One Question With Trevor Muir

This week’s episode of One Question with Mr. Sharp featured the amazing Michigan educator/author Trevor Muir. Trevor is a project based learning enthusiast. Through that passion he wrote the book The Epic Classroom  (I’m giving away one copy of the book away to someone that comments on the video below.)

I asked Trevor what tips he had for educators that want to make their classrooms more epic. Check out the video below to see what he had to say.

Check out the other videos in my One Question With Mr. Sharp series below.

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Graph Novel Tips From Victoria Jamieson

I was extremely lucky to sit down with Victoria Jamieson at NCTE in St. Louis back in November. After recording audio for an episode of The Yarn podcast, we turned on the video camera and I asked her if she had any tips for kids that want to create comics. Her response was amazing! We watched it in class, and so many of my students picked up a pencil and started making comics. It was magical. I hope you find value in the video (below).

Be sure to check out the other episodes in my One Question with Mr. Sharp playlist (below).

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you ever need anything, just shoot me an email: colbysharp@gmail.com

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Pablo Cartaya

Early this year I read Pablo Cartaya’s The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. I LOVED IT. Spending time with Arturo’s family in Miami was the perfect way to start summer. I hope you find value in my interview with Pablo.

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

  • Can you tell us a little bit about THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA?

Thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora fights a greedy land developer who threatens to tear down his abuela’s restaurant. In the process, Arturo has his first encounter with love, discovers poetry, and learns the importance good old-fashioned community activism. Family is at the heart of this book. Plus food. Lots and lots of food .  

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  • What is the best part about being an author?

Can I give you two best parts? One is creating characters that allow readers to dream themselves into a story. The other is getting to talk to young people. I learn so much from young people.

  • What’s the hardest part of being an author?

The hardest part of being an author is also one of the greatest parts. Revising! Revising can be brutal but it’s necessary.

  • If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick?

I would totally pick Twenty-thousand Leagues Under the Sea written by Jules Verne! What adventure awaits us, Captain Nemo??

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  • What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom?

Never be afraid to fail.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Corinna Luyken

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The Book Of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken is brilliant. I hope to teach until I’m super old, and I will read this book to every student that I teach for the rest of my career. This book is going to help kids in so many ways. I LOVE THIS BOOK!

Corinna was kind enough to answer a handful of my interview questions. Thank you, Corinna!

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about The Book of Mistakes? (5)

 The Book of Mistakes begins with one mistake.  That mistake leads to more mistakes, and eventually, to some good ideas.  

 While this is a book about mistakes in art (and life), it is also a book about perception.  About how we become who we are.  It is about limits and transformation, potential and possibility.

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  1. What is the best part about being a book creator?  (3)

There are two best parts.  The first is that moment of watching something emerge from nothing.  The other is finding out that something I’ve made has touched the heart of another person.

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  1. What’s the hardest part of being a book creator? (1)

Practicing patience can be difficult, and the book industry moves slowly!

  1. If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick? (4)

This is not an easy question, because my answer will change tomorrow.  But for today, I’ll say Pool by JiHyeon Lee.  To make a new friend, to explore underwater with all those strange fish, and then to meet that enormous white creature with the big blue eye. Oh my!

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  1. What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom? (2)

Be yourself.  Your job as an artist (and human being) is only and always to be the very best YOU that you can be.

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5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Erica Perl

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We were very lucky to have Erica Perl attend Nerd Camp last week. She was amazing with our junior campers. Erica is a gift to children’s literature. Erica answered a handful of my questions about her new bookFerociously Fluffity.

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about Ferociously Fluffity?

All the kids in Room 2-D are desperate to hold Fluffity, their adorable new class pet, even though their teacher, Mr. Drake, tells them to wait. When an opportunity presents itself, the students give in to temptation and quickly learn the wisdom of Mr. Drake’s warning. Fluffity bites kid after kid, and her chomping leads to a wild chase through the halls. Who will stop the haywire hamster, and how? Especially when her next victim is… Mr. Drake!

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2. What is best part about being a writer?

Sharing my books with kids! Plus, my publicist said she’d bake me a delicious rhubarb pie when I finished this book.

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3. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?

Apparently, my publicist was kidding about the pie. 

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4. If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick?

Hmm, that’s a hard one. Actually, it’s not. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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5. What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom?

Read everything! Write the kinds of things you love to read, even if you’re convinced that no one else will want to read them. Drawing, dancing, running and all kinds of non-writing activities can give you great “aha!” moments for your writing… just make sure you write them down before they escape. Don’t be tempted to edit while you write – editing interrupts the flow of your writing and works better if you come back and do it later.

