Posted in Book Review

Badger’s Perfect Garden

Written by Marsha Diane Arnold

Illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

Book Source: Sent to me at author’s request

Book Status: Available

This book is about a badger who makes a perfect garden with his friends only to be messed up by a storm. But it starts to———— SPOILER ALERT 🚨 SPOILER ALERT 🚨!!!!!!!!!!! Oops 😬

I recommend this book to kids who like everything to perfect ( like me ) and just kids in 2nd & 3rd grade.

Posted in Meet the authors

Jay Cooper

Well, first I want to say thank you for the interview! I think it’s seriously cool that you are reaching out to writers. I have no doubt you’ll be a great writer yourself, if you aren’t one already! But on to the questions: 

1. when you were my age, did you like to read? What a fun reading age that was! 9 was the year that I read the Hobbit and the Chronicles of Narnia… Book 3, The Voyage of the Dawntreader, was always my absolute favorite of the series. Of course, you have to add to these about a bajillion comic books and Mad Magazine books (I LOVED Spy Vs. Spy and the Don Martin books!)

2. what book made an impact on you? Oh, there are so many! I have to pick just one? Geez. Okay. Well, Norman Bridwell of Clifford the Big Red Dog fame had a number of other books. One that I really loved was How To Care For Your Monster. It was a practical guide to taking care of your pet werewolf, or vampire, or Frankenstein’s Monster! I loved monsters growing up, and this book really struck home with me… The idea that even the most bloodthirsty monster needs to be cared for like a regular family pet—it was clever and original. And Norman’s illustrations were amazing. They still are!
3. How do you come up with book ideas? Sometimes it feels impossible to come up with book ideas! And other times they just fall into your head all at the same time like raindrops. I guess you could call those “idea showers”. You never can predict when it will happen. The real problem is remembering them! More than once I’ve come up with a book idea that seemed like the most amazing idea ever for a book, and I’ve thought, “I should write that down… but how could I possibly forget such a brilliantly, awesome and amazing idea anyway? Pshaw!” And then, of course, I totally forgot what the idea was. Now I carry around a little notebook everywhere I go so that no matter when or how I get good idea showers, I can record them. Lots of writers do this.
4. What author or book have you read recently that impacted you? That’s a great question. There is an illustrated children’s book that just came out two months ago that is so amazing, so simple and beautiful, that I cannot get it out of my head. I bought it and immediately gave it to another person within an hour of buying it. That’s how good it was! It’s called Cicada, and it’s written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. I think it will be my favorite book of the year.
5. Is there a new or lesser known author kids should know about? Another great question! Russell Ginns is a relatively new author with his Samantha Spinner series. He’s just about the funniest person that I’ve ever met. I highly recommend his books.
6. What advice do you have for kids who want to be an author? The best writers are readers. I work on Broadway, and have read a thousand scripts for plays and musicals at this point (okay, that’s an exaggeration: but a few hundred, certainly!). I read books all the time on top of that. It’s really helped my writing tremendously. Stories are so much a part of my life that creating them has become second nature to me. The trick is finding your own voice when you write… and that just comes with time and practice.
7. Do you hear from your readers?what do you like about it? Receiving a letter or email from a reader always brings a smile to my face. When I got into this business, I really just wanted to have an impact on another human being. Just one. Every time someone reaches out to me, I feel like all the hard work and effort I put into my books is worth it! (And I hope it never gets old).
8. If you could portal into any book, what book would it be? Oh, that’s a fun idea. If I could go into any book at all, I’d probably choose Edith Hamilton’s Mythology book. I’ve always loved mythology, and the idea of meeting Zeus, or Hermes, or Artemis is a very exciting idea! Or I would choose A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. I have always wanted to meet Titania and Oberon and all the fairies. Okay, I’m switching it: I’d choose A Midsummer Night’s Dream first and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology second. Can I do both? You’re in charge of this, right?

Posted in Book Review

Native American Tales and Legends

Book Source: Owned

Book Status: Available

This book is full of many Native American legends and stories. It’s funny that I bought it at a Navajo Reservation, but it have any Navajo legends!! My favorite story is Glooscap and the three seekers of gifts, which is a Micmac story. My family has Micmac heritage.

On this vacation I have taken two tours with Navajo guides who have shared about their culture. That has been a good way to learn about their history.

I recommend this book to anyone curious about the tales and legends.

Posted in Meet the authors

Rebecca Kai Dotlich

1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read books and poems? 
When I was 9 I loved to read. I also loved to ride my bike, roller skate, and make things.  We did not have a library in walking distance (& my mother didn’t drive), but a bookmobile came to our neighborhood.  I loved reading mysteries, biographies and fairy tales.  I wasn’t introduced to much poetry when I was small.  The poetry I knew and loved came in the delicious rhymes from books like Jack and the Beanstalk: Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman ….
And The Gingerbread Man: Run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread man.
Those still stay with me.  
2. What was your favorite book, poem or author?
My favorite would have been the Nancy Drew mysteries and Pippi Longstocking.
3. How did you become a poet?
I wish I had an easy answer.  Looking back, the way I saw the world was always a little different.  I was enchanted with words and sounds and song lyrics.  I began to write rhyming lines and couplets in my diaries and on notebook paper and to my friends and family.  I wrote poetry in High School, then college, and when my children were babies I tried to get published as a poet.  But I think I was a poet all along.
4. Is it hard to come up with poems?
Not the topic, not the idea.  I can’t write them all in a lifetime.  But to make them be as good as I hope, as I want, as I expect, that is the hard part.  So I work and work and revise and change and cross out and polish each one as best I can.
5. What is one of the coolest things that has happened with one of your poems – like book or famous person reading it?
Hmm.  Well sometimes you will see things on the internet that you don’t even know about.  I’ve seen a book of mine being read by a governor to a group of children but I do not remember who or what state and I’ve happened upon a few of my poems being turned into songs.  
6. Do you have a favorite children’s poetry book or poet?
Honestly, I have many.  It truly would be hard to choose just one.  I wish I had a better answer.  
7. Why do you think kids should read poetry?
I don’t know if they should, but I sure hope they end up wanting to. I think a poem is a small package of words that can surprise, delight, make you feel joy, and make you feel not as alone.  I love how you can flip through a book of poems and read whatever first line or title catches your heart.
8. How did you come up with the Cherry Tree poem that I love so much?
I actually went to Washington D.C. to see them all up close and personal and blooming all over like tiny groups of pale pink and white paper umbrellas.  I took my notebook and wrote down words & images I thought of as I stared at them.
9. Do you have any advice for a kid interested in poetry?
Read as much of it as you can.  Open a book of poetry.  If one poem doesn’t grab your curiosity or wonder or attention, move to the next.  Copy the ones you love in your own notebook.  (Remember to write the poet’s name.)  Try writing your own poems by observing what it is you want to write about (a puppy dog waking from a nap?  The moon in a night sky?) and always, always write down what is in your heart.  All the things that give you joy, all the things that make you want to cry, all the things that make you wonder and ask questions.  All the things that make you, you.