instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Word by Word

Highlights of 2011

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!

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

The Important Thing About Picture Books

November is Picture Book Month! In honor of the occasion, I am re-running a blog post I wrote last year.

THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT PICTURE BOOKS

Recently, an article in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/08/us/08picture.html
stated that picture books seem to be on the wane, as parents and teachers push children into reading “harder” books in order to make gains on reading tests. This is such a mistaken notion.
Picture books far are more than easy books with pictures as a crutch. Like learning to crawl before learning to walk, picture books serve an important function in a child’s language development.
I hope we as a culture haven’t forgotten that picture books:
• Develop vocabulary. Because picture books are meant to be read by an adult to a child (and not the other way around) the author is free to use any words at all—including made up words and words in other languages. There are no restrictions. The level of vocabulary in a picture book is much higher than in a leveled chapter book.
• Teach an appreciation for language. Picture books sound best when read aloud. They use playful, tongue-tickling language. Picture books teach an appreciation for all the fun of English, including alliteration, onomatopoeia, puns, and word play. No where else, aside from poetry, will you find such joy in words.
• Visual interpretation. The pictures in a picture book often tell a companion story to the text, so the reader learns to interpret visual clues—like facial expressions and body language. In our graphics-heavy culture, the ability to “read” visuals is a key skill.
• Shared experience. A picture book, shared by an adult with a child, is an interactive experience. It gives the child a chance to ask questions, and make comments. It gives the adult a chance to listen, guide, and direct. The interaction leads to increased receptive and expressive language.
• Brain development. A picture book read by an adult to a child engages more centers of the brain than a video. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2848291/

I remember hearing about a grandmother who was concerned when her grandson entered school, and was labeled as language delayed. She promptly put him on a “diet” of fourteen picture books a day. Imagine—she read fourteen picture books every day (not in a row) to her grandson! Within months, he had caught up to the rest of the children in his class.
So snuggle up with a child today and share a picture book. You won’t regret it.

Find more great posts from picture book authors and illustrators at www.picturebookmonth.com

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

Thanksgiving Giveaway

Win a Signed Copy!
Just in time for Thanksgiving! Because I'm feeling grateful for all my readers, I'm giving away a signed copy of the first Mouse book--ONE IS A FEAST FOR MOUSE.

Enter to win. Send me an email at Gtrmouse@​aol.com with the subject line: THANKSGIVING GIVEAWAY. I'll draw the winner's name on November 17 and contact the winner for his or her mailing address. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving! Read More 
1 Comments
Post a comment

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

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.  Read More 
1 Comments
Post a comment

My Trip to the National Book Festival , or Tim and Judy's Excellent Adventure

Author Judy Cox with Sara, Katie and Susan at the National Book Festival
Wow! What a stupendous trip! My husband and I flew to Washington, D. C. on Friday, September 23. Picture acres of white tents pitched on the National Mall between the Washington monument and the Capitol building. Like the book lover I am, I'd seen the festival on C-SPAN's BOOK TV channel, and it gave me thrills to be there in person.

I helped to host the Oregon table and the Pavilion of States. Every child (adults, too) attending the Festival got a paper map (with MY book, "Don't Be Silly, Mrs. Millie!" listed on the back). The kids took the maps around to each state table, plus Guam and American Samoa to get them stamped.

After the even, we met the librarians, Sara and Katie, and Oregon children's author Deborah Hopkinson and her son for a crab cake dinner at Union Station.

The next couple of days were packed with sightseeing. I'd seen the White House on an earlier visit, so my husband and I opted to visit the Giant Pandas at the National Zoo instead. We watched the pandas do what they do best--eat and sleep. An adult panda can eat up to 40 pounds of bamboo a day!

A few days later, we boarded the Amtrak train and took trains all across the entire country. We traveled through fourteen states! We got to eat in the dining car and sleep in teeny-tiny berths in a roomette. What an amazing trip!

Thanks to everyone at the Library of Congress and Oregon Center for the Book for inviting me!  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Mrs. Millie Goes to Washington, D. C.

Mrs. Millie is going to the National Book Festival!
Mrs. Millie is going to Washington, D. C.! I've been invited to help host the Oregon table at the Pavilion of States at the National Book Festival in Washington, D. C. on Saturday, September 24, 2011.

Each year, a different Oregon author is invited, and I'm so proud and excited to have been chosen. What an honor to represent Oregon literature! My book, "Don't Be Silly, Mrs. Millie!" will be listed on the map of the states. Participants take the map to the state tables and get them stamped. I'll get to visit with readers from all across the country. Maybe I'll even see the First Lady and her children--or the First Grandma!

I'm thrilled to be going to Washington, D. C. I haven't been there since 1965--when my whole family drove from California to New York to see the World's Fair. I'll bet things have changed just a little bit! Who knows, maybe I'll have material for a new book when I get back!  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Best Books of 2011

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. Read More 
Be the first to comment

Having a Wonderful Time, Wish You Were Here

Luncheon in Prince George
I recently had a wonderful time in Prince George, British Columbia. In spite of some travel mishaps (maybe someday I'll write a humorous account of my travel mishaps--but right now they are still NOT funny)I was treated like royalty by three elementary schools: Highglen Montessori, Heather Park, and Ecole College Heights.

I was invited to visit Prince George by Nancie Miners's Division 6 class at Highglen Montessori. They had read both books in The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu series, THE MYSTERY OF THE BURMESE BANDICOOT and THE CASE OF THE PURLOINED PROFESSOR last year, and wrote me letters. They sent me photographs of their classrooom pet rats--Tonks and Fleur--who just happened to look like the rats in my book! We started corresponding, and I was invited to visit.

It was wonderful to meet all of the children, parents,teachers, and librarians. One of the highlights of my visit was a luncheon put on by Division 6. We had tea brewed in a china teapot and served with cream and sugar, coffee cake made by the teacher, and a violin serenade. I shared stories about the real Frederick and Ishbu, and gave the kids some writing tips.

Thank you, Prince George! It was a trip I will long remember.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Countdown to Chicago!

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!" Read More 
Be the first to comment

Win a copy of Cinco de Mouse-O!

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! Read More 
1 Comments
Post a comment