Famous Authors Interviews – Words of Wisdom

Be prepared to be shocked… authors, even the extremely famous ones , are real people – like you and me. ¬†I know, shocking huh? ūüėČ

Honestly though, while I’m glued to my computer for my day job, I enjoy listening to interviews with these real people. Their¬†thoughts are inspiring and motivating – especially if you’re a writer too.

I was capitvated by J.K. Rowling’s interview with Oprah (see below). If you have 45 minutes it’s worth the watch (or listen, like I did). If not, I’ve included links to some other famous childrens author interviews I enjoyed (that are a lot shorter).

Be prepared though – you’ll want to write as soon as you’re done listening. Might want to save some time for that for later.

— click on the author’s name to see the video —

Author InterviewsJ.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series) -CLICK HERE-:

She is the ultimate rags to riches story. One of my favorite things about her is her ability to remember what life was like before fame and to not lose sight of that. So refreshing!

Jon Scieszka (True Story of the Three Little Pigs) – CLICK HERE-:

What a funny guy. I really enjoyed hearing his thoughts on reading and boys – how they struggle to read more than girls. I just enjoyed this interview in general, his happiness is contagious.

Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee, Stargirl) – CLICK HERE-:

I enjoy Spinelli’s writing style – so I was eager to hear his interview. I loved that hated¬†reading the required reading in school because I always struggled with that as well.

Beverly Cleary (Ramona and Beezus) – CLICK HERE-:

Beverly was a children’s librarian before becoming an author. She got in to writing because the children weren’t satisfied with the books that were available.¬†She never received a rejection letter – ever!

 Lois Lowry (The Giver) РCLICK HERE-:

Lois Lowry dropped out of college and finished after he children were all in school. She never submitted a story formally. She was approached by an editor and asked to try writing a story for children – which turned in to her first novel.

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Mo Willems

Mo Willems (Elelphant and Piggie, Pigeon) -CLICK HERE-:

Mo fell into writing almost by accident, but man am I glad he did. I LOVE the Elephant Piggie series.

Katherine Paterson (Author of Bridge to Terabithia) -CLICK HERE-: 

She stresses the importance of reading as an author. She also talks about the real life death that inspired the book The Bridge to Terabithia.

Kate DiCamillo (Author of Because of Winn-Dixie, Mercy Watson) -CLICK HERE-: 

Kate says she loves to finish stories but doesn’t actually love to write them. Each morning she has to convince herself to get the writing done.¬†Man, I can relate to that some days.

Before you head off to to do some writing yourself, would you share comment below about something that motivates you to write? Thanks!

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Book Review: Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum_(Henkes_book)

I stumbled on this little gem entirely by accident. I was at my mother in-laws house digging through her childrens book for a bedtime story to read my kids. This cover was bright and cute so I picked it (who says kids are the only ones that pick books based on covers?). Instantly I was in love. My poor children had to put up with me asking if I could read it to them over and over. I even snuck it back to my room and read the book a couple more times while they were napping. It’s that delightful.

Synopsis: ¬†A little mouse name Chrysanthemum LOVES her unique name, until she starts school. At school the children tease her because she’s named after a flower and her name is so long “it scarcely fits on a name tag.” Every night Chrysanthemum’s parents have to buoy her up with praise, Parcheesi and chocolate cake. Things turn around when her class meets the pregnant music teacher, Ms. Delphinium Twinkle (who just happens to also be named after a flower and has a name that scarcely fits on a name tag). The children idealize Ms.Twinkle and the teasing turns to praise. The books ends with Ms. Twinkle having her baby and naming her Chrysanthemum.

MusicTeacher

Here’s what entranced me:

THE LANGUAGE:

This is a phenomenal read-a-loud book. The words skip along with sing-song fluidity. You feel her excitement, worry, relief, right along with her. While many of the words are too difficult for younger readers to read on their own, it is written in a context that make perfect sense to them when read aloud.

THE ILLUSTRATIONS:

I love Kevin Henkes little mice. They’re ¬†brightly colored and whimsical – very¬†unique to him. In Chrysathemum he does a wonderful job showing the untold story in the art work. Pay close attention to the illustrations with her parents – such funny details added her and there.

BEST FOR AGES 3-8 – but geez, I’m over thirty and still love it.

BUY IT OR BORROW IT?  This is a buy it book! Totally worth the investment.

Have you read Chyrsathemum?  Tell us what you think of it.

Simple Fix for Reluctant Readers

mary-poppins-spoonful-of-sugarBribery works – almost as magically as Mary Poppins. When my kids dreaded reading I bribed them¬†so they’d read. Not with¬†a spoonful of sugar (or candy, or money) I bribed them with¬†time. Nothing fancy, just plain old time and it worked. Beautifully.

My oldest two are now teenagers who¬†love to read. If you had told me seven years ago they’d be readers I would have laughed -no – I would have thrown my head back and cackled.¬†These two? You kidding?¬†

Both struggled, week after week to get their required reading done. We read together, sure, but they were old enough I felt like they should be reading on their own more but to them (and to me) the number of minutes they had to read each week felt like Mt. Everest.  So, I did what any rational mother would do in a moment of crisis, I turned to google for help. I found a few articles, pieced some ideas together creating this magical idea Рlet them stay up later to read.

I need to interject here. I wasn’t in love with this idea at first. Bedtime is sacred at my house. I¬†need my two hours after my kids go to bed to regain my composure from the frazzle of the day. I sometimes wish I was one of those fun, carefree moms that lets there kids stay up and play ¬†– but nope. I’m not. Bedtime hits and it’s hugs, kisses, and SEE YA! You can understand why I was hesitant to give this a try?

Here’s my twist on the idea: ¬†Let your kids stay up for an extra thirty minutes after their normal bedtime to read in bed.

Brillantly simple, huh?

Too simple, I thought. All I could see was more minutes of “I need a drink” and “I have to go to the bathroom.” I also envisioned my son filling his bed with action figures instead of books. My husband and I were desperate so we tried it anyway.

We just adjusted their bedtime back 30 minutes and then let them read for 30 minutes. SO… they really were going to bed at the exact same time (shhh.. don’t tell). Luckily they¬†were young and naive and never¬†called us out on our trickery. The most beautiful thing was that it worked. They read and liked doing it.

We¬†did have¬†to make it a strict 30 minutes of¬†reading.¬†More than one night their lamps got turned off early when we caught them playing with action figures or ¬†coloring books instead of a reading but they learned the rule quickly and we had few issues after that (except them wanting to finish just one more chapter… please!).

Not only did their reading chart fill to overflowing each week, but their night time reading spilled over in to day time reading. To this day they still do their thirty minutes (or more) of reading each night, without fail. Our younger children have started the tradition too Рa tradition I hope will be passed on and on.

What about you? Any reluctant reader tips or fun reading traditions?

Teachers, in your opinion, can giving dedicated reading time improve a students desire or ability to read?

Please share below!

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