Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe

Fall 2013

Coming soon--Ukulele Hayley!

Chicago Public Library Best of the Best list 2012

Oregon Book Awards 2012

Ukulele Lady

Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2011

200,000 people attended the National Book Festival.

Each state had a table at the Pavilion of States. Look closely, and you'll see CARMEN LEARNS ENGLISH.

Everyone got a map. Kids took the maps to each state's table to get it stamped. I helped stamp using Oregon's Ramona Quimby stamp (because Beverly Cleary is an Oregon author.)

We saw Giant Pandas at the National Zoo in Washington, D. C.

After visiting Washington, D. C. we took the train back to Portland, Oregon--from sea to shining sea!

After three days on the train, I look a little bit tired. But happy!

Move over Rock Bottom Remainders! Here comes "Banned"! From left to right: Neysa, Monelle, Michelle, Judy (not pictured: Docena, Lucinda)

Keynote address at SCBWI--Southern Idaho/Northern Utah April 2011

Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2011

Prince George, B. C. gets a lot of snow!

Fleur in Aberglen Castle (Div. 6 Highglen Elementary)

At Heather Park Elementary with Ishbu the rat puppet.

Frederick and Ishbu's first adventure!

The second book in The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu

Summer Reading

Word by Word

Exciting New Opportunity

August 27, 2015

Tags: Diane Kidd, Judy Cox, Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe, children's books, chapter books

Judy Cox and Diane Kidd at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
Recently I took a trip to Washington D. C. where I was fortunate to meet Diane Kidd, the illustrator of my book, WEIRD STORIES FROM THE LONESOME CAFE. Diane works at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

You might know that WEIRD STORIES FROM THE LONESOME CAFE, published by Harcourt in 2000, is now out of print. The rights have reverted to us, and so we are pursuing the opportunity to bring out a new edition.

And--(drum roll, please) we are planning to publish a sequel as well!

This is an exciting new venture for us! I'll keep you posted as things progress!

The Power of Fan Mail

January 26, 2015

Tags: judy cox, children's books, ukulele hayley, the secret chicken society, writing, fan mail, authors, kid lit, Mrs. Millie

The text you type here will appear directly below the image
I recently got a couple of fan letter—emails, actually—about my Tails of Frederick and Ishbu books:

“Are you going to make any more Frederick and Ishbu adventure books? I read both of those books in two days, so could you at least think about it?”

For those of you who don’t know, there are currently two books in the series. The first, THE MYSTERY OF THE BURMESE BANDICOOT came out in 2007. It introduces rat brothers Frederick and Ishbu, who live in a cage in Miss Dove’s fifth grade classroom. Ishbu loves marshmallow treats and carrot sticks, and Frederick loves geography. During their sojourn in the class, Frederick has learned to read. When the two rats are called to save the world from the evil mastermind (a blind, albino opossum named The Big Cheese) Frederick’s reading skills—and the fifth grade education he’s received—save the day.

The second book, THE CASE OF THE PURLOINED PROFESSOR, came out in 2009. It can be read on its own, although it includes several continuing characters. The lovable rats must again save the world from the Big Cheese and his gang, the Bilgewater Brigade.

The books are part adventure, part mystery, and total fun. Cultural references range from Edgar Allan Poe, to the Maltese Falcon.

Both books received good reviews and THE MYSTERY OF THE BURMESE BANDICOOT was awarded “Book of the Month” at a library in Wellington, New Zealand! Some fans in Prince George, BC invited me to come and visit their schools, and I had a marvelous time.

I loved writing those books, and I was heart broken when my publisher decided not to publish any more in the series. According to them, the books didn’t sell well enough.

Fortunately, I have options. With new technology, I don’t need a publisher; I can bring the third Frederick and Ishbu book out on my own. It’s truly a labor of love.

At the time of this writing, THE CASE OF THE PURLOINED PROFESSOR is still in print and is available from Amazon.com and all leading bookstores. THE MYSTERY OF THE BURMESE BANDICOOT went out of print in hardback, and I brought it back out in a paperback edition with my own cut paper artwork on the cover. It’s also available on Amazon.com.

I hope to have the third book finished by this summer. (Keep your fingers crossed!) So keep those cards and letter coming, folks. You inspire me.


Welcome to the Blog Hop!

