Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Dragon

Margaret Hillert has been writing fiction for young children longer than some of us remember reading it. As a first grade teacher, she realized her students needed good stories written at a reading level they could comprehend.

The Dear Dragon books, her best known series, is beloved around the world. It's still in print (revised editions by Norwood house) and she's adding four new titles this fall and four more in the spring.

Ms. Hillert's beginning-t0-read books use the sight words that appear most frequently in written text. Pictures add details to the delightful stories of a boy and his pet dragon.

Additional features of the updated editions and the new releases include:
  • notes to caregivers
  • word lists
  • activities to promote reading success
  • AR levels 0.5-1.0

New titles for 2009:

It's Fall, Dear Dragon
It's Winter, Dear Dragon
It's Spring, Dear Dragon
It's Summer, Dear Dragon

It's a Good Game, Dear Dragon
Play, Play, Play, Dear Dragon
I Did It, Dear Dragon
Touchdown! Dear Dragon

I hope when I'm 89, I'll still be writing books!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Who is Hattie?

William Hardy founded Hattiesburg and named the city after his wife.

My husband and I moved our youngest daughter moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi this weekend. She is officially independent, out of college, with her own appartment and a job. My nest is officially empty.

What does Hattiesburg have?

  • Lots of swan statues. I haven't figured out why yet.
  • The University of Southern Mississippi, where the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection is housed. Unfortuantely, there wasn't time to check it out this trip.
  • Some pretty cool antique stores. One right across from a redneck biker bar. The antique owner advised against trying it.
  • A restaurant that serves deep fried southern pecan pie for desert. Sounds dangerous, but we didn't try it.
  • My baby girl.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Children's Authors

Children's writers are an incredible genre of people. I spent the weekend with about 30 of varying sizes, shapes, and personalities. All of us working on novels. All of us so unique, yet carrying the common burden of story for our readers.

One of the benefits of a small conference like this one is the intimacy we achieve in such a short span of time. People who were total strangers only hours before become peer mentors, critique partners, friends.

The other benefit of such a small setting is the chance to connect with the faculty. Author Marion Dane Bauer (Newberry Honor Book, On My Honor), editor Erin Clarke (Alfred Knopf) and agent Stephen Frasier (Jennifer Di Chiara Literary Agency) mingled, encouraged, shared their wisdom and conducted master class critiques of ten novel manuscripts. It was worth the trip to the west coast.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Queens and Princesses

My four-year-old granddaughter is determined to be a princess. She loves frilly pink dresses, high-heels, and diamond tiaras. She knows every princess in every fairy tale and sometimes has trouble deciding which one she wants to be for the day. She's not alone in her fascination.

Princess books abound in the fiction market these days, from Fancy Nancy picture books to YA Princess Diaries. Girls of all ages are reading about the glamour of royalty.

Capstone Press has found a way to channel the princess interest into the realm of nonfiction with their series "Queens and Princesses." These well-written 32-page biographies of real life royalty are sure to satisfy readers who want to know what it's like to be a queen. Each book includes full-page, high quality photos and personal quotes that reveal the lives of these remarkable women.

The original set included:
Diana, Princess of Wales
Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France
ess Grace of Monaco
Princess Kiko of Japan
Queen Rania of Jordan

New additions to the set include:
Queen Elizabeth of England
Queen Christina of Sweeden
Helen of Troy
Nefertiti of Egypt

Interest level: Grades 3-9
AR levels range from 4.9 - 5.1

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

President Carter

My young friend, Cody, requested an autographed copy of Jimmy Carter, one of the biographies I wrote for State Standards Publishing. I was delighted to sign it. A few weeks later, he took it with him to Plains where he saw the President and Rosalyn. They agreed to pose with Jody, his family, and my book.

Unfortunately, President Carter is not free to autograph the book himself due to his contracts, but I'm thrilled to have the photo.

Thanks, Cody and mom!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Catching Up

I've been writing like crazy trying to get the first draft of a book done. My daughter from Oregon came in to spend the week, so I've taken a break from the intensity of the schedule. It's been so lovely to have time with her. Long talks over coffee. Putting our heads together about business. Old movies. Fun.

School started this week, too, so I'm back to thinking about book room lists and media center lists and classroom libraries, and all my sweet friends who work so hard in their schools.

I have plans to begin posting with them in mind on Mondays. Starting soon!

Back to my girl, for now!