Tuesday, November 28, 2017

NCTE 2017 Conference 2: One School One Book: Four Feet Two Sandals

One School, One Book indeed!  

One Little Book:   Connections, Kindness, Empathy, Generosity, Caring, Sharing, Friendship....

Thanks to Eva Thomas and the students at Popcopson Elementary School.

Look how they shared Four Feet Two Sandals at NCTE 2017.  Paste into your browser and enjoy.


One Goal:  Peace.  An important goal.  One to keep in mind for the holiday season and beyond. 

Wishing Peace for all of us in the coming New Year.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

NCTE: Saint Louis 2017

It was an honor and a delight to present with Mitali Perkins on the panel: 

Teaching AND Learning from our Students Today, Tomorrow, and Forever--Lessons from our Refugee Students through Texts of All Sorts for All our Students.

Here we are at the National Council of Teachers of English 2017 in Saint Louis.  That's Mitali's latest book You Bring the Distance Near.  Nominated for the National Book Award.

Learn more about Mitali and her books here:  http://www.mitaliperkins.com 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Why I Love Writing for Children

School Visits are the best!

Dedicated Librarians and Teachers.

Creative Librarians and Teachers and Students.


Good listeners.

Great Questions.

Thanks you all at Hosack Elementary School!

Monday, September 18, 2017

First Grade King a Hit Even Today.

If you follow my posts at all, you know I shamelessly use my grandchildren to promote my books.

And why not?  I wrote First Grade King when my own boys, Peter and Christopher were about the same age as my two oldest grandchildren, Ethan(7) and Evan (4)are now.  It's based on the experiences of my two boys ...kind of.  In fact the book is so similar to life around our house at that time that Christopher, when he heard the rough draft, exclaimed,  "Mom!  You can't steal my ideas like that!"

That gave me pause for thought.  Yes he was afraid of the dog on the corner when he had to walk to school and there was a bully and fears about having a substitute, but wait a minute that was MY first grade experience too.

So get over it kid, your mother is a writer.

Outdated you say?   I thought so too... possibly

But I have reports that Ethan and Evan are enjoying the read-aloud as much as any any 7 and 4 year old might have when my children were that age...when I actually wrote the book...kind of about my first grade experience and yes kind of like Christopher's first grade life too.

Maybe they like it because their grandmother wrote it.  Definitely a possibility....

But it turns out that Ethan, living in Taiwan, going to school, has fears too...bullies and more.  "Why IS Roger so mean?"  He wants to know.  He has questions about the Joey's visually impaired classmate.  Like Joey in the book Ethan is a sensitive kid, like his dad and his uncle at that age and like...I think... most kids.

I am happy to know that my stories cross generations and cultures even if I am using my own grandkids to prove it.

Full disclaimer?  I am listening and watching and might be using my grandchildren's "ideas" next.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Notes From a Reader: Your Story is My Story!

A writer will tell that he or she writes because they have to.  A writer cannot NOT Write.  But to touch another life is bliss.   This book written so long ago, still connecting and sharing

Dear Karen

I have just finished reading "When Africa was Home" to my 10 year old son Michael. Then I found myself searching the website and found your email.

I spent one hour explaining every detail in your book to my son. We used google to look up Paw Paw trees and Ant Hills. I explained in detail because, it is my story too. When Africa Was Home....I lived such a very different life than I do today.

I am a mother of 3 boys, currently in Phoenix Arizona. I am holding myself from writing a back right here as this is simply an introduction email. However, I would love to share with you so much.

Thank you for all that you do. My son was so excited and now feels that he understands a little bit about my upbringing and why I cook the corn paste with fish sauce and why we eat with our hands.He finally knows why the bottom of my feet is soooo hard.

Sincere thanks,

And this:   Early riser just like me! I used to fetch water pushed wheelbarrow up the hill around this time...but now I rise and I miss the dew under my feet, the sound of the train, the abundance of happy birds and the squirrel that used to greet me every morning.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

An Honor to Help Tell This Remarkable Story and Now You Can be a Part of it!

Look What is in the Works and Coming Out Next Year!

Here is how you can be a part of this remarkable story: 

Any donation, no matter how small, will help make this Legacy Statue become a reality.  Questions?  Contact me(karen@karenlynnwilliams) or Teddy Draper Jr.  or Sara Sinclair.  Information below.


Navajo Language and Code Talker’s Legacy Sculpture
Language is rooted in culture, and culture rooted in language. Within the 21st century, Americans have simultaneously forced assimilation while idolizing Native American cultures. The pressures to assimilate have nearly wiped out an entire language in four short generations and have deeply affected the culture and way of life for the Navajo people.
During World War II, the Navajo language was used as a code to communicate sensitive information across enemy lines. The Navajo soldiers were able to take advantage of the nuances and subtleties of the language to create a masterful code that remained elusive well after the war.
The declassification of the code allowed for a renewed interest in the language in an era where young people were being shuttled to boarding schools and removed from their culture. Teddy Draper Sr, a former codetalker, used his experiences to create and teach the first Navajo language courses at Navajo Community College (now Diné College). His commitment to the preservation of language and the culture of his people are what have led us to this project.
Teddy Sr, now an elder of 96 years, has seen his courses flourish into an associates degree program and lives to see a revival in which young people are seeking out their roots and culture through language.
We are raising money to create a bronze sculpture of the Navajo Codetalkers to honor the legacy of the language in both Navajo and American history. The sculpture will be created by the talented Jeff Wolf and placed on the Navajo Nation reservation at either Diné College or Navajo Technical University so that students and community members can easily access it.
  • The sculpture will be life size, approximately 6-7ft tall.
  • From the completion of fund raising, we anticipate the process to take 6mo. This
    includes sculpting, molding, casting and delivery.
  • The total estimated cost is $67,000.
  • To donate – please contact Teddy Draper Jr (dechelly2000@yahoo.com) or Sara Sinclair

Saturday, July 22, 2017

ESL Institute An Honor

(Ha!  Me sitting down on the job.)

It was an honor to present to educators at the ESL Institute at Millersville University in Lancaster, PA. this July.  Hard working, engaged, thoughtful and creative, enthusiastic about what they do. These teachers are using their summer to learn more so that they can better help their students succeed.

They deserve our respect and support.

(No I am not reading texts.  I am checking time on my phone.   This was a timed writing exercise.)  ;-)

Here is a shout out to Lancaster, PA, Millersville University and teachers everywhere.