Monday, November 11, 2013

Celebrate Writers! Blog Tour

It's Here!!

Celebrating Writers: From Possibilities Through Publication by Ruth Ayers with Christi Overman 

Ruth's writing (on her blog and in her books) have been a huge inspiration to me over the last few years.  It is a hard time to stay grounded in teaching--to continue to keep our classrooms joyful places for children.  It is easy to lose energy and to fall back on practices that don't match what we know about children or about learning. But Ruth's work always gives me the confidence and energy I need to stick with what I know is right. She understands children and writing and teachers and she celebrates every piece of the learning process, especially the messy ones! I've come to count on Ruth's blog, Ruth Ayres Writes for a daily does of sanity, groundedness, and celebration.

A while back, I was lucky enough to interview Ruth Ayres for a Choice Literacy podcast. The topic was on Celebrating Writers and her insights were so powerful for me. 

Last month, we were lucky enough to hear Ruth Ayres speak all day at our annual Literacy Connection event.  She spoke on the topic of Celebrating Writers and it was just the energy boost I needed!

Since then (and before), I have been anxiously awaiting this new book, Celebrating Writers:  From Possibilities Through Publication. I was thrilled when Stenhouse sent me an advanced copy of the book and invited A Year of Reading to be part of this book celebration blog tour!  The new book is already an important one for me as Ruth and Christi are brilliant at weaving celebration into all that they do with young learners.

You can follow the Celebrating Writers! Blog Tour all week:

Nov. 11: A Year of Reading
Be sure to stop by each blog and leave a comment or ask a question for a chance to win a free book.

To kick off the blog tour, A Year of Reading interviewed Ruth about her newest book!

What is the biggest thing you want people to come away from when reading your new book?

I’d like them to see the beauty in the mess of student writing. I get so much energy from being around young writers because they are passionate and interested in their writing. Too often, in the name of standards and conventions and teaching we squelch their energy. I hope this book helps us celebrate the imperfections of young writers and gives us more energy for teaching writers and students more energy to be writers.

 What one change can teachers make that will move toward more purposeful celebrations?

Look for the thing a student is almost doing as a writer and acknowledge it. For example, you might say to a first grade writer, “I see you know periods go at the end of something. Instead of putting one at the end of every line, let’s put them at the end of sentences.” Then teach into the error from this stance of celebration.

 You take the theme of celebrating into all areas of your life. Did that life stance begin from writing celebrations or did the way you live your life help you think differently about writing celebrations?

Yes. Can I answer with yes? It’s both. At first I thought writing celebrations were fluff. Then as I began being a writer myself, I realized celebration is fuel to keep me going. The more I started thinking about it in terms of teaching writers, the more I realized it could be applied in all areas of my life. At the time of writing this book, we were adjusting to life with our daughters who we adopted as older children in 2008. Then in January 2013 we adopted our son who was 7 at the time. In the midst of writing about celebrating writers, I was experiencing how celebration could fuel me in other hard parts of life besides writing.

 Tell us about a few of your favorite writing celebrations in schools you work in.

My very favorite celebration is the moment in a conference when a student has more energy for writing because he has talked with me than before we talked.

As far as formal celebrations, I’m a sucker for poetry jams. I love to dress like a beatnik, sip smoothies, and weave words with young poets.

You are a strong advocate for teachers finding time to do their own writing. How does your work with celebrations fit into adult writing outside of the classroom?

Thank you. I do hope teachers find time to put some words on the page. I think when teachers are writers themselves they realize the importance of genuine celebration. It doesn’t need to be grandiose and it doesn’t have to include forced feedback, rather celebration is the natural outcome of being in a writing community.  When we are writers working alongside other writers, we understand how celebration is fuel and we are positioned to make it an integral part of our writing workshops.

Tell us about a few of your favorite personal writing celebrations.

I finished a manuscript of a young adult fiction story a few years ago. I doubt it will ever see book form on shelves but just the fact that I finished is big to me.

Whenever someone tells me they started writing or started a blog or started a notebook because of me, that’s the ultimate writing celebration.

Recently I wrote a blog post (­) that triggered a lot of response. In addition to comments, people sent me direct messages on Twitter and Facebook, emails, texts messages, and even a letter in the mail, telling me their stories that my post made them remember. I was touched by the way my words impacted others.

These are the celebrations that fuel me.

 RuthAyresWrites has just started a Saturday tradition inviting people to share weekly celebrations.  You’ve had a huge response almost immediately.  Why do you think so many people jumped in right away?

I’ve been asking myself the same thing! I think we are overwhelmed by our daily grind. When we take the time to look for celebrations, we are able to see growth and purpose in our work. I’m inspired each Saturday by all of the powerful teaching and learning happening across the globe. Unless we document it, it is too easy to overlook.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I just started a new writing project on different topics than I’ve written before – faith and adoption. Interestingly enough, I think Celebrating Writers was much of the collection phase in my writing process for this new project. The message of this next book is: Life is for celebration not survival. I’m planning to weave stories of our adoptions with truths of life about living celebration.


  1. Congratulations Ruth on the publication, and thanks Franki for the great post and interview. Always a pleasure to hear Ruth's words. I received my book in the mail on Saturday, now ready to begin so will be "celebrating" all week!

  2. I am someone who likes to celebrate--little and BIG--AND I like to write...I will pop on over to Ruth Ayres Writes and read the recent blog post mentioned. I welcome more inspiration in the writing department : ) Thank you for this interview.

  3. Glad to celebrate the publication of the new book together. I am so excited to follow this blog tour. I love how bloggers come up with new questions and I learn more about Ruth, her thinking and her writing process with each interview. She is such an inspiration! Thank you, Franki, for a great start.

  4. My favorite line from the interview - "I hope this book ... gives us more energy for teaching writers and students more energy to be writers." Such a wonderful outcome! Can't wait to follow the blog tour. I'm loving our celebrations each Saturday.

  5. This is wonderful! I love Ruth's philosophies and am so happy she started the Saturday Celebrations on her blog!

  6. I love the idea of celebrating imperfections. I've been working a lot with a group of intermediate grade writers who are changing and growing every day, but aren't there yet with this particular genre. I keep thinking about Eve Merriam's poem, "It Takes a Lot of Slow to Grow." Somehow, I think we are forgetting to celebrate growth, and are waiting until we arrive at perfection (which takes a really long time to achieve)!

  7. I am thrilled with this blog tour. Celebrations are a boost in our difficult days. Thanks for your nudgings, Ruth.

  8. Love, love, love. That is what comes to mind when I think about Ruth's words no matter where or when I am hearing them. They are honest, compassionate and a celebration is always surrounding her. Thank you for bringing this interview and the book to A Year of Reading.

  9. I am still in awe of this writing community. Ruth has been such an inspiration to me these last five months since I started blogging and writing on a personal level. She has made me a better teacher simply from the lessons and power of her words. I was expecting my book to arrive today....but I forgot about Veteran's mail! Tomorrow I will be celebrating!

  10. Great interview! I love the peek inside the writer and celebrations! Favorite words that stuck with me: "beauty in the mess of writing, celebrations are fuel for writers, the importance of genuine celebrations ... " What a joy to hear Ruth's words. Thanks for sharing more of her story here!

  11. Ruth is such a wise and grounding force in education. We are lucky to have her and this new book. I can't wait to get my hands on it. Many congratulations to Ruth and Christi!

  12. I wouldn't be writing if I had not taken Ruth's encouragement to heart. Thank you Ruth for giving me an outlet for my voice.

  13. I'm so excited about this book! I have been inspired by her writing work for years!


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