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Let Your Kids Pursue Their Passions by Ella English   Parents have a natural inclination to want their children to do things they are good at, maybe because it also reflects well on them. Having a child with a talent for art or dance is often something to show off. But I soon realized that it was more important to let my two daughters pursue their passions, even if they were not very good at them, just for the sheer...
If you are like a lot of people, you jump onto the Internet, look for a book to read, and just read the reviews. Although, what type of book review are you reading and should you even care?  Let’s begin with an answer to the latter question first which is a resounding “YES.”  Not all book reviews are created equal (or should I say, written equal).  The two main types of book reviews are customer book reviews and editorial book...
I don’t think that it is disputable that book reviews are important for you to spread the word about your title.  Yes, positive reviews can help with sales, and negative reviews (as much as we hate them) …well, they can help too by providing insight into what your readers want and how your writing does or does not connect with them.   Getting reviews from your target audience is particularly important since although a positive adult review of a book for...
As adults, we tend to forget what it was like to struggle with life as a teen. Instead, we reflect on our teens as a nostalgic era full of youthful shenanigans and endless dreams. And we sometimes forget how confusing it was to be that young and have to deal with the uncertainties of life.  Life’s habit of throwing curve balls affects both the old and the young. While adults may have the proper tools and the emotional and mental maturity to deal with most of what life throws their...
To Read or Not to Read…this is not a question Use book reviews to promote reading and writing skills Many years ago, when my son was in fourth grade, he wasn’t reading despite having been read to every night to that point.  It was a nightly ritual from early on in his life to read books together.  As in many households with similar rituals, we began our reading journey with picture books, progressed to simple chapter books, and gradually over the years, moved...
Poetry is defined as the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm. I say poetry is a song without music. In my opinion, poetry should use strong imagery, strong emotions, and a smooth rhyme rhythm. Many modern day poets prefer free verse poetry. In this article, I am going to share my top ten favorite poetry books and why.  1. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Thomas H. Johnson. Emily was a an American poet who became regarded as one of the most...
Top running books—even though I’m not too much of a runner myself 2020 consisted of me running more miles than I ever had in my life. Even though I don’t care for running. The pounding on the road, the labored breathing, and the tedious, never-ending slog across pavement. It is a necessary evil, like a red-eye flight to see the lights of Paris or the handful of spinach thrown into a smoothie. In fact, before graduating college, I had never run more than a couple of miles...
"Read like a detective and think like a judge..." is what my principal likes to say.      Being able to read words is only the first part of the reading process.  Being able to comprehend or understand what is being said through the words is the next critical piece to becoming an excellent reader.  Have you ever looked at a long story with lots of pages and then decided to speed read through it in order to hurry up and finish it?  You may have...
Have you ever felt like things in America can’t get any worse politically or socio-economically?  Do you feel that what you are seeing is the beginning of the end of America?  Perhaps you have even wondered whether America is soon heading for a break-up like the former Soviet Union?  Well, I have a book for you. Over the past decade, the above questions have repeatedly haunted me and I have tried to read as much as I can to understand contemporary politics...
Do you love writing? Is it your dream to become an author? You're not alone, but what do you need to do to reach that goal? We like asking our authors to share their advice with those who want to pursue writing for publication. Here's what Jeannie Chambers said.   Here are my top FIVE writing tips: 1) Just write! Try to write something every day; it may not have anything to do with what you think you want to write, just keep it up.  2) Write as soon as you get up in the...
Author Kathy Manos Penn shares about her experience with LitPick and why she has found this reading and writing program to be so valuable. Students, be sure to read about the special student reviewer promotion that's only available until June 15, 2018. ------ I discovered this program when I read Jean Gill’s “Someone to Look Up To,”  a novel written by a Great Pyrenees dog, as is my book “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch.” The difference is the dog narrator in...
The PCR Triangle and Our Recommendations        From our data, students seem to be more motivated to read outside of school when a parent is directly involved as their sponsor rather than when they are sponsored by librarians or teachers as part of a group of students.   We feel that this parent-child relationship is very important in promoting and encouraging reading during the preteen and teen years and should be incorporated into school and library-...
Today we are joined by Jeff Minich, author of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time and other books in the Nuggies illustrated children’s book series. We have partnered with him and The Children’s Book Review to bring you some tips about writing for children. If you’ve ever considered writing for this audience, be sure to check out his article. Also, enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time.   WRITING FOR CHILDREN For my first children...
