There are a lot of milestones you might dream about in life — getting your first job, getting engaged, having a child, etc. For a writer, one of the biggest milestones of all is getting your first book contract.
After submitting manuscripts to agents and editors for over ten years (part-time…I do have a full time day job as a teacher and a parent to two kids after all!), I’m thrilled to announce that my debut picture book, THE GREAT HOLIDAY COOKIE FIGHT, will be published by Pelican Publishing Company. I don’t have a release date yet, but since it’s a book for the winter, a friend recently asked if it would be out in time for her Christmas shopping this year! If you know anything about the publishing industry, you’ll join me in a big laugh about THAT one! Long story short…I’ll let you know!
We’re back to school, folks! That means my book review posts may be slightly less frequent as I focus time on my teaching and steal away a bit for writing and submitting. However, I carved out a bit of time this weekend to read some fabulous new books– most out within the past few months! There’s a thread of similarity running through them as they all have to do with relationships, emotions and fitting in– highly appropriate themes for back to school! Enjoy!
As a teacher, I head back to school Wednesday for faculty meetings and training. It’s been a great summer with lots of reading, writing and adventures with the kids from our annual “Summer Fun List.” I even spent time cleaning out the basement! While I adore teaching, it’s always hard to fit everything in once things kick off, so here’s another set of PB reviews before it’s truly crazy. In today’s batch I focused on books by authors who do NOT illustrate their own works. As it happens, these books also serve as some great mentor texts and inspiration. Seeing all those talented author-illustrator combos can sometimes be intimidating, but it’s not the only way to succeed. We’ve got this! Enjoy!
In my last batch of PB reviews, I focused on authors or illustrators I recognized and titles I had been meaning to read. Today, I chose books I was unfamiliar with by authors and illustrators I didn’t remember reading before. There were definitely some fun finds in the bunch and some authors you’ll probably be hearing more from in the future!
As loyal readers know, I’m a teacher and my school year just ended a week ago (long school year + lots of snow days!). That combined with my dad’s passing meant that it’s been a while since I had time to dive back into my writing and it sure feels good! So without further ado, I bring you a new crop of picture book reviews. The books I chose represent five new works which I’ve been dying to read, mostly by authors I know through social media. They’re all pretty wonderful, so enjoy!
This weekend we held the memorial services for my Dad, Frank Manzer, who died last week after many years of ill health. I know this blog is usually about the craft of writing and language, but writing is also about memories and emotion. So I thought I would share the words I delivered at his service yesterday, because my Dad taught me a lot about the craft of writing, both explicitly, and by giving me a childhood filled with the kinds of experiences which have provided a lifetime of writing material:
When I was a little girl and we visited “Gramp Manzer,” my Dad’s dad, he was always sitting in a chair being gruff and quiet. I heard stories about how active he had been– he was a “good man, once,” people joked, but it was hard to believe of someone so frail. Meanwhile “MY DADDY” was a Paul Bunyan of a man (though much shorter), who could do anything. Years later, at the end of his life, I knew my own dad had become that same frail man to his grandchildren. So there are a few things I’d like you to remember about my Daddy– some things you might not know about him if you just knew him as a grumpy old man sitting in a chair watching Gunsmoke and the Red Sox. (Cause he certainly was that, too!)
Being both a language teacher and a writer, I’m thrilled about the momentum of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #ownvoices movements. Just as kids deserve to see themselves on the page, we all deserve to learn about new experiences, foods, and ways of interacting with the world! That’s why most of us grew to love reading in the first place.
The tricky bit is writing about a culture in a way that makes those within that culture feel validated without alienating others. How? Read on…