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5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Brian Farrey

A few weeks ago I finished Brian Farrey’s awesome middle grade novel The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse. I found Brian’s world fascinating, and I found myself trying to figure out the mystery even when I wasn’t reading the book.

It was a lot of fun interviewing Brian for today’s post. Enjoy!

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about THE SECRET OF DREADWILLOW CARSE ?

I wrote THE SECRET OF DREADWILLOW CARSE for anyone who was ever told not to ask questions and I hope that they walk away understanding how important it is to be curious.

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2. What is best part about being a writer?

The best part about being a writer is playing with words. It’s not just throwing a bunch of letters down on the page and hoping they make sense. It’s playing. It’s writing and re-writing and playing and playing to find just the right way to say what absolutely needs to be said.

3. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?

The hardest part of being a writer is dealing with the voices in your head that tell you your writing is horrible. All writers have these voices. I silence mine with a very liberal consumption of chocolate.

4. If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick?

If I could live in any book’s world, I’d spend the day fighting corruption in the magician government and brokering peace between the humans and djinn in Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus books. I probably wouldn’t get much accomplished in a single day but I’d give it my all.

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5. What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom?

Here is my advice for young creators: don’t give up. Ignore the voices in your head that try to trick you into stopping. Ignore anyone who tells you you’re not good enough to do what you’re trying to do. There’s a quote attributed to Thomas Edison that goes: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  When you create and fail, start again with Way #10,001.

 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Randall de Seve

 

It has been a while since I’ve ran a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 interview here on the blog, and I’ve missed them. Thankfully, I had the chance to interview Randall about her beautiful new book A Fire Truck Name Red.

Enjoy!

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about A FIRE TRUCK NAMED RED?

In A FIRE TRUCK NAMED RED, a little boy named Rowan (Gaelic for “red”) wants a shiny new fire truck toy for his birthday. Instead, his grandfather gives him his crusty, old truck, and the promise to fix it up “better than new.” But what could be better than new for a child? That’s the central question of this story. And as Rowan helps to restore Red while listening to Papa’s exciting boyhood adventures with his beloved toy, he answers it: older things and people with stories can be the best of all. (5)

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2. What is the best part of your job?

More than anything, I love reading my stories to children. I love seeing their squirmy bodies settle into the imaginary worlds I’ve created for them. (2)

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3. What is the hardest part of your job?

It can be so hard to start a new story! Sometimes I have an idea, and I walk around with it for weeks (or longer), waiting for that first fragile line to come. I know that if I rush it, if I make a false start, I might ruin it. I might break the spell and end up with an overworked mess. (4)

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4. Tell us your first reaction to when you saw Bob Staake’s art for A FIRE TRUCK NAMED RED.

Yes– it’s absolutely perfect! (1)

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5. What advice do you have for young readers and writers?

Readers, keep reading; only good can come of it. Writers, ideas can spring from anywhere, anyone, anything. Keep your eyes and ears open, and when you find inspiration, grab it (in a notebook) before it flees. (3)

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Randall de Seve

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview Ms. Emily Arrow

Each time I hear a new Ms. Emily Arrow tune my heart sings. I’m super excited to get my hands on her new album that drops this weekend. If you haven’t heard and of Emily’s kid lit songs you are totally missing out. Thankfully for you; I’m going to embed a bunch of her work into this post.

Earlier this week I had a great old school phone chat with Ms. Emily Arrow. After I hung up, I knew that I wanted to feature her work on my blog. I was very happy when she agreed to answer a handful of my questions.

Emily is broadcasting her album release party on Periscope this Saturday at 1:30 EST/10:30 AM PST. I plan on watching with the Sharplettes. Click on the image below to visit find Emily on Periscope.

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Time for the interview! My words will appear in black, and Ms. Emilly Arrow’s will be red. Happy reading (singing)!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about Storytime Sing Along? (2)

Storytime Singalong is my debut kidlit tunes album – full of songs inspired by books for kids. I created this new genre of music so that readers of all ages can sing along to their favorite stories.

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2. What is your favorite thing about creating book-themed songs?(1)

Hearing rooms full of kids singing them along with me!

3. What is the hardest thing about creating book-themed songs? (5)

The hardest part is creating each song’s video. It’s a lengthy process that begins with getting permission from an author or publisher to adapt their book into a song. Then I write and record the song. Then I record and edit the video. THEN I share the video 🙂

4. If you could spend one day inside a book, which book would you pick? (3)

I feel like I get to spend whole days inside books every time I create a new video. And I’d have to say, my favorite day I’ve spent inside a book so far was creating the video for LOUISE LOVES ART by Kelly Light. Video coming next month!  

