Friday, May 31, 2019

My Favorite Post to Celebrate Our 10th Blogiversary


This is the closing post to celebrate the ten wonderful years of this blog!   

Happy 10thBlogiversary to the amazing writers –both past and present-who have been part of  They welcomed me into the fold four years ago and I’ve enjoyed getting to know each one of them.  Soon I’ll be giving up my post as a TA, so I’d like to thank my fellow TAs and our readers for making this blog space so special for me.  

I’m closing out the series on our favorite posts.  During the time I’ve been a TA I was working on my latest book, Buried Lives: The Enslaved People of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.  I blogged about the process as I worked on it.  So my favorite blog post was the one I wrote a few days before that happy day when my book was released and available for sale.  

This post from December 14, 2018 was a celebration of completion for my book after more than five years of work.  It is also an effort to shine the spotlight on the lives of the individuals I’d been thinking about and writing about for so long.  In this post, I write about how I want to reader to emotionally connect with these real life people.  

For me, it takes a while to move on to a different project once my book is finished.  It is almost like taking your child to kindergarten on the first day of school.   You know it is a happy day and you should be glad that a new phase of life is beginning-but it is hard to let go.  

It is time for me to let go and figure out what project to tackle next . . .   

Carla Killough McClafferty

Friday, May 24, 2019

Bringing Up the Rear--Happy 10th Blogiversary, Teaching Authors!

Hello, readers! It's been nearly 5 years since I blogged here on TA. What a gift it is coming back and touching base with all of you again!

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS, TeachingAuthors, on 10 years of sharing your writing wit, wisdom, and camaraderie with lucky people all over the world. If any of you are just catching up, Carmela's kickoff post is here. As part of the celebration, TeachingAuthors have given away a copy of Cheryl Klein's fabulous The Magic Words. You can see who won, here.

It's been fun reading favorite posts from fellow TAs, present and past, and learning what they're currently up to. I think my own favorite post was one about finding ways to write during busy summers with kids underfoot, Summer Writing--with Kids.

That one caught my eye because, even though my own kids are in their 30s (gak!), we've added 5 grandkiddos to our family in the past 4 years. *cartwheels of happiness* When asked to babysit, I always say "Yes, I'd love to!" even if I'm under a stressful deadline (especially if I'm under a stressful deadline!). I can't resist the little stinkers. I anticipate plenty of happy times with them this summer. I'll be keeping my eyes and ears and heart open--and sticky notes handy. Brilliant ideas can spring from the simplest things....

My list of published books has grown in the past 5 years, too. You can see those on my website, here.  Next spring's picture books include Frog Boots, Where'd My Jo Go?, and We Love Babies!, as well as another title in Nat Geo's Little Kids Big Book series. I've done Who, How, and Why 2, and this next one answers Where.

Meanwhile, I'm still blogging at Picture Book Builders. Hard to believe we've been at it for nearly 5 years. Check us out!

Wishing my TA pals many more years of blogging!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Update from across the years

I'm delighted to be back to help celebrate the 10th Blogiversary of Teaching Authors.

My writing life has changed a good deal since I last blogged. After several years of teaching research writing and English Composition, I realized that I felt drawn to writing nonfiction. I sent out queries (thank you, Laura Purdie Salas for your invaluable information and tools) and began doing a variety of work-for-hire projects. I've greatly enjoyed the work and have published more than 20 titles in the last few years. I've come to realize how my teaching has informed my writing and vice versa, especially as exemplified by these two titles:

Some things have not changed.  I am busy juggling many jobs and kids' activities and, just like old times, forgot to upload my post yesterday.  Sorry for the lapse.

Wishing everyone a wonderful summer, a break from teaching, and lots of time for writing and living!  -- Jeanne Marie

Friday, May 10, 2019

Happy #10 to the 10th Power!

We’re celebrating our TENTH Blogiversary?
We’re celebrating our TENTH BLOGIVERSARY!

