creativity, writing verse and writing content

I can’t believe it’s already September! Summer has been a time for creativity, writing verse, writing content for a new video series, and for close collaboration with the illustrator Karen Hanke. Having completed the charming drawings of the African animals in “Imagination Nation,” Karen now is now

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Total Illiteracy

I just got an email from my niece who works with troubled youth in Pennsylvania. She described trying to help 13 and 14 year olds who are “totally illiterate.” My only challenge in responding was limiting my list of immediate suggestions! Here are my first ideas to

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Fun Stop at Cal State Fullerton

Fun stop at Cal State Fullerton’s Pollak Library for a presentation to bright-eyed college students and teachers to be. More proof positive that EVERYBODY gets swept up in stories when given the chance. Here’s the scoop in the school newspaper:

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Thank you, Mariposa Elementary School!

Just back from the wilds of Redlands, CA where the students and staff of Mariposa Elementary School serenaded me with a welcome I’ll never forget. Before my morning assemblies, all the 3rd grade students took the stage and performed for their parents and for me (such creativity!)

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Agent or Publisher: Which Comes First?

Like many creative souls, Laura Presno has a dream. This 3rd grade teacher at Terry School in Selma, CA, has written a sci-fi novel for kids. Over a staff lunch in the teachers’ lounge (a welcome break for me after 3 assemblies), she posed questions about publishing

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Longest Running Slideshow from a School Assembly to Date!

A big thank you to principal Victoria Cuevas of Jackson School in Selma, CA. She presided over not just my assemblies when I visited her school in November but over the longest running slideshow series of one of my talks to date! Click here to get an

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The English Degree is No Longer Superfluous: Online Jobs and Social Change

Writer Alexa Russell got me thinking about the PRACTICAL value of an English degree in today’s online work environment. More than ever, she says, students are able to put their degrees to work remotely in order to spur social change and communicate internationally. Check out her noteworthy

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Using Excitement to Inspire Quiet Reading

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of presenting (for the 3rd or 4th year) at the Stockton Record’s Family Day in the Park, an annual public celebration in Stockton, CA. I had three 20-minute performance slots, one in the enclosed King Arthur’s Court (a tent) and one

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Migrant experience through writing

Last week, in a tiny farm town near Dinuba, CA (Tulare Co.), I was privileged to lead a writing workshop for around twenty Migrant students. The students ranged from grades 4-8th. My goal was to get them to write with vivid, sensory details about a work or

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Communicating to Family Night Crowds

Last week, in the wake of two back-to-back bilingual family night talks–each very well attended–I understood something that politicians must know instinctively. Namely, when addressing large audiences of widely divergent backgrounds, it’s necessary to speak in easy-to-digest terms. Not quite soundbites, but basic concepts that most everyone

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Go, TEXAS Librarians!

Again, I’m wowed by the creativity and dedication of school librarians in south Texas. Ada Mendoza, the librarian of North San Juan Elementary School posted this mash-up of an author assembly I just presented last week at her school. Keep your speakers on to enjoy to swingin’

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Give Thanks

One day after Thanksgiving, as I resist the urge to fight the crowds of Black Friday and procure an operational DVD player, I feel THANKS for my work encouraging young people to read. Specifically, I feel THANKS for my recent tour to south Texas–an 11-school march through

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Meet Matthew

I have a passion for encouraging young people to read--and for encouraging parents to read to their kids. "Language, rhythm, color, life!"™ are the threads I weave through my books and presentations. Read more...

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Phone: (707) 544-4720 PST

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Tortuga Press

2777 Yulupa Ave. #181
Santa Rosa, CA 95405

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Matthew makes reading FUN!

"Language, rhythm, color, life!"™