Monday, February 29, 2016

Keeping Up with 2016 Book Releases

Recently, lots of people have asked how I keep up with new books.  I've been thinking about that and it isn't really one thing that I do. Rather, I check in with lots of people who read far more than I do and who are generous with their sharing of the books they read/anticipate. Since so many people have asked me lately, I thought I'd share the people/sites I rely on regularly.

John Schu reviews books daily on his blog, Watch. Connect. Read.  His blog is full of information about new books, author interviews and more.  One of my favorite John Schu resources is his
Book Release Calendar. This is a public calendar that shares release dates for new titles in children's literature. I tend to check this every few weeks and look up books that are coming up soon that I want to check out. It is definitely one of my favorite resources for keeping up with new books.

Colby Sharp is another person whose blog I rely on to keep up with new books. Colby and John run several twitter chats that also focus on new books.  Following people like Colby and John on Twitter is the one best way to keep up with new books in the children's book work.

100 Scope Notes by Travis Jonker is another important blog for anyone wanting to do a better job at keeping up with children's books.

Teri Lesesne (@ProfessorNana), Donalyn Miller (@donalynbooks), Katherine Sokolowski (@katsok), and JoEllen McCarthy (@JoEllenMcCarthy) are others I follow on Twitter to keep up with new books and book conversations.

There are so many great end of the year booklists on lots of blogs and sites.  Award season has some great lists and ALA and NCTE have some great award lists each year. We Need Diverse Books has great lists, including these incredible End of the Year booklists. The Children's Literature Assembly publishes its list of notables each year.

Dylan Teut recently created 4 booklists of upcoming 2016 picture books. These lists on his blog are great resources if you are looking to see what is coming up!
Coming Soon: 2016 Picture Books Part ONE 
Coming Soon: 2016 Picture Books Part TWO
Coming Soon: 2016 Picture Books Part THREE
Coming Soon: 2016 Picture Books Part FOUR

I subscribe to Publishers Weekly and Horn Book emails. I get information about new books from both of these email subscriptions.  (Like this one on the Most Anticipated 2016 Children's Books from PW) I get the real copy of the Horn Book Magazine in the mail every 2 months.

I subscribe to the Nerdy Book Club blog and learn about so many books and authors there.

I join the monthly #titletalk Twitter chat and add books to my list from that amazing chat run by Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp.

I follow hashtags like #bookaday (invented by Donalyn Miller) to keep up with what new books others are reading.

There are websites like The Sweet Sixteens that highlight debut authors that I check in on every so often.

I love to pick up an Indie Kids' Next list when I am at Cover to Cover. I also check these online every month or so.

Keeping up with children's books takes a few minutes each day.  Checking in with readers from around the world, visiting Cover to Cover bookstore and listening to Beth and Sally talk about new books, attending conferences and spending time in the book/vendor area area all part of my routine. It never seems like work to keep up with books and it never seems like I can actually keep up! But keeping up with children's books is the most important part of my work with kids, I think. And once I know who to follow and learn from, it isn't so hard to do at all! One of my favorite hobbies, actually:-)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Poetry Friday -- Boiled Eggs

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Steve Johnson

A Quiet Life

by Baron Wormser

What a person desires in life
   is a properly boiled egg.
This isn’t as easy as it seems.
There must be gas and a stove,
   the gas requires pipelines, mastodon drills,
   banks that dispense the lozenge of capital.
There must be a pot, the product of mines
   and furnaces and factories,
   of dim early mornings and night-owl shifts,
   of women in kerchiefs and men with
   sweat-soaked hair.
Then water, the stuff of clouds and skies
   and God knows what causes it to happen.
There seems always too much or too little
   of it and more pipelines, meters, pumping
   stations, towers, tanks.
And salt-a miracle of the first order,
   the ace in any argument for God.
Only God could have imagined from
   nothingness the pang of salt.

