Archive for May, 2013

The Warrior’s Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage

“It’s no small feat to make a difference in somebody’s life, and Greitens has written a book that is a fitting honor to all the people who made a difference in his. By sharing these stories with young readers, he now has a chance to make a difference in a few more.”- The New York Times
imagesRegarding The Warrior’s Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage, by
Eric Greitens, Amazon reviewer By Ken C.  said:

The episodic nature of this book will make it a popular title on the nonfiction shelf. Greitens first talks about his experiences with boxing lessons and humanitarian trips to Bosnia, Rwanda, and Bolivia. Each serves as concrete evidence of the author’s self-discipline and commitment to others. And each is depicted in Greitens’ spare, straightforward writing style.From these early missions, the book moves into Greitens’ long road to becoming a Navy SEAL. The reader is treated to snapshots of many of his comrades and the training regime they suffered to become one of these rare warriors. Though never heavy-handed, Eric Greitens also uses the people he meets as character examples — men that inspired him. Young people should be moved by these examples, as well as by Greitens’ call to action at the end of the book, where he asks that they answer the call to serve by volunteering and making their world (country, town, school, neighborhood, family) a better place.

In this adaptation of his best-selling book, The Heart and the Fist: The education of a humanitarian, the making of a Navy SEAL, Eric speaks directly to teen readers, interweaving memoir and intimate second-person narratives that ask the reader to put themselves in the shoes of himself and others. Readers will share in Eric’s evolution from average kid to globe-traveling humanitarian to warrior, training and serving with the most elite military outfit in the world: the Navy SEALs. Along the way, they’ll be asked to consider the power of choices, of making the decision each and every day to act with courage and compassion so that they grow to be tomorrow’s heroes. Sure to inspire and motivate.Here are some quotes from the book, along with a few of my thoughts:

Pg. 5″Like many American kids, I grew up learning about a world populated by heroes…. I worried that all the corners of the Earth had been explored, all the great battles fought…..My fear was that I’d miss my chance at a meaningful life.”

What little kid doesn’t dream of making a difference? What little boy or girl doesn’t dream of being the hero or heroine.  Whether they dream of being a policeman or firefighter, the momma or the one who breaks the spell, every child dreams of having the power to make a difference.

Pg. 6His parents had told him,  “perhaps since kindergarten–that I should work hard so I could go to a place called college.  College, they promised, was the ticket…. I imagined the ticket as something golden and shiny, like a ticket for a train that would hurtle me to a place filled with adventures.”

I identify with this because my parents wanted their children to go to college and I dreamed of it.  As a parent, I encourage my children to prepare themselves for college and love to hear their dreams of the things they can do and become.

Pg. 137Eric hits it right on the head when he said of applying for a Rhodes Scholarship,  “…I had high hopes.  Doing humanitarian work overseas, I realized it isn’t enough to fight for a better world: we also have to live lives worth fighting for.”

How true.

Pg 176-177In Eric’s observation, “Many of the guys grew up in a culture where they’d inherited ideals about manhood from beer commercials and sitcoms.  And whether the men they saw on TV were portrayed as overgrown and selfish boys, or as wimps and goofballs, the men who came to BUD/S knew—even if they didn’t articulate it–that there had to be more to being a man than that.” Eric illustrates the need that many young people feel in our society face.  Too many young men and women need role models like the one Eric describes in his book: “Senior Chief Salazar…..was the eptiome of an excellent trainer.  Every man in our class admired him…..That day on the beach …..he said, “You know what, guys?  I want to tell you something about that it means to be a real frogman.”  “If you’re a real frogman,” he said, “then every time a woman leaves your side, she’ll feel better about herself.”

Amen!I plan to read this book to my children because it shows a wonderful example of a life well-lived. The work demonstrates the kind of effort that we should each give to living and serving our country and each other.  It also has many excellent observations and insights on the nature of service and about acting with courage and compassion.

Shadow Dance (Book One of the Shadow Saga) is a must read for any fantasy enthusiast

9781480138766_p0_v3_s260x420This  gripping tale of heroism and valor, Shadow Dance by John Harrison,  is ideal for young adults as well as mature readers. The plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on epic battles between good and evil such as Harry Potter and Twilight.

