Showing posts with label Highlights Foundation workshops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Highlights Foundation workshops. Show all posts

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Networking: A Writer's Greatest Gift

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
                                                              Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
Imagine settling into a cozy cabin, sparkling clean with bed made and fridge stocked; prepared
expressly for you so that you may be free of distractions and focus solely on your writing.There is a schedule to keep. Of workshops and informal discussions presented by some of the dearest, most talented and successful children's writers of our time. Delicious meals to enjoy, lovingly prepared by a most welcoming and friendly staff. It's not a dream. It's a Highlights Foundation workshop.
 
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
So much is reaped from this experience it cannot be fully described in one sitting (See the links to my posts below). Your presence at a Highlights Foundation workshop is a gift to give yourself at any stage of your writing journey, from beginning to publication. To this day I continue to benefit from the "Books that Rise Above" workshop I attended in October 2012. Priceless is the information gathered and wisdom shared. But, it is the people I met who have made all the difference.

The very first participant I met was Rob Sanders, http://robsanderswrites.com/HOME.html, a creative writing teacher for K-fifth grade whose first picture book, Cowboy Christmas, had just been released by Golden Books-Random House. Two of his latest picture books, Outer Space Bedtime Race and
Ruby Rose on Her Toes, will be released in 2015 and 2016. Rob asked me if I had ever heard of Joyce Sweeney. Joyce is an award-winning author of fourteen novels for young adults and one chapbook of poetry. She has had numerous poems, short stories, articles and interviews published, and is involved with live theater productions as well. Rob said that Joyce has a unique approach to writing for children that she explores and shares in several online courses. He suggested I get in touch with her and see what she has to offer. I've been working with Joyce ever since and have had the pleasure of attending one of her workshops and having lunch with her on a recent trip to Florida where she lives.

Come get your Confidence here!
I have taken two of Joyce's online courses, Fiction Writing Essentials and Picture Book Essentials. To give you an idea of what can be learned from Joyce's courses, she has agreed to allow me to share one part of her philosophy, a most important part, that offers a writer a way to rise above the details and see the big picture of his or her work. It is a way to recognize a writer's strengths and weaknesses. Once identified and understood, a writer can build on the strengths and study the weaknesses in order to make them stronger. The four parts of concentration are Concept, Voice, Plot and Structure.
  • Concept: The idea of your book. You should be able to articulate the concept of your book. If you're slow, face it, you have a concept problem.
  • Voice: All aspects of the way you use language. You can dazzle your readers if your voice is good. If you think everyone else sounds better than you, then your voice needs work. Work at it, refine it, don't give up too soon.
  • Plot: A series of (mostly external) events that happen to the mc. Most writers are bad at plot. Things need to happen to your mc, things that test him or her. Plot is what stories are all about. Your mc needs to go through something that is valuable and important. Read The Heroe's Journey, described on this website: http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero's_journey.htm. Watch movies and take notes.
  • Structure: Delivery system. Structure is the vehicle that carries the reader through the story. Examples of structure: Point of view, Time sequence, Length of chapters. To be good at structure you need to know how to show.
Put your Stories to the Test
Joyce says that every writer needs to ask the question: What am I good at? What needs work? Her weakness was once Plot. When she realized that she took the time to study plot and she improved. Here's an idea: Take a good, honest look at your rejections. Decide what is missing, what is weak. Then work to improve it.

Bottom line: There is always something to work on, always something to improve.

To Market, to Market?
Marketing could be a problem, too. If rejections mount up, it's likely that you've gone to market too soon. You need to work on your craft more.
 
Do this:
  • Work harder
  • Revise more
  • Study more
  • Make draft upon draft until you come up with something that's DAZZLING--a work no one can resist
  • Remember: It takes years for the best of writers to get published. There is always work to be done.
Personal note: Joyce's courses offer a wealth of knowledge. Take the knowledge she so graciously and enthusiastically shares and run with it. But the most valuable thing I learned from Joyce is to respect myself as a writer, to take pleasure in my humble attempts, to view my mistakes as stepping stones toward my goal and to revel in them for my mistakes are my teachers. I had heard this before but what Joyce gave me that no one else could is reassurance, reassurance that my efforts aren't in vain and that if I stick with it and don't give up I will succeed.