(the rest of the poem can be found at A Writer's Almanac)

My environmental club kids were getting ready to create short videos of a bunch of the suggestions in 31 Ways To Change the World. They were having a hard time understanding how knowing your food could change the world, so I shared this poem with them, and then we thought about where our snack had come from -- fresh apples perhaps from last year's harvest in Washington state (and the machinery, trucks, and boxes to get them to us); apple juice (the apples, plus juicing machinery and plastic packaging for the cup); even just the box for our cereal bars (trees grown, harvested, ground and pulped, plus ink and machines to fold and fill and label each box). Maybe if we start with this kind of appreciation, we can raise kids who will make more mindful purchases and eat healthier (both for themselves and the environment).

Liz has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Elizabeth Steinglass.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Celebrating World Read Aloud Day AND The Knowing Book

by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Boyds Mills Press, 2016

We are thrilled to be celebrating a wonderful new book that is destined to become a classic read aloud...on World Read Aloud Day!

The Knowing Book takes the reader along on the main character's journey from the comfort of home, out into the world to live and grown and learn, and then back home again. It is a wise book, a book of the heart, a book that will surely be given at many baby showers and graduations, and read aloud at important milestones in children's lives.

We were lucky enough to ask the author and illustrator some questions about the book and their process. Interspersed between the Q/A are some early sketches by Matthew Cordell.

When you wrote the book, what were your hopes for readers?

That they would find some comfort in knowing they aren't alone, that there are things they can always count on, that there are universal miracles that no one can ever take away from them; the sky, the stars, the overwhelming oneness and the magic of knowing the world is big and wide and always waiting, whether it be with a new adventure or a new hope in a hopeless situation. More than anything I hope they feel untroubled in some way. –Rebecca

Did you work together as author and illustrator? Can you talk about the process of creating this book together or separately?

Typically authors and illustrators do not work together in a close collaboration. The editor and/or art director of the book is the point person and all comments and communication are ran through that channel. But it was an open channel, and Rebecca and I were both very open to any thoughts and suggestions from each other. Our editor, Rebecca Davis is incredibly insightful and thoughtful and caring too. It was just a wonderful, wonderful process--beginning to end--of fine tuning this book to get it just right. –Matthew

I agree with everything Matthew said. And I love how he refers to it as "an open channel." We both felt so deeply about this book, and I think put so much of ourselves into it, in ways I'm still figuring out. To get each detail, each nuance right, we all had to listen to each other and be open to and respect what the other's artistic expression and heart wanted to share on the page. We were very lucky that our editor was a two-way guiding light. –Rebecca

This book, although a picture book, seems to have a strong message for people of all ages and in all stages of life. Who were you thinking of when you had the idea for this book?

When I had the idea, the feelings and emotions had come from where I was emotionally, and that was sad and a bit hopeless. But then I immediately thought of children who might feel somehow lighter, less burdened, more hopeful if they really, really thought about the universe always being there for them. But after it was all written and rewritten and I looked at it with new eyes, I realized it could be for anyone, any age. —Rebecca 

The title is brilliant. Was it the first idea you had or did it evolve?

Thank you, first of all! I would have said it was The Knowing Book from the start. But as I was putting together all of my drafts and correspondence having anything to do with the manuscript into its own box (I keep labeled boxes for each book) I saw a draft that had The Always Book jotted down, then crossed out with The Knowing Book written next to it. The "always" would have referred to the line "it is what you will always know." But I remember now repeating the word know, know, know, over and over and realizing that was the most important thought I wanted the reader to gain; that these are the things they will always know. –Rebecca 

How did you decide to illustrate this as a bunny rather than a child? What process did you go to to decide on that?

We went through a series of tests before I began illustrating the book. I wanted the character to be universal. I wanted all boys and girls (and grown-ups too) of all different backgrounds and ethnicities to be able to plug her or himself into this book and these words. In my experience, making the character an animal--if it works--is a sure fire way to do this. I tried a few different animals at first. A bear, a mouse, and a rabbit. The bear and mouse had the sweet sincerity I wanted, but they were almost too cute. And this book is not about being cute. It's much more honest than that. Of the three, the rabbit had the most insightful and inner wisdom and worth. We did also try a child, for the sake of trying. I did some sketches of a child that might be construed as a girl OR a boy. Depending on who might be reading it. But in the end, the rabbit was a unanimous choice. –Matthew

The illustrations and text work together to be serious and hopeful. How did you accomplish that?

