Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mixed and Fixed!

Some witty posts got mixed up with others.
It happens when I schedule posts to appear on certain dates. Hopefully, you'll check back and see they've been fixed.

Catch up with this week's WIT below!

Wimpy vs. Superhero Writing

Do you know how easy it is to make your writing stronger? All you have to do is change wimpy adjectives to superhero ones. EASY, PEASY.

Take a look at my great story below. Rewrite the story, but replace that boring word:  great with a  more descriptive one.

Need help? to the rescue.
Click on the link above.
Put great in the WORD box.
To the right of where it says RHYMES, click on the down arrow.
The third choice is synonyms. Click on that.

But remember, a synonym may not be what you need. Maybe there’s a different adjective that will fit in that sentence and make it mean, outstanding.


This past month, we celebrated Columbus Day, a great holiday. Old Chris was a great guy, wasn’t he? After all, we credit him with the great discovery of our great nation because he landed in the Americas in 1492. But did he? He never really landed on the mainland. He may have been great, but the dude had a lousy sense of direction. Seriously, look it up.

Some great countries and some great states in the U.S. do not celebrate this great holiday. In Latin America, Día de la Raza or Day of the Race, is celebrated. The great state of South Dakota celebrates the great, early inhabitants of America on Native American Day. It’s not a public holiday at all in Hawaii, Nevada, or California.

So, when Columbus Day rolls around next year, find some great things to do. Relax, enjoy your freedom, catch up on your great homework assignments. Or maybe you can spend time thinking about this:  Is Columbus Day a great federal holiday?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A is for Autumn, Authors, and Ann

It's time for another A+ author. The fabulous Ann Malaspina is my guest today!

ANN MALASPINA, a former newspaper reporter, writes multicultural picture books inspired by true events. She is the author of TOUCH THE SKY:  Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper, HEART ON FIRE:  Susan B. Anthony Votes for President, FINDING LINCOLN, YASMIN'S HAMMER, and PHILLIS SINGS OUT FREEDOM:  The Story of George Washingtone and Phillis Wheatley.

As you can probably see, Ann's books serve as terrific resources.
Kids:  Are you looking for someone interesting to feature in a book report?
Teachers:  Do you want to read a book that will offer your students a peak into the lives of famous people? Check out one of Ann Malaspina's biographies today!

Let's see how Ann answers the interview questions. Take it away, Ann!

1. The book fairy transports you inside one of your books. Which book are you in, and what part do you play in the story? 
I'm Susan B. Anthony, marching down her street in Rochester, NY, on her way to vote in 1872, from my new book HEART ON FIRE: SUSAN B. ANTHONY VOTES FOR PRESIDENT. Fortunately when I vote this November, I won't be arrested like she was in a time when voting by women was actually against the law!
2. In approximately ten words, describe a favorite setting from a book you have written.
Yasmin riding her water buffalo across the river in Yasmin's Hammer.
3. What does your office look like?
My office in the attic looks like a hurricane hit. Books, papers, notebooks, and coffee mugs are scattered everywhere. Luckily I can see birds flying over my skylight, which remind me to finish writing so I can go outside.
4. If you were a superhero, who would you be, and why?
Since I started off as a newspaper reporter like Lois Lane, I'd like to be her when she (temporarily) turned into Superwoman. Of course, we need lots more female superheroes.
5. You've got the munchies at midnight. Which salty or sweet snack makes you get out of bed and head for the kitchen? 
Ben & Jerry's coffee heath bar crunch, which is why I don't keep it in our house.

Thanks for stopping by, Ann.  Let's go out for ice cream!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ahoy There, Mates!

In keeping with the theme two weeks ago on words, I thought I'd give you a list of words on a theme.

