Family Voices asking for your help

Hi everyone,

I am delighted with the wonderful pictures we’ve been receiving of families reading to their young children that I can post on FAMILY VOICES. Please keep them coming. We need many more so please consider adding a picture to the growing collection. I’ve posted one of the new pictures so far and will post the next one tomorrow so please go look for it and end your support by liking it. Whether you can send me pictures or not, I ask that you visit the FAMILY VOICES site and urge others to start following it too. It’s so important to help young parents remember the significance of reading to their children.

Ozarks Family Voices
July 22 at 12:05 PM ·
To all you moms and dads and grandmas and granddads and big brothers and big sisters and aunts and uncles and everyone else who reads to kids, here’s an invitation. Family Voices is seeking pictures of you sharing a book with a little one that we can post here to show others how it’s done. Send your picture(s) (saved in jpg please) to, along with name of reader, first name of child (not required), and permission to have it posted here to encourage others to read to their children on a regular basis. On behalf of everyone at FAMILY VOICES, thank you!

Here’s a picture of a mother (Anita) reading a book in Portuguese to her son. Wherever we live in the world, reading to our children is a universal act of love and wisdom.

At least I know what I’ll be doing

Hi everyone,

Although my book with Mary Jo Fresch for NCTE (Empowering Students’ Knowledge of Vocabulary) started a year before the one with Laura Robb for Corwin (Guided Practice for Reading Growth, Grades 4–8), both are now coming down to the wire side by side. Last minute requests for changes can be tricky because we wrote the manuscripts so long ago it takes time to get back into the groove, remember exactly why we put the books together the way we did, and then settle in to decide whether or not we agree with suggested revisions and tweaks.

The Robb deadline is this week, July 25, and the Fresch is due August 3. As so often happens, whatever I thought I was going to be doing goes to the back burner until these two priorities are out of the way. But at least I know now what I’m going to be working on for the next several days.

BULLFROGS in paperback

Hi everyone,

Home again after three weeks in Santa Rosa Beach. Great new memories with Jeff, Jennifer, Robin, Tim, and Kris. Today it’s back to the regular routine and getting caught up on mail, which he put on hold while we were gone.

One of the items I’ve been eager to open was the box of paperback editions of AND THE BULLFROGS SING, which arrived right after we left. I saw it delivered via my front door camera so I knew it was here.

I sat down to admire once again the beautiful illustrations by Kate Cosgrove. This book was chosen by the Maryland Library Association as an Honor Book for beginning nonfiction in the 2020 Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award voting. I’m so pleased to see it now made available by Holiday House in paperback for $8.99 to make it more affordable for a wider audience.

The Great Detective Bob

Hi everyone,

Yesterday some friends, Bob and Zoë Alley, sent a note saying their 30-year-old daughter, Cassie, asked them why a line from a book had popped into her head. She quoted it as: “Never worry, never fear, the great Detective Bob is here.”

It really made my day, especially when I went to Amazon and found it still listed and selling pretty well in spite of being 40 years old. Parents Press published the book in 1980 but now it’s listed as a March 1, 1981 Dutton Childrens Book. One recent reader reviewer (2018) gave it 5 stars and wrote, “I had this book as a child, and the version my parents have is so beat up and so well loved it’s funny. My daughter fell in love with it when we went to visit them and I was so happy to have found a copy to keep at home for her to read any time she wants. It is an adorable story with lots of laughs and still so much fun to read 30 years later.”

Bob is a prolific, terrific artist and Zoë is a talented author of a number of stellar children’s books. Bob has new PADDINGTON BEAR books and as an author/illustrator duo they have two reissues coming out: THERE’S A WOLF AT THE DOOR and THERE’S A PRINCESS IN THE PALACE. My thanks to Cassie and her thoughtful mom and dad for making Friday a great day for me by bringing back such a fun memory.


Hi everyone,

Yesterday Jane Yolen and I received a copy of the first review of our upcoming picture book, RUM PUM PUM, a lovely review from Kirkus, which will be published July 14. The title is now set for a September 15 release date and is already available online for advance orders.
British artist Anjan Sarkar illustrated our book and the reviewers love his work as much as we do. For more information about Anjan, here’s a link.

I’m especially happy with this book and one reason is because it began spontaneously here on my blog. Some of you may recall the day when Jane responded to something I posted, I answered, she answered, and we went offline to complete the book we’d accidentally begun. Every book has a back story but this one is unique in that it has many godmothers and godfathers who watched its public conception.