Words of Wisdom, Courtesy of NYPL’s LIBRARY WALK


Last week I was tooling around town with my dearest Laurie Halse Anderson, and we found ourselves in the New York Public Library with our laptops. (OK, we actually planned it.) After writing (with Laurie) I walked to the dentist (without Laurie, who went downtown to protest with thousands of others), I came across this wonderful set of plaques in the sidewalk. Last week I tweeted and Instragrammed one. It was the perfect moment for that one (and always is).  Check it out here.

This week’s is by Emily Dickinson. (It’s always a perfect moment for Emily Dickinson, I believe.)



And just for the fun of it,  here’s another record of that day.… Read more

Censorship Belongs at Home—or Not

A friend of mine asked me recently—apropos Banned Book Week—whether I as a parent ever told my kids they couldn’t read a book. And then I asked myself— is THAT censorship?

Second question first: No. Not in the strict sense. Parents telling kids they shouldn’t read a book may not be the wisest move (in my opinion), but it is their right. People insisting that a librarian or a school or a school district ban certain books because they don’t want their kids or other kids to read it, that’s censorship.

In my experience children are really good at reading books they are ready for and putting down books they’re not.… Read more

What She Said

It’s a really good Monday morning when you read a wonderful 
poem by Marge Piercy about loving people who work hard, and loving work. I got to this poem because Jane Yolen posted it on Facebook and then Debbie Ridpath Ohi tweeted it. 

It’s a PERFECT Monday morning when you follow that up by going to Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog post of the day. It’s called Your Time Is Your Currency. Just go there, read it. 

I’ll be plowing my fields while you plow yours. 

Happy Monday! 

Read more

The Bubble Explained: Part Two

 Yesterday I had the great good fortune to spend the afternoon with women I worked with twenty some years ago at Scholastic News, where we all learned to write for kids (which is a noble and well-respected genre, but I am NOT going to rant about that condescending essay someone wrote recently. I’m not.). Anyway, they had read my previous post and asked me some questions about The Bubble. I realized I hadn’t told you the whole story. The reasoning behind the bubble. So here goes:

First of all, credit where credit is due: my husband, Jonathan Weiner, coined the term as I am using it.… Read more

The Bubble

I keep referring to THE BUBBLE and people think I’m taking a bath. So, hereby, a definition of THE BUBBLE: 

BUBBLE: noun, A time in which to write without interruption. It requires turning off the internet. Not answering the phone. Taking breaks without turning on the internet and answering the phone. One needs to tell family and friends not to call unless they are bleeding to death and no on else can help. The amount of bubble time can vary, but it helps to make it consistent so said friends and family don’t get confused. I try to make mine in the morning. 

BUBBLE: verb, the act of going into the bubble to write. 

I am going to BUBBLE now. 

See you later. 

P.S.… Read more


One of these days I’m going to learn from my friend Laurie Halse Anderson how to write quick blog posts more often. I have a lot to learn from her. Like, for example, how to dress to go to see your publisher: 

Granted she was going to take the hat off after we walked down to S & S, but doesn’t she look so cute? Underneath she has on a shirt suitable for being filmed in. Which I’m sure she’ll blog about. So enough about her. But speaking of filming, I had the great good fortune to be filmed last Friday for a Scholastic Book Fair video in which they are featuring my baby, Cool Dog, School Dog!Read more

National Book Award, Oatmeal, and other random and not so random thoughts

Apparently if your book is named a National Book Award Finalist, you lose the ability to make oatmeal. Not to generalize from the particular or anything, but that simple task has bested me this morning. Maybe it’s because I got up at 4 something and couldn’t go back to sleep. Maybe it’s because I attempted this task before coffee (while coffee was perking…). That whole overflowing in the microwave thing is not pretty. But for some reason, even in my pre-coffee state, it just didn’t seem like such a big deal.

Especially after I came to my computer and refreshed the National Book Foundation web site and saw that Charles and Emma is still there!… Read more

Revision: Wide Angle, Tight Angle and Marble Vs. Clay

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and revision lately because I recently sent a draft of a new book to my agent. It’s a novel, and I’ve never written one before, unless you count very short easy to reads as novels, and I don’t. When I sat down with a draft of it to read through, I called my friend Laurie Halse Anderson for advice. O.K., I know that’s like saying I called God, but Laurie has been my friend since before she was LHA.  Anyway, Laurie gave me some great words of wisdom and she’s also given me permission to share them with you.Read more

What more can I do to help our planet? More thoughts about EARTH IN THE HOT SEAT

Thinking about EARTH IN THE HOT SEAT all day since I wrote the previous post, I remembered that years ago I wrote an article for Parents Magazine called "How I Helped Save the Planet." I wonder if it’s online. If I had a little elf or a Queen Louise like Laurie does, I would scan it in and post it as a pdf or something. Anyway, I talked about all we were trying to do to help. We are still doing most of those things (though I seem to remember washing out plastic bags, which became too much of a pain in the neck).… Read more