The Wright Brothers by David McCullough Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough; Simon & Schuster, 2015. 320 pages; $30.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. This is McCullough’s tenth work of nonfiction and he has acquired a well-deserved reputation for turning impeccably researched facts into enjoyable narratives. This latest book is not a birth-to-death biography of the Wright brothers (it ends in 1910,… [Read More]

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon; illustrated by the author; Bloomsbury, 2016. 64 pages; $9.99 (hardcover); reading level: Grades K-2. The characters in this collection of three (very!) short stories for beginning readers are Big Duck, the self-appointed boss; Porcupine, the passive worrier; and Little Duck, who says not a word but who knows, in… [Read More]

Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg; illustrated by the author. Candlewick Press, 2016. 28 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 2-5. When Lucy’s dog, Mr. Barker, loses interest in the story she’s reading to him he leaps out of her bedroom window through a cut-out in the page. Lucy follows him through successive… [Read More]

Connie’s Advice On How to Find a Literary Agent

It’s a question I’m asked repeatedly and one I’ve had a hard time answering: How do I find a reputable agent? I found my agent by first getting six books published and then approaching a top notch agency with my latest manuscript and my publishing history. But I got my first contract in the early… [Read More]

Tiger and Badger by Emily Jenkins Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Tiger and Badger by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay; Candlewick Press, 2016. 32 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 3-6. Using soft watercolors and acrylics, Gay has created an outdoor world with everything a child could dream of: phantasmagoric flowers, striped and polka-dotted birds, a stack of empty boxes, chairs out on the grass… [Read More]

Jane Friedman’s Blog is An Outstanding Resource for Writers

Jane Friedman (former publisher of Writer’s Digest) caught my eye with this quote from her online bio: “I have a special interest in how the digital age is affecting and transforming writing careers, publishing, and storytelling.” I had heard glowing things about her before attending the July 2016 Midwest Writer’s Workshop at Ball State University… [Read More]

Big Tractor by Nathan Clement Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Big Tractor by Nathan Clement; illustrated by the author; Boyds Mills Press/Highlights, 2015.  32 pages; $16.95 (hardcover); reading level: ages 3-7. Reminiscent of the human-machine relationship in the 1943 classic Katy and the Big Snow, the farmer in this picture book talks his tractor-friend through the seasons:  he wakes “Ol’ Partner” for spring planting, urges… [Read More]

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin; HarperCollins, 2012. 426 pages; $15.99 (paperback); reading level: adult. Pairs of relationships drive the plot of this beautifully-written, tightly structured novel (Coplin’s first). In 1865, when William Talmadge is an orphaned 17-year-old living in what will later be the state of Washington, his younger sister goes into the forest to… [Read More]

Douglas, You Need Glasses! by Ged Adamson Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Douglas, You Need Glasses! by Ged Adamson; illustrated by the author; Schwartz & Wade Books/Random House, 2016. 32 pages; $16.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 3-7. When Douglas the nearsighted dog mistakes leaves for squirrels, sits so close to the television that no one else can see, and fetches a beehive instead of a ball, his… [Read More]

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Art of Hearing Hearbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker; translated from the German by Kevin Wiliarty; Other Books/Random House, 2006. 325 pages; $15.95 (paperback); reading level: adult. Responding to a just-discovered letter, Julia Win, a hard-nosed young New York City attorney, travels to Kalaw, Burma, her missing father’s birth place, to track him down.  The story… [Read More]