Laura P. Angaroni, author of Lowly, shared some questions to consider when you “write what you know.” She is back today with some more thoughts on this powerful way to bring authenticity into your writing. Check out Part I, in case you missed it. ------ WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW PART II 1. In Part I of my article I mentioned             A. Writing what you know             B. Authenticity...
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW PART I   “Who’s joking? You wouldn’t think it was so disgusting if you had a few minutes alone with me,” Matthew carries on with a slimy leer, adding what I’m guessing is a foul name for me that I’ve never heard before. I’ll have to ask Charlotte if she knows its meaning later. Lowly, p. 29 I bet you my Baby Groot plushie that English teachers have told you to write “what you know.” I certainly have. For me, the...
The Dog That Helped My Daughter Read  by Sally Keys   “Your daughter is struggling to read aloud in class,” said her teacher to me as I picked her up from school one day. The words struck fear into me. Not because I feared my daughter was not bright - I know she is a fantastic, decisive leader, and is very intelligent to boot - far more so than me. It struck fear into my heart because it reminded me of what I went through as a child. I, too, had mild dyslexia, and reading...
Time Travel in Books by N.D. Richman N.D. Richman is here to share more about his action-adventure series, Boulton Quest, and the fascinating idea of time travel. Mr. Richman started this series as a way to get his nine-year-old son interested in reading. The four main characters in these books have been named after Mr. Richman’s own children. Each of the books in this series have received a five star review: https://litpick.com/books/brothers-bullies-and-bad-guys https://litpick.com/...
Pros and Cons of Each Point of View By Claire Merchant When beginning to write a story, one of the first things you need to consider is the point of view to tell it from. Today, I’m going to tell you a bit about the three styles — first person, second person, and third person, and tell you a little about some of the pros and cons of each.   First Person: Walking-in-their-shoes style. [Me, I, my] This is a favourite for fiction writing. It is a story as told by the main...
Start a Playwriting Contest Using 20 Questions by Deborah Baldwin Twenty-nine years ago, I was president of a community theatre, the Columbia Entertainment Company, in Columbia, Missouri.  Also, I was the director of a youth theatre program for them.   I volunteered hundreds of hours to both programs. It was an amazing learning experience and one that I draw upon from time to time in my career. Here is the story of probably the most important thing we did in this company: ...
Book Therapy By Claire Merchant Books make me happy. Stories are my therapy. I’ve said before that I’d probably be in an asylum if I didn’t write, not just because of the voices, but because I find it very difficult to cope with the stresses that come with reality. Plus, I think a lot, and trying to think of multiple things at once sounds productive, but it’s really just super overwhelming. More often than not, it ends up resulting in a panic attack and me turning into a...
Put the Writing First by Mark Huntley Parsons   I’m a children’s author, as is my wife. (She’s a kidlit veteran while I’m the new kid—I’ve spent the last several years primarily writing non-fiction: a couple of non-fic books and maybe 200 magazine articles for national publications.) My first YA novel, Road Rash, was published by Knopf/Random House and named to the 2015 ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Readers list, as well as the 2015 Bank Street...
In The Life Of… By Claire Merchant   Hi, I’m Claire. I’m a writer and published author from Perth in Western Australia. Since 2013, I have had eight books published through Pegasus Publishers in Cambridge, England, and I have self-published a short eBook on Amazon. I have one more book ready for release, and I have all up completed writing twenty-five. I have an identity crisis at least once a week, and depending on how that particular week is going, sometimes it’s...
Strengthening Reading Skills Through Drama by Deborah Baldwin Teaching has its up and downs, but one of the most rewarding experiences of teaching is  seeing a student’s eyes light up once some learning connects with them. I like to teach “magically” if I can. I don’t wear a wizard’s robe and pull out a magic wand —I have no idea how that is done. I mean when a student learns something when they don’t think they are doing anything but having fun....
Why the Term “Young Adult Literature” Is Dangerous By Michael J. Bowler I hate the term “Young Adult Literature.” Teens and children are NOT young adults and they never will be young adults. Twelve and under are children or kids. Thirteen to eighteen are teens or adolescents. Eighteen years old is the beginning of young adulthood in America, and the adult brain isn’t fully formed until age twenty-one plus. That’s real science, not my opinion. I point this out...
Voting, Elections, and the U.S. Political System By Jeff Fleischer Jeff Fleischer’s new book, Votes of Confidence: A Young Person’s Guide to American Elections, is designed as a primer (or refresher) for teens and adults alike -- about voting, elections, and the US political system in general. With the election just a few months away, he joins LitPick to answer a few questions about how that system works. ***How do absentee ballots work? Do they start counting the absentee ballots...

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