Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Cybils Awards Early Chapter Book and Easy Reader Finalists Announced

 Congratulations to all of the Cybils Award Finalists. As a round 2 judge, I'll be reading, reviewing, and helping to choose winners in the Early Chapter Book and Easy Reader categories. Can't wait to get started!

Monday, December 6, 2021


I've started work on a new picture book that's been floating around my head for some time. I've heard authors talk about writing books where you can tap into your own emotions or things you are familiar with. Some of the strongest emotions I felt in recent years came from the death of family members, specifically my dad's. 

So, that's where I decided to start. My dad was an avid photographer and famous for taking us for rides or on walks to explore the sights around us. He was also passionate about his Lithuanian heritage and even more so after visiting relatives who still live there. I decided to combine all of these things into a picture book so I could draw on real places, events, and emotions. 

It began as a "dump" or "vomit" of places, words, scenes, memories. And the more I typed, the more the memories came flowing back to me. But I still didn't have a story. I had photography, heritage, and eventually a key word that I knew I wanted to incorporate. 

When starting any project, I begin my search for mentor texts. Other picture books about family memories, traditions, or a relationship between an older family member with a younger family member became my focus. 

The book WATERCRESS by Andrea Wang immediately came to mind. A moving autobiographical story about connecting with heritage and new watercress memories. 

 I also recalled FRY BREAD: A NATIVE AMERICAN FAMILY STORY by Kevin Noble. Told in verse, the story features family and friends gathering, creating, and enjoying fry bread together. In the end, it's really about keeping old traditions and memories alive as well as new ones. 

Since my story focused on my dad's photography it was easy to connect the theme of photographs with memories. I added our nature walks and drives, the county fair, a photography contest, grandchildren, and a Lithuanian word my dad told me his mother repeatedly told him growing up. It just so happened that word tied in beautifully to my story. 

At the same time, I came across Betsy Bird's interview about her new book LONG ROAD TO THE CIRCUS. I wasn't aware that the story was based on family stories and historical details. Basically, she described it as "weaving together your family stories with a story that you really enjoy writing". That struck a chord with me and I was encouraged to keep working on my story. 


Soon after I had a story with a beginning, middle, and a satisfying end.

Linda Bozzo has published more than 50 nonfiction books for the school and library markets. For more information about Linda and her books, or to book an author visit, you can visit her website. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

Copyright 2021 Linda Bozzo

Sunday, October 3, 2021

#FallWritingFrenzy Contest Entry: GOULISH GUESTS

 What better way to start October than with a Fall Frenzy Writing Contest!

We were given thirteen pictures to use as inspiration. I chose  #11, a group of children trick-or-treating and the challenge is to write no more than 200 words on whatever comes to mind for any KidLit age. This photo took me back to when my children were young and we enjoyed hours of trick-or-treating with friends and family across various neighborhoods not returning until well after dark. 


                                               (Halloween- Credit: Bing)


by Linda Bozzo

Whistling October winds rattle the shutters on the crooked mansion. 

Echoes of groans escape the cracked panes of glass.

The cast of characters creep up the dark winding driveway, pausing briefly at the craggy iron gate. C-R-E-A-K 

Leaves crunch under their feet as they float up the sidewalk. 

Skeleton leads the way, pointing his narrow beam of flickering light on this moonless night.

Spider scampers up the uneven steps leading to the front door. 

The others follow closely, desperate not to be left behind.

Dangling ghosts and the smell of rotted pumpkin greet the strangers. 

Before they can knock, the paint-peeled door moans and creaks open as if inviting the ghoulish guests inside. 

The green-horned creature is the first to scream . . .


Winners will be announced by October 31st but, in the meantime, if you'd like join or read all the entries, you can check them out here. Thank you to the generous prize donors and our hosts and facilitators, Lydia, Kaitlyn, and Ameera who are responsible for making #FallWritingFrenzy happen!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Identifying Elements of Nonfiction

I love these elements of nonfiction posted in the library of the school I visited. I make sure I touch on all of these elements using my books as examples during my presentation. When I quizzed these students about what these elements were called it was no wonder they already knew!

