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Talking Story
     Issue 69                                               Building Stuff!                                          Spring 2024    
                                                by Carol and Rebecca
Did you ever stop to think how a train is built? How about a robot? Kids are curious about a lot of things that adults take for granted--including objects, houses, and buildings. We built this issue around the theme of building but as you can see, even the word "building" has a lot of meanings! We hope you'll enjoy this issue and share it with your colleagues and friends.
Featured Author:
A Grand Idea--That Wasn't Mine!
Megan Hoyt 

      After I wrote The Greatest Song of All about Carnegie Hall, my editor asked me to write a similar book about another NYC landmark—Grand Central Terminal. I was so honored! Of course, I agreed. 
      I said a prayer, dug into the mounds of research, and started writing. I sent her three different versions: one in rhyme, one from the perspective of the building, and one that brought in William J Wilgus, who designed the new electric train system and sold the idea to the railroad.
      My editor chose the third option, so I began revising. The current version started out shorter, but she was intrigued by the idea of making it even more lush, with illustrations by Dave Szalay lighting up each spread. There are so many illustratable locations at Grand Central. Chandeliers, a ski slope, and underground tunnels!
   I had to make sure I got it right. So I traveled to New York City, and to my delight, this grand building was exactly as I had imagined. I closed my eyes and pictured everyone dressed in turn of the century clothing. I looked up at the ceiling and there was the beautiful constellation design. 
      Strolling through Manhattan today, giant skyscrapers surround you, like a life-sized lego display. But in 1914, it wasn’t buildings that blocked the view of the sky but thick, billowing gray smoke from coal-powered trains. And there were traffic jams with horses and buggies and model T cars. And so much noise you could barely think. And so many pedestrians!
    Even though writing this book was my editor’s idea—and it was a grand one—I quickly fell in love with the building, with the hustle and bustle of modern New York, and with the history that led to the construction of this remarkable landmark.
You can connect with Megan on her websiteFacebook and X.
Featured Illustrator
Dan Nott
A Graphic Novel by Dan Nott
Dan Nott (IG: @dan_nott)
Dan is an artist, cartoonist, and educator living in Vermont. His short comics and illustrations for investigative journalism have appeared in dozens of publications.
 One Student Talks About Three Books
By Drew Belsky

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall is great for 10–13-year-olds who like piecing together clues and why characters act a certain way. 13-year-old Arthur Owens throws a brick at an old man, James Hampton, nicknamed the Junk Man. Although the brick only hit the Junk Man’s arm, Arthur gets taken to Juvie. On trial day, Arthur tells the judge he threw a brick because the Junk Man was wearing his dad’s hat who passed away a few months ago. Arthur expects to be put in jail, but the Junk Man offers an alternative punishment: to work for the Junk Man for 120 hours as his arm heals. Every Saturday, Arthur collects 7 items: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, wood, lightbulbs coffee cans, and mirrors. Arthur thinks the task is stupid, but the truth behind what the Junk Man is building will surprise him.
How Was That Built? By Roma Agrawal is perfect for 10-14-year-olds interested in architecture, how structures are built, what they’re made of, who built them, and the history behind it all. If you want to know how underground tunnels, underwater restaurants, or Ancient Roman structures were constructed, this book is for you! For example, in Brazil a huge underground tunnel,  Tunel Grande, stretches for miles. Also, Ithaa is an underwater restaurant in Singapore! The blueprints for the Ithaa restaurant were complex, and the building construction was even more so. Lastly, the Pantheon, a special building made 2000 years ago, is more complex than people realize. Read How Was That Built? and dive into a world with many shocking structures and buildings with so much inspiration and history behind them.
Those Darn Squirrels! by Adam Rubin is a great book for 3-5-year-olds who find funny books enjoyable! In the book, Old Man Fookwire likes to hang out and paint with birds. In the fall, he knows the birds will fly south, so he builds bird feeders and fills them with delicious food so the birds will stay with him. But squirrels also like eating the bird’s food. Old Man Fookwire sets up hard traps so the squirrels can’t get into the feeders but manage to anyway!  When the squirrels see Mr. Fookwire alone, they feel bad for him and give back his stolen change and build him a surprise!
Hello, my name is Drew Belsky. I am a 6th grader at Magellan Charter School. I enjoy playing baseball, basketball, and of course, reading! My favorites are mystery and fiction because, in my opinion, they have more suspense than other types of books. Right now, I’m reading The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson. If you like fiction and mystery books, I would definitely recommend that series!

