Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool, webchat, Random House, Newbery chapter book, 5th grade chapter book

Meet Newbery Winning Authors Rebecca Stead and Clare Vanderpool

Meet Newbery Winning Authors

Are you a BlogFrog member? It’s a great community to connect with other parents. I am a Random House Community Leader and I’m really excited to be  able to talk and share ideas about great children’s picture and chapter books. There is also Live Chats with well-known authors including Newbery winners Rebecca Stead and Clare Vanderpool.

This is also a great community to turn to with questions about getting kids reading more. Get advice from moms, authors and educators as well as share tips, tricks and favorite books that you and your kids enjoy.

For those of us who geek out on children’s literature, it’s a wonderful way to connect with other like minded adults. The line up of authors is also impressive. Judy Blume!!! Mary Pope Osborne of The Magic Tree House series!! Carl Hiaasen!! Caldecott winner Tad Hills!!

I would love for you to join me in the Read & Play Community! It’s easy to join. Just click to become a community member.

Please join me for a webchat

with Newbery authors, Rebecca Stead and Clare Vanderpool

Thursday, April 12th

9-10 pm EST

Rebecca Stead’s bio:

I grew up in New York City, where I was lucky enough to attend the kind of elementary school where a person could sit in a windowsill, or even under a table, and read a book, and no one told you to come out and be serious (well, eventually someone did, but not right away).

It was at school that I began writing. Sometimes I invented stories, and other times I just wrote down things I overheard – jokes, or snatches of conversation.

Much, much later, I became a lawyer (I believed that being a writer was impractical), got married, and started working as a public defender. But I still wrote Very Serious Stories when I could find the time.  

My first child, a fabulous son, was born. A few years later, I had another fabulous son. There wasn’t much time for writing stories after that. But I still tried.

One day, my then-four-year-old son, though fabulous, accidentally pushed my laptop off the dining-room table, and the Very Serious Stories were gone. Poof.

So.  It was time to write something new. Something joyful (to cheer me up: I was pretty grouchy about the lost stories). I went to a bookstore and bought an armload of books that I remembered loving as a kid. I read them. I went back to the store and bought more books.  I read them. And then I began to write, and I began to love writing. That’s when I became a writer.

Some people will tell you that real writers don’t use parentheticals (which is nonsense). The most important thing to know about writing is that there are no rules.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

The 2010 Newbery Winner, Stead’s book is the modern day heir apparent to Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery Winner A Wrinkle in Time. Stead also uses science to frame her story. In this case, it’s Einstein’s theory of relativity and time travel backwards. But, like L’Engle’s masterpiece, When You Reach Me is also a story about relationships; in particular, this a coming of age story of 6th grader Miranda and her best friend Paul.

Can the the future be changed by altering by a pivotal moment time in the past? Einstein wasn’t clear on this but When You Reach Me really makes the reader think that all moments in time are important and that, perhaps, all people — weird or crazy — are too.

I would recommend this chapter book for grades 5th through 8th mostly because the plot is intricate and tightly interwoven. I know my 4th grader would find this book confusing because the plot really comes together in the final chapters.

Clare Vanderpool’s bio:

If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that I have a very strong connection to place.  I live in Wichita, Kansas, about four blocks from where I grew up, in an old neighborhood called College Hill.  From my house I can walk to my parents’ house, my sister’s house, the school I went to and where my kids go now, the pool, the sledding hill, and two bookstores!

I grew up reading many wonderful books in a lot of strange places.  Books like Harold and the Purple Crayon, Anne of Green Gables, and Island of the Blue Dolphins in places like dressing rooms, the bathroom, and church.  (Like you never read a book in church.)

While I do have a college degree in English and Elementary Education, my best education has come from reading, listening to family stories, looking out the car window on road trips, pretending to be pirates with my brother, and just plain imagining.

Besides writing I like to go to the pool with my kids, browse at the bookstore, have a neighbor over for tea, watch re-runs of Monk, have a lot of kids playing at our house, and go out for dinner with my husband.  Life is good.

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
2011 Newbery winner is a small town story in which it does indeed take a village to raise a child. It’s also the story of the ultimate sacrifice that a mother would do for the good of her child. And yet, Vanderpool manages to hide this message — it’s a mystery to be unraveled — and instead this story turns on 12-year-old Abeline Tucker who is sent to live with her father in small town Manifest, Kansas. Like all great Newbery classics set in a small town, Moon Over Manifest has its own cast of mysterious and colorful characters that Abeline, it turns out, is inextricably connected to.

I would recommend this book to grades 4 and up. If your child loved Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, this would be an excellent choice.

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Ann

    Glad I didn’t miss this one! Just joined your blog frog community and HAVE to put the Mary Pope Osborne webchat on my calendar for my daughter who is a huge fan!
    Ann recently posted…Listening to Mother GooseMy Profile

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