Give yourself a gift this holiday season and check out Joyce's plot webinar that can be purchased and downloaded, the next round of Fiction Writing Essentials that starts in February, and much more by visiting her website:  http://www.sweeneywritingcoach.com/.

Part One: Two Ways to Hook and Keep Your Reader
Part Two: Nouns Need to be Concrete and Appear More than Once
Part Three: Tent Pole Structure
Part Four: Leonard Marcus: Maurice Sendak, Storyteller and Artist
Part Five: Leonard Marcus: Let the Wild Rumpus Start
Part Six: Behind the Scenes with Deborah Heiligman
Part Seven: Deborah Heiligman's Casual Scream
Part Eight: On the Same Page with Betsy Bird
Part Nine: Patti Lee Gauche's Concluding Thoughts: Have your Own Standard of Excellence

Photo courtesy of: http://ewallpaperhub.com/free-winter-desktop-wallpaper/



Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, recently completed Joyce Sweeney's online fiction and picture book courses. She has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is currently developing several works for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On the Same Page with Betsy Bird



Betsy Bird is the New York Public Library's Youth Materials Specialist. Her domain covers Manhattan, Bronx, and Brooklyn. She oversees 84 library branches, a territory that encompasses 1.1 million children. In addition, for the School Library Journal, Betsy writes a well-known and popular blog, officially called, "A Fuse #8 Production," or fusenumber8@gmail.com; and reviews children's literature for The New York Times and Kirkus. I met Betsy and learned about her work at the Highlights Foundation workshop, "Books that Rise Above," last October.

Proof of the Pudding

In addition to Betsy's fiction book, Giant Dance Party, she has written a definitive guide, Children's Literature Gems: Choosing and Using Them in Your Library Career. Due to Betsy's extensive knowledge, she is one of the most important "go-to" authorities for the finest children's books. Gems includes several lists of recommended titles, including a list that contains 100 children's books that should be included in every library's collection. And in a style that is Betsy's alone, this list wouldn't be complete without what she calls her "Snarky Annotations." In her commentary, it was gratifying to read that, like Patti Lee Gauch, Betsy has a healthy appreciation for "schlock," such as the Choose Your Own Adventure novels and comic books, as well as for great children's literature. My sentiments, exactly.

Herein is proof of how much children love the books Betsy recommends. On a recent family visit, I brought along Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead, by Rebecca L. Johnson, to give to their sons, ages 8 and 15. Some titillating details from Betsy's review of Zombie Makers, which can be found by looking up the second review of Zombie Makers on Amazon.com, " . . . zombies are real. Not in the corpse-walker sense, necessarily, but in nature there are plenty of creatures willing to make others into their mindless slaves." In the review, she went on to give examples from the book, which are indeed harrowing, in the best sense of the word.

After school the next day, while the eight-year-old was busy, the 15-year-old took one look at Zombie Makers, sat down on the couch and began devouring it. I was sitting nearby reading my own book, but soon gave up. He got so excited that he kept stopping me to read each page and show me the pictures. Needless to say, I was delighted that he enjoyed the book so much. That night I saw the book peeking out from underneath the couch. Sure enough, the next day after school he made sure his
brother wasn't around, pulled the book out, and continued to pour over it. At the workshop, Betsy described Zombie Makers as gross, just the kind of information kids love. She even called Old Yeller a zombie book because, and this is an exact quote, "rabies is a zombie disease." Alas, Zombie Makers wasn't the first book Betsy discussed. Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story about Brain Science, by John Fleishman, was. About Phineas Gage, Betsy said in her review that appears second-in-line on Amazon.com, "By and large, nonfiction titles are the hardest ones to sell to kids . . . if you hold  . . . an item that contains actual FACTS . . . usually you're up a crik. Not in the case of Phineas Gage. This book is so chock full of blood, splattered brains, busted skulls, and other goopy beginnings . . ." Well, you can see where this is headed.

The Core Curriculum

During her talk, Betsy stressed that the current future of school curriculum is in nonfiction, in order to prepare students for college and the workplace. Of course, fiction will always have its place, Best explained in a December 4, 2012 article from The Uncommon Corps blog: "No one officially connected to the Core Standards is suggesting in print or otherwise that novels are dead, that literature shouldn't be taught. But, literary nonfiction is also literature." Thus, Betsy made the point that we as children's writers need to write more nonfiction. Period.