by Rebecca Wheeler
Paper Plate Roller Coaster
If you are like me, you have a drawer full of leftover holiday paper plates longing to be reused. I also love a DIY project that allows me to repurpose materials. Repurposing encourages innovation much like our featured books this week! Creating a paper plate roller coaster is as easy at is fun. 
  • Flip the paper plate upside down. The indention around the edge of the plate will become the track.
  • Cut out the center of the paper plate. Repeat. More paper plates = more track!
  • Tape the ends of the paper plate strips together to create spirals and figure-eights.
  • Create multiple layers of track by stacking blocks underneath or use toliet paper rolls for support. 
  • Send a marble down the track, and see how fast it goes!
To see examples, visit here and here
Contact Us
We love to hear from our readers!
You can contact us through the newsletter or individually at the following  social media platforms.
We're also both available for school visits. 
Rebecca W Wheeler
Carol Baldwin
Does a Teen Reviewer 
Live in Your House or
 Attend Your School?
We're always looking for teen or tween reviewers. If you know someone who might be interested in reading and writing a short synopsis of three books, please email us. 
Thank You!
To Megan Hoyt for being our author expert and for a giveaway copy of A Grand Idea.
To Drew Belsky for being our teen reviewer. 
To Dan Nott and Random House Graphic for the illustration from Hidden Systems: Water, Electricity, the Internet, and the Secrets Behind the Systems We Use Every Day.
To Sleeping Bear Press for Let's Build a Little Train.
To Astra Publishing for Prairie Boy.
To Bob Pflugfelder for an autographed copy of Nick and Tesla and the Robot Army Rampage.
To Nancy Sutin for proofreading.
If you share TALKING STORY either on social media or via email, we will enter your name in our giveaway. Please complete this google form by April 20, 2024, indicate your book preference and we will add your name to the hat! 
Please Note

If you're having trouble emailing us, try using CHROME browser. 
Congratulations to the Winners From our February Issue
Gail Cartee won When Daddy Shows me the Sky.
Alisha Ruggieri won the Whispering Through Water cards. 
Gail Hurlburt won Whispering Through Water.
Find Us On Social Media
Did you know there is a TALKING STORY Facebook Group? We would love for you to participate and find out what other writers, educators, and librarians are saying. 

Complete this google form and we'll enter your name to win one of the four books below. 
US addresses only.

Enter by 
April 20
(Or better yet, enter now!)
If you forward Talking Story
to a friend or share this issue on social media, let us know. We will give you an extra chance to win a book. 
Giveaway # 1
Giveaway # 2

Giveaway # 3
Giveaway #4
Nick and Tesla and the Robot Army Rampage by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

 by Rebecca 
This issue of Talking Story celebrates building in all its forms, from the artistry of architecture to the innovation that drives invention. April's issue is a celebration of human ingenuity! After exploring our featured books, we hope  you are inspired to build something new! 
Books Featuring
Building Stuff!
Rosie Revere, Engineer - Beaty, Andrea
Paperback Awesome Architecture Activities for Kids: 25 Exciting Steam Projects to Design and Build Book
Engineering for Teens
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition Zoomed Image
UP NEXT in July:
Cooking Around the World
                               Please share our books
                                  with your librarians!
When Mama Grows With Me  by Rebecca Wheeler
When Daddy Shows Me the Sky by Rebecca Wheeler
Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wheeler
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