Merry Christmas

Around our house we've been preparing for Christmas. For weeks we have been celebrating advent, keeping our eyes on the meanings of this holy season. We named our four advent candles: kindness, respect, gratitude, and compassion. We looked for needs and found ways we could fill them. In this world, where Christmas is as much… Continue reading Merry Christmas

gifts · holiday · writing

My Latest Writing Project: A Blessing

Yesterday I read an incredible blog post by Edgar M. Bronfman in The Washington Post's "On Faith" section.  I believe Bronfman's article, "Create a holy Hanukkah," was penned with the sole purpose to encourage North American Jews to think more deeply about the gifts we choose to give our children on Chanukah.  Rather than summarize… Continue reading My Latest Writing Project: A Blessing

holiday · Read Aloud · stories

Happy Chanukah + a Book Giveaway

There are no shortage of books on Chanukah.  Despite the fact that Chanukah is not one of the major Jewish holidays, there are lots of books, some of which aren't so good, written about the holiday.  I suppose it's because Chanukah almost always begins in December and sometimes overlaps with Christmas (like it does this… Continue reading Happy Chanukah + a Book Giveaway

holiday · mentor author · mentor texts

The Carpenter’s Gift + A Giveaway

Every year, just before December sets in, I ask the publishers who are kind enough to send review copies to me for books about Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanza so I can inform readers about some of the best new books that are out there.  This year The Carpenter’s Gift came from Random House and touched… Continue reading The Carpenter’s Gift + A Giveaway

blogging · holiday · Slice of Life Story Challenge

Happy Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving, mostly because it rolls into the Christmas season. My life as a writer changes during these weeks of the year. I shift my focus to documenting the season and my family's response to it. I decrease my word count. I breathe more and rush less. I still have goals, but I tend… Continue reading Happy Thanksgiving

holiday · Write: It's good for you! · writer's notebook

Happy 4th + {Discover. Play. Build.}

To anyone celebrating today, we hope you are enjoying all of the good stuff of Independence Day: Watermelon, grilled meals, corn on the cob, and the blessings of freedom. The {Discover. Play. Build.} prompt was inspired by the holiday. It is general enough for anyone not celebrating today to still be inspired. Hop over to… Continue reading Happy 4th + {Discover. Play. Build.}

blogging · holiday

2010 Draws to a Close Today

I've had quite a year professionally and personally.  As many readers of this blog know, 2010 was the year Ruth and I published our book, Day by Day.  However, what you may not know is that I'm expecting a baby in a couple of days.  I know my life is about to change big time. … Continue reading 2010 Draws to a Close Today

author's note · holiday · mentor texts · new york city · Read Aloud

Baseball & Two December Holidays

Family.  Friendship.  Generosity.  The great American pastime.  Interracial and interfaith friendships.  All of these topics are woven together artfully by Sharon Robinson in a new book, Jackie's Gift.  This is a true story about Sharon Robinson's father, the great baseball player Jackie Robinson, and her family's first Christmas in Brooklyn, NY. The Satlows are a… Continue reading Baseball & Two December Holidays

holiday · reflections

The Eve of the Eve of the . . .

Hannah, my oldest daughter woke up this morning and said: Today is the eve of the eve of Christmas eve. I paused and counted the days back from Friday, smiled and said, "Yes, you're right, it is." "Well, then, I think today deserves a celebration," she smiled at me. It is this excitement I want… Continue reading The Eve of the Eve of the . . .

bilingual story · holiday · mentor texts · Read Aloud

Bilingual Christmas Story + A Giveaway

I've been looking for a good story about Christmas to share for quite a few weeks.  Most of the books I've received were either too religious for use in public school classrooms or didn't seem like they'd inspire students.  But then, I received a review copy of Xavier Garza's Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid… Continue reading Bilingual Christmas Story + A Giveaway

giveaway · holiday · mentor texts · Read Aloud

Needs vs. Wants + 2 Book Giveaways

Every morning I receive an e-mail from, which entices me with products for my baby, who is supposed to arrive early next month.  Zulily always has fantastic merchandise (e.g., clothes, toys, accessories) at a discount price daily.  I want to buy nearly everything I see.  However, I realize that I don't need most of… Continue reading Needs vs. Wants + 2 Book Giveaways