Rock Stars of Reading part 16: Paul Jacobs

Tuesday, May 5, 2009.

Listen in as Mark and Author/Poet, Paul Jacobs, chat about the differences between children and adults as book and reading audiences, writing with a playful spirit and the collaborative nature of children’s books.

Books you may have seen by Paul Jacobs…




Rock Stars of Reading part 15: Lesléa Newman

Monday, May 4, 2009.

Author/poet Lesléa Newman, author of the groundbreaking book Heather Has Two Mommies, talks to Mark about seeing in words (not images), writing for adults and children, and treasures in our brains.


Book by Lesléa Newman you may have seen…

Rock Stars of Reading part 14: Richard Michelson

Sunday, May 3, 2009.

We spent a lot of time becoming familiar with the creative process of illustrators during our trip. So, it was exciting to spend time in Richard Michelson‘s (on JOMB) studio getting introduced to his writing process.

During the hour he and I spent in his studio, Richard showed me the working papers for books including Tuttle’s Red Barn and As Good As Anybody and shared some of the valuable lessons he’s learned from reading and writing children’s books.


Selected books by Richard Michelson…

Rock Stars of Reading part 13: Making Children’s Books Count

Monday, April 27, 2009.

Mark, Richard Michelson (on JOMB), Tony Diterlizzi and Scott Fisher spoke for three hours about almost everything related to children’s books and the publishing industry.  It was a very cerebral conversation, much of which revolved around print and digital books, the future of the industry and competing with technology for reader attention.  There were light moments, too, like when they did an analysis of Jon Scieszka‘s (on JOMB) reign as the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.


  • Theme: Woolly Mammoth by Robert Farrell (from Sun House Fury, part 1)
  • Skittles at Buckley Bay & Mischief in the Garden by Jaime RT (from Reach)
You may have seen these books by Richard Michelson…
…these by Tony Diterlizzi…
…and these by Scott Fischer…

Rock Stars of Reading part 7: Creators of the Round Table

Tuesday, April 14, 2009.

Mark spent two amazing hours at a table with Jeanne Birdsall (on JOMB), Jane Dyer, Jarrett Krosoczka (on JOMB) and David Ezra Stein, sharing a common love of children’s books and talking about how each found their way into writing and illustrating, children’s books vs. traditional publishing and what keeps them in an industry that isn’t known for generating a lot of wealth for the people in it.


Conversation with Robert Paul Weston

Monday, April 13, 2009.

Among the many jobs he’s held is trampolinist, lifeguard, computer programmer, English teacher and editor. He’s written short stories and scripts, and his book Zorgamazoo — 283 pages of flawless rhyme — was one of thirty books chosen by the Children’s Literature Assembly as as a notable book for 2009.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!, Robert Paul Weston talks to Mark about his long history with marble tracks, writing an entire book in rhyming accentual verse and the publishing industry’s reaction to it, and the emotional connection readers experience with Zorgamazoo.

Exciting news!!! Zorgamazoo is on the E. B. White Read Aloud Award shortlist (official information).

Relevant links:

Rock Stars of Reading part 6: Corinne Demas

Saturday, April 11, 2009.

Listen in as we grab a spot of floor in the home office of author Corinne Demas to talk about books and how stories are researched, the similarity between poets and picture book creators and the best job in the world.  Lucy started us off with a read-aloud of Corinne’s new book, Always in Trouble, and Corinne explains the origins of Lucy’s favourite phrase from the book “quiet as a goldfish”.


Conversation with Troy Wilson

Monday, April 6, 2009.

It’s a winning combination of comic book superheroes, children’s book storytelling and real life role models.  It’s a book called Perfect Man and it’s written by super down-to-earth guy, Troy Wilson.  The same Troy Wilson that tracked down one of his own heroes, comic book legend Stan Lee, whose work entertained and inspired Troy since he was a kid.

On this edition, author Troy Wilson reflects on how his own book would have impacted him when he was a child, doing pro bono work and making ends meet as he builds a career for himself and comparing his own experiences to those of Michael Maxwell MacAllum, the main character in his book, Perfect Man.

Conversation with Greg Pincus about 30 Poets in 30 Days

Monday, March 30, 2009.

April is poetry month. Which means that if you haven’t spent much time with poetry, you can enjoy it guilt-free — and maybe discover you like it. There should be lots to enjoy. Especially since the people who love poetry are going to be all over it.

One such example is Greg Pincus. Greg is a screenwriter, author, poet and the entertaining blogger of Gotta Book. And this year, he’s the founder and host of 30 Poets/30 Days, an event that will see his Gotta Book blog host new and original work by thirty guest poets, a new poem for each day of the month. Contributors include Mary Ann Hoberman, Jon Scieszka and Jane Yolen, and will kick off on April 1st with a contribution from Jack Prelutsky.

On this edition, Greg Pincus on 30 Poets/30 Days.

Check out Greg’s poem, I’m Pretty Well Connected, which speaks to our own fascination with social media. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of podcasting in it.

Photo courtesy of Greg Pincus.

Filed under: Author,Interviews

Buiding a Library for Flying Horse Farms

Monday, March 23, 2009.

We learned about a public service video for Flying Horse Farms when author Sara Lewis Holmes blogged on October 27 that her twelve-year old niece, Emily, stars in it.  Emily was diagnosed with cancer a little over two years ago and has attended Hole in the Wall camps twice.

One month after the post about the video, Sara kicked off a campaign to build a library of books about horses and camp-related activities for Flying Horse Farms using a Wishlist.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!, Mark speaks with Flying Horse Farms Camp Director W. Patrick Smith, and author Sara Lewis Holmes about building Flying Horse Farms, spectacularly average experiences and the role of books at a camp for children with serious illnesses.

Relevant links

Interview with Jane Cutler

Monday, March 16, 2009.

Some children’s authors end up in their career following a series of events, even misadventures.  In the process, they discover that writing was the right fit all along.

Author Jane Cutler is a perfect example.  After serving as an editor and a failed attempt at being an agent, Ms. Cutler fell into writing with the book Darcy and Gran Don’t Like Babies.  And even though none of her other books took thirty-five minutes to write (yes, thirty-five minutes), Ms. Cutler’s other books reflect that same style and attention to characters.

Mark recently spoke with Ms. Cutler.  We pick up the conversation with a story about her book The Cello of Mr. O, a remarkable story of a concert cellist who performed his beautiful music in the public square of a war torn city.

Ms. Cutler’s new book, Guttersnipe, is due for release next month (April 2009).

Interview with Kathryn Lasky

Monday, March 9, 2009.

We’ve heard it said that a writer should write what they know. So, it stands to reason that many authors write from personal experience.  That doesn’t explain how some authors can write amazing books on subjects that they haven’t directly experienced.

Kathryn Lasky is one example. Her books include One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin, Pirate Bob and She’s Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head.  We’re pretty sure that she doesn’t have specific first-hand experiences with the subjects of those books (exploring with Charles Darwin, plundering with Pirate Bob and being at the centre of the suffrage movement).  And yet, her books makes readers feel as though they’re right there.

On this edition, author Kathryn Lasky talks about relating to characters, taking twenty-four years… literally… to write One Beetle Too Many, and giving the reader room.


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