Welcome

This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Monday, February 27, 2017

#IMWAYR February 27, 2017


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

A little more than a week ago, while I was on school vacation, I was invited to be an author in residence at the Community School of Naples, Florida. I had a wonderful time teaching three classes of third graders. They asked interesting questions and took risks with their own writing. It was a fantastic experience that I am looking forward to repeating next year and in other schools. 



Here are the books I read this week:

Picture Book


Whenever I'm on a beach this book comes to mind so I had to share it with my students. It's a fun story about what happens when a dragon moves into a sandcastle. We didn't see any dragons but we did see an octopus and crocodile. 


Middle Grade


This series has been on my reading list for a while and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. Sammy is a spirited main character. I can see why middle graders enjoy these books. Time to get some for my classroom!


Young Adult


I didn't love the last book in this series but decided I had to read this next one anyway. I am so glad I did. By the end of the last book I disliked the main character, Adelina Amouteru. In this final chapter of her story she finally redeems herself and the story concludes in a satisfying way.


It has been a while since I read a paranormal book. This one didn't disappoint. Beezy Lin wakes up one year after her death with the need to bring murderers to justice. Unable to find her own killer, she seeks out truly bad people and uncovers a cult bent on destroying evil - only problem is they wouldn't recognize true evil if it bit them.

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If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Repost with a twist: Interview with Middle Grade Author, Chris Eboch

Last year I interviewed fellow Spellbound River Press author, Chris Eboch after the release of her book Ghost Miner's Treasure. Next week Chris has a new book coming out with Spellbound River. The book, The Eyes of Pharaoh, was featured on my #IMWAYR on Monday. It's the story of Seshta, an Egyptian temple dancer, who places her dreams on hold to save her friend and prevent the fall of Egypt. I really loved this book. In celebration of next week's February 24th release, I'm reposting some of her interview today.  

When did you decide to become an author?

I originally went to college to study photography. I discovered I did not want to be a professional photographer, but I got a great education in creativity and critiquing. I also wrote for the school paper, which got me thinking about writing magazine nonfiction as a career. After a couple of years trying to do that on my own, I went back to college and got a degree in Professional Writing and Publishing. I worked for a couple of magazines briefly before selling my first middle grade novel, The Well of Sacrifice. From then on, I was a children’s book writer!


Tell us about your journey. How did you get your first book published?

I had spent a summer traveling in Mexico and Central America with a friend. That inspired The Well of Sacrifice, a novel set in ninth century Mayan Guatemala. I started writing it while I was looking for work, because I needed something fun to do in between temp jobs and sending out resumes. I’d always loved middle grade fiction and had continued reading it into adulthood. It seemed like a fun place to explore, and shorter than writing an adult novel. It turns out my style, which tends to be fast-paced and tight because of my journalism training, works well for kid lit.


Was there ever a point when you felt like giving up?

I sold my first novel, which in retrospect is astonishing. But I couldn’t sell the next half-dozen novels I wrote. I did manage to get some educational work for hire. That kept me active in the children’s book industry. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would have had the stamina to keep going after so many rejections. I estimate I’ve had at least a thousand rejection letters, if you count all the short stories, articles, novels, and queries to work for hire companies. But the only way to succeed is not to give up.


Is there anything about being a published author that has surprised you?

I’ve been published since 1999, so I have had many surprises, but I suppose I have adapted by now. The publishing business is wacky and outdated, which becomes very clear when you try to explain it to an outsider. It’s slow to update, but fortunately, today we have many different options. And most of the people working in it, from authors and illustrators to agents and editors, are fabulous.


Any advice you would give to a writer just starting out?

Don’t be in too much of a rush to get published. It takes a long time to learn your craft, so take classes, read books and magazines about writing, study other books, and find a great critique group. Eventually you might want to hire a professional editor to give you personalized feedback.

You’ll definitely face rejections, bad reviews, and more at some point in your career, so try to put aside the concept of “failing” and instead focus on “learning.” Maybe your manuscript was rejected by 50 agents. Are you a better writer now than you were before you wrote it? Do you know more about querying? Have you developed a new resistance to rejection? If you’ve made progress as a writer or as a person, then that process was a success.

