Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jackie Urbanovic

New to our booking service is popular picture book author & illustrator, Jackie Urbanovic. An award-winning author and illustrator, Jackie grew up in the Midwest and then attended the Maryland Institute of Art, where she received her BFA. She now lives in Maryland, working as a professional illustrator for over thirty years. Her popular Max the duck series began in 2007 with Duck at the Door. In addition to this best-selling series, Jackie is the illustrator of No Sleep for the Sheep by Karen Beaumont, If You're Hoppy, Grandma Lena's Big Ol'Turnip, and I've Lost My Hippopotamus by Jack Prelutsky. Jackie's presentations and workshops range from pre-school aged children to workshops for high school and adults audiences.

To have Jackie Urbanovic visit your school or organization contact

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Catherine Reef

The Children’s Book Guild of DC has a piece about Catherine Reef’s new biography about the Brontë  Sisters. The book, out this month from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The Brontë Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, has already received three starred reviews. Learn more about Catherine and information about her school visits.

Monday, August 6, 2012


NASA posted a photo from Curiosity, the rover that landed on Mars this weekend. Search CLCD for books about Mars and the solar system, or check out our past year-long feature on Space Exploration.

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity
Elizabeth Rusch
            The question of life on Mars has fueled space research and imagination for years. Steven Squyres watched the Apollo moon mission on television as a teenager and grew up to be lead scientist on the mission sending his self-designed rovers to Mars. Readers watch as his team brings the rovers to life and follows their journeys into space. The two robots seem to take on personalities of their own as they survive years past their initial three month assignment and defy countless odds and near calamities to gather information to send back to earth. The next step is using all of that information to help put people on Mars; a thrilling prospect! Full of rich photos of Steve and the other scientists and astronauts, the rovers and the red planet itself, this book is sure to re-ignite interest in an ever-changing space exploration program. Part of the “Scientists in the Field” series, this volume would be a valuable addition to any school or classroom library. 2012, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Ages 9 to 12, $18.99.
ISBN: 9780547478814

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Arlene Hirschfelder

A Chicago native, Arlene Hirschfelder is a longtime nonfiction writer who focuses on presenting accurate portrayals of Native Americans in the United States. The author of over 25 books, Arlene is also the editor of "It Happened to Me," a series of nonfiction books for teen readers published by Scarecrow Press. Arlene's book, Rising Voices: The Writings of Young Native Americans, was an IRA Children's Choice and Teachers' Choice and was chosen for the White Raven Book Award by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. She visits middle school, high school, and college classrooms and also provides workshops for teachers and librarians.

To have Arlene Hirschfelder visit your school or organization contact

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Creativity Conundrum In Educational Leadership

            Many of the men and women who shaped the world over the course of history, from Mozart to Albert Einstein to Steve Jobs, have done so by thinking well outside the sphere of traditional education. Famously, each of these men had some issues with authority, and it’s hard to imagine any of them sitting placidly in a classroom and copying facts and figures from a chalkboard. In the end, their genius was not simply in their ability to understand complex systems, although that was certainly an important part of it. What set them apart was their creativity—that is, their ability to use previously held knowledge to produce something that no one had ever thought to make before; whether a symphony, a scientific theory or a personal computer.
            The passing of Steve Jobs in 2011 rekindled an age-old discussion about the relationship of creativity and innovation to traditional notions of intelligence. (Jobs often credited the creative classes he audited after dropping out of college with influencing some of his later decisions at Apple.)  Not everything about this relationship is completely understood, but most people involved in education and public policy agree: creativity will be a crucial characteristic possessed by anyone hoping to succeed in the twenty-first-century economy. And yet, the education system in its current state is not set up to foster this sort of out-of-the-box thinking. One solution currently gaining momentum is the use of community-driven non-profit organizations known as local education funds (LEFs) and public education funds (PEFs), which are committed to improving access to quality education for all members of society. While not the complete answer, these reform-minded organizations might be the key to injecting creativity back into public schools.