August 13, 2013

Tags: Ukulele Hayley, children's books, Bruce Hale, Judy Cox

Thanks to multitalented children’s author Bruce Hale for the invitation to this blog hop! Here’s a link to his website where you can read about his new picture book, CLARK THE SHARK and his School for Spies series for middle grade:
Bruce Hale

What gave you the idea for Ukulele Hayley?

I knew that ukuleles were enormously popular, and that many schools were starting up uke bands and clubs. As part of my research, I taught myself to play ukulele and became completely hooked! The uke is a fun instrument—it’s light, portable, and inexpensive. It’s relatively easy to learn the basic chords, but the instrument is versatile enough for jazz and classical music. In the book, Hayley starts a uke club at school. I became so enthralled with ukulele that I started a ukulele group in my town, and I also teach uke classes for children at a local music store. It’s a clear case of Life imitating Art!

How does it differ from others in that genre?

Ukulele Hayley is an early chapter book with a lot of humor. There are lots of books for that age group, but I think mine differ in that they are a little bit deeper. I hope that my children’s books have “heart”—something you can take away after you finish the book—an idea that resonates with both children and adults. In the case of Ukulele Hayley, I wanted to portray the power music has to bring people together.

Why do you write what you do?

I write humor because I see the quirky side of things. It’s my nature to make up stories; that just seems to be the way I think. I probably only get around to writing down a small portion of them! I was a bookworm growing up, and I remember all the wonderful books from my childhood and the joy reading brought me. I always wanted to be a part of that writing and reading world. Even after 26 books, seeing my books at a library or bookstore is a tremendous thrill.

What’s the hardest part about writing?

That’s changed over the years. When I was working as a teacher, playing in a band, and raising my son, finding the time to write was the hardest part. Now that I’m retired, and my son is grown, I still struggle with finding time--possibly even more so now that I don’t have a regular job to organize my time. I’d so much rather play the ukulele! But, once I sit down and get involved in my story, the words eventually flow, even if not quite at the same pace as they once did.


What are you working on now?

I have a new picture book, tentatively titled “WoolGathering” coming out in 2014. I’m currently working on the third book in my fantasy/animal/adventure series, The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu. The series includes The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot and The Case of the Purloined Professor. Frederick and Ishbu are brother rats who live in a cage in Miss Dove’s fifth grade classroom. Ishbu loves carrot sticks and marshmallow treats and Frederick loves Geography. In my new book, they are evicted from their cage and must find their way back home (and save the world from their nemesis, the Big Cheese—an evil mastermind who heads up the Bilgewater Brigade gang.

I've invited other children's authors to participate--I'll add them as they respond, so keep checking back!

The Secret Chicken Society Awarded Oregon Spirit Award

May 19, 2013

Tags: The Secret Chicken Society, OCTE, Oregon Spirit Book Award, Judy Cox, children's books, chickens, Portland

The Secret Chicken Society won The Oregon Spirit Book Award in the Juvenile category. The award, sponsored by the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, selects Oregon authors who make “a distinguished contribution to children’s literature or young adult literature that engages and encourages readers’ imagination, discovery, and understanding, reflecting the spirit and values held by Oregonians.”

Winners will be presented with the award at the OCTE Fall Conference on October 5, 2013, at Wilsonville High School.

THE SECRET CHICKEN SOCIETY

$15.95 HC • 978-0-8234-2372-9

$5.99 PB • 978-0-8234-2765-9

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour!

January 16, 2013

Tags: judy cox, next big thing blog tour, children's books, snow day for mouse

The Next Big Thing is here!

What is it? It’s a terrific blog event that shines a spotlight on authors’ upcoming book releases. The event was originally launched in Australia and is now spreading around the world. I received my tag from children’s author, Lori Mortensen, and at the end of my interview, I’ll tag several other writers who’ll share what their Next Big Thing when they blog next week.

Here's my interview about my Next Big Thing:
What is the title of your new book?
SNOW DAY FOR MOUSE

Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is the fourth picture book about Mouse. He began his adventures in ONE IS A FEAST FOR MOUSE: A THANKSGIVING TALE; continued in CINCO DE MOUSE-O!, and HAUNTED HOUSE, HAUNTED MOUSE.

What genre does your book fall under?
My book is a humorous fiction picture book.

