On Book Censorship and Fighting Hard

I cannot say that I teach all children if I do not have all children s stories represented on my shelvesWe say we want equity.

We say we want equality.

We say we want to teach social justice.

That we want our kids to be awake, to be critical, to be citizens who not just consume information, but tear it apart, ask the hard questions and then draw their own conclusions.  Who stand up, who fight for what they know is right, who knows what it means to be afraid of the decisions they make but still keep fighting.

We want them to feel safe with us.

To matter with us.

To be something even more than they were before with us.

We say we want to teach all children and help them discover their superpowers so that they too believe that they can be someone.

But our censored libraries tell different stories.

Our libraries tell us of the fear we feel.

The decisions we make.

The way we exclude without meaning to.

The way we keep the white, cis-gender, hetero norm the norm.

The way we perpetuate the privilege so many of us live.

When we say we want equity we cannot shout those words without looking at the equity that our libraries represent.

Do we have all our children’s stories represented?

Can all of our children find themselves in our books?

Can those who are not ready to label themselves find the answer they may not even know they needed within our pages?

Can those who feel marginalized, disenfranchised, rejected find a home within the pages of the books we place on our shelves?

Can those who mainstream society tend to label as “other” find a representation of the normal being they are?  One that is not other, but one that just is?

I get that we are afraid to offend.  I get that we are afraid for our jobs.  I get that we worry about backlash, pushback, and questioning.  But perhaps that is why we became teachers so that we can fight for those who society has tried so hard to silence?  So that our voices can join those whose voices are just a whisper.

So that we can stand up for those who do not have the armor of white privilege, of hetero privilege, of middle-class privilege, of cisgender privilege and say that their stories are part of the human story and therefore deserves to be in the very books we hand to children.  And once we are standing up, we can give them our space, so that they can reclaim the void that society wants to keep them in.

I cannot say that I teach all children if I do not have all children’s stories represented on my shelves.  It’s as simple, and as complicated as that.

Don’t forget that not being able to find yourself in a story is not just a tragedy, it is a complete erasure of your identity.  One that we easily can forget when our own identity is constantly represented.

So fight for yourself.  Fight for your books.  Fight on and fight hard.  All of our children are counting on us.

PS:  If you want to be smarter, follow my friend Dana Stachowiak.

 

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Finding the Time for Independent Reading – Every Day, Every Kid

“I would give them time to read but I don’t have the time…”

The words haunt me several weeks later.  Shocking in their simplicity, yet profound in their meaning.  I didn’t have the courage then to address it but I have the courage now.

You see, that statement represents so much of what goes wrong in our reading instruction.  We want kids to read but expect them to do it outside of our classrooms.  We want them to grow as readers but expect them to fall into the pages of a book on their own.  We want them to be readers but then tell them that with us we don’t have to practice because surely they know how to do that already.  And yet the numbers don’t lie.  The increase in summer slide, in kids who say they don’t read for fun and the scary statistic that says that 26% of adults haven’t read a book in the last year.

And we wonder why we seem to be turning from a nation of readers into a nation of watchers.

It starts with us.  It starts with the way we choose to spend our time.  It starts with our lesson planning.  We nurture the seeds of reading and make the decisions that will help them grow or wither.  With us, the reading should start so that it has a chance to continue once they leave us.  It is as simple as that.

So how do we find the time to have kids read when we don’t have the time?  The answer lies in the small things, the small tweaks that we make every single day with one goal in mind; more time to read.

We start with independent reading.  Every day.

My students start every single class with 10 minutes of uninterrupted free choice reading time.  I do reading check-ins during this time, but their job is to read. To fall into the pages of a book.  Nothing else.  Every child is expected to read, and for those who fight it every single day, I keep trying every single day.  I wish I could give more but 10 isthe least I can give, if I had a longer class period, I would give more time.

Ask yourself; what if we started with independent reading, what is the worst that could happen?

We figure out our learning target.

While I don’t love everything about learning targets, they do force me to think about the ONE thing that I want students to grow in.  Too often we pile many different lessons into one, which increases our talk time.  Instead, really narrow down what is the most important for today and then focus your lesson in on just that.  I know that I teach many different skills in one day, but this helps clear up some of the clutter.

