Category Archives: Authors

Visiting Author: Ralph Fletcher

At the end of last month, we had Ralph Fletcher visit for a week. It was the first time we have had a visiting author whose books were all over my shelves: novels, poetry, and professional development books- he writes them all!

He had a session with each classroom and held the attention of students from grades KA-5 with ease. Ralph shared with students some of his original writing in his notebook and talked about the process of moving ideas from the notebook into publication. He helped students see the connection between the events in his own life and how those events show up in his writing.

He also captivated an audience of over 100 parents and children on Family Night.

He shared tips for supporting young writers, including letting children write about what they feel is important, responding first to the idea and intention of the writing, and not correcting every last error we see.

One idea he offered that resonated is that as teachers and parents, we want to help children develop a sense of identity. We want them to say “I’m good at soccer” or “I love to draw”, not because someday they will be famous soccer players or artists. We want them to develop skills and confidence in these areas, and they are more likely to do so if they see themselves in that role.

For this reason, we want students to think of themselves as writers for as long as possible. The longer they hold on to the idea that they are an author, the more confident they will be at expressing themselves in writing, and the more willing they will be to develop their skills.

Cultivating this idea in children is one of the reasons I love to use the writer’s workshop model to teach writing. At its core, the workshop is promoting the idea that all children are writers. Ralph’s visit really reinforced this idea for children, parents and teachers throughout the week.

Above all that, Ralph was a delight to hang out with for the week. He was warm and funny, very approachable, and a lot of fun.

Ralph at the Shilin Night Market

Must Watch!

Check out this video book trailer… I love everything about it- familiar faces, the freeze frames at the end… too bad we have to wait until the fall to get our hands on it.

And how cool is Kate DiCamillo? The only female representing… another notch on her bookshelf!

Wimp Yourself

The movie of Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes out this month in the US.  Regardless of how good the movie actually is, I am sure hordes of kids will flock to it.  Fans can Wimp themselves here.  Even though J and E are years away from reading this book (or having it read to them), I think we will Wimp ourselves here soon!

Pen Down, Brain Off

Here’s a quick look into a Sunday with Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me.  You can read about how much I loved that book here.  I love this article because its a reminder of how important it is to unplug and to let things percolate.  Also, I love it because she has named her boys the exact same names that I have- which means we are linked, of course.

An aside:  I stole the title because the writers at the New York Times really know how to write a catchy title.  Titles are one of my weaknesses as a writer.  I know this because every time I post, I have to think of a title and I struggle.  So,I am thinking about titles a lot lately.  Look to see if I improve in the future.