WOW! I finished my first stint as a 28 Days Later blogger. After researching and emailing back and forth with five authors, I feel like I made lifelong friends. Just reading about their accomplishments made me scurry back to my office and hit the laptop keys.
2011 was a great year for me. I had 10 early readers published, 11 if you count the Spanish translation of The Best Shoes. My Pet Club series of eight books was published by Stone Arch Books. They featured me on their website. I love writing early readers and kids seem to love reading them. I was ecstatic when a Lee Elementary teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma told me “Thank you for writing books my second graders can read successfully.” That’s when I knew I had done a good job.
Because of my early readers, I was invited to the Humboldt County Authors Festival in Eureka, California last October. I had an amazing time visiting with students, sharing my writing life, and learning about theirs. I visited three schools and one had only eight students! An apple orchard surrounded the school. Students picked apples and the teachers baked a pie for me. I can still taste the warm apples and smell the cinnamon. Delicious!
So far this year, I’ve finished a picture book biography and have sent it out to find the perfect publisher. I have lots of ideas for other books I need to start researching. That reminds me that I need to head back to my office and laptop and start thinking about the next 28 Days Later.
HOOKS, Gwendolyn. Pet Costume Party. illus. by Mike Byrne. 32p. (Stone Arch Readers: The Pet Club Series). Stone Arch. 2011. PLB $21.32. ISBN 978-1-4342-2513-9; pap. $3.95. ISBN 978-1-4342-3053-9. LC number unavailable.
K-Gr 2–Andy and his pet goldfish are having a Halloween party and need costumes. They move through various choices but the fact that Nibbles can’t talk complicates matters. Ultimately, Andy does all of the brainstorming and the fish uses creative nonverbal methods to add her two cents. Throw in the bow on the top of her head and how she deadpans her displeasure, and Nibbles steals the show. Byrne’s vibrant cartoon drawings offer gentle humor to Hooks’s giggle-worthy story. Basic vocabulary combined with dialogue and slightly more complex sentence structures will help stretch beginning readers while keeping them engaged with the familiar. An excellent addition to most collections.–Sarah Townsend, Norfolk Public Library, VA