Ask yourself; what is the one skill we really need to focus on today?

We stop talking so much.

Teachers are estimated to speak 60-75 % of the time.  So if you teach in 45 minute periods like I do, we are dominating almost 30 minutes of that time.  No wonder we say we don’t have the time.  Yet how much of that time talking is spent on repeating instructions, on giving extra directions, or simply trying to answer every single thing question asked in front of the whole class.  So set a timer, record yourself, have someone observe you, or ask a child to stop you after a certain amount of time.  Couple this with a specific goal and then stick to it when someone says you are out of time.  If it is a lengthy lesson, which mine sometimes are, explain why to the kids and then help them get up and move.    But again, if you start with reading then you will already have preserved their reading time.

Ask yourself; how can I find out how much time I actually spend talking?

We get to the point.

I know we are supposed to activate background knowledge, share personal stories, and really suck kids into our instruction but how often do we get so wrapped up in sucking them in that we lose them by the time we finally get to the point.  Keep the introduction short, it is, after all, the introduction, and get to the meat of the lesson more quickly.

Ask yourself; How can I keep my introduction to only a few sentences?

We do most of our teaching in small groups rather than whole class.

How often do our lessons increase because we are trying to teach all the skills to all the students and yet what is really needed is one major teaching point and then tons of small groups for personalized instruction?  So focus your one thing in on what all the kids need and then save everything else for small group instruction.  That way kids are getting what they need rather than tuning out in a large class.

Ask yourself; is this needed for all of the kids or just some of them?

We re-evaluate our routines.

Independent reading is my bell-ringer, it is my task to do while I do attendance.  It is the thing to do while kids get settled in.  It is the thing to do while I check in on a kid.  It the thing to do while we wait for the last kid to show up.  If you are waiting for something you read.  If you think you are done and need to check in with me you read until we can speak.

Ask yourself:  What small things take up time in your everyday routine that could be converted into reading time because, truly, every minute counts? 

We cut out the extra stuff.

Just like we speak too much during class, we also have kids go through unnecessary hoops to teach and practice their skills.   Do they really need to “do” something every day with their reading other than talk?  Can they simply read some days and not write about it? Not post-it note it?  Not do mini jots or other tasks?  I fear we often feel that we need proof that their reading meant something or that they got something out of it, and that leads us creating more tasks to do.  We focus a lot on longer projects so that we minimize the time spent doing stuff around their reading.

Ask yourself; is the task I planned for them to do essential or filler?

We grow our patience.

We often stop with independent reading because not ALL kids are reading, not ALL kids are making great choices, not ALL kids are using it well.  But some are.  The thing is, it takes time, sometimes months, sometimes years to help kids embrace independent reading.  For some, it seems an impossible task and yet, we can nurture them as readers every single day.  We can show that our belief in them being well-developed readers is strong and that we will keep believing in them every single day, even if they reject us completely.

Ask yourself; Am I making whole class decisions based on a few kids?

 

If we want kids to be readers we give them time to read, I cannot state this enough.  I cannot bold it enough.  I cannot repeat it enough.  We cannot wonder why our students are not reading if we don’t give them time to do so with us.  Then that’s on us.  And if you don’t believe me, read the research courtesy of Donalyn Miller.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, out August 2017.  This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block.  If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book  Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.      Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.

Mock Caldecott 2018 Predictions For Now

The leaves have fallen, Halloween has passed, and now November is here reminding us that this year will, too, come to an end.  And what a year it has been once again in the world of illustrations for children’s books.  For the fourth year in a row, our 7th graders will participate in our Mock Caldecott unit in January, trying to assess the illustrations of children’s books to find the ones they believe deserve the honor.  So as the year-end nears, I thought I would share a few books that are on my radar for possibilities.

The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater and the Fan Brothers.

The Fan Brothers are at it again with their incredible illustrations that make this picture book soar.  Even the texture of the book is divine.

