Translating books from one language to another is an art and the translators of these six books are exceptionally talented artists. Of course, the original authors are incredible writers and storytellers too, so these novels deliver a one-two punch to invigorate your book club. [More]
There is a lot of debate as to whether creative writing can be taught or not. Clearly a lot of people think it can be given the growth in creative writing courses. As with most interesting arguments, the truth is probably to be found somewhere in the middle, in that gray area between a polarizing 'yes' or 'no'. Certain elements like voice probably can't be 'taught' as such but they can be refined, given enough time, and the same goes for other aspects of storytelling. In which case, it would seem to make sense to give aspiring writers the fundamental tools they need so that they can learn to use them effectively to improve their writing craft.
In literary terms, the distinction between a romance and a love story is arguably subjective and open for interpretation--perhaps rooted in literary snobbery--but as someone who appreciates both genres, this is how I discern the two. [More]
From ancient Rome to 20th century Middle East to contemporary USA, these debut novels will inspire lively conversation about family from vastly different angles. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, The Confusion of Languages and George and Lizzie take a close look at marriage and parenthood; Salt Houses takes us into a Palestinian family caught between present and past, displacement and home; Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine focuses on how to open your heart to create family; and Feast of Sorrow shows how disregarding family can ultimately destroy you. While all six books are quite different from one another, they are all reminders that the foundations of life are relationships--and family, whether the one you're born into or the one ... [More]
Empathy seems to have taken a bit of a hit recently. There's rarely a week when blatant hate or some form of intolerance isn't at the forefront of the news; and there can be few of us who haven't felt the need to disconnect from the media at times unable to take anymore. It would seem we could do with more empathy in our lives. With this in mind, here are six books for adults that have helped me see empathy and its importance. Books can't solve everything but perhaps reading can be one kind of spark to creating more kindness in our world.
When I began working on The Dress and the Girl over eight years ago, it was sparked by a personal family story about the immigration of my husband’s great-grandfather from a small Greek Village to the United States. Harry Androutsos was seventeen years old when he left his family, home, and everything he knew to […]
For fans of Dr. Who and Guardians of the Galaxy, Invictus is an invigorating and exciting book. For non-sci-fi loving people, Invictus is EVEN BETTER! It is a sci-fi/time travel story designed for people who don’t like sci-fi. I was incredibly lucky to sit next to Ryan Graudin at the 2017 Texas Library Conference Texas […]
Hello, everyone! What a spud-tastic honor it is to have the book trailer for my upcoming picture book, Potato Pants!, revealed here at the Nerdy Book Club! It was shown in July at Nerd Camp but this is the first time it will be shared online. In Potato’s words: “EEEEEE!” (translation: WOOHOO!). The writing […]
Each school year has its own personality, its own way of being remembered. Last year was like trying to maneuver a raft through whitewater while blindfolded without paddles. After two decades in the classroom, I thought I knew what to expect and what to do. But when one of my students died unexpectedly, standards and […]
Ten Early Readers and Transitional Chapter Books Not to Be Overlooked by Alyson Beecher and Michele Knott
As the start of the school year quickly approaches, I have been finding ways to book talk as many books as I can to teachers. Recently, I shared picture books, early readers and chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, and nonfiction for children with a group of K-12 teachers. Yes, a little of […]
My graphic novel adaptation of The Odyssey was first published in 2010. Since then it’s gone on to be (without question) my best-selling book, used in classrooms throughout the country and lauded for its respectful treatment of the text and for bringing the story to life for many thousands of readers. Teachers have a […]
In their new picture book, Everything You Need for a Treehouse (2018, Chronicle Books), Carter Higgins’ carefully plucked and placed words are gorgeously interpreted by Emily Hughes’ illustrations. Just as each treehouse is extraordinary and unique, this storytelling team captures the diverse experience that each reader brings to the story. Time | Perspective | […]
I didn’t grow up poor, but my mother did. She grew up in an unheated home, eating the occasional squirrel shot by my grandfather, and when there was nothing else, a bowl of crackers floating in milk. Her poverty was not the only thing that caused her humiliation. Her mother, while suffering from schizophrenia, was […]
This story was inspired by my own experiences as a young child emigrating to the U.S. by passenger ship. In reality I was even younger than Ella, not yet four. So my strongest memories of this journey were not of the events themselves. I remember bits and pieces as well as the stories I heard […]
I had just finished sharing the latest research about classroom libraries with my teachers at a staff meeting. The research didn’t surprise anyone. Students who are able to utilize a well-stocked, diverse classroom library spend 60% more time reading compared to those that don’t. These same students are also more likely to talk about the […]