Early Morning

  • Wake up. Wander.
  • Take your time.
  • Stop.
  • Ponder.
  • Saunter down the road a while.
  • Pause. Wait.
  • Then, navigate a new direction.
  • Never hesitate.
  • Marvel over
  • each
  • and
  • every
  • miraculous
  • moment.

Blue on Blue

Mar 20th, 2014 by Dianne | 0

BlueOnBlueWhiteKrommessmallGood news! BLUE on BLUE , illustrated by Caldecott artist, Beth Krommeshas a pub date – September 2nd, 2014!

It’s been five years since this manuscript sold and while I can’t say it feels like just yesterday, I can say that it’s been worth the wait.

I heard Allyn Johnston, editor of Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster), speak in early 2009 at a UCLA Extension workshop she did with author and friend, Ann Whitford Paul. At that time Allyn was just launching her new imprint, Beach Lane Books. She shared a glorious manuscript with the class – one that she would be publishing later that year called ALL THE WORLD, written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee. It was, of course, stunning, as all Allyn’s books are. (As an aside, Allyn was the first editor I heard speak many years ago at an LA SCBWI Working Writer’s Retreat. Even then, as a newbie to children’s writing, I could tell she was a dream editor, at the top of anyone’s “best picture book editor” lists.)

I remember flipping through the first proofs of ALL THE WORLD and thinking about all the books Allyn had published over the years. She was, after all, the editor of two of my all time favorite picture book writers – Cynthia Rylant and Mem Fox.  It seemed impossible that one of my manuscripts would find a spot on my dream editor’s list. And yet that’s exactly what happened!

It didn’t feel real then, and, to be honest, it still doesn’t. And then, the good news got even better when Allyn chose Beth Krommes, winner of the Caldecott for THE HOUSE IN THE NIGHT, (by Susan Marie Swanson) to illustrate BLUE on BLUE.  

It goes without saying – it’s been an amazing experience – the best of everything I could ever hope or dream for. I’m grateful for all of it –  start to finish – and can’t wait to share BLUE on BLUE with readers.


Lee Bennett Hopkins 2012 Award Winners!

Feb 22nd, 2012 by Dianne | 0

It was an honor to serve with the other judges on the 2012 committee and a pleasure now to announce:

WON TON–A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin (Henry Holt,2011) has won the 2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award!  Creatively structured and exquisitely conceived,  WON TON is a book that has stayed with me since the very first reading. You can find a ReaderKidZ review of the book HERE.

Using free verse and a new form developed specifically for this story, Helen Frost -  no stranger to the LBH award – created HIDDEN, (Farrar Straus and Giroux,  2011) a narrative rich in intrigue with a mystery that pulled me quickly through the story. HIDDEN was named a Lee Bennett Hopkins Honor Book.

Read more about the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award HERE.

Congratulations to Lee Wardlaw and Helen Frost!


A Little Here, More There, and a Book with Heart

Apr 5th, 2011 by Dianne | 0

Yes. I’ve been away for a while. A long long while. Check out READERKIDZ to see where I’ve been spending a lot of time and what my friends and I have been up to.

In the meantime, I’m still writing, teaching, and traveling.

While away on spring break, I read HEART OF A SHEPHERD by Roseanne Parry. It’s the kind of book I knew, based on the title, that I would be intrigued by and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s an amazing debut, a book I’ll long remember because the story *is* full of heart. The setting – a ranch in Oregon – is one I was only vaguely familiar with, having driven through a part of Oregon I imagine was similar to the land Brother and his family ranched. And the people, so interesting! Four sons, a father in the military, a mother who’s off living her life as an artist, yet who still manages to feel loosely connected and forgiven for her departure; and a set of grandparents, each with his/her own intriguing background and story.

This was a book that as I read, the writer-me wanted to know exactly how the author did it. What did Parry bring to the story from her own personal background? How did she infuse such depth into a story that, in looking over her comments about the book on her website, doesn’t seem at all related to her personal experience? How did she write about life on a ranch without being a rancher herself? How did she bring to life the cultural details of a rural setting that most certainly isn’t very similar to her own suburban lifestyle? And what about the grandfather who’s Quaker, and the grandmother who’s Catholic? Again, another interesting layer.

It’s a book I enjoyed very much. A book I will return to.


Un Regalo di Andrea Bocelli

Dec 22nd, 2010 by Dianne | 0

I love this song from Andrea Bocelli’s “My Christmas” CD. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Here’s the link.

