Author Spotlight

Ten Steps to a Better Body (of Literary Work)

I took my first “Jazzercise” exercise class many moons ago, after the birth of our first child. Although I never quite regained my pre-pregnancy figure, I’ve been going to fitness classes ever since. An unexpected perk to the the time spent in pursuit of muscle tone is that it has taught me lessons which can be applied to my writing efforts as well. 1. GET TO THE GYM. This one has tripped up many a new health club member. I won’t see the results of a stair-climbing machine on my bathroom scale until I’ve actually stepped onto it. Likewise, I can’t finish manuscripts until I’ve spent the hours required in front of the computer keyboard. 2. WORK OUT WITH FRIENDS. It’s easy to become discouraged when facing the challenge of just one more leg lift–or one more revision—alone. A writers group and/or critique partners do more than provide feedback on…

Author Spotlight

An Encore Career – A Children’s Author

I am a children’s author! Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I hear those words! I’ve enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember and can’t believe I have two children’s books published and a third written. Recently, I came upon some stories I wrote as a teenager. I think I’ve improved since then but that shows my journey has been a long one. For years, I focused on being a mother, wife, and daughter coupled with a demanding career. While my dream of becoming a children’s author was put on the back burner, the desire never wavered. Since retiring, my life is very different. Because I have been able to dedicate my time to writing and presenting my books to children’s groups, an encore career has taken shape. My professional wardrobe has definitely changed from business suits to jeans and sneakers. The stress of the long days…

Author Spotlight

Interview with Author Julie K. Rubini

In her latest work for young readers, Missing Millie Benson, author Julie K. Rubini discusses the influence of Nancy Drew’s most prolific author. Rubini also describes her family’s efforts to celebrate children’s books through Claire’s Day, in honor of Rubini’s late daughter. Recently, Ohio University Press sent a free Advance Review Copy of Missing Millie Benson to me in preparation for this blog interview.       Please share about your background as a writer of children’s books.  How have public libraries and reading impacted your professional and personal life? I have loved both reading and writing since I was a child. As I lived out in the country, the Lucas County Public Library’s bookmobile was my gateway to worlds beyond my backyard. I would fill my bike’s basket up from the mobile collection every week. Reading encouraged my writing in a variety of forms, from essays, to short stories, newsletters, and eventually…

Author Spotlight

Romance and Writer’s Block

So there I was, on my honeymoon in St. Croix, weeks after the debut of my first syndicated cartoon strip, Hartland. And while I had romance on my mind, I was also thinking about the fact that as I was sitting on that beach, one of the strips I had already written and inked was being printed in the papers-and if I didn’t keep thinking of more ideas I’d fall behind! My brain locked on the fact that (at the time) Charles Schulz had been doing his Peanuts comic strip for 35 years. 35 years? Let’s see….35 X 365…THAT’S A LOT OF IDEAS! I proceeded to try to write 35 years worth of comic strips right there on the beach. The result was the first and worst case of writer’s block I’ve ever experienced. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t come up with a single idea, let alone 35…

Author Spotlight

Interview with Author Michelle Houts

Michelle Houts, author of Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek, shares how her book highlights Kamenshek’s life of integrity alongside her professional achievements.  Houts, also the editor of Missing Millie Benson by Julie K. Rubini, reflects on the role nonfiction plays in shaping children’s reading interests and how librarians serve these readers, researchers, and writers.  I received a complimentary copy of these two books in the Biographies for Young Readers series published by Ohio University Press before this interview.      1.  How did you first learn about Dottie Kamenshek, the famous baseball player loosely based on Dottie Hinson from the popular movie A League of Their Own?  What inspired you to write your book for young readers, Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek? I first read about Kammie in a one-page entry in the book Profiles of Ohio Women. As soon as I read about her, I knew she would be a…

Author Spotlight

An Appeal to Librarians: Provide Leadership on Kids’ Tech

In her keynote address at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in June, Microsoft’s Danah Boyd advocated for open access to information, a positive message that is consistent with longstanding librarian values. However, Boyd is best known as an observer of kids’ technology. In this role, she vehemently instructs adults responsible for educating children to back away from guiding kids’ tech use. This advice, if heeded, profoundly undermines librarians’ vital leadership on children’s use of technology. Boyd is critical of parents who set limits on kids’ tech use, labeling them as “fearful” in her Time magazine article, “Let Kids Run Wild Online,” and says, “The key to helping youth navigate contemporary digital life isn’t more restrictions. It’s freedom–plus communication.” In her book, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, and in her editorials, Boyd tells adults that kids need little, if any, direction on tech matters. She says,…

ALA Annual 2015

USBBY Welcomes Authors/Illustrators Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

On Saturday, June 27, 2015, from 3:00 to 4:00 in rooms 228-230 of the Moscone Convention Center, USBBY will present international children’s books author-illustrators Ingrid and Dieter Schubert (scheduler link). Their author talk will highlight The Umbrella (a USBBY award book) and their newest publication, There is a Crocodile under My Bed! Having collaborated on over 10 books, they will discuss the process of creating their beautiful picture books. Q1: You work together collaboratively as illustrators. How does it work to have two people working to produce such a unique aesthetic? Before we start drawing we both make a lot of sketches and talk about the settings and characters. What follows is an endless discussion, we wake up and go to bed with our creations and ideas. During this very intense time we can barely talk about anything else. Boring for other people – especially our daughters. After that tiring period we carefully draw each…

Author Spotlight

Reminder: Apply to Host the 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture!

ALSC and the 2016 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Committee are proud to announce the opening of the application to host the 2016 event featuring award-winning children’s book author and pioneering literacy advocate Pat Mora. Host site application forms can be downloaded at the Arbuthnot site. Applications are due May 15, 2015. Information about host site responsibilities is included in the application materials. The lecture traditionally is held in April or early May. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Mora grew up bilingual and bicultural. With degrees in English and speech, she was a teacher and university administrator before writing children’s books. Known for her lyrical style, Mora’s poetry and prose have won numerous awards, including a 2005 Belpré Honor Medal for text for “Doña Flor: A Tall Tale of a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart,” published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, and illustrated by Raul Colón….