What is the synopsis of your book?

Hooray! It's a snow day. The family is baking cookies, and Mouse gets showered with yummy crumbs. But the real adventure begins when he accidentally gets swept out the door with the snow Dad has tracked into the house. Mouse is in for a wild winter wonderland romp with Cat close on his tail!

Who published your book?
Holiday House. They’ve published quite a few of my books, including the entire Mouse series. They are the oldest independent children's book publishers in New York City.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The idea developed over a few years, as I kept changing the holiday from Valentine’s Day to Christmas and finally settled on a book that would reflect winter rather than a specific holiday. The actual draft took only a couple of weeks.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Picture books with engaging animal characters such as Peter Rabbit, Olivia, and Angelina Ballerina, and of course my other Mouse books.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My husband likes to feed the birds on our back deck in the winter. We get wintering juncos, white-crowned sparrows, and house sparrows. Nothing as exotic as the birds that Mouse meets! We also have mice living under our deck, eating the birdseed that falls through the cracks. They occasionally dart out to steal seed the birds have dropped. I love watching them—and so does our cat!

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

There is a free activities page on the Holiday House website Holiday House Activities Page

And here’s what reviewers are saying:

"Readers will look forward to taking this snow-day romp again and again." --Kirkus Reviews

"Ebbeler's generously detailed acrylics brim with comedic details."--Publisher's Weekly

“This fourth story about Mouse perfectly sums up the euphoria of fresh-fallen snow. Cox’s text rhymes throughout, and reads aloud well.”--School Library Journal

What’s coming up?

My next “Next Big Thing” is a chapter book titled Ukulele Hayley, that will come out in Fall 2013 from Holiday House, with illustrations by Amanda Haley. It’s the story of third grader, Hayley, who saves her school’s music program when she starts a ukulele club. While researching the book, I taught myself to play the ukulele. Now I teach classes and run a ukulele group. I’m totally hooked! Watch for UKULELE HAYLEY in Fall 2013.

Next week, check out these fine authors:

Pamela Smith Hill
Erik Brooks
Linda Benson
Margaret Fuller
Donna Peterson

the secret chicken society honored

January 10, 2013

Tags: the secret chicken society, backyard chickens, judy cox, children's books, chicago public library, fiction

Best of the Best 2012--Chicago Public Library
The Secret Chicken Society is now out in paperback, making a perfect selection for book clubs and literature circles!

It was recently honored with being named to the Chicago Public Library's "BEST OF THE BEST 2012" list of children's books:

http://www.chipublib.org/forkids/kidsbooklists/bestofbest_list.php

Next week, I'll be part of The Next Big Thing Blog Tour, so stay tuned to this channel!

The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot

November 14, 2012

Tags: mystery, rats, burmese, backinprint, adventure, Judy Cox, children's books

Now available in paperback--a new edition of The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot!

One of the hardest things about being an author these days is seeing a favorite book go out of print. In the olden, golden days of children's books, books stayed in print for decades, giving time for people to find the book and for the audience to grow. Not so anymore. All sorts of economic pressures conspire to put books out of print.

I cried when I found out that The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot was going OOP. I cried, and then I bought up as many copies as I could afford. And then I decided to do something else--something that was never available to me before. I brought out a new paperback edition of the book, through Authors Guild's Back in Print program.

Sadly, I wasn't able to obtain the rights to Omar Rayvan's gorgeous cover illustration, so I made a cut paper illustration of my own and used that.

Now, at long last, the first adventure of Frederick and Ishbu is available again. I hope you enjoy it!

Highlights of 2011

December 31, 2011

Tags: new year, judy cox, children's books, 2011, Snowmouse, Haunted House Haunted Mouse, Don't Be Silly Mrs. Millie, The Secret Chicken Society, Happy Birthday Mrs. Millie

Visit to Kenwood School
This has been an amazing year for me, both personally and professionally! Here are some of the highlights:

January--I sold a new Mouse picture book to Holiday House, tentatively titled SNOWMOUSE. It will release in Fall 2012.

I taught "Writing Your Life Stories" for Treasure Valley Community College. The senior citizens have amazing stories to tell, and I was proud to help.

February--My first International school visit to Prince George, BC was a lovely experience.