Also, it’s important to remember that people have different obligations, training, financial resources, and family support. All those things can affect your career path, and so can luck. Do the best you can with what you have, but honor and celebrate your whole self. You are more than just a writer.


Here's how you can learn more about Chris and her books:

Sign up for Chris’s newsletter
Chris at Amazon
Chris on Facebook


Monday, February 13, 2017

#IMWAYR February 13, 2017


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

This week I had a snow day and attended the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators NY Conference so there were many great opportunities to read and discover new books. Here are the books I read this week:
Picture Book



This book is a beautiful story about what it is like to experience the loss of a person, for any reason. Look to the illustrations as you tell it to your kids. There are visual story lines in the illustrations that aren't in the text. To quote illustrator Bryan Collier from the #NY17SCBWI conference, "If you are a teacher or a librarian there is a Knock Knock in your room all the time." Reading this book will help you reach them.


Middle Grade


I've always loved this series, but it was something special to hear some of it read aloud this weekend by Sara Pennypacker. If you take a close look at this book, you will find that Sara's text leaves a lot of room for the reader. Great examples of show, don't tell right from the inner dialogue on the very first page.

 
Take a step back into Egyptian time and right into a mystery. 1177 BCE - Seshta, a temple dancer, wants to win a dance contest so she can be recognized by the kingdom, but when her friend Reya goes missing, she and her other friend Horus must search the kingdom to find him. But what they find is bigger than a missing friend and could mean the end of ancient Egypt as they know it. The Eyes of Pharaoh releases from Spellbound River Press on February 24.


Tess and her brother Max discover a magical castle hidden in the countryside near their aunt's home in England and have an adventure with their new neighbors. I would have liked for the tension to stay high longer, but overall it was a fun fantasy story middle graders will enjoy.


When Jonathan Grisby arrives at Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys he is looking to be punished for a past mistake. But when all the adults on the island are killed in a freak accident, he finds himself in a Lord of the Flies reality and instead of finding punishment, finds redemption. I can understand why this book is getting so much attention.

 

Ghost learned to run fast when his alcoholic father threatened him and his mother with a gun and was sent to prison. Since then, Ghost has had trouble holding his temper and relating to others. In his pride and temper, he accidentally tries out for a track team to prove to another boy that he is faster. But when the coach offers him a spot on the team, Ghost finds more than a place to run fast. He finds a way to connect with others. I absolutely loved this book.


Young Adult


Krakow in 1939 - Anna is seven years old when her father, her only care giver, is taken away and she is left on the street. To survive, she follows a stranger who will only let her call him the Swallow Man. The life they live on the streets is strange, but at least together, they are not alone. A disturbing but interesting read about an unusual relationship during a troubling time period.  


Everyone in Rsiran's world has an ability and most are accepted in his society. His ability, sliding from place to place, is considered dark and his father won't let him forget it. He sends him to work in the mines, one of the most dangerous jobs in the land. But a new group of friends helps Rsitan see that his ability is more than what he has been told and helps him find purpose. An enjoyable fantasy that could be read by an older middle grader as well as a teen. 
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If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?

Monday, February 6, 2017

#IMWAYR February 6, 2017


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

Picture Book

Last week we continued to explore the 2017 Caldecott Honor books.



We really enjoyed this book for it's bright illustrations, use of white space, and its humor. My students loved screaming, "Leave Me Alone!" every time it appeared on the page. We can definitely see why this book was honored.



We weren't quite sure about this book at first. The more we looked at the pictures and the words, the more the book grew on us (pun intended). My students are still debating what some of the phrases are mean.



My students had mixed reviews about this book, but I can't wait to use this book to teach point of view. My favorite were the perspectives of the goldfish and the mouse.


Young Adult




Caraval is about two sisters who care so much about the other's happiness, they will go to the ends of the earth to protect each other - or in this case, to a magical Caraval. There are so many twists and turns in this book and so many character's are unreliable, I will definitely need to read it again to make sure I didn't miss anything.

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If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?