More From The Yarn Coming Soon


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I had the opportunity to spend some time interviewing some pretty amazing authors at NCTE for a new series Travis Jonker and I are going to try. The next handful of episodes on The Yarn will be a part of a series called The Unraveller. We’re still trying to work out the format and how each episode will go. We’re using the show Song Exploder as our mentor.

We hope you like our new series. Our plan is to three episodes in December, with the first episode featuring Anne Ursu, dropping 12/6.

The images below give you a sneak peak at some of the authors we’ll be talking to for The Unravller.


New to The Yarn? Catch up below!


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.