More fun with Children’s Book Authors

So Kyle and I were checking out Mo Willems blog when I remembered that MotherReader (gosh, she is going to think that I am stalking her like she stalks Mo Willems now…two blog references in two days…) also had a link to a webcast of when Mo Willems had given a talk at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival earlier this year.

We decided to watch it and what fun! He read from Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, discussed his new book Edwina, the Dinosaur that Did Not Know She Was Extinct, showed how to draw the Pigeon and talked about writing and drawing and doing what he does. He was incredibly entertaining and Kyle loved it (as did Jason when I showed him it later). They especially liked how Mo explained that the Pigeon does not like Mo writing books about anyone other then himself, so he ends up sneaking into Mo’s other books.

Then we poked around some more and found Tony DiTerlizzi’s (author of the Spiderwick Chronicles and other fun books) webcast. Wow! What a great speaker. Again, he read from his new book and talked about being an artist. What was really cool is that he said how he got started was when he was 8 or 9 and would make up stories about how aliens would try to take over the world but the dinosaurs fought them back and ate them and then got destroyed by a meteor (I am not doing him justice at all here!). But it sounded a lot like the stories that Jason loves to tell and reminded me that I really need to start writing down more of his stories.

What I really love about these two is that you can tell that they really love what they do. And I love how they talked about getting started and about the goofy stories they used to tell when they were kids. And how they loved to draw all the time…I am sure that a lot of right brained kids would relate.

Storytelling is an area where I really want to encourage Jason…he hates the physical process of writing, but he LOVES telling stories and is good at it too. He gets a gleam in his eye when he is working on one. He and his Grandpa Elms have had this running oral story that they have been doing since Jason was around 3 or so called Baggerbusters. It has morphed several times (I think that now it is about developing spaceships and weapons to take over the universe) but he really looks forward to doing it each time they get together. And he and I have done what I call collaborative stories, where we start with an idea and then gradually make up the story together. These are a lot of fun and I mostly play the role of asking questions, helping him think a bit and fill in more detail.

We have not gotten to check out the other Children’s Lit authors yet, but plan to do so. And I am kicking myself for not going! (it was held here in Washington DC.) I had heard about it back in September, but did not really realize exactly what it was. I think that we would have had a blast and it would have been cool to actually see them in person (not to mention getting our Pigeon and Spiderwick Chronicles books signed!). Ah well. I will definitely keep my eye open for it in 2007.

Oh and then to top off the afternoon, I just found out that Lane Smith (illustrator for Jason’s favorite books The Stinky Cheeseman, Math Curse, and Science Verse) has a new book out called John, Paul, George, and Ben about the founding fathers. It looks really neat and from what I can tell has a running “big underwear” gag throughout which might be what it takes to finally interest the boys in my favorite part of history!

Man! I love the internet! The only problem is that I keep finding out about these neat new books when they first come out and then I have to debate about waiting to get them when they come out in paperback. Thank goodness for libraries!


Appeared in the 52nd Carnival of Homeschooling.

About throwingmarshmallows

I am a homeschooling mom to two sweet, energetic boys although I am probably not exactly what you would expect (definitely NOT your stereotypical homeschooler, if there is really such a thing). I support progressive political causes (yes, liberals can and do homeschool!) and I have found a spiritual home in the Unitarian Universalist Church. I have no real idea of how I want to use this blog, but will probably focus on homeschooling, things that I am learning from my boys, personal thoughts and opinions and maybe some liberal politics thrown in, who knows!
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6 Responses to More fun with Children’s Book Authors

  1. applestars says:

    You know, Steph, whether you write down his stories or not, the foundation it is building for him, and the process that is occurring to put him where he needs to be, is happening regardless :-)

    It is really fun to have remembrances, though. The children love to stumble on “old thinking” and “old processes”.

    On the ther side, maybe I need to write a post about “show me work” and society’s obsession with “showing proof” . . . not that it’s what you’re doing . . . LOL . . . but I think people think if it’s not written down, it doesn’t count or something, or something meaningful still isn’t happening.

    Alright, I’m blathering on a comment . . . LOL!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I can definitely see your point Cindy. I know that one of the reasons that I know we are doing the right thing by homeschooling the boys is because I see all the “non-work” they are doing LOL! I am with them and know the conversations that we have all day. It can be harder for people who are not with them day by day to have a feel for what they are learning specifically because they “don’t show their work”.

    In this case though, I was looking more to have them for later. And I have found that Jason actually likes having them written down and naturally starts editing them a bit…he thinks that it is cool to be able to read his stories on my blog and then thinks of better ways that he wants to say things. It is a fun process to watch.

  3. Steph says:

    James is a lot like Jason – not into the process of writing but a prolific storyteller. Part of this was his sister’s influence. He and Sarah always have an interactive fantasy story they’re spinning together. Like you, I consider this “Language Arts” and a legitimate form of “writing” (as is narration). James also loves to draw. I print out cartoon templates from time to time and encourage him to create his own cartoons and “graphic novels.” (He writes words in the cartoons when he wants to, and I help him with spelling when he asks). It will be fun to see how this develops!

  4. If Jason likes to tell stories but not write them down, have you tried a mini recorder? My boys have one and they love to talk into it. And it’s easy work to transcribe it if they want to have it in writing.

    Also, did you know that Lane Smith has a blog? I just peeked, and coincidentally he blogged about “that pigeon guy”, too.

  5. My daughter loves telling stories too. We’ve made “books” since she was 3. They are just construction paper folded in half with copy paper inside. I write what she says and she draws the pictures. It’s worked fine until recently. Now my hand cannot keep up with all of her great ideas and she is NOT happy with Mom. I may have to switch to the computer. LOL!

    Also, I want you to RUN out to the closest book store and pick up John, Paul, George, and Ben. Sydney LOVES this book! Yes, there is a joke about GREAT, BIG, EXTRA-LARGE UNDERWEAR (that Paul Revere sure had a big mouth) and it IS one of the best parts of the book. But it is not a recurring theme. Each founding father is given his own (hilarious) introduction sans underwear.

    You know what….we’ve borrowed this book 3 times from the library. Sydney loves it so much….I’m going to hit Amazon tonight and try to get it here in time for Christmas! Thanks for the nudge. :-)


  6. Heather says:

    Thanks for the great links! The kids and I just watched the Mo Willems webcast – now they’re working on their own Pigeon stories!