Filed under: For Teachers, Growing Up Writing, School Visits • August 4, 2022

Hello friends!

Here in north Georgia our school year has just begun! This past Monday, my girls started 7th grade and 3rd grade. I can barely believe it! Our Summer (full of broken bones, birthday parties, puppies, swimming, fireworks, and a friend from Hungary) swirled by like a twister! But now I am ready for Fall.Every Summer, I give my school visit materials a facelift. And depending on my experiences/feedback from the previous year, I might add, adjust, or even take away a presentation. Sometimes prices need to be adjusted or maybe I want to implement a new logistical strategy in my school visit workflow. Each year is different!


What’s New For My 2022-23 Visits?
For this new academic year I was inspired to add some writing workshops to my school visit program menu, partly because I love seeing students streeeetch their minds to create a completely unique story of their own, and partly because I got the “writing workshop scoop” from my author friend, Lola. (See podcast below)



Photo: 11-year-old young author and I at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, 2022, UAE.

Two New Writing Workshops!


Thank You Letter Writing Workshop
Best for grades K-3rd (45 minute session)

NEW! This workshop uses LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR to model how to write a thank you letter (complete with punctuation, capital letters, finger spaces, as well as a greeting and closing)! Shanda will read the book, brainstorm with students about who they could write a thank you letter to, walk them through writing it, and encourage them to actually deliver it!



Cheesy Comics Writing Workshop
Best for grades 3rd-5th (2 or 3 one hour sessions)

NEW! This silly educational workshop (part 1) starts with students imagining, drawing, and creating a main character (that also happens to be a slice of cheese :) with unique wants, fears, histories, and problems. The next session (part 2) will focus on telling the character’s story by creating a short comic with the cheesy character pitted against its greatest fear, whatever that may be! A third session (part 3) may be added for students to give/receive constructive feedback using the “critique sandwich” method then revising their stories to be even better!





New Podcast Episode!

Educators: If you’d like to know more about bringing an author to your school for a writer’s workshop (and possibly even earn some PD), check out this latest podcast episode where I interview my author friend, Lola Schaefer, about just that!Authors: If you’ve ever thought about doing writing workshops with kids, this episode is a must!


Go to the episode

I can’t wait to start visiting schools this year :) Let me know if you’d like to set something up! Visit my school visit info page for all programs, pricing, and available dates.As always, thanks for reading!

Filed under: Uncategorized • August 2, 2022

The fine art of letter writing is in danger of becoming a lost art!

True story: In the middle of making the illustrations for this book, I asked my 11-year-old to write a letter (an apology for being rude to a friend of mine … ah preteens), but I was taken back when she handed me a printout of a note typed and printed from her phone. All the text was squished to the top of the paper and the words strung in long horizontal lines. No breaks, no paragraphs, no formatting, not even a signature or name. My daughter saw nothing wrong with her letter.

It dawned on me that my girl hadn’t really been taught proper paper formatting. I guess it’s similar to the now rare skill of writing/reading cursive. Regardless, my middle school daughter certainly didn’t know how to format a letter, story, report, or a printed paper of any kind. LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR is aimed at early elementary students, but I think older kids would enjoy/benefit as well. Big kid story time for the win! Letter formatting aside, anyone is sure to get a kick out of Little Red’s street smarts as she dodges the Big Bad Wolf and takes advantage of his editorial side!

One way to teach your students how to properly write a letter is to read them LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR and then let them practice writing a thank you letter of their own with the printable below (and actually deliver it)!

Legible handwriting is a basic communication tool. Cursive handwriting is also (and a signature can come in handy as well as the ability to read old letters and the Declaration of Independence). Practice writing in print and cursive with the printables below!

Filed under: For Teachers, Free Stuff, Printable Activities • August 2, 2022

Read LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD WOLF to your class, then challenge students to write their own versions of a fractured fairy tale! Afterward, have students trade stories and read them. Last, students can be much better editors than Wolf by making their peers a “critique sandwich”!

Learn to draw Wolf’s pencil from LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR by following these 5 simple steps!

Have fun coloring and creating your own dialogue for the comics with these printable pages…

Filed under: For Teachers, Free Stuff, Printable Activities • July 19, 2022

Thanks for using LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR in your classroom. Rebecca Kraft Rector and I (Shanda McCloskey) hope you will find something useful inside these activities to enrich learning for your students. This GUIDE includes …

Reading & Writing Activities (with Printables!!)

1, 2, 3! Sequencing!

Similes, Cool as Cucumbers

Story Predictions

Write a Thank You Letter

Fractured Fairy Tales – Compare & Contrast

Finish the Twisted Tale of “Slipping Beauty”

Write Your Own Fractured Fairy Tale

The Critique Sandwich

Complete the Comic (your way)

Artful Activities (with Printables!)

How To Draw a Pencil

Draw a Delicious Writing Snack

Handwriting Practice

Cursive Handwriting Practice

Make a Map of Red’s Journey

Coloring Pages

Art by Harvey McCloskey
Today, my 12 year old opened her first online business with RedBubble to sell her art designs on various merch! She has one design so far, but buyers can get it on shirts, bags, pillows, phone cases, etc. She hopes the sales will help her to start saving for a car (which she will need in 5 years).

But as any creative soul knows all too well, putting your art (aka your heart) out there in the world is a very vulnerable and brave thing to do. And the very first response she got from a friend this morning was, “why is everything so expensive?”. That little comment from a particularly close friend crushed her. She immediately felt dumb for even trying.

Man, it flew all over me as a parent and an artist. No wonder living a creative life is so hard. You have to believe in yourself. Be near others that believe in you too. Hugs, my creative friends!Check out her store for yourself and feel free to comment and send some words of encouragement for her. I’ll read her every one!
Check out Harvey’s Store!
Filed under: Coolness, Doll-E, Shanda's Journey • July 11, 2022
Because DOLL-E 1.0 fits with STEM/STEAM education like a nut fits with a bolt, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to interact with kids from all over the world!Doll-E has taken me from Georgia to Texas, Connecticut, Arizona, and Arkansas (and many more states virtually) in the USA and over the ocean to Ireland (virtually), Saudi Arabia (virtually), and the United Arab Emirates!













Verdict: At the core, kids are cool all over the world! Traveling to these places has taught me in a big way that we are all not so different from one another. Kids in Dubai and Texas laugh at my same dorky jokes 😎

Filed under: Book Reviews, For Teachers, Growing Up Reading, On My Mind • July 1, 2022

I didn’t grow up reading comics. I am a new lover of the comic medium. When I found stories AND informational books in comic form, I fell in love.

But it wasn’t super easy to read at first. My brain was used to reading prose, so it took me a minute each time I opened a graphic novel to recalibrate to this form of reading. Kids seem to read comics so effortlessly, but my adult brain can tell you that there’s a lot going on up there when you read a graphic novel!

Have you (grown ups) tried one yet? I’m telling you – it’s a great brain workout!

And I’m not just making this stuff up…

“Traditional text is limited to presenting the same information sequentially. But when we read comics, we simultaneously interpret a multitude of visual information such as setting, mood, time, emotion, dialogue, and action.” (Read the full article here.)

My Favorite Informational Comics:

My Favorite Story Comics:

Grownups, I hope you’ll try a graphic a graphic novel THIS summer! If you do, you’ll appear much cooler (than you already are) to the kids in your life!

If you are already a reader of graphic novels, what’s YOUR favorite one to date? Comment below! I’d love to know.

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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author