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If I do it for a couple weeks straight it seems to work. Otherwise it's a lot of candle staring. Staring at a candle and listening to new age music wasn't emasculating enough, so I started making my own chai. This did two things. First, it gave me a ritual in morning that I had to focus on a task and practice patience. Second, it gave my wife a reason to make fun of me during the day. Then I work, usually on writing something new until my son goes to school. Then I head into my studio and work on my whatever is in progress. Then I get coffee. Somedays I ride my bike, or I try and run during the day.

Until it gets to cold, then I just eat and complain. I talk back to NPR as if it's talking to me and has genuine concern for my opinion. It doesn't. They sent me a nice hand crank radio once, but I have to send them money every month. In the late afternoon it's harder to think of things. So I do non creative things at that time. I'm not going to lie, sometimes I fall asleep in a chair.

All that chai and candle staring takes a toll. I used to be able to work more at night, but lately I am too tired. Your humor is very evident in your books - Do you write more for adults and hope children will see the humor or what??? Basically how have you found the magic combination of being both humorous for both adults and kids??

Short answer is that I'm simply the vessel through which God works. Uh, you know, I am really just trying to keep myself entertained. I wish it were more impressive than that. My sensibility is appreciated by adults and accessible to kids. It's just my personality. I'm glad kids and adults both like it. Sometimes I go too far and I write a book that only adults would like and I throw it in a drawer. I had one where two adorable teeny tigers are unwitting participants in a crime spree. They are let go because they are so cute. Sure, this is how life really works, attractive people enjoy advantages people like me can only dream about.

That's life. We shield our kids from the important lessons and set them up for a lifetime of disappointment, resentment and regret. Yeah, I'm just kidding. I did write it, but figured no one would want it. Make sure to check out Bob's new book -. It's published by Hyperion and is out in January!

Bob Shea has written and illustrated over a dozen picture books including the popular Dinosaur vs. Bedtime and the cult favorite Big Plans illustrated by Lane Smith. They are all still in business. Bob got his start at Comedy Central where he make up stuff and they went along with it. It was great. To explore the world of Bob Shea you can check out his website , follow him on Twitter or visit his Facebook page! It's a special week. A week to be thankful, to be merry and to gorge. Actually the same can be said for the last 3 weeks - but none the less! It's a great week and a great line-up!

Bob Shea chats with me on Thursday. Grab another helping of that turkey,mashed potatoes and a slice of that pie while carefully balancing that buttery dinner roll on the edge of that dixie plate and gobble up all the great interviews this week! Some authors' stories read as if they were giggling quietly to themselves the entire time they were writing. When I saw the cover of. Matthew Cordell wrote and illustrated. Matthew Cordell from my estimation has fun for a living.

I wish I could point to some really obscure and never-heard-of illustrators as my childhood inspirations, like that would make me sound cool, maybe. And I still love all three of them. Maybe this still makes me sound cool? I didn't have a story to wrap around that image, but I was very much in love with the possibility of making a book that somehow used that visual.

I knew very little about writing picture books at the time, so it took me many incarnations of this bubble gum pig story, over the span of several years, before it actually, you know, took flight. But eventually one of those incarnations landed into the hands of my lovely editors at Feiwel and Friends, Liz Szabla and Rebecca Davis, and they helped me officially find its way to publication. Occasionally, when there's a place to hide some text or if there's a background character or element I could use as a tip o' the hat to someone I love, I'll take advantage.

These are always fun things to point at at school visits! Kids get into the whole secret message thing. Lately I've been trying to do some work before doing the actual "work. I didn't want to put a huge amount of time into thinking about subject, so I decided to start doing portraits of friends, family, co-workers. It's been a great deal of fun and I love surprising folks with my interpretation of themselves on Facebook.


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There was a time that I felt like I had to be a certain way and do a certain type of book and stick to it. For me, it gets old fast to think that way. So I'm happy to hear that you find my books so different from one another! One of my favorite contemporary author-illustrators, David Ezra Stein, has shown me that each book can be approached completely as an individual and the means of production can flow from within. And this kind of artistic freedom and sincerity THAT is your style. That is your moniker.

Now that I've opened myself up to whatever comes, I feel so much more free and able to create without being put in a self-imposed box. I don't know if it's good or bad or whatever, but I know it makes me feel better not having to live up to just one ideal or aesthetic. Matthew Cordell is the illustrator and author of many acclaimed books for young readers.