Fostering Creative Intelligence in the American Classroom
            It is ten years after the passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which was enacted in order to help American schools compete with their foreign counterparts, and their foreign counterparts are still outscoring them in just about every subject. This might be partially due to NCLB’s use of standardized testing to measure school performance. As many teachers will attest to, this emphasis on test scores leave schools little room to focus on anything besides “teaching to the test.” The United States has gone backwards, then, to a so-called “drill-and-kill” system of rote learning and memorization, while many of the rest of the world’s schools, especially those in Europe and Asia, have evolved to place emphasis on big picture concepts, problem solving, and encouraging innovation.
            According to a 2010 study by The College of William & Mary education professor Kyung-Hee Kim, creativity has been on the decline among American students since 1990. Using the results of the Torrance Test measuring creative thinking, she analyzed decades’ worth of data and found that, while traditional IQ scores have actually gone up steadily each decade, creativity is on the decline. She also used the results to identify three types of students: those with high intelligence and high creativity, those with high intelligence and low creativity, and those with low intelligence and high creativity. What does this tell us? One theory is that creativity and intelligence, while related, are not exactly the same thing, and placing too much stress on more traditional standards of intelligence might result in stifling creativity in those who possess that quality. As Kim notes, “If we neglect creative students in school because of the structure and the testing movement—creative students cannot breathe, they are suffocated in school—then they become underachievers.” While there are several factors that might be resulting in this “creativity crisis,” Kim puts at least some of the blame for lower Torrance test scores on the culture of standardized testing encouraged by NCLB.
            This decline in creativity does not bode well for the future of the country. According to John M. Eger, professor of communications and public policy and director of the Creative Economy Initiative at San Diego State University, creativity is essential to building an economy to compete with the rest of the world in coming decades. In a Huffington Post article from 2011, Eger points out that, while the word “creative” is often associated with the arts, the concept of creativity is just as important for the STEM subjects that have received so much attention from education leaders and government officials in recent years. In fact, a recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs around the world identified creativity as the top quality needed for future success in the global economy.

Is Public Investment the Solution?
            As our schools struggle to keep up with the standards set forth by NCLB, they also grapple with staggering budget cuts, with fine art and music programsespecially vulnerable to the axe. Recently, however, a number of organizations collectively known as public education support organizations, or ESOs, have been created within communities to supply capital for public schools through fundraising. Funds are then appropriated through grants to finance things like teacher training, afterschool programs, community-based projects, and school supplies. There are many types of ESOs, and they vary greatly in both scope and size. LEFs are specifically associated with the Public Education Network, while PEFs are a much broader group of education-related foundations. The Urban Institute reports that between 1997 and 2007, the number of ESOs doubled to more than 19,000, collectively spending $4.3 billion dollars on improving education.
            The Decatur Public Schools Foundation (DPSF) out of Decatur, Illinois, is an organization that’s representative of the possibilities for PEFs to create opportunities rewarding creative thinking and innovation. Decatur Science Investigations, funded by the foundation, is a partnership with Millikin Universitythat brings undergraduate science students into Decatur elementary schools to set up science stations and perform science demonstrations at school assemblies. The goal of the program is to encourage young students to use their imaginations and gain enthusiasm for science, and 100% of teachers polled in the district felt that the program increased critical thinking and problem solving skills. Another DPSF program is the musical instrument library, which provides band and orchestra instruments to low-income students who might not have otherwise been able to afford them. After the program started in 2009, participation in music programs increased by 15%.
            Compared to some of the larger LEFs operating with multi-million dollar budgets, DPSF is a relatively small organization, but it’s easy to see how these small-scale efforts can really make a difference to students who benefit from them, and how they might be used to fill in the creativity gap that currently exists in public education. As to whether these organizations will continue to expand and become an important part of education funding in the future, there is no clear answer. What does seem clear is that creative thinking will be the only solution to the myriad complex problems facing coming generations. And, appropriately enough, one of those problems might just be how we’re going to fix education.

Contributor: Roslyn Tam

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lee Harper

Lee Harper always loved to draw. His love for doodling grew into a serious ambition to be an artist and after high school he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He says that "After college I embarked on the most challenging and rewarding adventure of my life... being a husband and father of four wonderful children. My career path took a few detours that led me down many roads which didn't always involve making art, but somehow life's path led me back."
In 2008 he illustrated his first published book, Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski. In addition to illustrating books by authors like Wendi Silvano and Walter Dean Myers, Lee also wrote and illustrated two works of his own: Snow! Snow! Snow! and The Emperor's Cool Clothes. His fifth book, Turkey Claus, another collaboration with Wendi Silvano, is due out in late 2012.