Fine, but what does that mean for children's authors beyond researching and writing about a topic? And what is the Core Curriculum, anyway? Since I taught second grade from the Virginia State Standards, I understand from the ground-up how the standards are applied in the classroom. While writing this post, I pretended I was a non-teacher children's writer and looked up the websites that Betsy recommended (below), which, as she said, give excellent explanations on how the Common Core State Standards, CCSS, came about, what they are designed to do, and generally what they are. I think understanding this information is important for both fiction and nonfiction children's writers. However, the general explanations didn't help me understand what I, as a non-teacher children's writer, can put into my works to buttress the CCSS's. I would delve into this now, but feel that this subject is worth more study and reflection so that I can offer you first-hand information from my personal resources that hopefully you can use; thus, a matter worthy of a later post(s).

Betsy's annotated suggestions of recommended CCSS websites:
Betsy's 2012 children's nonfiction titles that she really likes: Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close; A Black Hole is Not a Hole, by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano; Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead, by Rebecca L. Johnson; The Great Molasses Flood, by Deborah Kops; How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti; Wisdom: The Midway Albatross, by Darcy Pattison; and It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, by Don Tate.

Betsy's take-away: Betsy's blog readers, "authors, editors, book sellers, agents and moms . . . seem . . .  enthralled by the meticulous scrutiny of plots and story lines that her reviews deliver, usually with a biting wit." A quote from Dirk Smillie's article on Forbes blog, The Double Life of Betsy Bird. My take-away: I have added this very special go-to source to my old stand-by's, for some of the best advice on children's literature out there.

If you would like to read past posts in this series, please visit:

Part One: Two Ways to Hook and Keep Your Reader
Part Two: Nouns Need to be Concrete and Appear More than Once
Part Three: Tent Pole Structure
Part Four: Leonard Marcus: Maurice Sendak, Storyteller and Artist
Part Five: Leonard Marcus: Let the Wild Rumpus Start
Part Six: Behind the Scenes with Deborah Heiligman
Part Seven: Deborah Heiligman's Casual Scream

Biography of Betsy Bird
Biography of Betsy Bird at Goodreads
An interview with Betsy Bird
The Double Life of Betsy Bird, by Dirk Smillie, on Forbes Blog

Grand Finale in September: Concluding Thoughts with Patti Lee Gauch
                                                 A list of some of the presenters' favorite books

  
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-9 year olds. Publishing credits include seven biosketches for the library journal, Biography Today, which include Troy Aikman, Stephen King, and William Shatner; Pockets; Hopscotch; and true stories told to her by police officers about children in distress receiving teddy bears, which she fictionalized for her column, "Teddy Bear Corner," for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Newsletter, Dayton, Ohio.  Follow Linda on Facebook.
         

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Deborah Heiligman's Casual Scream


Deborah Heiligman was scared. She wanted to write about Charles Darwin but she had a lot of questions. She wondered, Who am I to write about Charlies Darwin? How can I find my way? Where can I find the courage? Hasn't enough been written about Darwin, his voyage on the HMS Beagle and his book The Origin of Species?

Have Faith in your Process

These are questions Deb first asks herself before taking on any subject. First and foremost is that she needs to connect with the topic. How? She knows it's right when she becomes completely and utterly obsessed by it. The story needs to be an important one, one that needs to be told. Then she has to make sure she is the right person to write it. The story must have a beginning, middle and end. Perhaps most important is to check and make sure there are enough primary sources and that the information is available. Deb learned this the hard way. She spent many months researching a potential biographic subject before she realized that a story couldn't be put together due to a lack of information.

Tricks of the Trade

Yes, use the "tricks" of fiction, Deb says, character, plot, story arc, etc--BUT nothing is made up. You have to know he leaned against the gas lamp. You can't say it unless you know it. Regarding contemporaneous facts and descriptions--those that exist, occur, or originate during the same time period--that's a judgment call. Such as when you say he walked over the horse poop in London. That's okay because everybody had to do it. Again, bottom line is that you can't make anything up. Biographer Beware: A pitfall to keep in mind is possible bias of the person(s) who created the primary sources.

