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red star

Starred review!!

Sometimes I write, sometimes I dance (mostly in my office when I finish a revision.)  This week, I am dancing because A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin received a starred review in Booklist. The review itself does an excellent job of summarizing Pippin’s difficult but inspiring life, as well as giving

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Pennsylvania Contest

The State of Things …

I grew up in New Jersey, but for most of my adult life, Pennsylvania has been my home. This week I’m delighted to attend the Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference in Gettysburg (which also happens to be the location of my alma mater, Gettysburg College.  Most people who live outside the state know Pennsylvania for its

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Majik and Sam

Going to the Dogs

Whenever I do a school visit, I painstakingly put together a whole new series of visuals to share with each class or age group. But no matter how old the students are, no matter where the school is located, no matter how long the kids have been listening to me talk about my writing process,

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Chris Crowe

Who was Larry Doby?

Chris Crowe is professor of English at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and the author of Presenting Mildred D. Taylor (Twayne 1999) an historical novel for teens, Mississippi Trial, 1955 (Dial 2002), and Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case (Dial 2003). His most recent book is Just as Good: How

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Newseum 9/11

What can you say?

Sometimes, silence is the only thing you can wrap around an experience. September 11th is one experience which (paradoxically) cries out for silence. Words, despite their flexibility, eloquence, and resilience, can neither fully express nor contain it.  Images come closer to evoking and capturing the emotions of that day, and so, on the anniversary of

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Bryant car

So much depends upon …

… Labor! A brief tip of the hat to yesterday’s observance of Labor Day. Did you know that it was established as a federal holiday in 1894?? And that it was inspired by workers’ rights disputes in Canada? And that, after July 4th and Memorial Day, it is the third most popular grilling holiday in

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Poetry Friday Anthology 2012

Getting to Friday

I know, I know . . .  summer went by WAAAY too fast. And now, here we are—in that ambivalent back-to-school mode, one foot in August and summertime, the other in September with its autumn leaves, sweaters, and marching bands. What’s a student—or a parent, or a teacher—to do?   May I suggest?: Do your best from

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J. Patrick Lewis

Meet J. Patrick Lewis, U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate

You never know whom you’ll meet when you are invited to a book fair in the Midwest. Last July, at the Norfolk, Nebraska Book Festival,  I had the great fortune to spend three days in the company of Pat Lewis—poet extraordinaire, former economics professor, brother, twin, father, grandfather, current Ohioan, philosopher, linguist, and generally nice

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School Visit

Backpacks & flash drives & books, oh MY!

The school busses are making trial runs up our hill, the back-to school ads are becoming  ubiquitous, and the kiddos are fitting in their last weeks of camp, summer jobs, swimming, or just hanging out on the corner with friends. It’s that bittersweet time of summer’s end and fall beginnings . . . and it’s

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Reading Georgia's Bones, Cadets at West Point

You, the reader

You, the reader, complete the writing process. What begins as a vague notion in the writer’s mind, pushes outward into notes, outlines, character sketches—progressing to paragraphs, dialogue, rough chapters, and finally a full manuscript . . . which then passes through weeks and months of scrutiny from editors, designers, proofreaders . . . until (at

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