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My critique group was winding up its bi-monthly meeting. We were in Nancy Coffelt’s living room. Before we called it a night and went home, I raised a question. It had been on my mind for some time. I asked the group: “What exactly is a memoir?” Every time I scan the New Book shelf […]

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Lord of the Flies?

Is there anyone who didn’t read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies when we were in junior high school? Golding’s bleak view of human nature left me depressed for a week–which isn’t hard to do when you’re in junior high school. Well, here’s something to cheer you up. There is hope for us yet. Perhaps, […]

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In Support of Libraries and Librarians

A librarian friend of mine asked me to write a letter of support for the librarians in her distract. The district has been considering eliminating elementary and middle school library positions. This has been happening all over the country. In some cases, the librarians are replaced with interns or teachers working toward a library certification. […]

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Another Nail In The Coffin

I keep hearing that the picture book genre is dead. The one exception is books for very young children. That used to be defined as kindergarten and below. Now it seems it’s even younger than that: two and three year olds. The pressure is on to get those tots into the Ivy League. They don’t […]

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Reality Check

Something significant just happened in the book world. For the past eleven years the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals appeared on the Today Show a few days after the award is announced. This year they were pre-empted—by Snooki Polizzi of Jersey Shore! Snook has a book! Matt Lauer, with a straight face, attempted […]

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E-Picture Books—The Future?

An interesting article entitled E-Readers With Color Open Door For Pictures appeared in the New York Times yesterday. Here’s a link if you’d like to check it out for yourself. Click HERE. I’m interested in this topic because right now every writer and illustrator I know who does picture books tells me that they’re becoming […]

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Culture Clash

I had an interesting experience this morning. I took part in a panel discussion with author David Michael Slater. The program was part of the adult education program at Temple Beth Israel. David and I spoke to the question of how being Jewish affects what we write. Some of David’s comments really intrigued me. His […]

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How To Raise A Reluctant Reader

An astonishing article appeared on the front page of the New York Times yesterday. Here’s the link so you can read it yourself: Picture Books, Long a Staple, Lose Out in the Rush to Read. Since most of my books are picture books, this is not something I want to read the first thing in […]

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More Notes From The Coast: Noa Wheeler and Molly O’Neill

Two top editors in the children’s book field, Noa Wheeler of Holt and Molly O’Neill of HarperCollins, gave an important overview of the industry. The changes of recent years have been deep and give all indications of being ongoing. The school and library market is still significant, but not to the degree that it once […]

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