3 terrible truths about NaNoWriMo (that prove you should absolutely do it)


We’re a little over a week into National Novel Writing Month, and it seems an excellent time to let a few terrible secrets out of the box. For those curious outsiders, NaNoWriMo is a thirty-day writing challenge to produce a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 pm on November 30th. But when you’re writing, as those who […]

Leo: A Ghost Story


This book is one of my favorites of the year, and I would imagine it’s one that the Caldecott committee will discuss at length. (It has also recently been named a NYT Best Illustrated book.) Mac Barnett’s excellent storytelling, combined with Christian Robinson’s illustrations, make this a true picture book. Robinson’s childlike illustrations (a mix […]

DinoWriMo: Bedtime

Goodnight Moon

What do you get when you read Goodnight Moon to a sleepy dinosaur? A dinosnore. For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

Punctuation: the junction between reading and writing

Yo Yes

At a recent training on fluency, I found myself discussing strategies about how to help the “racing reader” — the reader who, when asked to read aloud, whips through the text on a page as fast as possible. One of the key strategies that I discussed with the tutors that I coach was building awareness […]

DinoWriMo: E-newsletter


What’s the dinosaurs’ favorite email newsletter? Giganotesosaurus from the Horn Book.   For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

I Yam a Donkey!

yam donkey

Who remembers a little book from last year called El Deafo? Graphic novel memoir? About growing up deaf? Won a Newbery Honor and an Eisner Award — that one. Cece Bell’s follow-up to El Deafo — that smart, witty, sensitive, unique, personal story — is a picture book about … a dumb-ass (literally!) donkey and the pompous yam who […]

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

Portrait of Vivien Thomas by Bob Gee

After reading Jim Murphy’s Breakthrough! How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever, our current nonfiction review of the week, I mentioned it to my cousin Dr. Anne Murphy, a pediatric cardiologist at Johns Hopkins. It turns out she knew two of those three, which is both pretty neat and means that, yes, […]

November Boston-area children’s lit events

Photo: Marty Umans

November is absolutely packed with children’s literature related events in and near Boston. Here are just a few highlights; see our calendar for even more events. It’s National Novel Writing Month! Check the calendar for write-in events throughout the month in various venues. Tonight, November 5th at 7:00 pm, author Mike Lupica will be signing […]

The Earth app review

tinybop earth title screen

At the start of The Earth app (Tinybop, September 2015), our blue planet rotates against a field of stars, with occasional comets flashing by (reminiscent of the opening to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos). Scroll along a timeline at top of the screen to move through four geological eras, beginning with the Hadean Eon — the […]

Water Is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle

water is water

In this exploration of the water cycle, Jason Chin uses watercolor and gouache to paint lovely scenes of a family’s pond-side, rural homestead. Each season is shown in vibrant colors and thoughtful details, and water is shown in a different form on each page. I particularly liked the choice to present the house and its […]