The incredible, whimsical Claymates is by the uber talented Dev Petty and Lauren Eldridge.  I have been loving this book before it even came out because it is so funny and unlike anything else I have seen.  It is also a sure kid pleaser.

One of my most favorite picture books of the year is After the Fall by Dan Santat, and while the story itself makes this picture book read aloud worthy, the illustrations are what really makes the story incredible.  Once again, Dan Santat has outdone even himself.

 

The simplicity of the illustrations is what makes The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken such a stand out.  With a powerful message to all of us, the illustrations truly show how we can turn anything, even a mistake, into something beautiful.

The illustrations in Out of Wonder by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, Marjory Wentworth and illustrated by Ekua Holmes makes the poetry come alive.

Kadir Nelson’s illustrations in Blue Sky White Stars by Savinder Naberhous are breathtaking.  The beauty of the poignant text is truly lit on fire by the work of the Kadir Nelson.

I pored over the illustrations in Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters written by Michael Mahin and illustrated by Evan Turk.  The colors and the detail are what made this picture book stand out to me.

I read Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say as an F&G and immediately placed my order.  While the story about James Castle in itself is worth your time, the techniques used by Allen Say is what makes this one of my favorite picture books of the year.

 

The illustrations in Dazzle Ships by Chris Barton and illustrated by Victo Ngai is what made me want to pore over this book for a long time.   Amazing how this lesser-known part of WWI history springs to life within the pages of this fantastic book from one of the master of nonfiction picture books himself, Chris Barton.

In Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, Sean Qualls, and Selina Alko the illustrations deeply reinforce the powerful message of who we are and how we intersect with others.

I still have some thinking to do but here at least is a start.  Which ones do you think will be in the running?

PS:  To see all of our favorite books, go here

On Accelerated Reader and All the Other Computer Programs

Pardon me while I write what is on my mind for a little bit.

I just took an Accelerated Reader practice quiz on Elephant and Piggie’s There’s a Bird on Your Head.  A picture book  I have read so many times I think I know it by heart.  A picture book series that my 7th graders end up loving too as we perform plays based on them.  A picture book series that made me cry when the last book came out and they told us all “Thank you for being a reader.”

You know what AR wanted me to know about the book?

It wanted to know what happened and what was said.

That’s it.

Not why Gerald didn’t like the birds on his head.  Not what the message of the book was.  Not what they could learn from the book and apply to their own life.  After all, that doesn’t prove they have read it.  That doesn’t prove they have understood, right?!

Sheer memorization and retelling.

Of Mice and Men wasn’t any better.  Again, memorization was the key factor here.  Not deep thinking.  Not deep conversation about the ultimate decision made at the end.  Not how this book will change you or make you think about the world you live in.

An American classic boiled down to remembering minute details.

All in the hands of computer programs which purport to help readers grow.

And before, someone tells me that for some kids programs like this works, I would like to know what we define as “works?”  Do we define “works” as rushing to read another book?  As sharing the incredible experience a book just provided them with others?  Do we define “works” as cannot wait to read another book, outside of class not because they have to but because they want to?  Do we define “works” as continuing to develop a positive reading identity that will carry them into adulthood?

Or do we define ‘”works” as kids doing it because they are rule followers and don’t want to cause a stir? Do we define “works” as a computer telling us how much a child remembered from the book they just read?  Do we define it as how many points they have gained this year as a supposed reflection on how they have grown as readers?  Or as now we know which book a child should read next because the computer told them so?

Because if that is what we mean be developing lifelong readers then I must have lost my mind.

When people ask me why I dislike programs like AR so much, it is hard to know where to start.  My problem with these blanket programs are many; we rob kids of actual true choice not determined by a reading database that only allows you to select books that have quizzes on them.

You know which books don’t have AR quizzes on them right now?  Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and Dear Martin by Nic Stone.  Arguably two of the most important books for adolescents to read this year. I hope they never add them, I can’t even begin to imagine what types of low-level questions they would ask.

We rob kids of the chance to have conversations with others about the books that are changing them.  We rob kids of the messy process that it is to get to a deeper meaning within a book, even when they are young.  We rob kids of the chance to be seen more as the points they are given.  We rob our most vulnerable readers, those we label struggling, low, or whatever other harsh terms in our data meetings, the opportunity to have the best possible chance at becoming a reader through the determined instruction of a knowledgeable teacher.

