Read about Bill Anderson in Our America Magazine

Hi everyone,

The new issue of Our America Magazine is out and I’m pleased to say I have an article in it about William (Bill) Anderson, “Exploring the Dusty Roads of History.” It’s a good article because of all the help Bill provided about his many and varied adventures from the time he began writing professionally as a young man.

I couldn’t have put so much material together without major input from Bill and I’m glad I didn’t have to. The article should have his name in the byline too. So thank you, Bill, for helping us get a glimpse into your fascinating career, and thank you, Rev. Nicholas Inman, Editor and Publisher of Our America Magazine, for providing this opportunity.

A week for partners

Hi everyone,

The Kansas/Missouri issue of the SCBWI journal just came out and I’m happy to be the featured author with a focus on RUM PUM PUM and the process of writing with a partner. Here’s the link,

Many thanks to Amanda Flinn, the new PAL coordinator for SCBWI Kansas/Missouri, for getting in touch and writing the article/interview. I appreciate it very much and am especially glad to give a boost to RUM PUM PUM. Jane Yolen and I had fun writing this one.

Today I’ll tackle my part of the responses for a interview with Laura Robb and me for GUIDED PRACTICE FOR READING GROWTH, and Friday Mary Jo Fresch and I will Zoom-talk about how to handle an upcoming short article by us about EMPOWERING STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE OF VOCABULARY: LEARNING HOW LANGUAGE WORKSS. These are for our respective publishers to be used on their blogs and perhaps other promotional outlets. This is a week for working with partners!

Talk about a great free ride

Hi everyone,

Recently I mentioned that Mary Jo Fresch (and I, honorarily) had an article accepted by The California Reader, which drew from the book we did together for Scholastic, 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR WRITING SUCCESS. We are particularly pleased to see this new attention brought to the ideas in our book. I think it’s one of the best projects I’ve been involved in because it provides so much help for classroom teachers showing students how to approach writing and greatly improve their results.

I’m happy to say the article is out now in Volume 53, Number 3, Fall 2020, pp 26-30. The title is “Three Steps to Researching: Modeling the Works of Authors.”

Yesterday our editor notified us and said, “We have been receiving rave reviews about your article. I hope you are happy with the end result.” She also invited us to consider future articles, and we will. We even have a potential subject in mind inspired by our book coming out this fall with NCTE titled EMPOWERING STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE OF VOCABULARY: LEARNING HOW LANGUAGE WORKS.

Hey, Mary Jo, maybe on the next one I can be more than just a pretty face. (:>

Accepted for The California Reader

Hi everyone,

Mary Jo Fresch and I have been notified that our peer reviewed article, “Three Steps to Researching: Modeling the Work of Authors,” has been accepted for publication in the Fall Issue of The California Reader, due out next month. The article outlines a classroom tested plan for teaching research skills. Used in a number of classrooms across the United States, the plan consists of three steps, modeled after some of my work. We have presented this plan at several conferences (International Literacy Association, National Council of Teachers of English, Ohio Council of Teachers of English). Between the results of the classroom testing and the reaction of conference participants, we know this is a very doable approach to helping students learn to be researchers.

Editor, Nancy Rogers-Zegarra, a past president of California Reading Association, says she is “very excited to be able to include your insightful article . . . The reviewers loved (it) and I am attaching their comments below.”

1) Nicely organized and written
2) Informative and practical for educators
3) Possibly could have been written as 2 articles, one of which focusing on part 3 Research. The focus could be on 1) Practice use of resources, 2) note taking and 3) summarizing. There’s more to unpack!

My first publication in The California Reader was probably twenty years ago and I’m glad to be in it again. Although the article is informed in part by our book for Scholastic, 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR WRITING SUCCESS, this is nearly all Mary Jo’s handiwork. I’m riding on those proverbial coat tails and loving it.

Some thoughts about books and book stores

Hi everyone,

Yesterday we learned that the 2020 International Literacy Association conference, set for October in Columbus, Ohio, has been cancelled. I had been looking forward to being with and presenting with friends and colleagues while also continuing the effort to help establish AFTER DARK, my February 2020 release. I, along with thousands of others, are disappointed to see yet another large gathering of people get crossed off for this year.

This morning I noticed this brief article in the New York Times:

“Independent bookstores were having such a good run: Customers flocked to them not just for reading ideas, but as neighborhood gathering spots. Now the virus is threatening their very existence, Alexandra Alter reports.

If you want to make sure your local store survives the pandemic, you can help by buying your next book online — directly from a local store. Find the store’s website, or search for it through this database. (You can also find stores on, but stores with their own websites keep more of the money.)”/h5>

The book industry is suffering from the pandemic along with nearly everyone else but Alter’s words remind us that all who value books — to write, to publish, to sell, to read — have a stake in helping where we can. My initial hope was that while people have had to stay home there would be a rush on buying and reading books, particularly to children. Maybe that’s true. The article doesn’t reference that kind of information, but while folks can’t get to their library or book store, Amazon and other online stores may be seeing a spike in their book sales.

That leads to two thoughts.

During the health crisis, authors, illustrators, and publishers who depend on promoting their latest releases have lost most of their traditional opportunities. No conferences. No store signings. No school visits. No library programs. More than ever, book lovers have had to shop online among several million choices of titles old and new. While browsing through selections, prospective buyers may scan what industry reviewers have to say about the book and then they may check out comments left by previous readers. Everything else being equal, titles with more reader reviews have a better chance of being chosen over those with fewer. After working its way through the 4- to 5-year process from author’s brain to market, it seems safe to say that during the pandemic, more than ever, the chance for a new book to succeed online can be seriously impacted by the good will of readers who take the time to post reviews of books they have enjoyed and recommend to friends. As online shopping replaces more and more traditional retail stores, anyone with a product to sell must learn how today’s shoppers think and what effects their choices.

The second thought goes back to the article in the New York Times. If and as online book buying seems like the buyer’s best choice, I hope people will remember to buy through their local book stores. When I go into the Barnes & Noble a few blocks from our house, I see the coffee shop filled with people, some reading newspapers or scanning books, college students doing homework, small groups holding meetings, and that’s before I walk up and down the aisles admiring the brainchildren of thousands of men and women who have given large portions of their lives to create books. You can’t have that experience online. You have to be there. But if you can’t be there now, let’s do all we can to make sure the experience of going to a book store will be there waiting for us when we can return.