Next post

The next Children's Writer's World post will be on June 15th.

April 15, 2017

Guest Blog: Writing a Review

Children's Writer's World warmly welcomes book reviewer Elizabeth Tipping.

I’m delighted to be writing a guest post for Children’s Writer’s World! I regularly post book reviews on my blog, 2 Cooks Crafting Books:  https://2cookscraftingbooks.wordpress.com/author/2cookcraftingbooks/ 
I’d like to share my process for reviewing and the style of review you’ll find on my blog.

My first step is to identify the book I want to review. Since my goal is to share “great books,” I am picky about what I include on the blog. This means I do A LOT of reading! Fortunately, my kids would rather read with me than do almost anything else, so we do a fair amount of reading in my house. Plus, I love reading on my own.

If I’ve read a book with one (or both) of my kids, one of the things I look for in deciding whether it should be featured is how my child responded to it. My kids will sit through a technical manual if it is being read out loud, so I want to see something more than attention from them.

Last night, for example, my daughter and I read the fantastic BOB, NOT BOB! by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick. BOB, NOT BOB! is “To be read as though you have the worst cold ever” since that is the condition that poor Little Louie finds himself in. So, although we were at a restaurant, I read the appropriate passages as though I had “the worst cold ever.” Once my daughter got control of her laughter, she kept stopping me so that she could call across the table to her older brother to listen to the book. That’s a hit, for sure!

In my review, I provide a bit about the story—without ever giving away too much about what happens. In BOB, NOT BOB!, Little Louie’s cold is making him have a “weird, all-wrong, stuffed-up voice.” Every time he calls for his mom, it comes out “BOB!” Louie’s family also has a dog named Bob, who comes running when Louie calls.

When Bob (the dog) arrives, Louie shouts, in his stuffed-up voice: “NO! I wan by BOB, not BOB! BOB! BOB! BOB!” Although I can’t replicate it here, when Louie shouts BOB! and means his mom, the O has a heart in the middle. When it is BOB! the dog, it is a normal O. It’s a lovely way to help young readers figure out which BOB! Louie really means.

When I’m done describing the book (which may also include such things as character, point of view, or illustrations), I take some time to research the author. I always try to give a little information about the book’s author, and occasionally the illustrator. This section also includes the address for the author’s website or blog, and why someone might want to check out the author’s website (if there’s something extra offered, such as activities or teaching guides).

BOB, NOT BOB! has two authors: Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick. Ms. Scanlon’s website is www.lizgartonscanlon.com. There, she has teachers’ guides for all of her books (some of the guides have crosswords, games, and crafts included!). Ms Vernick’s website is www.audreyvernick.com and it includes a link to her blog.

Finally, I conclude every review by asking for recommendations of other great books to read. We are all enriched by sharing great books with one another!


April 1, 2017

School Career Day

Recently, I had been invited by an instructor at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington, Kentucky to participate in the school's career day program. It's exciting to think that a presentation just might give middle-graders some insight into becoming a writer.

Since I haven't any experience with this kind of event, I goggled how to give a career day presentation.  There are quite a few websites that offer excellent ideas and instruction. This one got me started:  https://www.mcwt.org/files/mcwt2012/1/file/foundation/MCWTF%20Parents%20and%20Teachers%20Docs/Career%20Day%20Speaker%20Tips_Oct2013.pdf  

Most speakers begin with a brief introduction, their job title and how they ended up choosing their career.  Next, presenters reveal what a typical day is like and then relate the skills they use each day to the school subjects students take.  A good chunk of the presentation centers on the positive aspects of a career and why the career matters, and closes with the career paths kids can follow.  

I’m thinking about the kinds of props that will be needed to make the presentation lively, attractive and intriguing to students. Bringing things from my desk might do the trick: colorful notebooks, my red laptop, post-it notes, writing technique books, and an artsy desk lamp.  

There’s still a lot to do in the next two weeks (memorizing and practicing) and I am hopeful everything will turn out fine.  In the meantime, if any of you have ever done a career day or if you have suggestions that would make an interesting presentation for middle graders, I would love to hear from you.