Interview with Donalyn Miller

Monday, August 24, 2009.

She can turn even the most reluctant — or, in her words, dormant — reader into a student who can’t put their books down.  With talent and passion like that, it’s a benefit to children that she abandoned her career as an accountant to become a grade six language arts and social studies teacher.

She is The Book Whisperer.

On this edition, Mark speaks with Donalyn Miller about safe territory, books in the classroom and her advice to parents, principals and politicians.

Also mentioned in this episode:

Photo courtesy of Donalyn Miller.

Exploring Jewish Books and Literacy Programs at AJL09

Monday, July 13, 2009.

The 44th annual convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries took place July 5-9, 2009 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel. I was honoured this year to be part of the speaking program having been invited to talk about the role of social media in promoting Jewish literature.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!, follow Mark as his audio recorder captures forgiveness, education and pop-culture, how Jewish books have evolved and become exciting for young readers.

Segment 1: April Halprin Wayland is the author New Year at the Pier, a book about forgiveness which is rooted in the the Tashlich ceremony of the Jewish New Year celebrations of Rosh Hashana.  This segment includes April reading the beginning and end of her book, New Year at the Pier.

Segment 2: Librarian Toby Rossner shares her approach to creating educational programs about universal values using picture books including Chicken Man, a book about someone who made the most out of any job he did.

Segment 3: Ann Abrams is a musical librarian who serenades us with her own songs and sings a musical parody using a popular song for which she rewrote the lyrics — both to help get children excited about Jewish children’s books.

This episode includes two brief excerpts of Mark’s session on using social media to raise awareness of great Jewish literature using social media, presented at AJL09.

Thanks to the Association of Jewish Libraries, Heidi Estrin and Cheryl Banks, Esme Raji Codell and our interview guests author April Halprin Wayland and librarians Toby Rossner and Ann Abrams.

Rock Stars of Reading part 20: Advice for aspiring readers

Monday, May 11, 2009.

It’s customary for interviewers to ask authors and illustrators to share their advice for aspiring book creators. During the 19th Annual Children’s Illustration Show at the R. Michelson Gallery, Mark instead asked authors and illustrators to offer advice for aspiring readers. Everyone was willing to pitch in. This video features responses from Jeanne Birdsall, Diane de Groat, Tony DiTerlizzi, Jane Dyer, Paul Jacobs, Norton Juster, Jarrett Krosoczka, Jeff Mack, David Mazor, David Milgrim, Barry Moser, Lesléa Newman, Shelley Rotner, Ruth Sanderson, Heidi Stemple, Mo Willems and Jane Yolen.

Also included is an interview with David Mazor, Founder and Executive Director of Reader to Reader — a non-profit organization that distributes books to schools and libraries in need. Reader to Reader honoured author Norton Juster for his generosity and passion in promoting literacy.


Jason Low speaks to the New York PEN Group

Monday, April 20, 2009.

According to, PEN is an association of writers working to advance literature, defend free expression and foster international literary fellowship.  There are chapters all over the world and not long ago, we connected with author Fran Manushkin (on JOMB), regarding an event of the New York PEN group of which she is co-chair.  

A member of the group audio recorded the March 16, 2009 presentation by Jason Low of Lee and Low Books (on JOMB) and we are lucky to include excerpts of Mr. Low’s talk — anecdotes of the origins of Lee and Low, the amazing story behind some of their award winning books and insight into the term “multicultural”.

Thanks to Fran Manushkin, Paul O. Zelinsky, Susanna Reich, Betsy Bird and Lyn.

Books mentioned:

Be sure to listen to our interview with Lee and Low co-founder, Philip Lee (now retired).

Photo: Lee and Low website

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

Extra! Extra! My Own Book to distribute 8000 books!

Friday, January 16, 2009.

My Own Book Founders Kyle & Brady BaldwinI first spoke with Kyle and Brady Baldwin in August of 2007. They were 16 and 14 respectively and the founders of the My Own Book Foundation, created to bring top quality books to the less fortunate.

It’s 2009, now. Kyle is 18 and a freshman in college, Brady is 16 and was at school when I called in response to an email they’d sent about the BestBuy @15 Challenge, which, in conjunction with GenV Youth Venture, was giving away money to youth changemakers.

As of today (January 16, 2009), My Own Book has distributed 17,311 books. Listen to this phone conversation find out how the @15 Challenge will help the foundation distribute another 8,000 books to people who need them.

