Filed under: webcomic • November 20, 2023
Filed under: Uncategorized • November 3, 2023

At a local school, I collaborated with the Technology and Science teachers, and the students built their own robot figure out of “spare parts” and then made it talk (with Makey-Makey and Scratch), just like Charlotte did in DOLL-E 1.0. (Here’s the lesson guide if you want to do this project with your own students!)

Filed under: Coolness, For Teachers, School Visits • October 27, 2023

I had a blast working with some fun third graders making CHEESY COMICS together! Then, we compiled them into a hardcover book for their library. They look SO good, and I couldn’t be more excited to mail these off for the students to see their work published!

If you are interested in having me come do a CHEESY COMICS WORKSHOP with your students, get in touch! I like to spend about 2-2.5 hours with the same students spread over 1, 2, or 3 days. I am happy to work with group sizes of 10-60 as long as each student has a desk or plenty of table space to create.

In the workshop, we talk about character creation, story, the unique medium of comics (art+text, panels, and word balloons), and the comics creation process (sketches, pencils, inks, and color). By the end of our workshop, the students each have a zinger of a cheesy comic to go in an anthology hardcover book for the library or classroom that will “melt” you into a goo of joy :)

Filed under: For Teachers, Growing Up Reading, SCBWI Southen Breeze • August 28, 2023

Just a quick note to get the word out about a program that I’m excited to be a part of here in the southern region where I live. It’s called the “Read Local Challenge” for elementary age kids and classrooms!

My book, DOLL-E 1.0, is on the list, and I’m offering up 2 free virtual visits as well as 2 sets of my STEM books, Doll-E 1.0 & T-Bone the Drone, as prizes!

Take a look at the info below, and I hope to see you in the challenge!

What is it?

The Read Local Challenge is a new program that promotes literacy by encouraging children to read books created by local authors and illustrators in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.

In this pilot year, elementary school students who participate in this reading challenge will have the chance to win prizes like books and virtual visits from authors and illustrators. The more you read, the more entries you’ll get into our prize drawings.

There is no cost to schools or students to participate. Each participating group must have an adult facilitator, who may be a school employee or a parent.

How it works…

  1. Request a participation pack. Schools, classrooms, groups, or families may request a class pack, which contains a full-color poster, reading trackers, and stickers. Packs will be mailed out while supplies last. If you prefer, you can print your own pack. Or you can participate without printing anything at all.
  2. Get everyone excited! Hang your Read Local Challenge poster in a visible spot and talk to your students about the challenge. Tell them that the creators of these books live close by.
  3. Get books from the challenge list. You can find books at your library or bookstore. All the books in the challenge are currently available to schools and libraries. We’ve put together a list of the books, complete with their ISBN numbers, to make it easy.
  4. Set a goal. You can create a group goal (for example, “Our class will read five books together,”) or set individual goals for the students. You can post your goal on social media and tag us at @SCBWI_SoBreeze (Twitter/X and Instagram) if you like. (You don’t have to declare a goal to join the challenge, but it sure is fun to see if you can reach it!)
  5. Read. You can read as few as one book from the list, or all 21 if you’re ambitious. Remember, students can read individually, or you can read the books together as a class. Keep track of your reading on your poster or on the individual trackers. The more books you read, the more entries you’ll have in our prize drawing.
  6. Submit your counts. To be eligible for prizes, log your results here by 12/31/23. Don’t worry – we’ve made the submission form really simple. You should be able to complete the whole process in under 5 minutes.
  7. Celebrate! Congratulate your readers (with stickers, certificates, anything you like!) and wait to see if you’ve won one of our grand prizes. We’ll announce the winners and deliver the prizes by 2/15/2024.

Join the challenge now!

Filed under: Coolness, Events, For Teachers, Growing Up Reading, School Visits • May 23, 2023

YOU DID IT! (or you’re reeeeally close)

Look at you! You made it through another school year and so did I! I’m definitely ready for a break from early bed times and early wake times.

My girls are finishing up their last week of 3rd and 7th grades (7th almost killed me but that’s another story) but I had my biggest, busiest school visiting year yet thanks to all the wonderful people who invited me to their schools so I could share my love of stories! I know it takes extra effort to organize an author visit, so I am deeply appreciative of those who went that extra mile for their students and for me.

Visiting schools is one of the best parts of my work. It’s just so cool to connect with so many different people in various places … all because of a book. 

Here are my stats for the year…

“Our staff and teachers felt like you did an amazing job keeping the kids engaged and were an amazing presenter. It was so enjoyable to have you visit! All parts of the presentations were amazing and very well planned to keep the students focused and excited about writing and illustrating. Thank you.” – Sandy, Media Specialist, Canton, GA

“I loved how you were able to bring the presentation down to a level that even the Pre-K and Kindergarten were engaged. I also loved the way you encouraged the students to look at the illustrations and explained that many times the illustrations have an effect on the meaning of the text. Our students and teachers alike loved the presentations.” – Angelia, Media Specialist, Demorest, GA.

“We loved the presentation! Our students loved drawing along with you! I really enjoyed working with you from our first email until the last session was over today. You have thought through every aspect of your visit to make it as smooth as possible. Thank you!” – Jennifer, Media Specialist, Canton, GA

I’m booking for the 2023-2024 school year now! If you’re interested, take a look at my presentations, pricing, and availability calendar here and let’s get something set up!

H.A.G.S. (Have a good summer :) – Shanda

Filed under: For Teachers • March 15, 2023

Here are 9 ideas to integrate literacy, my books, and STEM / STEAM into your curriculum BEYOND the science classroom…

Write a Book Review printable

Little Red Educator’s Guide

Design A Robot printable

My Robot printable

T-Bone the Drone story time kit

STEM/STEAM Video Lessons

Balancing Robot printable

Making and Literacy With Makey Makey, Scratch, and Doll-E 1.0

Little Red Educator’s Guide

I hope you enjoyed this list (which was taken from a presentation I did with 2 other authors)!

While they didn’t laugh (as much) at my cornball jokes or appreciate my robot-voice-changer as much as the elementary kids I typically visit do, we had a fantastic time anyway–making CHEESY COMICS at Union County High School!
This 2-day writing/illustrating workshop began with cheese drawing lessons and students created their own “cheesy” character (a literal slice of cheese). This worked well because a slice of cheese is basically a square and is drawable at any skill level. Then, we interviewed our characters to find out their wants, fears, strengths, weaknesses, personality, best friend, etc.
On the second day, we wrote a cheesy story (based loosely on 7-step storytelling) for our cheese character by putting them up against their greatest fears or biggest enemies! Last, we folded zines and filled them with our cheesy comic stories and shared them aloud :)
I was impressed by many of the concepts that came thru in the students’ short comics. There were silly stories, love stories, and even tragedies (which circled back to funny because it was cheese :)I love how Jae (below) barely used any text at all and told her story mostly through pictures.
Awww!
An Author’s Valentine…If you loved one of my books, would you pleeease write a short (seriously, it can be super short) review on Amazon?
Filed under: Gifting Books, My Books, Printable Activities • November 28, 2022

What gift fits in a stocking but arrives after the holidays??

NUBBY of course!

I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering NUBBY written by Dan Richards and illustrated by me (Shanda McCloskey) as a gift for your littles :)

BONUS: Print out the foldable card above to slip it into a gift bag or stocking!

Warmest wishes!

-Shanda

Filed under: Gifting Books, My Books • November 16, 2022

Yay–It’s gift giving season! I hope you’ll take a look at my 2022 holiday gift guide, get ideas, and grab some kids’ & teachers’ gifts too! (Some links in the guide are affiliate links that help support my work.)

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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author