Novelist John Harrison has captured the feeling of adventure in this new novel set in a dark time. A prophecy cast from the dawn of time is coming to be fulfilled in a time when almost all hope of salvation is lost. The lands are in chaos and everyone is trying to survive. The last queen was slain through treachery and decades have past since there has been any form of solid rule in Cennicus.

In the interim the races have split from one another and are amassing for a war that threatens to consume them all. This is a time of legends and need. Somehow wrapped up in it all is one boy searching for his past and the keys to his future. Namir and his friends valiantly search out vestiges of his father’s past…a trek that may lead them into the very heart of darkness itself. This is the first book of the Shadow Saga, a must read for any fantasy enthusiast.

“Join with us as we explore the darkness that is Cennicus,” the author writes. Will they lead us to salvation? Or deeper into the very darkness we seek to escape?

Readers will wait eagerly to learn more.

Each of the book’s chapters skillfully leads us as a partner in a “Shadow Dance.”  Harrison’s storytelling keep readers attuned to the bigger picture that his heroes’ deeds are influencing.  This is a superb tale with lots of memorable moments and a great ending. Shadow Dance is on my shortlist of favorite fantasy novels by up-and-coming authors.

John Harrison lives in California with his wife and three sons. Currently, he is working on the next installation of the Shadow Saga, Shadow Flight.

He is a business major that used to work at HP and now works for Reply Inc…
Longue vivent la différence, longue vivent la révolution!

Harrison published Shadow Dance as an Ebook through Smashwords and in print through Amazon and CreateSpace. He launched a new print format as well. The author launched a new Poetry Series: Whispers Through the Veil that is exclusive through amazon for 90 days in E-Print and in print through Create Space.

Shadow Dance can be found in Print at the following locations:

6×9 Trade Paperback:

Standard Paperback:

Whispers Through the Veil: The Poetic Reality of love and Loss can be found here:

Feel free to follow him on:
Twitter: @John_A_Harrison
Facebook: and

For a preview of Shadow Flight follow the link below:

The poems in NASTY BUGS Lee Bennett Hopkins are itchingly great

15034Crossposted on Daily Kos

Gross! … Boys will love this collection … a book of poetry with a decided ick factor. The bugs are delightfully nasty and include magots, chiggers, wasps, lice and bed bugs.

Nasty Bugs by Lee Bennett Hopkins is a collection of creepy, crawly poems by some of today’s most beloved children’s poets.

This tribute to the delightful nastiness of bugs features sixteen poems by accomplished children’s poets, including Marilyn Singer, J. Patrick Lewis, and Rebecca Andrew Loescher. From “Ode to a Dead Mosquito” to “Termite Tune,” this brightly illustrated, kid-friendly collection riffs on the details of the world’s most infamous insects. Fun facts about the featured creatures round out this sure bet for poetry fans and bug enthusiasts alike.

According to Jessica Yang at Cracking the Cover:

Are you a fan of creepy crawly bugs? Ones that make your friends squirm? Maybe you just like admiring them from afar. “Nasty Bugs” takes readers into the worlds of 16 creepy crawlies through bright illustrations and creative poems. Wonder why a stink bug stinks? Cynthia S. Cotton explains the reason for their odiferous smell in “Stink Bug;” Lee Bennett Hopkins makes jabs and some stinging pests in “Ode to a Dead Mosquito:” And you’ll never see them coming in April Halprin Wayland’s “Fire Ants.”

There’s nothing cuddly about the nasty bugs. Even presented in this humorous book, there none to friendly. Bold, almost Pixar-esque illustrations give readers a close-up look at maggots, flies and lice. “Nasty Bugs” is a fun, fast-moving book of poetry. Kids will enjoy the bigger-than-life illustrations and tongue-in-cheek text. Fun facts about each bug, which are found at the end of the book, are an added bonus.

The poems are itchingly great.