Honestly? When we first began blogging, the challenge of a once-every-three-week Monday morning post caused numerous angst-filled Sunday nights.
(1) I’m the Slowest Writer East of the Mississippi.
(2) I was a tad intimidated by my fellow MFA-holding TA’S.
(3) Uploading my post to the Blogger software, inserting pictures and links and praying the post would appear the next day had me hating Sundays.
But once I got the hang of it, say after 4 years? I was there! And it gladdens my heart that I’m still here. 😊
I’ve so loved sharing my teaching and authoring smarts, experiences and wonderings with our TeachingAuthors readers. I remain truly grateful for the honor and opportunity to help seed and feed our Readers.

Gratitude lies at the heart of my very favorite post – “Celebrate October 20th the Write Way: Write a Thanku!
I love the surprise this post created whilst I was writing it – i.e. The Thanku, an original poetic form, part thank you note/part Haiku. I also love the surprise of our readers’ warm response.  The poetic form eventually led to our blog’s annual Two Weeks of Thanks celebration. 

In my very first Thanku I thanked the writers I’ve come to know through teaching and coaching.  “Such storied treasures!” I wrote.
Since 2011, I’ve thanked, in chronological order: my Children’s Book World, my students, my Carioca grandson, my fellow TeachingAuthors, my Chicago Cubs and my mentors Bernice Raab and Sue Alexander.
This year? I’m thanking YOU, our Readers who keep all of us - veteran and former bloggers alike, keepin’ on!

                      THANKU TO YOU!
Here’s to our Readers!
Fans, Feeders, Fuelers all.
True storied treasures.

With immeasurable gratitude to both my fellow TeachingAuthors and our loyal Readers,
Esther Hershenhorn

And now, drum roll, please, as we announce the winner of Cheryl Klein’s THE MAGIC WORDS, our 10th Blogiversary’s Giveaway, personally autographed by the author at last weekend’s Marvelous Midwest SCBWI Conference: Michele H.!
Congrats, Michele!
And thanks to all who entered and shared Good Wishes, favorite posts and Kind Words!

                               Back row, left to right: Jill Esbaum, me, Carmela,                
                               JoAnn; Front row, Cheryl Klein

Sunday, May 5, 2019

10 Years and the Long Road

Happy 10th Blogiversary to Teaching Authors. Ten years? Already? Blogs come and go, but we're still here, because you ... our faithful followers...are still here. Thank you for reading and commenting and supporting us through this...oh wow...decade!

Before proceeding, a reminder that our current giveaway deadline has been extended to Tuesday, May 7.  We are giving away a copy of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by author and editor, Cheryl B. Klein. Check Carmela's March 29th post for details and how to enter.

For the Blogiversary, each Teaching Authors is choosing a favorite past post to share. Mine is a letter to my younger writer self.  I've kept journals my whole life, as a reminder of who I was and the long, long road to becoming a published author. I won my first writing contest when I was a sophomore in high school. I knew then that whatever else I would do to support myself, writing would always be my true love. Sometimes I need a little reminder of why I write. Or even that I can write.
15...the journey begins

This post from four years ago reminds me how far I've come...and that the journey is not yet over. I'm in a place where a lot of you are...first, taking care of elderly parents and a high maintenance adolescent; now struggling through the labyrinth of a complicated estate while keeping my college student focused from 200 miles away. What gets shifted to the bottom of the to-do list is my well-being as a human. Rereading the original post has me itching to return to WIP's I left when I "took a break"several years ago.  I hope this trip back to Sept. 2015 will stir memories of your own writer's journey, evaluate where you are, and to find the courage to keep on writing.

If you'll forgive me the indulgence, two of my books have had milestone "birthdays" since my last post. A Tree For Emmy celebrated 10 years in print in March, while Yankee Girl hit 15 years in print in April. (A double digit anniversary!) I am blessed and humbled to have had two books still in print after all these years. Thank you, readers and friends, who keep us children's writers in business.

Posted by Mary Ann Rodman

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A Celebratory Wednesday Writing AND Reading Workout!

It’s not only Children’s Book Week, our country’s longest-running literacy initiative which celebrates every child a reader.
It’s this singular event’s 100th Anniversary!

