Wish you a golden autumn!

After a hectic summer, I’ve decided to have a calmer fall. I plan to spend more time writing than traveling, but I will be doing a bit of teaching, too. I’m so honored and excitedly looking forward to teaching an online course in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. For the first half of the semester, I will present interactive lectures (instruction, discussion, and writing activities designed to hone skills and craft). The second half will include individualized feedback. I can’t wait! Among others, writer Hanh Bui (author of the picture book shown above) is registered! Looking forward to meeting many other talented writers. If you’d like to join us, do it soon, as we start this upcoming Monday. Registration and more information: https://slc.augusoft.net/index.cfm?method=ClassInfo.ClassInformation&int_class_id=137&int_category_id=0&int_sub_category_id=0&int_catalog_id=0

I’m also looking forward greatly to being at the Chappaqua Book Festival in a few weeks! It’s on Saturday, September 30th at the Chappaqua Train Station, 10:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. and admission is free. Here’s more information about that: https://ccbfestival.org/authors/?query-36-page=4&cst I’m also delighted that BORN BEHIND BARS is on yet another wonderful state award list – Arizona! Below are some with photographs taken during a wonderful family trip to that state.

We visited Arizona some years ago, when Kathy Short honored me with an invitation to be one of the featured authors at the incredible Tuscon Festival of Books, which, for me, began with a wonderful dinner, during which I met Margaret Peter Haddix (author of the bestselling novel RUNNING OUT OF TIME, and its recently released sequel, FALLING OUT OF TIME) – and we an absolutely scrumptious dessert (shown above) that was made to look like a book!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful autumn season! And if you’d like to try a writing exercise, here’s a link to my latest writing prompt, inspired by the book MASCOT: https://www.highlightsfoundation.org/2023/08/31/cooking-up-stories-mascot-plus-a-recipe-and-a-prompt/

Thank you, teachers, for your courage & dedication

“Fear is a Lock. Courage is a key.” That’s a quote from BORN BEHIND BARS. It’s a quote that I believe teachers, librarians and other educators live by. Especially these days, when our nation and our world seems so divided. This second day of #TeacherAppreciationWeek, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the teachers who’ve made a difference in my life, and the lives of every child I’ve ever met. Thank you for sharing knowledge so selflessly, and for your bravery – you are heroes.

In the wake of so many recent tragedies, I sometimes feel at a loss for words. Yet words are the only gift I can give to educators. I’m not sure what else I can give – and I realize nothing can ever fully express the depth of my gratitude. So here is a short list of a few new resources, which are free and which I hope you will enjoy and which I hope will help you in some small way.

  • My Opening Keynote for #TheEdCollabGathering is available online until July at: https://gathering.theeducatorcollaborative.com
  • I’m delighted to moderate a panel for PEN America. If you’re in New York City, you can visit our event during the #PENWorldVoicesFestival this Saturday afternoon (see the graphic below for information). The event won’t be live-streamed, but will be recorded and shared on PEN America’s YouTube channel in July, so you can catch up with us in summer if you can’t see us live: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXtC846wFrdIIp4NBrNPKHg
  • My latest #WritingPrompt for my #CookingUpStories series, edited by Alison Green Myers (Schneider Award Winning Author of BIRDS WILL SOAR) and accompanied by a brand new recipe contributed by the incredible Chef Amanda features a tip on writing dialogue, inspired by Torrey Maldonado’s latest novel, HANDS, which I loved holding in my hands, as you can see from the photo below! Here it is, thanks to Bobbie Coombs who regularly puts up these posts on the #HighlightsFoundation website: https://www.highlightsfoundation.org/2023/05/03/cooking-up-stories-hands-plus-a-recipe-and-a-prompt/
  • Finally, here’s a short story I wrote that you can access free of charge, along with discussion questions and more, which addresses the theme of bullying. It’s also uses the first person plural point of view (“we”) so it was a wonderful challenge to write, and provides and unusual address to explore while reading. https://www.commonlit.org/en/texts/her-story

Thanks again. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week and Happy AAPI month!