To have Lee visit your school or organization email

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Makes a Good Book (Part 1) by Marilyn Courtot

The following is the first in a six part series written by Children's Literature President Marilyn Courtot that we posted back in 2009. Aimed at reviewers and writers, we will be running a new part every month. 

Basic Construction and Illustrations

When evaluating a book for a child, there are a lot of characteristics to keep in mind. But lest you feel overwhelmed, remember that if you have been reading books, especially children’s books, you have probably developed an innate ability to select the good ones. You just may not realize what influences you and why. This, first in a series of columns, will address the features of a good book.

Let’s look at the basic construction of a book. Consider the quality of the fabrication—will it hold up to repeated handling and reading? Look in particular at the binding and cover construction. If the slip jacket is removed, will the cover still have appeal? Is the paper of good quality, or does it tear easily? Look at the book’s size and shape. If the book is for toddlers then keep it small for little hands. Oversized books are usually not appropriate for those under nine—they are just too big and too heavy.

Next, look at the illustrations. Are they clearly reproduced? Are the color registration and clarity acceptable? Although black-and-white helps babies clearly distinguish objects, color is very important for older kids. Colors do not need to be vibrant or garish to appeal to children; studies have shown that pastels are soothing and can encourage learning.

Also, are the illustrations appropriate to the story or text? Do they enhance and exemplify the text, or do they head off in an entirely new direction. Author/illustrator Chris Manson commented that “the children’s book market is really the best place in the publishing industry for full color art. Sometimes it blows away the story.” He believes that illustrations need to be in balance with the story. Illustrations should make the story bigger, but not different. 

Marilyn Courtot 
Publisher and Editor

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Audiobooks

The New York Times Book Review section from May 20th featured an article by Judith Shulevitz, “Let’s Go Reading in the Car” that included the following list of recommended audiobooks to check out this summer. Read reviews for these titles with CLCD.

For Ages 4 and Up:

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
Read by Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Kathleen Turner, and Matthew Broderick

The “Gooney Bird” series by Lois Lowry
Read by Lee Adams

The “Great Brain” series by John D. Fitzgerald
Read by Ron McLarty

The “Judy Moody” and “Stink” series by Megan McDonald
Read by Barbara Rosenblat

Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins
Read by Melanie Martinez

For Ages 8 and Up:

The “Fudge” series by Judy Blume
Read by the author

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
Read by Edward Herrmann

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Read by Peter MacNicol

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
Read by the author

For Ages 10 and Up:

Bloomability by Sharon Creech
Read by Mandy Siegfried

Flush by Carl Hiaasen
Read by Michael Welch

The “Joey Pigza” series by Jack Gantos
Read by the author

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Read by S. Epatha Merkerson

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Read by Jenna Lamia, Cassandra Campbell, and Kirby Heyborne

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is a graduate of the California Institute of Technology with a degree in biology. She never thought that she would grow up to become a writer; it wasn’t until she had her two children that she took time off from being a Ph.D. candidate to pursue a career in writing. Sudipta had her first story published in 2003 in the magazine Highlights for Children. From there, Sudipta branched out into nonfiction, including books on science and biographies. Her most recent book is Half-pint Pete the Pirate, illustrated by Geraldo Valério.

Sudipta visits schools to share her stories and experience, and teaches writing to children and adults. She lives in New Jersey with her family (now comprised of three children, with the addition of son Sawyer in 2006) and an imaginary pony named Penny.

To have Sudipta visit your school or organization email

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Candice Ransom

Candice Ransom is an award-winning writer who has published more than 100 children's books, ranging from fiction to nonfiction, biographies to board books, picture books to young adult novels. Many of Candice's books are set in her native Virginia. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College and an MA in Children's Literature from Hollins University.

In addition to writing and speaking, Candice currently teaches in the MA/MFA Children's Literature program at Hollins. Her newest books include, Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World—Well, Her Part of Virginia, Anyway, and Rebel McKenzie. She lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with her husband and three high-maintenance cats.

To have Elissa visit your school or organization email

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Girl Power!