Here is a video review by Liz Shanks:

Here is a review from Goodreads:

Sixteen poems, three of which were commissioned for this book, inform and entertain readers. Poets include Hopkins, X. J. Kennedy, Marilyn Singer, J. Patrick Lewis, Alice Schertle, Douglas Florian, and several other well-known poets. Their creatures bite and suck their ways through plants, animals, humans, and stuff like wood in poems of free verse or tight rhythm and rhyme. The vocabulary is marvelous, with inventive words such as “yum-yucky,” and “pediculous,” descriptive terms such as writhing, stealthy, and blood-filled, and rich language filled with words like armament, marbled, gobble, genealogy. These poems aren’t just for fun, though, as they are packed with information about the bugs’ modus operandi and/or consequences of their action. Many familiar insects, including bedbugs, fleas, lice, mosquitoes, and wasps, are included along with some less familiar (boll weevil, potato beetle, chigger). Will Terry’s brightly colored illustrations mostly fill the pages, with the poems lying over each illustration. His bugs feature exaggerated eyes, legs, and stingers as they skitter, crawl, or eat their way across each page. His focus is always the bug’s line and shape, but each drawing is filled with other details to add to the ick-factor. His perspectives vary and draw the reader into the situation. I guarantee these poems and illustrations will have you scratching before the end of the book! Three pages of information on each bug are an added plus; this backmatter includes a thumbprint size illustration, a one-liner from the poem, the bugs scientific name or order, and facts about each bug. The poems read aloud well and offer some opportunities for dramatic readings. This isn’t just for budding entomologists; even those grossed out by bugs of all shapes and sizes will be smiling as they learn. — Peg

Lee Bennett Hopkins has written and edited numerous award-winning books for children and young adults, as well as professional texts and curriculum materials. He has taught elementary school and served as a consultant to school systems throughout the country.

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Hopkins graduated Kean University, Bank Street College of Education, and holds a Professional Diploma in Educational Supervision and Administration from Hunter College. In 1980 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Kean University.

In 1989 he received the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for “outstanding contributions to the field of children’s literature” in recognition of his work; 2009 brought him the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Excellence in Poetry for Children, recognizing his aggregate body of work. In 2010 he received the Florida Libraries’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to his anthologies, his own works include:

  • Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life (Boyds Mills Press), an autobiographical book of poetry that received the prestigious Christopher Medal and a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Golden Kite Honor Award
  • Alphathoughts: Alphabet Poems
  • City I Love (Abrams, 2009), illustrated by jazz musician Marcellus Hall, starred in both PW and SLJ
  • Full Moon and Star (Abrams, 2011), also illustrated by Hall
  • Mama: A Novel (Boyds Mills Press) paperback
  • Mama & Her Boys: A Novel (Boyds Mills Pess) paperback

His creativity is the result of his passion for poetry and his unflagging belief that poetry is a necessity for children, at home and in the classroom.

His award winning series of American History through poetry for children and young adults includes:

  • Hand in Hand: An American History Through Poetry, illustrated by Peter Fiore
  • My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States
  • America At War, both illustrated by Stephen Alcorn (all Simon & Schuster/McElderry Books)

Sky Magic (Dutton, 2009) received a starred review in The Horn Book, which called the anthology “mesmerizing…a hypnotic, otherworldly feel.” Sharing the Seasons (McElderry Books, 2010), illustrated by David Diaz, was starred in Kirkus and Ala Booklist.

At the heart of all his writing is the dedication to bringing children and books together. “You must teach children to love books,” he insists.”

“We spend too much time teaching children to read and not enough time teaching them to love to read.”

To encourage the recognition of poetry, he has established two major awards: the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, presented annually by Penn State University for a single volume of poetry, and the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Reading Association Promising Poet Award, presented every three years by IRA.

One of the nation’s most sought-after speakers on the subject of children’s literature, Mr. Hopkins lives in Cape Coral, Florida.


BEA to Host Star Wars Reads Day Celebration at North America’s Largest Annual Book Convention

19623_front“Power Readers” to Participate in BookExpo America on
Saturday, June 1st, 2013

For youngsters (as well as seasoned fans!) there will be a Star Wars Reads Day Celebration on BEA’s Uptown Stage featuring a trivia contest as well as signings by Star Wars authors and giveaways.  Additionally, many other authors will be participating in BEA’s Author Autographing Program and will be appearing in publisher booths.

