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When Jennifer Holm started writing books she didn't expect to be writing "kid lit." But nine books and Newbery Honor, Parents Choice Silver and Publisher's Weekly Best Book -- and more -- awards later, she's found her niche.

"I didn't write my first novel as a children's book. I just wrote it," Jennifer says. But her agent thought it would be great for younger readers. Jennifer was surprised. "I thought it was too racy -- there's some violence and death in it." She realized a lot had changed in children's literature since she was a kid. "I was kind of behind the times."

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Blog Du Jour

A Poet's Blogs

Subscriber Lisa Manzi is a poet who writes a blog called Lam(b). She graciously submitted a list of her favorite blogs:

BookGirl's Nightstand. Iliana reads a lot and she'll send you in the right direction when it comes to books. She's got a book review section if you're thinking of buying something and need another opinion.

dumbfoundry and Silliman's Blog both cover all things poetry.

Fascinating History is ... like the title says. You never know what you'll find or when it will be covering.

Ghost Word covers books, authors, book store and publishing news.

Loose Leaf Notes is a writer's blog. Colleen talks about her family, nature, and her writing life. She likes to play scrabble.

And when in need of a giggle, I go visit The Dormitory Boys.

Don't forget: Send us your favorite blogs -- and tell us why you like 'em. Email us.

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Dog Eared

Books we love

100 Best Books for Children

The National Education Association picked one hundred books that make great reading for children and young people. The following selections are the recommended "Books for All Ages."

  1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

  2. Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein

  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

  4. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

  5. Heidi by Johanna Spyri

To see the entire list, check out the Teachers First website.

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It's probably true that you write the books you'd like to read. One day I started, just for fun, writing a book I had always wanted to read; a mystery novel as hard-boiled as I could make it, but with two significant restrictions: I wanted a woman in the lead role, and I wanted to make all the characters as real as I could, rather then rely on the conventions of noir, or the conventions of society at large (for example, the conventional wisdom that drug addicts are evil and heartless, that family is always kind and helpful, and so on). I loved old mystery novels and noir films (and still do), but as dark as some of them are, I felt like few were honest enough. Most seemed to stop short of some truth about the detective and his client, and I wanted to go beyond that point, to get at a deeper, more resonant place in the mystery. A further restriction I set for myself as I went along was that, aside from all my high-flying literary ideas, the book had to be an engaging mystery as well. I'd read plenty of "literary" mysteries that were neither.

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This entry comes from Collision Detection, a fascinating blog written by science, technology and culture writer Clive Thompson. Clive, who writes for the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Discover, among others, is a refreshingly original and independent thinker. I highly recommend his blog. This entry was posted 3/31/06:

Should students be banned from using laptops in class?

University of Memphis law professor June Entman recently took a step that deeply freaked out her first-year law students: She banned laptops in her class. As the Memphis Commercial Appeal -- there's a newspaper called "The Commercial Appeal"?? -- reports:

"My main concern was they were focusing on trying to transcribe every word that was I saying, rather than thinking and analyzing," Entman said. "The computers interfere with making eye contact. You've got this picket fence between you and the students." Entman's students have had three classes without laptops. Cory Winsett, a first-year law student, said his participation in class has dropped because he's too busy writing notes on the lecture. And his notes are less organized and hard to read when he gets home. "If we continue without laptops, I'm out of here. I'm gone; I won't be able to keep up," Winsett said.

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We recently spoke with Francisco Abeyta, the Education Technology Coordinator at the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, CT. The school introduced Visual Thesaurus to its 250 students last October. Francisco tells us how it's working out.

VT: How does Visual Thesaurus fit in your classroom?

Francisco: In one of our high school-level reading classes, students have laptops that connect to the internet. The teacher has a laptop that connects to an LCD projector. The students have their books open, and their laptops open to the Visual Thesaurus. When they come to a word that they don't understand they'll enter it in the Visual Thesaurus. When the teacher wants to go over some of the language, she'll project the entry from her laptop.

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Blog Du Jour

Interactive Blogs to Write By...

Subscriber Donna Karlin, an executive coach whose own blog is A Better Perspective, says, "these are great interactive blogs where you have a set amount of time to write about a given word, poem or caption."

One Word


One Caption

Don't forget: Send us your favorite blogs -- and tell us why you like 'em. Email us.

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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 1-7 of 33 Articles