She’s a Keeper

Author and Educator Gretchen Bernabei on Literacy, Life, and Fairy Tales

The literacy gods smiled on me the day I met Gretchen Bernabei. If you’ve met her, you understand: her energy is contagious. Gretchen is not only a master of writing instruction, but also a dynamic performer and responsive communicator — at a Bernabei workshop, no one is bored. 

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Collective Vetting

Video book recommendations

My first writing gig was reviewing books for a North Texas newspaper –back before the Internet decimated newspapers and print media was actually a thing. It’s time to get back to my roots. 

The number of professional development books flooding the market is simply overwhelming for educators (especially reading and writing teachers). Many titles are incredibly valuable, but I believe others are actually detrimental and cause more harm than good.

Sorting through all of this mess can be a nightmare (particularly for teachers who are new to reading and writing instruction). Further complicating matters is our pesky little friend, Time — there’s just not enough of him to go around. We have a responsibility as educators to help one another “collectively vet” recently published books and articles by participating in ongoing dialogue centered on identifying titles we as a community find valuable for our professional growth and for our students.

Note: I’m not implying we should come together and march in the streets and ban books. I’m saying we have a responsibility to continuously collaborate and share information about books and articles in order to help each other make the most of our limited time and resources. 

Accordingly, it’s time for me to get serious about book recommendations. 

My first published piece was a book review of Father and Son by Larry Brown.
And no, I’m not revealing the publication date. Ugh, I’m getting old.

At the top of this page under the Menu you will see a link for Book Recommendations. I plan to post at least one or two per month, but it may be less than consistent during the chaos of the school year (I’m sure you teachers understand). 

I also welcome submissions from any author who would like for me to consider posting a recommendation. I spend a ton of money on books, so I would be grateful to any author who offers a review copy either pre-publication or immediately after release. 

Here’s a short video explaining my book recommendation plan: 

My plan for book recommendations. 

My Joyful Return (or whatever…)

I’m back. Well… sort of. My departure from the writer’s life and why I’ve decided to make a comeback.


The only word my writing-atrophied brain can muster as I stare at the blank page and remember with clarity one of the main reasons I walked away from my former career as a writer and editor. Here’s the thing: Writing and I have a love/hate relationship. Truth be told, she stresses me the hell out.

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