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Tim McCanna Loves… WORDS

I am a logophilea lover of words. I love long words and short words. Words strung together and words         by     themselves      . Real words, made up words, loud words and soft words. I like big lists of groceries and tiny names of places on maps. I love anagrams, acronyms, homophones and portmanteaus. But I especially love words when they are put in picture books. In a picture book, words can leap out from those stodgy, organized rows and columns you find in most novels and newspapers. Picture book words can dance and twist and change colors. They can shrink and grow or jumble up and run off the page. They can be skinny, fat, squiggly or krompish. They can hang upside down or blast from a cannon. There’s really nothing words in a picture book can’t do!

The Monster at the End of this Book- Sesame Street Richard Scary's Best Word Book Ever Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can't You by Dr. Seus

My obsession with words might have started with the eye-popping exclamations in The Monster at the End of This Book starring lovable, furry old Grover. Or maybe it was the seemingly endless little lowercase words tagged to everything in the world from Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever. But it was probably the rhythmic, rhyming onomatopoeia (what a great word!) of Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss that sealed the deal. These were the books of my childhood, and they laid the foundation for a long-lasting relationship with the written word. I’ve read them to my children, and some day I may even read them to my grandchildren. If you’re looking to build a young child’s library, start with these three classics. Because all it takes is one amazing word in a picture book to make any kid a lifelong bibliophile. 

Tim McCanna is the author of Bitty Bot and Watersong. He lives in San Jose, CA and serves as assistant regional advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ San Francisco/South chapter. Meet Tim for story time and signing at Books Inc. in Santa Clara on March 19 at 11:00am.

Bitt Bot by Tim McCanna Watersong by Tim McCanna


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Holly Goldberg Sloan on Why Reading Matters

Holly Goldberg Sloan author photo

I was not a lonely child. I had friends on the street and in school. I had two brothers in my house. We always had a dog and at one time a catand even a pet goat, although he didn’t view himself as any kind of pet. We traveled A LOT. That was part of my dad’s career. He went places to do research and teach and as a family we went with him. So I wasn’t someone who sat inside and read to escape. I read as an escape. Is that different? I think so.  There was always so much going on around me that books were a comfort. They were there for me when I needed things to settle down.

It’s possible that my early relationship with books is more in sync with why books matter for kids around the world today. Books require a singlefocus. You can’t read a book and at the same time do three other things. Books calm the brain, but they also make it come alive. Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

I was young when I first discovered Beverly Cleary. I read Henry Huggins and something inside me snapped. In a great way. This was a book about kids who felt real with emotions that I recognized. It also was a book that made me laugh. I remember telling my mother I needed to go back to the public library and find everything this woman had written. But I said I needed to find Beverly CLEARLY.  I’d given her a new name. This author made me see the world and myself more clearly. Isn’t that what great books do?

I have read the Ms. Cleary was a reluctant reader when she was young and that is why (in part) she became a librarian. She later decided to writebooks because she wanted kids to find material that they could relate to in real ways. She succeeded for me in the biggest possible way.  She made me want to be a writer myself.

Holly Goldberg Sloan directed feature films, including Angels in the Outfield and Made in America. Her novel, Counting by 7s, was a New York Times-bestseller. Her latest book, Short, is an irresistible story of self-discovery and of the role models who forever change us. Pick up Counting by 7s and Short at your local Books Inc. today!

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan


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