books, Education, Literacy

Free Book Preview!

Sorry to send out two posts in one week–but I’m just too darn excited. My debut book from Stenhouse PublishersRenew! Become a Better–and More Authentic–Writing Teacher is available for pre-sale now, and as an added bonus, my generous friends at Stenhouse have offered anyone who visits their site a free preview of my entire book.

I KNOW, right?!?

If you’re anything like I am, you’d much prefer cozying up with a paper copy of any book. But what’s cool about the free preview is that you can take a nice, long gander at the gorgeous layout (thank you, production team!), skim some parts that jump out at you (don’t miss Tom Newkirk‘s wonderful foreword), and decide whether you want to purchase Renew! now or later. (See what I did there? I didn’t even consider the possibility that you won’t want to purchase my book, because I prefer to live in a state of blissful ignorance.) 😉

If you do preview the book, and you like what you see, please take a minute to share your excitement with your educator friends and colleagues! Pre-publication buzz is super-important for book momentum, so any sharing you are inclined to do on social media or in person is very, very much appreciated.

Here is a handy link to the book’s page; click on the blue “Preview the Book!” tab directly above the cover photo, and enjoy Renew! in all it’s full-color glory.

Enjoy–and thank you in advance for your support!

The beautiful cover. (LOVE!)


4 thoughts on “Free Book Preview!”

  1. Shawna, first of all, congratulations on your book being published! I’m eager to hold that paper copy and highlight it up. 🙂 I was just checking out the book preview online and wanted to say how thankful I am for chapter 3 on what it means to write. I teach 1st grade and have also taught kindergarten and 2nd grade as well, and you probably know as well as I do that there are literacy experts out there that I completely admire and respect who are so adamant that writers should just “do a quick sketch” and then move on . . . as if volume of written text is the most important thing.

    This has never sat well with me . . . for if kids who are 5, 6, and 7 seven years old are taught that their drawings and visual compositions are less important than the composition of their written words, when IS the time when drawing and spending time on pictures is “okay” or “permitted”? I still remember reading Katie Wood Ray’s book on illustration study and feeling like I could finally take a breath and give myself permission to spend time teaching into the qualities of effective illustration decisions, as illustration is just as much a part of the composition process as written text. Reading Lisa Cleaveland’s book, “More About the Authors,” makes a strong argument for “allowing” kids to use color as they compose each day during writer’s workshop as well.

    And while I know that there are others who will disagree with this idea that composition is about text AND illustration and the ways that they can work together as well as the thoughtful decisions that authors and illustrators make when they make books, I’m thankful for all of the voices in education, including yours, that balance out the idea of “just do a quick sketch and move on!” Reading other educator’s voices helps me to not feel “stuck” or “torn” about letting my kids draw and use color as they compose during writer’s workshop each day, and be able to move from this position of needing “permission” as a teacher to let them illustrate each day to embracing the richness that an expanded view of composition holds for the little ones (as well as older students, too!) Congratulations again on your book – can’t wait to read the assessment chapter as well!


    1. Sarah, thank you for your thoughtful comment! I am so passionate about this particular topic and am happy to “hear” your passion for it as well. Completely agree with all of your points! One of my favorite quotes to use when making the overall point about visual composition (that I actually came across AFTER finishing the manuscript for my book) is from Teaching As a Subversive Activity (1969), in which the authors say that “print no longer monopolizes man’s environment.” That was almost 50 years ago! And STILL we have to argue about the value of visual composition in schools and classrooms. Crazy! P.S. I very much look forward to any additional feedback you may have after reading Renew!


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