I love it when the projects are targeted to specific age groups. The older elementary students either created their perfect pet using my I Like Dogs! series or composed interesting facts from my Creature Features series.

Don't they look great on display with my books in the library!

Younger elementary students chose one of my books, identified the main topic and two interesting facts they learned from the book. Listing where they found the facts is a great way to introduce young students to reliable sources.

Not only were these great writing exercises, but they also helped students become familiar with me, my books, and with nonfiction in general. This helps make for a successful author visit. You know these students were fully engaged in my presentation and prepared to ask great questions. Something all authors appreciate!

Linda Bozzo has published more than 50 nonfiction books for the school and library markets. For more information about Linda and her books, or to book an author visit, you can visit her website.

Copyright 2017 Linda Bozzo

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Creating Fictional Animals

Kids love reading about animals!
They also enjoy writing about them. What I love about this writing exercise that one school used in conjunction with my Creature Features series, is that they as used nonfiction books as inspiration for creating fictional animals. And I always like when student's are given the opportunity to illustrate as well. 

There were MANY great original animals but I've chosen two of my favorites to share.

Draw a picture of a new type of animal. This animal should be a combination of two existing animals. On the lines below, tell what this new animal is called, and describe the features. You can tell about how these features help the animal function.

Linda Bozzo has published more than 50 nonfiction books for the school and library markets. For more information about Linda and her books, you can visit her website.

Copyright 2017 Linda Bozzo

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Discovering Dogs!

Many schools choose to use my Discover Dogs with the American Canine Association series for nonfiction writing exercises across various grade levels. Six new breeds were ready for sharing this spring and readers can look forward to six more coming in the fall. 

 Some created original dogs of their own! Aren't these simple, yet adorable?

Others wrote using the following template:
I like _________________ because ________________.
I love how they all chose different animals and drew beautiful illustrations to enhance the text. Yay!

 Some of the older students stuck with the dog theme by writing a bit longer nonfiction text about "Our Favorite Dogs" and added a cutout.

While these books are for some of the youngest readers, grades 
K–2, nonfiction writing exercises can be created for all grade levels. All great ways to connects students with nonfiction!

Linda Bozzo has published more than 50 nonfiction books for the school and library markets. For more information about Linda and her books, you can visit her website.

Copyright 2017 Linda Bozzo

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Limericks to Improve Writing Skills

As I visit students throughout the school year I like to take photos and collect the various ways teachers are using my books to improve the writing skills of their students. It always amazes me how each school does something unique. At the end of the school year I like to share many of the writing activities so others can use them as well. 

Writing limericks can be a challenge. I know because I wrote hundreds of limericks and the publisher chose the best ones to include in each of my joke books. 
Students modeled limericks in my joke books and wrote and illustrated their own limericks using the following simple format: 

A limerick is a funny, rhyming poem that is five lines long. Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 are usually shorter and rhyme with each other.
It's easy to write a limerick of your own. First, brainstorm some rhyming words. Write them down on a piece of paper. Example: France, dance, pants, ants, true, knew, too, blue. Next, number lines on a piece of paper from 1 to 5. Write lines 1 and 2 so that the last word in line 2 rhymes with the last word in line 1.
1. There once was a man from France.
2. His friends thought he liked to dance.

Then write lines 3 and 4 so that the last word in line 4 rhymes with the last word in line 3.
3. But that was not true
4. And what no one knew

Finally, write line 5 so the last word rhymes with lines 1 and 2.
5. Was he really had ants in his pants.

Includes step-by-step instructions on how to write your own knock-knock jokes.
Includes instructions on how to make your own funny valentine using the jokes and limericks from the book.

Includes simple instructions on how to write your own limericks.

If you've used limericks with your students feel free to share your lessons here. I'd be happy to add them to my list.

Linda Bozzo has published more than 50 nonfiction books for the school and library markets. For more information about Linda and her books, you can visit her website.

Copyright 2017 Linda Bozzo