A Time to Wait

A Time to Wait

Boys and Girls,

Do you like to wait? When are times you have to wait? What is something you are waiting for? Have you ever learned something while you were waiting?

In this new year, I have been thinking a lot about the topic of waiting and what we can learn when we wait. I plan on writing about this topic for a future blogpost or in a children’s book.

Before I write on a topic, I often like to brainstorm my ideas about the topic in a journal or notebook.

I often put the topic in the middle of a circle in the middle of the page and then link that topic to related subjects placed in other circles. Sometimes, for fun, I will add color and related pictures.

This way of brainstorming is often referred to as mind-mapping. It has been proven to be a good way to unlock creativity about a given topic.

Next time you are asked to write about a topic at school, try doing this on a piece of paper first. See if it helps you like it helps me.

Oh! By the way, I’d love to hear your answers to the questions I asked you about waiting. Your answers may help me as I write about the topic of waiting.

Also, if you want to share a mind-map you’ve made, ask your parent or guardian if you may take a picture of it and post it for others to see how creative you are.

Another way I like to explore ideas for writing is to see how other authors have written on that topic.

E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little, is an author of children’s books whom I admire greatly. His style of writing helps me to picture the scenes and to experience the emotions of the characters.

Recently, I was listening to an audio book with E.B. White reading from one of his books. This is a portion the story from Chapter 3 (See if you can guess which book he was reading.)

The Trumpet of the Swan“Days passed, and still the swan sat quietly on five eggs. Nights passed. She sat and sat, giving her warmth to the eggs. No one disturbed her. The boy was gone—perhaps he would never come back. Inside of each egg, something was happening that she couldn’t see: a little swan was taking shape. As the weeks went by, the days grew longer, the nights grew shorter. When a rainy day came the swan just sat still and let it rain.”

Did you see how this excerpt from The Trumpet of the Swan was focusing on the topic of waiting? Could you picture the mother swan sitting on her eggs waiting patiently? Without coming right out and telling you, the author let us know it was spring, What clues did he use?

If you want to write good stories, practice showing the reader without telling. E.B. White shows us the waiting process of the swan in spring.

He doesn’t just tell us that the swan had to wait a long time for her eggs to hatch in the spring.

I would love for you to share excerpts from some of your favorite books where the character(s) had to wait for something.

It’s fun to learn together!

How to Read a Story

How to Read a Story

Boys and Girls,

When you read a picture book or storybook, do you like to cuddle close to someone you love? Maybe you like to read books by yourself in a special place or with your pet.

Recently, I read the picture book, How to Read a Story, by Kate Missner and illustrated by Mark Siegel. I hope you will get to read this book this summer.

See how many picture books or other books you can read this summer. I’d love to hear about your favorites.

Do You Know the Meaning of This Word?

Boys and Girls,

Do you like to learn new words and their meanings? I do.

Recently, I was asking Siri a question. This is how she answered me. She said, “I’m cogitating.” This is a big word. Do you know the meaning of this word? 

When I heard it, I thought to myself, ” I don’t know if I know the correct meaning of this word.”

Do you know where I looked to find out the meaning?

Yes, I looked in a dictionary.

I found out that this big word is a verb or action word and it means to think deeply about something; to meditate or reflect. This is funny because a computer can’t really do this but people who create and program the computers can think deeply.

What are some things you like to think about that make you feel happy? Do you ever spend quiet time thinking good thoughts about something you have read in a book? 🙂 

If your parent gives you permission, please share a happy memory or good thought which will make others feel happy, too.

Arrival of the Fall Season

Arrival of the Fall Season

Are you as excited as I am about the arrival of the fall season?

During the fall I would visit my grandmother in Liberty, Kentucky. While I was there, one of my favorite fall activities was raking leaves. I recall a time when my younger sister, Linda, and I raked a huge pile of yellow, orange, and red leaves. When we finished raking, we took turns jumping in the leaves.

Once when I got out of the leaf pile, I had something long and almost transparent clinging to my clothes. Can you guess what it was?

Post a comment to tell me what you think it was – be sure to get your parent’s or teacher’s permission.

Share about your fall collections, activities, and adventures too.

Fun Facts about Joshua Trees

Fun Facts about Joshua Trees

(This is my daughter, Catherine, who traveled with us to see the Joshua Trees at the national park.)

Boys and Girls,

In my last blog post, I challenged you to discover the name of the place in the photo I posted. (Click here to read the last blog post). It’s okay if you didn’t get a chance to discover the answer.

I took the photo at the end of June when I traveled through several western states on a journey to the coast of California. The tree in the photo is a Joshua tree.

See if you can find on a map of the United States what the name of the place is. A good reference book to use is an atlas. If you don’t know what an atlas is, ask someone.

Hint: The place in the picture was taken in a national park. Which national park has the right climate for Joshua trees to grow?

Fun Facts about Joshua Trees

  • The Joshua Tree isn’t actually a tree – it’s a species of Yucca
  • It grows in the Mojave Desert area
  • The National Park where you can find Joshua Trees is divided into 2 types of deserts
  • The Joshua Tree cannot be found in the Colorado Desert part of the park

Did you know on August 25, 2016, it’s the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service?

Road Trip Across America

Road Trip Across America

Boys and Girls,

Have you ever been on a road trip? My husband, Eric, and I recently took a road trip all the way from our home in Brentwood, TN to Los Angeles, CA. While on our journey which was over two thousand miles, I was amazed by the beautiful sites we saw.

We traveled most of the time on Interstate 40 which often went alongside the Old Route 66. We did get off the busy Interstate a few times to go to some very special places.

Here is a picture of one of my favorite places we went. See if you can discover the name of this place.


Write to tell me what you find out about this place. Also, see if you can find out how many states we visited.

Hint: you may want to use an Atlas to look at the route we followed. Special tourist sites are marked on the maps.

Anytime, I travel across America, I think about how thankful I am to live in such a beautiful country. I’d love to hear about a favorite place you have visited in America.

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