BookExpo America (BEA), the leading book industry event in North America which has long been a trade only gathering for industry professionals, will open its doors to the public on the last day of this year’s show.  Convention officials note that they invited the public to attend the annual event in a limited capacity in 2012 and based on the success of this initial experiment decided to significantly expand their effort and outreach in 2013.  The response has been enormous and organizers are expecting a substantial turnout for this year’s festivities.  The members of the public who attend the show will be identified as Power Readers and, upon check in, will receive a Power Reader badge along with tips on how to navigate the book convention.  Power Reader tickets to BEA are available for Saturday, June1st and cost $49.



BookExpo America will take place in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Center, May 29 – June 1, 2013.

Organizers note that the first 1000 Power Readers to arrive at BEA will also receive a complimentary gift bag with an assortment of books compliments of Macmillan Publishers.   The show floor at BEA includes publisher booths which offer previews of authors and book titles that have just been published as well as news of books that will be published in the near future.  BEA offers all book lovers an opportunity to get a rare “behind-the-scenes” look at the book industry as well as a chance to meet authors and get a sense of what’s to come.

Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise centered on a film series created by George Lucas. The film series has spawned a media franchise outside the film series called the Expanded Universe including books, television series, computer and video games, and comic books. These supplements to the film trilogies have resulted in significant development of the series’ fictional universe. These media kept the franchise active in the interim between the film trilogies. The franchise portrays a galaxy that is described as far, far away in the distant past. It commonly portrays Jedi as a representation of good, in conflict with the Sith, their evil counterpart. Their weapon of choice, the lightsaber, is commonly recognized in popular culture. The fictional universe also contains many themes, especially influences of philosophy and religion.

The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year intervals. Sixteen years after the release of the trilogy’s final film, the first in a new prequel trilogy of films was released. The three prequel films were also released at three-year intervals, with the final film of the trilogy released on May 19, 2005. In October 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and announced that it would produce three new films, with the first film, Star Wars Episode VII, planned for release in 2015. 20th Century Fox still retains the distribution rights to the first two Star Wars trilogies, owning permanent rights for the original film Episode IV: A New Hope, while holding the rights to Episodes I–III, V and VI until May 2020.

Reactions to the original trilogy were mostly positive, with the last film being considered the weakest, while the prequel trilogy received a more mixed reaction, with most of the praise being for the final movie, according to most review aggregator websites. All six of the main films in the series were also nominated for or won Academy Awards.

All of the main films have been box office successes, with the overall box office revenue generated by the Star Wars films (including the theatrical Star Wars: The Clone Wars) totalling $4.38 billion, making it the fourth-highest-grossing film series. The success has also led to multiple re-releases in theaters for the series.

Highlights at BookExpo America on Saturday, June 1st also  include an Author Breakfast for 1000 people hosted by Chris Matthews and featuring author speakers Helen Fielding, John Lewis and Diana Gabaldon.  Neil Gaiman will appear separately in a private room where he will speak to an audience of 500 people and give out pre-signed copies of two forthcoming books on a first come, first served basis.  Wally Lamb and Elizabeth Gilbert will appear together to discuss “Creating the Ultimate Book Club Experience” which will be followed by a Wine & Cheese mixer.  Noted musician Robbie Robertson will be appearing on one of BEA’s Author Stages and signing books in the Random House booth and humorist/comedian Jim Gaffigan will also be appearing on an Author Stage.


The inclusion of consumers at BEA represents a major shift for the convention that will define the show as it moves forward in the coming years.   “We have a very appealing convention that will attract a big public because of the authors and talent that we showcase,” notes Steve Rosato, Show Manager for BookExpo America.   “But beyond attracting consumers, the real shift in our direction has to do with providing value to our customers.  This is a new paradigm.  By introducing a public element to the show we are creating more opportunity for spreading word-of-mouth about books and authors as well as providing publishers with a chance to seed their market.  Our outreach to the public represents more promotional opportunity for all authors and this benefits everyone.”

Among the changes which have accompanied BEA’s consumer awareness program include the BEA Live video initiative which will feature live streaming of all major author events; on site interviews with authors that will be uploaded to the BEA website and which will be available to publishers; and a series of mini documentaries called “In Your Space” which provide a behind-the-scenes look at authors in their home and workspace.   For the first time, BEA has also announced several media partnerships with notable consumer publications and outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Daily News, New York Magazine and NPR.

