Saturday, December 30, 2017

A New Year

Monday will be the first day of 2018!
As the song says,  “This is a day of new beginings. Time to remember and move on.”
And, as the older song reminds us, we probably end 2017 by thinking of Auld Lang Syne, which means ‘old long since.’ In other words, we remember the past as we think about the future.
Even those of us who don’t actually make New Years resolutions  usually think about our hopes for things we would like to accomplish and see happen in the new year.
No matter if 2017 has been a good or bad year for you, I hope 2018 is much better. I won’t use the term “New Year Resolution,” but is there anything you hope to accomplishes in the year to come?

And may 2018 be a year of peace on Earth and good will to everyone.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Losers Club

Andrew Clements is a great writer and I’ve enjoyed his other books, but The Losers Club is the best one yet.

It’s about Alec, who loves to read but isn’t doing well in school because he reads instead of studying what he’s supposed to. He has to go to the after school program and DOESN’T want to participate in any of the club activities there, so he starts his own club. He plans to just sit and read without interruption and doesn’t want to be bothered by other kids, so he calls it the Losers Club.

But the club keeps growing, and soon Alec is popular. 

I love that the book mentions lots of good books for kids including many of my own favorites. (Yes, I read books for kids all the time.)

Andrew Clements has taught Middle School and obviously understands kids, but I wonder if Alec, the main character in the book, is based on himself when he was young.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Xmas

I remember my third grade teacher becoming furious when a boy in our class wrote “Merry Xmas.” 

“NEVER replace the name of Christ with an X” she shouted. Of course today no teacher would dare say something like that in a public school, but this was back in the 1940s.

And she didn’t realize that the letter, x, represented the cross. 

During the middle ages most people were illiterate, and those who couldn’t read and write would sign documents with an X to show they were Christians.

Whatever your beliefs, I hope this Christmas is a merry and wonderful one for you.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Remember the Christmas Carol, In the Bleak Midwinter?
Actually, Christmas is only at the beginning of Winter. That season officially starts on December 21. That’s when the Winter Solstice happens. It’s the shortest day of the year - at least in the Northern Hemisphere.

I’m glad we have lots of beautiful lights and decorations to help make this season bright in spite of the long nights.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Slime & All

Okay, this is the last time I’ll blog about my own books for a while.
Slime & All looks like a picture book and I really like the art by Alexander Morris. But it’s actually an early chapter book at second grade reading level. Each chapter is one page long in large print. 
Younger kids will enjoy hearing it read to them, too.
The book is about a giant talking worm who wants a friend. Everyone is afraid of him, but he finally meets a boy who does befriend him and introduces him to other kids. As a result they both end up with plenty of friends.

I hope this book will encourage kids to befriend others who are different from themselves, such as those with Special Needs. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Signing

Last Sunday my church had a big event and our Circuit Writers critique group participated. Those of us whose books had been published had the opportunity to sell copies.
Book signings are always fun for me, and it was nice to have people buy some of my books.

Here’s a photo of me at the table.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Books as Gifts

Back when I was a kid I always got a book for Christmas and still have most of them today. I’ve shared them with my kids, grandkids and students over the years, and still sometimes re-read them myself. 
I always enjoy getting books as presents and often give them to other people.
There’s something about unwrapping a hard copy someone cared enough to choose for me that makes a book a special gift. 
And, even in this world of e-books and other tech things, I sometimes give books to other people for Christmas. 
Of course I’d love to have people give books I’ve written to others, but I hope lots of people will give whatever books they think their loved ones will like to them.
In another decade most of today’s technology will be obsolete and the likelihood of kids sharing  today’s e-books with their own kids and grandkids is practically nil. But hard copies are much more likely to last.

And every time someone notices a book you gave them on a shelf, they’ll be reminded that you cared enough to give it.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Signs of Trouble

Years ago I worked in a Special Ed class in the Bay Area and sometimes we took the kids to a nearby indoor shopping mall to practice recognizing the words on signs. That’s what inspired me to write Signs of Trouble. The book is about kids with learning disabilities who get separated from their class on a field trip and use what they’ve learned about safety rules and recognizing signs to get reunited with them. 
Of course nobody ever got separated from the real class, but plots need trouble to be interesting.
This book is a good one to share with young kids because it helps them learn how to be safe, recognize important signs, and understand others with learning disabilities. There are lots of educational activities at the end that can be shared in classrooms or by parents who read this book to their children.

Jack Foster’s cute illustrations are fun and he even used his own niece who has a learning disability as the model for one character.

Kids will enjoy this story, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

All Time Hero

All time HEro (I don’t know why the E is capitalized) is about a class of kids who learn about what it means to be a hero and get to do presentations about their own favorite heroes.
The classroom setting and characters will seem familiar to most kids. As a teacher myself, I appreciate the realistic way Mrs. Jett talks and interacts with her class, and all the kids seem like some I’ve met. 
Kids up to eleven years old will enjoy this book and learn about some famous people. Maybe some of them will even be inspired to become heroes or heroines themselves. Spoiler alert; the book includes some religious content.
Jack Foster’s illustrations are cheerful and fun. 

Susan Bangert-Wood has done an excellent job writing this book, which is both educational and fun to read.