Relevant links

Interview with Betsy Bird

Monday, January 5, 2009.

Long before Mark turned thirty-eight, his vision of a librarian was that of a stiff, grey-haired woman with horned-rimmed glasses and a bun who shushed people. Now, he sees that librarians are increasingly younger than he and they’ve embraced some incredible new technologies to spread a love of reading and to promote their craft.

Elizabeth Bird, or Betsy Bird, is one of a new generation of librarians. She has achieved a lot very early in her career including sitting on the Newbery award committee in 2006 and, following the success of Fuse #8, her own blog about children’s books, has become a blogger for the web edition of the popular print magazine School Library Journal. Betsy’s also been known to produce episodes of her Fuse#8 podcast. [NOTE: Betsy’s Fuse #8 blog site is only used for podcasts since she became a blogger for School Library Journal]

Betsy Bird joins Mark at the 2008 Kidlit Conference in Portland, OR, on this edition of Just One More Book!!

Photo of Betsy Bird from the School Library Journal flickr account.

The Children’s Book Bank of Toronto, Canada

Monday, December 22, 2008.

The Children’s Book Bank of Toronto, Canada is a charitable organization designed to support children’s literacy by providing free books and literacy support to children in lower income neighbourhoods. We learned about it from our good friend and podcaster, Sage Tyrtle, in an email she sent us offering to help record an interview with founder Kim Beatty. We managed to convince her to do more than that.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!, correspondent Sage Tyrtle of the QN Podcast introduces us to The Children’s Book Bank.

By the way, Sage’s QN podcast is definitely for adults, not children, and frequently includes strong language and political views.

Related links

Photo of Kim Beatty by Harry Gils.

Interview with Karen Raab

Monday, December 1, 2008.

Perhaps because of the dedicated children’s picture book art galleries there has been a rise in dedicated children’s picture book art sections in traditional galleries and we keep learning about special events for children’s picture book artists.  Anyway, it seems that children’s picture book art is becoming increasingly recognized and respected.

We were recently contacted by the Chemers Gallery (Chemer’s Gallery Blog) in Tustin, California to inform us of their 17th annual Children’s Book Illustration Show taking place from December 6 through 20, 2008, with a special event for the show opening taking place from 1-5pm on the 6th.

Our guest on this edition of Just One More Book!! is Karen Raab, owner of the Chemers Gallery, who tells us more about their exciting event which benefits Orange County Ronald McDonald House.

This year’s artists:

Photo of Karen Raab by Paul Rodriguez, The Orange County Register.

Interview with Rebecca Sherman

Monday, November 24, 2008.

It’s probably safe to say that most people, even when holding one in their hand, don’t consider all of the work and the people involved in creating a children’s picture book. Behind the names of the authors illustrators, within and beyond the names of the publishing houses are the often overlooked people we call agents.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!, we turn the spotlight on Rebecca Sherman, an agent with Writers House LLC, who tells us a bit about her job as an agent and shares stories about some of her clients.

Authors/illustrators mentioned in this program:

Peggy Collins and Kendra Marcus and the pursuit of representation

Monday, November 17, 2008.

On Saturday, October 4, 2008, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators held an event in Ottawa, Canada that focused on the relationship between children’s book creators and agents.  The day included presentations, group discussions and private meetings with agents to review manuscripts.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!, Mark speaks with author/illustrator Peggy Collins and Agent Kendra Marcus about their private meeting in which Kendra reviewed and commented on Peggy’s latest project.

We’ve stayed in contact with Peggy since this interview was recorded.  We provide an update on Peggy’s career and agent representation at the end of the interview.

Richard Michelson on the 19th Annual Children’s Illustration Show

Monday, November 3, 2008.

On November 16, The Richard Michelson Gallery will host it’s 19th annual Children’s Illustration Show.  The event which is open to the public coincides with the launch of a new exhibit of children’s picture book art and attracts some of the biggest names in the industry.  And this year, Just One More Book is going to be there.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!,  author, poet and gallery owner Richard Michelson walks Mark through the origins of the Children’s Illustration Show, who will be there this year and what people who attend can expect.

This discussion sets up a series of audio and video podcasts we expect to publish that will cover the Just One More Book!! experience as we travel through Connecticut on our way to the Richard Michelson Gallery’s 19th annual Children’s Illustration Show in Northampton Massachusetts — the unofficial centre of the children’s book industry.

Other related links:



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