The BEA Live dedicated channel on the Livestream network will not only be available for viewing and will be made available to BEA’s media partners; dedicated industry trade sites including Publishers Weekly, Publishers Lunch, Shelf Awareness, The Book Reporter; as well as the global Reed book fairs which include London Book Fair, Salon du Livre, and the Tokyo Book Fair.   Additionally, scores of bloggers will also be carrying the feed to their audiences.

For more information about BEA, please visit and connect with BEA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

BookExpo America

BookExpo America (BEA) is the #1 event in North American publishing and the ideal place for content creators and consumers to discover new books/titles, meet favorite new authors, learn about trends shaping the book industry, and network with those who have a passion for books and reading.

BEA is a trade event for all publishing and book industry professionals but is open to consumers on the last day: Saturday, June 1, 2013.

Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two

“It has always been with a sense of awe that I have regarded those who have either voluntarily or involuntarily, assumed the role of guardians of life and liberty, by taking an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution against enemies, foreign and domestic.,” writes Richard Larsen in the Idaho State Journal:

I’m deeply moved by our military men and women who don the uniform of our various military branches, who may enlist for different reasons, yet are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. They know all too well that they can, and most likely will, be called upon to place their lives in harm’s way for our sake, and untold millions around the world.

This memorial day, I feel compelled to share Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War TwoCodeTalker_2p.indd. This stirring young adult tale recounts how a group of Navajo marines came to become major players in WWII victory in the face of horrendous racially biased treatment.

After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.

In the measured tones of a Native American storyteller, Bruchac assumes the persona of a Navajo grandfather telling his grandchildren about his World War II experiences. Protagonist Ned Begay starts with his early schooling at an Anglo boarding school, where the Navajo language is forbidden, and continues through his Marine career as a “code talker,” explaining his long silence until “de-classified” in 1969. Begay’s lifelong journey honors the Navajos and other Native Americans in the military, and fosters respect for their culture. Bruchac’s gentle prose presents a clear historical picture of young men in wartime, island hopping across the Pacific, waging war in the hells of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Iwo Jima. Nonsensational and accurate, Bruchac’s tale is quietly inspiring, even for those who have seen Windtalkers, or who have read such nonfiction works as Nathan Aaseng’s Navajo Code Talkers (Walker, 1992), Kenji Kawano’s Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers (Northland, 1990), or Deanne Durrett’s Unsung Heroes of World War II: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers (Facts On File, 1998). For those who’ve read none of the above, this is an eye-opener. – School Library Journal

Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed Abenaki children’s book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac’s poems, articles and stories have appeared in over 500 publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored more than 50 books for adults and children.

Code talkers were people who used obscure languages as a means of secret communication during wartime. The term is now usually associated with the United States soldiers during the world wars who used their knowledge of Native-American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages. In particular there were approximately 400-500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages. Code talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their service improved communications in terms of speed of encryption at both ends in front line operations during World War II.

The name code talkers is strongly associated with bilingual Navajo speakers specially recruited during World War II by the Marines to serve in their standard communications units in the Pacific Theater. Code talking, however, was pioneered by Choctaw Indians serving in the U.S. Army during World War I. These soldiers are referred to as Choctaw code talkers.

Other Native American code talkers were deployed by the United States Army during World War II, including Cherokee, Choctaw, Lakota, Meskwaki, and Comanche soldiers. Soldiers of Basque ancestry were used for code talking by the U.S. Marines during World War II in areas where other Basque speakers were not expected to be operating.

Choctaws in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions.

Choctaws in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions.

Six-year-old Ned Begay leaves his Navajo home for boarding school, where he learns the English language and American ways. At 16, he enlists in the U.S. Marines during World War II and is trained as a code talker, using his native language to radio battlefield information and commands in a code that was kept secret until 1969. Rooted in his Navajo consciousness and traditions even in dealing with fear, loneliness, and the horrors of the battlefield, Ned tells of his experiences in Hawaii, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The book, addressed to Ned’s grandchildren, ends with an author’s note about the code talkers as well as lengthy acknowledgments and a bibliography. The narrative pulls no punches about war’s brutality and never adopts an avuncular tone. Not every section of the book is riveting, but slowly the succession of scenes, impressions, and remarks build to create a solid, memorable portrayal of Ned Begay. Even when facing complex negative forces within his own country, he is able to reach into his traditional culture to find answers that work for him in a modern context. Readers who choose the book for the attraction of Navajo code talking and the heat of battle will come away with more than they ever expected to find. – Booklist

“They were a small band of warriors who created an unbreakable code from the ancient language of their people and changed the course of modern history.”