Read the list below. Each word has something to do with boating. Create a story using as many words as you can. If you really want to get crazy, check out Nautical Know How where you can find an entire glossary of boating terms.

fishing boat
life jacket
Coast Guard
cruise ship
Bon Voyage! (Oops, that's French.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A is for Autumn, Authors, and Artie

Throughout the fall, I'll be featuring some wonderful, witty authors who will answer the same five interview questions. You will get a mini-view (a short view) into their super-secret author lives. And guess what's really cool? ALL of their names begin with the letter A.

First up is the very funny Artie Bennett.

ARTIE BENNETT is the executive copyeditor for a children’s book publisher, and he writes a little on the side (but not the backside!). He wrote THE DINOSAUR JOKE BOOK:  A Compendium of Pre-Hysteric Puns (currently extinct) when he was a much younger man, but THE BUTT BOOK (Bloomsbury, 2010) is his first mature work. His “number two” picture book, fittingly called POOPENDOUS! (Blue Apple Books), was released in March 2012. He and his wife, Leah, live deep in the bowels of Brooklyn, New York, where he spends his spare time moving his car to satisfy the rigorous demands of alternate-side-of-the-street parking.

WELCOME, Artie! Let's get to the questions.

1. The book fairy transports you inside one of your books. Which book are you in, and what part do you play in the story?
I’m in my first “mature” work, The Butt Book. There’s a verse toward the end, and it’s one of my favorites:
An eagle’s butt soars high above.
A teddy bear’s is filled with love.

And I’m transported to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, in Pennsylvania, watching raptors soaring past, as they migrate to warmer climes for the winter. As an avid bird watcher, however, I’m looking for a whole-bird experience, not merely the butt, diagnostic though it may be.

2. In approximately ten words, describe a favorite setting from a book you have written.
I’m afraid I’ll need to go over ten words! There’s a triplet in my “number two” picture book, Poopendous!, that goes

Critter poop is known as dung.
And monkey dung is sometimes flung.

Monkeys fling when under stress.
It helps the monkey decompress.

So if a monkey aims at you,
Duck behind a friend, or two.

This verse is set in a jungle. And having recently returned from an extraordinary nature vacation in Costa Rica, where nights were spent at eco-lodges in steamy rainforests (and mornings being awakened by the demonic, guttural growls of howler monkeys), I’ll pick the jungle every time as a favorite setting. But I’ll need to stay limber, for there’s much ducking to be done.

3. What does your office look like?
My office is a bit cluttered, with piles of work. But it’s not quite as chaotic as it may appear to the untutored eye. I’m surrounded by grammars, dictionaries, and other assorted reference guides. I also have a large tin filled with granola for a refreshing 10 am snack. And I keep a couple of squash racquets tucked away in the corner to help work off that refreshing 10 am snack.

4. If you were a superhero, who would you be, and why?
I would be Mr. Freeze. Now, I know that he is a supervillain, not a superhero, but something happened not too long ago that called for his capabilities. You should know that I have a serious ice cream addiction. I’m comfortable with it, though, because it’s my only vice. Well, I woke up one morning to find our fridge on the fritz—it apparently had crashed during the night. With abject terror for what I might come upon, I yanked open the freezer door, only to see my entire stash—as many as fifty pints of ice cream—all melted dead away. My first, hysterical thought was to pour the liquefied love into a huge vat—ice cream soup—and guzzle it down before leaving for work. But reason prevailed and I tossed them all in the trash. It was painful, but it had to be done. However, if, like Mr. Freeze, I could freeze things solid, I would have preserved my entire supply—and my happiness.

5. You've got the munchies at midnight. Which salty or sweet snack makes you get out of bed and head for the kitchen?

The antidote for the midnight munchies is cashews, a fistful of cashews. You see, I’m nuts about nuts, and cashews are my absolute favorite. I prefer them unsalted, though, and lightly roasted. Sometimes I can’t wait for the midnight munchies to strike and I take a fistful to bed at about 11 pm. And I settle into sweet dreams of eating some more. Good night.

Thanks for stopping by, Artie. We are NUTS about you!