Of course, all of us were once children, likely children who read,
and Readers are Writers,
and today is Wednesday, as in Wednesday Writing Workout.
So, what better way to celebrate this all-important week than with a writer’s AND reader’s invigorating “walk” through distinguished children’s literature historian Leonard S. MarcusTHE ABC OF IT (Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota, 2019)!

THE ABC OF IT double-duties as the catalogue that accompanies the University of Minnesota’s Kerlan Collection’s current exhibit in the Elmer L. Andersen Library - THE ABC OF IT: WHY CHILDREN’S BOOKS MATTER.  The exhibit was adapted from Marcus’ earlier curated exhibit THE ABC OF IT: WHY CHILDREN’S BOOKS MATTER at The New York Public Library, an exhibit that proved to be the NYPL’s most highly attended exhibit, running from June, 2013 to September, 2014.

The current University of Minnesota exhibit combines Marcus’ original curatorial plan and the NYPL gallery text with items from the university’s distinguished and fabled Kerlan Collection. Think: more than 200 books, pieces of original artwork and correspondence, plus other materials from the University’s Archives and Special Collections. 2019 also marks the 70th anniversary of Kerlan Collection founder Dr. Irvin Kerlan’s first gift to the University of Minnesota.

As the exhibit’s Curator Lisa Von Drasek notes in the book’s FOREWARD, THE ABC OF IT isn’t a history of four centuries of children’s literature. Rather, it’s Leonard Marcus’ “thesis on ‘how books for young people have stories to tell us about ourselves’ and that ‘behind every children’s book is a vision of childhood: a shared understanding of what growing up is all about.’”
That thesis offers a veritable paradise for children’s book creators as well as former children.  It overflows with beloved illustrations and delicious insights into children’s book favorites, game-changers and award-winners.
“These books have so much to say,” Marcus shares in his introduction.  As either an exhibit visitor or reader of the catalogue, “…you may well catch yourself being unaccountably drawn back to pictures and words you thought you had outgrown long ago.” The resulting take-away shines.  Children’s literature is for both children and grown-ups.

One more FYI:  The exhibit has undergone a few changes since its February opening that address the issue of racist content in the representative books, art and correspondence initially included.

Before you begin your vicarious journey through the university’s exhibit via this eye-opening catalogue, pace yourself over lots of days and nights.  Each page, or at least each chapter, demands savoring.

And be sure to figuratively stretch, envisioning the books you think might be included in four centuries of American children’s literature.
Think about your favorite books. Those read to you by parents and/or teachers.  Those you read to children and/or students.  Those you studied.  Those you treasure. Those you hold high as a measure of storytelling excellence.  In other words, those children’s books that matter, especially to you.

To warm up, try identifying, if possible, the images on the book’s cover.  Ogle the book’s gorgeous end papers, courtesy of Gustaf Tenngren’s RED FAIRY BOOK.

Finally, let your fingers do the walking, your eyes the beholding, your mind - and heart - the remembering, as you turn the pages and see why children’s books do indeed matter.

You’ll be in terrific company.  The Pokey Little Puppy.  Alice. Max.  Millions of cats.  That very hungry caterpillar.  Not to mention Beatrix Potter and Kate Greenaway, Kate DiCamillo, Judy Blume and a hole host of luminaries.

Be open to wonderment.  Smile.  Sigh.  Shake your head.  Giggle.  Even blink away a tear.
I promise you one amazing Wednesday Workout!  Or rather, LOTS of amazing Wednesday Workouts.

And, if you’re still rarin’ to go once you reach the end of THE ABC OF IT, or even if you’re not, I highly recommend you take a visual tour of the notable illustrations that marked the importance of Children’s Book Week, courtesy of Leonard Marcus’ 100 YEARS OF CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK POSTERS (Knopf, 2019).

Check here to learn lots of fun ways to celebrate Children’s Book Week.

And don’t forget! We’re celebrating our TeachingAuthors 10th Blogiversary this month!  Be sure to enter our give-away of a signed copy of Cheryl Klein’s THE MAGIC WORDS.  You can read all about it here.

Happy Wednesday Workout(s)! Happy Children’s Book Week!

Esther Hershenhorn
While waiting for your copy of THE ABC OF IT to arrive, click here to experience the Feb. 27 opening of the exhibit.