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Inside Practically Paradise

Star Bright 4th star I see tonight

Judi, you yourself are an author in addition to serving as Director of Business Development and Product Management for Star Bright Books. Tell us about your books.

To date, Star Bright book has released just one of my published children’s books. Read to Me/Vamos a leer is the anchor book in the literacy givt bag. I donate a portion of my royalties from the book to Project L.I.F.T.– (Literacy Involves Families Together), a literacy project for pregnant teens and young moms and dads at the Pima County Public Library. You can see some of the Project L.IF.T. young moms and babies on my web site at:

I have two other titles in the works with Star Bright Books. The illustrator is just beginning to envision the art so it’s premature to talk about them in detail. One is a collection of two-voice poems that upper elementary students have enthusiastically performed in prepublication. The other is such a unique book that I don’t want to spill the beans. It’s a book I wish I had had to share during my tenure as an elementary teacher-librarian and as an undergraduate classroom teacher educator. Please stay tuned…

My first published children’s book is still in print and selling well ten years after its initial publication. I wrote Sing Down the Rain (Kiva, 1997) to be performed as a choral reading by a classroom of students. The narrative poem tells of the Tohono O’odham American Indians’ saguaro cactus fruit harvest and rainmaking ceremony. The book is illustrated by Michael Chiago, a member of the nation. Readers can learn more about the book on my Web site at:

I’m also the author of a professional book for teacher-librarians and classroom teachers: Collaborative Strategies for Teaching Reading Comprehension: Maximizing Your Impact (ALA Editions, 2007). In this book, I offer coteaching strategies for educators using lessons that focus on teaching reading comprehension through children’s picture book literature. ALA Editions provides all of the graphic organizers, rubrics, and sample student work needed to teach the twenty-one lessons on their Web site. For me, this book is a memoir of the ten years I served as an elementary teacher-librarian. A section of my Web site is devoted to supporting educators in using this resource:



    Thank you, Diane, for giving me this opportunity to talk with you and Practically Paradise Blog readers about my work. Working with Star Bright Books has provided me with the chance to influence the spheres of literacy and libraries in a whole new way. I feel lucky to be able to use my teacher-librarian knowledge and skills to further the work of this company that fills a unique niche in the world of children’s book publishing.