In our eagerness to make sure every child is reading the right fit book, we have forgotten about the very child reading those books.

Reading was never meant to be about points.  Or scores.  Or correct answers.

It was never meant to be about levels or data or rewards for goals met.

Reading was never meant to be easy either.  It was meant to be a complex process in which we discover parts of ourselves that we didn’t know before.  A process that brought us closer together as a community of learners, as we felt the growth we made not because a test told us but because the very book we just finished was an accomplishment in itself.

Don’t believe me?  How can simple computer programs really be so bad?  Why don’t we ask the very kids we subject these programs to?  A novel idea, I suppose, as what would kids really know?  And yet, I am here writing about this because of the very things kids (and their horrified parents) have told me over the years.

“AR means my child picks the smallest books they can in order to get the points they need…”

“AR means I am not allowed to read the book I wanted to…”

“I am a bad reader because I cannot get the answers right…”

So what can we do instead of these programs?

We can start the conversation first.  We can ask the very kids we subject to the reading programs and then do something about what they tell us.

We can ask parents and caregivers how this program either hurts or harms their child.

We can invest all of that money spent on this program into great books and then put them in every single classroom.  And then we can read them and speak about them and help kids find great new books.

We can give teachers training on reading workshop and how to have meaningful conversations about books with kids.

We can tell our teachers to go back to common sense reading instruction.

We can tell our teachers that teaching to fidelity doesn’t mean fidelity to the program but to the kid in front of them.

We can evaluate everything we do with kids and see if it really gets to what we hope they become; kids who read books because they want to!

If we want to know whether a child is reading, we can look at them while they read.

If we want to know whether a child understands what they are reading, we can ask, sometimes face to face, other times on paper.

If we want to know how a child is progressing as a reader, we can assess them, hearing them read out loud, conferring with them and asking further questions.  And sure, use a computer to give them a test but make sure that the test is actually giving you valid information.  Let the data be a part of the conversation, not the whole conversation.

If we want to know what book a child should read next, we can ask them. Then we can bookshop.  If a child doesn’t know how to select a great book then that is where we start.

If we want to know whether a book is a good fit for a child, we can ask them.  And we can remember the words of Fountas and Pinnell who said, that “Levels are a teacher’s tool and not a child’s label.”

You know what helping a child figure out their reading identity is?  It’s hard.  It’s messy.  It’s exhausting at times.

It’s not easy.

But it’s worth it.

it’s worth it every time we see child realize that they, too, can be a reader.

It’s worth it every time we see a child realize that they, too, can get something out of a book.

It’s worth it every we see a child realize that they, too, can understand what it means to want to keep on reading.

Not because a computer told them to select another book from their level.

Not because they were given points for their work.

Not because they were given rewards.

But because to them, it mattered, beyond the computer, beyond the quiz, beyond the task.

But because to them, they became readers because someone cared about their reading journey and protected the very hope they carry for being a reader some day.

A computer program will never do that for a child, no matter how “research-based” it is.

PS:  Whoa, apparently this post which was just me thinking out loud has struck a chord for many.  I encourage you to reflect on it and see where it fits into your reading philosophy.  As I have said before, if a program harms even one child’s love of reading then we need to question it, which is what I am doing here.  I am not shaming teachers, I am a teacher myself, but instead asking us to really reflect on whether the thousands of dollars spent on these computer programs are really helping us achieve our goals in the long-run, because of course programs like these can garner compliance in the short run, but we are in this reading life for the long run.

To see more thoughts on AR please see Jen Robinson’s posts which showcases other work on it.  Donalyn Miller’s post on it and do take the time to read Stephen Krashen’s discussion of the research that AR uses as a selling point.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, out August 2017.  This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block.  If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book  Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.      Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.

 

In It For the Long Game

It’s been four weeks since I have had a chance to discuss his reading one on one.  Four weeks since he decided to abandon the first book he had started after he was only 60 pages in and it had been more than three weeks of reading every day.  Four weeks since I got to have more than a surface level conversation about his reading life and I cannot wait to see what he says.

