Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Is In A Name?

One of my relatives graciously brought a bottle of "Morning Fog" Chardonnay over to a family dinner that I was hosting and I thought, what an unfortunate name for an alcoholic beverage.  Who was the employee who came up with the name, Morning Fog?  This got me thinking about names in general; names of products and names of characters in writing.  Obviously, there are some classic names in literature that work perfectly, like Mr. Grumps, Lyle the Crocodile's cranky nemesis.  But what about others?  How much thought do you put into the names of the characters you create?

Happy reading and writing,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Another Opportunity to Hone Your Writing

Don't like "workshops", but still need time to perfect your plot?  The Highlights Foundation is offering an "unworkshop" where you can focus on your craft.  The point of getting away to write, is to keep you focused on your writing, not the laundry, cooking, dishes, and chauffeuring that always creep into your writing time.  However, when I look at the beautiful pictures of the atmosphere of this writing retreat, I wonder if anyone would focus on writing rather than walking through those beautiful woods.

Happy reading and writing,

Friday, October 25, 2013

Retreat for Writers

The Highlights Foundation is offering this retreat for writers.  If you have the time (and the funds), this sounds like a great opportunity to hone your craft.

Happy reading and writing,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Body of Writing

Mimi Cross is a multi-talented mom, writer, musician and yoga instructor. This Friday, she is offering a workshop called, Body of Writing and there is still room to sign up!


With Mimi Cross                                                                                         www.bodyofwriting.com


7:30pm - 9:00pm, Friday October 25th — Body of Writing Sampler. All levels. All genres.

Monmouth Beach Yoga & Wellness, 36 Beach Road, Monmouth Beach, NJ 07750

$15 per person, call to reserve your spot 732.263.1200


Body of Writing offers a combination of inspirational writing exercises and simple yoga postures as well as meditation and visualization techniques designed to help workshop participants access the stories they carry, often unknowingly, in their bodies.

Calming breathing techniques will allow participants to move deeper into the process of unearthing their stories. The artistic aspect of each participant will be challenged and nurtured, and everyone will leave Body of Writing feeling stimulated and relaxed. Some individuals will depart with new goals for their writing lives or the start of a new piece.

Body of Writing is both energizing and soothing. No previous experience with yoga or writing is necessary.

Body of Writing participants will explore their writing and their bodies, and receive the benefits of connecting the two.

Attendees of this special evening sampler of Body of Writing will begin to learn how to leave their inner critics at the door and listen to their bodies instead!

Mimi Cross holds an MA in music education from New York University and is an RYT with over 200 hours of teacher training. Her song 2 Clay Feet was featured on the Kripalu Yoga Center Seva CD, Svadharma. She is the author of The Alligator Waiter, published by Abe's Peanut in 2012, and The Crankamacallit, a children’s iPad app designed by Polymash and released on iTunes in 2011. Her CDs can be found on iTunes.

What you’ll need for the workshop: An 8 x 10 notebook of paper, and a pen or pencil. Please wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing. Questions? mimi@mimicrossmusic.com

Add an additional dimension to the traditional body, mind, & spirit practice of yoga: Story.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Encyclopedia Brown Turns 50!

The New York Public Library is hosting an Encyclopedia Brown Day.  Even if you can't get to the historic Schwarzman Building to participate, you can enjoy re-reading these classics with a child you love.

Happy reading,

Monday, October 21, 2013

National Day on Writing

Today is the 5th annual National Day on Writing.  How are you celebrating literacy today?

Happy reading and writing,

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Film Clip - Stephen King

In keeping with the spirit of the Halloween season, here is a Friday Film Clip of Stephen King speaking about books, writing, and e-books.

Happy reading and writing,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halloween Reads

Trick or treat,
Smell my feet,
Give me something good to .....

The New York Public Library has posted Halloween Reads IV: The Repass.  Check out the librarians' suggestions for some haunting reads.