March--I taught a poetry workshop for Oregon Writing Project at Eastern Oregon University.

April--My mini-book tour of Oregon and Washington included school visits to Lincoln City, Dallas, Tacoma, and Vancouver, WA.

My first keynote speech for the Boise SCBWI conference

May--A trip to England with my sisters and their daughters! We visited Bath, Glastonbury, York, the Cotswolds, and London. More story material!

June--My son graduated from college. I am the proud mom of a college graduate!

July--August--Lots of belly dance performances, including my first solo veil dances. Also, lots of kayaking (lots of Advil, too!)A trip to Coos Bay, Oregon for a family wedding and a short story, "Dustbowl Journey", published in Cricket Magazine cap the summer.


September--National Book Festival. My husband and I flew to Washington, DC where I hosted the Oregon table. DON"T BE SILLY, MRS. MILLIE! was listed as a "52 Great Reads" book by the Library of Congress. We took the train home--a memorable trip across the country. Look for it to show up in a book someday.

October--HAUNTED HOUSE, HAUNTED MOUSE was released to good reviews. School visits in Sonoma, CA and the Humboldt County Author's Festival in Eureka, CA. A short story, "Dad Battles the Bat" published in Ladybug magazine.

November--A school visit to tiny Harper, Oregon, home of the Harper Hornets. My husband and I played lots of music gigs with "The Swingin' Four". Thanksgiving with our son.

December--I got the advance readers copies for "THE SECRET CHICKEN SOCIETY" (releasing from Holiday House in February) and "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MRS. MILLIE!" (releasing from Marshall Cavendish in May). Christmas in Portland, OR with our son.

What a year! I hope your New Year is filled with joy, good health, and happiness!





THE TWELVE BOOKS OF CHRISTMAS

December 7, 2011

Tags: Christmas, children's books, literature, reading, Santa’s Beard is Soft and Warm, Bob Ottum and Jo Anne Wood., The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson, Baby’s Christmas, Eloise Wilkin, The Twelve Days of Christmas Dogs, Carolyn Conahan, Cookie Count, Robert Sabuda, It’s Christmas, Jack Prelutsky, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston, Barbara Cooney, The Mole Family’s Christmas, Russell Hoban, The Story of Holly and Ivy, Rumer Godden, Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, Robert Barry, The Wild Christmas Reindeer, Jan Brett

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
When my son was young, our holiday tradition was to buy a new Christmas book every year. That, coupled with the books other people gave us, and all of the I-can’t-resist-this-one extras that I bought, soon led us to a HUMONGOUS collection. We kept the books in a special, decorated box (which soon became two boxes, and then three….). We got the books out every year on December 1st. In an effort to keep the holidays somewhat scaled back, we didn’t decorate our house until around Dec. 10, so the books were the only evidence of Christmas-is-coming for nearly two weeks.

Last year, I posted a list of my top favorite Christmas books. In the spirit of the season, I rummaged through my boxes again and came up with 12 more favorites:

1. Santa’s Beard is Soft and Warm by Bob Ottum and Jo Anne Wood. Remember “Pat the Bunny”? This is the Christmas version of a touch-and-feel book.

2. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. Great family read-aloud about the true spirit of Christmas.

3. Baby’s Christmas by Eloise Wilkin. This is OLD. I’ll bet I had this as a baby, too!

4. The Twelve Days of Christmas Dogs by Carolyn Conahan. This is NEW. I bought it to give as a gift, and then couldn’t bear to part with it.

5. Cookie Count by Robert Sabuda. I love anything with mice. And cookies. Yum!

6. It’s Christmas by Jack Prelutsky. Jolly Christmas rhymes and jingles to read aloud.

7. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney. A beautifully told story of wartime (WWI) Appalachian Christmas. I choke up every time I read it.

8. The Mole Family’s Christmas by Russell Hoban. What would a mole want more than to see the stars? Russell Hoban is a genius.

9. The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden. An unabashedly sentimental tale of dolls and their wishes.

10. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. Found in the library discard pile, this one’s a keeper!

11. The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett. I love the other stories told within Jan’s illustrated borders. A good one to pair with The Mitten.

12. The Mitten by Jan Brett. There are other versions of this classic winter folk tale, but her charming illustrations are not to be missed.

What books are on your Christmas list?




