One Writer’s Journey

March 18, 2016

Summer Reading List: AKA Watch Me Try to Make Up My Mind

PicturePictureBreaking News for PAL* Members:  SCBWI is creating PAL Summer Reading Lists! Fifteen regional lists (the same regions used for Crystal Kites) will be created and divided by grades and within the grades, genres. These lists will be beautifully designed, then marketed and publicized to schools, libraries, bloggers, and more. Look for a special invitation to submit one book for the list. Submissions will be due by April 1st.



I was so excited when I got this message from Kim Pidding, the Missouri Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).  Yay!  A chance to get my books into the hands of young readers!

PicturePictureThen reality hit home.  This means that I have to pick one and only one of my books for the list.  At this point, I have 6 books:

  • Ancient Maya (Abdo)
  • Getrude Ederle vs The English Channel (Schoolwide)
  • The Bombing of Pearl Harbor (Abdo)
  • Black Lives Matter (Abdo)
  • Trench Warfare (Abdo)
  • 12 Incredible Facts about the Cuban Missile Crisis (12 Story Library)

SCBWI plans to make electronic and print copies of the list available “to schools, libraries, bookstores, and consumers.”  This immediately eliminates Gertrude Ederle vs The English Channel.  It is part of Schoolwide’s electronic library.  What this means is that schools that pay for a subscription have access to the book.  There’s no point in putting it on the list because aren’t going to pay to access the whole library for one book.

PicturePictureThat still leaves 5 candidates and, let’s face reality, they are all about hard realities.  These aren’t your light and airy summer reads.

Right now, my choice is Black Lives Matter.  Yeah, I might just hack someone else off but I might also get my book into the hands of a young reader who really and truly wants to know what it is all about.


*A PAL member is a member of SCBWI who has published a book with a recognized, professional publisher.  The list of publishers is available on the SCBWI site.

December 15, 2015

Diversity in Literature: Reading around the world

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:17 am
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The children’s publishing community is an amazing thing.  We step forward and help each other all the time.  But I learned about another astonishing community to day — the community of book lovers world wide.

Ann Morgan is a British author and editor who realized that she wasn’t too terribly impressed by what her bookshelves said about her.  You’ve heard the saying — a person’s bookshelves say a lot about them.  Morgan thought of herself as a fairly worldly person but her bookshelves told another story.  Yes, they were full but they were full of books from Britain and North America.

She admitted to herself that this was not who she wanted to be — a xenophobic reader — so she issued herself a challenge for 2012.  She would read a book from every country in the world.  I’m not sure she really had any clue what she was getting into when she started this project but as she progressed she not only found amazing books, she connected with fellow book lovers.

Check out her story in the video below.

You can find her book list here.  It includes the list of countries, the books she considered from each and a link to her comments on the book she ultimately read.

Maybe just maybe some of you would like to issue yourself a challenge for the new year?



November 3, 2014

Research and how it impacts my reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:19 am
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reading researchI’ve only listed twelve pieces below for my October reading list because so much of what I’ve been reading in the last month I only read in part.  Most of my reading in the last 4 weeks has been for my book on Pearl Harbor.  So far, my bibliography is 30 items long.  This bibliography includes web pages, journal articles, books and printed oral history interviews.

How can I read that much in one month?  I only read the parts the have to do with my topic.

I don’t know if this is how everyone does their research but this way seems to work for me.  That said, it isn’t how I’ve always done it.  For years, I read each and every book from start to finish.  Then I told a college professor that I was having troubles finishing an assignment and he looked at me like I might be entirely clueless.

“You’re reading all of every book?  Why?  Just read the parts that apply.”

In this case, I’m reading about Pearl Harbor, but I’m also reading about the events that led to it, the American response and move to join the war and the Japanese internment.  I need to know not only Pearl Harbor but the context as well.

How do you read when you do research?


October Reading List

  1. Asim, Jabari. Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington (Little, Brown and Company)
  2. Barnett, Mac.  Chloe and the Lion (Disney Hyperion)
  3. Barnett, Mac.  Extra Yarn (Balzer and Bray)
  4. Barnett, Mac. Telephone (Chronicle Books)
  5. Cole, Henry.  Jack’s Garden (Greenwillow Books)
  6. Colfer, Chris.  The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell (Hachette)
  7. Dillard, Sarah.  Extraordinary Warren Saves the Day (Aladdin)
  8. Manushkin, Fran.  Moo, Katie Woo! (Picture Window Books)
  9. Rosenstock, Barb.  Ben Franklin’s Big Splash: A Mostly True Story of His First Invention (Calkins Creek)
  10. Semple, Maria.  Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (Hachett)
  11. Smith, Myquillyn.  The Nesting Place (Zondervan)
  12. Trunage, Sheila.  The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing (Kathy Dawson Books)



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