I'm so glad to hear you say it that way. Because that's how I hope readers will see it. I think everyone who worked on this book saw and wanted for the same things. It really was such a good fit! If anything ever strayed from that path, it was gently corrected back into place by someone. From the moment I read Rebecca's manuscript I had a vision in my mind of how it would play out. I never wanted this book to be silly of funny or even sweet. Joyful, yes. But even dark at times, in a poignant sort of way. Real. Because that is real life for all of us. Children and adults. –Matthew

I'd like to add that my hope had been for The Knowing Book to be illustrated in a thoughtful, serious ("joyful" is perfect) way mixed with a whimsical spirit roaming through the pages. And Matthew made it happen. –Rebecca

It seems like your work is so perfect together! Will you do more books together, do you think? 

Gosh, I sure hope so! I love Rebecca's writing. It was an honor to be chosen to illustrate KNOWING, and I hope it's not the last!  –Matthew

I second that. I have my hopes that down the road there will be a very special book I write that might be just right for another Matthew Cordell pairing, and that he'll say yes when he sees it! –Rebecca

Thank you, Rebecca and Matthew for joining us on your blog tour, and congratulations on a fabulous collaboration.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Manatee Rescue by Nicola Davies

Manatee Rescue
by Nicola Davies
Candlewick, January 2016

I read aloud The Lion Who Stole My Arm by Nicola Davies earlier this year (see post here). In that book, an African boy who is maimed by a lion attack wants to get revenge on the lion that hurt him...until he learns about lion conservation and how much tourist money lions bring to his country.

I was thrilled to see that Nicola Davies is writing a series -- Heroes of the Wild. The newest in the series is Manatee Rescue. The manatees in this book live in the Amazon River, and the characters are indigenous people.

These are quick reads -- only about 95 pages, with an epilogue that gets them to 100. The books are illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Annabel Wright.

I can't wait for a kid reader to pick this up and give me their insights into the story!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Poetry Friday -- Simile-Metaphor-Vocabulary Poem

Photo by Mike Ratcliffe

There's pride --
(nothing wrong with pride)
a warm sense of self-worth
sitting quietly inside you
like a steaming cup of cocoa on a winter morning.

But then there's hubris --
a venti double mocha latte with whip and extra sprinkles
standing there beside your computer in the cafe
while you pose with your earbuds
open notebook
fancy pen
empty page.

The trick is knowing the difference.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

This poem was written for Laura Shovan's Found Object Poem Project.

When I started writing, I had no idea how this poem would go with the skull and antlers. I had the phrase "There's ___, but then there's ____" in my mind and I started writing from that. Somehow my brain gave me pride and hubris. We've been noticing similes and metaphors in my 5th grade class, so I had fun making a simile-metaphor-vocabulary poem that will hopefully teach my students a new word. When I was finished, I looked back at the skull and wondered what HE knows about pride vs. hubris, sitting there on the sidewalk for all to see...

Donna Smith, reigning Queen of rhyme and wit, has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Mainley Write.

NF 10 for 10 -- Towards a More Diverse Classroom Library

Thanks in large part to the ALA Youth Media Awards, I've collected up a bunch of new books with inspiring characters and/or stories.

And this spunky girl reinforces the importance of children being able to see themselves in the books we have in our classrooms and libraries -- take time to click through and watch the video!  (via CBS ThisMorning)

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement pairs nicely with The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial. Fannie Lou Hamer deserves to be more well-known for a lifetime of participation in marches, sit-ins and voter education and registration efforts. Similarly, readers should know the story of a well to do black girl from Boston, who, with her parents, fought against segregated schools in 1847 -- 100 years before the more famous Brown v Board of Education.

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music pairs along a musical theme with Trombone Shorty. Drum Dream Girl is inspired by a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's taboo against female drummers, while Trombone Shorty tells the story of a New Orleans trombone player who not only made his dream of becoming a musician come true through a lifetime of hard work, but also has begun the Trombone Shorty Foundation to preserve the musical history of New Orleans.

