Category Archives: Guest Blogger Post

Authors, illustrators, educators, and other industry professionals visit the blog to share their expertise.

Writing a Life: How to Write a Biography for Children

guest bloggerAlan Schroeder photoIn this guest post we welcome Alan Schroeder, author of In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage and Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage to discuss what it takes to write a biography for children.

Writing someone’s biography can be a tricky business. First—and this is important—you’ve got to be enthusiastic about the person you’re writing about. Otherwise, it won’t work. Readers will know that on some level you’re not engaged and they won’t enjoy reading the book any more than you enjoyed writing it. I was asked once to write a biography of the Three Stooges. I said no, because I’ve never found their humor to be funny. Sure, I could get the facts right, but that’s not enough. You have to have passion.

Image from BABY FLO
A snapshot of Florence Mills and her dad in ‘Baby Flo’

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What your cat is really thinking: the CAT GIRL blog tour roundup

guest bloggerA few weeks ago we did a giveaway to celebrate the release of Cat Girl’s Day Off and asked readers what they’ve always wanted to ask their cats. We pulled a few of their questions and asked our resident cat translator, Natalie Ng (a.k.a. Cat Girl), to get us some answers. Straight from the cat’s mouth:

What’s the secret to always landing on your feet?

Rufus Brutus the Third: You point them towards the floor. What a silly question.

What’s the most annoying thing your pet parent does?

PD: It’s hard to pick just one thing, don’t you think? There’s the nasty medicine they make me take, for one. Not to mention the dry cat food they give me. They only give me wet food once a week, like I need to be on a diet. Ian does sneak me food from the table though, so he makes up for it a bit. Oh, and trying to keep me in the house all the time! A cat’s gotta roam, you know?

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How to Read a Poem Aloud, Part 5

guest bloggerWell, Poetry Month is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop reading poetry to your kids! Poet/Anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins provides our final tip of the month. Check out his advice as well as his anthology, Amazing Faces.

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How to Read a Poem Aloud, Part 4

guest bloggerAs Spring finally appears to be arriving and April is swiftly fleeting away, Guadalupe Garcia McCall shares some advice about reading poetry- and adding your own passion into Under the Mesquite coverthat reading. A published poet in more than twenty literary journals, McCall’s first book, Under the Mesquite, will be released by LEE & LOW in Fall 2011.

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How to Read a Poem Aloud, Part 2

guest bloggerSome more advice from our LEE & LOW poets! This piece of wisdom is from award-winning author Marilyn Singer. Her first Lee & Low title, A Full Moon Is Rising, is expected later this spring. Some great advice from a woman who really knows poetry!

“My parents knew that reading to their kids was important.  But reading wasn’t the only thing they did which shaped my love of books and then of writing.  They also sang to me—especially my dad.  He had these wonderful pastel-colored HIT PARADE sheets, which contained the lyrics of the most popular songs of the day.   Now, we may not have Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, and all those other great lyricists around these days, but we have plenty of other good ones.  I think that singing that stuff to your kids is a marvelous way to inspire musicality, love of words, and a feeling for poetry.

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Tips for Reading Out Loud During Poetry Month

guest bloggerSince Poetry Month is in full swing, we asked some of our poets at LEE & LOW  to provide tips for reading poetry to your kids or students. There were so many great answers that we’re going to break them up for you. Our first response is from Pat Mora, author of Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! Americas’ Sproutings, Confetti: Poems for Children (Confeti: Poemas para niños), and Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers, among many others. Check out her advice, and try it! Be sure to let us know how it goes, and keep an eye out for the next tip!

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Video Thursday: Everyone’s Reading Yummy

guest bloggerWe know we’ve done something right when readers share their excitement for our books with the entire Internet. Amy Cheney, librarian at Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, is one of those excited readers: she made a video with other staff at the ACJJC, all explaining why they love Yummy and why it’s great for the kids they work with every day.

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Five Ways to Green the Curriculum

guest bloggerJen Cullerton Johnson is an educator and the author of Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace, a biography of biologist, environmentalist, and activist Wangari Maathai. We asked her to blog about ways teachers can bring awareness of nature and environmentalism into the classroom; here are her five key suggestions. We hope you find them useful, and of course, feel free to add your own suggestions and methods in comments!

Green teachers everywhere know that students can’t become stewards of the environment without hands-on interactions with nature. Describing the root system of plants puts third graders to sleep, but if you bring in several plants and allow the students to feel, see, and discuss, the room becomes atwitter with curiosity. Active learning impresses the mind. Passive learning depresses it. Green teachers facilitate a nature-based experience for their students. In each lesson they teach, in each interaction with their students, they look for ways to connect the environment with other subjects.

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How to Plan a Successful Book Signing – Part 3

guest bloggerWe’ve been asking our authors and illustrators for their tips for book signings – Part 1 included advice from Lulu Delacre, Joseph Bruchac, and Lee Bennett Hopkins. Part 2 featured tips from Tony Medina, W. Nikola-Lisa, and Anastasia Suen. More helpful advice below from those with considerable experience on the road for those who are just getting started.

Christine Taylor-Butler
Christine Taylor-Butler at ALA

Authors and illustrators are required to wear many hats if they want to be successful in the book business. Not only must they be the driving force behind the creation of their book, they also have to act as the book’s biggest cheerleader. Some may not be comfortable donning the marketing/publicity hat, but skills in this area can be developed over time. One question you should ask yourself is: Who else knows my book better than me? After all, your book is a project that has taken you months, even years sometimes, so isn’t it worth the effort to sing its praises from the highest rooftops?

What follows is a collection of tips from some of our authors and illustrators on how to make an impression when talking about your book during a signing, spreading enthusiasm, and selling books.

Open Invitation: If you are an author or illustrator and would like to contribute your own tips, please leave a comment below. Everyone benefits from passing the hat and sharing.

Christine Taylor-Butler (author, Sacred Mountain: Everest) I find marketing to be harder than writing the actual book. Somehow the fear of rejection seems much more acute after publishing a book than before it. But I don’t want my books to get lost among the thousands of others being released that year. So here’s one tip that will help you build name recognition:

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How to Plan a Successful Book Signing – Part 1

guest bloggerWhile attending ALA in June I observed the different styles that authors and illustrators employ when meeting the public. Creative folks’ personalities run the gamut from wildly outgoing to quiet and shy. I thought it would be helpful to share the opinions and strategies of those who have had considerable experience on the road with those who are just getting started.

Lulu Delacre
Lulu Delacre at ALA

Authors and illustrators are required to wear many hats if they want to be successful in the book business. Not only must they be the driving force behind the creation of their book, they also have to act as the book’s biggest cheerleader. Some may not be comfortable donning the marketing/publicity hat, but skills in this area can be developed over time. One question you should ask yourself is: Who else knows my book better than me? After all, your book is a project that has taken you months, even years sometimes, so isn’t it worth the effort to sing its praises from the highest rooftops?

What follows is a collection of tips from some of our authors and illustrators on how to make an impression when talking about your book during a signing, spreading enthusiasm, and selling books.

Open Invitation: If you are an author or illustrator and would like to contribute your own tips, please leave a comment below. Everyone benefits from passing the hat and sharing.

Continue reading