Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dig deeper into children's literature with author websites

Finishing a good book can be both satisfying and disappointing.  It can be hard to say goodbye to the imaginary world tucked into the pages of the book.  Luckily, most popular children's literature authors have blogs or websites that can extend the experience of reading their work.  These sites feature biographical information, book lists, and other features.  Some blogs offer downloadable coloring sheets, interactive games, chat rooms, newsletters, e-cards, resources for parents and teachers, and much more.

Here's a round-up of ten author blogs and websites that I like to visit, listed in no particular order:

Mo Willems, the prolific genius behind Elephant and Piggie, The Pigeon, and Knufflebunny, among others, has a blog stuffed with games, booklists, and other fun stuff.  His website and blog reflect his warm sense of humor and razor-sharp ability to illustrate nuanced emotion.  Visit his blog here.

Sassy, sparkly Ramona Quimby is an endearing character that generations of readers have grown up with.  Asked where her books take place, Ramona's creator, Beverly Cleary, answered, "in childhood."  Click here to visit Cleary's website for an interactive tour of Klickitat Street, a complete illustrated index of each of her characters, and a virtual arcade featuring games based upon her books.

Eric Carle's vivid collage art and folk-like stories have captivated children and their parents for decades.  Visit Carle's website here to play online games based upon his characters, learn more about his life and books, and read his occasionally-published newsletter.  There are also several links for teachers, parents, and children to learn more about Carle and how he makes his art.  At this site, you find out more about the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art located in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Rosemary Wells has written and illustrated scores of popular books for children that feature lovably appealing animal characters like Max and Ruby the brother and sister rabbits, Yoko the cat and Noisy Nora the mouse.  Visit her website here to play games, print several different coloring sheets, watch videos featuring Wells' characters and much more.  Parents can print free party supplies for a Max and Ruby party, learn more about her work, and the importance of reading with children for 20 minutes each day.  This site is jam-packed with fun and helpful resources to use on a rainy day.   

Tomie Depaola's lush, folksy art and stories have been treasured for years.  Grown-ups and kids will appreciate visiting his website here to view his gorgeous illustrations and to learn more about his life as an artist and his process for creating characters like those in his picture book Strega Nona.

Jon Scieszka has written humorous chapter books for older kids such as the Spaceheadz series and picture books such as The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and Trucktown.  Find out more about his work and life at his website here.  Scieszka is also the brains behind the project Guys Read, a literacy program designed to help boys become motivated readers.  Check out the Guys Read website here to find extensive suggested book lists for boys.

Erin Hunter's epic animal series books fly off of the library shelves.  Readers can delve deeper into Warriors, Survivors, and Seekers series, and learn about the six successful authors who write the series under the name Erin Hunter by clicking here.  The site also features message boards, fan art, reader surveys, an online book club, interactive territory maps, story timelines, and games.

Lemony Snickett is the pen-name for the mysterious author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books and the All the Wrong Questions series.  Fans of Snickett's dry sense of humor, twisting mysterious plots, and intricate language should visit this site and this site to find videos, puzzles, and other fun from the author.

Cressida Cowell has written over a dozen books in the How to Train Your Dragon series.  In addition to providing author information and lists of all of Cowell's books, the site offers instruction in speaking and writing in "Dragonese," jokes based upon the books, and the chance to train your own dragon as part of an online game. Visit the series website here

Find out more about Lincoln Peirce's popular Big Nate comic strip and books on his website and blog by clicking here.  Read comic strips, view book lists, play Big Nate games, and watch videos based upon the character.

Delve into the world of Judy Moody and learn more about her brother Stink, her friends, and classmates, and author Megan McDonald and illustrator Peter Reynolds by clicking here.  Join the Judy Moody fan club, click on virtual treasure hunts, or test your vocabulary with a Judy Moody Spelling Bee activity.

Enjoy these author websites and blogs and leave a comment to let us know some sites that you enjoy!

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