Happy reading,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Flipped School

On Friday, October 4, I posted this about flipped classrooms.  Last Sunday, The New York Times ran this piece on a flipped school.  It is an interesting concept, but still too new to truly evaluate the effectiveness.

Happy reading,

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Walking Dead

For all of you who waited breathlessly for the return of The Walking Dead,  here is a Rolling Stone interview with Robert Kirkman, writer of the graphic novels on which the show is based.  Enjoy!

Happy reading,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Common Core Focus on the Text

The current issue of AFT's American Educator contains this interesting piece on close reads.  While the author acknowledges the importance of prior knowledge in the comprehension of a text, he cautions teachers to be selective in their pre-reading practices.  Additionally, he points out the inherent hazards of  blindly following the Common Core push for asking text-dependent questions.  Are the text-dependent questions that we are asking worthwhile?  Are they promoting higher level thinking according to Bloom's Taxonomy?  For that matter, are the texts themselves worthy of exploration in the classroom? 

Happy reading,

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Second-Sight Saturday: Halloween Treat

I first posted this last Halloween, but as my children and I decorate the house and plan our costumes, I thought this might be a timely treat:

October 31, 2012
Happy Halloween!  Since we've all been tricked enough by Hurricane Sandy, here is a recipe for a yummy, but ghoulish treat that  my friend, Tracey taught me.  Enjoy!
Happy Halloween,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

House of Hades

Aspiring writers, fans of Rick Riordan, or teachers dabbling in the 6th-grade Percy Jackson module may be interested in this Publishers Weekly article promoting the October 8th release of Riordan's newest book, House of Hades.

Happy reading,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Education Nation

Education Nation Week is going on now.  Check out all the resources and events.

Happy reading,

Friday, October 4, 2013

Flipped Friday

Earlier in the week, I wrote about Connected Educator Month and mentioned flipping the classroom.  For those with questions on what a flipped classroom looks like, here is an article introducing the concept.  Try flipping your classroom if you believe in the theory behind it, or if you just want the opportunity to say, "My flipping classroom."

Happy reading,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chappaqua Children's Book Festival & Shameless Self-Promotion

I was reading about the Chappaqua Children's Book Festival and read this reference to the Summer Reading Round-Up that I wrote for the July issue of Parenting magazine.  Surreal!

Happy reading,

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

100 Best Children's Books of the Past 100 Years

The New York Public Library released this list of the best 100 children's books of the past 100 years.  Do you agree with their choices?  For more information about how the list was compiled, or about any of NYPL's wonderful programs, click here.


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz (1972)

All-of-a-Kind Family

by Sydney Taylor, illustrated by Helen John (1951)

Amelia Bedelia

by Peggy Parish, illustrated by Fritz Siebel (1963)

The Arrival

by Shaun Tan (2007)


Bark, George

by Jules Feiffer (1999)

Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo (2000)

Ben’s Trumpet 

by Rachel Isadora (1979)

Big Red Lollipop

by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (2010)

The Birchbark House 

by Louise Erdrich (1999)

The Book of Three

by Lloyd Alexander (1964)

The Borrowers

by Mary Norton, illustrated by Beth Krush and Joe Krush (1953)

The Bossy Gallito/El Gallo De Bodas: A Traditional Cuban Folktale

by Lucía M. González, illustrated by Lulu Delacre (1994)

Bread and Jam for Frances

by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban (1964)

Bridge to Terabithia

by Katherine Paterson (1977)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

by Bill Martin, Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle (1967)


Caps for Sale

by Esphyr Slobodkina (1938)

The Cat in the Hat

by Dr. Seuss (1957)


by Laurie Halse Anderson (2008)

A Chair For My Mother

by Vera B. Williams (1982)

Charlotte’s Web

by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams (1952)

Chato’s Kitchen

by Gary Soto, illustrated by Susan Guevara (1995)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

by Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault; illustrated by Lois Ehlert (1989)


by Don Freeman (1976)