Deb's take-away: Remember, everything is slanted. The choice you make gives you your angle. Immerse yourself in everything about the time. I read Austen because Charles and Emma both loved Austen. My take-away: I found that what I learned from Deb can be applied to my work, both in fiction and nonfiction. Before beginning a project I immerse myself in studying publisher's guidelines, searching for what agents, editors and publishers are looking for, and making sure I have access to photos before beginning a nonfiction project.

Source: Deborah Heiligman is the award-winning author of the biography, Charles and Emma: Darwins' Leap of Faith. I heard her speak at a Highlights Foundation workshop in Honesdale, PA last October.

If you would like to read past posts in this series, please visit:

Part One: Two Ways to Hook and Keep Your Reader
Part Two: Nouns Need to be Concrete and Appear More than Once
Part Three: Tent Pole Structure
Part Four: Leonard Marcus: Maurice Sendak, Storyteller and Artist
Part Five: Leonard Marcus: Let the Wild Rumpus Start
Part Six: Behind the Scenes with Deborah Heiligman

Biography of Deborah Heiligman

For August, Part Eight:         On the Same Page with Betsy Bird
Grand Finale in September: Concluding Thoughts with Patti Lee Gauch
                                                 A list of the presenters' favorite books


Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-9 year olds. Publishing credits include seven biosketches for the library journal, Biography Today, which include Troy Aikman, Stephen King, and William Shatner; Pockets; Hopscotch; and true stories told to her by police officers about children in distress receiving teddy bears, which she fictionalized for her column, "Teddy Bear Corner," for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Newsletter, Dayton, Ohio. Follow Linda on Facebook.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Behind the Scenes with Deborah Heiligman



Last October I attended the workshop "Books that Rise Above," presented by the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale, PA. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming being under the same roof (in the cozy yet spacious "barn") with the esteemed presenters, Patricia Lee Gauch, Linda Sue Park, Leonard Marcus, Betsy Bird and
Deborah Heiligman. Also in attendance were some of the editors of Highlights for Children magazine; Kent Brown visited often, and the staff and other attendees were inspirational. Tours of the magazine headquarters and Boyds Mill Press were fun and enlightening.

Sign up for a Highlights Foundation Workshop

This series is drawing to a close this month with only a few posts left. Before I delve into this month's topic, "Behind the Scenes with Deborah Heiligman," I'd like to encourage readers to attend any Highlights Foundation workshop possible. It will be well worth it. Prior, ample information was sent by staff members on details of our stay. The warm welcome, delicious food, comfy private cabin and more, were second to none. Included were biosketches of the presenters with some of their book titles. I read as many as I could before attending. That was a big help in understanding the topics they discussed. I have continued to read their work long after the workshop, now for pure enjoyment.

Window into the Life of a Biographer

Deborah Heiligman's award-winning book, Charles and Emma: Darwins' Leap of Faith, is one of my all-time favorite books. First, I couldn't put it down. I loved it so much, perhaps because of the love Deb infused in each word, that I identified my own special relationship in Charles and Emma's story. Though a children's book, oddly I found Charles and Emma in the Adult Biography section of my local library.

Having dabbled in biography myself from biosketches I wrote for the library journal Biography Today, I had an inkling of Deb's monumental task. Her research was based on personal journals and letters and two versions of Darwin's autobiography; in addition to  databases, websites, and reference and secondary books. Also, she gathered information while visiting the Darwins' home in England. Deborah's feat, in my mind, is how seamlessly she wove dialogue together with explanation. It is as if her book was written from modern-day interviews, not from passages written during a bygone era.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Anyone who has approached such a big topic as Charles Darwin might find the sheer bulk of material overwhelming. Indeed, all of the material was so fascinating Deb wanted to include it all. Focusing on one guiding principle or theme helped to narrow the subject down. Once she decided to make her book a love story her job became clear. Thus, the weaving began of piecing Charles and Emma's stories together.

