Submitted by Celia Brownrigg, Vice President of BCTELA
Sometimes I forget about all the great authors’ blogs and website out there. I forget that children’s and YA authors sometimes spend as much (if not more) time than me thinking about the reading lives of my students. Sometimes they spend less, but their perspective is different, which makes it valuable. Also, they’re authors; they like writing and they’re good at it. A number of the authors whose blogs I check regularly are quite prolific (in that they post regularly). Sometimes, though, the posts stop coming as frequently. That’s usually because they’re on tour or deep into writing a new book so I can’t fault them too much.
I am always excited to read a blog by a YA author whose work I know. I think I don’t even notice blogs of authors with whom I am not familiar – there’s so much to read already. Shannon Hale is one I discovered recently. Again, I knew of Shannon Hale The Author but not of Shannon Hale The Blogger. The first post I read was entitled “Why do you write strong female characters?” After that I was hooked. She also has a mini genre quiz on her site which may find itself as inspiration for the genre
studies I’m planning to do with some grade 5,6, and 7 classes.
I like blogs which invited me into the writer’s life. Rick Riordan blogs as an author and reader. He shows his appreciation for his readers by sharing the excitement of the writing process and interactions with fans. I also love to find out what he has been reading; a recommendation from Rick Riordan is pretty good for me!
John Green and his brother send each other video messages every week via their Youtube channel and post them to John’s website. Their videos are about nothing in particular. They are letters to each other but they are funny, well spoken (and well edited) and are worth sampling. You may find that you or your students would like to join their legion of followers, if so: go for it, they’ve done a lot of good this this world.
In addition to a blog – reading-specific, or otherwise – some authors have dedicated areas on their sites for teachers. Laurie Halse Anderson’s teacher area is new and under construction but looks like it will be pretty great. Mary Pope Osborne has a new whole site for integrating her books with curriculum.
If you’d like to find an author site for younger students, Mary Pope Osborne’s blog is often full of interesting facts related to topics in her books.
Some authors write about literacy and reading and books and writing and some don’t. Some authors use their blog platform to simply write about their lives and passions. To be sure, their passions include reading, writing, and books, but other topics can be as diverse and unique as each writer’s personality. Try starting with a YA or children’s author you teach, or love, or both. Do they have a blog? What do they write about? Consider sharing what you find with your students: that the people behind the books they read are living lives and writing about them may be a revelation.
Shannon Hale (post mentioned): http://oinks.squeetus.com/2012/12/why-do-you-write-strong-female-characters.html
Some of Shannon Hale’s books you may know:
The Goose Girl
Rick Riordan: http://rickriordan.blogspot.ca/
Some of Rick Riordan’s books you may know:
The Lightning Thief (and series)
The Kane Chronicles
The Heroes of Olympus
39 Clues (selected titles)
John Green: http://johngreenbooks.com/
Some of John Green’s books you may know:
Looking for Alaska
An Abundance of Katherines
The Fault in Our Stars
Laurie Halse Anderson: http://madwomanintheforest.com/blog/
Laurie Halse Anderson (for teachers): http://madwomanintheforest.com/teachers/
Some of Laurie Halse Anderson’s books you may know:
Pet Volunteer Series
…and so many more!
Mary Pope Osborne’s Classroom Adventures Program: http://mthclassroomadventures.org/
Some of Mary Pope Osborne’s books you may know:
The Magic Treehouse Series