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Happy 150th birthday, Alice in Wonderland!

Alice in Wonderland turned 150 years old this year! Here are seven of the many reasons I believe Alice is worth celebrating with a tea party, an unbirthday party, or at least some of the Queen of Hearts’ jam tarts. Why I enjoy Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass 1. Because it was […]

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Flying Ponies and Dump Trucks

Do little kids love fantasy? NPR recently reported on a study done by three academic psychologists on the subject of children and fiction. They asked a group of 4-to-7-year-olds what choose between two stories they might like to read or listen to: one story about a child who found a treasure, and another about a […]

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Interview with Jonathan Bean, author and illustrator

I’m delighted to introduce our readers to Jonathan Bean, author and illustrator of a recently published picture book about homeschooling based on his childhood experience: This Is My Home, This Is My School (FSG, 2015). He has won numerous awards for both writing and illustrating, and was kind enough to share his experience as an […]

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Reading Outside Your Preferred Genre

As a teacher, I’ve had various conversations with parents about how to get their children engaged in reading.  The flip side of that conversation comes when a student is interested in reading, but won’t venture outside a specific genre. Now, at first, this might not seem like a concern. If the student is reading, isn’t […]

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Scary Stuff

In honor of the holiday this week that celebrates spooks and skeletons, here’s a post from a few years ago. Everybody has their favorite C. S. Lewis quotes.  Here’s one of mine: “Almost the whole of Christian theology could perhaps be deduced from the two facts (a) That men make coarse jokes, and (b) That […]

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Phoebe the Spy by Judith Griffin, illustrated by Margot Tomes

Phoebe the Spy by Judith Griffin, illustrated by Margot Tomes. Puffin Books, 2002. 48 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 8-10 Recommended For: Ages 8-10, Ages 10-12 Phoebe’s father owns an inn in Boston around the time of the American revolution, and one day he comes to her with a serious matter. He has heard […]

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I Don’t Know How the Story Ends: an Interview with Janie Cheaney

Janie’s newest novel for young folks, I Don’t Know How the Story Ends, hit store shelves this month, and she’s been busy signing copies and enjoying early reviews. Book babies are a bit like eggs in a nest: patiently, the author sits on the drafts of the book, keeping them warm until they hatch. Publication day […]

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A Reflection on Rick Riordan

Five years ago I picked up a middle grade fantasy book called The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan and was hooked by the end of the first page. For those unfamiliar with Riordan’s work, his first series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” follows a middle school student, Percy, who discovers he’s a Greek demigod, and […]

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“The book is a lot better than the movie” – Usually

I’ve been thinking a lot about movies lately–perhaps because my latest novel, published this month, is set in the early days of the silent film industry.  Next week we’ll publish my interview with Betsy about that novel in particular.  But on the general theme of movies, and looking forward to the big holiday film season […]

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5 Questions on Writing with our very own J. B. Cheaney

Janie’s sixth middle grades novel, I Don’t Know How the Story Ends, is due to hit store shelves this Wednesday (October 6th)! We will be featuring an interview with Janie about the new book in particular in two weeks (so you all have time to read it before then!), but today we are taking the opportunity to […]

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Four Ways to Enjoy Fall Reading

While summer is a nice time to read —fall is here.  A season of chilly nights and hot cups of tea, fall brings the perfect weather for curling up with a good book.  On the other hand, time can be limited, so here are four ways to enjoy and maximize your fall reading.  1. Read […]

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