Behind the Scenes: “Finding the Focus in Big Picture History” by Jennifer Thermes

My sister was the one who loved horses in my family. A pair of disgruntled ponies instilled a wariness in me, but as an adult, I appreciate the beauty and power of horses. Jennifer Thermes’ new picture book HORSE POWER: HOW HORSES CHANGED THE WORLD caught my eye after I had spent time thoroughly enjoying … More Behind the Scenes: “Finding the Focus in Big Picture History” by Jennifer Thermes

Mining for Heart: “Embracing and Learning from Your Cultural Heritage” by Songju Ma Daemicke

Today, we get to celebrate a book birthday with this post! Congratulations to author Songju Ma Daemicke and illustrator Lin on the release of TU YOUYOU’S DISCOVERY. Thank you for sharing the cultural heart of the story, Songju, and also, thank you for offering a GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment below for a chance to win … More Mining for Heart: “Embracing and Learning from Your Cultural Heritage” by Songju Ma Daemicke

Behind the Scenes: “Subverting Expectations with a Nonfiction Narrator” by Henry Herz

Bringing nonfiction topics to kids can entail challenges but also can invite creative approaches. Henry Herz took on an unlikely topic—smoke—and made it a character. Read on to learn how he used a narrator as a fictional element to share science, culture, and more. After reading I AM SMOKE, you’ll probably never think of smoke … More Behind the Scenes: “Subverting Expectations with a Nonfiction Narrator” by Henry Herz

Mining for Heart: “A Difference of Color” by Larry Dane Brimner

Sometimes, a story idea won’t let go, but, like Larry Dane Brimner, until I connect on an emotional or experiential level that hits me in the heart, it won’t become a story. Here, Larry shares how he found his way into his latest book: Without Separation: Prejudice, Segregation, and the Case of Roberto Alvarez, releasing Sept. … More Mining for Heart: “A Difference of Color” by Larry Dane Brimner

Mining for Heart: “Logline as Lifeline for Whole Whale” by Karen Yin

I know too well that loglines can be pure torture. All the essential pieces of story have to be there. I absolutely love Karen Yin’s post about her process using the logline to guide her writing—pure gold! Read on to see how her debut picture book, WHOLE WHALE, came to be. AND don’t miss the … More Mining for Heart: “Logline as Lifeline for Whole Whale” by Karen Yin

Behind the Scenes: “Working with Experts to Verify Information in Back Matter” by Debra Shumaker

One of the challenges with nonfiction, whether a full manuscript or elements within an otherwise fictional story, is vetting. Sounds easy, right? Well, sometimes that little fact check turns into its very own rabbit hole and swallows up a huge chunk of time. I’ve been there! Here, Debra Shumaker shares her experience with one little … More Behind the Scenes: “Working with Experts to Verify Information in Back Matter” by Debra Shumaker

Behind the Scenes: “Crafting Memory into Story” by Sandy Brehl

Sandy Brehl is one of those kid lit people who shares picture book love through thoughtful interviews and posts. I’m just one of many kid lit creators who is grateful for her support and honored to call her a friend. Here, Sandy shares how a memory kept calling her through time, finally resulting in her … More Behind the Scenes: “Crafting Memory into Story” by Sandy Brehl

Mining for Heart: “Heart in Picture Books: A Treasure Map to Emotional Resonance” by Kim Tomsic

I’ve come to believe that the most important element in a picture book, or any story for that matter, is what I call “heart.” Digging it out can be agonizing. But if you’re lucky, it might float to the surface in a haunting question or pop out with a shiver of goosebumps. And then, of … More Mining for Heart: “Heart in Picture Books: A Treasure Map to Emotional Resonance” by Kim Tomsic

Behind the Scenes: “Collaborating with an Illustrator” by Andrea Wang

Andrea Wang’s new picture book, WATERCRESS, has been all over the news recently. It’s an outstanding book in every way, a collaboration of skilled, sensitive, extraordinary book creators. I wish I’d had this book when I had a classroom full of English language learners from around the world with their myriad of experiences. Here Andrea … More Behind the Scenes: “Collaborating with an Illustrator” by Andrea Wang

Behind the Scenes: “Best Practices for Reaching Out (or Not!) to Biography Subjects” by Emma Bland Smith

Inquiring minds want to know the answers to all these frequently asked questions! Thank you, Emma Bland Smith, for addressing these issues! Nonfiction writers, biography writers, parents, educators, librarians, and readers—dig in. I’ll bet you all find something of interest here.  Emma is offering a GIVEAWAY, too! Just leave a comment below for a chance … More Behind the Scenes: “Best Practices for Reaching Out (or Not!) to Biography Subjects” by Emma Bland Smith