It’s KNOWvember – How Well Do You Know Amy Krouse Rosenthal?

I have loved all of the ideas that our amazing picture book author, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, has come up with for the Global Read Aloud.  I mean Global Random Acts of Kindness was pretty amazing!  So let’s challenge your knowledge of the author, answers will be posted and tweeted this Thursday!

1) Where does Amy live?
a. Chicago
b. New York
c. The moon

2) Amy’s dog’s name is:
a. Cougar
b. Plankton
c. She doesn’t have a dog

3) What is Amy’s favorite snack?
a. Sunflower seeds
b. Potato chips
c. Split pea soup

4) What’s her favorite place to write?
a. On airplanes
b. At her desk
c. At coffeehouses
d. All of the above

5) Does Amy have any kids?
a. Yes, 2
b. Nope
c. Yes, 3

6) What is Amy’s secret talent?
a. She can do a double back flip off the diving board
b. She can name all 50 states in alphabetical order in 17 seconds
c. She can guess your birthday with 90% accuracy

7) Where does she get her ideas?
a. From simply keeping her eyes/ears/mind open, noticing things, and thinking a lot
b. From the idea store of course

8) Why does she write?
a. Because she loves words
b. Because she loves making things
c. Because she can’t not write
d. All of the above

9) What does Amy have in common with Albert Einstein?
a. They have the same IQ
b. They both stick their tongues out in photos
c. Neither of them like wearing socks

BONUS: What are Amy’s two favorite colors?

Tweet out your answers using our hashtag #GRAAmy or share in some other way!  Answers will come this week.

Kevin Henkes Answers Our Global Read Aloud Questions #GRA15 #GRABilly

On Saturday, a dream of mine came true when I got to see Kevin Henkes as he finished his author tour in support of Waiting, his incredible new picture book.  Not only did I get to see him speak about his process as writer, but I also got to thank him for doing anything with the Global Read Aloud.  He says he thinks it is incredible to think of all the students that are reading The Year of Billy MIller right now.

So ore than 200 classrooms submitted questions from around the world and boy, it was hard to pick, there were so many good ones.  I hope you  like the ones I picked and even more, that you like the answers he gave.  I know I did.

Question 1

Niyati Best-Paudyal from The Miami Valley School asked, “What part of the writing process do you like the most?”


Before I begin to write, I think for a long time. I think about my main character and try to envision everything about him/her. For Billy Miller I thought about Billy’s family, his friends, his school life. I thought about where he would live. I thought about how old he would be. I thought about what he would look like. I do all this before I actually write. This is my favorite part of “writing,” because there is so much promise. Anything is possible.

Question 2

Cohen in Mrs. Draper’s Class, from Oshawa,Ontario,Canada asked, “How did you find art in your heart?”


I think I was born with art in my heart. To find it, I sometimes need to be inspired. It might be a walk in the woods near my house, or a trip to a museum, or reading a book that unlocks the art and allows it to flow.

Question 3

Elaine Blanton’s Grade 2 Class from Calgary, Alberta, Canada asked, “Are any of Billy’s adventures/experiences based on your personal second grade experiences in childhood?”

When I was writing Billy Miller I tried to remember my second grade self, but more than anything Billy’s experiences are based on my son’s and my daughter’s second grade lives. My wife and I volunteered in both our children’s first and second grade classrooms once a week. So I had four years of being with first and second graders on a regular basis. This was the real inspiration for The Year of Billy Miller.

Question 4

Mrs. Trollop’s Team from Wausau, Wisconsin, USA asked; “Was it hard to become a writer? How did you get people to want to buy your books?”


I loved books when I was a boy, so it seemed natural to me to want to become a writer. I was lucky. When I was 19 years old I traveled to New York City from my home in Wisconsin looking for a publisher. Greenwillow Books offered me a contract for my first book, and I’ve been with the same publisher for 35 years. My publisher markets and promotes and distributes my books for me. My publisher gets people to want to buy my books.

Question 5

Mrs. Bartlein’s Class from Erin, Wisconsin, USA, asked, “What are you hoping others will learn by reading The Year of Billy Miller? What’s your message?”


I don’t think about what people will learn from my books. I do hope that people will like my stories, that they will be entertained. I don’t try to teach anything. I try to write engaging stories with interesting characters. I try to write good sentences. It’s as simple and difficult as that.

Thank you so much, Mr. Henkes for answering some of our many questions.

Ask Kevin Henkes #GRABilly #GRA15

Imagine receiving the following email:

Kevin is so impressed with GRA15 and would love to get involved.

He’s on the final leg of his tour this week and unavailable, but he would be able to answer questions from teachers and students next week. He is not on social media or email, as you know, but might you or someone else involved with GRA put a call out for questions this week that Kevin will answer and then he can answer 5 (or so) of them the week of 10/26


So between now and this Friday, October 16th, I will be collecting possible questions for Kevin and then send them to him.  So this is your chance to have your students ask their most burning question about him or The Year of Billy Miller.  Do check and make sure he has not already answered your question on his blog, that will make my choosing the 5 he will answer a little bit easier.

And the Global Read Aloud Picture Book Author Study Is….#GRA15

After a week’s worth of voting, many conversations and very, very close results, this year’s Global Read Aloud Picture Book Author Study will be…

Amy Krouse Rosenthal!

Amy’s books have captured the imagination of  young and old readers alike and promise tobe the foundation of a great read aloud experience.  So which of her incredible books will we read aloud?

Week 1:  

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

Week 5:

Week 6:  Your choice!

I hope you are as excited as I am about studying the fantastic works of Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  The 6th annual Global Read Aloud will kick off October 5th, 2015.  I hope you are signed up!

PS:  Please do check out the incredible work of our other choice Ashley Spires and Ame Dyckman, and who knows, maybe they will the choice for next year!

Ask Lynda Mullaly Hunt #GRA14

On Friday, November 14th, at 10:45 AM CST, the amazing Lynda Mullaly Hunt and I will do a livestream Q&A via YouTube.  For 30 minutes Lynda will answer as many questions for all of those who have loved reading aloud One For the Murphy’s for this year’s Global Read Aloud.  And fear not, if you cannot join the livestream, this Q&;A will be recorded for you to watch!

Here is the link to view the event:  Click here 

Submit your questions on this form or use the hashtag #GRAMurphys this Friday as we wrap p this amazing book.