Though he spent most of his life in small town South Carolina, at the turn of the century he migrated midwest to set up shop in Chicago. Matthew is the illustrator of many books including the Justin Case series by Rachel Vail,. He is the illustrator and author of. Matthew now lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his talented wife, author Julie Halpern, and their two children. There are just some books that resonate with you on so many levels I have read this book and reread this book to my kids so many times and with each time the volume level gets louder.

The fighting also increases on who gets to be "Interrupting Chicken".

Alva Sachs Children's Author - Press Room

How could a book about the telling of quiet bedtime fairy tales from a Papa Chicken to his daughter lead to such uncontrolled chaos? I'm partly to blame because I love it so much and have a hard time restraining my enthusiasm. I'm also beyond enthusiastic presenting to you David's answers for the latest Mini Interview.

I have been influenced by everything interesting I've ever seen. But here are a few: Dr. Seuss books, for love of language and wonky world design. Tintin comics, for bright colors, colorful characters, and international adventure. And so many more books, commercials, movies, TV shows, textiles, paintings, and musicals. One of my latest books, Ol' Mama Squirrel, was a combination of a squirrel scolding me in the park near my house, and the Occupy movement being in the news.

Books for pre-tween boys (ages 8 and up):

It does if you're me. My children's book illustration teacher, Pat Cummings, is seated in the subway scene, at the right hand side, looking at the viewer. My sister and her husband are walking a dog outside in the pizzeria scene, which also features my son's face on the soda machine. My son is also in Ol' Mama Squirrel , which is dedicated to him. There's not a lot typical about my days. I feel like I'm always trying to manage my creativity better.

It's a full-time job to provide outlets for all my inspirations and interests. I'm constantly trying new schedules to harness the day in a more productive way. I do like to write and storyboard in my local cafe, where I have written and sketched out all of my 11 books. Then I end up in the studio for making my finished art. It's part of the spiritual practice of being an artist. Tomie dePaola once told me that Ben Shahn told him that being an artist isn't what you do, it's how you live your life.

So I tend to see it that way as well: an ongoing daily practice that is punctuated by published works. Being an admitted "space cadet" do you find that state of mind helpful or harmful to completing a book? I would not be able to listen to my inner voice and honor it if I didn't have the power of daydreaming.

It's essential to me. Winnie-the-Pooh called it a "hummy" sort of feeling when he was getting an idea. That's how I experience it as well. On the flip side, when a deadline comes along I have to be a professional. I have to sit down and work even when I don't feel like it. Sometimes I even have to do a book idea I am not crazy about, and I have to find a way to become crazy about it. As a young child, David started out drawing on Post-It note pads his mother, an editor, left around the house.

Fresh Tweets

His parents and grandparents read him lots of books, which fed his imagination and became a touchstone for his love of imagery and storytelling later in life. David went on to become a voracious reader and made up stories of his own. Since then he has published eleven picture books. If you can't get enough of this talent, make sure to check out David's latest book Dinosaur Kisses! I learned two things from the presentation:.

Laurent Linn's job seemed too large and overwhelming for my little mind to comprehend. When Laurent Linn showed us the work of Sean Qualls, I immediately scribbled his name down and circled it repeatedly. He has been so kind as to share his process in my first "Mini-Interview". Which books, that were your favorite when you were little, have had the greatest influence on your work? As for art, I like the comic book art of Bill Sienkiwicz.

A while ago I did a color sketch of a jazz singer. I kept it on my art table for a long time. My agent helped me to create a manuscript based on that sketch. Please give us a peek In the beginning of Dizzy there's a scene where Dizzy is being bullied by two other boys. Since that was a reality for me when I was a kid I used the name of street I grew up on in the art. Often times I'll use my home as inspiration for interior scenes.

Classic Treasury – Bedtime Stories

For instance, I used my kids room in the opening pages of Lullaby. Sometimes a self-portrait may show up. Green tea is my drink of choice. It can be a very fulfilling process getting the color and texture just right - other times more challenging. Recently, I've been changing my approach at least for some of my work. I'm always trying to find new ways to keep making art fun and interesting. Most of the art I love combines a strong graphic sensibility mixed with abstraction and textural elements.

His work has been shown in galleries in New York and across the country. Oh so sorry to scare you! No need to fret or to fear - the Mini-Interview are really quite near! So gather your bonnet, your kerchief and cap and I'm too high on fun size Twix bars to focus on doing an entire blog post in rhyme. This year we are focusing our attention on authors who are the illustrators! The best of both worlds! Fun, huh? Sean Qualls. David Ezra Stein. Matthew Cordell. Bob Shea. Antoinette Portis. A complete list of all 21 of our amazing interviewees in alphabetical order can be found here.

