This is the blog of children's book author and elementary school 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).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Skyping Into the Classroom

I LOVE author skype visits. So do my students. If you want to reach the elementary school market, I doubt there is a better way to reach a whole class of kids all at one time.

(Okay, sure, being able to meet the author in person is better. But author visits cost the author money and cost the school money. Skype visits are usually free and the only thing it requires is an internet connection.)

This year my class had five skype visits.

We made Origami Yoda with Tom Angleberger.
Thought about what we would wish for in a breadbox with Laurel Snyder.
Learned how to make large dragons out of duct tape with Jodi Moore.
Figured out ways to save the world with Marty McGuire and Kate Messner.
Visited the Monstore with Tara Lazar. You can head over to Tara Lazar's blog so that you can see the  adorable and amazing monsters that my class created.

What's in it for the author? Besides getting to meet a bunch of cool kids who may be fans already, you also get to reach kids that may not have heard of you. More than half my class (of 22 kids) have bought the books of the authors that have come in through my Smartboard. Even more than that have found the book to read at our school library or the local library. When they go to bookstores and bookfairs they ask for books by those authors. And even better than that, they have started following those author's careers. They tell me when new books come out or if there are books by those authors that weren't mentioned in the Skype visit.

How do you give a successful Skype visit? Here are some things I found that kids love (in no particular order):

1. Be funny. It's really not a hard thing to do when your face is about a yard tall on our Smartboard screen.
2. Tell them about how you became a writer.
3. If you are Skyping from home, show them your pets or other special objects.
4. Read something from your book.
5. Don't just talk about yourself. Ask about them.
6. Don't be surprised when they ask questions like "How much do you get paid," or "How old are you?" Have your answer ready, even if it is laugh and avoid the question.
7. Smile.

That last one may sound silly, but kids can tell if you love what you are doing and if you love listening to them. If you love them, they'll love you. I promise.

If you are a teacher reading this and you want to find authors who Skype, visit Kate Messner's Authors Who Skype With Classes and Bookclubs List.

Have you have an author Skype in? Have you been the Skyping author? Leave a comment below.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Great Week of #RAOKblitz

I had such a great time participating in the Random Acts of Kindness Blitz. I hope you enjoyed Joan Riordan's poems. Thank you for reading and continue commenting. Don't forget to visit The Bookshelf Muse blog to see more random acts by other writers.

Here are a few more poems by Joan Riordan

Babysitting Blues
By Joan Riordan

   My                           I
 energy                  wish this
is sapped.             kid napped.

Changing Seth’s Diaper
By Joan Riordan

Changing Seth’s diaper
Set the chandelier rattling.
It was like dinosaurs battling.
There was defensive bobbing,
Dodging, growling, sobbing.
The tabs got mangled.
The diaper dangled.

In the end,
I was breathless
And the diaper was-

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Brother's Plea by Joan Riordan #RAOKblitz

You want to share my bed?  Okay.
But first, I have some things to say:

Don’t toss and turn and flop and flip.
Don’t jab me with your bony hip.

Wear warm, thick socks, I’ll tell you why.
Touch me with freezing feet – you die.

Don’t grunt or grind, sniffle or toot.
If you do, you’ll get the boot.

If you wake, scared from a dream,
Chew on the sheet, stifle the scream.

Want to hog the blanket?  Don’t try it.
If you have to breathe, breathe quiet.

And if, by chance, you wet the bed,
You are totally, completely dead.

 You’re going back to your bed?
If you insist, go right ahead.

- Joan Riordan

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Poem by Joan Riordan #RAOKblitz

Fast frogs
Jumping over old logs

Thorn bush
Sliding on a jeaned tush

Gray gook
Damming up a slow brook

Long Hikes

Everything a boy likes!

- Joan Riordan

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Contrary Cat by Joan Riordan #RAOKblitz

The Contrary Cat
By Joan Riordan

Won’t capture mice
Thinks that they’re nice

Won’t climb a tree
Watches T.V.