October is National Bullying Prevention Month

October 18, 2011

Tags: Anti-bullying, NEA, children's books, Judy Cox, teachers, cyberbullying, Carmen Learns English, Mean Mean Maureen Green, Puppy Power, That Crazy Eddie and the Science Project of Doom, Carmen Learns English, Nora and the Texas Terror

October is National Bullying Prevention Month
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Several of my books are used in school anti-bullying programs as discussion starters. At the heart of my chapter books, I write about relationships--how to get along with others,treat one another equitably, make friends, deal with conflicts. Fiction is a great way for children to experience another child's reality and learn empathy. There's an old saying, "You don't really know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes". Stories take you on that walk.

Here are some of my books that are used in anti-bullying programs: (Note--some of them are no longer in print, but available at libraries)

Mean, Mean Maureen Green
Puppy Power
Nora and the Texas Terror
That Crazy Eddie and the Science Project of Doom
Third Grade Pet
Butterfly Buddies
Carmen Learns English

How can you help? Sign the anti-bullying pledge on NEA's website, pledging to be a caring adult. Be a role model for treating people with kindness and compassion. Share books with your children that open discussions on how to treat others. If we all work together, we can stop bullying.

Word by Word and Keynote Butterflies

April 22, 2011

Tags: SCBWI, Regional Conference, Idaho, Utah, Sydney Salter, Lori Benton, Neysa Jensen, Carol Lynch Williams, Jen Rofe, agents, children's books, writing

I had a great time at the SCBWI-Utah/Southern Idaho Regional Conference last week. Not only did we rock, we rocked out! Move over Rock Bottom Remainders--here comes "Banned"! But before I got to pick up my bass and play, first I had to give the opening keynote speech.

This was a new experience. I've taught workshops all over the place, and done zillions of critiques, even spoken to a crowd of over 200 teachers, but a Keynote--the very word had me shaking in my boots. I thought I'd signed on for a two hour craft lecture on "Voice", and I was fine with that. But change "lecture" to "keynote" and somehow it upped the ante. I was breaking out in cold sweats just thinking about it. That's the power of words for you.

In the end, that's what I spoke about--The Power of Words. My talk was well received, to judge by the comments. At least and the audience laughed in all the right places. So I want to thank the organizers for inviting me--and making me step out of my comfort zone.

Authors included Sydney Salter (My Big Nose) and Carol Lynch Williams (The Chosen One). Lori Benton from Scholastic and Jennifer Rofe from Andrea Brown Agency also spoke. (more…)

Best Books of 2011

April 2, 2011

Tags: Bank Street College of Education Best Books for Children, Carmen Learns English, Cinco de Mouse-O!, Jeffrey Ebbeler, Angela Dominguez, picture books, Judy Cox, children's books

Happy News!

Two of my books, CINCO DE MOUSE-O! (Holiday House; illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler)and CARMEN LEARNS ENGLISH (Holiday House; illustrated by Angela Dominguez) have been chosen as Best Children's Books of 2011 by the Bank Street College of Education.

The Children's Book Committee reviews over 6000 books each year and selects 600 books to include in their annotated bibliography. From their website:

"The Children's Book Committee was founded almost 100 years ago to help parents, teachers, and librarians choose the books that children will find captivating and transforming."

I'm proud to be among the books selected.

And the Winners Are....

January 11, 2011

Tags: Newbery, Caldecott, children's books, children's literature, awards, Elbrite Brown, Erin E. Stead, Clare Vanderpool

Judy Cox
Monday was a big day in the world of kidlit. The ALA Youth Media Awards were announced. The awards are the equivalent of the Oscars for children's book authors, illustrators, and publishers.

The awards, given by the American Library Association, are announced during the ALA January conference. In 2005, Elbrite Brown won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent for his gorgeous cut paper illustrations for my book "My Family Plays Music". Amazingly, I didn't find out for two weeks!

This year's Newbery Award went to "Moon Over Manifest" by Clare Vanderpool.

The Caldecott (for picture book illustration) went to "A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” illustrated by Erin E. Stead and written by Philip C. Stead.

I'm looking forward to reading these books, along with the other award winners and honor books. I don't always agree with the committee's selections--my most frequent complaint is some of the books seem to have less kid appeal than adult appeal--but I know that a Newbery or Caldecott winner will always be beautifully crafted, adding breadth and depth to the world of children's literature.