He tells me his goal is to read more, a goal I hear quite often in 7th grade.  I ask him to tell me more, why this goal, how is it going.  he grins and says, not so well, he really isn’t reading much.

I ask him about his book but that’s not it, he likes it a lot.  Then what is it?  He says, like so many kids before him, “I just don’t like to read…”

We finish our conversation and he pledges to try to find some time outside of class to get further.  After all, he has yet to actually finish a book this year.  I pledge to check in more often, even just a short visit, just to see if his new laid plans are working out.

He returns to his book and I return to the next child waiting to tell me about their reading life.

How often does this moment play out in our schools?  How often have we met those kids that tell us that they just don’t like reading and we feel the end of the year rushing toward us as if we, too, will fail in helping these kids create positive reading identities?

How often do we question the very practices we know kids need to become readers; time, access, choice, and community?

How often do we feel like we must be the teachers that cannot crack the code of this child and that all is already lost?

But before we despair.

Before we punish.

Before we tighten the reins.

Before we add more steps, more logs, more comprehension worksheets.

Before we think of what else we need to keep them accountable.

Take a moment and realize that we are in this for the long game.

That a child not liking reading even after we have been their teacher for almost two months does not mean that we have failed.  It does not mean that they have failed either.

It means that we are working on it.

That we celebrate the honesty when a child dares to tell us that they don’t like reading, and no, they are not reading outside of school.

That we thank them for the information and then ask them what they plan on doing with it.

That we remind them that reading matters and that we hope that they will find a way to make it matter to them.

We are not in this reading game to get them reading just this year.  We are in it to get them reading for life.

So before we change the approach of giving kids choice in books, time to read, access to books, and a community to read with, remember to have some patience.

Patience to remember that creating new habits takes time.

Patience to remember that it often takes many books to see yourself as an established reader.

Patience to remember that it often takes many conversations, many opportunities, many check-ins and walk-aways to really help a child find themselves as a reader.

And then when we question our own practices that we thought would work for every child, we remember that we may be up against years of unestablished reading habits and that just a few short months with us is not enough.  That sometimes we are just the tourniquet that stops the flow of hatred of reading and that it won’t be until later years that a child finds themselves within the pages of a book and cannot imagine coming back out.

So give yourself credit for the successes you see in your reading communities.  Give yourself credit for the books being shared.  For the joy being created.  And give yourself credit for having unlimited patience, especially for the child that tells you once again that they just don’t like reading.  Not yet, anyway.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, out August 2017.  This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block.  If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book  Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.      Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.

 

Cover Reveal: Albie Newton by Josh Funk and Some Very Exciting News

I first properly met Josh Funk when he bought me a cup of tea in a convention center in Boston for ILA.  Properly because we had actually met at NerdCamp but had not had much time together.  So in a crowded hallway, we sat down to talk picture books, writing, and what it means to work with kids and try to make the world better.  Had I known that I would make a friend that day I would have made him buy me a donut (chocolate with sprinkles, please).

That day Josh told me of his latest picture book, he was still writing it and was wondering out loud about how characters would react to a child that perhaps didn’t see the wrong in his ways.  We laughed about the perfect endings we both wished for all of our children and realized that the not so perfect endings are sometimes what makes books so amazing and also life so hard.  I spoke of one student who right away reminded me of Albie Newton and how I wished that he would be a part of a world where his set ways were seen as strengths rather than an oddity.

More than a year later and that picture book we talked about is ready to have its cover revealed.  When Josh asked me if I would do the honor, there was no other answer than yes.  After all, this would perfectly coincide with another announcement I had planned; Josh Funk is a contender for Global Read Aloud 2018!  His books are some of my 7th graders’ favorites, as well as my own childrens’, and will be perfect for sparking conversations around the world.    I have wanted to tell him for some time but thought a little surprise would be better.

So surprise, Josh, thank you for trusting me to reveal Albie Newton to the world.

Who is Albie Newton?

A clever scientist?

A brilliant artist?

A mischief-maker?

