This is my all-time favorite pic from Bayou Bogeyman book signings. Underneath the spooky disguises are my co-writers in the anthology, Gary Alipio and Laura Roach Dragon. Of course, my all-time favorite collection of middle-grade scary stories is … Bayou Bogeyman Presents: Hoodoo and Voodoo published by Pelican Publishing with a second printing by Arcadia/Pelican…. Read more »

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance

Delightful and insightful are two words that describe Lisa Yee’s middle grade fiction Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, (Random House, 2022). Yee’s wonderful sense of humor is on display, enhancing the tale of Maizy’s attempts to solve family and community mysteries, both contemporary and historical. The story within a story about the immigrant experience, told to… Read more »

The Owl and the Story

A great horned owl visited our house in Colorado over the past couple of weeks. He would arrive at sunrise and spend the day high above in a pine tree near the rear fence, facing the winter sun as it crosses the sky, with a view of Cheyenne Mountain to the west. Not wanting to… Read more »

Gary Paulsen and Northwind

In the middle grade novel Northwind, Gary Paulsen hearkens back to the ancient times of seafaring and tells the story of Leif’s solo canoe journey north along the seacoast of Norway and its fjords. Those who love Brian and Hatchet will surely find a place in their hearts for orphan Leif and Northwind. Paulsen’s language… Read more »

JambaLAya Is a Wrap!

JambaLAya Kidlit 2022 wrapped us last weekend. So why do we attend SCBWI conferences? To learn from the best and the brightest. This year picture book author/illustrator Leslie Staub, “Arc and Refrain”; middle grade and picture book author Marti Dumas, “The Writer’s Journey”; agent Saba Sulaiman from Talcott Notch Literary “Tackling (and Surviving!) the Query… Read more »

JambaLAya Kidlit Returns

In March 2020, on the eve of JambaLAya Kidlit – Editor’s Day, SCBWI-Louisiana/Mississippi cancelled its event. I never dreamed it would be over two years until we could again hold an in-person conference. While we continued to connect with our kidlit community through Zoom conferences, critiques, retreats and webinars, we missed the camaraderie and networking… Read more »

Calliope Kate and the Voice of the River by Karen Konnerth

Middle grade and young adult novels are my favorite reading, but who doesn’t love a great picture book? Calliope Kate was born on a shanty boat on the Mississippi River in the late 1800s. This tall-tale heroine can “out-shout a thundercloud, knit a sock big enough to keep a whole family warm, and pull every… Read more »