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.
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.
With tough economic times still bearing down, maybe we could all stand to learn some life (and math) lessons from an uplifting story set during the Great Depression. Lucky Beans is the story of how Marshall Loman helps his family win a sewing machine using knowledge from his arithmetic class. Click below link to listen to my conversation with author Becky Birtha and illustrator Nicole Tadgell. (10:06)
Becky Birtha’s picture book, Lucky Beans, is based on true stories told in her family of life during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Becky received a Bachelor’s Degree in Children’s Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and completed a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing at Vermont College. The author of three books for adults, she has received awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, and a Golden Kite Honor from SCBWI. Becky grew up in Philadelphia and now lives in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. She and her partner are the parents of two, a college student and a young adult.
Nicole Tadgell has illustrated fourteen books. To get a feel for each book, she pretends she’s the child in the story, and does the things the child does. She first realized that illustrating children’s books could be her life’s path while studying art in college. Her rich watercolors depict lively children, fantasy, and nature.