Frankie Liked To Sing TRIFECTA


I’m super excited to be able to celebrate Frankie Liked to Sing today with Mr. Schu and Nerdy Book Club. Mr. Schu is actually visiting my third grade classroom today, so maybe I’ll convince him to sing a couple of Frank Sinatra songs with me. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

For today’s trifecta I had the opportunity to talk with writer John Seven. Enjoy!

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about Frankie Likes to Sing?

It is the story of how a young Frank Sinatra became an old Frank Sinatra, and how the one constant thing he did his entire life was to sing. I’m pretty sure it’s the first picture book to feature the Rat Pack. It also may be the first picture to lavish attention on Hoboken in the early 20th Century. Despite being such a huge, legendary star, I found a lot to identify with in his story and I think a lot of kids will, too. Some kids just aren’t the same as others, and they know what they were born to do, it’s just about perseverance and work, and showing the world we can actually do it as well as we think we can.


  1. What is your favorite thing about being an author?  

Getting to work all day with my best friend, Jana.

  1. What’s the hardest thing about being an author?

The hardest thing is picking which stories to develop further past the manuscript stage. I want them all to be completely illustrated books, but there is only so much time in the day.


  1. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick? 

I’d spend it in any of Connie Willis’ Oxford time travel books. Or maybe she would write a whole new one that I could spend the day in. I love the idea of such civilized, intellectual time travel adventures. 


  1. What advice do you have for the young authors in my classroom?  

Continually writing and continually reading are the two best ways to become a professional writer. Listen to criticism, but understand you don’t have to do everything they suggest. Be true to yourself, but get inside the skin of other people. Don’t let anyone else tell you what and what not to write about.

Be sure to check out Mr. Schu’s site for his interview with Jana Christy.

Check out John’s Nerdy Book Club post!

nerdy monster

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview; Marsha Diane Arnold


Happy Picture Book Month!

I can’t think of a more fun book to celebrate than Marsha Diane Arnold’s Lost. Found. Check it out. YOU’LL LOVE IT!

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about LOST. FOUND?

The idea for Lost. Found. came to me in an early morning dream, a vision of a bear wearing a red scarf walking alone through a wintry forest. The story was a seemingly simple one (my editor called it “brilliantly simple and simply brilliant”) so I used just two words repeated, eighteen words in all. What happens when the red Scarf becomes lost and what happens when other woodland creatures discover the scarf? After mischievous activities and a bit of mayhem, a friendly circle of community and cooperation would be a surprise, but I like surprises. (4)


2. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom?

Read a little every day. Write a little every day. And every day, be aware of everything around you by listening, feeling, and truly seeing. (3)


3. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick?

Miss Rumphius was one of my daughter’s favorite picture books growing up, so, of course, it was one of mine too. I’d love to travel to all the exotic places Miss Rumphius did and later in life, plant lupines. Wait! I’ve traveled to Africa, the Galapagos, Europe, Australia, Fiji, China, South America, and Central America, and now I’m settling down in Florida to plant my garden. Maybe I’m Miss Rumphius in disguise! (5)


4. What is the hardest thing about being an author?

The hardest thing for me is rejection, whether rejection of a new story or the rejection of having a book go out of print. My stories are like my babies and no one wants their babies rejected. (2)

5. What is your favorite thing about being an author?

I love when school communities embrace my books, like when Walter Jackson Elementary in Alabama celebrates The Pumpkin Runner with an October Pumpkin Run Day, four years in a row. (1…Whew!)

Blog Tour Schedule
November 3: SharpRead and Nerdy Book Club
November 4: KidLitFrenzy
November 5: Read. Write. Reflect.
November 6: Librarian in Cute Shoes
November 7: Watch. Connect. Read
About the author 

Lost. Found. is Marsha Diane Arnold’s twelfth book. Her picture books have garnered awards from Best First Book by a New Author to Smithsonian Notable to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. She’s tried her hand at all the activities in Lost. Found. – from walking in the snow to jumping on a trampoline to knitting things back together again. And she has always believed that if you lose something, it is never truly lost.

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5 Things I Loved About the Last 7 Days -10/30/2015


I have been a pretty terrible writer on this blog the last three months. Between coaching 8th grade football and starting off the school year I had to give something up, so I kind of abandoned sharpread. I’m going to try and do a little more blogging now that the year is settling in and football is over.

