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The Pencil Holder

Posted by Susan Stoltz on


  Recently my nieces gave me a bag full of presents! Who doesn’t like that? Everything in the bag was part of a theme – cactus. They know how much I like cactus, especially the saguaro. One of the gifts was a pencil holder. A saguaro pencil holder. A saguaro pencil holder wearing sunglasses. At first this was a grand novelty. I joyously put him on my desk and stuffed his head with pencils and pens, scissors, highlighters and what-not. It didn’t take too long, however, before the pencil holder began to judge me and hold me accountable whenever I was clearly wasting time and not writing. On Facebook? Wasting time. Pinterest? Wasting time. Taking vocabulary quizzes? Really wasting time. Looking...

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Dinosaurs!

Posted by Susan Stoltz on


  There’s a myth out there is that writing children’s books should be easy. They are, after all, aimed at the very young. What most people don’t realize, is that children’s books are often much more difficult to write than books for those older than 15 years of age. The reasons are long and involved.  For me, being able to absorb the information and then translate it into a child’s level of understanding and vocabulary was the most difficult.  As an example, let’s take the book X-Ray Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures. As the title states there are ‘other’ prehistoric creatures. The very first thing I learned upon gathering my research is that pterosaurs (the ones that fly), and plesiosaurs...

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Beyond Expectations

Posted by Susan Stoltz on


  There are times when research is more a chore than a gift. When I was writing X-Ray Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures and Steve The Dung Beetle: On A Roll, the research was very academic. When writing for children, know your subject matter well enough that you can explain it to a child. This is not an easy task. There are also times when research is a joy. That time, for me, is now. I’ve long wanted to venture from picture books into the genre of chapter books. Suffice to say, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a chapter book written for 9 – 11-year-olds. So, my research is taking me down a road I remember well,...

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