Curious George

by H.A. Rey (1941)


D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

by Ingri D’Aulaire and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire (1962)

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

by Mo Willems (2003)


Esperanza Rising

by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2000)


Freight Train

by Donald Crews (1978)

Frog and Toad Are Friends

by Arnold Lobel (1970)

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler 

by E.L. Konigsburg (1967)


George and Martha

by James Marshall (1972)

The Giver 

by Lois Lowry (1993)

Go, Dog. Go!

by P.D. Eastman (1961)

Goodnight Moon

by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947)

Grandfather’s Journey

by Allen Say (1993)

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean (2008)

Green Eggs and Ham

by Dr. Seuss (1960)


Harold and the Purple Crayon

by Crockett Johnson (1955)

Harriet the Spy

by Louise Fitzhugh (1964)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

by J.K. Rowling (1998)


by Gary Paulsen (1989)

The Hobbit

by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)


by Louis Sachar (1998)


The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick (2007)


Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

by Simms Taback (1999)


by Chris Van Allsburg (1981)

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book 

by Yuyi Morales (2003)


Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

by Kevin Henkes (1996)

The Lion and the Mouse

by Jerry Pinkney (2009)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

by C.S. Lewis (1950)

The Little House

by Virginia Lee Burton (1942)

The Little Prince

by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943)


by Jacqueline Woodson (2003)

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China

by Ed Young (1989)



by Ludwig Bemelmans (1939)

Make Way for Ducklings 

by Robert McCloskey (1941)


by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake (1988)

Meet Danitra Brown 

by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Floyd Cooper (1994)

Millions of Cats

by Wanda Gág (1928)

Miss Nelson is Missing!

by Harry Allard, illustrated by James Marshall (1977)

Mr. Popper's Penguins

by Richard and Florence Atwater; illustrated by Robert Lawson (1938)

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

by Robert C. O’Brien (1971)

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

by John Steptoe (1987)

My Father’s Dragon

by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (1948)

My Name is Yoon

by Helen Recorvits, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska (2003)



by Ian Falconer (2000)

One Crazy Summer

by Rita Williams-Garcia (2010)


The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales

by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon (1985)

The Phantom Tollbooth

by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer (1961)

Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue

by Maurice Sendak (1962)

Pink and Say

by Patricia Polacco (1994)

Pippi Longstocking

by Astrid Lindgren (1950)


Ramona the Pest

by Beverly Cleary (1968)

Rickshaw Girl

by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan (2007)

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

by Mildred D. Taylor (1976)


by Paul O. Zelinsky (1986)


A Sick Day for Amos MCGee

by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (2010)

The Snowy Day 

by Ezra Jack Keats (1962)

Starry River of the Sky

by Grace Lin (2012)

The Stories Julian Tells

by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Ann Strugnell (1981)

The Story of Ferdinand

by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson (1936)

Strega Nona 

by Tomie dePaola (1975)


by Leo Lionni (1963)

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

by William Steig (1969)


Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing 

by Judy Blume (1972)

The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit

by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (1987)

Tar Beach

by Faith Ringgold (1991)

Ten, Nine, Eight

by Molly Bang (1983)

Tomie dePaola’s Mother Goose

by Tomie dePaola (1985)

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (1989)


by David Wiesner (1991)


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

by Eric Carle (1969)


The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis (1995)

The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin (1978)

When You Reach Me 

by Rebecca Stead (2009)

Where Is the Green Sheep?

by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek (2004)

Where the Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendak (1963)

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon (1975)


by A.A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard (1926)

A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeleine L’Engle (1962)

Happy reading,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Autumn and Authors

This weekend, visit the Bayard Cutting Arboretum for a fall festival and author event.  Meet authors published in many genres, tour the lush landscape, and take in the architecture of the Gilded Age.  Educator, Mickla Ring's mom, Ann Coltman, a published author will be there.

Happy reading,