By Chrysta Naron Sandpaper letters are a popular Montessori material and a wonderful tool for helping young children master their ABCs. These letters cut from sandpaper and mounted on solid backgrounds allow children to experience the alphabet in multiple ways—before they have the fine motor skills to write the letters themselves. They can see how the letters are formed, and feel them as they trace their shapes. This sensory element can help them retain the names, shapes, and sounds of . . .
As lovers of literature, tossing books into the recycling bin can feel almost sacrilegious (even that dog-eared paperback that’s lost half its pages). And the nature-lovers in us rebel at the idea of crafting and decorating with brand-new paper when stacks of books and magazines are tossed every day. That’s why we celebrate the idea of giving unsalvageable and obsolete books a second life by upcycling them into book-page crafts. Creating decorative and useful objects out of old book . . .
By Chrysta Naron If your little ones are anything like those I teach as an early child educator, they probably get very bored very quickly sitting still, especially when workbooks are involved. Alphabet Hopscotch provides important alphabet knowledge and letter sound practice—all while reinforcing gross motor skills and getting kids some much-needed exercise and fresh air. But most of all, this easy alphabet game is a fun way to bolster literacy while on the move with wriggly kids. . . .
By Kelsey Nickerson With just a little help, kids can craft these handmade book page pinwheels. This is a fun activity in its own right, plus they’ll get a new toy to boot! You can make them to keep or to gift—this is a great present for older children to make for younger siblings or friends. Like many of our DIY book crafts, you can really make this project your own. Keep your pinwheel simple or have some fun coloring and decorating it! Younger kids may enjoy adding stickers and glitter . . .
At any writers’ conference you’ll hear about how important a captivating book proposal is for wooing agents. But there’s one proposal section that’s seldom discussed and little understood—yet which warrants more attention if you want to succeed. That’s the section listing “comps” for your book. The name alone invites confusion. Ask three agents what it means and you could get as many responses. Competitive books, one might say, while the others suggest comparative or complementary titles. And, . . .
I’m a sucker for debut novelists, so if I could break away from my desk midday, I would hustle over to Holy Grounds Coffee, located inside St. David’s Episcopal Church, to hear from Mary Helen Specht, author of Migratory Animals. The moving, if melancholy, story grapples with notions of home, family and belonging. See event details here. Christina Soontornvat, author of The Changelings (Sept. 10 at 3 pm at BookPeople Local author Christina Soontornvat is a generous . . .
June is a big month in this literary town. Austin’s African American Book Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary on the 25th. Swing by the Carver Museum and Library (1161 and 1165 Angelina St, 78702) between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to take part in the program, which promotes literature by and about African Americans. The festival features young adult author Sharon Flake and also provides a platform for new, emerging and self-published authors to pitch and sell their work. I produced a short . . .
This month, I’m giving away 8 new and notable novels, inspired by the Austin Public Library’s New Fiction Confab: . . .
Please join me on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at the John Henry Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe St., Austin, TX for the New Fiction Confab. This exciting event features several of the most notable authors who published new work in 2015 and 2016. They’ll lead writing workshops, read their work, and engage in conversations in Austin libraries. Don’t miss this chance to discuss contemporary fiction with the authors shaping America’s literary landscape! . . .
Tara Mohr is on a mission to help women speak up and influence the world for the better. She says her lifelong calling is ”to recognize where women’s voices are missing and do what I can, in my corner of the world, to help bring them in.” As a child, Mohr advocated for an English curriculum that featured more women authors and female protagonists. Today, she’s running a global leadership program and sharing its central tenets with a wider audience through her book, “Playing Big.” . . .