No laps- instead
Perches on heads

Likes to get wet
And visit the vet

Allergic to yarn
Stays away from the barn

Chews on big sticks
Learns funny new tricks

Greets me each day
When I’ve been away

At times, I suppose
He’s a dog in cat clothes

The only thing
That’s as it should be?

I like him

                 and he likes me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

By the Birch Trees by Joan Riordan, my #RAOKblitz Honoree

By the birch trees

           The tulips are a
   bouncy boy band with hair dyed
   a bright, bright yellow.

Past the pond

            Cherry trees throw
            pink petal confetti-
            Flower girls in a wedding.

Along the wall

            Lilacs burble bubbles
            of grape soda.
            A flimsy foam fills the field.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Turvy Topsy by Joan Riordan, my #RAOKblitz Honoree

Please take a look at yesterday's post to learn more about the celebration of writers going on this week to commemorate the release of The Emotion Thesaurus. I am so excited that Joan Riordan has decided to accept my Random Act of Kindness Blitz. Joan is a kindergarten teacher, a critique group leader, and a picture book writer. She is also a poet.

This week I am going to celebrate Joan by posting her poetry on my blog, starting with the poem below. My daughter and I loved this one because we spend every night in a fun debate about outside in or inside out.

             Turvy Topsy
         By Joan Riordan

Why say inside out?     
               Why not outside in?
Instead of upside down
               Give downside up a spin.
If we say things all turvy topsy
                And get the rules suspended
Will life change in an instant?
                Will the world end up upended?

Please make sure to comment and don't forget to stop back tomorrow for more.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness BLITZ!

"A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community.

Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.

So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook."

Kindness ROCKS!

To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ.  And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!

I am blitzing Joan Riordan. Joan has been the Stamford critique group leader for three years. She opens her home to our group once a month and critiques our work, even when she doesn't have anything to submit. Lately Joan has been submitting poetry to the group. For my RAOK, I will be featuring Joan's poetry on my blog all week!! I hope you will stop back this weeks and enjoy the work of this amazing poet, writer, and critique group leader (she's also a kindergarten teacher btw). Please make sure to comment so that she will know how awesome she is.

Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge?

Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)

Becca and Angela have special RAOK gifts waiting on their blog, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.

Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"The Right to Play"

Have you seen this story coming out of Phoenix? Our Lady of Sorrows forfeited the high school championship game because of the 15 year old girl who played for the other team. All I can do is shake my head on this one. At least most of the comments have been supportive of the girl, unlike other articles I've shared.

SF Gate
Fox News
Washington Post

This story came to my attention via Girls Play Baseball, the best resource I've found online for information about girls who play ball.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How do you write?

It is easy to think that everyone must have the same process or at least a similar process for writing. After talking to many writers, I have found that that's not necessarily true. People can experience their stories in many different ways. Here are some examples:

The Visual Writer - The visual writer sees their story in images, one moment at a time. Some can even study that image and turn it around in their head. 

The Movie Maker - The movie maker writer experiences their story in their mind the same way that other people experience life or watching movies. They can actually walk through it, seeing, hearing, touching, and smelling everything around them.

The Planer - The Planer plots an outline and fills it in. They don't see or hear their story, they craft it out of words on the page.

The Auditory Writer - The auditory writer listens to their story. They hear voices in their head talking to each other. Some auditory writers can talk back to the voices and even argue. Others can only listen. 

The Illustrator/Photographer - The illustrator draws out their story first. If they can't draw, they might also take pictures or collect photographs to help their story emerge. 

When I write I am an auditory writer and a photographer. I can only listen to my characters, not interact. They speak to each other and I capture their words. Even when I write a blog post like this one, I hear my own voice in my head molding the words together. To add visual images to my writing, I am the photographer. I find images in the real world or online to match the voices in my head or the settings where the events are taking place. 

How do you write? Do you use one of these methods or a combination. Is there anything you do that I haven't mentioned?