Caro Jesù Bambino composed by Piero Soffici, lyrics by Pier Quinto Carriaggi

Caro Jesù Bambino

Tu che sei tanto buono

Fammi questo piacer

Lascia una volta il cielo

E vieni a giocar

A giocare con me … more


A Little Book and Poetry Love…

Dec 5th, 2010 by Dianne | 2

BOOK LOVE: This past week, the school where I teach had a book sale and one of the books on the shelves and my wish list was JULIA GILLIAN (and the Quest for Joy) by Alison McGhee.

You know that wonderful feeling when you find a great book and you can’t wait to share it with someone else you know will love it, too? That’s exactly what I felt this weekend: JULIA GILLIAN book love.

I enjoyed every minute of the reading and I know there will soon be more JULIA GILLIAN fans in my classroom.

There are two more books in the series to keep the book love going : JULIA GILLIAN (and the Art of Knowing) and JULIA GILLIAN (and the Dream of the Dog).

POETRY LOVE: Last spring I was able to take a poetry workshop with amazing poet and teacher, Rebecca Kai Dotlich. I’ve long been a fan of Rebecca’s work, but I just discovered Kathi Appelt‘s recent interview with Rebecca about writing, poetry, picture books, and more. Rebecca shares a great poetry writing tip for teachers and Kathi and she talk a bit about BELLA AND BEAN, a beautiful picture about poetry and friendship.

I wrote a brief entry about BELLA AND BEAN earlier this year on ReaderKidZ. Check it out HERE.

Enjoy Kathi Appelt’s video interview : (Don’t you just *love* the background music, “Adieu False Heart”? I sure do!)


A Family of Readers: A Book Lover’s Guide

Nov 14th, 2010 by Dianne | 1

The months since summer’s end have been incredibly full. ReaderKidZ launched the last week of July, school began a mere two weeks later, and ever since, free time has been somewhat elusive.

But the holidays are approaching and, with them, the promise of time off to do some of the things I’ve put on hold; I’m looking forward to catching up on a bit of extra reading.

One book I hope to dive into (it’s been sitting on my bedside table for over a month now) is A FAMILY OF READERS: The Book Lover’s Guide to Children’s and Adult Literature, by Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano (editors of The Horn Book Magazine.)

If you love kid’s books, this is certainly a resource you won’t want to miss.

The book is divided into four sections – “Reading to Them,” “Reading With Them,” “Reading On Their Own,” and “Leaving Them Alone,” – each part broken down further into chapters such as, “Books for Babies,” “Girl Books and Boy Books,” “Nonfiction,” and so on.

With essays such as “What Makes a Good Mother Goose?” by Joanna Rudge Long, “Grow Up with Us, You’ll Be Fine” by Mitali Perkins and “Up the Bookcase to Poetry” by Alice Schertle, there’s sure to be plenty of good words, advice, recommendations, and just plain terrific information for each and every book-loving family.


Images and Words

Aug 23rd, 2010 by Dianne | 0

RaptHere’s a link to some beautiful photographs of people around the world reading: “Steve MCCurry’s Blog -  Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words” TAKE A LOOK!

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: TheeErin


Cool Dog, School Dog

Aug 4th, 2010 by Dianne | 0

I just ran across a mention of this VERY cute book on Twitter – COOL DOG, SCHOOL DOG by Deborah Heiligman, illustrated by Tim Bowers.

Deborah’s the author of the beautiful, award-winning novel, CHARLES AND EMMA and it just so happens that I met (and ate lunch with) her and her cousin, a former colleague at my school, while attending the SCBWI National Conference in LA last weekend.

Deborah has made a video of her reading COOL DOG, SCHOOL DOG, to Zachary Bear, the yellow lab that accompanies her editor to work each day.



Launch! ReaderKidZ!

Jul 28th, 2010 by Dianne | 2

We’re official.  ReaderKidZ , a brand-new kidlit website designed for teachers, librarians, and parents has launched!

On our website you’ll find: Author-in-Residence, (one or more featured authors each month,) Beyond Borders (a look at books about children from around the world), Book Room (a library of selected titles and reviews), and the Tool Box (classroom activities, Teacher’s Guides, links to interesting articles, and more!).

Just in time to welcome the back-to-school crowd, our theme for August is “New Beginnings.”

Drop by and check ReaderKidZ out!


I Like Pigs!

Jul 18th, 2010 by Dianne | 2

Not sure why, but I like writing picture books about pigs.  For that reason, when I saw that Betsy Bird of Fuse 8 had placed a link to a new crazy illustrator blog called Dueling Banjo Pigs, I just had to check it out!  Too funny.  Enjoy!