by Natalie Bright


A recent Publishers Weekly article announced a new initiative involving publishers and more than 30 communities working to make popular eBooks available for free to children. The Open eBooks app is being developed by the New York Public Library. More kids reading and discovering stories is so exciting. I hope the ConnectED Library Challenge is a huge success.

For the Love of Books!

Remembering the joy I found as a child from my favorite books makes me think of Eric Carle’s THE VERY BUSY SPIDER.

My son loved that book. His father and I took turns reading it out loud. Every. Single. Night. Never mind that I joined a book club and received 2 to 3 new picture books each month. Our boy wasn’t interested. The sheer drudgery of reading Mr. Carle’s book over and over for many years became almost unbearable. My husband and I took turns talking in goofy voices for the animal parts, seeing who could keep a straight face the longest.

Being desperate, I offered a brilliant compromise. We would read two stories every night. One of his choosing and one of my choosing, from the growing pile of book club treasures. My son thought this over for several long seconds. “O-tay,” he says. “But we wead busy spider two times.”

So that’s what we did. One new book and then the spider book every night. Twice. Outsmarted by a three year old, I admit it, but who can argue with that logic when someone you care about loves a book that much?

Dyslexia Diagnosis

Several years later, when my son was in elementary school and struggling, we discovered he had dyslexia. After training sessions and classes which included parent’s participation as well, I understood his fascination with THE VERY BUSY SPIDER. It has clean lines, simple yet detailed illustrations, pages filled with white space; that book literally relaxed his over active brain. The story calmed him down after a day of sensory overload.

Honestly, I still cringe every time I see that cover. No matter how much I dreaded reading that book, what if I had insisted on reading the other books instead? His heart would have been broken, and his over-active mind would have never settled down for sleep.

Readers Have to Connect

As a writer I stand in awe of THE VERY BUSY SPIDER. I learned two lessons from my son and that book:

  1. Some readers may not connect with your stories. Every reader is different.
  2. Stop writing to catch the latest trend. If you’ve never reached the end, it might be time to start something new. If you’re not really into it, how can your readers connect? Write the kinds of books that burn in your heart and mind.

When I dropped the drudgery of writing to what’s popular, my clip file and pub credits grew. The characters that spoke to me gained me a literary agent.

Book Lovers to Do List:

Long before I was a writer, I was a book lover and reader. Here are a few ways we can all promote the joys of reading.

* Recommend a good book to a child or parent, even if it’s not yours.

* Post a book review for an author.

* Comment on an industry related blog and share the link.

* Keep writing the stories of your heart.

Punography: 10 More!

Punography: 10 More!

                                                  Submitted by Natalie Bright


·  I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

·  A cross-eyed teacher lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
·  What does a clock do when it’s hungry?  It goes back four seconds..

·  Broken pencils are pointless.

·  What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary?  A thesaurus.

·  England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool .

·  I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

·  All the toilets in London police stations have been stolen.
Police say they have nothing to go on.

·  I took the job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

·  Velcro – what a rip off!




By Natalie Bright

·  I tried to catch some fog.  I mist.

·  When chemists die, they barium.

·  Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

·  I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid.  He says he can stop any time.

·  I stayed up all night to see where the sun went.  Then it dawned on me.

·  This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

·  I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  I can’t put it down.

·  I did a theatrical performance about puns.  It was a play on words ..

·  They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

·  This dyslexic man walks into a bra .


Find a Penny

Find a Penny

By Rory C. Keel

Last week, in the parking lot of a local grocery store, I stood at my car door and looked down at the pavement. I noticed a tarnished penny and Abraham Lincoln staring at me. At that moment I had a decision to make, do I stoop over and pick it up?

What’s a Penny Worth?

There’s a lot of people that feel one red cent is not worth a plug nickel, and it must be true, I seem to find more pennies everyday.

I remember a time when gum-ball machines were a penny; today the cheapest gum machine is a quarter.

In the sixties I saved every cent. I didn’t think twice about picking one up then. I dug them out of the cracks in the sidewalk, street gutters and even work for what seemed like hours to get one out of the asphalt of a parking lot. After a thorough cleaning, I counted ten pennies and grouped them into ten stacks to make one dollar. I did this until I had accumulated three dollars, enough to purchase a new Banana seat for my bicycle.

I don’t know what the manager of the Wacker’s five and dime store thought about me that day, but he grinned and acted as if he appreciated that I came to his store when I poured all three hundred pennies onto the counter.

Pick It Up!

As I slid the key into my car door, I bent over and picked the penny up.

Now those in-the-know say that the exertion one expends to pick up a penny verses the return in earnings makes the effort futile. Basically, it’s not worth the time to pick up the coin. This thought ran through my mind until I remembered how much people pay to go to the gym and sit at a machine in order to exert energy and bend over. I got paid to exercise.

As is my habit, I looked at the date on this coin; it had the year 1977 inscribed to the right of Honest Abe. I dropped the copper into my pocket and my mind raced back to my Grandmother who died that year, high school, my brown 1973 Chevy Vega and my Oh-So-Hot girlfriend.

Picking up that tarnished penny dated 1977 was worth every CENT!

So where do YOU get stories?

Find a penny and pick it up…!

My Favorite Toy


My Favorite Toy

The sun seemed to make an audible pop as the light poked through my bedroom window. My four-year-old eyes sprang open and the world was brand new. Grabbing my doll, I looked into her plastic face and watched it transform to real flesh as her eyelids blinked at me.

As an eight-year-old girl I hopped on my bike and rode around the neighborhood with the feeling that I was the lead rider in a huge bicycle race. The wind blew my hair behind me and the sun browned my skin.

At the age of ten I played on my keyboard in front of the enormous audience that had come to my bedroom to listen to my rendition of the songs in my music book.

And every night when the sun went down, I took my bath and then stood in front of the mirror arranging my towel into every style of formal gown I could invent.

The best toy I ever owned never had a storage box and could never be stashed in a corner because there was nothing that could ever contain it all at once. And of course I’m talking about my imagination.

Let your imagination out to play and your stories will write themselves. Allow the magic to move your pen across the paper and you’ll find your writing zone in no time. And I know from experience that you will be as surprised with your characters and story as your readers.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle