants and to see how everything in nature is connected. Dr. Carver dedicated his life to exploring the ways in which people can make the most of what nature offers, while caring for the earth and wasting nothing.
Her teacher’s guide for “In the Garden with Dr. Carver” was inspired by similar guides that Dr. Carver began writing for teachers over one hundred years ago. It features ways to integrate the study of nature and agricultural science with math, science, language arts, and social studies. It even includes a link to some of Dr. Carver’s recipes, archived by the National Historic Site in Tuskegee, such as Mock Chicken made from peanuts and sweet potatoes! Susan is looking forward to her first harvest of sweet potatoes this fall.
Susan will be one of the readers for the St. Louis Poetry Center in the Authors Tent at THE BIG READ in Clayton, MO, October 9th, from noon – 1 p.m.
Suzanne Slade is the author of 80 children’s books, including many biographies and historical picture books. Susan B. Anthony, Fighter for Freedom and Equality was named to the 2008 Amelia Bloomer Recommended Titles list. Her picture book, What’s New at the Zoo? won a 2010 Teachers’ Choice Book Award. Ms. Slade’s most recent picture book, Climbing Lincoln’s Steps, released Sept. 2010.
As if perfectly planned to coincide with our blog’s ode to all things punctuation, Moira Rose Donohue wrote two books entitled Alfie the Apostrophe and Penny and the Punctuation Bee. Okay, they were published well before this week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy hearing about them. Moira answers burning questions like What is a punctuation bee? and How can punctuation make or break a Supreme Court case? as well as What punctuation mark are you?Yes, really. Akin to the age old “What sign are you?” question, this is a fun new way to identify with those squiggly little marks that permeate our language. (For the record, I am a question mark.) Click below to listen to our conversation. (RT: 9:12)
Moira Donohue loves tap dancing, old movies, opera and, OK, is a self-proclaimed grammar and punctuation geek. In ALFIE THE APOSTROPHE, she first revealed the secret talents of punctuation marks that only true lovers of punctuation know about. For example, did you know that question marks love riddles and jokes? And exclamation points? Cheerleaders! Perhaps you’ve already noticed that quotation marks are often filled with hot air. She followed ALFIE with PENNY AND THE PUNCTUATION BEE in which punctuation marks compete to make sentences using their punctuation marks..
Her father, who read the dictionary for fun, instilled in Moira a love of words and grammar. Later, her interest in punctuation was piqued when, as a young lawyer, she had to research a question about a missing quotation mark in a very old banking law. Without the quotation mark, it looked like the law, which people thought had been around for almost 100 years, really didn’t exist at all. The question ultimately had to be decided by the United States Supreme Court!
She grew up in Bayside, Queens (NYC) and was educated at Mississippi University for Women (’75) and the University of Santa Clara School of Law (’78). Today Moira lives in northern Virginia with her husband, Rob, also a lawyer; and two dogs, Sniffles the pug and Quincy the Cavapoo. Her two children, Peter and Rose, are away at colleges in the NY/NJ area.
Moira will be appearing at Christopher Newport University (VA) at the 30th Annual Writers’ Conference & Writing Contest on March 25 – 26, 2011. She will be giving a presentation entitled: “Brush Up Your Grammar.”
Today we are talking with author and librarian Jacqueline Jules about the sequel to her chapter book series Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Springs into Action. Listen as we talk about Freddie, Superman, and the many challenges ordinary heroes have to overcome to become superheroes. (RT: 7:34)
Jacqueline Jules wishes she could run like Freddie in his magic purple sneakers, but she is happy taking long walks near her Northern Virginia home. She is the author of twenty other books for young readers including Duck for Turkey Day, No English and Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation. She has received the Sydney Taylor Honor Award for Younger Readers, the SCBWI Magazine Merit Plaque for Poetry, and has been selected twice as an Arlington Arts Moving Words Poetry winner. Her books have been selected for state reading awards, the NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book List, the New York Public Library Recommended Reading list, and the Reading Rockets summer reading list.
The first few days of September have (finally) broken the hot spell that has been summer 2010, and nothing says “fall” more than curling up with a cup of tea and a good book. That is exactly what you will want to do with the picture book Lively Elizabeth! Today we are speaking with author Mara Bergman and illustrator Cassia Thomas about what a strong character like Elizabeth can learn from watching the consequences of her actions spiral out of control. Click here to listen. (RT: 8:20)
Mara Bergman was born in New York and grew up on Long Island. She has written more than a dozen picture books and was awarded the Booktrust Early Years Award in 2009 (UK) for Oliver Who Travelled Far and Wide and a Parents’ Choice Award for Snip Snap, Who’s That? Mara lives in England with her family and their various pets.
Cassia Thomas was born and raised in London with a pencil in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. She has always loved how illustrators are able to transport you into their own worlds and so aspired to do the same. Cassia drew (a lot) and grew (not very much) and finally did a Masters in Children’s Book Illustration, at Anglia Ruskin School of Art. The course helped her realize her ambition to become a visual storyteller.
Since then, she’s twice been selected for the Cheltenham Illustration Awards, where she exhibited alongside her hero, Shaun Tan. She also exhibited this summer in the UK at a children’s book retrospective. Lively Elizabeth is her first book. Her second, George and Ghost, by Catriona Hoy, is set to come out in November 2010. She is currently beavering away on writing and illustrating a new picture book.