Missing it is something to fear. An illustration I did for Babybug Magazine that I felt had a rather luscious background. When I saw the topic for "Illustration Friday" I imagined two possibilities - a lush rolling field of green or Kristy Swanson describing a yellow leather jacket in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" the movie.

I know I'm in the minority liking that movie but it has cemented the word "lush" into my brain as a great compliment from a vampire-staking valley girl. This is probably one of my favorite verses. This is the one I would get tattooed in some cool hipster style on my shoulder if I was a cool hipster and not a middle age mom of three. Getting tattoos after that point in life, people start getting concerned. I absolutely recommend reading it.

Especially if you like crying. A LOT. Really amazing example of faith. This was such a great verse I heard at church the other week. I usually doodle out the sermon notes in a little sketchbook, but this one was really demanding my attention If this tickles your fancy well go on and download a high-res version!

Illustrated verses are also great as smartphone wallpaper too! Just snap a pic with your phone and select it as your wallpaper. I've had the opportunity to be represented by an amazing agency, Illustration Ltd. So my procrastination of updating began I was sucked into the vortex of illustration portfolios. But one such illustrator's work rang out to me like a clanging gong, Alexandra Ball. And the animals. This girl can illustrate animals. I would rather wrestle a lion physically than wrestle with a drawing of a lion.

So I had to start pestering her. Luckily enough, she was so gracious to let me interrogate her and hopefully her mastery of color, composition and carnivorous beasts would rub off on me. Make sure you check out her site and her work at our agency and while you're at it go like her Facebook page! I spent my early years in a small village in the middle of the countryside of Hampshire England.

I remember it being a very free childhood, where my older brother and I would spend our days climbing trees, having picnics in cornfields and making dens in rhododendron bushes. And of course a story always needs an illustration to go with it. My love of art and stories followed me through adolescence and later led me to Falmouth, Cornwall, where I did a degree in Illustration.

However it wasn't until 7 years after my graduation that my career in children's book illustration started, but now I am here I can't imagine doing anything else. Describe yourself in five words: Fun: enjoyment or playfulness Empathetic: showing empathy or ready comprehension of others' states resourceful: having the ability to find clever ways to overcome difficulties Indomitable: impossible to subdue or defeat my new favourite word cheeky: impudent or irreverent, typically in an endearing or amusing way. Now, please tell us how you got started in picture book illustration in more than five words It was about 7 years and 3 jobs later that I finally got my first break into the illustration world.

Island of the Blue Dolphins, the Lemony series, and the 2 Peter Pan books would likely appeal to her though. That girl knows her books! The title of the post just makes it easy for Moms of boys to find a great book list for their sons. In my experience, girls will often read just about anything, but boys tend to be a little more particular about their reading material. Especially reluctant readers.

This list simply puts a collection of books that boys find particularly appealing in one place for those looking for books for their sons to read. I think the entire Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome 12 novels belongs on this list. This is a great list. Half Brother looks intriguing. A great series for boys. If you are a Star Wars, fan you will find them especially fun. We still laugh about some of the chapters.

There are actually 3 more books. You must get to book 3 before you will see a connection, since originally book 2 was written as a companion book, not a sequel. They are amazing. My 12 year old finished the series this week. We also enjoyed the Divergent series. Peter and the Starcatchers series appeals to boys and girls.

Just FYI. The Divergent series is good. I have one child that also reads a few grades ahead and we cannot keep him in books. The Outsiders is a good book, lots of talking points, some dark stuff, though. Good luck! Although I am no longer a boy, once upon a time, a long time ago, I was. The main character is a girl, but she pretends to be a boy.

Children's Books

I stumbled across this series in the juvenile section of the Library and so far have read 9 of the 12 books in the series. The reader need to start with the 1st book and read the rest in order. I actually listened to the books on audio while driving a truck. The person narrating the books is very good at changing her voice for the different characters in the story.

The 1st book in the series has a long title. Just wanted to thank you for specifying that your BOYS loved these books.


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There are tons of books out there that appeal to girls, but not so much for boys. Keep up the good work! I really wanted to reach mothers of boys, Liz, as we have a difficult time finding books that specifically appeal to our sons. Thank you for this awesome list! I have 3 boys and we read every night. I read this book over and over when I was young, but anyway! I too hope to be reading to my boys until they are far too old for it!