The Case For Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage and Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah both tell stories of holding fast to a dream.

Growing up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues and (the 2009 title) You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! would make a nice baseball pairing that feature players from the Dominican Republic alongside a Jewish player from Brooklyn.

The last two honor a couple of the dominant cultures in my school -- Muslim and Hispanic. 1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization is an inviting book for browsing and learning, and Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras tells the story of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada and how he created an iconic Day of the Dead art form.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Poetry Friday -- Found Object Poem Project

Photo by Jone MacCulloch

"A pipe gives a wise man time to think 
and a fool something to stick in his mouth." 
- C.S. Lewis.

Packing the tobacco correctly is as
Important as the
Proper breaking in of the pipe.
Each pipe
Smokes differently, and a good smoker can
Make one last up to 45 minutes.
One must tap the dottle from the bowl,
Know how to ream the pipe, and
Embrace the subtleties of the experience --
Rather like shooting or fly fishing or drinking

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

This is my favorite of the poems I wrote this week for Laura Shovan's month-long Found Object Poem Project. I got the object wrong -- it's not a pipe-reamer, it's a blood-letter -- but I had fun with the poem, so we'll claim success! 

I interviewed the former pipe-smoker who lives in my house and took these notes:

In case you're curious, to break in a pipe, you have to char the bowl gradually by smoking just a little tobacco, then a little more, then a little more. (Who knew?!?!)

I originally thought the word in my acrostic would be tobacco, but for more variety of letters, I went with pipe smokers. 

Kimberley has today's Poetry Friday roundup at Written Reflections. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

World Read Aloud Day -- 7 Strengths Countdown

I blogged about Belonging Week, Curiosity Week, and Friendship Week, and then I dropped the ball! Now I'm going to attempt to combine Kindness Week, Confidence Week and Courage Week all into one post!

Last week (on 2/2, the day the book was released), I started Pax, by Sara Pennypacker, as our next read aloud. It's another book with hard issues that we can feel in our hearts; another book that will make us gasp with fear and cry with relief; another book that will put us in the shoes of a character who is dealing with hard problems; another book with a character on a physical journey and a journey of the heart.

This remarkable story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Peter (the boy) and Pax (the fox). Both Peter and Pax encounter other characters who show them unexpected kindness and who help them build their confidence and grow into a place of courage. In fact, the parallels between the boy's and the fox's stories are something I hope my students will notice on their own. Who am I kidding? They are already making amazing comparisons between this book and Dan Geminhart's The Honest Truth and Some Kind of Courage.

If you haven't read this amazing book, move it to the top of your TBR stack!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Some of My Favorite Online Reading from the Week

I've not had time to dig into many books this week. But I've been reading lots online and found these things worth sharing! 

From John Green:

My husband and I watched "The Martian" on Netflix last week.  I later found this fascinating story about the author of the book and how he wrote the story online. Love that people corrected the science as he went. The online possibilities for writing int his story fascinated me.

I revisited an article by Peter Johnston from a 2012 Stenhouse Blogstitute called "Reducing Instruction, Increasing Engagement". Peter Johnston is someone whose work I reread often as it is so important. So much to learn from him.

I loved this short reminder called "Why You Should Care About LEGO and Creativity"

And this important article (thanks to Katharine Hale for sharing) about Smart Tech Use for Equity.

And the brilliant Kristin Ziemke wrote "Beyond Text: reThinking Literacy" which is a must-read.

I was student teaching 3rd grade when the Challenger exploded. I remember the day vividly.  I was interested in this article about one of the engineers that still blames himself for the disaster.

And I always learn a lot from education writer Valerie Strauss. Her recent piece "The Testing Opt-Out Movement is Growing" is an informative one.

And I've always been fascinated to read about Barbie so I was interested in all things Barbie this week as Mattel launched Barbie's three new body types.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Cry, Heart, But Never Break

Cry, Heart, But Never Break
by Glenn Ringtved
illustrated by Charlotte Pardi
translated from the Danish by Robert Moulthrop
Enchanted Lion Press, March 2016
review copy provided by the publisher

When Death comes for the children's beloved grandmother, they try to keep him from his task by serving him enough coffee to distract him until dawn, when he would have to leave without their grandmother.

