Reader University

Reader University

Reader University
Reader University may sound a little fancy (or silly), but don’t worry you are with me. This won’t get too complicated.
At the end of 2013, I decided after hearing Linda Sue Park speak at the Rocky Mountain Chapter SCBWI conference I should read more.
So, I thought of a personal goal — a reading project for me {and you, if you want to read these posts once a week}.
The basic idea is to read and give back to authors.
I will read more intently this year. I’m not trying to power through a huge list. Trust me I read a lot already as a picture book writer. Dozens of books cross my lap each week. One discussion in a kid lit forum or a mention on Perfect Picture Book Fridays, often results in a flurry of additions to my library hold list. I will simply enjoy {or not — hey they can’t all be winners} the books I read in 2014.
When I read Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story I realized I miss reading different genres. I won’t say novels, because I want to read more short stories too.
Reader University posts will appear on Mondays. A series of 12 posts offer ways readers can help authors and their own writing through reading. These 12 will also appear later on the Pikes Peak Writers blog Writing from the Peak.
So, here’s to adding more #amreading hashtags to my Twitter feed and relaxing more with books.  
Here’s my favorite quote from Linda Sue Park’s keynote address at RMC-SCBWI:

“Saying you don’t have time to read is the equivalent of an Olympic athlete saying she doesn’t have time to train.” — Linda Sue Park

Get training — go read.

Xander’s Panda Party

Xander’s Panda Party

Hello Friday and Perfect Picture Book Friday:
My choice for this week:

Xander’s Panda Party
Written By Linda Sue Park
Illustrated by Matt Phelan
Clarion Books, September 2013
Suitable For Ages: 4 and up
Themes/Topics: inclusion/diversity, animals/panda, parties, zoo

Opening: “Xander planned a panda party. Yes, a dandy whoop-de-do!”

Brief Synopsis: Xander’s plan to host a panda party falls through, since he is the only panda at the zoo, but when he extends the invitation to all of the bears, complications ensue.

Links To Resources: The Smithsonian National Zoological Park page on Giant Panda’s.  Diversity in the classroom. PandaCam. (As I wrote this, the PandaCam wasn’t working, but this could be a temporary problem related to the U.S. Federal Government shutdown.)

Why I Like This Book: I heard author Linda Sue Park speak at the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI speak at the fall Letters and Lines conference. She shared Xander’s Panda Party during her address to the group. I know it’s easy to be impressed by a speaker and her work, but WOW. This is a fun story. It offers a different twist on a party and a zoo story. Plus adds in how to be inclusive, as Xander works through his party invitations. I wanted to get my hands on it to break down the page turns, but the conference bookstore sold out.

Amazon reports the book is 40 pages. The book has a two-page author’s note about the animal groups in the story. The illustrations are soft and fun. I’m traveling this week and as Enzo rebelled against the sheep being held captive in the Kindle, we visited the library with Grandpa. I went straight to the Ps to find this book there! I doubt I’ll be studying it much this week, but we will read it multiple times.

To find more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.

This is my new blog. I haven’t participated in Perfect Picture Book Fridays since March as I finished website design classes and several project. If you want to keep up with other blog posts, please sign to follow future posts via the RSS feed or by email.