On the surface, it might seem like ALBIE NEWTON is a cute little story about a boy’s first day at school and how he attempts to make friends (and fails with hilarity), but everything eventually works out in the end. Hopefully, you’ll revel in the adorable illustrations created by Ester Garay. And I certainly want you to laugh at the silly STEAM-related situations in which Albie finds himself. For example:

Arjun ate his snack and finished Albie’s cleanup duties,

while Albie built a science lab and found a cure for cooties.

But there’s a deeper level; one I really struggled with getting right. And Pernille Ripp helped me realize exactly who Albie was and how to keep his character true.

We talk about the need for windows and mirrors. I believe Albie will be a mirror for some kids who often don’t get to see themselves in everyday, non-”issue” related stories.

Let me back up. One of the very first lessons you learn as a picture book writer is this:

The main character must solve the problem on their own – and learn a lesson in the process.

It’s a basic picture book paradigm – flip through pretty much any picture book and you’ll see what I mean. And this generally makes sense. Stories are far more satisfying if the main characters figure out how to solve their own problems. It’s less satisfying if a parent or teacher solves the problem and didactically explains the lesson.

But as an educator, you’ve likely encountered some students who, in certain social situations, have difficulty solving their own problems. And in some of those cases, kids may not even notice that they’ve caused problems … until it’s too late.

Back to Albie’s story, on his first day of school, he ends up unintentionally and unknowingly alienating his classmates one by one on each and every page of the book. As the tension rises and his classmates’ anger reaches a boiling point, Albie is still unaware he’s caused a conflict.

And then, I had my own conflict: How do I end this book?

Does Albie solve the problem himself? Does he apologize? Does he learn a lesson? That was the textbook answer according to the “Picture Book Paradigm”.

But I knew Albie’s character. He wouldn’t apologize on his own. I didn’t even believe he would change throughout the story. Would this be a satisfying ending for the reader? Would it be believable? After several phone calls and emails with my agent AND editor about this very topic, a decision had to made. Deadlines loomed. The illustrator was already hard at work.

And there I was, having coffee on a bench at the Hynes Convention Center for ILA 2016 in Boston explaining my struggle to Pernille Ripp. If you’ve read Pernille’s writing (and I’m assuming you have because this is her site, after all), you’ll know she’s got passionate opinions. And that day she didn’t disappoint.

Pernille said that she’d had students like Albie. And sometimes social interactions are incredibly challenging, to say the least. She adamantly said I needed to stick to my gut and have Albie NOT apologize or learn a cliché lesson. Because that’s how it would have been for many of the Albies she’s taught. And especially not because that’s just how picture books work.

Pernille’s encouragement gave me the confidence to keep Albie’s character the way I’d always intended – a mirror for those who need him to be one. And hopefully, Albie is a window for the rest of your students, who often have trouble interacting with and understanding the Albies of the world.

You might even say that Albie Newton isn’t really the main character of ALBIE NEWTON; the main character is everyone else in the class. And they’re the ones who learn that valuable lesson and come out of the story changed.

Without further ramblings, explanations, and ado, here is the cover of ALBIE NEWTON.

 

_Albie Newton.jpg

 

Thank you, Pernille, for hosting this cover reveal. And thank you for giving me the advice and confidence to make this book the way it needed to be.

ALBE NEWTON by Josh Funk, illustrated by Ester Garay, published by Sterling Children’s Books will be available everywhere on May 1, 2018.

Bio: Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as books – such as the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series (including The Case of the Stinky Stench and the upcoming Mission: Defrostable), It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, Dear Dragon, Pirasaurs!, and the forthcoming Albie Newton, How to Code a Sandcastle (in conjunction with Girls Who Code), Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude (in conjunction with the New York Public Library), It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, and more coming soon!

 

Josh is a board member of The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA and was the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional SCBWI Conferences.

Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts.

Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys __(naps)_____ during ___(rain storms)_____ and has always loved ___(doing his taxes)_______. He has played __(old and wise)_____ since age _(2)_ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __(goldfish)________.

For more information about Josh, visit www.joshfunkbooks.com or @joshfunkbooks on Twitter.