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Pippin’s Gravesite in Full View

Just when you think no one cares . . . you find out that they really DO! WCU librarian Christina McCawley attended the program I was a part of in February at the Chester County Historical Society. After I shared my slides and talked about doing research on Pippin’s life and work, we had a

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What Inspires You?

I love the fact that the etymology of “inspire” is rooted in the body, that it’s a physical manifestation of the metaphysical. (After all, that’s what writers—and other artists—do, isn’t it? Make the invisible visible?) In that sense, the word translates as “giving breath to” or “inflaming.” Whenever I give a workshop or talk to

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Dog Days of Summer

Many writers have tempered the necessary solitude of their creative process by enjoying the company of canines. Emily Dickinson had Carlo, her faithful Newfoundland, Charles Dickens had spaniels, a Pomeranian, and St. Bernards, and I’m willing to bet that when President Obama drafts his important speeches, Bo the First Dog, a Portugese Water Dog, is

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Of Great Apes and Sticky Notes

Did you know? John T. Scopes, the 1st-yr teacher/football coach @ Rhea County H.S. said NOTHING until the end of the 2-week trial that bears his name. In fact, after court had recessed for lunch on one particularly hot afternoon (it was a humid 90 degrees, the overcrowded, cigarette-smoke-filled  courtroom was on the second floor,

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Chicago, Chicago

For the curious traveler, the sports fan, the arts enthusiast, the Windy City has it all: museums, stadiums, architecture, and great food. Melissa Sweet is there starting tomorrow, and you can find her here and follow all of the events from the annual ALA conference here. Do you have a favorite book set in Chicago?

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Celebrating 75 years of Caldecott

Actors hope for an Oscar, Broadway performers a Tony, musicians a Grammy. But those of us who create children’s books dream of being tapped for a Newbery or Caldecott —either as a medalist (TWO books of the 50,000 + children’s titles published each year are chosen, one in each category) or as an honor book

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Overlapping Circles

I recently met with over a hundred 2nd  and 3rd graders from DC elem schools at the wonderful Politics & Prose book store in Washington, DC. We talked about Horace Pippin’s life and work and how he used his creativity to strengthen his arm and clear his mind after the horrible battles he fought in

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Summertime, and the Reading is Easy

Memorial Day is behind us, the summer season is here, and that set me to thinking about the origins of my verse novel Kaleidoscope Eyes.  While I would like to think all my books would be great for summertime reading, “Kal Eyes” is the one that could definitely be labeled a summertime story. Long before

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Imagine

Imagine you’re a veteran of the terrible trench warfare of WWI, a steel plate serving as your shoulder joint after you were shot by a German sniper. Back home in Pennsylvania, suffering from PTSD, you somehow manage to return to your childhood love of drawing and painting. You and your wife live on your meager

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Two Way Street

School is out in many places, and I’m catching my breath after another wonderful year of author visits. Spring is an especially busy time for authors, and I have to work hard to find the balance between writing and talking about writing. Still, I do love meeting so many avid young writers and readers, as

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