Known as Navajo Code Talkers, they were young Navajo men who transmitted secret communications on the battlefields of WWII. At a time when America’s best cryptographers were falling short, these modest sheepherders and farmers were able to fashion the most ingenious and successful code in military history. They drew upon their proud warrior tradition to brave the dense jungles of Guadalcanal and the exposed beachheads of Iwo Jima. Serving with distinction in every major engagement of the Pacific theater from 1942-1945, their unbreakable code played a pivotal role in saving countless lives and hastening the war’s end.

SOURCE: Official Site of the Navajo Code Talkers

Four Twitter ideas for teaching concise writing, a FREE Ebook and other resources

51o5ZOaJwdLHere are some activities that I will use in my 10th and 11th grade creative writing class this summer for TRIO/Upward Bound.

The strategies  teach concise writing and are based on Twitter. However, the ideas can easily be adapted for other platforms including Facebook status updates or text messages.

SOURCE: Less Is More: Using Social Media to Inspire Concise Writing

1) Personal Writing: Students write a series of Twitter-esque personal “essays” (140 characters maximum, including spaces and punctuation). Topic ideas include the school year, life lessons, relationships and personal goals. Each one can be stand-alone, or each post can be part of a series. They might do this, for example, for personal writing or in the context of developing college essay ideas. They then develop one or more selected posts into a longer piece. Afterward, debrief: How did starting off by writing brief expressions of their ideas contribute to their writing process?

WRITE GOOD OR DIE IS A FREE EBOOK that gives survival tips for 21st century writers, from best-selling authors Kevin J. Anderson, M.J. Rose, Heather Graham, J.A. Konrath, Gayle Lynds, Alexandra Sokoloff, Jonathan Maberry, and more. How to develop your craft, improve your writing, get an agent, promote your work, embrace the digital age, and prepare yourself for the coming changes in the publishing industry. Edited by Scott Nicholson. Other contributors include Elizabeth Massie, Harley Jane Kozak, Douglas Clegg, Brandon Massey, Mur Lafferty, Dean Wesley Smith, David J. Montgomery, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Robert Kroese, and Adrienne Jones. Covering art, craft, and business. All proceeds benefit the non-profit organization Literacy Inc., which promotes reading among teens.

2) Authentic Writing: Taking a page from Andy Selsberg, students find ways to contribute meaningfully and authentically to the world of the Web. Ideas include, as Mr. Selsberg suggests, writing descriptions to “sell” an item of used clothing on eBay, commenting on a YouTube video or contributing a product review on a site like Amazon, as well as participating in our daily Student Opinion discussions. Establish guidelines for good Web citizenship. Have students read each other’s posts and provide helpful feedback. How was this activity different from writing academic essays that only the teacher reads?

3) Poetry: Students read the Twitter poems by Billy Collins, Claudia Rankine, Elizabeth Alexander and Robert Pinsky. They then write their own original “Twitter poems” or rewrite a classic poem or one of their own poems in 140 characters or fewer. They can also look further into the history and impact of brief poems, like Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” and William Carlos Williams’s “So Much Depends.”

4) Creative Writing: Students write pieces inspired by so-called Twitter novels and cellphone novels, either by writing the equivalent of an original story or novella 140 characters at a time, or by “crowd-sourcing” the work, by having each student contribute a line, in turn, to a class novel.


How I Published All of My Books


 I have published 10 books for children and adults. Here’s how I did it:

Writing has always come very naturally to me. So when I heard that a Honesdale Pennsylvania company was beginning a poetry imprint, I jumped at the chance to submit a manuscript.

It was 1991, and Wordsong, the poetry imprint of Boyds Mills Press, was just getting off of the ground. I met with some editors, and we decided that for my first book an anthology would be best. That meant that I would put together a collection of various poems on a theme.

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