            Some Rochester-area children’s librarians celebrated just that when they gathered late January to mark the upcoming release of fellow librarian Julie Cummins’ newest book:  Women Explorers: Perils, Pistols, and Petticoats (Dial, 2012).  The book is filled with drama and excitement as Cummins’ lively text describes ten women, all born before the dawn of the twentieth century, whose largely unknown escapades sent them “gallivanting around the world to explore new territories or undiscovered places.” 

            The party had its own drama with accoutrements including a safari hat for the guest of honor, a banner of passports, nail files inserted in spider webs (Lucy Cheesman used one to cut through webs entangling her), portraits of each of the explorers, giraffes, and jungle grass.  The pièce de résistance was a chocolate cake adorned by a dense chocolate spider, with legs draping over the sides of the cake—washed down with champagne, of course!

            Kirkus calls Cummins’ subjects “feisty females;” her friends and colleagues toasted her as exactly that herself.  Huzzah!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Women's History Month - Week 5

Women’s History Month
Special Feature
Week 5

In honor of Women’s History Month we’ve asked authors and illustrators in our booking service to participate in our special questionnaire. Each week we will be posting different member’s responses to the three questions below. We hope you enjoy their answers as much as we did!

1. What women writers do you admire?
2. What women in history would you invite to a dinner party?
3. What advice do you have for young women today?

1.      I really admire Katherine Paterson--I heard her speak at one of the conferences and I think her speech is as eloquent as her writing. Bridge to Terabithia is one of my all-time favorites. I also admire Donna Jo Napoli, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Cornelia Funke. The Thief Lord I think is an extraordinary story and also one of my all-time favorites.
2.      I would invite the astronomer Maria Mitchell, St. Joan of Arc and St. Clare, Eleanor Roosevelt, Barbara Jordan, Audrey Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman.
3.      When I visit schools I tell young women (and young men) to use their talents, work hard, and believe in themselves. I always use the example of Galileo trying at first to please his parents by studying medicine at the University, but switching to mathematics after 2 years to follow his passion.

1.      Virginia Woolf and Grace Paley.
2.      My grandmother (who was a delightful woman, very engaged with the world) and my great-grandmother, whom I never knew. She was a midwife in New England and a widow at a young age who raised 6 children, including an orphaned nephew. I inherited the rocking chair she had when she was a child. My mom has wonderful memories of spending time with her, such as hunting for mushrooms. And I'd like my mom to come to the dinner, also my sisters and our daughters, so we could all spend this moment in time together.
3.      Each day, think about (perhaps even write down) three things for which you're grateful on that particular day.

1.      I admire so many women writers, you'd run out of room! But at the top of my list are Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Berg, and Bailey White. Yes, they are mostly Southern women writers. Southern writers come from a long-standing tradition of story-telling and women writers in particular have grown up listening to the soft voices of their mothers and other female relatives talking in kitchen, in the garden, and on the porch after supper.
2.      I wish I had known Margaret Wise Brown, the flamboyant, eccentric children's picture book writer, so she would be first on my guest list. After that, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Varina Davis, and Dorothea Lange.
3.      I would advise young women today to hang on to their dream and point themselves in that direction, regardless of peer pressure, boys, and the lure of false celebrity and making money. Yes, I know it's a very unpopular stance. But it works.

1.      One writer I admire is Helen Keller. We tend to remember Keller for overcoming her disabilities to earn a college degree, and for raising public awareness of causes in which she believed, but she also published twelve books, including her autobiography, The Story of My Life. The written word became her voice. I also admire Rachel Carson. While working for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries in the 1940s and 1950s and supporting herself, her mother, and two nieces, Carson produced two best-selling books, Under the Sea Wind and The Sea Around Us, which revealed to many readers the great variety of life on the shore and beneath the waves of the ocean--before the days of television documentaries. Carson was battling breast cancer when she researched and wrote the classic Silent Spring, which alerted the world to the hazards of pesticides. Her books are beautifully written; they are outstanding examples of nonfiction literature at its finest.
2.      The woman I'd most want to invite to dinner is a writer, too. I would be very curious to meet Jane Austen, the subject of my most recent biography. This would be my chance to find out what she looked like, because we really don't know. Just one portrait of Austen survives, a watercolor painted by her sister, Cassandra, but people who knew Austen said it was a poor likeness. We know from her books that Austen had a brilliant mind and a sharp wit, so she would be good company. I would ask her to bring along Cassandra, who was her closest friend and confidante, and their cousin Eliza, who was born in India and raised in France and had a sparkling sophistication. If only it were possible!
3.      My advice for young women is the same that I would give to young men. Have confidence in yourself, and never give up on your dreams. Work hard to make them come true--never be afraid of hard work. And keep on learning and growing throughout life.