Deborah's take-away:  Every writer has a theme, Deborah quoted Tom Wolfe as saying. His is status. Mine is love. Charles and Emma is a love story. Write a book from your heart, about the particular person you are. Mine: I feel fortunate and privileged to have had the opportunity to hear the behind-the-scenes approach on how Deborah writes her biographies. After what I learned I have nothing but admiration for the great amounts of love, devotion, tenaciousness, effort, attention-to-detail--have I forgotten anything?-- Deb goes through to arrive at her incredible works.

If you would like to read past posts in this series, please visit:

Part One: Two Ways to Hook and Keep Your Reader
Deborah Heiligman's Biography
Deborah Heiligman's Blog

Next month: Part Seven: Deborah Heiligman's Casual Scream
In future posts: A link to the complete list of "Books that Rise Above" will appear at the end of this series.

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-9 year olds. Publishing credits include seven biosketches for the library journal, Biography Today, which include Troy Aikman, Stephen King, and William Shatner; Pockets; Hopscotch; and true stories told to her by police officers about children in distress receiving teddy bears, which she fictionalized for her column, "Teddy Bear Corner," for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Newsletter, Dayton, Ohio. Follow Linda on Facebook. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Leonard Marcus: Let the Wild Rumpus Start


Leonard Marcus's presentation on Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) concludes in Part Five of this series from my notes taken at the Highlights Foundation workshop, "Books that Rise Above," that I attended in Honesdale, PA last October. Today, the focus is on Leonard's explanation of how Sendak wrote Where the Wild Things Are.

Leonard pointed out that Sendak looked at every part of life for ideas and inspiration; he read widely, not limiting himself to children's books. In children's literature, some of Sendak's influences were:

*Lewis Carroll's, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Makes fun of every kind of authority
*Charles Perrault's Puss in Boots: Is far from a sweet rendition of childhood
  • The cat bags a rabbit in the forest and presents it to the king as a gift from his master
  • He orders the country folk along the road to tell the king that the land belongs to the "Marquis of Carabas", saying that if they do not he will cut them into mincemeat. (You get the picture!)
*A. A. Milne's, The Story of Babar: The mother of Babar, a young elephant, is shot and killed by a hunter on the first page
*Beatrix Potter's, The Tale of Peter Rabbit: On page 1 Peter's father is turned into a pie

Sendak's Deductions
  • Children's bad behavior is fun
  • Children like to be scared
  • The intense feelings wrought by these books are beautiful
  • Sendak wanted to knock art off its pedestal and instead, foster what the average child cared about
Some of Sendak's Innovations

Sendak's innovations in Wild Things can be summed up in two words: No rules. His illustrations get bigger and bigger until they push the words off the page, before shrinking back. Max does not appear on the cover. The title page gives the story away: that Max is in charge, not the monsters-- he kicks them away. As Leonard explained, we are tipped off that the scary things are Max's creations, that maybe Max is the scary one. Indeed, Max is dressed in an original costume that makes him look different than an ordinary boy. Thus, his playful animal-like appearance may be safer for children when dealing with their own monsters and demons than a normal boy's appearance would. The monsters themselves are presented in a way we can handle; perhaps helping children make their own monsters and demons less scary.

Wild Things Pierces the Soul

To find his story, Sendak wrote a different version every day for a month. Little by little the story evolved. But, he got stuck in the middle. He had to ask himself: why would a child like Max choose to go back home when being sent to bed without supper? Sendak knew every child is hungry for the love of his mother; that it is a deep-seated need. Max struggles with his desire for freedom, but finds he can't do without the ordered (and warm and loving) structure of HOME, represented as a hot meal. So, as Leonard so eloquently stated, the most brilliant ending (the last line) in all of children's literature is that supper awaited Max when he got home (he woke up), "and it was still hot." Thus in the end, children can confront the Wild Things and feel good about them.

Leonard's take-away: Everything today rests on the effort Sendak made in children's literature. He used his opportunity to speak out for children, to support children's First Amendment rights. My take-away: Learning about the time and care Sendak spent in his creations has helped me revisit time and again my own current creation. Also, how my own expereiences can better serve children, of course, in an entertaining and fun way. In a nutshell, to stamp out any triteness in my own work.

If you would like to read past posts in this series, please visit:


Next month: Behind the Scenes with Deborah Heiligman
In future posts: A link to the complete list of "Books that Rise Above" will appear at the end of this series. Then look out, more to come!
Sources: Google searches to complete references to Sendak's influences from children's literature.



Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-9 year olds. Publishing credits include seven biosketches for the library journal, Biography Today, which include Troy Aikman, Stephen King, and William Shatner; Pockets; Hopscotch; and true stories told to her by police officers about children in distress receiving teddy bears, which she fictionalized for her column, "Teddy Bear Corner," for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Newsletter, Dayton, Ohio. Follow Linda on Facebook. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Leonard Marcus: Maurice Sendak, Storyteller and Artist

Photo: Maurice Sendak at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia.© 1985 by Frank Armstrong

Part four in this series is based on my notes taken at the Highlights Foundation workshop, "Books that Rise Above," that I attended last October in Honesdale, PA. Today I am privileged to touch on parts of Leonard Marcus's talk about Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) and how he changed children's literature forever.

What We May Know about Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak was self-taught; he did not attend college. He is known as the most original picture book artist of our time. The reasons are many and varied. A few from my notes are that he had important mentors. He knew more about the history of children's books than anyone, which Leonard pointed out is crucial. His childhood was filled with emotion, which is what he was good at. He and his brother made their own fun; they started with nothing and found a lot.

What We May Not Know

In the chapter on Leonard's interviews with Sendak in Leonard's book, Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter, Sendak said he and his older brother held newspaper comics up to the glass window, traced the characters then colored them. They built a miniature of the 1939 World's Fair out of wax. He was an unhappy child, said he made everybody else unhappy, too, except his brother. He adored his brother and felt he saved his life. The illustrator of more than fifty books, author of seven by 1964 when he won the Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak transformed himself with each book. He did not want to be known for one type of book.

How Maurice Sendak Revolutionalized Children's Literature

Leonard discussed earlier children's books and those written by Sendak's contemporaries to help shed light on the landscape in which he worked. Prior children's stories portrayed a romantic image of childhood, i.e., happy young Dick and Jane-types running through fields of flowers; and such contemporary books as Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder. Sendak understood that children take  books to bed with them and read stories to their cats; also, that children's feelings run deep. He believed children can't be protected from how they feel. And, children's books can help them be honest about even their worst feelings. His direction, instead, was toward works like Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown published in 1946, which was presented in an experimental format, and tuning in to how children learn and what children enjoy, which Ruth Krauss, author of The Carrot Seed, did by visiting preschools and listening to what children say.

Leonard's take-away: Sendak wanted to express himself as much as he could. He used his fame as an opportunity to be a spokesman for children, to broadcast the idea that adults aren't the only ones who have First Amendment rights. Children do, too. How I benefited from Leonard's talk: I am touched by Maurice Sendak. Not only by becoming more familiar with his works, what they mean to the world and how they were created. But also, perhaps I benefited most by learning about Sendak's life, which is illuminated so vividly in Leonard's book, Show Me a Story!. I was amazed to find quite a few parallels to my own life, as I imagine might be true of most of us, which has helped me better analyze my own childhood.

If you would like to read past posts in this series, please visit:

Part One: Two Ways to Hook and Keep Your Reader
Part Two: Nouns Need to be Concrete and Appear More than Once
Part Three: Tent Pole Structure
 
Next month: Leonard Marcus: Let the Wild Rumpus Start
In future posts: A link to the complete list of "Books that Rise Above" will appear at the end of this series.
 
Sources: Photo: Many thanks to Patrick Rodgers, Curator of the Maurice Sendak Collection at the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia for putting me in touch with photographer Frank Armstrong, who took the above photo at the museum and graciously allowed me to include it in my post. Books: Marcus, Leonard, Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter. Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2012; Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. New York: Harper Collins, 1963; Krauss, Ruth, The Carrot Seed. New York: Harper Collins, 1945; and McCloskey, Robert, Time of Wonder, Viking Press, 1957. 
                                       
                                       
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-9 year olds. Publishing credits include seven biosketches for the library journal, Biography Today, which include Troy Aikman, Stephen King, and William Shatner; Pockets; Hopscotch; and true stories told to her by police officers about children in distress receiving teddy bears, which she fictionalized for her column, "Teddy Bear Corner," for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Newsletter, Dayton, Ohio. Follow Linda on Facebook. 


 

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