What were some of your favorite books this year?



My Favorite Christmas Books

December 24, 2010

Tags: christmas, children's books

Every year on December 1st, we haul out two boxes of Christmas books. It became a tradition, mostly started as a way to help temper my son's excitement and let it build more slowly. I still get the books out on Dec. 1st, even though my son is now in college.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite Christmas books. Most of them are for children, but not all:

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
A Christmas classic picture book. So much better than the movie. I hang silver jingle bells on the tree every year.

On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown
I am so glad this was reprinted with new illustrations. The text captures both the shivers of excitement and the peacefulness of Christmas Eve.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
A classic on the true meaning of Christmas. Read the book, then watch the cartoon narrated by Boris Karloff. Don't bother with the movie.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
This gentle wordless picture book was made into an animated short movie some time ago. The movie is worth seeing and has an exceptionally beautiful score.

Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies
The best movie version is the 1940's black and white movie with Maureen O'Hara. This book came after the movie, in an unusual switch. I have the version illustrated by Tomie dePaola.

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
A seasonal sequel to The Jolly Postman, with letters and games that actually pull out of the book.

The Christmas Alphabet by Robert Sabuda
My favorite of the pop-up book artist's Christmas titles. All the pop-ups are in white, on colored background.

Peter Spier's Christmas by Peter Spier
If I could choose only one Christmas book to read every year, this would be it. It's a wordless book, a simple story of a family getting ready for Christmas. For me, the magic is in the fact that the book ends--not on Christmas day, with gift giving--but in undecorating, taking out the trash and the tree, returning items, and the sense that Christmas will come again next year. There's something incredibly reassuring about that--things don't have to be perfect! I get another shot at it next year!

Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas by Russell Hoban
This is a wonderful book to read aloud. Jim Henson made a muppet-style movie of the book, which I enjoy. But the book is better. Maybe because I'm a musician, I really appreciate the musical context.

Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge
This is a book for adults, set in England following World War II. It's not primarily a Christmas book, but the end scenes take place in an old inn, at Christmas. The author's descriptions are incredibly visual.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Another book that is not primarily a Christmas book, but has a wonderfully Christmasy scene in it. And who doesn't love Mole, Rat, and Toad?

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Always winter, and NEVER Christmas? The spell is broken when Father Christmas arrives.

Santa Calls by William Joyce
The pictures of the North Pole are outstanding in this humorous adventure book set in a fictional 1908 time period. Think of old adventure movie sequels.

It's a Wonderful Christmas by Susan Waggoner
A non-fiction book for Baby Boomers. The subtitle is "The Best of the Holidays 1940--1965. Tons of photos and old ads.

That's my list. Have a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year!

That Toddlin' Town

April 29, 2010

Tags: Chicago, IRA, Cinco de Mayo, Jeffrey Ebbeler, Hilary Wagner, Holiday House, children's books, reading, David Adler, Eric Kimmel, Laurie Lawlor

Judy reflects.
I'm just home from my whirlwind adventure in Chicago! What a quick trip. I flew in on Sunday and back home on Tuesday. The weather smiled upon me and I had a brisk, blue, spring day in which to swoop about town. I made the most of it, rising early to walk through Grant Park to the shore of Lake Michigan, passing beds of yellow and red tulips nodding in the breeze. They don't call it the Windy City for nothing! My presentation at the International Reading Association National conference, with professor Deborah Wooten (author of "Children's Literature in the Reading Program: An Invitation to Read") went very well. I'd purchased a netbook computer to run my Powerpoint slide show, but didn't need it after all. Jeff Ebbeler, the illustrator of Cinco de Mouse-O! and One is a Feast for Mouse was there, so we invited him onstage to answer questions.

Jeff and I had two hours between the presentation and our book-signing at the Holiday House booth, so we caught a cab and dashed over to the Chicago Art Institute where I steeped myself in the vivid colors of the Impressionists. What a superb collection of art. One of my favorite exhibits was the Joseph Cornell boxes, but everywhere I turned I saw a painting, sculpture, print, or photo of something I recognized. The whole thing gave me goose bumps.