1.      Here's my eclectic blend: Christina Rossetti, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Erica Jong, and Jean Fritz.
2.      George Sand, Joan of Arc, Frederic Bartholdi's mother (she supposedly was his model for the Statue of Liberty), Nellie Melba (opera singer and inspiration for a dessert.)
3.      Friends and family are everything. If you spend time and energy with them, your success will follow.

1.      Toni Morrison, Rita Dove, and Kate Chopin.
2.      Harriet Tubman, Billie Holiday, and Michelle Obama.
3.      Toot your own horn. Don't make apologies for your ideas and opinions. Trust your intuition.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Women’s History Month - Week 4

Women’s History Month
Special Feature
Week 4

In honor of Women’s History Month we’ve asked authors and illustrators in our booking service to participate in our special questionnaire. Each week we will be posting different member’s responses to the three questions below. We hope you enjoy their answers as much as we did!

1. What women writers do you admire?
2. What women in history would you invite to a dinner party?
3. What advice do you have for young women today?

1.      Toni Morrison, Anita Desai, Margaret Atwood. Among those who write for children and young adults, Katherine Paterson, Jane Yolen, Marion Dane Bauer, Norma Fox Mazer, and a writer from India who has never compromised her work to pander to audiences, Shashi Deshpande. For lots of different reasons these women writers are heroes to me--for the quality of their writing, the clear eye they turn on the world, or for sheer staying power, nimble minds, or prolific work.
2.      Jane Austen, Hypatia, the Greek philosopher and mathematician, Several of the Buddhist nuns who lived and wrote poetry in India in the 6th century BC, Lili'uokalani, the last Hawaiian queen.
3.      Grow your minds as much as you honor your bodies. Pay attention to the planet. Don't forget the work your foremothers did to make you who you can be today.

1.      I admire any writer who also manages also to be a wife and a mother.
2.      Dorothy Parker, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Gertrude Stein, Wendy Cope, Fay Weldon, E. Nesbitt, Edna St. Vincent Millay. Skip that. A date with Edna St. Vincent Millay would suffice.
3.      As an old man, I have no advice for young women that wouldn't be considered (rightly) presumptuous and absurd.

1.      For "adult" writers: Alice Munro, Wislawa Szymborska, Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickenson, Jane Austen and many more. I am leaving out my list of children's writers as it would be too long.
2.      Jane Austen, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman, Mary Todd Lincoln, Jane Addams (my childhood hero), Eleanor Roosevelt, Ursula Nordstrom.
3.      Young women today are amazing so I don't think they need my advice! But I would offer: Find your passion and nurture it, treasure your connections to friends and family, hang onto your sense of humor, take risks.

1.      Three women authors leap to mind: the first, 19th century poet Emily Dickinson, whose short poems illuminated large truths with precision and grace; the second, early 20th century novelist Willa Cather, whose stories of pioneer life were as expansive as the Nebraska plains; and third, contemporary fiction writer Anne Tyler, whose finely-crafted novels communicate so beautifully the fine balance required of all relationships.
2.      I would invite writer Gertrude Stein, actress Mae West, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, artist Georgia O'Keefe, and 'salon hostess'/arts patron Mabel Dodge Luhan. Each one of these ladies expressed, in their areas of expertise, the right of women to be as creative, as professionally accomplished, as independent, as a man. The conversation around that table would sparkle with strength, courage and intellect.
3.      Follow in the footsteps of the women who came before your generation, the ones who fought for the rights women enjoy today. Through your choices and actions today, you may contribute to even greater lifestyle and work opportunities for your own daughters. Dream big.

1.      Erma Bombeck, Dorothy Parker, Amy Sedaris, and Nora Ephron.
2.      Dorothy Parker, Lucille Ball, and Katharine Hepburn.
3.      Write funny stuff.

