Life's Homework and Collecting Stories

Recently I watched a Ted talk by Matthew Dicks.  He’s a masterful storyteller and his Homework for Life changed my perspective on writing and storytelling. His advice for finding stories is powerful and simple.  He challenges us to take five minutes at the end of each night to really think about the day and write down the most story worthy moment:  “When you start to look for stories in your life, you suddenly have stories well up”.  He suggests that we ask ourselves:
  1. What’s the 5 minute story from today?  
  2. What makes today different from yesterday?
Taking the time to really contemplate my day and find something story worthy has made me pay more attention to each moment.  My Life’s Homework document contains thoughts like:
  • Sheri can’t get the ring on Jim’s finger at wedding
  • Sammy at 5:30am asking for story cubes
  • ​Fox with chicken in mouth and dropping her when startled
  • Plane delayed 2 hours and got home at midnight.
To read more of this post, go to Children's Book Academy, here

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Library Card

Children's Librarian, Kimberly Bears Shares her Wisdom

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Last month I wrote about 5 ways to make the most of your library card.  This month, I decided to interview my favorite children's librarian, Kimberly Bears.  I first met Kim in the children’s section at my local library 5 years ago.  I’ve never known a more cheerful, helpful and engaging children’s librarian.  I still go to night readers, a tween and parent book club that she leads.  I’m delighted to have her perspective here on Children’s Book Academy.  

Kirsti Call: Why did you choose to go into library science and focus on kidlit?

Kimberly Bears: I have always loved going to and working in the library.  I think in the back of my mind I always wanted to be a librarian, but was side tracked by meteorology first.  Anyway, I was taking a Ch. Literature course in college and one of the projects I chose to do was do a story time.  I remember it vividly…it was on my birthday, and I chose to do a Halloween story time (you were allowed to do that back then ;)  I dressed up like Dorrie the Witch and shared the book Dorrie and the Witch’s Imp.  It went so well!!  I left the room knowing exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life…be a Children’s Librarian…and I am still doing it.

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KC: What was your favorite book as a child?

KB: My favorite book as a child was The Three Billy Goat’s Gruff by Paul Galdone.  My first grade teacher read it to us and I immediately went home and told my family all about it.  My Dad said he would take me to the library that weekend to see if we could borrow it.  I can still remember him showing me how to look it up in the card catalog and how to ask the librarian where to find it.  I was hooked from then on!  (Luckily the book was in…or who knows where I’d be now…lol.)  Can you even believe that I was in first grade before I actually went to the library for the first time?

KC: Who is your favorite children’s author and why?

KB: 
Oh man…this is a tough one…so many levels of books, so many genres…I honestly can’t pick just one!  How about if I give you my favorite one for today…I just read Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle and I loved it! 
To read the rest of this interview, go to Children's Book Academy here.

Talented Author, Miranda Paul and Trainbots

Miranda Paul.jpgI first met Miranda Paul through the 12×12 challenge.  I was immediately impressed by her passion and willingness to give back to the kidlit community. She’s a fellow blogateer for Children’s Book Academy and an incredible wordsmith. Exactly 4 weeks from today her newest book, Trainbots, will be released! I’m thrilled to interview her on Writers’ Rumpus!
Kirsti Call: When did you start writing children’s books, and why?
Miranda Paul: Technically, second grade. But I’m sure that’s not what you meant. I took my first class on writing for children in 2003 with Lucille Clifton. During that class I realized how hard writing a children’s book was. It wasn’t until 2010 that I finished my first official draft of a children’s story. I think I’ve always wanted to write for children because it’s such a transformative time, and books are such an influential part of that. I also think it’s where my talents are best suited.
KC: What was your favorite picture book as a child?  
MP: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
KC: I just read Whose Hands Are These? to a group of 2nd graders and they loved the guessing game. What sparked the idea for this story? whose_hands_final_cover_lo-res
MP: I started working at a very young age, and have had many jobs throughout my lifetime so far. I’m also fascinated by what hands can do to help others, especially when my husband fixes (or builds) things around the house. Combined with my love for some other interactive “game” picture books, Whose Hands Are These? was born.
KC: Many of your books are non-fiction.  What type of research is usually involved?
To read more of this interview, go here, to Writer's Rumpus.