That night I joined Eric Kimmel, David Adler, Laurie Lawlor, Hilary Wagner, notable educators, and the folks from Holiday House at a dinner at the Chicago Firehouse restaurant.

The next morning, on Jeff's advice, I headed to Millennium Park where I had the Cloud Gate (known to Chicagoans as "the bean") all to myself. Photo op!

Many thanks to the fine folks at Holiday House for inviting me. I had a wonderful time and hope to go back again someday!

Countdown to Chicago!

April 21, 2010

Tags: IRA, Chicago, Judy Cox, children's books, reading, Cinco de Mouse-O!, Jeffrey Ebbeler

Judy and illustrator Jeffrey Ebbeler in Chicago
It's only four days away and Wow!--am I excited.

I'll be speaking at the International Reading Association National Conference in Chicago at 11am on Monday, April 26. My presentation--with Deborah Wooten, education professor and author of "Children's Literature in the Reading Program"--is entitled "Celebrate Reading!" I'll be giving a slide show and talking about the stories behind my books.

Come join me at 2:30 that afternoon at the Holiday House booth, #1910. Jeff Ebbeler and I will be signing our newest book, Cinco de Mouse-O!

If you're in the Windy City, stop by and say "Hello!"

Win a copy of Cinco de Mouse-O!

March 25, 2010

Tags: judy cox, children's books, cinco de mayo, mice, picture books, contest

Enter to win an autographed copy of Cinco de Mouse-O! and read an interview with me at Linda Benson's website: http://www.lindabenson.blogspot.com/

I met Linda when we were both living in the same small Oregon town. I taught a class on writing for children at the local community college and she signed up. We hit it off right away and became good friends. Not long after that, however, we each moved away. A year or so later, she wrote with the good news that she had sold her first mid-grade novel, The Horse Jar.

Now we live hundreds of miles from each other,in different states, but keep in touch through Facebook and email. Thank goodness for the internet!

Linda has been kind enough to host an interview with me on her blog page, and include a drawing for a signed copy of my new picture book, Cinco de Mouse-O!.See her webpage for details.

I hope to return the favor and post an interview with her soon (as soon as I figure out how to do it. Stay tuned!

NEW CURRICULUM GUIDE

January 27, 2010

Tags: lesson plans, curriculum, Judy Cox, rat fiction, children's books, mysteries, adventure, Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot, The Case of the Purloined Professor, lesson plans, science activities

Download the curriculum guide on the parents and teachers page.
I've just added a free downloadable curriculum guide to my website.

You can find the guide by clicking the FOR TEACHERS tab, but it's not just for teachers. I hope everyone will check it out. I loved coming up with the activities in the guide--that's the teacher in me. In fact, I had to work hard just to limit it to nine pages. Maybe I'll have to do a Volume Two!

Some of the activities you'll find are:

How to make a Marshmallow Catapult
A Paper Airplane Contest
Postcards from Frederick and Ishbu
Mapping the Journey
A Recipe for Ishbu's Favorite Treat

In addition, I'd like to invite teachers to enter a drawing for free books. Details are available on the For Teachers tab under the link to the curriculum guide.

Find all this and more at www.judycox.net


Fleased as Punch!

December 10, 2009

Tags: Time magazine, awards, Mrs. Millie, children's books, Best Books, 2009, Judy Cox

I'm thrilled to announce that TIME Magazine listed PICK A PUMPKIN, MRS. MILLIE! as one of the top ten children's books for 2009!

The first Mrs. Millie book, DON'T BE SILLY, MRS. MILLIE! was named to the list in 2005.

Behind the Scenes The Case of the Purloined Professor

December 8, 2009

Tags: rats, fiction, children's books, mystery, Switzerland, Scotland, San Francisco, Zermatt, Matterhorn, Loch Ness, Cawdor Castle

If you've read the first book in The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu series, The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot, you know that Frederick and Ishbu are based on two real pet rats I had in my kindergarten classroom a few years ago.

Frederick was a slim gray rat, the color known to rat fanciers as "lilac". Ishbu was a hooded rat with a white body and black head. Both rats had round shiny black eyes and whiskers that vibrated with every motion. I spun tales of their imagined adventures to entertain my kindergartners. Many years later, I expanded the adventures and wrote them down.