And as a special bonus, Kevin’s wife of 30 years contributed answers as well.
1.      Virginia Wolf, Isabel Allende, Eudora Welty
2.      Golda Mier
3.      Treat men fairly

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Women’s History Month - Week 3

Women’s History Month
Special Feature
Week 3

In honor of Women’s History Month we’ve asked authors and illustrators in our booking service to participate in our special questionnaire. Each week we will be posting different member’s responses to the three questions below. We hope you enjoy their answers as much as we did!

1. What women writers do you admire?
2. What women in history would you invite to a dinner party?
3. What advice do you have for young women today?

1.      Rebecca Stead, AS King, Laini Taylor, Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Suzanne Collins. Adult writers: Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, Shelia Ballantine, and Marge Piercy.
2.      Mary (Jesus's mother), Joan of Arc, Anne Boleyn, Dolly Adams, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
3.      Find something your passionate about and pursue it with all your heart.

1.      I think I still come back to my lifelong favorite women writers, Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. I admire their tenacity and commitment to their craft for long years before they were known or successful. And, of course, I admire their amazing novels!
2.      What fun! I think I would love to have a dinner party with the real women I have written about in some of my historical fiction picture books. They include astronmer Maria Mitchell, lighthouse keeper Abigail Burgess Grant, cooking instructor Fannie Merritt Farmer, baseball player Alta Weiss, pianist and Jubilee singer, Ella Sheppard, and stagecoach driver Delia Haskett Rawson. What a fantastic and diverse group of women!
3.      You know, Maria Mitchell once said, and I am paraphrasing here, that one of the hardest things in life was to find out the work you are meant to do. But I think that would be my advice to young women: to find good, compelling work that challenges you and sustains you, and that keeps you learning and growing.

1.      I really like the works of Willa Cather.
2.      Certainly Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, and Dorothy Parker as writers, Eleanor Roosevelt, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Madame Curie.
3.      Do not give up your dreams. Do something every day to reach your goal. One step at a time will get you there, but be aware that sometimes your dreams change with time. Recognize when that happens and adapt.

1.      As a voracious reader who tends to fall in love with individual books rather than authors, I find it hard to name names. However, I do admire the poetry of Linda Pastan. I am also in awe of the consistent high quality of writing that comes from Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Katherine Paterson.
2.      I'd like to meet Annie Sullivan, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sacagawea, Betsy Ross, Harriet Tubman, and Susan B. Anthony. However, I'd rather lunch individually with each one rather than watch them interact with each other at a dinner party because I have specific questions I'd like to ask each one.
3.      Persistence is the key to success. If you want something, don't let initial disappointments stop you. Keep trying until you achieve your goals.

1.      I admire Jane Yolen tremendously! She has written an incredible number of books for children of all ages--from toddlers to teens. She writes gorgeous poetry, funny picture books and thought provoking novels. She stuck with her writing, publishing regularly and winning awards (Owl Moon), but not really finding financial success as a writer until the How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight and the other Dinosaur books because bestsellers. She graciously teaches and mentors other writers though workshops and lectures, serves on the board of directors for the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators and recently funded a grant to recognize mid-list authors whose careers may have stalled a bit. Jane speaks her mind, never allowed herself to be put in a box as a writer, and self-lessly shares her knowledge. Ask many writers what her acronym "BIC" stands for, and they will answer "Butt in chair!"
2.      My dinner party would likely include women who faced challenges and suffered more than their share -- Harriett Tubman, Sally Hemings, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were the first women who came to mind. People who have faced adversity have more interesting stories and wisdom to share.
3.      I'd tell young women that the quicker they can become comfortable with who they are and recognize their strengths and talents the better life will be. Stop judging yourselves by comparison to other people and simply strive to be the best at your job, the best friend you can be, the best YOU possible. Figuring out what is really important in life is also a key to happiness. Too often women get caught up in drama over insignificant issues. Life is too short to spend half your time upset over something stupid. Anytime I feel a hint of jealousy or envy, I think of women around the world, barely surviving, sleeping on the dirt floor, scrounging just for food and water for each day. That always brings me back to seeing how incredibly blessed I am.

1.      Soooooo many! But the first to mind are Marjane Satrapi, Sue Miller, Dayal Kaur Khalsa, and Temple Grandin.
2.      Dorothy Parker and Lisa Endig.
3.      Don't listen to any advice, including this. Just write!