5 Things

  1. McToad Mows Tiny Island

I think Tom Angleberger is brilliant. Everything he creates cracks me up, and his latest picture book does not disappoint. Reading it aloud to my third graders on Thursday (YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK ON A THURSDAY) was such a joy. The kids thought it was a hoot. Reading McToad Mows a Tiny Island will remind teachers why they love teaching little people.


2. #SharpSchu

Last night I got to co-host the #SharpSchu Twitter book club with my pal Mr. Schu. We had a lot of fun and the turn out was great. I think we did a darn good job celebrating two amazing 2015 graphic novels.


3. Halloween!

Halloween completely stresses me out. My third graders are like a ticking time bomb all day at school. I keep worrying that they will explode before our party at 2:30. Even with all the stress, I appreciate the magical day. My students love it. My own kids love it. It is probably worth the headache.

I love my little gumball machine.

I love my little gum-ball machine.

4. Playoffs!

Last Friday night my school made the football playoffs for the first time. Most of my family has played for our beloved Panthers, so it was extra sweet that my brother is on this year’s historic team.


5. Because of Winn-Dixie

I’ll finish reading aloud Kate DiCamillo’s Winn Dixie to my third graders Monday afternoon. It’s my favorite read aloud, and the more I read it the more I think that it might be the best book ever written for kids. It is perfect.


5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Monica Wellington


I’m super excited to interview Monica Wellington today. Any day that I get a chance to celebrate a picture book is a great day. I think you’ll really dig her book My Leaf Book.


5,4,3,2,1 Interview


5. Can you tell us a little bit about MY LEAF BOOK?

I still have my first leaf book, which I made about 50 years ago.

The leaves are brittle and brown but still very beautiful. I

remember how excited I was to collect as many different kinds of

leaves as I could find on that walk in the woods. I found 21. I

hope My Leaf Book inspires children to make their own leaf

collections and that they keep them for many years, too.

original leaf book 4 original leaf book 3 original leaf book 2 original leaf book

4. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which

book would you pick?

I recently found out that my great-great-grandmother crossed the

United States from Iowa to Oregon in a covered wagon in 1853,

when she was 10 years old. I loved the Little House of the Prairie

books when I was growing up, so I would like to spend a day

with Laura Ingalls Wilder in her covered wagon to have that

experience myself. It would be amazing but full of hardships. I

think one day would be long enough to go back to those times!

3. What’s the hardest thing about being an author and illustrator?

It is very hard when a book you love goes out of print. I recently

took on a huge project to make Crêpes by Suzette available

again by turning it into an app. I never stop caring about my


2. What advice do you have for the young writers in my


Write, then revise, revise, and revise some more. Don’t ever

think it is going to be perfect the first time.

1. What is your favorite thing about being an author and


I love doing creative work.

Body Parts Blog Tour: Mouth


Human Body Theater Cover RGB

My son is obsessed with the human body.  Earlier this year I watched him give a 10  minute impromptu presentation to my uncle about the large and small intestines. It may have been the coolest use of a tape measure that I have ever seen. When Maris Wicks’s Human Body Theatre arrived on my doorstep this past summer, I knew that my kid would be stoked. He was. The book was devoured multiple times, and for the next several weeks he randomly shared facts he learned in the book with pretty much every person he came in contact with. You are going to want to check out this book.

HBT_blogtour5 (1)

I’m excited to participate in the Human Body Theatre blog tour. Below you will find an image and a description of a body part from author Maris Wicks.



Inside your mouth lives a super-strong muscle: your tongue! Now, I’m pretty sure that none of us can do push-ups with our tongue, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get exercise. Your tongue works day and night to move saliva to the back of the throat to be swallowed (our bodies produce up to 2 liters of saliva a day!). Your tongue also helps to move food around your mouth while you are chewing.  Aside from its muscle-y-ness, the tongue is equipped with roughly 10,000 taste buds. Also called papillae, taste buds detect the flavor, texture and sensation (think “minty” or “spicy”) of foods.  Here’s the catch (and you probably know this already): foods taste different to different people! Our taste buds might be doing the same job, but our brains interpret flavor and texture and say “YAY!” or “NAY!” or “meh.”  Just as we grow, our sense of taste grows with us, and even once-hated foods can become favorites (so go on and give those Brussels sprouts another try).

Maris Wicks lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. She has harnessed the power of her various biological systems to draw comics for Adhouse Books, Tugboat Press, and Spongebob Comics, and written stories for Image and DC Comics. Wicks is the illustrator of the New York Timesbestselling Primates, with Jim Ottaviani. When she’s not making comics, Wicks works with New England Aquarium. She’s especially proud of her pulmonary system.