Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Guest Author, Ev Christensen/Contest/Call for Submissions

Literature Wordokus, level 1
ISBN :978-1-34358-59-7
For grades 3-6
Literature Wordokus, level 2
ISBN :978-1-34358-58-0
For grades 6-8

Publisher: Pieces of Learning
Publishing Date: 2010

Today, I'm happy to have a special friend, Ev Christensen, as a guest. She is an award-winning author of over 40 puzzle books. Her books are popular with kids, parents, and teachers and are used in classrooms across the nation. I've had the privilege of attending book signings with Ev and seen the positive responses she receives for her books.

Nancy: Ev, you are delightfully creative. Tell us about two of your recent books.

Ev: It’s great to be here with you, Nancy. I’m very excited about a pair of Literature Wordokus which I co-authored with Cathie Brown. The set provides intriguing discussion questions based on classic and award-winning books but which require no previous knowledge of the authors and literature they address. They’re intended to get kids excited about reading the books. Also included are sudoku-style puzzles (based on title, author, theme, setting, or character) which can be used as interest hooks.

Nancy: Can you give us some tips for writing a book of puzzles?

Ev: Try to create a new style of puzzle or give a new twist to a familiar puzzle type. Be aware that although trade publishers may still be producing puzzle books that are of the fun, brain teaser variety, most educational publishers want puzzle books to have a strong curriculum tie-in. With the focus on accountability these days, teachers on limited budgets are restricting their buying to resources that will help boost their test scores. Your chances of getting published are much higher if your puzzle book is not only fun, but is also that kind of resource.

Nancy: You have lots of experience writing and working with editors. What advice can you give writers who are just starting out?

Ev: My best advice to them is to take advantage of the helpful resources available on the web to learn as much as they can about writing and submitting. Sites like your wonderful blog, Verla Kay’s author forum, Institute of Children’s Literature, and Children’s Book Insider are all invaluable resources. If people are writing for the education market and are researching places to submit, my website is also a good resource

Nancy: Thanks, Ev, for visiting with me today. Your advice is excellent and I wish you much success with Literature Wordokus. Ev’s books can be purchased at

Ev: Thank you for inviting me, Nancy!

Next week, I’ll address a topic close to all of our hearts, fear of rejection.


Bevel Summers Prize in the Short Short Story
This new prize from *Shenandoah* "is open to all authors of stories of up to
1,000 words." Winner receives $250 and publication in the journals first online
Deadline: Manuscript must be received by March 31, 2011
Details at

Call for Submissions
New Moon Girls
Objectives of New Moon Girls: New Moon Girls portrays girls and women as powerful, active and in charge of their own lives - not as passive beings who are acted upon by others. New Moon Girls celebrates girls and their accomplishments—we support girls' efforts to hold onto their voices, strengths and dreams as they move from being girls to becoming women. New Moon Girls is a tool for girls to use as they build resilience and resistance to destructive societal messages, moving confidently out into the world, pursuing their unique paths in life.
General Guidelines: All material should be pro-girl and focus on girls, women, or female issues. New Moon Girls was created by girls and women for girls who want their voices heard and their dreams taken seriously. It is edited by and for girls ages 8 and up. New Moon Girls takes girls very seriously; the publication is structured to give girls real power. The final product is a collaboration of girls and adults. An editorial board of girls aged 8-14 makes final decisions on content for the magazine and website.

New Moon Girls Upcoming Themes:May/June 2011 “Beauty Around the World” Deadline: Jan. 1, 2011
July/August 2011 “Do It Yourself” Deadline: March 1, 2011
Sept./Oct. 2011 “Eat to Save the Earth” Deadline: May 1, 2011
Send all electronically by email to
Details at


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me, Nancy. It's fun to be here with you. BTW, if any readers are interested in the books, Pieces of Learning has been having a free shipping special on orders of $20 or more. Use the code: NOVFREESHIP. I'm not sure how long the special lasts--they can call 1-800-729-5137 to see.

  2. Great Interview, wonderful blog!

    Diane Hower

  3. What a great interview and wonderful site! And thanks for the tips about breaking into the puzzle market, Ev. It's good to know about focusing on the educational slant for some publishers.
    -Nancy I. Sanders

  4. Thanks, Ev, for the information on free shipping. It was my pleasure having you visit this blog.

  5. Thanks, Nancy Sanders. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog.

  6. Diane, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and blog. Please visit again.

  7. Thanks for sharing about these puzzle books. They sound like fun!

  8. Thanks for the good links from Ev. I also enjoyed your hints for characterization. I had never thought about it before. I can see that a great character doesn't just suddenly spring to life but is carefully molded into something unforgettable.

  9. Thanks for the informative interview! I have no experience with writing puzzle books but am trying to expand my horizons.

    I really like the look and feel of your site.


  10. My children have always enjoyed Dr. Christensen's puzzle books. They look forward to this fun way of learning. This latest one that she worked on with Cathie Brown sounds very creative and right up their alley. We can't wait to get our hands on them!

  11. Great interview with Eveyln, my fellow critique group member and friend. My visiting grandkids fight over Ev's puzzle books. I need to buy more.

    Good seeing you at the Fair, Nancy.

  12. Thanks for sharing! Great Blog!