It doesn't work.

Though "Some people say Death's heart is as dead and black as a piece of coal...that is not true. Beneath his inky cloak, Death's heart is as red as the most beautiful sunset and beats with a great love of life."

So Death tells the children a story about two brothers, Sorrow and Grief, who wind up marrying two sisters, Joy and Delight. After a long life together, all four died on the very same day, because they couldn't live without each other. Death uses this fable to show children that life needs both light and darkness. And his last advice, after the Grandmother dies, is the title of the book: "Cry, heart, but never break. Let your tears of grief and sadness help begin new life."

It's never easy to have conversations about death in our classrooms, but I think this gentle and sweet book would reassure students.

Depending on the group, I might pair it with

Grandy Thaxter's Helper
by Douglas Rees
illustrated by S.D. Schindler
Atheneum Books, 2004

This book gives readers a more irreverent version of Death, but also a strong character who resists him. Grandy Thaxter enlists Death's help with her work on successive days -- the cleaning (including the windows), the laundry (including the making of lye soap), making dinner (including grinding the corn for mush), the dishes after dinner, and, the straw that breaks Death's back, the making of linen (of the piles of bundles of wet reeds, he learns "We're going to brake it and swingle the reeds to get the flax"... "We're going to hackle it and spin it"... "So I can weave it into cloth."). Death can't take any more, saying, "I will come back some time when you are not so busy."

Gotta love a woman who is just too busy to die!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating

When I preordered Jess Keating's new book, Pink is for Blobfish, I accidentally ordered 2 copies. Lucky thing because the book became immediately popular in the classroom!  Take a look at the book trailer:

I shared the book with my 3rd graders this week.  We have been learning about informational writing and this one invited great conversation about the way Jess Keating chose the animals for the book, titled the book and organized the information. The book is packed with information about pink animals and the photos and layout make the book perfect for middle grade readers. From the cover, it looks like this might be part of a new series--if so, I am extra excited!  This is a fabulous informational book and will hook so many young readers.  You'll definitely want this book for your classroom or library. Not only is it a great book for kids' independent reading, there is so much to share with kids about good informational writing.

I love that Jess Keating is a zoologist turned author.  If you know her fiction series (My Life is a Zoo) you know what a fun writer she is.  Her middle grade series is engaging and accessible for middle grade and early middle school readers.  In both her fiction and nonfiction books, Jess Keating packs in lots of things to think about while giving us a humor break and some new ways to think about things throughout.

Jess Keating recently introduced a Youtube channel called "Animals for Smart People".  It is a great series of informational videos. I am going to share the channel with my students this week and we are going to study this particular video as we think about the choices Jess Keating made about the visuals she included.  These are great sources of information for everyone. And they are perfect mentor texts for our middle grade kids as they learn to write informational text and create informational movies.

On a sidenote, Jess Keating and I are both original members of the #nerdrun team, #TeamSaunter.  I am thinking that Pink is for Blobfish might inspire some great costumes for the 2016 #nerdrun.....

The 2014 #TeamSaunter at #nerdrun! (Jess Keating dressed as Beetle:-)

You can (and should) follow Jess Keating on Twitter (@Jess_Keating) and make sure to visit her website. It is packed with lots of great stuff!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Poetry Friday -- Found Object Poem Project

Yes, it feels a little nutso to be writing a poem a day again after only a month off since a haiku a day in December, but in the same way I've learned that if I don't go out and walk in the early morning I will never meet the deer and hear the owls ("Must Be Present to Win"), I know that for every day I don't write, those poems are lost forever.

Laura Shovan cooked up this Found Object Poem project. Here's a description, along with other February poetry projects she's done. Here is a post with links to all the poems the whole crew has written so far, and here's a link to all of my poems.