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5. What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom?

What’s something awesome you saw or heard this week? Create something about THAT. Then give it away as a gift to someone and make something else. Keep doing this and big, fun things will happen.

 

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Click on the picture of Emily for more info on her new album. 

 

 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Jess Keating

Happy book birthday, How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied! I am so excited for this book to reach the hands of middle grade readers. I hope that you all get a chance to pick this book up soon at your local independent bookshop. It will not disappoint.

I’m honored to have the opportunity to chat with How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied author Jess Keating.

Today’s interview uses the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 framework.

Here are the rules:

1. I give the interviewee 5 questions

2. They have to answer

  • 1 question with 5 sentences
  • 1 question with 4 sentences
  • 1 question with 3 sentences
  • 1 question with 2 sentences
  • 1 question with 1 sentence

3.  They get to pick which question which question to answer with each number of sentences

4. Have fun!

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Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied?

My book is about learning to be your bravest, truest self, even when you’re named after an anaconda and you live in a zoo! It’s also about quirky animals, best friends (old and new), sneaky twin brothers, mortifyingly embarrassing moments on live TV, first crushes, and a parrot named Darwin. [2 sentences]

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2. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

I love making people laugh, think, and wonder. To me, writing is a magical way to connect people, no matter where they live, when they were born, or how different they are. Books are bridges from one person to another, and being a bridge-builder is pretty cool. [3 sentences]

3. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?

Patience, patience, patience. [1 sentence]

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

I would love to have bread, milk, and blackberries for supper with Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail in Peter Rabbit’s world. Or write squirrel poetry with Ulysses. Or maybe visit with Ruby and Ivan?! There are too many amazing books to decide! [4 sentences]

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

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because writing magic happens in the messy places! Read everything you can get your hands on. Imitating your favorite authors and their style is a fabulous way to get your story started. Save everything you write, because you never know when an abandoned seed of a story will grow into something HUGE. Carrying a notebook with you everywhere means you will always have a friend nearby.[5 sentences]

Thanks for stopping by, Ms. Keating! I hope you enjoy every single second of your book birthday.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Amber McRee Turner

A few months ago I only knew Amber McRee Turner as the author of Sway.Getting to know Ms. Turner through on social media and through the words of her beautiful book Circa Now, I now call her a friend. Amber’s one of those friends you make as an adult that you wish you’d had your whole life. She’s that awesome.

I’m excited to see what young readers think of her latest book, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Ms. Amber McRee Turner.

I’m hoping you enjoy reading Amber’s interview as much as I enjoyed interviewing her.

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Today’s interview is of the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 variety.

Here are the rules:

1. I give the interviewee 5 questions

2. They have to answer

  • 1 question with 5 sentences
  • 1 question with 4 sentences
  • 1 question with 3 sentences
  • 1 question with 2 sentences
  • 1 question with 1 sentence

3.  They get to pick which question which question to answer with each number of sentences

4. Have fun!

Interview

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1. Can you tell us a little bit about CIRCA NOW? (2)

CIRCA NOW is the story of a girl who longs to change her own story and a boy who needs to discover his, both of them seeking magic in a very special set of restored photographs. Together, the two find the true meaning of restoration, one pixel at a time. 

2. What is your favorite thing about being a writer? (3)

I get to collect random bits of information, like something a stranger says in a hospital waiting room, the colors swirling in an oily puddle on the parking lot, or the way a piece of a song makes my insides get all achy. Then I get to smush those bits together into something totally new. The glue that holds them is the question, “What if…?”

3. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer? (4)

It’s the same thing that’s the hardest about being a human. Revision. Improvement. Listening to other smart peoples’ advice on making my books better is almost as hard as listening to other smart peoples’ advice on making Amber better.

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

I’ve always wanted to be tucked into that giant moonlit bed with all those dogs in the blue middle pages of Go, Dog. Go! By P.D. Eastman.

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5. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom? (5)

 There are lots of brown-haired women and lots of cancer survivors and lots of moms and lots of people who hate guacamole in the world, but I’m fairly sure that I’m the only brown-haired, guacamole-hating, cancer-survivor mom who once slipped in a puddle of dog spit and broke her tailbone and who had a chicken named Roy that got struck by lightning. All that is to say, my story is one-of-a-kind. So is yours. Tell it. With a pencil, with your voice, with colorful shapes, or with a harmonica – make sure you tell it.