Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Wave is Worth a Thousand Words

Summer is almost here! YAY!
Some of us may chill out by the pool, go to camp, or simply play in the neighborhood.
But what if you had the chance to become a pro surfer for the day? 

Write a paragraph or two about your experience answering the following questions:
1. What is your name and how old are you?
2. When did you begin surfing? When did you become a great surfer?
3. How long do you practice and where do you surf?
4. Is there a competition or invitational in your future?
5. How much fame and money will you get if you win?
6. Are you nervous? Excited? Anxious? Confident? Cocky?

Wait. What? You're telling me you don't surf and have no idea what to write? 
Well, here's where a little research may come in handy. Many times writers create stories about things they know nothing about, so no excuses. Fire up Google, learn the surf lingo, the names of a few key surf moves, what happens at a surf invitational, and more. Give it a go, bro.


Peace out.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Quick Quiz

Their/There/They're, Who's/Whose?


It's quiz time, that's what! I love to take online quizzes, don't you? Wait, you don't? Have you ever tried one?

This quiz will take no time at all, I promise. You'll get your score immediately, and it will never appear on any of your report cards. Big plus, huh?

Click HERE to begin.

Good Luck!


Thursday, May 15, 2014


I have always loved writing. That's no secret. But I was never much of a reader until I got into 7th grade. Contrary to my older sister who took a book EVERYWHERE (parties included), I equated reading with my other least favorite chore—washing the dishes. 

Once in a while, however, a book I had to read for a book report grabbed my attention. Some favorites were: A Devil in Vienna by Doris Orgel, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr, My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier, and Sarah Bishop by Scott O'Dell. I read these books in 4th and 5th grade, but remember their impact more than 25 years later.  

So why all this talk about reading on a writing blog? Because the two go together! Books made me the writer I am today. I continue to learn about technique and how to be a better writer from the many books I read. If writing is something you love or need to work on, reading is the key. 

If you're a reluctant reader, here are some tips to change that. You may still prefer other activities, and that's okay, but reading doesn't ever have to be painful! :-) 
1. Find a book you connect with. Love sports? Choose a book where the main character plays your sport. Cooking your thing? Plenty of books about that. Trekkie or Star Wars fan? Sci-fi, here you come! 

2.Make a personal connection to the book. I know this sounds the same as number one, but it's not. Let's say you absolutely have NO choice in the type of book you can read. Don't lose hope. Do your best to make a connection to the characters or topic. Even in a book like Harry Potter, a connection can be made. Most of us have felt let out, just like Harry. Some of us have had to deal with difficult teachers, like Snape, or bullies like Malfoy. Dig deep. The book will be a lot easier to read if you can relate. 

3. Choose pictures! Picture books are not just for your baby brother. Many terrific books (e.g. Smile by Raina Telgemeier) are told through pictures. They're called graphic novels and make reading very enjoyable!
4. Break it down. Never feel like you have to read the book in one sitting. Take it slow. Read a chapter a night. If it's a long chapter, read half. If you don't feel pressured, there's a bigger chance you'll like what you're reading.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

BEE Happy!

You can’t help but smile, clap, and sing along when you hear the song Happy by Pharrell Williams. “Happy” is how most of us feel now that the long winter has ended and spring is springing all around us. Green grass is sprouting, new leaves are fluttering on trees, flowers burst with bright blooms, and bees buzz all around us doing their happy work. My book about bees, These Bees Count!, has inspired wonderful bee art projects, and I especially loved this “BEE HAPPY” writing project at a school visit in Pennsylvania. Students wrote about how they want to “BEE HAPPY” when they are adults. Some wrote about traveling the world, going to college, or becoming a doctor. One student wrote about her dream of being a published author.

Summer vacation is almost here and that makes us all happy. Write a list of things you hope to do to “BEE HAPPY” this summer. Write as many as you want, but try to write at least five.
Here’s an example:

  1. Going to the beach
  2. Visiting family on July 4th
  3. Riding a bike
  4. Having sleepovers 
  5. Watching the stars

Now, choose one thing on your summer list and write a story. 

Buzz like a worker bee through the rest of the school year and whatever you do this summer, I hope you will be happy!

- Alison