Thoughts on Book Awards from a New Recruit

Believing In Horses Wins First Place in Children's Category, Stars and Flags Book Awards

One of my mentors used to tell young Navy recruits the following: “You may think you are new and don’t know much, but as soon as you’ve spent a day in the Navy, you know more than those who have just arrived. You are a mentor, and it’s up to you to share your knowledge with those coming in behind you.”

I decided to apply this to my new writing career. I still consider myself that “young recruit” who doesn’t know much, so am surprised when people ask me advice. But then again, I look at how much I’ve learned in the past few years through reading, courses, conferences, associations, and most importantly, doing. So, I thought I’d share my thoughts on a topic on which I don’t see too much written – book awards. [Read more…]

War Horse Salute

War Horse Movie Screening

Five stars; thumbs up; must see; prepare to cry.  I was fortunate enough see the Washington, D.C., premier of the movie War Horse presented by the Maryland Jockey Club and the American Horse Council on December 15th.  I had wondered if the movie would live up to all the hype; it surpassed expectations.  See it on the big screen; don’t wait for the DVD, because it won’t be the same.

Although I absolutely loved the movie, I have some advice to moviegoers who have read the book:  leave the book at the door.  Some significant differences between the book and the movie exist.  For example, the book is told from the horse’s point of view, and the movie is not.  Some movie characters were more developed than they were in the book, while other well-developed book characters were almost non-existent in the movie.  I kept letting that bother me, when I should have just enjoyed the movie for what it was.  Both the book and the movie are outstanding; they are just different. [Read more…]

Horse Book Club

Today I met the newly-formed and already-fantastic Horse Book Club at Nantucket Elementary School in Crofton, Md.  Nantucket’s school librarian, Ms. Miller, brought together this group of enthusiastic horse-crazy students to read and discuss my book, Believing In Horses, over the next several months.  Like so many of our educators out there, Ms. Miller, and her assistant Ms. Clark, have gone beyond their required jobs to create a special learning environment for these readers.  Ms. Miller asked if I’d come sign and present the books and talk to the Club on its inaugural day, which of course I happily did.

To make this an ongoing interactive experience, the Club will use a relatively new educational social media platform, Edmodo.  According to its creators, “Edmodo promotes anytime, anyplace learning. Functionally, it allows teachers to post messages, discuss classroom topics, assign and grade classwork, share content and materials, and network and exchange ideas with their peers – but in reality, it is so much more.”  The librarian established a Believing In Horses group in Edmodo allowing us all to discuss and share ideas virtually.  Ms.Miller’s first post:   “I hope you will enjoy our book club. Our first task is to find a neat name for our book club. Think about ‘horse’ words and share them with the group.”

Educational Social Media Tool [Read more…]

Fun First Events

Since the official release of Believing In Horses on March 21st, I discovered that book events are fun.  My clever and talented brother developed a talk show format for presentations in schools, “Books Alive with Reed Moore,” which gets kids participating and interested in the subject.  Reed Moore (also known as the Believing In Horses EdUCator) made the kids laugh, think, and unable to wait to ask questions.  Even those who appeared disinterested at first couldn’t help but be motivated by Reed Moore’s energy!  Tremendous audiences at Harmony Hills Elementary School, Silver Spring, MD, and Tracey’s Elementary School, Tracy’s Landing, MD, read aloud, played along with the activities, and asked thoughtful questions.  Parents and teachers groaned at some of the campy jokes, but something in common happened across the rooms no matter the age:  sparks.

Eddy Ormond and Valerie Ormond at Books Alive with Reed Moore

Eddy Ormond (left) and Valerie Ormond speak to students at Tracey’s Elementary School as part of the “Books Alive with Reed Moore” Tour.

Author Kathi Appelt, mentioned in my last blog, recommends writing like your fingers are “on fire.”  Author Valerie Sherwood encourages writing about what genuinely interests you so words “catch fire” with readers.  I’m sure if I searched, I’d find many other fiery writing quotes, but I think you get the point.  However, I discovered it is one thing to hear and read others’ advice, and quite another to see that sparkle in people’s eyes in person when a book comes alive.  [Read more…]

Just Add Magic

 

 

Just Add Magic

Abracadabra–it’s official:  I AM a writer.  I learned this, among other things, while attending my first all-day writing conference, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Region Spring Conference.  Over 190 attendees included beginner and experienced writers, illustrators, editors, agents, and more.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to make some new acquaintances, including Cindy Callaghan, author of Just Add Magic, which seemed an appropriate image for this blog, for reasons you’ll understand if you read to the end (not fair, I know!).

Since I don’t think anyone wants to hear my play-by-play description of the conference, I’m going to report a short takeaway from each speaker I saw.  (Due to breakout sessions, I could not see/hear all speakers).  My highlights may not be the same as someone else’s, but that’s part of the beauty of conferences – the ability to listen for the messages applicable to you. [Read more…]

Believing In Reading

Senator Reilly, Read Across America

Senator Ed Reilly donating Believing In Horses for each elementary school in his district in honor of Read Across America Day

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Dr. Seuss (I Can Read with My Eyes Shut)

Today marked the 14th anniversary of Read Across America Day, and this year, I got to be part of the celebration!

Maryland State Senator Edward R. Reilly (R-District 33, Anne Arundel County), selected my novel, Believing In Horses, as his book donation for each of the 24 elementary schools in his district.  Senator Reilly invited me to the State House in Annapolis to deliver the books with him during the Maryland State Education Association’s celebration of Read Across America.

The National Education Association’s (NEA’s) Read Across America Day, which falls on or around Dr. Seuss’s birthday annually, is the nation’s largest reading event.  Senator Reilly and I will each be visiting schools to read and discuss Believing In Horses in a continuing celebration of Read Across America throughout the year. [Read more…]