My favorite poem I've written so far is for this picture of moth eggs on a car window. Laura didn't reveal that's what they were until after we submitted our poems, but I was pretty sure I knew. Not sure enough to write a moth egg poem...although I alluded to a butterfly wing as a nod to my guess! I just left them as a mystery.

photo by Laura Shovan


The mysteries of the world are myriad.
Sometimes they look like little balls of butter.
Sometimes they clump together in the shape of South America.

The mysteries of the world puzzle us.
They make us take our glasses off and look so close
we dust our noses with them.

The mysteries of the world hold hidden ripeness.
Each might contain a new life,
or the possibility to change the weather patterns of the entire world.

The mysteries of the world cast shadows.
Hovering above, they block the sun
and send a chill through us as they pass over.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

Tricia has today's Poetry Friday roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Pig in a Wig

What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush
by Emma J. Virján
Harper, 2016
review copy provided by the publisher

My wish came true! Another Pig in a Wig book! (My review of the first book here.)

This time, Pig in a Wig is trying to get ready for bed and fall asleep, but all of the farm animals pile noisily into bed with her (making their entrance through the window to cue young readers with a visual for the animal's sound). And the farm animals can not settle down, so Pig delivers the signatuer (title) line, and all the animals take their animal noises and go snuggle in a pile in the barn.

That's not quite the end of it, but this book is as perfect as the first in adding a twist.

Fun times for the youngest readers!

Next up later in 2016 -- What This Book Needs is a Munch and a Crunch. YAY! A picnic lunch!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Digital Writing Workshop: Writers Create Plans

In our 3rd grade classroom, we've been working on Information Writing. We haven't been working long but we have done lots of Edcamps and blog posts, etc. so kids have been creating informational pieces all year. In order to help them better craft their writing, we've been learning how important it is for writers to plan.   So I've shared my own planning and how sometimes my planning comes after a first draft.  Planning is an important piece of revision, I think.

One lesson included sharing a blog post I wrote about a recent hockey game I attended.  I shared 3 different drafts of the blog post, explaining how I reflected and planned between drafts to make the piece better.

We've also been looking at mentor texts thinking about what decisions the writer made when creating the piece.(Katharine Hale shared some great student blogs that we used as mentors on her blog.) Whether it is a book, a video, a slide show or a blog post, we have learned that authors of informational writing have lots of planning to do.

These are the questions we've been asking as we look at our own writing and at mentors.
What is your plan for making your writing better?

What kind of research will you do next?
How will you keep notes in your research? 
How will you share/publish your informational piece?
What tools will you use to create a finished piece?
What visuals will you use or create to help your readers? Why?
Which nonfiction text features will you use to help your readers? Why?

How will you organize your writing to help your readers? 
What will your subheadings be? 
Will there be any sound or hyperlinks that will help readers understand?  

I can't tell you how happy I was when I received this tweet from one of our amazing Technology Support Teachers, Rhonda Luetje (@RhondaLuetje).

Rhonda had visited our classroom earlier to share the basics of Book Creator. I wanted my kids to have some experience playing with Book Creator before we created informational pieces. I knew some of my kids would want to use Book Creator for some of their informational pieces and Rhonda knows the tool well.

When she visited earlier this year, she shared a book she was creating about the Columbus Zoo. She shared the book which was really just a simple Book Creator demo. It had a few pages and a few features.

But in this tweet, I saw that Rhonda had really revised her book (Hurray! It's a Zoo Day!) and had made lots of decisions as a writer that we'd been talking about. So we studied her new draft and I asked her to come back and visit the classroom.

Rhonda created a piece that she thought could help students see all of the things that were possible in Book Creator. I also saw it as a piece that my 3rd graders could study as writers as they thought about the decisions she made when crafting the piece.

The way that we embedded the talk around the tool inside the conversation about decisions writers make was authentic and helpful to students.  The way that Rhonda worked to support writers in writing workshop has been critical.  Not all of my students will use Book Creator and that's okay. The conversations we are having are about the writing and the decision-making of writers. Book Creator just happens to be the tool we are using in this case and the tool gives the writer different options and decisions.

If you want to read more about Rhonda's process and her thinking from a technology standpoint, she has a post up about it on her blog today!