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Authors & illustrators

The Wimpy Kid Meets the National Ambassador

At An Unlikely Story bookstore in Plainville, MA, Gene sits down for a lively conversation with Wimpy Kid author (and bookstore owner) Jeff Kinney.

As a kid, Kinney was a prankster and a devoted reader of his sister's Judy Blume books. He later discovered fantasy (The Hobbitt, The Lord of the Rings, and the Xanth series), comics (The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes), and the genius of Carl Barks (Donald Duck comics).

Meet Superstar Web Cartoonist Ngozi Ukazu

At the 2017 Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle, Gene meets up with Ngozi Ukazu, creator of the popular web comic, Check Please! — the quirky story of a pie-baking college hockey player.

Ngozi has been putting pictures and words together since elementary school. She was the comics editor in high school and kept on drawing in college. She graduated from Yale University in 2013 with a degree in Computing and The Arts, and received a masters in Sequential Art in 2015 from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Take Reading Outside

Story can do a lot to inspire kids to engage with the natural world. What can you do to get kids outside? Kit Ballenger has some ideas that all start with a book!

What’s in a flag?

What do you see when you look at an American flag? What do its colors, stars and stripes call to mind?

“Blue sky/White Stars …”, red and white rows evoke more than simply a flag. It can represent a country’s landscape, its history, and most important, the people who together create one nation, beautiful in their diversity.

Become an explorer in your own backyard or nearby park!

Strengthen your child’s powers of observation and imagination when you spend time together outdoors. You can find nature in a variety of settings within your community, giving children the opportunity to explore by touching, smelling, and examining things to make their own discoveries.

Score Big with Books

For many sports-loving kids, summer means heading to the field, court, pitch or pool. But a passion for playing a sport can also get kids reading.

Author Fred Bowen shares how his own love of sports relates to reading and what parents can do to help kids connect their own sports experiences to all kinds of reading.

Meet Juana Medina!

Juana Medina was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where she has said that her drawings got her in trouble with her teachers. Happily for the children’s book world, Juana has turned her artistic skills to writing and illustrating. Juana received the prestigious 2017 Pura Belpre Award for Juana and Lucas (Candlewick), sure to be the first of many honors.

Summer Writing: It’s Cool to Collaborate

Pairing fiction and nonfiction is a great way to engage readers. So is pairing a book with an activity or experience to extend excitement or enhance learning. But there are other kinds of great pairings when it comes to books. Here are Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang to tell you about how they paired up as co-authors and how working with a partner can help get kids excited about writing this summer.

Meet Illustrator and Graphic Novelist Mike Lawrence

It's Lucky Episode 13 of the Reading Without Walls video blog! Gene meets up with Mike Lawrence, creator of the new graphic novel, Star Scouts, where the heroine Avani earns badges in jetpack racing, teleportation, and lasers! Mike talks about his early years as a reader, how he became a writer, and what he's reading now with his kids.

More than one story needed

This spring, I had the opportunity to hear Newbery Honor winner, Grace Lin, and her longtime friend and editor, Alvina Ling, talk about their friendship, careers, and their work. They share lots in common: friendship, professional work, and interests. Both sets of parents are Taiwanese. They were even roommates at one point. 

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"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." — Walt Disney