They got me into reading years ago and my sons have followed suit. We are both loving it!! My 9-year old recently read Escape from Mr. There was a puzzle to be solved at the end and the author invited you to email him if you did. My son solved it and emailed the author. Within a day or 2 the author emailed him back a very nice note. My son was absolutely thrilled!

Girls will love these books too! Teaching 4th grade I did many of these as read alouds. Great literature engages boys and girls. We need our girls to hear stories of bravery and our boys to hear ones of tenderness. Sounds like the mom compiling the list has boys. Lucky kids to have a home with such great books! Awesome list! They were terrific. Blair, and most girls like the Boxcar Children and Judy Bloom. I hope some of these suggestions work for you! Great list.

I would suggest parents preview the books first as some have content they may find unsuitable for their children. Yes, Kim, I was thinking the same. Although the majority are probably squeaky clean, I think there are a couple in the list that have some sexual content. It would be great if the books with some sexual content would be marked with an astrix just so we know.

Tim Green has awsome books for boys or anyone who likes sports. My son loved them, and he even has contests on his Web page to have your name used as a character name. He was a football player for Atlanta Falcons and now he writes and visits schools promoting reading.

Awesome guy and awesome books! The Mysterious Benedict Soceity books are fantastic as well. And, I agree with the others who have said this is a good list for everyone, not just boys. My 12yr. Dean Hughes has some great historical fiction pieces! He goes back and forth between the siblings that are serving and the family at home. Some marry during the series and a German family becomes involved in the stories.

Definitely fiction, but lots of great facts. His book are full of adventure with great values. Thank you for a great list! My boys got interested in reading once they tried the Gregor the Overlander series by SuzAnne Collins. A teacher recommended it, and they read them all! And its a great openingconversation book for boys. Or that other things are not for boys. Such a beautifully-written book. It was my favorite book as a young girl and read it more than a couple of times. I read it to my son when he was about 8. Now my 7-year-old daughter is asking me to read it to her.

Two more books in the Little House series to finish first. One devoured C. Lewis and the other Roald Dahl. My boys love Rick Riorden. Most of these authors write fantasy and adventure stories. My eldest 12 is also discovering the delights of Terry Pratchetett and his Discworld series. I am sorry, but the simple fact that you have never read any of the Chronicles of Narnia books negates all credibility for the ability to suggest a list of books to read to anyone.

Tough crowd at times;. Thanks so much for the list! Thanks again! The Rangers Apprentice is rhe series which helped my son at the age of 16 begin to read. Prior he was second grade level as he has learning disabilities. His teachers were floored. Itwas all about interest! He loved Hugo also which my now 9 yr old is reading.

There are three in the series surrounding a girl named Eva 9. Really good science fiction. Light reads. He read all seven that we have in about a week. More teenager in style than Riordan. And finally, a series called Dreamhouse Kings by Robert Lipardo about a family that moves into an old house where doors take them to other places and time. He is an advanced reader but is he too young for the content? Grateful for some advice. As an upper elementary school teacher for many years, my students always enjoyed The Indian in the Cupboard series.

I believe you can search by age and gender there. Kara, I would love to help you find the perfect books for girls! These books are amazing and are certain to please. If you are interested, email me at ubambrittj aol. Thanks for the suggestions, James! So glad your boys have also enjoyed many of the books that my guys have! Here you can find some book list for girls. You can also check whether the books are available from you local library.

Best Picks for Girls. Jevic and the Stone is an amazing book for boys! Such a great story. Highly recommend. Great books for boys! May I also offer a book to your list?

It is a new series just came out Oct called Zane the Brain, for ages It is about a boy-genius and his experiments that lead him into many misadventures. Volume 1 is available on Amazon. Thanks for the suggestion! Hi guys!! I was beginning to wonder the same thing. My son and I read several of these. We also plowed through at least a dozen of the Redwall books. Another fantastic book is The Phantom Tollbooth, a story that likely turned me into the editor I am today. Am just so glad to know that you read TO your children till they were much older.

My 8 year old asks me everyday to read to him. Thank you so much! I am so happy to think that this post has made such an impression on you, Kejal. Yes, I read to my boys well beyond the age of 8. The years fly by so quickly. As an adult, I find it lovely to be read to also. As a mom with an 18 year old voracious reader, and as a teacher, never stop reading to your child as long as they will let you! Great opportunities to know what your child is thinking.