Most of the places in the first book were researched through the internet, books, and magazines, but when it came time to write the second book, I wanted to recreate places I'd actually visited--my hometown of San Francisco, one of the world's loveliest cities; Loch Ness and Cawdor Castle in Scotland; Zermatt and the Matterhorn in Switzerland.

I don't know where the rats will travel to next, but I hope they will take me along.

Pick a Pumpkin, Mrs. Millie!

July 22, 2009

Tags: Judy Cox, children's books, children's author, reading, books, Mrs. Millie, pumpkin patch, field trip, Kindergarten, Halloween, pumpkin, puns, wordplay

It's here! My new book, PICK A PUMPKIN, MRS. MILLIE! is now available in bookstores. It's always a thrill to get a new book. All those hours and hours of work have finally paid off.

I was sitting in my living room when the brown UPS truck pulled up. My husband and I tried to remember if we'd ordered anything, then I realized it must be my new book. What a thrill! I even told the UPS driver--"It's my new book!" He was underwhelmed. "Uh, uh," he said. Maybe he hears it all the time?

PICK A PUMPKIN, MRS. MILLIE! is the third in the Mrs. Millie series. In this adventure, she takes her kindergarten class on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. Every year I took my kindergartners to the pumpkin patch. The book is dedicated to Farmer Don. He and he wife, Jeanne, had a very small farm in West Linn, Oregon. Their barn was over 100 years old. Every year, they hosted hundreds of school children. Farmer Don picked us up at the gate in his tractor-drawn wagon and drove us to the patch to pick out pumpkins. His pumpkin patch was not the biggest, or the fanciest, or the most hi-tech--but I'll bet it was the sincerest patch in Oregon. Although the events and characters in the book are imaginary, it is this patch that inspired me. Thanks, Jeanne and Don!

Summer Reading, Part II

June 14, 2009

Tags: Judy Cox, Miracles on Maple Hill, children's books, vintage books, Virginia Sorensen, Beth and Joe Krush, Newbery Medal, library, reading, summer, children's author

I bought a real treasure at the second hand bookstore yesterday. I found a copy of "Miracles on Maple Hill" by Virginia Sorensen. Published in 1956, this book won the Newbery Medal in 1957.

The book I found is not in mint condition, but condition doesn't matter to me. If it's readable--and a book I love--I'll buy it. This copy is a discard from the Wichita City Library in Wichita, Kansas. I know this because there is an imprint embossed on the title page. The book has a red library binding with an illustration on the front. It's been well-used. There are inked-out marks on some of the pages, and the cover and edges of the pages are worn. At some time during its life, the book must have belonged to the Wyoming Indian Elementary School Library, because there's a stamp from them. I don't know if that school was in Kansas or Wyoming--I'll have to search on the internet. This book is probably the same edition that my school library had. The only thing that's missing is the old library card pocket.

I don't remember reading this book as a child, but I think one of my teachers read it aloud to the class. I can't recall the story, but as I started reading it yesterday, the chapter about sugaring off sounded familiar. I look forward to reading the whole book.

One of the best things about this book is the charming pen and ink illustrations by Beth and Joe Krush. When I was a child, mid-grade books were nearly always illustrated. I loved Beth and Joe Krush's work so much that I would check books out from the school library simply based on their illustrations. They illustrated the Gone-Away Lake books by Elizabeth Enright, as well as the Borrowers series by Mary Norton.

We've been having a lot of summer rain showers this June, so I think I'll turn off my computer and go curl up with "Miracles on Maple Hill".

Happy Reading!

Selected Works

Picture Book
Animal Adventure
A stand-alone companion volume to "The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot" and "The Case of the Purloined Professor" also by Judy Cox.
Award
Bank Street College of Education Best Books 2014
New Books
Join Mouse on his fourth adventure--a romp in the snow!
Mrs. Millie's Kindergartners surprise her with a pun-filled birthday party!
Mouse is back in a Halloween adventure.
Nora's rowdy cousin from Texas is coming to stay. Is Ellie as bad as Nora remembers? Junior Library Guild Selection
Award Winners
Oregon Spirit Award
Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2011
Bank Street College of Education Best Books of 2011
TIME magazine Best Children's Books of 2009
Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award 2009
Children's Choices list 2009
TIME magazine Best Children's Books of 2005
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award 2004
Nevada Young Readers Award 2002