Enjoyed the blog, through a link posted on Facebook by my sister-in-law in Colorado. How fun to read the Farley Mowat bit and realize we live in the same town! My boys have quite a few of these. I will definitely add more of these to their list during the summer break. Good for him! Crazy that my boys never got into Harry. Thank you for it. I also highly recommend The Boxcar Children for ages My son was reading Red Badge of Courage in grade 4. His teacher was in shock. My son was an avid reader from age His vocabulary skills and correct usage in Kindergarten amazed his teachers.

My son is all grown up now. He started reading Nate the Great series. Then read the entire Box Car Children series. And the Hardy Boys. I have enjoyed and always recommended. All good! Thank you so much for the great list! My son and I will be sure to check out some of these. Thanks again for the post and for the work you put into it. It was too low of grade level when I was in school so I never read it.

My son is in 4th grade and has never been an avid reader. My son loves sports and basketball, so that sparked his interest and the storyline has had him hooked from start to finish of each book in the series. Recommended for readers age year olds. My 12 year old grandson loves them as much as his grandpa and grandma do.

Very exciting!! Any non-fiction suggestions? My 12 yr old is not a big reader but he gets sucked into non fiction. It was the one time that a feminist side came bursting forth. Why just for boys! Am I not supposed to read it because I am a girl!! Definitely recommend! One of my eight yr olds loves Tom Gates series — he has finished 4 in the series. The other loves Big Nate. Thank you for this list.

Help parents identify books for their young readers that are sufficiently challenging from a Lexile score perspective yet age-appropriate — that I would love to see! Two are sequels and one is a prequel. Fantastic books! I cried my eyes out while reading it to my son and he had to finish reading it out loud! Love your list!!!

I would add The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. My children loved reading these as did I. And the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia—all seven. Thank you for sharing your list!!! For the younger ones, the Borrowers series by Mary Norton is outstanding. This is a great list! Thanks, John! My guys somehow completely missed out on that one! It may not have the book sales of these other great books for boys, but it certainly has the same draw.

Thanks for your suggestion, Adam! Gosh there are so many good books out there that my boys missed out on. I love hearing about the ones you guys read and loved! Thanks for starting a nice conversation with these. I have to say that the caption as it gets shared online came off as less subjective and more authoritative, which makes me want to challenge these. But the important thing is that you and your kids read and do it together Saying that, probably a bit more diversity could be a good thing. Hi, I really enjoyed reading your list. My daughter 9 also liked it and did a book review for school on it.

We have that book, Rachael! My son got it for Christmas. So glad to hear you loved it. Any recommendations for younger boys? We have not ventured into fantasy and suck like you say your boys really enjoyed other than The Magic Tree House books. My son is 5. Of course there are plenty more of those to read but looking for other ideas too. We have read some of the Flat Stanley ones too which he also liked. And started a series about a young boy with shark in it some how which was pretty funny and had a hidden word puzzle on each page which he really liked. Though any ideas of any classic books he might be able to read himself would be awesome too.

He is a beginning reader and I want engaging things to draw him in to reading for himself also. We have not ventured into Star Wars, partially because I liked the original movies but never was a Star Wars junkie like some are. Barbara Brooks Wallace is a wonderful writer who my 12 year old son just loves. Sparrows in the Scullery is perhaps his favorite, but he has read ten or so of her books and devoured them all.

Mostly mystery stories, although the Claudia series about a girl called Claudia my son also loved. Another fabulous author is Morris Gleitzman. Bumface is hilarious, and the Once, Now, Then, After series is insightful and gripping. My 9 year old daughter likes many of these books, especially Diary of a Wimpy kid. My son read it when he was 10 and loved it so much that I decided to read it too. It was fantastic, I laughed, I cried. Every single kid needs to read that book!

Also Fablehaven, I read that to my daughters last summer and we adored it. If your child loves magic and fairies, this series will be devoured! Lastly, someone recommended Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for my reluctant reader that loves video games. I started reading it and could not put it down. I would say this one is more appropriate for Middle or High School age. He hated reading until he read this one! I am wondering, are the age ranges you have recommended based in reading level or content?

I am wondering, are the age ranges you have recommended based on reading level or content? An amazing read for even adults! Both on the damaging effects of bullying. So great for boys, all boys. Everything a young boy needs to know to become a great man. Thank you for such a fantastic list! We read aloud every day. He reads, I listen.